c.497 - 548
Byzantine Empress

Theodora was an actress, dancer, and prostitute who became mistress, then wife, of Justinian.

When Justinian succeeded to the throne in 527, she was crowned empress and became the most famous and powerful woman in Byzantine history.

Theodora received foreign envoys and corresponded with foreign rulers. She played a major role throughout Justinian's long reign, and probably saved his throne during the Nika riots by her intervention (532).

The important role she played is evidenced by the fact that little legislation dates from the period between her death from cancer in 548 and that of Justinian in 565.

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