now, it is your wish to save yourself, O Emperor, there is no difficulty.
For we have much money, and there is the sea, here are the boats.
. . . as for myself, I approve a certain ancient saying that royalty
is a good burial shroud. -- Theodora
Empress Theodora, if you please. Of the Holy Roman Empire,
yet. You must admit, she made the most successful social leap
of any of the ladies living here. As details of her origins are sketchy,
I gave her the birthdate that makes her younger. She might have
been Syrian. She was born into a family of entertainers, and eventually
became a performer and, as usual in those days for actresses, prostitute.
One of her lovers took her to Constantinople; when he left her, she stayed.
She took the name Theodora when she converted to Christianity at about
the age of twenty. After her conversion she gave up prostitution
and tried to clean up her act. During this time she captivated Justinian,
the nephew of the current Emperor. They fought impossible odds in order
to marry. And, what do you know, Justinian eventually became Emperor.
a powerful woman, and shared the throne with Justinian. During a
rebellion, when everyone else was about to throw in the towel, she delivered
a powerful speech that persuaded the generals to stand and fight, thus
saving the empire from ruin. When she wasn't saving her throne, she was
working to pass laws defending the rights of women. She passed laws prohibiting
forced prostitution, and opened shelters for prostitutes. This last
made her very unpopular with the official historian, Procopius, whose
Secret History paints her as a very lewd woman, indeed.
essay on Byzantine
Women's Biography Site.
Would you like to visit Maimie?
Adjust the music to your taste.