Skip to main content

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint (Women in Antiquity) by David Potter: A Book Review

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint (Women in Antiquity)
Author: David Potter
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography, History
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: November 4, 2015
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Two of the most famous mosaics from the ancient world, in the church of San Vitale in Ravenna, depict the sixth-century emperor Justinian and, on the wall facing him, his wife, Theodora (497-548). This majestic portrait gives no inkling of Theodora's very humble beginnings or her improbable rise to fame and power. Raised in a family of circus performers near Constantinople's Hippodrome, she abandoned a successful acting career in her late teens to follow a lover whom she was legally forbidden to marry. When he left her, she was a single mother who built a new life for herself as a secret agent, in which role she met the heir to the throne. To the shock of the ruling elite, the two were married, and when Justinian assumed power in 527, they ruled the Eastern Roman Empire together. 

     Their reign was the most celebrated in Byzantine history, bringing wealth, prestige, and even Rome itself back to the Empire. Theodora was one of the dominant political figures of her era, helping shape imperial foreign and domestic policy and twice saving her husband from threatened deposition. She played a central role trying to solve the religious disputes of her era and proactively assisted women who were being trafficked. An extraordinarily able politician, she excited admiration and hatred from those around her. Enemies wrote extensively and imaginatively about her presumed early career as a prostitute, while supporters elevated her, quite literally, to sainthood.

     Theodora's is a tale of a woman of exceptional talent who overcame immense obstacles to achieve incredible power, which she exercised without ever forgetting where she had come from. In Theodora: Actress, Empress, Saint, David Potter penetrates the highly biased accounts of her found in the writings of her contemporaries and takes advantage of the latest research on early Byzantium to craft a modern, well-rounded, and engaging narrative of Theodora's life. This fascinating portrait will intrigue all readers with an interest in ancient and women's history.

     My Review: Empress Theodora was one of the most powerful women in the Byzantine Empire. However, history has not been favourable to her because she has garnered much negative criticism because of Procopius, a writer writing works about his times. Procopius is the only primary source about Theodora. In this biography of Theodora, the biographer sheds some light on his subject focusing on her positive aspects. While she does have some faults, Empress Theodora did have some accomplishments.

     Empress Theodora is a remarkable woman. Unlike many royalty in her day, she actually had to work herself up the ropes to become Empress. She was the daughter of a bear trainer and she became an actress. However, it was because she was of lowly birth that she was able to emphasize with the lower social class. She made many friends who were of her social status, and when she became empress she helped them. She also helped many women in the lower social class.

     Theodora was loyal to all those around her. It was her loyalty to her husband Justinian that they worked together to rule their empire. While both of them had completely different personalities and disagreed on different issues, they still had deep respect for one another. While their relationship was not based on romantic love, they still loved each other intellectually as equals. Together they helped make decisions in their empire and would often listen to each other’s viewpoints on issues.

     Overall, this was a very compelling biography about Empress Theodora. It is clear that the biographer admires his subject because he chooses to highlight her accomplishments. In a man’s world, Theodora was tough and hardworking. She, not Justinian, who wanted to run away, saved her throne. I also thought that the author does a good job in portraying the politics and the social aspects of the time. This biography is very engaging and comprehensive, and I liked how the author shows us how Theodora is portrayed in popular culture. This is a good portrait to those who want to see Empress Theodora in a positive light. This biography is an excellent tribute to a powerful empress who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most powerful women of her age.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Comments

  1. As was the case in many of} industries, casinos reevaluated every little thing about their companies during the Covid shutdowns. A month before the pandemic, in February 2020, there have been 139,753 machines. And in February 2022, the state’s casinos seemed to find out|to search out} its magic number using the Goldilocks principle—and, for now, 122,247 slot machines is just right. As a result, 먹튀사이트 먹튀프렌즈 Megaways slots are very fashionable, resulting in other multi-reel, high-risk slots gaining popularity. Before releasing the slot recreation to the market, you have to guarantee it works works} as expected. Your slot recreation builders proceed the development course of by testing and eradicating points, bugs and glitches.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem by Dave Tamanini: A Book Review

Tituba: The Intentional Witch of Salem Author: Dave Tamanini Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy Publisher: David F Tamanini Release Date: 2020 Pages: 317 Source: Publisher/Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: If you love historical fiction... come revisit Salem's terror in this provocative new telling of enslaved Tituba, no longer a caricature, but a fully human woman with magical powers.      Come! Let Tituba cast its spell with a unique and tantalizing tale that explores the wild emotions driving accusations of witchcraft in 1692.      A Promise and a Hope      Enslaved Tituba has been faithful to a promise to her dying mama in Africa. She has appeased the masters from Barbados to Boston to Salem and waited for her magic.      A Mother’s Agony      When Tituba’s only son dies trying to escape slavery, her life changes forever. After enduring the crush only a mother can feel, she rages and turns to vengeance.      Witches Tear into Salem      The villagers see wi

Blog Tour: Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles by Will Bashor

Marie Antoinette’s World: Intrigue, Infidelity, And Adultery In Versailles [history/biographical nonfiction] Release date: June 15, 2020 Postponed due to Covid-19: July 30, 2020 at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers Hardcover and ebook, 320 pages Author’s page | Goodreads SYNOPSIS Synopsis: This riveting book explores the little-known intimate life of Marie Antoinette and her milieu in a world filled with intrigue, infidelity, adultery, and sexually transmitted diseases. Will Bashor reveals the intrigue and debauchery of the Bourbon kings from Louis XIII to Louis XV, which were closely intertwined with the expansion of Versailles from a simple hunting lodge to a luxurious and intricately ordered palace. It soon became a retreat for scandalous conspiracies and rendezvous—all hidden from the public eye.       When Marie Antoinette arrived, she was quickly drawn into a true viper’s nest, encouraged by her imprudent entourage. Bashor shows that her often thoughtless, fantas