chapter  9
7 Pages

Theodora, the last Macedonian (1042-56)

Zoe's death in 1050 was not the end of the Macedonian dynasty, for Theodora remained in the palace. Theodora had long been overshadowed by her sister: she was not as beautiful, though she was cheerful and a better talker, 'curt and glib of tongue' ,1 and was less flamboyant and more placid (far more self-controlled, and almost dull, comments Psellos). 2 Her main interest appears to have been counting her money, and she was far more restrained in her generosity than Zoe, though Psellos comments that her resources were more limited. 3 Historians, like her contemporaries, have tended to ignore Theodora, but she was still a force to be reckoned with, as Constantine Monomachos found to his cost. Indeed, she was not just a satellite to Zoe, and in fact made one of the more successful rulers of the eleventh century.