When I realized that we were going to be studying the Byzantine empire this week in world civ, I was ready to be bored out of my mind. Then we came across this HBIC:
Theodora (500 - 548) was the daughter of a circus bear trainer and a dancer. She was a stripper, prostitute, actress and wife of Justinian I, one of Byzantium’s greatest emperors. When Justinian met Theodora, there was a law preventing him from marrying her because she was an actress. But he liked her so much that the current Emperor changed the law and so he could marry her anyway.
But Theodora wasn’t just Justinian’s wife. She was basically his co-ruler. She even worked against him on matters of religious conflict! Theodora also passed feminist laws that gave women in Byzantium higher status than anywhere else in Europe and the Middle East.
I don’t know a whole about her - this is only what I’ve gleaned from my text book and wikipedia - but from what I do know, Theodora kicked some serious ass!