Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church Award winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the l Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry So who was this woman who rose from humble beginnings as a dancer to become the empress of Rome and a saint in the Orthodox Church Award winning novelist Stella Duffy vividly recreates the life and times of a woman who left her mark on one of the ancient world s most powerful empires Theodora Actress, Empress, Whore is a sexy, captivating novel that resurrects an extraordinary, little known figure from the dusty pages of history.
Theodora Actress Empress Whore Roman historian Procopius publicly praised Theodora of Constantinople for her piety while secretly detailing her salacious stage act and maligning her as ruthless and power hungry So who was this woma

  • Title: Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore
  • Author: Stella Duffy
  • ISBN: 9780143119876
  • Page: 500
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore”

    1. Interesting enough premise but awkward writing -- a bit stuffy and bloated. While I was reading, I was engaged enough but every time I put it down, I couldn't find the motivation to pick it back up. Might give it a try again, someday.

    2. 4.5 starsI'm trying to think of a way to describe this book, and "immensely satisfying" is the only descriptor that's coming to mind. That seems so weak, though! "Satisfying" implies just-okayness, but Theodora was anything but "just okay."I think what feels so satisfying about this novel is the realization that fine craftsmanship is still alive and well within historical fiction. Since the success of The Other Boleyn Girl, the general tone of HF has taken a bit of a nose-dive as more and more a [...]

    3. This is the story of Theodora and her rise from dancer/prostitute to Empress of Rome. The book starts with Theodora working on stage at the Hippodrome and being trained by Menander, a man she feared and loved. After becoming famous she falls in love with Hecebolus and moves to Africa with him. When Hecebolus casts her off for another she flees Africa and finds her way to Alexandria where she finds her faith, looks for forgiveness for her sins, and puts her fate in the hands of Timothy who she re [...]

    4. I loved the sound of this book from the moment I heard about it, and was thrilled to find it in paperback when I was in Sydney earlier in the year. With such enthusiasm, of course I had to read it right away, but I don't think it was due to high expectations that I finished it feeling largely untouched.Theodora is the fictionalised account of an historical figure, Theodora, who grew up a child actress (and therefore prostitute) in Constantinople in the sixth century, a period commonly known as B [...]

    5. Intensely seductive as a provocative dance, compelling as only history can be, Theodora draws the reader into the life of a common actress and dancer, who eventually became Empress of Rome. As a child, Theodora learned the hard way. She was beaten when her spirit rebelled against the eunuch’s cruel instructions and when her outspoken opinions got the better of her. Her family was disjointed at best and friendships hard won, but the people loved Theodora. She was one of them. She could command [...]

    6. Very poor, I kept on reading it as I expected with all the number of excellent reviews it received it was bound to get better - it didn't. Indeed, it got more and more ridiculous. I should have been warned when one of the reviews called Theodora as 'a wise-cracking tart with a heart'. Actually the more I think about this book, the more crap it was!

    7. This is an interesting book though not entirely satisfying. The language used is often very modern which can be annoying and it seems a bit light on historical detail. Theodora is an interesting character and this book does a fairly good job of bringing her and the times to life.

    8. A few weeks prior to reading this novel, I came across a short chapter in a history book about Theodora. She was a larger than life character that knew how to command an audience. Theodora lived during a tumultuous time. There is not a lot of documentation about this period and a lot of what we know is speculation. I was really interested in reading Stella Duffy's take on the Empress Theodora. Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore by Stella Duffy depicts Theodora from a young child until her marriag [...]

    9. Definitely a light historical fiction book that is loosely based on Empress Theodora's life. The book primarily focuses on Theodora's early life up until she is coronated. Other historical events and the Byzantine culture is limited in the story. I would have appreciated more details on the political parties' platforms. The fear of a schism in the eastern church did receive more attention with the theological differences. I also would have enjoyed reading about Theodora as empress. Will need a g [...]

    10. It took me a little while to really enjoy this novel, but after about 100 pages it just clicked with me and from then on I loved it. Duffy has quite a detached narrative style, but then a character like Theodora, who rises from poverty to empress, would have to be a tough cookie. I found myself warming to her spirit and intelligence over time rather than being manipulated emotionally by a Cinderella story. I have no idea how historically accurate it is, but it certainly made the ancient Roman em [...]

    11. Read This Review & More Like ItOn My Blog!3.5 out of 5Theodora was one of the most influential women of her time. As a poverty-stricken dancer, as the most celebrated actress/whore in Constantinople, as a penitent nun in a commune in the desert, and as the wife of the most powerful man in Christendom, she commands attention and vast amounts of interest. Defying social strictures and traditions of her day, Theodora rose from a common birth and life to the most exalted position available: Augu [...]

    12. Prvi deo romana Dafijeve, kod nas preveden “Teodora, poslednja rimska carica”, predstavlja savršeno opisan narativni krug: od kćeri medvedara koja, u jednom od prvih prizora, sa sestrama i majkom moli predstavnike dve najuticajnije, zavađene stranke, za finansijsku pomoć - do novokrunisane carice, koja na istom Hipodromu, ali sada iz lože, po prvi put izlazi pred narod. Glavna junakinja je prikazana životno, uverljivo, psihološki istančano i vrlo senzualno. Kao ni Kleopatra ili (knji [...]

