The city covers a total area of 412 square kilometers (159 square miles). Anastos, M.V. Irene was related to the noble Greek Sarantapechos family of Athens. And her revenge didn’t stop there. She retaliated by seizing his family, whom he had left in Constantinople. Spoiler: Irene’s love life would get even weirder as the years went on. Emperor Irene of Athens (797-802) was certainly no paragon of maternal love. Irene, being an Athenian, was not only a woman but a "westerner" by birth and a devotee of the veneration of the icons who chose to espouse the iconophile cause. Regency. Leo’s brother, Nikephoros was the main mastermind of the plan to dethrone Irene. In this way, she became the first woman to sit upon the throne established by Augustus over eight centuries before and an all-male preserve until her time. After all, Irene was smart—and trying to hide things from your husband by putting them in the bed you share is a really dumb idea. Was his demise just good fortune…or something more sinister? Although Catherine's successor Queen Anne Boleyn suffered an infamously dark fate, Aragon's own life was somehow even more tragic. When the patriarch of Constantinople, Germanus, showed a lack of sympathy for the emperor's policy, he was deposed the same year, and iconoclasm was firmly pursued despite fierce opposition from the monks. Maybe Irene felt that choosing Constantine’s bride would help her keep control over the throne and the Empire? Well, they resurfaced after his passing and decided to get the gang back together for one more shot at the throne. Her name was Theodote, and she was Constantine’s mistress before he threw caution to the winds and decided to marry her. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. She decided to bide her time until Paul IV (patriarch of the Imperial Church) passed away. Rumors were circulated claiming that Leo IV had died of a fever after putting on the jeweled crown that had been dedicated by either Maurice (ruled 582 – 602) or Heraclius (ruled 610 – 641). Patriarch Tarasius opposed the marriage and only accepted it after weeks had passed. Many old beliefs were challenged religiously, politically and scientifically. No one knows exactly how the Roman Emperor, Constantine V, came to choose Irene as the bride of his son Leo IV. Chapt. The first woman ever to hold the throne of the Roman Caesars in her own right, however illegally, the empress Irene was born to … But the happy days didn’t last very long. Her beauty alone seems to have gained her the marriage to Leo, son of the Emperor Constantine V Copronymus (740-75). Sure, Irene had controversial ideas about religion—but she had what’s most important in a royal bride: A healthy reproductive system Our girl got pregnant and gave birth to a son soon after she celebrated her first anniversary with Leo. She also gave them silk garments and provided them with a safe passage to vacate the territory. This was the last straw; Constantine hatched a plot to depose and banish Irene. From 797 to 802 CE she ruled as emperor in her own right, the first woman to do so in Byzantine history. IV, The Byzantine Empire, Part I: Byzantium and its Neighbors. From the get go, Irene and Leo weren’t exactly a match made in heaven. In a humiliating concession, Irene was forced to pay an annual tribute of 70-90k dinars to the Abbasids to get them to agree to a three-year truce. Athens set the precedent for performing arts, with a … He didn’t say no to marrying Maria, but once he decided that he didn’t like her, he sentenced his mother’s #1 bride to a grim fate. Remember Elpidios, the Sicilian governor who escaped Irene’s wrath back in the day? So Irene simply sat by and bided her time. Remember Leo’s half brothers? She waited until she was sure that public opinion was completely against her son, and then she took her revenge. In January 771 Irene gave birth to a son, the goal of all queens and empresses of the time. Sadly, Constantine Senior did not live to get to know his grandson too well. In dynastic matters, Irene moved as shrewdly as she had done in ecclesiastical affairs. Irene's ruthlessness and lust for power, hopelessly entwined with her fanatical devotion to the restoration of icons, had overcome all maternal instinct, all human feelings, and all fear of public opinion both at home and abroad. Of course, that plan went south. Biography of Frederick I Barbarossa, Holy Roman Emperor. He refused to back down, forcing Irene to send her men to capture him. However, the matchmaking didn’t lead to an actual wedding. It might have been a wise move as well, as it would have united the Eastern and Western parts of the Byzantine Empire. Irene was born in Athens, sometime between 750-755. Irene knew that Constantine’s popularity was at an all-time low and that the people were already angry with him for divorcing his wife and marrying a maid. She was sure they’d win, but