Justinian

And for this, for this, behold!
Infirm and blind and old,
     With gray, uncovered head,
Beneath the very arch
Of my triumphal march,         
     I stand and beg my bread!

Methinks I still can hear,
Sounding distinct and near,
     The Vandal monarch’s cry,
As, captive and disgraced,         
With majestic step he paced,—
      ‘All, all is Vanity!’

Ah! vainest of all things
Is the gratitude of kings;
     The plaudits of the crowd         
Are but the clatter of feet
At midnight in the street,
     Hollow and restless and loud.

But the bitterest disgrace
Is to see forever the face         
     Of the Monk of Ephesus!
The unconquerable will
This, too, can bear;—I still
     Am Belisarius!
—  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Belisarius,” lines 31-54
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January 13th 532: Nika riots begin

On this day in 532 AD one of the deadliest riots in history, the Nika riots, began in Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium (the Eastern Roman Empire). The chaos emerged from long-standing sporting rivalries between opposing chariot racing teams - the Blues and the Greens - each of whom attracted fanatical support that often spilled over into violence. The divisions may have gone further than sport, as it has often been suggested that the Blues and the Greens essentially represented opposing political parties in the Byzantine Empire. The riots occurred during the reign of the unpopular Emperor Justinian, whose military endeavors were having a heavy burden on increasingly disgruntled taxpayers. Justinian’s wife, the Empress Theodora, was a controversial figure because of her humble working class origins and her political influence over her husband. The tensions came to a head when Justinian sent in troops to quell fighting between Greens and Blues, and condemned the ringleaders to death, thus ending his support for the Blues. When both a Green and a Blue escaped their execution, the factions were united in the cause to have the men pardoned. On January 13th, during a race at Constantinople’s Hippodrome stadium, both factions vented their anger at the emperor with chants of “Nika!” (‘Conquer/Win’). Five days of rioting ensued, which saw the mob burn down large portions of the imperial capital and call for the emperor to be deposed. Justinian wanted to flee the city, but Theodora rebuked him for his cowardice, and he therefore stayed and approved a plan to isolate the rioting factions in the Hippodrome. The imperial forces descended on the stadium, killing 30,000 of the rioters, which was around 10% of the city’s population at the time. With the violence of the Nika riots in the past, change came to Byzantium in the form of a decline in both the power of the factions and the prominence of chariot-racing.

“Those who have worn the crown should never survive its loss. Never will I see the day when I am not saluted as empress”
- Theodora dissuading Justinian from fleeing the city

Byzantium:the lost empire —> Justinian & Theodora

Justinian was born Flavius Peterus Sabbatius, the son of a farmer whose childless uncle was on his way to becoming Emperor Justin I. Justinian was called to the capital in his teens and given the best education possible. He became a member of Justin’s inner circle, took a variation of his name, and became Justin’s most influential adviser.

Justinian was meticulous, patient, and by nature solitary. He could also persevere, sustaining long-range plans in spite of serious reverses—though he became unnerved when in danger. He needed so little rest, he was known by his subjects as “the emperor who never sleeps.”

When Justinian was crowned in 527, he named as co-regent his young wife Theodora. She was 15 years his junior and his opposite in nearly every way. She was social, witty, supremely self-confident, and never lost her head in a crisis. He adored her, and she was his most important adviser.

She had come to the crown from the gutter. Her parents were performers, the lowest strata of free society. Her father died when she was a child, and she took to the stage to earn a living. Most actresses were also prostitutes, and whispers to that affect followed her all her life.

When she became a Christian, she gave up her former life for spinning wool. In 522, she met Justinian, who was so enamored with her, he changed the law so that actresses could marry into high society. The following year, he married her.

anonymous asked:

Sorry but who is theodora and why did she fuck a bear??

YOU ARE IN FOR THE HISTORICAL RIDE OF YOUR LIFE MY FRIEND. 

So Theodora is arguably the most badass Empress of the Byzantine Empire from about 527 to 565. She rules that motherfucker so well and her husband Justinian was like meh at it. 

