Theodora: From Scandalous Empress to Powerful Ruler of Constantinople

TLDR Theodora, the infamous empress of Constantinople, rose from a scandalous background to become a powerful ruler alongside her husband, Emperor Justinian. Despite her controversial past, Theodora's influence and leadership helped shape the Byzantine Empire for nearly 1000 years.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Theodora, the most famous empress of Constantinople, was known for her scandalous behavior and was written about in a shocking and sexist manner by historian Procopius in the 6th century.
04:58 Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, was strategically located and easily defensible, making it a key city for controlling the Danube and Syrian frontiers of the Roman Empire, and its lack of water was one of the reasons why it wasn't bigger and more strategic before becoming the second Rome.
08:59 Constantine deliberately establishes Constantinople as a new capital and second Rome, with inherited patterns from Rome and a rival center of Christendom, quickly growing into the largest city in the world.
13:18 The walls built by Theodosus II in Constantinople are considered the best infrastructure investment of all time, enabling the city to withstand numerous sieges and thrive as a rich, multicultural, and cosmopolitan civilization for nearly 1000 years.
17:34 Theodora, the reigning champion of historical love island, was born around 500 and grew up in Constantinople as the daughter of a bear keeper for one of the rival chariot racing teams, the Greens and the Blues, which were more than just sports teams but also took sides in theological arguments.
21:48 Theodora and her family make a living from performing in between the chariot races at the hippodrome in Constantinople, but after her father dies and her mother remarries, they switch allegiances from the Greens to the Blues, which is significant because Justinian, who later becomes emperor, is a big supporter of the Blues, and Theodora eventually betters herself by finding a patron.
26:11 Theodora leaves her abusive husband and goes to Alexandria, which is seen as heretical by many in Constantinople due to its association with monophysitism, a controversial Christian doctrine.
30:44 Theodora goes to Alexandria and becomes a devout monophysite under the wing of the Patriarch Timothy, which adds to her appeal as a repentant figure.
35:11 Anastasius establishes a strong Byzantine currency, the solidus, which becomes the foundation of the empire's financial strength for centuries to come, and the Eastern Roman Empire is portrayed as a confident and relatively stable state dominated by militarized accountants.
39:33 Justin falls in love with Theodora, but their marriage is legally unacceptable due to her background, however, Justin's wife dies just in time for them to get married and for Justinian to become emperor, with Theodora ruling alongside him.
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