Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety-while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry. So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church? Award-winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world's most powerful empires. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little-known figure from the dusty pages of history.
"A bravura performance: a witty, moving, sexy book that bursts with as much color and excitement as the city of Constantinople itself." (Financial Times)
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Fascinating historical fiction
Important period of history breathed into life through the lens of Theodora's life.
The author illustrated the mindsets of the day, the religious and social questions that vexed most everyone and how people in intolerable social situations made their lives.
Funny how many of the religious and social issues explored in the book remain unresolved some 2000 years later.
I was initially concerned that perhaps the sexual aspects of Theodora's life would be exploited, and was relieved by the lack of graphic detail. Nothing salacious.Super book. Read it!
The entire book poignantly showed how few options women have for autonomy in a patriarchy. Theodora's requisite service as a sex worker was treated even-handedly; I'll always remember the scene where she matter of factly paid her way from the hinterlands to Egypt by servicing two young shepherds who let her ride in their cart.I related to the description of how she disassociated her spirit and body throughout, and how she brought the two together through her time in the desert as penitent.
Davina was one of my attractions to this book; she is a masterful narrator.
Sophia the actress/whore/pimp. She was a dwarf and a woman who found a way to make her life in spite of her social and physical constraints. I'd want to understand what went through her mind and how she coped.