    13. 2.5 starsTheodora: Actress, Empress, Whore was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Penguin Group USA.Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore tells the story of Theodora, before and after she became one of the most powerful women in the Byzantine Empire’s history. The novel touches briefly on her adolescent years and how it began by the age of 5 when her mother offered up her and two other sisters as supporters to the Blue faction. Theodora was a strong thinking and willful woman in a time when th [...]

    14. ‘You can waste a very long time looking back.’The Byzantine Empress Theodora (c500-547CE) had an interesting career as an actor and a prostitute before becoming the wife of the Emperor Justinian. This novel by Stella Duffy, based on extensive research and accompanied by an impressive bibliography, is based on Theodora’s life from early childhood until just after her marriage to the Emperor Justinian.The novel opens with the young child Theodora as part of a group being schooled by Menander [...]

    15. Knowing nothing about Theodora before reading this book, I am left wanting to know more about her life as Empress. The information that was presented was all new to me. Disappointingly, the book ends, excluding Theodora's entire reign as Empress. While the writing was sufficient to tell the story, there lacked the additional verbiage to make the book similar to other historical fiction that I've read and enjoyed. I don't intend for this to be a negative review. I enjoyed the book and would actua [...]

    16. I left disappointed with this book. I don't really know a lot about Empress Theodora apart from her past as an actress/prostitute before marrying Justinian so I wouldn't know about fact checking, so I expected the book to fill that whole. And it did! BUT I didn't feel like anything was happening for more than 3/4 of the book. Yeah, Stella Duffy explained quite well the training to become an actress, the physical and mental process which these girls make from a very young age, but everything else [...]

    17. 3.5 starsAdvance reading e-book courtesy of Net Galley.This was an interesting historical biographical novel of Theodora of Constantinople who rose from the underclass to become Empress of Rome and a saint of the Orthodox church. Due to family circumstances teen-age Theodora has to become a dancer/whore, which is the only profession available to young women of the underclass. From there she schemes and claws her way up to become the wife of Justinian and a powerful woman of the Roman Empire. A s [...]

    18. Ambitious and interesting, well-researched, but not actually a very good novel.It is clear that Duffy is trying to show, not tell; she just s. At least when it comes to religion; Theodora's conversion has no emotional impact on me as the reader. By the end of the book, you sense that Duffy is just trying to finish; there's one sentence about how Theodora has lived in the imperial palace for five years, two of them as Justinian's wife; the wedding was, like, two pages earlier, and if you had aske [...]

    19. The style is not one I enjoy. Too much telling. Honestly, if the death of her youngest sister hits Theodora that hard, some effort should have gone into actually showing the relationship. When a non-character dies, it lacks impact.

    20. Just won in my first-ever giveaway win! Looking forward to receiving and reading, since the Byzantine empire and the empress Theodora are interests of mine :)

    21. Ever since Ghost Empire revealed all the drama, pageantry and grittiness that constitute the 1000 year history of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire I've been working to make time to zero in on the life stories of men and women involved in shaping that history. Nope, I'm not one to read the dreadfully dry histories and biographies of these figures. I'm happy to let hardworking authors such as Robert Graves and Stella Duffy do the heavy lifting and then present me with well researched storie [...]

    22. a queen always turns pain into power.In Stella Duffy's first novel in her 'Empress Theodora' series, we come to know Theodora as a passionate, lion-hearted young girl who is forced into an early career of performing at Constantinople's Hippodrome after her father is mauled to death by his own bear. It is a life she's always known -- poverty and the physical demands the stage requires of her, as well as Menander's stinging discipline. After dancing and whoring her way to stardom, Theodora finds h [...]

    23. Magnificent. This book is not as heavy as most commonly historical fiction books but it still gave me an enlightening and entertaining read.We are treated to a fine storytelling of Empress Theodora's rise from a low-rank commoner to a Byzatine Empress and a useful companion to her husband, Emperor Justinian. Stella Duffy brilliantly told us the story of Theodora's early life as a stage performer, theatre actress, occasionally sex worker which in turn became her greatest weapon to survive in this [...]

    24. Words can hardly describe how much I enjoyed reading this book. The story is captivating and well-written and I, who have a short attention span, could not stop myself from taking on "just one more chapter". The pace was as close to perfection as I could have hoped, each chapter detailing another step on Theodora's journey from dancing girl to Empress. It was refreshing to experience such a well-written book about a strong young woman bravely facing all the challenges along her way with genuine [...]

    25. I can't say that I was all too thrilled with this book. And I SO wanted to be. It just didn't catch me like I had hoped it would and dragged on in some places where I found myself skipping over. Ah well.

    26. This is a fictional biography that travels the reader back in time, to the Byzantium era and the glory days of the great city of Constantinople. That is where that we for the first time meet Theodora, the second of three sisters, who due to the difficult times her family is going through, has to start working and earn a living from a very young age. She and her sisters, under the instructions of an eunuch called Menander, are getting ready for a life spent at the Hippodrome, which in today’s t [...]

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