Editor's Note: This transcript was automatically transcribed, so mistakes are inevitable. You can contribute by proofreading the transcript or highlighting the mistakes. Sign up to be amongst the first contributors.
Coming March 4th, the Paramount plus from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon movies, best friend SpongeBob Square Pants and Patrick Star venture out of Bikini Bottom in search of the lost city of Atlantic City on a rescue mission to save SpongeBob TRUSTe snail Gary. As they navigate the dangers of this hilarious journey, the underwater gang proves that there's nothing stronger than the power of friendship.
The SpongeBob movie Sponge on the Run is streaming March 4th on Paramount.
Plus, welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy B. Wilson. And I'm Holly Frye.
So our show have been skewing a little bit more for the 19th and 20th centuries lately, including something we just recorded that's coming out after this one. So when I picked today's topic, I wanted to just break a little farther out of that.
And I have had Byzantine empresses, Zoe and Theodora on my list for ages. They went through a whole series of twists and turns in 11th century Constantinople. And over the course of almost 30 years, sometimes Zoe ruled alongside one of her husband's, sometimes she and Theodora together. And then in the end, Theodora ruled alone. All of that happened against a backdrop of a lot of distrust and intrigue and possibly some murder. A note on the names before we get started.
Pretty much all of the English language sources on this use anglicised rather than Greek names. That's what folks will probably find if they go looking for more information in English on this, including in scholarly work. So for the sake of clarity. Even though that's a little weird to me, we're going to stick with that convention rather than trying to translate all the names back into Greek. Right. And we are also going to give a little bit of context first, both about the available sources for this episode and the imperial dynasty that Zoey and Theodora were part of.
There are always challenges when it comes to researching historical figures from this long ago. Documentation obviously is pretty scarce. We have had so many conversations on the show about the oldest surviving records of a person or even records about them having been written decades or even centuries after the fact, or the oldest surviving written record being a copy of something that was written much earlier. But we don't have the original for comparison because it has survived. So we don't know if that copy is accurate or how many iterations it may have gone through, or even just editorial flair or interpretation.
And in some cultures, we do have a sense of how history was preserved through an oral tradition. But often there are just a lot of unanswered questions about how later accounts reflect something that happened way before. So Zoey and Theodora come with a slightly different challenge than the one that we are usually talking about with things from this long ago. The most detailed record of their lives and their rule is the chronographs of Mikhail Solash.
Solash lived from about 10 18 to 10 eighty two. And he was a writer, a political adviser and a government official before eventually becoming a monk. His chronicle documents events that he actually lived through and in some cases witnessed. Although it does start with things that happened when he was a baby and did not have a personal memory of Solash met Zoe and Theodora multiple times. Theodora frequently invited him to leave his monastery and come visit her in the palace, although it was written shortly after.
The things that documents the chronographs is not really a straightforward presentation of people and events. Its writing style is often very poetic and dramatic. In places, it reads like a novel or a memoir. Sometimes Solash describes things that happened behind closed doors with no one there to witness and report on them. His personal opinions are often very apparent, and in places entire paragraphs are about himself instead of his purported subjects. Sometimes he also gives ages and dates that contradict official records of the time.
He really has some parts that are just like, I'm going to talk about myself for a minute about and nice about you.
How about how I feel about you.
So the cartographic also follows literary tropes that were common during the Byzantine era. The emperors and empresses are usually described as physically, flawlessly beautiful, which was pretty much the standard way to describe royalty. And the depictions of women are often stereotyped. So, for example, here is how he describes Zoe after one of her husband's confined her to the women's quarters in the palace under guard, quote, Anyway, she avoided the despicable feminine trait of talkativeness and there were no emotional outbursts.
So it is not entirely clear whether his criticisms of Zoe and Theodora reflect their actual behavior or if they are more drawn from the sexist stereotypes of the day.
As we noted at the top of the show, Zoe and Theodora were empresses during the 11th century in the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire, also known as the eastern Roman Empire, was established in the fourth century after Diocletian divided the Roman Empire into eastern and western portions, each with its own rulers.
