chapter  7
10 Pages

Theophano (c. 955-76+)

With the later Macedonians we meet two empresses who had a great impact on government, not only through direct political involvement, but by their use of indirect, indeed underhand, means to remove their husbands from power. Theophano, wife of Romanos II, was directly involved in the assassination of her second husband Nikephoros II Phokas in 969, while her granddaughter Zoe Porphyrogenneta in 1034 helped to organise the mutder of her first husband Romanos III Argyros to allow her to marry and crown her lover. In their successful dynastic plots, these empresses interfered very directly in the succession, showing the extent to which plots could be hatched in the gynaikonitis and their own capacity for intrigue and assassination in the selection and installation of a new ruler.