How did Theodora help Justinian

THEODORA - Knut Boeser

THEODORASt. Vitalis: Empress Theodora


Benjamin Jean Joseph Constant, THEODORATimeline 481/482 Birth of Justinian. 1.8.527 Justinian takes over the sole rule over Ostrom. 528-534 Creation of the later so-called Corpus Iuris Civilis. 529/530 Uprising of the Samaritans in Palestine. 531/532 Conclusion of the perpetual peace with Chosrau I of Persia. 532 Nika uprising, religious discussions between the Chalcedonians and Monophysites in Constantinople. 533/534 Conquest of the Empire of the Vandals. 535-540 First war against the Ostrogoths. 536 Persecution of Monophysites. 536/537 Several months of eclipse of the sun and moon with unknown trigger (possibly Volcanic eruption) throughout the Mediterranean. Climate changes and crop failures are the result.


537 Completion of Hagia Sophia. 539/540 Bulgarian invasion of Greece with severe devastation. 540 Persian invasion of Roman territory with the destruction of Antiocheias. 540-562 War against the Persians. 541/542 Plague throughout the empire, famines in the following years .541 / 552 Second war against the Ostrogoths. 548 Empress Theodoras dies. 549 A conspiracy against Justinian is discovered. 551 Severe earthquakes shake central Greece and the eastern Mediterranean. 552 Narses defeats the Ostrogoths at Busta Gallorum and on Mons Lactarius 552 Conquest of areas in Visigothic Spain. 553 Condemnation of the Three Chapters in the Second Council of Constantinople. 557 Severe earthquake in Constantinople, dome of Hagia Sophia collapses. 558 The plague rages a second time in Constantinople. 559 Belisarius repels a Bulgarian invasion at the gates of Constantinople. 562 Uncovering one Conspiracy against Justinian, new inauguration of Hagia Sophia. 14.11.565 Justinian's death


The Empress Theodora, whose portrait can still be seen today in a mosaic in the Cathedral of Ravenna, was the most powerful woman of her time. She was far superior to her husband, the Emperor Justinian, in determination, intellectuality, daring, and political instinct. More than anyone else, her ideas and wishes influenced the politics of the Eastern Roman Empire and thus world politics. We know a lot about her life. But to this day there is a great secret that historians and their biographers have not been able to unravel: how was it possible that a little actress from the hippodrome, not even one, as you can see from all descriptions, was not even gifted and probably not even extraordinarily beautiful Woman who is said to have been a particularly shameless and therefore sought after by many men, refined and insatiable, utterly immoral prostitute, who was able to become the wife of Justinian and thus Empress of Byzantium, who then, when she was welcomed out of love and admiration but even more so out of fear of her cruelty, surrendered and subjugated, almost as a saint was venerated. About how a woman from the simplest of circumstances succeeded in the most powerful throne


Coming to Europe is tacitly walked away in all of their biographies. There is a loophole. What has happened there? That Justinian, who at the time he met Theodora and then married, had already been chosen to succeed him by his uncle, the Emperor Justin, and yet, which was to be expected, not a woman from a family of class, but a woman with him married a more than dubious past known throughout the empire, of which everyone knew that she had caused a furor as a whore and nude dancer in the hippodrome with performances such as this: She had had slaves sprinkle grains on her bare lap, which she then got from geese This dark passage, why Justinian made the former prostitute Theodora his wife, interests me most in the biography of Justinian and Theodora, because clarification gives the greatest insight into the relationship and the complicated psychology of Justinian's dependence on Theodora. Because he must have been dependent on her, because otherwise a marriage entered into against all political reason cannot be understood. How did a woman out of the gutter manage to cast such a powerful man under her spell, to whom he succumbed to her death? What did she impress him with? How did she tie him to her? For even if one assumes that Justinian was sexually subservient to her and therefore dependent on her, even then it would only have been a matter of course that he, the powerful, wealthy and respected gentleman, would have kept her as a lover and provided for her richly - that would also be for a woman as Theodora would have been a high honor - but would have chosen a woman from one of the country's respected, powerful families for his wife and empress, because, of course, in Byzantium, as in every other ruling house, political marriages were held in order to secure and maintain the power of the sovereign expand. Why did a man with such a great future, who of course knew that he had to subordinate his private life to public expectations and demands in a tactically intelligent way, married a woman from the cesspool of the hippodrome, whose father was a bear guide there and whose sisters also worked as actresses