Constantine the first, became the emperor of the eastern portion and established Constantinople as its capital. Today it is Istanbul, Turkey, and it was built on the site of the ancient city of Byzantium. The term Byzantine Empire comes from this ancient city. Although that term was not coined until around the 16th century, people living in this empire did not typically describe it as Byzantine. They only even use the word Byzantium pretty rarely. They generally referred to themselves as Romans, while people in the western Roman Empire were more likely to refer to them as Greek and to call the empire the Empire of Constantinople or New Rome.
So within the field of Byzantine history, there is starting to be some discussion about whether to move away from this terminology and into something that is more accurate.
Still in motion, still in motion, like a pretty new conversation. I mean, I'm not I'm not a Byzantine historian, but as I understand it, this is a pretty new conversation just about the whole field and how to approach it and how to kind of unload some of the Westernized baggage, which, like the naming convention of of Anglicized names, is also part of this empire, had started to decline by the ninth century when Emperor Basil the first came to power.
This started a new imperial dynasty known as the Macedonian dynasty, because Basil had been born to a peasant family in Macedonia. The Byzantine Empire, at least in theory, was an elective monarchy. But Basil took steps to establish a dynastic line that would be passed down through his descendants for generations. Although this line of succession was interrupted by various usurpations and rifts, the Macedonian dynasty ruled the empire for almost 200 years.
The Macedonian dynasty is described as ushering in the Byzantine golden age, marked by a period of literary and artistic flourishing, as well as an expansion of the empire's territory. And this expansion wasn't just about extending the empire's political influence. It was also about spreading Christianity. The Bulgarians, Serbs and Roo's all converted to Christianity during this phase of the Byzantine Empire. Zoey and Theodora came to power five generations after Basil, the first at the end of this imperial dynasty.
They were the daughters of Constantine, the 8th and his wife, Helena, and nieces of Constantine's brother, Basil. The second, Basil and Konstantin were sons of the Emperor Romanis. The second they were named COMPARATORS in the year 1960. They were both still children then, depending on which account you are looking at. Basil was either three or five and his younger brother Constantine was either a baby or a toddler. Their father was still living when they were named as his successors.
But then when Romanos died in 1963, it kicked off a period of instability. At first, Basil and Constantines mother Stefano acted as their regent. But then she married a general named Nick Aphorist Focus. This was one of many apparently unhappy marriages in this story. He was an accomplished general, but deeply unpopular as a ruler. He was ultimately assassinated in 1969 and the F.A. was implicated in his death, along with another general, John Smith. Ski's Johnson muskies took the throne and banished the Afonso to a monastery.
He then reigned until his death in 1976. Although Basil the second and Constantine the eighth technically came into power as KO emperors. At that point, Basil was seen as the far better choice to lead. He was described as thoughtful and intelligent, while his brother was more interested in maintaining a life of luxury than actually ruling. Also, as we said earlier, Basil was the older of the two, and even so he was just barely considered to be an adult.
So all the parties involved generally agreed that Basil would take the lead and his brother Constantine would be co emperor, pretty much in name only as emperor. Basil faced a series of revolts launched by other claimants to the throne, some of whom were close enough to the Macedonian dynastic line that they might have been able to gain some acceptance if they actually succeeded. It wasn't until nine eighty nine, thirteen years after coming to power that Basils forces defeated the last of them.
This Byzantine victory came with the aid of Vladimir, the great Grand Prince of Kiev.
So accounts vary somewhat in their details on this. But it was all connected to a political and religious agreement in which Vladimir married Basil and Konstantin, Sister Anna and as part of the marriage negotiations, also agreed to convert to Christianity. We also have an episode of this in the archive. But if you go check it out, be aware that most of this region was described at the time as Russia. But today it's Ukraine. During his 50 year reign, Basel implemented land reforms, forcing wealthy families to return land that had been seized from the peasantry over the course of decades.
He expanded the Byzantine Empire's territory and consolidated its influence in territory that it already held. He was nicknamed Basil the Bulgar Slayer after his conquest of Bulgaria.
Basil also hoped to form an alliance with the Holy Roman Empire, which at the time encompassed a lot of Central Europe and what's now northern Italy. And that is where we finally get back to Zoe. So we will turn our attention to her after a quick sponsor break. This episode is brought to you by progressive saving money on your car insurance is easy with progressive. It's an average savings of over 750 dollars for customers who switch and save. In fact, customers can qualify for an average of six discounts on their auto policy when they sign up discounts for things like enrolling in automatic payments, insuring more than one car, going paperless and, of course, being a safe driver.
