Justinian and Theodora: the power of love

Their names, in fact — the image is clearly etched in my memory from school history course. Section "The Byzantine Empire" — and the sight gets famous mosaic of the Basilica of San Vitale "The Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora." Through the centuries the story keeps the memory of their great deeds and great love.



The emperor of the Byzantine Empire Justinian I, surnamed the Great, whose reign marked the decline of antiquity and early Middle Ages, went down in history as a reformer, plans to revive the Byzantine same powerful empire by what was the Roman. However, he has revolutionized the idea of imperial power: in the Roman Empire, there was the principle that the emperor "first among equals", that Justinian believed that the absolute power of the emperor, he gets right to the grace of God, and therefore is above the state and the church. That is, in fact, Justinian was the ancestor of the kind of rulers, koi think himself not elect people, the anointed of God.

And — oh my — these ideas have in mind is not a scion of the royal family and not a descendant of aristocrats. Justinian was the origin of the lowest, the first in their family Emperor — his uncle Justin I — was born in the ordinary peasants. In search of a better farmer Justin leaned into the army. He served in the previous two Byzantine emperors — Leo I and Anastasia. Surprisingly, the simple-minded (according to contemporaries), and so on until the end of his life did not learn to read and write former peasant Justin did a dizzying military career: with Anastasia, he was promoted to captain, and then got to the top echelons of power — as a senator and the head of the palace guards. When Anastasius died, leaving no direct heirs, Justin went to all competitors (including the nephew of the late three-emperor) and supported by the military and the patriarch was elected as the new emperor. Young Justinian had already served in the palace, strongly supported by his uncle. Unlike his uncle, nephew, paid tribute to the science — he studied theology and Roman law. It is believed that theologically and legally savvy Patriarch Justinian charmed and thus to a large extent contributed to the election of his uncle. And a very curious fact that in the battle for the throne after the death of Anastasia, these things take the place of honor, and offered himself to Justinian, but he refused, and then, when Justin had grown old, to become co-ruler beloved uncle, and after his death, and the sovereign emperor of the Byzantine Empire . The foregoing describes Justinian as a visionary man, shrewd and extremely ambitious. But Justinian would never be what he was — that is, Justinian the Great, not whether it Theodora.

Smart Thais

Future empress also could boast of noble birth. Moreover, it belonged to the estate at the time despised — circus performers and artists: the father of Theodora was the caretaker of animals in the circus of Constantinople. He died when Theodore was still low, leaving a widow and three daughters — Komichi, Theodore and Anastasia, in dire poverty. The girls were forced to earn their daily bread, entertaining audiences mime and dance. Ripe, senior, Komichi became heterosexual, and then came the turn and Theodora — the understanding that so you can earn a lot more, it's the girls early. According to contemporaries, Theodore enjoyed great success in men: she was not only remarkably beautiful, it is distinguished by special grace and wit.

Now is not known exactly how met Justinian and Theodora, one thing is certain — it happened before Justinian ascended the throne of Constantinople. There is a theory that they introduced a friend of Theodora, the famous Moscow actress. There is also a legend that supposedly charming Heterosexual Justinian saw in the window and fell in love at first sight. And Theodore becomes the mistress of a powerful imperial nephew. Justinian by the time entered at the time of maturity of the male — he forty, Theodora is, I think, 21 or 22 years — it is believed that she was born about 500 AD Surprisingly, in this era of early marriage, Justinian was not married — it advantageous marriage to a girl from a patrician kind he could further strengthen his position. Although many historians believe that Justinian did not matter the origin of Theodora, as he himself was a native of the lower classes. It is hard to agree with that, mindful of the brilliant combination, to play with Justinian imperatorstvom — he selected to be an emperor, to later become a hereditary emperor. It was a kind of imitation of gentility — Justinian did not belong to the patricians, but about him not saying "peasant turned emperor", he became the "heir of the Emperor Justin." And all of his subsequent behavior is as ruler of the Byzantine Empire, suggests an effort to imagine what power he got no chance, but well deserved. Consequently, Theodora be given credit that she managed so to bind a man like Justinian, he even plotted to marry her.

The rulers of the Empire

Theodore once already burned. She left Constantinople after influential Gekebolom lover, who was appointed governor of the province of the Byzantine Pentapolis in north Africa. However, it failed to permanently preserve these relationships — sated caresses Thais, Gekebol chased her, and Theodore was forced to earn a living as prostitutes in Alexandria. Pay tribute to the mind of Theodora, in the great cultural centers of his era, it is not only hunted the oldest profession, but it quickly started the intellectual ties, including in religious circles Monophysites (Christian doctrine, considered orthodox heresy). Sermons Monophysite patriarchs Timothy Aliksandriyskogo and Severus of Antioch, often refers to the female audience, made a strong impression on Heterosexual and, apparently, contributed to subsequent changes in her behavior.

Anyway, back to Constantinople, Theodore seemingly "tied" to the old profession and began to make a living spinning yarn. But it is possible that the desire to pass for decent working women Theodora was also connected with its relations with Justinian. Became his official "companion" Theodore no longer getting up other lovers. He was so fascinated that he began to prepare a base for marriage: Theodore was granted the status of patrician. For in Byzantium there was a law that forbade the nobility married to actress and heterosexual. But on the way to a legal marriage of Justinian and Theodora faced new obstacles in the face of the Empress Euphemia, wife of Justin I. She would not hear about how to enter into the family like a woman (even though she was out of the peasants). Married lovers could only after the death of Euphemia, and, at the request of his nephew, Justin even changed the old law: in its new version of marriage between royalty and actresses are allowed on personal permission of the emperor, if the woman had left the old craft.

When Justinian was crowned emperor of Byzantium, the former Thais became Empress Theodora. '22 Rules she and her husband, whom had a huge impact — no public issue is solved without Theodora. Chroniclers say that being shown by the Empress herself strong personality, power-loving and smart. It was the death of Theodora in 548 historians and associated changes that befell Justinian: the emperor much passed. Until his death in 565, he mourned his beloved wife.

Elena Lazareva

Category: Mystery stories

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