and whores have worked? All the explanations of the biographers as to why Justinian married Theodora are as touching and naive as the colorful lacquer pictures of the saints, which are still distributed by the Catholic Church to the children in religious classes in Sunday school. According to this reading, Justinian met Theodora and was impressed by Theodora in her little house, after she had come back to Constantinople from her long journey that took her as far as Egypt and Syria, in which she had lived modestly as a wool spinner from the work of her hands been from their industry, from their moral and religious rigor. He fell madly in love with the woman, who was no longer so young, and then, like a petty bourgeois who believes he has found the woman of his life, wooed her. In doing so, he won her affection, married her, and loved her for life. How touching and what nonsense! If a man like Justinian, who of course had political ambitions and the throne in view in all his deliberations and decisions, chooses a woman like Theodora for his wife, then that is well considered and part of a plan, but by no means a matter of a foolish, overstretched heart. But what did Justinian expect from this scandalous marriage? It couldn't have been sensual satisfaction. He would certainly have gotten that without a wedding. So what really happened? Justinian was brought to court early on from the province of Constantinople by his uncle, the Emperor Justin. He received the best education one could get at the time. He quickly made a career in the court hierarchy. And he didn't make any mistakes. But what may have moved him, after he got to know Theodora, to convince the emperor that he should change the law, according to which a man of class cannot marry an actress, because of Theodoras, so that he could marry her? And why did the Emperor give in to Justinian's wish?


Justinian was already by Justinian as his successor at the time that Justin complied with Justinian's request and, with the change in law, cleared the way for Justinian's and Theodora's wedding. Justin was a simple man. He had made a career as a soldier. He had made it to the palace guard commander. That was how he came to the throne. He was over sixty years old when he was elected Emperor, and he was overwhelmed by government business. For this reason, he had entrusted his clever, educated nephew with many important political tasks at an early stage. At the end of Justin's life, Justinian was almost alone and responsible for running the affairs of state. And Justinian was even officially named co-regent. It was by no means a matter of course at the time that an emperor would appoint his successor. Every emperor had the right to make a proposal, but his word was usually not valid after his death, when the power struggles for the vacant throne broke out. The Eastern Roman emperors were rulers by the grace of God and thus distinguished from all other mortals and given the absolute power of sovereignty, but they were only after they had been elected emperor by the people. The divine right only fell to them after a democratic vote. The people submitted only to those to whom they freely decided to submit. There was no automatic, dynastic succession to the throne. Most emperors had made careers in the military. They had troops behind them. And that at least guaranteed that they were strong rulers who could deal with their opponents and enemies in the empire and abroad. However, this rarely guaranteed that they would also be intelligent, educated and wise rulers. That Justinian would succeed his uncle was by no means taken for granted. He was not a soldier and had no record of military success. He had no troops behind him who were personally committed to him. He was a politician and came from the administration. What spoke for him was that in reality he had run the affairs of the empire successfully for all to see during the final years of Justin's rule. In all this time he was loyal to his emperor and made no move to disempower him before his natural death. Whether that came about out of real loyalty, gratitude and devotion, or rather out of the


The realization that without soldiers behind him he would have been in a very difficult position to usurp the force of power cannot be clarified. But it can be assumed that he knew very well that he had to behave tactically in order to achieve his goal, after it was co-regent that he would actually become emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire after Justin's death. He had to convince the people and their constituents that they would be better governed by a successful diplomat and politician than by a soldier. But he also knew, of course, that he needed a strong man to carry out his plans and any possible resistance to it, including by force to be able to break. He had this man by his side. This was his close confidante Belisarius, who later led all the important wars for him. Justinian would have been inconceivable without Belisarius. He was the guarantee that behind the emperor there was also the power to force reluctant people to follow his policy. Justinian had a lucky hand in choosing this man. Belisarius was always loyal to him. He never had ambitions to stand against him or even to claim power for himself. Only once, much later, was there a crisis between Justinian and Belisarius, when the Goths urged Belisarius in Ravenna, which he had conquered, to accept the crown of the Western Roman emperor. But even there, as tempting as the offer was, Belisarius did not want to become emperor himself, but only apparently accepted the offer, which certainly aroused Justinian's greatest suspicion, in order not to lose the conquered territory in Italy again. He probably lacked the expressed will to power. And he wasn't a traitor. His wife Antonia, on whom he was as dependent as Justinian was on Theodora, was a close confidante of Theodoras, and she held her protective hand over the couple. Belisarius was so dependent on his wife that he saw to it that she cheated on him and made a fool of him for many years with her adopted son together. Theodora covered up the liaison and prevented Belisarius from dismissing it. Antonia was therefore grateful and indebted to Theodora. Antonia came from the same milieu as Theodora. She had a similar career behind her: her father and grandfather were charioteers in the hippodrome, she too was an actor, which at that time automatically meant that she made a living as a prostitute