There are so many ways to save when you switch and once you're a customer with progressive, you get unmatched claim service with 24/7 support online or by phone. It's no wonder why more than 22 million drivers trust progressive and why they've climbed to the third largest auto insurer in the country. See all the discounts for yourself at progressive dotcom. Get your quote online in as low as five minutes and find out how much you could be saving today. National annual average auto insurance savings by new customers surveyed in 2019.
Potential savings will vary. Discounts vary and are not available in all states and situations.
If you have a dog or a cat, the good news for your pet is that veterinary care is getting more and more advanced. The bad news is that can often mean that budgeting for unexpected injuries and illnesses can be difficult when your pet is sick. Only one thing matters getting them the care they need. True Pinyon helps plan for your pets lifelong health needs by protecting you from the unexpected with medical insurance for cats and dogs. Their policy pays for new and unexpected injuries and illnesses with no payout limits.
Plus, they can pay partner veterinarians directly before you're done checking out. So you can just pay your portion and go without waiting for a reimbursement check. With over 20 years experience, no payout limits and over one thousand five star reviews on Trust pilot, you can feel confident you're getting the best possible medical insurance for your pet visit. True pain dotcom today to learn how true Pinyon protects pets and pet owners like you from the unexpected.
We only mentioned two of them so far, but Byzantine Emperor Constantine, the 8th and his wife, Helena, had three daughters. The oldest, Udoka, had become a nun. According to Slash. This was because she had been scarred by an illness. That illness was probably smallpox. The middle daughter, Zoe, was born around nine seventy eight and the youngest, Theodora, was born around nine eighty one. Zoe and Theodora were both known by the honorific porphyria Janita or Born in the Purple, which was used for the daughters of emperors born during their reign.
Emperors sons had the corresponding title of Porfirio janitors Basil. The second plan to create an alliance between the eastern Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, involved a marriage between his niece Zoe and Holy Roman, Emperor of the Third. This arrangement was made in the year one thousand one, so Zawi would have been about twenty three. She was described as being exceptionally beautiful, although, as we noted earlier, Byzantine royalty were generally always described this way. This alliance would have brought together two massive political powers.
But when Zoe arrived in Bari in southern Italy to be married, having sailed there from Constantinople, it turned out that Otto had died suddenly of a fever at the age of only 21. Had he survived, though, this probably would have been a tumultuous marriage. Otto actually died after fleeing a rebellion and losing control of the imperial city.
Zelie returned to Constantinople and she largely disappeared from the historical record until Basil the second's death in ten, twenty five. Over the course of his reign, Basil had become more and more sober and reserved, and in his last years he was described as having an almost monk like austerity. He had never married. So his brother Zalian Theodorus, father Constantine the eigth followed him on the throne.
Although Constantine had the three daughters that we already mentioned, he also had no male heir. He became ill in ten twenty eight at the age of 70, and on his deathbed he appointed his relative, Romanoff's Argyris, who was the spark of the city of Constantinople to be his successor. And he also arranged a marriage between Romanos and Zoe. Although Romanos was a relative, he wasn't within the Macedonian line of succession. So according to Slash, in Romanos mind, this was the start of a new ruling dynasty.
He would be its founder and it would carry on through his descendants. If that was the case, though, there was a big flaw in his plan. Zawi was fifty, making it sort of unlikely that he was going to be able to father any children with her. Solash describes the couple trying all kinds of fertility treatments and charms in an attempt to conceive an heir. This really seems to have driven a wedge between Zoe and her husband. Each of them took lovers.
Romance also cut Zoe off from the Royal Treasury and put her on a strict allowance, which infuriated her in some accounts.
Zoe also became really jealous of her sister, who had at one point been considered as Romanos bride. In other accounts, her advisors were the ones who suggested that her sister might be a threat to her. Either way, Theodora was confined to the women's quarters in the palace and then eventually sent to a monastery. And some accounts, Zoe also cut her sister's hair into a tonsure. Solash also describes Romanos as an ineffective ruler, overconfident in his knowledge of both letters and military tactics.
