The Secret History Was Written By Procopius, And Emperor Of The Byzantine Empire From 527

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Theodora was the Empress of the Byzantine Empire from 527, when she was crowned, until her death in 548. Procopius was the appointed historian to record what was happening in the Empire, but mostly to focus on Theodora and Justinian. The Secret History was written by Procopius, but not published in the West until about a millennium after it was written. As it was ‘a venomous pamphlet of dubious merit’, The Secret History is hardly a reliable historical source. It criticises Justinian and Theodora for all of their actions as Emperor and Empress, as well as create a story, possibly based on nothing, about the origins of Theodora. While Procopius is considered a significant historian for the sixth century, it is notable that his treatment of Theodora is biased in an unfavourable way. Procopius adopts a perceptibly hostile attitude toward Theodora. Much of this bias against Theodora can be explained by Procopius’ view of women in power and gender roles.
As a woman in Roman society, Theodora would have been married and her life controlled by her husband. As a woman in the imperial court, Theodora’s power and influence over the general public would have been restricted. Even with the limited public influence, there were ways for women to demonstrate authority. One of the most common and traditional ways that women demonstrated power in the sixth century was imperial patronage. Imperial patronage could include ‘building a home for the poor or a lavish church, having a cross

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