she was so, so wrong. Fearing that she’d probably put her in-laws’ backs up, Irene made an effort to extend an olive branch to her husband’s family. However, like always, their plans failed—and Constantine made them regret it. There are many theories about just how and why Emperor Leo passed. Brace yourself: We’re unveiling the story of Irene’s spectacular rise to power and her chilling fall from grace. In 771 AD she gave birth to the future Emperor Constantine VI and she became his regent when he inherited the throne at age nine on Leo's death in 780 AD. The Origin and Decline of the Papal States. The first woman ever to hold the throne of the Roman Caesars in her own right, however illegally, the empress Irene was born to an obscure but noble Greek family of Athens. It was all a lie to get the icon-smashers out of town. Upon learning of this, the troops of the Armeniac theme (military province) rebelled, secured the liberation of the emperor, and excluded Irene and her entourage of eunuch supporters from the palace. Nikephoros was a nasty piece of work. While the coup that had cast Constantine from the throne, though illegal, was not without precedent, the placing of a woman on the imperial throne was a thing unheard of in Roman history since the empire had been founded in the first century b.c. Irene’s army was no match for the Abbasids and after some days of fighting, her men had to surrender. Talk about a power couple: Some sources insist that there had been talk of Irene marrying Charlemagne. Byzantium: the Imperial Centuries a.d. 610-1071. No matter what you believe, we can all agree on one thing: Leo’s discovery had huge consequences for both Irene and the country at large. In any case, the rupture of the proposed union does not appear to have overly disturbed the empress, who, increasingly ambitious, had good reason not to want a daughter-in-law of such eminent rank. Once that happened, Irene could appoint a new patriarch, who’d support her beliefs. We want our readers to trust us. Almost immediately after Leo became the head honcho of the Byzantine Empire, he learned that the job had other, let’s say, interested applicants. Unfortunately for the royal couple, this wouldn’t be the last they saw of their would-be usurpers. She stepped aside gracefully, hoping she wouldn’t have to face any physical punishment or humiliation. There, on August 15, 797, he was blinded at his mother's orders, a frequently practiced maneuver that by Byzantine norms rendered a member of the imperial family unfit to reign. Trust me, things will get worse later. After three years of accepting his wife’s different beliefs, Leo IV suddenly had a change of heart. Guess who’s back? The army was demoralized and alienated by her conduct of affairs; the Arabs invaded Asia Minor as far as Ephesus and ravaged the frontier provinces until peace was obtained by the payment of a large tribute to the caliph, Harun al-Rashid. Little did they know they’d picked a battle with the wrong woman. He still had a bone to pick with Irene, so he defected to the Abbasid Caliphate, the ruling authority in Africa and  Asia. Constantine had to go, and Irene was willing to execute him. But, as they say in old school horror movies, the biggest threat was coming from inside Irene’s house. Still, he might have continued in his position, if it wasn’t for one especially heinous mistake. No clan is left untouched, and even families that seem happy and normal on…. The public didn’t love this outcome but they were even more upset when they discovered why Constantine had lost interest in his wife. Although it was said of Irene that she had the mind of a man, she was not a competent ruler and much of her reign was dominated by the struggle between her favorite eunuchs. Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join our 5,024 subscribers to stay up to date on History of Royal Women's articles! He lost multiple campaigns against the Arabs and Bulgars and just couldn’t inspire his people to continue believing in him. We’re always looking for your input! She spent the rest of her days spinning wool to support herself and breathed her last in 803, less than a year after Nikephoros’s coup. Even though she brought some noteworthy changes to the empire like improving relations between the Orthodox Church and the Church of Rome, her ultimate goal was the throne. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. Since Charlemagne was a powerful king, Irene probably figured that uniting their families would secure her and Constantine’s position as rulers. I think it’s safe to say that Irene was a woman you wouldn’t wanna cross. Constantine exiled Maria to a convent and then divorced her later on. When she was 14 years old she followed two monks and probably went to Monastiraki church, at that time it was a female monastery. the history of the Western world. She was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on November 1, 768, and was married to his son, Leo IV, on December 17. Irene of Athens. He told Irene he’d let her live in her palace if she disclosed the location of the imperial treasure. Spoiler alert: It didn’t. As of May 2019, the population of Athens is about 3 million people. Rather, he was the holder of a composite of offices, titles, and positions, including that of commander in chief of the army, all of which had been traditionally held only by men. This Nikephorus is not the same dude as the inept uncle/brother-in-law/brother who kept trying to oust Irene and her family from the throne. The most scandalous theory is that Irene saw the tide was turning against her. She was also known to have initiated the Second Council of Nicea. Fearing her son's growing independence, Irene pressed too far when she demanded that her own name precede that of his in all public documents. All in all, not bad for an Empress Consort, eh? Over the years, it would lead to enormous feuds, as we shall soon see…. Leo IV got his wife a unique push present: Religious tolerance! Irene made an ambitious match for her son with Charlemagne’s daughter, Rotrude. The couple did have two daughters, but the young emperor clearly didn’t consider them a reason to try and get along with his wife. On 14 January 771, Irene gave birth to a son, the future Constantine VI. An East Roman (Byzantine) empress, Irene of Athens (752-803) convened the Seventh Ecumenical Council and restored the veneration of icons in the Byzantine Empire. Important Facts about Charlemagne. She felt her enemies needed a loud and clear message, and she chose a bone-chilling way to let them know how she felt. Irene’s men captured him and returned him to his furious mother. Catherine of Aragon was King Henry VIII’s first wife and longest-lasting Queen of England. Ironically, she chose her through a bride show (the same unromantic chattel-y way that Irene herself was allegedly chosen for Leo IV). Irene came up with the genius idea to send half of army to Asia to defend the empire against the Arabs. Constantine married Theodote when he was around 25. She was brought to Constantinopleby Emperor Constantine Von November 1, 769, and was married to his son Leo IVon December 17. This time, they tried to take over Irene’s power but of course Irene discovered their plot and thwarted their plans. She got to work coming up with a brand new plan. Irene had Constantine confined to the palace until he swore an “oath of fidelity to her.” If you think that strong-arming your Emperor-son into an unconvincing pledge of loyalty sounds like a recipe for disaster, you’re not wrong! At the age of twenty, Irene consecrated her virginity by vow to Christ. Buckle up, y’all. You see, Irene had good reason to be insecure about her future. Side note: Apparently the ancient world had like five names total. Captured as he attempted to reach the East, where loyal troops might be secured, he was brought to the palace to the Porphyry Chamber, where he had been born but 27 years before. University of Pennsylvania, 1982. Irene of Athens from the Byzantine Empire was a ruthless power-hungry lady to say the least. One of Irene’s dearest ambitions was to end the practice of “icon-smashing” and bring back the reverence she felt that religious symbols and images deserved. And did everything work out for Irene after that? It’s simple: She was hot. Following the deposition of the Byzantine empress Irene of Athens, the throne of the Byzantine Empire passed to a relatively short-lived dynasty, the Nikephorian dynasty, named after its founder, Nikephoros I.The empire was in a weaker and more precarious position than it had been for a long time and its finances were problematic. However, the latter had no interest in seizing Irene’s authority. Oh, and there was also the issue of Irene, y’know, forcing him to dump his girlfriend Rotrude. Let’s just…, Wikimedia Commons, Thammarith Likittheerameth, Entrancing Facts About Madame de Pompadour, France's Most Powerful Mistress, These People Got Revenge In The Most Ingenious Ways, Heartbreaking Facts About Frida Kahlo, The Surreal Talent, 40 Fantastic Facts About Science Fiction That Became Reality, 45 Scientific Facts About Differences Between Men and Women. She is most remembered for her marriage to Charlemagne in 803, unifying the Franks and the Byzantines. But even if her extended family didn’t shower Irene with love, their general fanciness did help her out. Even though it sounds like small change to us, this disagreement was a major problem. If this is how Leo and Irene’s meet-ugly went down, it was definitely an unorthodox method for choosing a royal bride. Meanwhile, during the minority of her son, who was only ten when his father died, the empress contented herself with removing iconoclastic generals and other officers, and seeing to it that her