In this led him to make all kinds of strategic blunders that he tried to pay for by raising taxes. But then he also spent a lot of money trying to build churches and monasteries. Unlike Basil, the second, he didn't get in the way of big landowners once again trying to take over land from the peasantry which pushed the empire toward a more feudal existence. The Byzantine Army, commanded by Romanoff's himself, suffered a humiliating and expensive defeat at the Battle of Azaz in ten thirty.
Zoe's lover during all of this was Michael, brother of John, the final trophies who had been a prominent eunuch, and the court of Basil the second. Michael was in his 20s and Zoe was in her 50s, and Romanos seems to have known about this relationship, but pretty much ignored it, possibly because he thought that trying to put a stop to it would just lead Zoey to take other lovers instead. Michael also had epilepsy, and the photograph describes Romanos is feeling sorry for him.
Ignoring this relationship did not work out. For Romanos, though, multiple accounts either suggest or flat out state that Zoe and Michael conspired to slowly poison him. Then in ten thirty four, he either drowned or was drowned in his bath while preparing for the next day's Good Friday observances has a riveting account of his body servants holding him under the water.
Nice that we don't know actually happened yet.
So we put her influences Empress to work to marry her lover Michael and place him on the Imperial Throne. But just like her late husband's decision to ignore that affair had not really worked out for him. Zoe's efforts to establish Michael as Emperor Michael the fourth did not work out for her. He seems to have concluded that a woman who would allegedly conspire with her lover to poison her husband might get a new lover and do that again so he can find Zoe to the women's quarters and dismissed all of her loyal units and ladies in waiting and then replaced them all with people of his own choosing.
Michael, the fourth was not particularly popular, is an emperor. He raised taxes and required that they paid in currency, which was a change and a hardship for people who had access to goods, but not money. This led to an uprising in ten forty and that fed into a revolt by the Bougere people against Byzantine rule in general. With the rebels taking over multiple cities and laying siege to Thessalonika.
During all of this, Michael had recurring and sometimes serious illnesses. It's not clear whether this was a complication of his epilepsy or something else. His brother John, the orphan Ultrafast, convinced him to name their sister's son, who was also named Michael. Just to confuse things as SESAR or Coimbre to help take some of the pressure off of him, so to Micheal's at this point, ruling at least in name?
Yes, one of the things that was a little frustrating about this episode is how many of the same names were released by different people, not just spread apart, but like within a couple of generations. So there's a lot of having to cross-check. Was this the same file photo? Yes. Different, Michael? No, no, no. But there were some barriers to the younger Michael getting any kind of support in this plan, although his mother was the sister of both the Emperor, Michael the Fourth and John the orphanage Truffaut's.
He was of common birth. His father was a cocker. To try to give the younger Michael a clearer connection to the imperial throne, John suggested that Zoe adopt him as her son. This would bolster his legitimacy as Caesar, both because of his adopted mother being the empress and because at this point she was pretty popular. She was an emperor's daughter, born in the purple and the niece of another emperor. And she was also generous with the Royal Treasury, at least when the emperor let her have access to it.
The elder Michael became seriously ill in 10 41, and between that illness and his military failures, he rapidly lost support. He tried to hang on to the throne for as long as he could, including planning military expeditions to Bulgaria. That was something that his physicians and advisers suspected that he just would not survive. Ultimately, he was either forced off the throne or chose to retire to a monastery. John the orphanhood Truffaut's was imprisoned and then later blinded. So Michael's nephew, Michael, followed him as emperor, becoming Michael the Fifth.
You know, if you're thinking right about now, hey, it seems like there's a pattern here and he's probably not going to act very grateful for Zoe's help in getting him on the throne. Spoiler alert. You're exactly right. We're going to talk about that after a sponsor break. T-Mobile believes that black history is American history and that together we're unstoppable. That's why T-Mobile is proud to celebrate Black History Month by sponsoring a special episode of the daily Zygi podcast focusing on the underrated achievements of black Americans.
T-Mobile knows that black Americans have always played a monumental role in writing this country's story, but that even today their own stories remain in the shadows. Too often, black Americans have contributed so much from art to activism to technological innovation. And T-Mobile believes acknowledging this fact is critical to creating more inclusive workplaces and a more just world. They're unstoppable together. Ethos focuses on building an ever improving company culture and sponsoring educational content like this episode of the Daily Zygi.
