Usurper or not? Theodora, Empress of the Eastern Roman Empire

My father was a bear trainer

My mother an actress and dancer

I was an actress as well

Often acting in bed too.

Justinian wanted to marry me

But the law wouldn’t let him

His father repealed the law

We married then.

Two years later he was Emperor

Eastern Roman Empire

Famous Women

I, Empress.

Partner in his deliberations

With my own court, entourage, seal.

Senators lay face down in our presence

Touching my feet’s instep with their lips

Not speaking to me

Unless I said they could.

The Nika rioters five years later

Set buildings on fire

My husband was all set to run

Not me.

Royal purple is the noblest shroud

As I have reigned

I cannot be a fugitive

My king attacked the demonstrators


He never forgot I saved his throne

We rebuilt Constantinople.

I got laws passed

Against forced prostitution

Bought prostitutes, freed them

Provided for their future.

Rapists got the death penalty

Adulterous wives

Couldn’t be killed.

Cancer took me at 48

Otherwise I would’ve done more

For our cause.

Here’s the previous poem in my Famous Women series.

Read more about Theodora here.

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