|  Share | Cite


Theodora (thēədôrˈə) [key], d. 548, Byzantine empress. Information about her early career comes from the often-questionable source, the Secret History of Procopius. It appears that she was the daughter of an animal trainer in the circus, and that she was an actress and prostitute before her marriage (523) to Justinian I, who, on his accession in 527, made her joint ruler of the empire. A stronger person than her husband, she helped save the throne through her energetic action in the Nika riot (532; see Blues and Greens). In her youth Theodora came under the influence of the Monophysite sect; Justinian's efforts to reconcile the Monophysites to orthodoxy were probably inspired by her. She is represented in the mosaics of the church of San Vitale, in Ravenna.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Theodora from Infoplease:

  • Theodora: meaning and definitions - Theodora: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Theodora - Theodora (in Orlando Furioso), sister of Constantine, the Greek Emperor. Greatly enraged against ...
  • teddy: meaning and definitions - teddy: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Blues and Greens - Blues and Greens Blues and Greens, political factions in the Byzantine Empire in the 6th cent. They ...
  • Isaac I - Isaac I Isaac I (Isaac Comnenus), c.1005–1061, Byzantine emperor (1057–59), first of ...

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Ancient History, Late Roman and Byzantine: Biographies