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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Theodora II

Date of birth unknown; d. 867, probably Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul)

Theodora was the wife of Byzantine emperor Theophilus (ruled 829–842). When he died, in 842, Theodora became regent for her underage son, Michael III. She ruled firmly, replenished the treasury, and succeeded in reversing the policy of Iconoclasm (prohibition on the worship of icons), which had been reimposed in 815. Theodora was removed as regent in 855 by her brother, Bardas, and forced into a monastery. She died not long after Michael was assassinated in 867 and was later canonized for her work in restoring icons.