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UN TEXTE PARTICULIER DE MICHEL PSELLOS À L’OCCASION DE LA FÊTE DES TISSEUSES (MILIEU DU XIe SIÈCLE)

Maria Nystazopoulou-Pelekidou
Université de Ioannina

A Michael Psellos Text on The Occasion of a Women’s Festival (Middle Eleventh Century)

Abstract: Psellos describes the Festival of Agathe, the yearly celebration in Byzantium of a female professional cloth-makers group, on May 12, the day following the Constantinople’s Inauguration Anniversary. In this festival tool place a realistic representation of the labour of all specialities of cloth-makers.
Psellos connects the name Agathe with “agathon” (good in the platonic sense) and maintains that every well-intended adequately completed activity, participates in the agathon, as in the case of weavers. He expresses also his opinions on broader issues, like the social place of woman, the political act, the great importance of education in social rising, and stresses that, when the concept of agathon, existing intangibly in the mind, assumes a specific form, that’s what philosophy desires and education targets.
These opinions of Psellos, teacher, philosopher, writer and politician, must be considered within the frame of political events of his era (mid-11th century) and his own role in public affairs, as well as to the financial and social progress, elevating educated people from lower classes. The group of scholars-philosophers John Xiphilin, Constantin Lichoudis and mainly John Mauropous and Michael Psellos, worked successfully for the reinforcement and renewal of education and social evolution.

Keywords: 11th Century, Byzantine Economy in XIth Century, Education in 11th Century, Psellos Michael, Woman (Activity and Status)