Byzantine Empire /
(981?-1056) Byzantine empress, sole ruler 1055-1056, more than 1.5 years, and with her sister, Zoe, 1042-1055.
Theodora had a strong personality, but made bad choices throughout her life. He refused to marry Romanus in 1028, which would have made her empress. Instead, Zoe became empress, and she would remain the stronger of the two until her death.
Theodora still got 1.5 years of sole reign before dying. During this period, she proved to be too much on the strong side. She attempted to take control over the nobility and she was hard on abuse in the administration. But she was even harder with her own personal enemies. Parallel, several forces close to the court tried to use her as a tool of their own interest; being an older, fragile woman likely to die soon, Patriarch Michael Keroularios tried to convince her to marry him; which would have made him emperor. She refused, and dying as a woman never married she came to choose Michael Bringas as heir; this would become the last of her many poor choices.
She never married, and had no children.
Between 981 and 984: Born in Constantinople, as daughter of future Emperor Constantine 8 (Constantine was crowned emperor already, but exercised no power for half a century more).
1028 November 12: A mortally ill Constantine asks Theodora to marry Romanus, but she refuses. Zoe is married to him instead.
November 15: Constantine dies, and Romanus becomes emperor.
1042 April 18: Emperor Michael 5 has Theodora and Zoe locked inside a monastery, making himself sole ruler.
April 19: When announcing Zoe's exile, Michael is faced with a rebellion in favour of Zoe. He quickly recalls her, Theodora remains in the monastery.
April 20: Theodora, now Zoe's co-ruler, declares that Michael is deposed. Michael flees to a monastery, but is blinded and castrated here.
1055 January 11: Constantine 9 dies, and Theodora succeeds him.
Suppresses an attempt to instate Nicephorus Bryennius as emperor in her place.
1056 Early September: Dies in Constantinople after a few days disease. She uses this time select her own successor, Michael Bringas, who becomes the 6th Michael to rule the empire. This would quickly prove to be a bad choice, and fractions over the throne would continue for a quarter of a century; first Alexius 1 Comnenus would bring stability back to the empire in 1081.