Powerful Women in Byzantine Empire: The Life and Ideology the Empress Theophano (941 – after 978)

Eirini Artemi

Hellenic Open University , Greece


In this paper we present the life and the character of Theophano, the mother of Basil II Porphyrogenitus, the Macedonian. Some women made spectacular progress up the social ladder by marrying into higher-class families, even sometimes into the imperial family itself and to become empresses as Theophano did. So, social advancement could be achieved through marriage. The power and privileges of an imperial spouse were directly dependent on the emperor. Did it have a catalytic role in the life of Theophano? Through her life we will examine woman’s position in Byzantine Empire. It will be searched if there was any discrimination among women according to their classes and if the byzantine society faced with the same way a vicious life of an imperial woman and of a poor one. Which was the position of the Christian Church for woman? Had Church Fathers forgiven rich and powerful women and had they condemned poor women from lower social class? All these questions are going to be answered through the life and the actions of Theophano, a woman who managed from being the daughter of a poor tavern-keeper, to become the Empress and one of the most powerful and vicious women in the Byzantine history.


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Artemi, E. (2022). Powerful Women in Byzantine Empire: The Life and Ideology the Empress Theophano (941 – after 978). Vox Patrum, 84, 123–140. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.14454

Eirini Artemi  eartemi@theol.uoa.gr
Hellenic Open University

Professor Eirini Artemi has bachelors on Theology and Classical Philology. Her master and doctorate are on Patristic Theology, History of Dogma, Patrologia. Her post-doctorate is on ancient Greek and Byzantine Philosophy. She teaches theology on the postgraduate level in Hellenic Open University. She teaches the koine biblical Greek language in the Israel Institute of Biblical Languages of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Also, She teaches Patrology and Patristic Theology in the Theological School of the Orthodox University of Congo - Kinshasa. She has published many books and articles.



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