chapter  5
14 Pages

Theodora, restorer of orthodoxy (830-67+)

Despite Irene's success in restoring the icons, iconoclasm resurfaced as imperial policy between 815 and 842, and was finally terminated by another empress-regent, Theodora wife ofTheophilos, in 843. Theodora had much in common with Irene: both were iconophiles married to iconoclasts, with whom they were reputed to have been in conflict over the issue of personal icon worship; both convened important church councils; both empresses relied on eunuchs to help them rule; both were left as regents for young sons, each of whom turned out to be immature and in want of guidance, even after reaching maturity, as well as being susceptible to the charms of young women; and in both cases their sons resented this influence of their mothers and attempted to depose them from power. And both empresses could be single-minded and ruthless in their pursuit of power: while there is no suggestion that Theodora wished to emulate Irene and depose her son or was doing anything other than maintaining the government for him until he was ready to rule, she was however privy to a plot to assassinate her brother Bardas, after he had removed her from power.