who was empress irene
A After her death, she became a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Claims about her supposed canonization are mainly from Western sources.  He had them tortured and scolded Irene for violating the law and breaking with her faith. Charlemagne invaded Italy early on in his reign, annexing the Lombard kingdom of Italy. In 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor by Pope Leo III, on Christmas Day.  On the same day, Irene returned the crown her husband had removed as part of a full imperial procession. Prior to this, icon usage in the church had been banned. She also held two church councils, one in 786 and one in 787. He was imprisoned and probably died shortly afterwards. The Byzantine Empire had never had a female ruler before, and women could not inherit the throne. Irene sent a fleet to Sicily and Elpidios fled to Africa. 3 primary works • 4 total works. Color: DXRRB1. Irene Ducaena was the wife and empress of Alexios I Comnenus, marrying him shortly after he seized the throne on April 1, 1081. She appointed Tarasios to be the Patriarch of Constantinople. The clergy and nobles attending the ceremony proclaimed Charlemagne as “Emperor of the Roman Empire.” In support of Charlemagne’s coronation, some argued that the imperial position was actually vacant, deeming a wom… , Irene was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 768 and was married to his son Leo IV on 17 December. In relation to the coin, the lettering is of poor quality and the attribution to Irene may be problematic. Special offers and product promotions. Her daughter, the erudite Anna Comnena, wrote glowingly of her mother in her history, The Alexiad – extolling her beauty, wisdom, and care for her family. Irene was exiled to Lesbos and forced to support herself by spinning wool. More. Elpidius fled to Africa, where he defected to the Abbasid Caliphate. In 802, before they could marry, Nikephoros staged a coup and overthrew her. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. 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 … Relations between the two Empires remained difficult.  It is unclear why she was selected as the bride for the young Leo IV. Written by GreekBoston.com in Ancient Greek History Certainly, in both 787 and 843 icon-veneration was restored as orthodox practice by an empress ruling as regent for an under-age son: both empresses, Irene and Theodora, were later canonised. She was an orphan, and there is some mystery around why she was chosen from obscurity to be the bride of Leo IV, heir to Constantinople. He proved to be an ineffective and unpopular ruler, and Irene seized the throne in 797. Irene was one of only three female rulers to hold sole power in the 1,100-year-long history of the Byzantine Empire. After defeating his army, Irene had Nikephoros and his brothers ordained as priests, which removed them from the line of succession. There was a time when Greece was part of the Byzantine Empire.  During Lent of 780, however, Leo IV's policies on iconophiles became much harsher.  Such claims are not supported by the Menaion (the official liturgical book providing the propers of the saints of the Orthodox Church), the "Lives of Saints" by Nikodemos the Hagiorite, or any other relevant book of the Orthodox Church. She died the following year.. ), While this greatly improved relations with the Papacy, it did not prevent the outbreak of a war with the Franks, who took over Istria and Benevento in 788. , From the beginning, Irene seems to have taken more power for herself than was traditionally expected of female regents. Irene was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 768 and was married to his son Leo IVon 17 December.  Although she was an orphan, her uncle or cousin Constantine Sarantapechos was a patrician and possibly also a strategos ("general") of the theme of Hellas at the end of the eighth century. The Pope thus refused to recognize Irene’s rule. His eyes were gouged out, and he died from his wounds several days later. , Irene's unprecedented position as an empress ruling in her own right was emphasized by the coincidental rise of the Carolingian Empire in Western Europe, which rivaled Irene's Byzantium in size and power. The second council ended with icon veneration officially restored. Ten years later, he assumed the throne as Constantine VI. Irene of Athens (Greek: Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία, Eirénē ē Athēnaía; c. 752 – 9 August 803), surnamed Sarantapechaina (Σαρανταπήχαινα), was Byzantine empress by marriage to Emperor Leo IV from 775 to 780, regent during the minority of their son Constantine VI from 780 until 790, co-regent from 792 until 797, and finally sole ruler and first empress regnant of the Byzantine Empire from 797 to 802. She used the title "basilissa" in all other documents, coins, and seals. Whether he actually desired a coronation at all, remains controversial – his biographer Einhard related that Charlemagne had been surprised by the Pope – but the Eastern Empire felt its role as the sole Roman Empire threatened and began to emphasize its superiority and its Roman identity. ", De Imperatoribus Romanis – Constantine VI (780–797 A.D.) and Irene (797–802 A.D.), https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Irene_of_Athens&oldid=996695406, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from October 2019, All articles needing additional references, Articles with unsourced statements from October 2019, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Wikipedia articles incorporating text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. Empress Irene and the Silk Trade (752-803 CE). Leo IV died in 780.  