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by Archaeology Newsroom

Theodora, an empress

The Byzantine emperor Justinian and his wife, the empress Theodora, each with his own retinue, are represented in the mosaics of the church of St. Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. The imperial status of Justinian and Theodora, the most impressive figures among all the others, is easily distinguished by the luxurious purple dresses they wear and the halos around their heads. They stand facing each other absolutely equal in value, quality and power before Christ and independent from the rest. They share sovereignty and preserve the vision of Christian monarchy. They collaborated so perfectly in the government of the empire that they are still today considered to be a unique couple in all of history sealing with their strong personality every achievement in the sixth century AD.

The significant element and quality in this relationship is the supreme authority granted to Theodora, also showing in her financial independence, which enabled her to act according to her personal high abilities and wise wishes.