11. January 2023

Book Launch of "Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire" by Julia Hillner Book Launch of "Helena Augusta: Mother of the Empire" by Julia Hillner

The Zentrum für Religion und Gesellschaft (ZERG) will host a presentation of BCDSS member Prof. Dr. Julia Hillner's latest book.

The presentation will take place in the Festsaal in the University's main building, at 6.15pm. The reading will be in English. There will be a discussion with BCDSS' Prof. Dr. Wolfram Kinzig, followed by a reception.


Helena, the mother of the first Christian emperor Constantine, is best known for the last two years of her life, when she traveled around the Eastern Mediterranean, and for something that, in all likelihood, she did not do: the discovery of the True Cross relic. Using a vast range of sources, from textual and epigraphical to visual, and an array of archaeological insights from the places Helena lived at or visited, this book instead investigates Helena in the round, taking seriously the ruptures in her life course and her changing positions within the imperial and female networks of her time. The book follows Helena’s life, the majority of which was spent in the third century and during the period of the tetrarchy, and explores the different ways in which she was commemorated after her death, up to the late sixth century. It wrestles Helena’s historical significance back from medieval legends, to demonstrate the development and purpose of her role within Constantinian politics and to chart her meandering impact on the image and behavior of the Christian empress in the late Roman world.

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