Theodora (11th century)

Theodora (11th century)

Theodora (Greek: Θεοδώρα, "Theodōra", literally meaning "Gift of God") (984 – after August 31, 1056) ruled as Byzantine Empress from January 11, 1055 to after August 31, 1056. She was the daughter of Constantine VIII and Helena, daughter of Alypius.

Possessed of a strong and austere character, Theodora refused the hand of the heir-presumptive, Romanos Argyros, who was married instead to her sister Zoe in 1028. Though living in retirement she excited Zoe's jealousy, and on a pretext of conspiracy with Presian of Bulgaria, she was confined in a monastery.

In April 19, 1042 the popular movement which caused the dethronement of Michael V also led to Theodora's installment as co-empress with her sister. After two months of active participation in government she allowed herself to be virtually superseded by Zoe's new husband, Constantine IX Monomachos, on June 11, 1042. Nevertheless, Theodora was considered as an empress alongside her sister and brother-in-law.

Upon Constantine's death on January 11, 1055, and in spite of her seventy years of age, she reasserted her dormant rights with vigour, and frustrated an attempt to supersede her on behalf of the general Nikephoros Proteuon, governor of Bulgaria. By her firm administration she controlled the unruly nobles and checked numerous abuses; but she marred her reputation by excessive severity towards private enemies and the undue employment of menials for advisers, including her influential minister Leo Paraspondylos. Leo's faction was interested in maintaining its control of government through the aging empress, while the patriarch Michael Keroularios advocated Theodora advancing a subject to the throne through marriage, something which would have assured the succession.

Theodora became gravely ill on August 31, 1056 and died a few days later, in early September. Having no children and being the last member of her dynasty, she had chosen one of her favorites, the former military minister Michael VI Bringas, as her successor on the recommendation of Leo. But Michael VI, not being related to the great Macedonian dynasty that had ruled the Byzantine Empire for a period of 189 years did not receive universal support. This resulted in a series of conflicts for the throne between various noble families that lasted from 1056 till 1081.


* "The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium", Oxford University Press, 1991.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • 11th century — As a means of recording the passage of time, the 11th century is the period from 1001 to 1100 in accordance with the Julian calendar in the Christian/Common Era. In the history of European culture, this period is considered the early part of the… …   Wikipedia

  • Theodora — can refer to any of the following:* Flavia Maximiana Theodora, daughter of the Roman Emperor Maximian and second wife of the Emperor Constantius I Chlorus. * Theodora (6th century), Empress of the late Roman Empire and wife of Justinian I,… …   Wikipedia

  • Théodora Porphyrogénète — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Théodora. Théodora Impératrice byzantine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Chronological list of saints in the 4th century — A list of 4th century saints: Name Birth Birthplace Death Place of death Notes Gatian     301   Bishop of Tours Vitalis and Agricola     301   Zoilus and 19 Companions   …   Wikipedia

  • Chronological list of saints in the 2nd century — A list of 2nd century saints: Name Birth Birthplace Death Place of death Notes Sarbel and Barbe     101   Phocas     102   Bishop of Sinope Evaristus …   Wikipedia

  • Chronological list of saints in the 5th century — A list of 5th century saints: Name Birth Birthplace Death Place of death Notes Anastasius I     401   Bishop of Rome Alexander Akimetes     403   Epiphanius of Salamis …   Wikipedia

  • Christianity in the 6th century —   Spread of Christianity to AD 325 …   Wikipedia

  • List of Byzantine Empire-related topics — NOTOC This is a list of people, places, things, and concepts related to or originating from the Byzantine Empire. Feel free to add more, and create missing pages.AAachen Cathedral, Acacius of Constantinople, Academy, Aegean Sea, Aegyptus (Roman… …   Wikipedia

  • Феодора (византийская императрица) — В Википедии есть статьи о других людях с именем Феодора. Феодора греч. Θεοδώρα …   Википедия

  • Byzantine Empire — the Eastern Roman Empire after the fall of the Western Empire in A.D. 476. Cap.: Constantinople. * * * Empire, southeastern and southern Europe and western Asia. It began as the city of Byzantium, which had grown from an ancient Greek colony… …   Universalium

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.