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Byzantine Empire /

Empress Zoe of the Byzantine Empire
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From Hagia Sophia church, Istanbul, Turkey.

(Around 978-1050) Byzantine empress 1042-1050, sole ruler for 2 months in 1042.
Zoe exercised practically no political influence. Her main achievements were to provide the empire with 3 of its male rulers, two as husbands (Romanus 3 and Michael 4) and one as adopted son (Michael 5). She first married at the age of 50, which had been her father, Constantine 8's order. Still, she reportedly was an exceptionally beautiful woman. She never had any children.
Still, her position caused conflicts within the royal family. This was both with Emperor Michael 5, her adopted son, and her 3 year younger sister, Theodora. Both were quickly outmanouvered.

Around 978: 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 persuades Romanus to marry his daughter, Zoe. In order to do this Romanus has to divorce Helena, who is sent to a monastery.
November 15: Constantine dies, and Romanus becomes emperor.
1034 April 11: Romanus dies, allegedly poisoned by Zoe. Zoe marries Michael, perhaps even on the same day.
— Michael is proclaimed emperor.
1037: Conspires against her husband, but without much success.
1042: Michael and Zoe adops Michael the Caulker.
December 10: Michael dies, and is succeeded by Michael 5.
1042 April 18: Michael 5 has 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.
April 20: Theodora, Zoe's sister and now her co-ruler, declares that Michael is deposed. Michael flees to a monastery, but is blinded and castrated here.
— Zoe now was the sole ruler of the Byzantine Empire, but she stayed at the same monastery as her sister, Theodora.
June 11: Marries Constantine Monomachos, who with this became the 9th Constantine to rule the Byzantine Empire.
1050: Dies in Constantinople.

By Tore Kjeilen