In this project I am investigating how Empress Theodora become so powerful, what ways did she use? The author of The Secret History, the only source of information about Theodora, was named Procopius. He was a great historian of the Byzantine Empire, who was born in Caesarea on the coast of Palestine in 500 A.D., and died around 565 A.D. After his death, only two other books written by Procopius were found: History of the Wars and Buildings. The Secret History was originally written in Latin, published by Niccolo Alamanni in 1632, and translated into English by G.A. Williamson in 1996. Procopius has very negative things to say about Empress Theodora. He felt disdain towards her and her husband, Justinian. Even though he worked with them, he had so much hatred and could not publish The Secret History in Justinian’s life-time. He thought of Theodora as a blood-thirsty monster of depravity, insatiable lust, cruelty, shrewish, etc. he also likes to refer Justinian as a demon capable of any evil deeds.
Around the time 500 A.D., before and after, women have no rights. Whether they were upper-class, middle-class, or lower-class, barely made a difference. So not only did Empress Theodora try to overthrow the empire; but she also became so powerful and strong, people fell at her feet. Procopius may despise her for her cruel and clever ways, but he is judging a woman who proved everybody wrong. She started as nothing and became something more. Moreover, there have been other powerful people who have been so cruel and terrible to their people; that Theodora does not even compare. I think Procopius is just being biased; he could be intimidated or jealous. And jealousy always gets the best of people. I chose this topic for two reasons: one, because I wanted a challenge. In The Secret History Procopius has nothing nice to say about Theodora and to answer my research question I have to read carefully; while asking myself: is Procopius just saying these things because he has...
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