Passion and Power

The only image of the Empress Theodora is in Ravenna, with very large dark eyes and a narrow face.

The empress who is not young, must be 50 years old.

The date of his birth is not known.

He died in the year 448 almost at the same time that the church in which he was pictured was inaugurated.

The image is made from a Constantinople model, as Theodora never steps on Ravenna.

Teodora’s features show the deterioration caused perhaps by a disease, specialists say cancer or perhaps by the harshness of governing in difficult times.

540, a plague epidemic spreads through the Byzantine empire, decimating the population and ruining the economy.

When Justinian contracts the disease all the responsibility of the government falls on Teodora.

Puede ser una imagen de 4 personas

The empress seems to control the situation, prevents different subversive plots and deals with the administration of the empire and military campaigns to the dissatisfaction of the generals.

She reaches the peak of power and governs for months as the absolute mistress of a patriarchal space that relegates women to the tasks of their sex.

He has experience in government affairs, because Justinian lets him participate from the beginning, despite the fact that he does not conform to tradition or the Constitution.

But Justiniano wants to share everything with the woman he adores.

When he falls in love with her, he is 20 years old and Justinian is an advisor to the emperor, aspiring to the throne.

Teodora belongs to the lower class.

She has performed in variety shows from a young age because she is pretty and funny.

Although he does not know how to sing or dance, he has great success with his humorous openings.

Parody Leda, she comes out on stage with an itchy goose while she moves sensually, pimples hidden between her thighs.


Teodora comes from a brothel.

No one, not even the Church, objects when the emperor’s favorite falls in love and marries.

Theodora is crowned with Justinian, and since then not even his greatest enemies – Procopius is one of them – can reproach him for being light.

She plays her role with dignity but without forgetting where she comes from, as shown by her edict against prostitution decreed by her.

432 in the Nikei revolt, in which entire neighborhoods of the city were burned and revolutionaries besieged the palace, the emperor and his advisers considered the possibility of leaving by sea.

Teodora, who is the only woman, advises men to fight and not to run away.

Guided by his advice, Justinian’s generals put down the uprising.


There are two women in the mosaic who are not identified, but while the five companions in the background are represented following the same pattern, the two closest to the empress present peculiar features.


The oldest with high cheekbones may be Antonina, the palace butler and Belisario’s wife, while the youngest with similar features may be his daughter, Joanina.

Teodora and Antonina were joined by a common past on stage and the two have a strong personality, thanks to which they exert influence on their husbands.

Teodora protects her friend despite her scandalous lifestyle, but not just out of friendship.

Through Antonina he had controlled General Belisario, who could be a dangerous rival against Justinian.

In addition, Antonina was very useful to him as a spy.

Theodora supports the Monophysitists all her life, whose followers live in Egypt and Syria.


Publicado por ilabasmati

Licenciada en Bellas Artes, FilologÍa Hispánica y lIiteratura Inglesa.

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