Theodora

Topics: Prostitution, Constantinople, Byzantine Empire Pages: 5 (1460 words) Published: October 14, 2014
Jessica Post
Baker
History 14
Research Paper
10 October 2014
Theodora
Sex. Something that now a days controls the world we live in. It’s something that some people consider sacred and save to do until marriage but also it is something that people give away for free. In California prostitution is illegal but starting around 18th century BCE prostitution became popular. Later on in history the Roman Catholic Church even started allowing it. Theodora was a very important part of the prostitution industry, she also was a role model to women everywhere and changed history with the changes she made to the government.

In Theodora’s early life she was raised by a bear keeper and a dancer. Not a very fancy lifestyle they had at all but it lead her to greatness. Although most are unsure of her exact origin she was mostly found in the Hippodrome in Constantinople. She is one of three daughters. This was quite an inconvenience when her father passed away and no one could take over his spot as the bear keeper. Her mother pushed all her girls on stage and encouraged Theodora to become an actress. She was basically born into the industry because she was great at it. The acting industry was not exactly all money and fame like it is now a days. It was a gruesome industry to every extent and the church didn’t agree with its ways. Evans states, “Theater was considered the embodiment of immorality in the sixth century and by the end of the seventh century, the Church would succeed in banning it entirely”. Of course there is a way to get by any law. She soon started dancing in some provocative Burlesque and took her clothes off as much as the law allowed because complete nudity was illegal. Theodora went with all of this and sold her body to many men. She became very popular among many men. Reports show that she had a daughter before her marriage with Justinian and perhaps even a son. She was not ashamed of her daughter at all in any way but she didn’t claim the son which could mean he was lying and wasn’t her son at all. She disposed of the son but Theodora gave her daughter a reasonable life and even arranged her a good marriage.

Theodora soon became the mistress of Hecebolous who became a governor. He didn’t treat her how she thought she deserved to be treated so moved to Alexandria and left him. When Justinian was with Theodora they collaborated on a law that prohibited the purchase of public office. They thought this was considered corruption. Some say that she helped make this law with thoughts of Hecebolous because he most likely bought his way into office and had many corrupt practices.

In Alexandria, Theodora met her soon to be “spiritual father” Timothy III. Bishop Timothy had a very powerful Monophysite position and gave refuge to many churchmen. He became patriarch in 517. Actresses were usually denied any religious forgiveness until their deathbeds so historians are unsure how Theodora met her Bishop. Regardless she converted and she was a very sincere and devoted Monophysite until her death.

Justinian was attracted to Theodora in many ways. Some say it was lust but I believe that you aren’t just lustful over someone if you completely change your way pf life for them. They married because they were truly in love and they hoped to start a family and have children. Mar Saba was the Chalcedonian archimandrite of the lauras in the Judian desert had come to Constantinople in 531 with a petition on behalf of the Palestinians suffering. When he came Theodora asked him for his prayers because she wanted to conceive. The old monk refused because he thought it would be a great inconvenience for the empire. Theodora never ended up conceiving with Justinian and her previous daughter was her only known child.

The “Nika” revolt took away a lot of Theodora’s voice in Justinian’s ear. A riot broke out in 532 which almost completely toppled the empire. Theodora being the amazing leader that she was rose to speak when everyone...
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