Back in the glimmering city, the Emperor Justin ruled over the empire. Justin’s nephew, Justinian, lived in the royal palace of his uncle. Justinian functioned as his uncle’s most trusted political advisor. Most people saw Justinian as the next Emperor.
There is no record of how Theodora met Justinian, or of how she seduced him. Whatever the means, she soon moved into the palace as a Patrician, living openly with Justinian. Her promotion to the rank of Patrician came courtesy of Justinian. The new ‘royal’ couple attended many religious ceremonies, as the appearance of purity, piety and probity was important to Justinian’s political future. Because although he expected to be Emperor one day, still, even Emperors have to play by certain rules. One of those rules in the Roman Empire was looking like a good, clean Christian.
Besides which Theodora’s reputation had never been higher than now, at least in the eyes of respectable society. So it didn’t hurt that her scintillating beauty found a spontaneous and proper showcase in churches and basilicas, a new stage for the exhibition of a new human goddess. And Theodora felt at home in the limelight. Wealth and property embraced her, and she them. Everywhere she went her entourage went with her. Friends, advisors, designers, maids, and the eunuchs, who formed her bodyguard. As Theodora moved through the city her retinue flowed before and behind her, announcing her presence and ensuring her status.