You don't want to miss it, so check it out now. It's the special episode released on February 13th and then visit T-Mobile Dotcom Slash Black History to learn more about what T-Mobile is doing today or join the conversation using hashtag unstoppable together.
On March 5th, Disney invites you to travel to the fantasy world of commander in Rhia and the Last Dragon. When an evil force threatens the land, the dragon sacrifice themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned, dividing the people of Cassandre. It's up to Lone Warrior Riot to track down the last dragon and restore peace. It won't be an easy journey for meeting a street savvy 10 year old entrepreneur named Boon to stumbling upon a con baby and her band of Bangui's Riau will learn that it'll take more than a dragon to save the world.
It's going to take trust and teamwork, featuring the voices of Kelly Marie, Tranny's, Rya and Aquafina as the magical dragon Sisu. Rhia in The Last Dragon is the next epic adventure from the studio that brought you Mwana and Frozen, directed by Don Hall and Carlos Lopez Estrada Syariah in The Last Dragon the way you want in theaters or order it on Disney plus with premiere access March 5th. Additional fee required.
Even though Michael, the fifth acceptance as emperor was really only possible, thanks to Zoe agreeing to adopt him and publicly supporting him once he was on the throne, he banished her to a monastery and started spreading rumors that she had been plotting to kill him. And although there are some sources that conclude that Zoe really was involved in the poisoning of her first husband, Romano saw at least that it was possible that she had been. They also generally agree that this whole accusation by, you know, that the younger Michael now, Michael, the fifth like that was just baseless.
As word spread about Zoe's treatment, the people of Constantinople were outraged, in the words of slowish quote, The indignation, in fact, was universal and all were ready to lay down their lives. For Zoe, Michael's father, being of common birth made the whole thing particularly insulting quote. How was it this born fellow dared to raise a hand against a woman of such lineage?
When people learned that Zoe had been banished to a monastery, an armed mob attacked the palace and started tearing down royal buildings. Zoe was retrieved from the monastery to give a public appearance alongside Michael, the fifth still dressed in her nun's habit. But this really did not appease the mob. They did not want Zoe the nun. They wanted Zoe the Empress. Also, the people of Constantinople had not forgotten about Zoe's sister, Theodora, who had spent at least the previous 10 years in a monastery when they couldn't restore Zoe to the throne.
They went to Theodorus Monastery, brought her out of it and proclaimed her to be the empress.
This did not settle all the unrest, though. And in April of 10, forty Emperor Michael the Fifth fled the palace, according to the chronographs, to his relationship with his uncles had become increasingly contentious, and he had all of them castrated, with the exception of his uncle Constantine, who he had promoted to Nobley SMIs. And in the wake of the mob's attack on the palace, both Michael the Fifth and his uncle Constantine were exiled and blinded. And with that there were two empresses, Zoe and Theodora, both of whom had popular support, even though a lot of people didn't think it was quite proper for a woman to be empress without a husband, the empress was dismissed.
Everyone who had been involved with Zoe's banishment and they kept the people they thought were loyal, but otherwise they did not appoint new councillors for a while.
Here is how the chronograph describes them. Quote, The elder Zoe was the quicker to understand ideas, but slower to give them utterance with Theodora. On the other hand, it was just the reverse in both respects, for she did not readily show her innermost thoughts. But once she had embarked on a conversation, she would chatter away with an expert and lively tongue. So it was a woman of passionate interests, prepared with equal enthusiasm for both alternatives death or life.
I mean, in that she reminded me of sea waves now lifting a ship high and then plunging it down to the depths. Such characteristics were certainly not found in Theodora. In fact, she had a calm disposition and in one way, if I may put it so, a dull one. Zoe was open handed the sort of woman who could exhaust a sea teeming with gold dust in one day. The other counted her status when she gave away money, partly no doubt, because her limited resources forbade any reckless spending, and partly because inherently she was more self controlled in this manner.
I can't help but think about Zoe and her perfumes also being associated with poisons he also described. Zoe is very pious and not enjoying the typically feminine tasks like spinning and working on a loom, but really enjoying, again, that thing that I just referenced, making perfumes and having a laboratory set up in her rooms for that purpose. When it comes to talking about their leadership, their is not quite as flattering. I mean, I would call that earlier thing that I read kind of flattering, but also sometimes a little tempered.