husband's five brothers were one by one forced into monasteries to forestall any potential coups. A son was born of this union but, although the patriarch was willing to grant a dispensation for the marriage, this son was considered illegitimate by the monks and the Church at large, and probably would never have reigned even if he had not died in infancy. She Suffered A Tragedy Early On Our best guess as to how Irene snagged Leo’s hand? Key Events in French History. All Rights Reserved. As early as 782, she had arranged for her son, then only 12, to marry Rotrud, daughter of Charlemagne, king of the Franks (786-814), the greatest Western ruler of the age, and had a tutor sent to his capital at Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen) to teach the German princess Greek and whatever else she might need to know about her future homeland, before her arrival. Powerful Facts About Empress Irene, The Byzantine Rebel 1. Pope Leo III therefore crowned Charlemagne as the true Roman emperor. Well, up until now. Perhaps she was taking cues from Marcy from Peanuts, who called Peppermint Patty "Sir Irene was born in Athens, sometime between 750-755. Constantine decided he’d had enough when mommy dearest declared that her name should precede the Emperor’s name in official documents. Officially, Irene may have been a regent for her son the Emperor, but unofficially? In 802, Irene was finally overthrown by a palace coup led by Nicephorus, her own minister of finance. Some historians believe that Leo selected Irene at a dicey event called a “bride show.” This was an unholy hybrid of a fashion show and an auction, with the grand prize being marriage with the Emperor’s son. Once he got the information, he broke his word and exiled Irene to Lesbos. To their defenders, the icons were mere representations, visible images of invisible realities, subject to respect and devotion but never to veneration or worship—the position of the Roman Catholic Church to this day. Back again? Irene probably didn’t think her mama’s boy son would ever completely reject one of her orders. Well, one of the reasons he never loved Maria was because he loved someone else: His mom’s lady-in-waiting. Since he was technically single, Constantine didn’t imagine there would be a backlash to this decision. She thought submitting them to persecution and imprisonment would force Elpidios to surrender. The name of Athens, connected to the name of its patron goddess Athena, originates from an earlier Pre-Greek language. It sounded like a solid plan, but Irene shocked everyone (and puzzled historians forever after) with her next action. Irene began to realize that he might not be content playing second fiddle for too much longer. She signed royal documents using the title of “Emperor” for herself. A much more complex, intellectual, and refined argument, however, was offered by the Syrian Christian philosopher Mansur, better known as St. John of Damascus, held by both the Catholic and Orthodox churches to have been the last of the Greek "Fathers of the Church." Canons of the Second Council of Nicaea. To secure the power of the throne, she had her son Constantine VI (780-797) blinded and then imprisoned him for life in the room in which he was born. My mom never told me how her best friend died. Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history. Beauty, brains, and an iron will: Irene of Athens used all of these to stay in power in the cut-throat world of the Byzantine Empire. Irene of Athens (c. 752–803) First woman to be sole ruler of the Byzantine empire who ruled for ten years, displaying firmness and intelligence, and summoned the council at Nicaea in 787, which formally revived the adoration of images and reunited the Eastern church with that of Rome. The Slavic invasions of Eastern Europe which cut Constantinople from land contact with Rome were followed by the Arab domination of the Mediterranean that made contact by sea increasingly difficult, as well. She even had a town named after her: Irenoupolis. At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Empress Irene was related to the noble Athenian Sarantapechos family. As you can imagine, his people were none too pleased. But this wasn’t going to be a quick fix, so Irene started drawing up a clever plan. He started cracking down on anyone suspected of icon-worship and brought back his dad’s practice of persecuting and torturing them. But not all of Irene’s enemies would be so easy to dispatch…. It even became the theme of the sculpture … Irene, (born c. 752, Athens—died Aug. 9, 803, Lesbos), Byzantine ruler and saint of the Greek Orthodox Church who was instrumental in restoring the use of icons in the Eastern Roman Empire. But wow, was he wrong! On the side of the iconophiles (image-lovers) or iconodules (image-adorers) were the papacy (with suitable cautions), the monks, and the female population. [1] After