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Leo's policy initiated the first wave of iconoclasm in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and it met with strong resistance in Irene's hometown, which tried to break away from the empire along with the rest of Greece. This act made Charlemagne an equal with the Byzantine emperor. Unsuccessful in the field and increasingly unpopular, in January 792, the emperor was rash enough to restore his mother to her former position of authority. In any case, Charlemagne, greatest of the Frankish kings and master of a realm that stretched from northern Spain to Poland encompassing France, Germany, Northern Italy, and all Central Europe, was a force to be reckoned with. Captured as he attempted to reach the East, where loyal troops might be secured, he was brought to the palace to the Porphyry Chamber, where he had been born but 27 years before. This article has been rated as C-Class. Greater Athens has an area of 165 square miles (427 square km). The ecclesiastical gathering was then reconvened in the nearby city of Nicaea, where the First Ecumenical Council had been held nearly 500 years before. This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects: Noted for her liberality, her freeing of prisoners and, above all, for her convening of the Second Council of Nicaea, and for her efforts to restore the veneration of sacred images, Irene was popular among the people despite the irregularity of her conduct of the affairs of state. Irene of Athens has been listed as a level-5 vital article in an unknown topic. To their defenders, the icons were mere representations, visible images of invisible realities, subject to respect and devotion but never to veneration or worship—the position of the Roman Catholic Church to this day. One is her role in helping restore the use of Christian icons or images in Byzantium, which had been forbidden in the Eastern Orthodox form of Christianity. This appointment was part of Irene's consistent policy to rely on eunuch off… For nearly two decades, Irene's power as regent was secure, but as Constantine VI approached manhood, he was determined to rule for himself. She was born about 752. Constantine blinded Nicephorus and another important man, then cut out the tongues of his other four uncles. However, the date of retrieval is often important. In Western eyes, that meant that there was only one emperor, since the West did not recognize a woman as emperor. In the middle of the eighth century, Athens was a hotbed of opposition to the policies of the Byzantine emperor Constantine V. For a mixture of political and religious reasons, his father Leo III had begun the policy of banning religious images (icons) of Christ, his disciples and saints, in favor of the symbolism of the cross. And when it was accomplished, she had canceled the engagement with Rotrude. Copperplate engraving from Abraham Bogaert’s De Roomsche Monarchy, The Roman Monarchy, Francois Salma, Utrecht, 1697. The first assault upon the icons was launched in the Arab Empire, the caliphate, whose ruler Yazid II, supposedly under Jewish influence (the details are very unclear), ordered the icons in Syria to be destroyed. Irene was born in the year 752 in a noble Athenian family. Flourished around 782; first wife of Constantine VI Porphyrogenitus (b. When Constantine formed a conspiracy to oust his mother, Irene learned of the plot and punished all involved. Though the monks were furious with Constantine for what they considered his sinful behavior and feared anything that might weaken the authority of the Church which was the basis for their own power, Irene appears to have supported her son's marital escapade precisely to create a reason for removing him from the throne. On 14 January 771, Irene gave birth to a son, the future Constantine VI. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html. In March of 799, she put down another conspiracy. On the side of the iconophiles (image-lovers) or iconodules (image-adorers) were the papacy (with suitable cautions), the monks, and the female population. Complete exact biopraphy of Irene of Athens from Historian personalities category updated and reviewed by autorized personel. . Irene's ruthlessness and lust for power, hopelessly entwined with her fanatical devotion to the restoration of icons, had overcome all maternal instinct, all human feelings, and all fear of public opinion both at home and abroad. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1952. Irene of Athens, (Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία) died on August 9, 803 AD. She was married by Constantine V, ruler of the Eastern Empire, to his son, the future Leo IV, in 769. She had earlier sought to unite East and West, first through the marriage between Rotrude and Constantine. She had her name put first on imperial documents. The Roman Empire was governed by an autocracy (government by one person) centered on the position of the emperor. With this in mind, it is difficult to say why Constantine V chose Irene to marry his eldest son, Leo IV. Upon learning of this, the troops of the Armeniac theme (military province) rebelled, secured the liberation of the emperor, and excluded Irene and her entourage of eunuch supporters from the palace. Irene (752 – August 9, 803) came to power as regent for her son (780) in the midst of the iconoclastic controversy which wracked the Empire for a century (726-87, 815-43). Hussey, J.M., ed. In September 780, Irene was made regent and co-emperor with her son Constantine VI who was not yet ten years old. Despite the dissatisfaction with her rule, however, Irene had many friends, especially among the monks who adored her, and she was allowed to live out the rest of her life in dignified exile on the island of Lesbos where she died in 803. Though the council began on August 27, 786, it