deserved. The two women were particularly close because of their similar biographies. Whether Prokop is lying or not in his secret story in which he accuses Theodora and Antonia of the worst crimes, it is certain in any case that two former prostitutes were the two most powerful men in the empire. capable of understanding the secret of the union between Theodora and Justinian. It is always difficult for a historian. Erd may only say what he can substantiate and prove with sources. He mustn't speculate. The historians and biographers who deal with Theodora and Justinian still have a particularly difficult time. Because one of the most important sources about the private life of the two rulers are the ANEKDOTA of the historian Prokop, to which everyone refers again and again. On the one hand, Prokop is a very reliable biographer of his time. He has described the history of the wars and the works of Justinian in great detail and with great expertise - and there is little doubt as to his credibility. However, all historians have doubts about the credibility of his secret story, which Prokop did not publish for fear of persecution during his lifetime. In it he describes with disgust and contempt the scandalous private life of Theodoras, Justinian and that of their most important generals, General Belisarius and his wife Antonia, as well as the highest Reich official Joannes of Cappadocia and the highest judicial officer Tribonianus. Joannes of Cappadocia implemented the great tax reform in the empire. On the one hand, this brought the emperor more income, but at the same time greater tax justice for all residents, insofar as the power of the tax collectors was limited and prevented them from arbitrarily robbing their subordinates. In private, Joannes of Cappadocia was obviously a completely perverted, brutal pleasure-loving person who was also corrupt, greedy and bribable. Joannes was a double figure like Justinian and Theodora. And such a figure was also the chief jurist Tribonianus. Tribonianus was responsible for the great legal reform, which Justinian was particularly interested in, in order to give all citizens of the empire equal rights before the law. But it was private


Tribonianus also corrupt and bribery and, in practical disputes over which he had to decide, gave justice to those who offered him the most money. They were all double figures. They did a great job for the empire, they actually achieved great and important things, but that in no way prevented them from enriching themselves privately and from abusing all the privileges that they enjoyed because of their position. Everything that can only be said negative about people, Prokop has gathered about these people in his secret story. Theodore, for example, is described by him as horny, addictive, vengeful, lying, mean and brutal. She is wasteful and vain. She does everything to satisfy her personal lust. She does not shy away from any intrigue, however mean. And she is a master at it. She sacrifices everyone who gets in her way. Nor does she shy away from sacrificing companions who were close to her and who have helped, if her perverse plans so require. She knows no fidelity. She doesn't know gratitude. It is not obliged to anyone. She is moody and instinctual. She is a real monster. In it dwell and rage, as far as Prokop goes, the demons of darkness, whose greatest pleasure is annihilation. The problem that historians now have is evident. Apart from Prokop's scandalous descriptions of the private life of the ruling couple, you have hardly any other sources that refute Prokop's accusations. But they do not want to believe him, because they do not want to follow him in his destructive judgments about the moral depravity of the imperial couple, because Theodora and Justinian achieved a lot politically in their time. With Theodora and Justinian, antiquity ends with their paganism. It begins with the closure of the University of Athens, ordered by Justinian, which was a refuge of ancient Hellenistic, pagan, philosophical thought, the new, Christian epoch. Theodora and Justinian's policy, to put it in a modern word, was liberal despite all the constraints of the time. Trade and economy flourished. There were hardly any disabilities. For example, there was great tolerance towards foreigners. They had that