But when it came to talking about their rule, he wrote, quote, To put it quite candidly, for my present purpose is not to compose a eulogy, but to write an accurate history. Neither of them was fitted by temperament to govern. They neither knew how to administer, nor were they capable of serious argument on the subject of politics. For the most part, they confuse the trifles of the harim with important matters of state, even the very trait of the elder sister, which is commanded among many folk today, namely her ungrudgingly liberality dispensed very widely over a long period of time.
Even this trait, although it was no doubt satisfactory to those who enjoyed it because of the benefits they received from her, was that. Are all the sole cause in the first place of the universal corruption and of the reduction of Roman fortunes to their lowest ebb, Zoe and Theodora ruled together from April to June of ten forty two. And as we said earlier, well, they both seem to have been beloved. There was an ever present sense that it was simply wrong for them to be on the throne without a man.
So to solidify their positions. We married again, this time to Constantine. But Amoco's. He was a wealthy aristocrat who had a reputation for being a womanizer, but he also had experience in government. He also had his own connection to the dynasty, although it was a somewhat distant one. He was related to Zoe's late first husband, Romanos, and he in this marriage became Emperor Constantine.
The 9th Zoe, Theodora and Constantine all ruled together. But getting married did not really do much to avert a scandal as it had been intended. Constantine had a lover named Lorina and that by itself would not have raised too many eyebrows, especially if he had kept her in his own house without being too showy about it and without being too extravagant and public and any gifts that he might give to her. He did not do that, though. He moved her into the palace and essentially treated her as though she were his wife, giving her the title of Agusta and having the staff refer to her as Empress.
That's not problematic at all. According to the chronograph to Zoe, who at this point was in her 60s, actually didn't really object to this cyclorama seems to have wanted to stay in the Empress's good graces, gifting them things that they particularly loved for Zoe, that with sweet herbs and for Theodora it was Persian coins which she collected. But in ten forty four scleroderma, who had asthma and had been experiencing chest pains, died suddenly.
Konstantin, who it seems Zoe chose as the husband in part because of his administrative experience, turned out to be pretty lavish in his spending and also delegated most of the actual work of governing to other people. Just spent money really freely from the Royal Treasury and. Did not do a lot of the management work himself. He also ordered the execution of John the Orphan or Truffaut's, who had already been exiled. He fought off a revolt led by a soldier named Menezes'.
And the Empire also had to defend itself against a Russian fleet which attacked in retaliation for the death of a citizen Noble, who was killed in a brawl in Constantinople. Then there was another attempted usurpation, complete with the false rumor that Constantine was actually dead. That rumor was helped along by the fact that he did have some kind of recurring, serious illness toward the end of her life. So we put more and more of the day to day administration of the empire in Constantines hands, which he, of course, then delegated.
Then, after a short and intense illness, she died in 10 fifty at the age estimated to be about 70 to Konstantin was described as being heartbroken after her passing and he died five years later.
That left Theodora as the last of the Macedonian dynasty and salacious words, quote, She herself appointed her officials dispense to justice from her throne with due solemnity, exercised her vote in the courts of law, issued decrees, sometimes in writing, sometimes by word of mouth. She gave orders in her manner, did not always show consideration for the feelings of her subjects, for she was sometimes more than a little abrupt.
But Siwash also says that she didn't trust her own judgment, relying too much on the opinions of other people and appointing a man who was, quote, completely lacking in political temperament as the head of her administration.
And this doesn't come up in the accounts of Zoe and Theodora personally. But it was a big enough historical moment that it seems weird, not to mention it in ten fifty for the pope, Leo, the ninth excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, Michael, several areas from the Roman Catholic Church and the patriarch excommunicated the pope. In turn, this became known as the schism of ten fifty four or the East-West schism, which was the final split between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches after years of growing tension.
So that was toward the end of Theodorus life. She never married. She died on August 31st. Ten fifty six at the age of about seventy five. She named a civil servant as her successor and he became Michael, the sixth studio Ticos. This was the start of another period of chaos. Michael the six was overthrown in a military rebellion in ten 57, and then there was an abdication. A general who took the throne only to be captured by the Turks and replaced with a puppet ruler.
