Empress and wife of Justinian I, the courage and statesmanship of Theodora ca.
See Article History Theodora, born c. Her father, Acacius, was a bear keeper at the Hippodrome circus in Constantinople.
Procopius says that she became an actress and prostitute while still young, leading an unconventional life that included giving birth to at least one child out of wedlock. For a time, she made her living as a wool spinner. When Justinian met her, she had been converted to monophysitisma non-orthodox doctrine.
Attracted by her beauty and intelligence, he made her his mistress and married her in Her disreputable background meant that prior to the marriage, special legislation had to be passed legalizing unions between actresses and men of senatorial rank or higher. When Justinian succeeded to the throne inshe was proclaimed augusta.
Theodora exercised considerable influence, and though she was never coregent, her superior intelligence and deft handling of political affairs caused many to think that it was she, rather than Justinian, who ruled Byzantium.
Her name is mentioned in nearly all the laws passed during that period. She received foreign envoys and corresponded with foreign rulers, functions usually reserved for the emperor.
Her influence in political affairs was decisive, as illustrated in the Nika revolt of January The two political factions in Constantinople, the Blues and the Greens, united in their opposition to the government and set up a rival emperor.
Theodora is remembered as one of the first rulers to recognize the rights of women, passing strict laws to prohibit the traffic in young girls and altering the divorce laws to give greater benefits to women. She spent much of her reign trying to mitigate the laws against the monophysites. The best-known representation of Theodora is the mosaic portrait in the Church of San Vitale in Ravenna.
Her death, possibly from cancer or gangrenewas a severe blow to Justinian. Her importance in Byzantine political life is shown by the fact that little significant legislation dates from the period between her death and that of Justinian Learn More in these related Britannica articles:When Justinian sought to marry Theodora, he could not: he was heir of the throne of his uncle, Emperor Justin I, and a Roman law from Constantine's time prevented anyone of senatorial rank from marrying actresses.
Saint Justinian; Justinian I; When he died on 14 November , he left no children, though his wife Theodora had given birth to a stillborn son several years into his reign.
He was succeeded by Justin II, The Emperor Justinian and the Byzantine Empire. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. Justinian I, also known as ‘Justinian the Great’ and ‘Saint Justinian the Great’, was a Byzantine (East Roman) Emperor.
This biography profiles his childhood, family, personal life, reign, empire, death, achievements and other facts. The Empress Theodora. Theodora was the wife of Justinian I who was crowned Emperor of the Byzantine Empire in AD.
As his wife, she ruled by his side, as his partner, and her intelligence helped to advance the Empire/5(5). When Justinian was crowned in , he named as co-regent his young wife Theodora. She was 15 years his junior and his opposite in nearly every way.
She was social, witty, supremely self-confident. Justinian was born Flavius Peterus Sabbatius, the son of a farmer whose childless uncle was on his way to becoming Emperor Justin I. Justinian was called to the capital in his teens and given the.