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.

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.

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.

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.

The Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodora after the Nika riot (18 January 532 AD)

The Emperor Justinian and the Empress Theodora after the Nika riot (18 January 532 AD)

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.

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.

Byzantium 1 (Original) art by Roger Payne at The Illustration Art Gallery

Byzantium 1 (Original) art by Roger Payne at The Illustration Art Gallery

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.

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.

When the Nika riots broke out in the hippodrome of Constantinople in January 532, Theodora saved her husband Justinian's throne...

When the Nika riots broke out in the hippodrome of Constantinople in January 532, Theodora saved her husband Justinian's throne...

The Emperor Justinian, who expanded the boundaries of Byzantine Empire to a double amount, had Hagia Sophia built and reigned for 38 years, could have lost his throne because of the riots on the fifth year of his reign. If the riots had been successful in its aim, Hagia Sophia would not have ever existed.

The Emperor Justinian, who expanded the boundaries of Byzantine Empire to a double amount, had Hagia Sophia built and reigned for 38 years, could have lost his throne because of the riots on the fifth year of his reign. If the riots had been successful in its aim, Hagia Sophia would not have ever existed.

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