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Empress Theodora, c.500-547

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Byzantine empress and consort of Justinian I, the daughter of Aracius of Cypriot (a bearkeeper at the Hippodrome), had, according to Procopius, already been an actress, dancer and courtesan when she won the heart of the ambitious Justinian, She eventually became his mistress, wife and the sharer of his throne (527). As Justinian's most trusted advisor upon her shoulders rested a chief share of the work of government. During the Nike Riots of 532, it was Theodora who saved the throne or herself and her husband by her courage. She lavished goods upon the poor, especially the unfortunate of her own sex. Her character remained exemplary until the appearance of The Secret History (Historia Arcana) of Procopius (1623), whose chief aim was to defame both Justinian and Theodora.


More Information
The Empress Theodora
Justinian and Theodora
Justinian, Theodora and Procopius

Procopius of Caesarea The Secret History
(Halsall, Medieval Sourcebook)
Theodora (Women's International Center)
Theodora on the Web

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copyright 2000 Steven Kreis
Last Revised -- February 28, 2006
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