Empress Irene

While sheltering in place….why not learn something?

It is the weekend and I have been dealing (like everyone else) with the virus stuff that I think my readers need to know……but after all it is women’s history month so I will give some of women of history that are seldom mentioned…….this time it is Empress Irene.


She was the empress of the Byzantines ………

Known for: sole Byzantine emperor, 797 – 802; her rule gave the Pope the excuse to recognize Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor; convened the 7th Ecumenical Council (2nd Council of Nicaea), restoring icon veneration in the Byzantine Empire

Occupation: empress consort, regent and co-ruler with her son, ruler in her own right
Dates: lived about 752 – August 9, 803, ruled as co-regent 780 – 797, ruled in her own right 797 – October 31, 802
Also known as Empress Irene, Eirene (Greek)

Background, Family:

  • from a noble Athenian family
  • uncle: Constantine Sarantapechos
  • husband: Emperor Leo IV the Khazar (January 25, 750 – September 8, 780); married December 17, 769, son of Constantine V Copronymus who arranged the marriage and his first wife Irene of Khazaria. Part of the Isaurian (Syrian) dynasty ruling the Eastern Roman Empire.
  • one child: Constantine VI (January 14, 771 – about 797 or before 805), emperor 780 – 797


We always hear about the strong men of this empire but seldom anything about the women…..and Irene is one that should be mentioned more…..

Empress Irene was the wife of Leo IV and, on her husband’s death, she reigned as regent for her son Constantine VI from 780 to 790 CE. From 797 to 802 CE she ruled as emperor in her own right, the first woman to do so in Byzantine history. During her lacklustre reign, Irene ruthlessly schemed and plotted to keep the throne she would lose and regain three times, but she is chiefly remembered for restoring the Christian veneration of icons, which her predecessors of the Isaurian dynasty had sought so vehemently to repress. Even this seemingly pious campaign was really only a means for Irene to defeat her enemies and keep power. The Empress’ gold coins reveal much of her duplicitous character for, uniquely, they carried a portrait of herself on both sides


Learn Stuff!

Class Dismissed!

Be Well…..Be Safe!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

4 thoughts on “Empress Irene

  1. Hmm… interesting. Don’t think I’d heard of her before.
    I got a book on the 1918 pandemic in the mail recently. Gonna probably read on that this weekend before returning to a much scarier work (the Old testament–shudder) and a more fun one (A Storm of Swords).

    Sheesh, I’ll do anything to procrastinate on most housework this weekend.

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