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Theodora

by Stella Duffy

Life in 6th century Constantinople was predictably harsh for a young girl who has just lost her father, and has no option to follow but the stage and prostitution. A true tale of sheer luck and feminine cunning, but there's some intriguing ambiguity about Theodora's spiritual experiences in an age when religion was politics.

Extract

As he came closer she found that she was again, as yesterday, straining to hear his voice, hungry for his words, and hungrier that he might see her. Used to being adored, to hearing her name chanted by thousands, Theodora wanted Timothy to see her, Timothy to speak to her. She sat straighter as he approached, raised her chin, ensuring the planes of her angled face were as clear as she would like, as Menander would have liked, making the most of this sparse light.

Parallels

Eugenie by Desmond Seward
 

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