Theodora 1

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire
FloruitE VIII
Dates705 (taq) / 705 (tpq)
PmbZ No.7282
LocationsPhanagouria (Zichia) (residence);
Constantinople (residence);
Phanagouria (Zichia);
TitlesAugusta (office)
Textual SourcesBar Hebraeus, Chronographia, tr. E. A. W. Budge, The Chronography of Abu 'l-Faraj (London, 1932; repr. Amsterdam, 1976) (history);
Chronicon Anonymi ad annum 1234 pertinens, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot, I = CSCO 81-82 (Paris, 1916-20), II = CSCO 109 (Louvain, 1937) (chronicle);
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Ceremoniis Aulae Byzantinae Libri II, ed. J. J. Reiske, CSHB (Bonn, 1829); also ed. (in part) A. Vogt (Paris, 1935, repr. 1967) (history);
Nicephorus, Breviarium Historiae, ed. C. Mango, Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople: Short History; prev. ed. C. de Boor Nicephori ArchiepiscopiConstantinopolitani Opuscula Historica Leipzig 1880 (history);
Theophanes Confessor, Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1883-85, repr. Hildesheim/NewYork, 1980); tr. and comm. C. Mango and R. Scott, The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Oxford 1997 (chronicle);
Zonaras = Ioannis Zonarae Epitome Historiarum, libri XIII-XVIII, ed. Th. Büttner-Wobst, (Bonn, 1897) (history)

Theodora 1 was a sister of the khagan of the Khazars (Anonymus 176), who gave her in marriage to the exiled emperor Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) (Theoph. AM 6196: ἐξέδοτο αὐτῷ εἰς γυναῖκα Θεοδώραν, τὴν γνησίαν αὐτοῦ ἀδελφήν); they lived at Phanagouria, where she learnt of her brother's plan to have Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) murdered (this occurred in 698/705, in the reign of the emperor Tiberios III, Tiberios 2) and informed her husband; when he began his attempt to regain the throne, he sent her back to live with her father (sic; see Anonymus 176): Nic. Brev. de Boor 40-41, Mango 42, Theoph. AM 6196, Zon. XIV 24. 8-12, cf. Chron. 1234, ¤152 (p. 297) (not named). Theodora 1 bore Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) a son, Tiberios 4, while she was in Khazaria; after he recovered his throne (in 705), Theodora 1 and Tiberios 4 were summoned from Khazaria to Constantinople by Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1) (cf. Theophylaktos 1) and crowned by him: Nic. Brev. de Boor 43, Mango 42, Theoph. AM 6198 (τὴν Θεοδώραν καὶ Τιβέριον, τὸν υἱὸν αὐτῆς, καὶ ἔστεψεν αὐτούσ: καὶ συνεβασίλευσαν αὐτῷ), Zon. XIV 25. 7. Unnamed daughter of the khagan of the Khazars, she was given in marriage by her father (sic; see Anonymus 176) to the exiled emperor Justinian (Ioustinianos 1) and bore him a son, Tiberios 4; after Justinian regained the throne she took her son to Constantinople: Bar Hebr., p. 105.

As a Khazar princess it is unlikely that her original name was Theodora; it was presumably given to her on her marriage to Justinian or perhaps, as she probably had to receive baptism before the marriage, on her baptism. Cf. Dunlop, Jewish Khazars, pp. 171ff. According to Zonaras she was the daughter of Anastasia 1 and was already dead in 711 when her son Tiberios 4 was killed: Zon. XIV 25. 27.

Either Theodora 1 or Eirene 3 could be identified with the unnamed Augusta who introduced the dress called tzitzakia to Constantinople from Khazaria; the tzitzakion was subsequently worn by the rulers on various ceremonial occasions: Scholion to Const. Porph., De Cer. I 1 (Reiske, p. 22, Vogt, Vol. 1, p. 17). See G. Moravcsik, "Die Herkunft des Wortes Tzitzakion", in Seminarium Kondakovianum 4 (1931) (reprinted in G. Moravcsik, Studia Byzantina, Budapest, 1967, pp. 122-126), p. 76, with Dunlop, Jewish Khazars, p. 177, with n. 27.

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