Empress Irene was the wife of Leo IV and, on her husband's death, she reigned as regent for her son Constantine VI from 780 to 790 CE. From 797 to 802 CE she ruled as emperor in her own right, the first woman to do so in Byzantine history...
A gold coin depicting Byzantine empress Irene (r. 797-802 CE). (Palazzo Massimo alle Terme, Rome)
Constantine VI, also known as Constantine "the Blinded”, was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 780 to 797 CE, although for most of his reign his mother, Irene the Athenian, ruled as regent. When Constantine did finally get a...
Women in the Byzantine Empire
Women in the Byzantine Empire (4th to 15th century CE) were, amongst the upper classes, largely expected to supervise the family home and raise children while those who had to work for a living did so in most of the industries of the period...
The Byzantine Emperor ruled as an absolute monarch in an institution which lasted from the 4th to 15th century CE. Aided by ministers, high-ranking nobility, and key church figures, the emperor (and sometimes empress) was commander-in-chief...
The government of the Byzantine Empire was headed and dominated by the emperor, but there were many other important officials who assisted in operating the finances, judiciary, military, and bureaucracy of a huge territory. Without elections...
Society in the Byzantine Empire
The society in the Byzantine Empire (4th-15th century CE) was dominated by the imperial family and the male aristocracy but there were opportunities for social advancement thanks to wars, population movements, imperial gifts of lands and...
Theodora reigned as empress of the Byzantine Empire alongside her husband, Emperor Justinian I, from 527 CE until her death in 548 CE. Rising from a humble background and overcoming the prejudices of her somewhat disreputable early career...
Built in the seventh century BCE, the ancient city of Byzantium proved to be a valuable city for both the Greeks and Romans. Because it lay on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus, the Emperor Constantine understood its strategic importance...
Nikephoros I ruled as emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 802 to 811 CE. A former finance minister who did much to improve the state economy, Nikephoros was not particularly popular with the empire's overtaxed peasants and overregulated...