Opportunity to pursue a career in all areas of society according to your skills. All political decisions were aimed at one goal: to strengthen the Eastern Roman Empire and restore internal unity. First of all, the internal contradictions had to be resolved. The list of military, economic and social successes is long and impressive. For the first time, the legislation was codified, and the socially disadvantaged could also enforce their rights. While many of the judges were corruptible, for the first time there was such a thing as equality before the law. Justinian and Theodore built streets and public buildings across the empire, and trade flourished. Although there were repeated armed conflicts on the borders of the empire, peace prevailed in the empire. The people did not suffer any real hardship. Life was orderly and regulated; usury was punished. One could travel freely. Foreigners were welcome. Despite the religious disputes, there was great tolerance.Theodora's and Justinian's policies are wise and wise. Perhaps that is why historians tend to erase the utterly unreasonable, imprudent contradictions in their characters. I only have the same material at my disposal as all historians, I just interpret it differently insofar as I am interested in precisely the contradictions in the description of the life of Theodora and Justinian , while their biographers often tend to deny these contradictions. Then, however, they are forced to accuse their informant Procopius, loftily lied and shamelessly exaggerated, that he denounced the Empress in order to take revenge. I, on the other hand, tend to acknowledge that people are full of contradictions, that they are politically smart and private nonetheless could be. It is this tension in her life that makes her interesting for us, if we want to tell the story of her exciting, dramatic life in a film. Theodora appeared at the age of thirteen in the hippodrome, which could hold up to 50,000 people. The hippodrome was the place of entertainment and the place of political


Arguments. This is where the popular chariot races took place. This is where the actresses and dancers performed. And there the emperor was elected. Theodora was a successful nude dancer and prostitute who, as Prokop has repeatedly emphasized, particularly shamelessly confused the minds of men. The young girl quickly made a career as a prostitute. Men who had money and influence vied for her; she could soon choose her suitors. And so she got into higher circles. She heard and saw a lot and remembered everything. She was a kid from the gutter - easily excitable, but at the same time cold, clever, calculating, cunning, obscene and ambitious. Otherwise she would not have found her way out of the labyrinth of trucks. She knew how to use her advantage. Soon she must have become dangerous to the men who, when they were intimate with her, would have confided in her many things that were not intended for her ear. She got information. She will have used that. And at some point she knew too much. She must then have come to someone who did not allow herself to be blackmailed by her. Your life must have been threatened. She had to flee. Her hasty departure in the company of the merchant Hekebolos is different, while protection she did not want to explain. She drove with him to Alexandria, where she quickly separated from him. She will not have had much money. But she had herself - her body and her intelligence and her unconditional will to get out of misery. Alexandria was a rich city - rich in wealth and rich in culture, and surpassed Constantinople in grandeur and vibrancy. Here was the center of the Monophysites, who differed from the Orthodox in one essential question, which is difficult to understand for us today. The dissent was how the human and the divine were united in Christ. There was a human and a divine nature in Christ, so far they were agreed. For the Monophysites, however, the human nature of Christ after his incarnation was of no importance. Only his divine nature was important, while the Orthodox allowed both natures to coexist unmixed in Christ. The teaching of the


Orthodox had been defined at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 against the resistance of the Monophysites as a doctrine of faith binding for the whole empire and corresponded entirely to the view of the Pope. It was ostensibly a theologically very subtle problem, but this conflict divided the empire. Much more decisive than religious dissent was the political dimension. Alexandria was and could be very self-confident because Constantinople was dependent on the African grain that was shipped in Alexandria. The religious controversy was in reality only an expression of the will for political independence. Alexandria did not want to be patronized and ruled by Constantinople. Theodora met one of the most powerful men in Alexandria - the patriarch Timotheus. She later referred to him as her spiritual father. It is known that, like all high and powerful dignitaries of the state and the church, he used actresses, dancers and prostitutes as agents. Timotheus must have been very impressed by Theodora. He must have realized that it was wonderfully useful for his purposes. There was something special about this woman. Not only because she cast a spell over men, but because she possessed a special intelligence that made her stand out from most of her colleagues. He must have quickly realized that he could use Theodora for his own interests. In any case, with his recommendation, she came to Antioch, the capital of Syria, where the inhabitants were even more passionate about the pleasures of the hippodrome than anywhere else and the actresses and whores were particularly highly regarded at that time two parties, the Blue, which were close to the Monophysites, and the Greens, which were close to the Orthodox). This woman was called Makedonia and worked as an agent - probably even as a double agent for the imperial house in Constantinople and for the Patriarch of Alexandria, on whose recommendation Theodora had come to Antioch.