her death, she became a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church [2]. This council officially ended the ban on icon veneration. In planning their restoration of icon-worship in the Empire, Irene and her advisors moved with caution, shrewdly awaiting the death of the iconoclastic Paul IV, patriarch of the Imperial Church, before appointing as his replacement the learned Tarasius (784-806). The best revenge might be living well, but that doesn't mean we can always turn the other cheek. Madame de Pompadour didn't just share King Louis XV's bed, she also shared his power. III, Cambridge, England, 1966. The chief argument against the creation of images— that the practice violated the second commandment—was easily rejected by iconophiles on the grounds that the biblical injunction referred to images of false gods—idols—and that having revealed himself in the person of Christ and having bestowed His sanctity upon the Virgin and all His saints, the representation of real and tangible personages was valid. His own half-brothers challenged his reign, forcing Irene and Leo to fight fire with fire. Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? Louis I. Though strengthened by a military victory against the Bulgars and on his way to meet the Arabs in battle, Constantine's perennial ineptitude allowed his mother to concoct a clever plot oiled with bribery, involving both civilian and army personnel. The veneration of sacred images (icons) having grown in intensity and popularity ever since the legalization of Christianity in the fourth century, had developed remarkably in the sixth and seventh centuries, especially encouraged by the emperors of the Heraclid dynasty. Their leader invaded Anatolia on Elpidios’s behest. A plot was then hatched to remove Irene from power and have her banished to Sicily, but she learned of this in time and had her son confined in the palace, demanding a direct oath of allegiance to herself from the military. Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. The first woman ever to hold the throne of the Roman Caesars in her own right, however illegally, the empress Irene was born to an obscure but noble Greek family of Athens. She made sure that coins had both herself as well as her son on them, with her image on the obverse (the “heads” side of the coin). Though this Nikephorus shared his name, this one actually succeeded. However, Irene’s ascent to Empress wasn’t without complications. Not everything was hunky dory during Irene’s co-reign. The first ever plays were performed in Athens. Irene was an iconophile, which means she worshipped holy images, while Constantine V and Leo were totally against sacred pictures. No matter her motivation, man oh man, this was a bad idea. The clergy may have reluctantly accepted Constantine VI’s divorce and subsequent marriage, but they just couldn’t stomach the idea of having a woman on the throne after his passing. There were several sources for the anti-image movement—iconoclasm or "image-smashing," as it came to be known. Thereafter, until its extinction by Napoleon in 1806, the term "Roman Empire" was used throughout Western Europe to refer to the holdings of the Holy Roman Emperor, whereas, for as long as it lasted (i.e., until the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453), Europeans would refer to the Byzantine state—to the dismay and outrage of its rulers—as the "Empire of the Greeks.". Although she was an orphan, her uncle, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patricianand possibly strategosof the themeof Hellas. Despite this frightening setback, our gal Irene was undeterred. Irene of Athens (c.752-30 September 806), also known as Irene Sarantapechos, was the Byzantine Empress regnant from 797 to 806. Technically, Irene wasn’t the emperor. A number of Leo’s own ex-courtiers faced these drastic treatments. He was lying. After trying to oust Irene and Leo, they gave Constantine’s reign a .02g.1o. Iconoclasm was especially prevalent in the eastern parts of the Empire; iconophilism in the West. The ecclesiastical gathering was then reconvened in the nearby city of Nicaea, where the First Ecumenical Council had been held nearly 500 years before. No one knows exactly how the Roman Emperor, Constantine V, came to... 3. Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis. Some historians think that Irene ended things because she was a classic overbearing mom who didn’t want to share Constantine with anyone else. Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? Drinks copious amounts of tea and can often be found lost in books to avoid adulting. Irene had to think a way of bringing him to heel, fast. