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Garland L, Holmes C. Theophano, wife of Romanus II and Nicephorus II Phocas. 2006.
Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://e-publications.une.edu.au/1959.11/1959
Theophano, wife of Romanus II and Nicephorus II Phocas
Theophano, wife first of Romanus II (959-963) and then of Nicephorus II Phocas (963-969), is noted among Byzantine empresses for having been the only empress generally believed to have been guilty of her husband's murder (though there is also a good case for believing that her granddaughter Zoe may also have orchestrated the death of her first husband Romanus III Argyrus). Theophano may not have been as black as she was painted: at least, her conspiracy against Nicephorus had the possible merit of protecting the interests of her two sons, the rightful emperors. As regent, Theophano obviously felt justified in taking an interest in government and from the gripping incidents which enlivened her career we have evidence for the fact that empresses could take a practical part in interfering with the succession to the throne, and that the women's quarters ('gynaeconitis') of the palace could be a centre of intrigue and alternative government.