BASILISSA: A Tale of the Empress Theodora by John Masefield

BASILISSA: A Tale of the Empress Theodora

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An idealized and purified version of the early life of Theodora, the courtesan who was to play such an influential role in sixth century Byzantium. The story tells of the period when she travelled to Byzantium via Antioch with a ballet, and of when she first captured the interest of young Justinian who was to lean on her advice during the years of the bitter struggle between the Greens and the Blues. How she inveigled him into running for consul, saved his life, -- helped him achieve the coup d'etat which gave the Blues control, and eventually was accepted as his bride. Translated into terms of English characters for a colloquial feel, this picture of Theodora doesn't jibe with the more accepted versions. There is almost an Horatio Alger tone to his presentation of a Theodora who is more than upright, unspotted and scrupulous, though the pictures of sixth century life have a four-dimensional quality.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1940
Publisher: Macmillan