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"Women have been the occasion of much evil."

Thus, in Gibbon’s account, spake Emperor Theophilos, about to hand the beautiful Kassia a golden apple as token of his choice of bride. Kassia replied, without missing a beat: "And surely, Sir, they have likewise been the occasion of much good," a retort that cost her the crown of Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire. The Emperor bestowed his apple on another young hopeful.

Kassia (born 810, died between 843 und 867) pursued another career, founded a convent and became its abbess. This move should not be rated as a defeat, however. On the contrary. In the convent, Kassia wrote liturgical and secular verses, and she composed. Just under fifty hymns are now attributed to her as well as  several troparia. Kassia was a self-assured, highly educated and exceptionally gifted woman. She was at the centre of intellectual and artistic life in the metropolis on the Bosporus.

Kassia biography in brief   (Download PDF)