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Emperor Justinian I during the Nika Riots, in which Empress Theodora persuades him to fight instead of flee. Art by Andre Durenceau, National Geographic Magazine Vol. 122, no. 6, Dec. 1962.


Empress Theodora ... she charmed Prince Justinian with her beauty and wit, & when he inherited the Byzantine Empire, he repelled the law that prevented government officials from marrying actresses & married her. In January 532, riots (the Nika Riots) broke out against the rule of Justinian. When he & his officials prepared to flee the empire, Theodora held a passioned speech that convinced them all to stay and fight.


The Nika riots (Greek: Στάσις τοῦ Νίκα), or Nika revolt, took place over the course of a week in Constantinople in AD 532. It was the most violent riot in the history of Constantinople, with nearly half the city being burned or destroyed & tens of thousands of people killed. It remains today one of the world's deadliest ever riots


Queen Theodora – (497-548 AD) – the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, emperor of the Roman Empire. She was declared a saint by the Orthodox Christian Church and is believed to be the most powerful and influential woman in the history of the Roman Empire.


War on the Terraces: The Nika Riots. First the stewards and then the riot squad had been unable to deal with the supporters when trouble flared on the stands, and eventually, after they had occupied the entire stadium in their tens of thousands, the decision was made to send in troops and declare martial law. Order was to be restored, and anyone still disobeying the command to vacate did so at their own risk.