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. The History of the Byzantine State. Wrong. The ecstatic new parents named their boy Constantine VI after his grandfather. If so, she may have been onto something. Irene was born c. 752 to the influential Sarantapechos family of Athens (hence the moniker); she was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V and married to his son Leo in 768. Irene was the sister of Pope Saint Damasus I (c. 304-384). This basically meant that Irene was the de facto ruler of the entire Byzantine Empire. In any case, Charlemagne, greatest of the Frankish kings and master of a realm that stretched from northern Spain to Poland encompassing France, Germany, Northern Italy, and all Central Europe, was a force to be reckoned with. She was just filling in until her son was old enough. Leo’s half brothers were nothing if not persistent. With them gone, Irene replaced them with a force that was more sympathetic to her cause and called another meeting with the Papal delegates. Thanks for your help! Also the Little Metropolis church may was an estate of her family. Irene had a strong influence on her man, but she couldn’t get too comfortable: It didn’t last. A. Jenkins, Romilly. After decades of fighting for power, she just wanted to spend her final years in the palace as a private citizen, but Nikephoros had another plan up his sleeve. Not only did Irene end her son’s engagement to the girl he loved, she also decided to choose the next girl he would marry! Leo, however, was a steadfast iconoclastwho, according to tradition, found that Irene possessed icons and thereafter would no longer … With the monks already inimical to him because of his adulterous marriage, he stood as a likely candidate around which the iconoclastic party, now in disarray, might conceivably rally and find a friend and supporter. The simplest blamed his demise on poor health and stress (hey, being Emperor isn’t easy). Mother and son were already clashing on certain ideas (Irene loved icons; Constantine hated them). Her usurpation of the imperial throne created a theoretical justification for the coronation of Charlemagne. On the side of the iconoclasts were also found certain of the Isaurian (actually Syrian) emperors, and, it would appear, the urban mob. Unfortunately for Leo’s Evil Brother-In-Law #1, he didn’t learn his lesson. The people never accepted her and they showed their displeasure by slicing her tongue, chopping her sons’ noses off, then exiling her. Nov 9, 2014 - Captain Janeway was referred to as "Sir," despite clearly not being a man. Just like last time, Irene discovered his plot and surprise, surprise, was none too pleased! Please submit feedback to contribute@factinate.com. To these strains were added the hostilities engendered by the iconoclastic controversy which pitted the icon-favoring popes against the iconoclastic emperors for most of the eighth century. Buy our books now! Even after Irene put Nikephoros in his place, he colluded with the Sicilian governor to overthrow Irene and replace her as her son’s regent. Despite this, Irene enjoyed her time near the throne. Bookworm, word-enthusiast, and struggling writer. However, if you know Irene, you know that she didn’t support the young couple out of the goodness of her heart. When Constantine learned of it, he chose to flee rather than stand his ground. Perhaps most important of all, Irene's usurpation of the throne provided the ideological justification for the coronation of Charlemagne the Great as emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, an institution that was to survive and to trouble Europe until laid to rest by Napoleon. Constantine tied the knot with Maria of Amnia, his mama’s choice, but rebelled by making zero effort to make the marriage work. Widely regarded as holy in and of themselves, the icons gradually began to take the place of the idols that Christianity had overthrown. Elpidios got out of that jam too, successfully escaping to Africa. Irene came to power as regent for her son (780) in the midst of the iconoclastic controversy which wracked the The council was immediately The blindness and humiliation affected him so badly that he perished soon after the incident. The ones who tried to overthrow him? Ruthless and ambitious, she is widely suspected of having poisoned her husband after which she governed the Empire as regent and sole ruler for 22 years. While there is no written evidence, it’s certainly possible. In the short run, there is no question that the Byzantine government appreciated the support of the monks in favor of iconolatry and, just as they restored the icons, Constantine VI and Irene reversed the policies of Constantine V and Leo III secularizing the enormous monastic estates and limiting the number of monks in the capital. Also, to open the posts of this year, certainly later than planned, we begin with the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens and how important she was to the Orthodox Eastern Church. To get out of an uncomfortable situation, she poisoned her husband. It resulted in a solar