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Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint

Condition: BRAND NEW
ISBN: 9780199740765
Author(s): David Potter
Format: Hardcover
Year: 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Dimensions: 160 x 236 x 23 (w x l x h)
Pages: 288
Series: Women in Antiquity

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Two of the most famous mosaics from the Byzantine period, from the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, depict the sixth-century Emperor Justinian and, on the wall facing him, his wife, Theodora (497-548). This magestic portrait gives no inkling to Theodora's very humble beginnings or her improbable rise to fame and power. Raised in a family of circus performers near Constantinople's Hippodrome, she became one of the most influential women in Byzantine history. It was on stage as an actress-or, as some said, 'stage whore'-that Theodora caught the attention of the future emperor Justinian. To the shock of the ruling elite, the two were married, and when Justinian assumed power in 527, they ruled the Eastern Roman Empire together. Their reign was the most celebrated in Byzantine history, bringing wealth, prestige, and even Rome itself back to the Empire. During this time Theodora was Justinian's most trusted advisor, and her influence on the Empire is discernible in a variety of important ways. Her interest in social causes, for example, is seen in the added legal protections for women and the lower classes.
Theodora's most lasting impact was her support for the unorthodox Christian sect of Monophysitism. Although her husband was orthodox, Theodora maintained her religions independence, and today in Syria, where the sect still thrives, she is revered as a saint. In Theodora: Actress, Empress, Sai Please click here to ask a question
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