It is often said that Theodora was actually interested in the content of the religious problems of her time. How indifferent she really was, you can see from the fact that it was the Greens who helped her family after her father's death, but now, when it came to her future, she changed sides without hesitation and worked for the Blue that brought her so much misery as a child. Because her father was the bear leader of the Blues until his death. After his death, Theodora's mother quickly remarried. She had hoped that the blues would give her new husband the deceased's vacancy. But the blues had already decided on someone else who had bribed them. The blues had dropped Theodora's mother, her new husband, and the children. This had led to great bitterness and plunged the family into misery, from which only the Greens rescued the family. Theodora's stepfather got a job in the hippodrome. So Theodora would have had reason to be loyal to the Greens. But Theodora was no longer interested in anything. Macedonia, like the Patriarch Timotheus, immediately recognized Theodora's talents and accepted them. She trained Theodora. Theodora was brought up. And since she was intelligent and inquisitive, she was quick to learn. It should be known that at that time many monks were moving into the desert outside the cities to spend their lives in solitude with prayer alone. Antonius, who was later canonized, was one of the best-known, whose terrible visions and nightmares have been illustrated by painters time and again. He was already dead by the time Theodora was in Egypt, but his example had been followed by many ascetic fanatics, and these men had a great influence on the believers. There is now another dark spot in Theodora's biography. She was in the Syrian desert. And it stands to reason that Macedonia sent her to one of these hermits, who made her


should educate. Something must have happened then that steered her further life into a new direction. She stayed in the desert for a while and then returned to Constantinople, lived secluded for a while in her house, met Justinian and soon afterwards became his wife. What happened in the desert? Again we can only speculate. Macedonia sent Theodora to a hermit who lived in complete seclusion and spent his days in excessive prayers and religious retreats. What an impression Theodora must have made on this man. Suddenly the sensual temptation that had tortured him in his nightmares stood alive before him. And what an impression such a man with his severity and rigor must have made on Theodora. It stands to reason that the two gave each other what they lacked. Theodora gave him her love, and so for the first time he experienced the shudders of a voluptuous embrace and the happiness of surrender, and he gave her his knowledge in return. He raised Theodora. That was the wish of the Patriarch of Alexandria. He had chosen this woman for special service. She was supposed to work as an agent for him in Constantinople. That was the plan. Even he would not have imagined in his wildest dreams that this plan would work a little later so that Justinian married her. In my opinion Theodora went to Constantinople with this hermit. He stood behind her and prompted her how to re-enter the company. She must have caused a sensation with her story, there is no other explanation for the fact that Justinian, who at that time held the very highest political offices, came to her. She must have told very believably the exciting story of her religious conversion, how God revealed himself to her, the depraved creature. Suddenly this woman was a moral authority. And then, when they were alone, Theodora must have made it convincingly clear to Justinian that a relationship with her could be of great use to him in many ways. On one occasion, in the difficult conflict with the Syrians and Egyptians, she was extremely good at it


It could be helpful because she had access to important Monophysite circles and could see to it that the political and religious problems, if only tackled skilfully, did not escalate. The most important thing for Justinian was not to endanger the unity of the empire. And the clashes with the Monophysites and their striving for independence were a constant danger. Justinian must have understood spontaneously that this woman was politically more valuable to him than any other woman from a respected family. And Theodora will also have made it clear to him what it means politically for him if he makes his wife a former, well-known whore, whom God has had mercy on, whom God has chosen for great deeds. Then he would have the people from whom she originated on his side, precisely by adeleing such a depraved woman, he would adore himself once more, because out of his perfection of power he would raise a girl from the people to himself. Out of love. He is the true lover who doesn’t care about the status and power and wealth of his wife. What an impression that will make on the crowd. For this they will love and adore him. And Theodora must have made it clear to him that such a marriage would make him enemies with the respected families from whose ranks he should have chosen his wife. But what did that count against the love of the people, which was so important to Justinian because he had no soldiers behind him to force the people on his side in the impending battle for the throne. For Justinian, the benevolence of the people had to be more important than the goodwill of the nobles, who had their own interests, whose promises could not be relied on, and who were constantly threatening treason. All of these arguments must have made a lot of sense to Justinian. In addition, he will have already fallen in love with Theodora. She was attractive and clever, and she knew how to grant men's secret desires. He will have found relaxation and enjoyment in her arms. But the sensual pleasure that she will have given him will not have been the reason that he made her his wife. He will have fallen in love even more than with her with the idea that she suggested to him, how she could be useful and helpful in actually conquering the throne he so much desired. In this respect, this marriage was also the