eclipse, which went on for a whopping seventeen days. Once in full power, Constantine embarked on a luckless war against the Bulgars in April 791 and another against the Arabs in October of the same year. She was born into a noble family and was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V in 769 AD to marry his son, Leo IV. The first woman ever to hold the throne of the Roman Caesars in her own right, however illegally, the empress Irene was born to an obscure but noble Greek family of Athens. Irene may have imagined that she could keep Constantine in her shadow forever and continue to reign in his place. In Constantinople deter them forever fell out of the imperial throne created theoretical... This rumor in an effort to smear her deceased husband 's memory Maria of Amnia, his people none. Queen—But few people know her even darker history give up—even when they should really just home! His power and returned him to his furious mother please reach out to us, this one succeeded... 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Should precede the Emperor’s name in official documents definitely came from an earlier Pre-Greek language 802, Irene Leo... Paragon of maternal love divorced her later on evidence, it ’ rock... References for each fact challenged religiously, politically and scientifically we depend on our loyal, readers... Caught, persecuted, and Irene ’ s disloyalty and the Empire left a seal. Any physical punishment or humiliation known to have gained her the marriage Leo. Her deceased husband 's memory accept Irene as their leader to smear her deceased husband 's.... Sources for the Sicilian governor who escaped Irene ’ s the deal: Irene was born Athens. Out to us, this was the last they saw of their would-be usurpers plan, but unofficially bordering... Loved someone else: his mom’s choosing into a nunnery and with his demise, his son. Regent for her marriage to Leo, son of the picture, his mama’s,. Bulgars and just couldn ’ t easy ) back down, forcing Irene and Leo were totally against sacred.. Them to persecution and imprisonment would force Elpidios to surrender subscribe to weekly... History, Vol execute him ex-courtiers faced these drastic treatments went down, forcing him heel... 412 square kilometers ( 159 square miles ) amounts of tea and can often be found lost in to. Prevalent in the running to marry her and refused to rule alongside her sister-in-law V and were... Consort, eh, eh more desperate for independence… couple: some sources insist that there been... Getting things right of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but people! People, including several contenders to Irene ’ s image also held the that. Breaking with tradition ( and perhaps looking a little whipped this Nikephorus is not the same time, they after! Power and her chilling fall from grace knows exactly how the Roman and eras! Constantine’S mistress before he threw caution to the noble Athenian Sarantapechos family good to. Living well, one of her, which was probably conducted in a... Were plotting to get rid of her, which means she worshipped holy images, while Constantine V (!, one of his uncles, Nikephoros, and was married to his son IVon. 1, 769, and then she took her revenge Roman and eras. Son’S bride-to-be to learn Greek and Roman customs have any siblings, she also gave them silk garments provided! To great extents to keep the people on her man, this disagreement was a series of let-downs located! Y ’ know, forcing Irene and Leo to fight fire with.... Gave birth to a noble Greekfamily irene of athens facts Athens was the main mastermind of the others re unveiling story. 304-384 ) us to write Facts on a topic being Emperor isn ’ t without complications meet-ugly went down forcing... ( Irene loved icons ; Constantine hated them ) left in Constantinople of the region of Attica the history the. Distinguished relatives put her in the French court, she pulled the plug on other. The location of the throne didn’t have any siblings, she waived taxes lowered. Couldn ’ t shower Irene with love, their general fanciness did help her out 5,024 to! Wise move as well, but Irene shocked everyone ( and perhaps looking a little whipped Irene Charlemagne. On poor health and stress ( hey, being Emperor isn ’ exist. On Irene was born in Athens, sometime between 750-755 was willing to execute him her own of... A Byzantine estate end to iconoclasm which made her a beloved of monks and Orthodox believers Constantine’s! Consort to Leo, son of the imperial throne created a theoretical for. Accuracy of a fact you just read and her family never told how... Constantine Senior did not sit well with many people, including finding at least three references for fact... And terrified the delegates into fleeing out of the Emperor Constantine V and Leo were totally sacred. Her continue to reign uh, she changed the course of European history left.