Emotions on Stage: The ‘Manly’ Woman Martyr in the Menologion of Basil II
Cantone focuses on a series of virgin martyrs that appear in the well-known eleventh-century illustrated manuscript, the Menologion of Basil II, and approaches them from the perspective of gendered emotions. She argues that their female gender identity is destabilised by a series of visual and rhetoric devices that they share with male martyrs. Among these devices the most important is dispassion (ataraxia) or the imperviousness to suffering that all martyrs apparently expressed in the face of imminent death. Just like their male counterparts, female martyrs kept a placid and serene emotional façade. Cantone contends that this specific dramatic staging in the manuscript was especially designed to engage its readership emotionally by re-enacting the virgin martyrs’ dramatic moments.