PM Quote of the Day — Empress Theodora

The throne is a glorious sepulcher

Considered the most powerful woman in the history of the Roman Empire (technically the Eastern Roman Empire), Empress Theodora is perhaps the ur-feminist.  She set her own course; first an actress, then political insider, then wife of Justinian and a wielder of power in her own right.

Ambition has its uses, no doubt.  Dissatisfaction with our lot is one of the drivers of personal achievement (hey, someone blogged on that here).  And Lord knows, I didn’t mind the better title, prestige, and money that came with most promotions.

Theodora’s quote reminds me that “all that” won’t last for long.  Even reaching the pinnacle of human achievement or power won’t change the way my story eventually ends. 

Though I guess I would have a higher-end casket!

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2 Responses

  1. I hate to say it, but I disagree with your description of the meaning. When Theadora said this, it was right in the middle of a revolt in which the emperor had the option to flee the throne and live, or fight to the bitter end with the chance of dieing. Theadora spoke out with the quote above, saying she rather die a ruler then live as a coward. In the end, it was this courage which led her husband to stay his ground, and crush the rebellion. (and thus, sticking out in history more then any empress of the roman era)

    If you ask me, this line is more like a queenly battlecry for keeping what one has worked so hard to achieve, and if it comes right down to it… to die for that glory.

    Theadora was a very brave woman indeed.

  2. Hi Nizati,
    Thanks for the context… it makes more sense now.

    Best, Paul

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