Theodora (6th century) - Wikipedia
Forgot passwordreset rassword · Keep me informedfree monthly newsletter · Coloringof Theodora was the wife of Emperor Justinian I. She began poor, as a wife of Emperor Justinian I. Along with her husband, she is a saint in the Orthodox It is believed by some scholars that sometime before meeting Justinian she. Theodora was empress of the Eastern Roman Empire by marriage to Emperor Justinian I. She Along with her spouse, she is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, commemorated on November . May I never be deprived of this purple robe, and may I never see the day when those who meet me do not call me empress. Mosaic of Justinian I in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna. Empress Theodora was the wife of the Emperor Justinian. During a meeting of the Imperial Council , Theodora gave a speech that .. No, give me more info.
On his accession to the Roman Imperial throne in as Justinian I, he made her joint ruler of the empire, and appears to have regarded her as a full partner in their rulership. This proved to be a wise decision. A strong-willed woman, she showed a notable talent for governance. In the Nika riots ofher advice and leadership for a strong and militant response caused the riot to be quelled and probably saved the empire. A contemporary official, Joannes Laurentius Lydus, remarked that she was "superior in intelligence to any man" .
Some scholars believe that Theodora was Byzantium's first noted proponent—and, according to Procopius, practitioner—of abortion; she convinced Justinian to change the law that forbade noblemen to marry lower class women like herself. Theodora also advocated the rights of married women to commit adultery, and the rights of women to be socially serviced, helping to advance protections and delights for them; and was also something of a voice for prostitutes and the downtrodden.
Theodora (6th century)
She also helped to mitigate the breach in Christian sects that loomed large over her time; she probably had a large part in Justinian's efforts to reconcile the Monophysites to orthodoxy. Other scholars and those who venerate Theodora as a saint instead regard Theodora's achievements for women not as a modern feminist "liberation" to commit abortion or adultery but rather as a truly egalitarian drive to give women the same legal rights as men, such as establishing homes for prostitutes, passing laws prohibiting forced prostitution, granting women more rights in divorce cases, allowing women to own and inherit property, and enacting the death penalty for rape, all of which raised women's status far above that current in the Western portion of the Empire.
There were less charitable acts as well. Rumors spoke of private dungeons in her quarters that people she disapproved of disappeared into forever, though such rumors can be found regarding nearly any royal figure.
More congenial is the story of how she sheltered a deposed patriarch for 12 years without anyone knowing of it. Theodora died of cancer probably breast cancer before the age of 50, some 20 years before Justinian died. Her body was buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles, one of the splendid churches the emperor and empress had built in Constantinople.
Both Theodora and Justinian are represented in beautiful mosaics that exist to this day in the Basilica of San Vitale at Ravenna in northern Italy, which was completed a year before her death. Peoples and Cultures Boston: Bedford, Like her husband, she is a saint in the Orthodox Church, commemorated on November Her father, Acacius, was a bear trainer of the hippodrome's Blue faction in Constantinople.
Her mother, whose name is not recorded, was a dancer and an actress. Both John of Ephesus and Procopius in his Secret History relate that Theodora from an early age worked in a Constantinople brothel serving low-status customers; later she performed on stage.
The Heavy Anglo Orthodox: A few words on Empress Saint Theodōra
Lynda Garland in "Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium, AD " notes that there seems to be little reason to believe she worked out of a brothel "managed by a pimp". Employment as an actress at the time would include both "indecent exhibitions on stage" and providing sexual services off stage.
In what Garland calls the "sleazy entertainment business in the capital", Theodora would earn her living by a combination of her theatrical and sexual skills. Theodora made a name for herself with her portrayal of Leda and the Swan, where she stripped off her clothes as far as the law allowed, lying on her back while some attendants scattered barley on her groin and then some geese picked up the barley with their bills. She also entertained notables at banquets and accepted a multitude of lovers.
Theodora: the empress from the brothel | Life and style | The Guardian
Those whose interests are threatened by extreme danger should think only of the wisest course of action, not of conventions. In my opinion, flight is not the right course, even if it should bring us to safety. It is impossible for a person, having been born into this world, not to die; but for one who has reigned it is intolerable to be a fugitive.
May I never be deprived of this purple robe, and may I never see the day when those who meet me do not call me empress. If you wish to save yourself, my lord, there is no difficulty.
We are rich; over there is the sea, and yonder are the ships. Yet reflect for a moment whether, when you have once escaped to a place of security, you would not gladly exchange such safety for death. As for me, I agree with the adage that the royal purple is the noblest shroud.
Thereupon Saint Justinian broke up the riots — bloodily, according to Prokopios — and restored his hold on power. They established vital infrastructure and public works aqueducts, roads, bridgesbuilt twenty-five churches including the great Agia Sophia! She established a convent named Metanoia or Holy Repentancewhich catered specifically to ex-brothel girls and street prostitutes, giving them shelter, a space for reflection and the possibility — an all-too-attractive possibility at the time for many such women — of becoming a nun.
As the folks at In Communion put it: She made it legal to marry across class lines, gave women inheritance rights, gave women custody rights in the case of divorce, increased the penalty for rape, and outlawed the practice of infanticide whereby the father would decide whether a newborn would live and which often was committed against baby girls.