When she was 16 years old, she was taken to
The 22-year-old Theodora knew she was beautiful, smart, and funny. She also knew she was tired of such a hard life. She decided she would try to get a 40-year-old man, Justinian, to marry her. Justinian’s uncle was the Roman emperor. Justinian married Theodora in 525. In 527 he became emperor of
In January 532, a riot broke out at the racetrack. For six days fires burned all over Constantinople and thousands were killed. People attacked the palace to kill Justinian and make a new man emperor. Justinian turned to run away but Theodora told him it was better to die on his feet than to live on his knees. Justinian then told his men to fight back. They did. They ended the riot and saved his life.
With their political troubles behind them, Theodora and Justinian decided to build the largest and most beautiful church building in the world. Tradition tells us that 10,000 men worked on the project daily from 532 to 537. The result, still impressive to this day, was Hagia Sophia.
As empress, Theodora had new laws written to protect the rights of women. For centuries, they were the best laws for women found anywhere.
Theodora died of cancer on June 28, 548. Just before she died, a mosaic of her was made in a church in