  • Anyway so nobody really knows how they met but around 20/21 a girl from the slums met the Emperor Justinian and they fell madly in love. Even Procopius who hated them (who we will get back to later) was like “these two are crazy meant for each other”
  • So after some law changes and some fuss. They Married. 
  • Now it wasn’t super stable at the time and there was religious conflict and there was a big riot that happened in 532 called the Nika Riots and this is like time for Justinian to prove himself but he doesn’t so Theodora takes a loud sigh and does it for him.
  • So the city is on fire and Justinians halfway out the door crying because nobody likes him and Theodora makes everyone stay in the city and then she came up with a military plan which squashed the rebels which is only like 30,000 people being killed which was 10% of the city but it’s okay because it’s over. THIS BITCH HAD NO REGRETS.  
  • So she’s proven herself this time a great Military tactician and since Justinian keeps sending people off to war she has to do it over and over and over again. 
  • She also was getting annoyed at people treating women like shit and she passed laws. Lots of laws about women. Laws on forced prostitution, rape, womens rights over their children, status and laws that allowed women to inherit not only property but money too. 
  • She then helped build the Hagia Sophia which to this day is one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture in the world. AND GUESS WHAT ITS DEDICATED TO WOMEN. 
  • She also went against her husband in terms of religious beliefs and sheltered Monophysites from orthodox christians even though Justinian was an Orthodox Christian. OHH DRAMA 
  • She married Justinains family and her family together…which i guess is a little weird BUT IT WAS SUCH A CLEVER MOVE SO THEY ALL WENT FROM SLUMS TO GOLD CROWNS. Thanks Aunt Theodora. 
  • She then went on to die pretty young which sad face. because she died and shit just fell apart. Justinian lived for 20 years after her and NEVER remarried and apparently just wept every time she was mentioned(talk about historical OTP) 

Now the part you’re really here for.  Theodora fucked a bear. 

  • Like i said before Theodora came from slums. Like literal slums. Her father and step father were both bear handlers/animal handlers and she worked on stage with them both. Her mother was an actress and idk if you know or not but that usually means prostitute. 
  • So anyway by at latest age 16 if not sooner across the entire city Theodora is known for being a really great “actress” and throwing amazing parties where…well giant orgy is the best description. She also dances with like a single ribbon on and i always wonder where that ribbon was placed like girl please just let in be in you hair. 
  • So she danced and she also slept with people. A LOT OF PEOPLE. Like….she had magical thighs. So ya know she’s doing that then BAM married the emperor.  
  • Disclaimer for the next part; The main source of this information is Procopius and he’s just likes spreading bullshit and im 75% sure i remember him having a go on Theodora’s magic thighs but whatever. 
  • So anyway the rumour started because apparently she was in a play where there…well there was some bear fucking going on or something similar(weird Byzantine humour???) and that eventually got spread into a massive rumour that she fucked a bear. 

So yeah…that’s how history will destroy a brilliant leader and forward thinker if they’re a women. Turn them into a bear fucking slut who clawed her way up in society and people only listened to her because she had magical thighs not because she has decent ideas or anything. 

A mosaic of the Byzantine empress Theodora wearing an elaborate crown and pieces of jewelry. Her halo, averted gaze, and unusually large eyes are all motifs in Early Byzantine imperial portraiture that are meant to symbolize her rule by divine authority. 

Pieced together out of tesserae (glass crystal, rock, gold, etc).

Made in 546 in the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy.

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Hagia Sophia facts:

1) The church was built between 532AD and 537AD and was the largest cathedral in Christendom until 1520, nearly 1000 years. The legend goes that when Justinian entered the temple proclaimed, “Solomon, I have outdone thee!” (Νενίκηκά σε Σολομών).

2)According to an early Slavic chronicle, Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev adopted Byzantine Orthodoxy after his envoys visited Constantinople and were present to a Liturgy in Hagia Sophia. They convinced him that: ” God dwells there among the people and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations”.

3) In the mosaic depicting empress Zoe and Constantine IX Monomachos, the face in the mosaic depicting the emperor changed 3 times in order to depict the 3 husbands of the empress.

4) Enrico Dandolo, Doge of Venice and one of the leaders of the 4th crusade was buried inside the church of Hagia Sophia after the church became Roman Catholic following the conquest of 1204. The Byzantines when recaptured the CIty, unburied him and threw his body to Bosporus. Today we can find his cenotaph which was placed later on the 19th century.

5) Many Ottoman mosques and the ottoman architecture in general was heavily influenced by the architecture of Hagia Sophia. Clear examples are the Blue mosque opposite Hagia Sophia, the Süleymaniye Mosque and the Kılıç Ali Paşa Mosque.