And then yet another military revolt. The Byzantine Empire was finally conquered by the Ottoman Empire in fourteen fifty three. Yeah, like four hundred more years passed between that sum up of things that immediately followed this last cycle and the end of the empire. There's a mosaic of Zui and the highest Zofia in Istanbul. It bears the inscription Zoe, the most pious Agusta. It's also possible that Zoe and Theodora are depicted in medallions and the Cockily triptych, which is a cloisonne, a depiction of the Virgin Mary.
The figures in that are not specifically names, but one of these medallions depicts two empresses, together with the Virgin Mary, possibly being blessed or crowned. And it's actually the only known depiction of two embassies together with the Virgin Mary, an olive Byzantine art. That is the kind of roller coaster of Zoe and Theodora, huh? With with some question marks about the the accounts in some cases, yes. And the who poisoned him and did did did anyone drown accidentally or were they purposefully drowned so many so many potential murders and assassinations in the story.
Do you have non murderous mail?
Yeah, I have an email much lighter in tone than the all the potential assassinations and whatnot. It is from Brianna who says, Dear Holly and Tracy, I've wanted to reach out to you ladies for a long time. When I heard the subject of this episode, that episode being the Jim Thorpe episode, I ran to my laptop to finally write to you. Jim Thorpe is a subject near and dear to my heart as he is the namesake of my hometown.
I'm all of two minutes into the first part of part three on the subject, so I'm sorry if I repeat some information or going over in the podcast. I discovered your podcast when I moved back to the area. Your voices have kept me entertained and informed as I turned my house into a home. Now I take daily runs while listening to your podcast and visit Jim Thorpe's grave and memorial. Often, while there are differing opinions on whether his remains belong in a city he'd never been to in his lifetime, I can say that the residents of this town treat him with the utmost respect and honor.
People who visit ask about his history and we're happy to share. My father also grew up in this town and he tells me stories about how exciting it was to rename the town after him, even without the name change. Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is a town rich in history and beauty with tens of thousands of visitors every year. Jim Thorpe was the Center for Mining for Anthracite Coal and a founder of a coal mining company created much of the town to house employees of the mines, including his mansion.
There's some deep history about the Irish in this town, and they are also honored and respected. Every year during St. Patrick's Day, there's a canal system and a switchback railroad, and the people come to visit from the cities to ride the train and see the leaves every year. I'm including some photos highlighting our town. And then I'm going to skip over that to try and describe photographs themselves on an audio podcast. I am writing to show my appreciation of the show.
But if you want to read it on the podcast, I don't mind. I know there are some personally identifying details in this email. Keep up the great work Bre-X. I think I said Brianna at the beginning because I was reading the email address, but it is signed. Bri, thank you so much. Bri, I love seeing these pictures because one of my favorite things to do when there is not a pandemic happening is going to some cute little town and walking around and looking in all the shops and galleries and eating in all the restaurants and having drinks and all the bars.
And I loved I was like this. I had seen a few pictures of the town of Jim Thorpe before. But these particular ones maybe be like, yep, this is the kind of place that I would 100 percent walk around, do a lot of window shopping, eat and lots of restaurants, hang out and relax, go hiking a little, watch, watch some tree leaves.
Yeah, I'm nostalgic for that. We'll put it on the list these pandemic days.
So if you would like to write to us about this or any other podcast or history podcast that I heart radio dot com and we're all over social media at MTT in history, you'll find our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram and you can subscribe to our show on the radio app and our podcasts and anywhere else, get your podcasts.
Stuff you missed in history class is the production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts for My Heart radio visit by her radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
Introducing touch free payments from PayPal, a safe way for your customers to pay, simply download the PayPal app and display your own unique QR code for your customers to scan whether you're a market seller, a poodle, pamper piano tuner.
Or plumber signing up to accept such free payments for your business is easy, touch free QR code payments shop safe with PayPal. So we're starting, we're rolling. Are we already recording, looking at your notes? This is so official. Hey, guys, it's Brian Baumgartner. Maybe you've heard my podcast, an oral history of the Office, where we go deep into the making of the show now. Well, you can go even deeper. That's what she said, because I am sharing my full length conversations with the cast and crew of the office.
Listen to the office deep dive on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.