She replaced all of them with dignitaries who were loyal to her. Irene then turned her attention to the restoration of icon veneration. Next. A solar eclipse and darkness lasting 17 days were attributed to the horror of Heaven. He proved to be an ineffective and unpopular ruler, and Irene seized the throne in 797. She thus became the first Empress of Byzantium and ruled as such until 802. 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. The second, convened at Nicaea in 787, formally revived the veneration of icons and reunited the Eastern church with that of Rome. , Although it is often asserted that, as monarch, Irene called herself "basileus" (βασιλεύς), 'emperor', rather than "basilissa" (βασίλισσα), 'empress', in fact there are only three instances where it is known that she used the title "basileus": two legal documents in which she signed herself as "Emperor of the Romans" and a gold coin of hers found in Sicily bearing the title of "basileus". She summoned a council, the second council of Nicaea, to reinstate the use and veneration of icons. When he died in 780, she became regent because his son, Constantine, was only nine years old.  Possibly hoping to placate supporters of her husband's family, Irene is reported to have proposed that Leo IV's sister Anthousa should join her as co-regent, but Anthousa is said to have rejected the offer. When he died in 780, she became regent because his son, Constantine, was only nine years old. Seized by his attendants on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus, Constantine was carried back to the palace at Constantinople. , As early as 781, Irene began to seek a closer relationship with the Carolingian dynasty and the Papacy in Rome. The first of these, held in 786 at Constantinople, was frustrated by the opposition of the iconoclast soldiers. An attempt to free himself by force was met and crushed by the Empress, who demanded that the oath of fidelity should thenceforward be taken in her name alone. Irene's alleged unprecedented status as a female ruler of the Roman Empire led Pope Leo III to proclaim Charlemagne emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas Day of 800 under the pretext that a woman could not rule and so the throne of the Roman Empire was actually vacant. Empress Irene set out to solve the issue of iconoclasm which was established in the empire. Irene, by contrast, believed religious images should be revered. Ten years later, he assumed the throne as Constantine VI. 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. Leo, however, was a steadfast iconoclastwho, according to tradition, found that Irene possessed icons and thereafter would no longer …  Nonetheless, she maintains that it is possible that Irene may have been trying to fill the palace with supporters of iconophilism, which may have triggered Leo IV's crackdown. She negotiated a marriage between her son Constantine and Rotrude, a daughter of Charlemagne by his third wife Hildegard. This rare coin, minted during her reign, not surprisingly incorporates remarkable iconographical innovations, with every detail stressing her sole imperial authority. A female relative of Irene, Theophano, was chosen in 807 by Emperor Nikephoros I as the bride of his son and heir Staurakios. She was also known to have initiated the Second Council of Nicea.  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). Irene was also known for her generous financial policies, which were especially friendly to monasteries. Constantine became even less popular when he repudiated his empress in favor of his mistress Theodote. With him out of the way, Irene proclaimed herself sole ruler. on What to Know About Empress Irene of the Byzantine Empire, Carneades – Ancient Philosopher of Skepticism. As he grew older, Constantine VI increasingly impatient under his mother’s rule. Because of that, there are many prominent historical figures from the Empire that came from Greece. In 797, Irene led a coup against Constantine, took him prisoner, and had him blinded. Having chosen Tarasios, one of her partisans and her former secretary, as Patriarch of Constantinople in 784, she summoned two church councils.  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