The Diminishing Importance of Fate and Divine Femininity During the High and Late Roman Empire
Keywords:Fate, technology of self, Michel Foucault, free will, femininity
Weaving and femininity are historically intimately connected with
the concept of Fate. In antiquity Fate was portrayed as a powerful
female principle controlling the cosmic system humans inhabited.
However, as the antique religious world gave way to a new era,
the role of Fate subsided under Christian dominance. This article
examines how this change played out, and how the worldview that
won prominence as Christianity prevailed gradually lost touch with
the presence of powerful female cosmic principles. It shows that the
disappearance of Fate from the prevailing world was seminal in the
birth of a new ‘technology of the self’. In conclusion, the article places
the disappearance of Fate in the context of a discussion of how the
view of the self changed in the aftermath of Christianity, which had
become dominant. This discussion is related to the scholarship of
Peter Brown, among others, as well as a newly published posthumous
work by Michel Foucault (2018).
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