Queen of the World – 4

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy zazzle.com

Things were now out of control.  Total chaos and anarchy ruled Constantinople, not Justinian or his Empress.  Beyond belief, women left their homes, flocked into the streets and urged their men to fight, to attack the royal palace.

Inside the palace, Emperor Justinian and his high-ranking officials discussed fleeing the city, which appeared to them to be their only option, if they wished to continue to live.

Again beyond belief, because women, even Empresses, did not address such Councils, Theodora rose and spoke to the gathered group of men.  She told them that flight was not only unthinkable, it was cowardly.  She urged them to send troops to the Hippodrome, where the rebels had now massed to select their own leader, to annihilate the rebels.

Shocked by her words and the fire in her eyes, the Council did as she suggested.  Troops marched on the Hippodrome, where they entered and wiped out the rebels.  30,000 to 50,000 people fell to the sword inside the Hippodrome.  In the days after the carnage, the property of all individuals who had joined the rebellion was confiscated.  Justinian used much of this wealth to reward his supporters, one of whom was Theodora.  She received the bulk of the confiscated monies and lands. 

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Queen of the World – 3

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy historycentral.com

While they waited, Theodora and Justinian connived to upset the political and economic well-being of Constantinople.  They were both members of a liberal-extremist group called the Blue Faction.  The Blue Faction was made up of young anarchists who despised everyone but other Blue Factionists, because everyone else was stupid, and unsophisticated.  Therefore the Blue Faction should be the power elite, not these other bumpkins.

Theodora and Justinian urged the Blue Faction to wreak notorious acts, acts which would unsettle the government, proving that Emperor Justin and Empress Lupicina were too old, too feeble, and incapable of continuing to rule.  Then Justinian could step-in, take over, and provide needed stability and decisiveness.

 Justinian, because of his position of power – that of Patrician and heir-apparent – would provide protection from the city magistrates for the Blue Faction’s help.  And not only protection, but also financial support and, after his goal was achieved, cash payoffs to those of great boldness.

Violence became the means that justified the end.  Urban muggings, robberies, and murders occurred all over the city.  The magistrates looked the other way, because they knew who was behind it, and who their protector was.  So they did what was politically and personally prudent – nothing.

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Queen of the World – 2

By Christopher Zoukis  Image courtesy mayfairgames.com-

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.

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Queen of the World – 1

By Christopher Zoukis Image courtesy vhinkle.com She was a very practical woman, in everything, including death.  Sixteen years before she died, she gave a speech in which she said, “It is impossible for someone who has seen the light of this world not to die.”  She was thirty-four years old.  And she spoke the words […]

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