It is the result of prudent and sensible reasoning under special circumstances, and by no means the result of the crazy whim of a fool in love. All these considerations must also have convinced the old Emperor Justin, because otherwise he would certainly not have changed the law according to which a nobleman may not marry an actress. The people must first be very astonished by Justinian's choice to marry the former prostitute Theodora, and then extraordinarily have been thrilled. This man was not a mistake to love a woman from the lowest strata of the people and make her his wife. Justinian was elected emperor after Justin's death. Nobody dared to defy it any more. Theodora became Empress at his side. And she immediately got involved in politics with great determination. That Justinian later actually fell in love with Theodora may be, especially since she always stood by and helped him in dangerous situations in which he wanted to give up and resignedly. She later repeatedly saved the imperial crown for him - especially during the great Nika uprising, when all of his advisors had no more hope and Justinian was already ready to flee by ship. Half the city was on fire and the insurgents were already approaching the palace. The palace guards were no longer ready to fight for the emperor. Theodora then gave a speech that was passed down by Prokop, who may have been present at this conversation himself. (Interestingly enough, all historians here believe Prokop again completely, whom they assume, when he reports about Theodora otherwise, that he is only slandering her) How often in revolts was the cause slight. There had been major bloody clashes between the blues and the greens in the hippodrome. Some ringleaders were sentenced to death by the city prefect Eudaimon, two of them, a green and a blue, escaped death because the gallows collapsed. The two managed to escape and take refuge in a church that had the right to asylum. Eudaimon had the church surrounded by soldiers. The blue and the green


who were enemies suddenly agreed. They asked for the two refugees to be pardoned. Eudaimon refused. Then the crowd stormed into the city, burned down the Eudaimons villa, burned down the Haggia Sophia and then demanded, brave because no one stood in their way, the removal of the corrupt Joannes of Cappadonia and the removal of the chief judge Tribonianus. Of course, your wishes were not met. There was a tremendous commotion. The houses of these two disliked, corrupt officials were burned down. The uprising continued to spread. An appearance by the emperor in the hippodrome had no effect. A counter-emperor was proclaimed: Hypatios, the nephew of the penultimate emperor Anastasios. The revolting crowd approached the imperial palace. The palace guards were no longer ready to fight for their emperor. In this situation, Justinian wanted to give up and flee. But then Theodora opposed him: "If you are in extreme danger, she said, there is only one thing for you, namely to survive the danger in the best possible way." She spoke out vehemently against fleeing, called in particular the flight of an emperor dishonorable, said that she had no objection if the emperor wanted to flee, in any case she would stay. "As for me - she said - I stick to the old wisdom: the purple is a beautiful shroud." Theodora was determined not to reveal the power that had fallen to her. Should the emperor do what he wanted, she would stay. Then she would rule alone. She wasn't afraid. Her courageous speech changed the mind of the emperor. Belisarius was present. And General Mundus, the commander of the Balkan troops, happened to be in the city too. After Theodora's speech with their soldiers, Belisarius and Mundus stormed the hippodrome. The attack came as a surprise. Nobody had expected Justinian to defend himself anymore. Over 30,000 people were killed in a short period of time. Order was restored. Justinian wanted to pardon Hypatios, whom the rebels had proclaimed the new emperor against his will, but Theodora insisted that the man be executed. And so it was. Theodora had got her way. And her influence and hers


Powers were greater than ever. From then on there was no longer a political decision that was made without her consent. Later, when the plague came to Constantinople and the emperor also fell ill, no one had any doubts that if the emperor died and she survived the plague, Theodora would continue to rule alone. No one would have challenged her for this claim, for everyone knew how great her influence was on the politics of the country. The ingenious intrigue that made Theodora empress was certainly not devised by her alone. But she carried out everything that was certainly planned in Alexandria, intelligently and decisively. The hermit stood behind her. And behind her, above all, stood the Patriarch of Alexandria. Through them Justinian received guarantees from the Monophysites, which were so important to him because without their agreement he would not have been able to maintain order in the empire. He needed their consensus without taking their side openly because otherwise it would have spoiled the powerful Orthodox. Already here the division of labor between Theodora and Justinian began, to which they successfully clung to throughout their lives. Theodora tended towards the Monophysites, the emperor towards the Orthodox. So both factions had their powerful advocates.And so did Justinian and Theodora on other questions of politics. And so they integrated the respective opposition, which kept quiet because the unanimous representative of their affairs was at court. Theodora repeatedly advocated the concerns of the Monophysites. It even went so far as to appoint an unpopular Pope. Theodora would stop at nothing. She asserted her interests rigorously, often with brutal force. She introduced a court ceremony that required absolute subordination. No one, regardless of their rank, was allowed to speak to the Empress without being asked. She was the dominatrix. The absolute ruler. She did not tolerate any contradiction. The little prostitute out