was soon disturbed by the still strongly iconoclastic soldiers, and Irene was unable to hold them back. To the broad masses, however, especially the women, and to the monks who were drawn largely from the ranks of the common people, the line between the images and the sacred reality they were meant to represent was easily blurred. Although she was an orphan, her uncle or cousin, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patrician and was possibly the strategosof the theme of Hellas at the end of the 8th century. To these strains were added the hostilities engendered by the iconoclastic controversy which pitted the icon-favoring popes against the iconoclastic emperors for most of the eighth century. Last modified : 2011-06-30. Widely regarded as holy in and of themselves, the icons gradually began to take the place of the idols that Christianity had overthrown. IRENE, BYZANTINE EMPRESS Coregnant 780–797, sole ruler from 797 to Oct. 31, 802; b. Athens, c. 752; d. Lesbos, Aug. 9, 803. "Alexius was not yet, or very slightly,…, Vespasian Once again, Leo IV's brothers conspired for a chance at the throne; once again, they were thwarted. Early Life. 840, who married Byzantine emperor Michael II of Amorion). Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates. She was a member of the noble Greek Sarantapechos family, which had significant political influence in central mainland Greece. He therefore sent emissaries to seek the empress's hand in marriage, apparently with the idea that after the death of the surviving partner one of his own children would succeed them since Irene's only son was dead and she was past childbearing age. The first attempt by Irene to convoke the council occurred in Constantinople on May 31, 786, when a conclave attended by the papal delegates was convened in the Church of the Holy Apostles. In 786, however, Charlemagne repudiated this brilliant alliance for reasons that are not clear but which probably concerned the council convened at Nicaea that year without his consultation and his own iconoclast resentment of Irene's well-known iconophile views. Already holding the high court rank of patrikios, through this appointment Staurakios became, in the words of the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, "the foremost man of his day and in charge of everything" for most of Irene's subsequent reign. Byzantine empress, Isaurian Dynasty, Pala D'oro, Venice are important aspects of Irene of Athens life. After her death, she became a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church.. The Senate, the…, Irene, Chionia, and Agape of Thessalonica (d. 304), https://www.encyclopedia.com/women/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/irene-athens-c-752-803. The overthrow of Constantine VI and seizure of the throne by Irene had grave repercussions that indirectly altered the history of the Western world. In 788, for reasons unknown, Irene suddenly decided to break off the engagement of Rotrude and Constantine, then arranged a marriage with a young woman named Maria of Amnia , from Armenia. Known as the Second Council of Nicaea or the Seventh Ecumenical Council, more than 300 bishops attended this conclave which lasted from September 13 to October 13, 787. She replaced the generals with her favorites, who were also iconophiles, and started the process whereby she slowly lost the support of the army. One thing remained the same: she was still unpopular with the military. The collapse of Byzantine rule in Rome left the pope free of imperial influence but further alienated the center of the Church from the center of the Empire. On Christmas day, 800, Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Romans by Pope Leo III. Irene could now play on negative opinion against Constantine and plot to depose him. It said in numerous sources that the latter sent a dispatch in which he … Three years later, the emperor Leo III, never an enemy of images before, suddenly destroyed a major icon and issued an edict against their veneration in 730. Reprint. The army was demoralized and alienated by her conduct of affairs; the Arabs invaded Asia Minor as far as Ephesus and ravaged the frontier provinces until peace was obtained by the payment of a large tribute to the caliph, Harun al-Rashid. By 1412 BC, the settlement had become an important center of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls. Dec 6, 2013 - Byzantine Kataphraktoi - 11th C ? Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. She then made the army swear that it would not support her son as ruler as long as she lived. In 783, the patriarch, Paul of Cyprus, abdicated and renounced his former vow against the icons. Born in Athens around 752; died on August 9, 803, on Lesbos; parents unknown, probably noble; grew up an Athenian orphan; married Leo IV the Khazar, Byzantine emperor (r. 775–780), in December 769; children: son, Constantine VI (b. In January 792, Irene was acclaimed co-emperor with Constantine, but his name came first on official documents once again. By 1412 BC, the settlement had become an important center of the Mycenaean civilization and the Acropolis was the site of a major Mycenaean fortress whose remains can be recognised from sections of the characteristic Cyclopean walls. Realizing that her fall was final, Irene had the intelligence to step aside gracefully thereby perhaps saving herself from physical harm. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1966. While the coup that had cast Constantine from the throne, though illegal, was not without precedent, the placing of a woman on the imperial throne was a thing unheard of in Roman history since the empire had been founded in the first century b.c. Irene was also known for her generous financial policies, which were especially friendly to monasteries. 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