the hippodrome, which, to the amusement of the horny men, had geese pecked grains from her lap, who offered her body for sale to anyone who paid, was the absolute ruler of the empire. She determined the guidelines of politics because she was far superior to her husband in terms of intelligence and determination. Her worry was not to let him know. So she also made sure that he had enough successes to be proud of. And it gave him loves that made him happy. Only once, we want to tell this story, was there a woman who was lovable and sensual and intelligent. It satisfied the emperor's lust and flattered his vanity. She incited him not to allow himself to be incapacitated and humiliated by his wife any longer. And the emperor listened attentively. Theodora recognized the danger in time. She had the woman killed, just as she had anyone who stood in her way killed. For them she built the first women's shelters, in which the poor were housed and educated. Theodora wanted women to be able to survive independently without having to be mistreated for it. She was an enlightened monarch. Behind her stood secretly the man she really loved, her counselor and her lover, the hermit, who had taught her everything. And he loved her, for there was no woman more fascinating and brilliant and also more frightening at the same time than Theodora, a sensual woman, a clever woman, an immoderate woman who contained so many contradictions that she overwhelmed the imagination of most of her biographers. The story of Theodoras is the success story of a woman from the lower class, the story of a successful emancipation. And the exciting thing about it is that Theodora, despite all the hardship and work, remained a woman with a great erotic charisma, whose spell we cannot escape to this day. Constantinople was the capital of the world in Theodora's time. The impulses that emanated from here, this mixture of Greek philosophy, Christian orthodoxy and oriental fantasy, have had a decisive influence on Europe for many centuries. We are approaching


today of this epoch with great curiosity, because we are slowly realizing that the foundations of our modern civilization were laid back then. An exceptionally self-confident woman was largely responsible for this. She has always tried to combine the sensible for her kingdom with the pleasurable for herself. She made no compromises. That frightened and intimidated many, because to this day it is not a matter of course that a woman who is successful in her job is also a woman who fulfills her erotic and sexual desires and fantasies. In the dramatic retelling of her exciting life, we are still fascinated by her strength, her rigidity, her intelligence and her special sensual charm. We see Theodora as an obscene dancer in the hippodrome, we experience her rapid rise as a prostitute, we go with her on the flight to Alexandria, meet the patriarch there with her, who sends her to Antioch to study with the dancer and agent Makedonia. Macedonia realizes that further training is worthwhile and sends Theodora to a hermit in the loneliness of the desert. She teaches that love. And he educates her and teaches her what she needs to know for her great task ahead. Then we return to Constantinople with her and the hermit and experience the clever intrigue of Justinian's seduction. Theodora becomes Justinian's wife. Then she becomes empress. She is determined to get involved in politics. She gets rid of all adversaries. The hermit remains her secret lover and advisor. Justinian she is a faithful and reliable wife and a shrewd advisor on all political issues. She saves Justinian the threatened throne. It is becoming more powerful and influential, but also more excessive and selfish than ever. The plague comes to Constantinople. The emperor becomes seriously ill and people fear for his life. Now she has sole responsibility in the kingdom. It suppresses any resistance. The emperor gets well again. She has a rival who took care of the emperor and who is highly favored, murdered. Behind her are the hermit and the Patriarch of Alexandria, both of whom she has long since surpassed in terms of political cleverness, but she sticks to the


common political cause because it needs the support of its allies. A serious conflict ensues with her lover and counselor, the hermit, who rebukes her and contradicts her. She cannot tolerate that. She has the man killed with a heavy heart because she feels threatened by him. She suffers immensely from his death. Now she is lonelier and more indulgent than ever. She can't take it physically. She becomes ill and dies of cancer. Her short life was very intense, very extreme, intoxicating, enjoyable, and excessive, but also strictly disciplined and full of responsibility for the interests of the empire in whose gutter she was born, of whose empress she died. * * *