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Leo, however, was a steadfast iconoclast who, according to tradition, found that Irene possessed icons and thereafter would no longer share their marriage bed. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. Then, through the use of a bride-show, Irene selected Maria of Amnia as Constantine's bride. Her family background is not known. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Irene-Byzantine-empress-752-803, Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors - Biography of Constantine VI and Irene. The wife of the Byzantine emperor Leo IV, Irene became, on her husband’s death in September 780, guardian of their 10-year-old son, Constantine VI, and co-emperor with him. What does irene of athens mean? Irene favoured the restoration of the use of icons, which had been prohibited in 730. Irene (c. 752 - 9 August 803) was a Byzantine empress (although she called herself basileus, the male form of the word "emperor," rather than basilissa, "empress") from 797 to 802. From overcoming oppression, to breaking rules, to reimagining the world or waging a rebellion, these women of history have a story to tell. Captured by forces friendly to Irene, Constantine was brought back to Constantinople to the Purple Palace, Porphyra, where he was born, and there blinded in mid-August 797, apparently with the foreknowledge of his mother, Irene. She was brought to Constantinopleby Emperor Constantine Von November 1, 769, and was married to his son Leo IVon December 17. She apparently was a beautiful but orphaned girl who at the age of seventeen was brought to Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine V to be married to his son Leo in November 769. With Leo's death, his son became emperor as Constantine VI, but since he was only ten years old his mother Irene was installed with him as co-emperor, and she immediately reversed the iconoclastic policies of her husband. An attempt to seize power was crushed by the Empress, who demanded that the military oath of fidelity should recognize her as senior ruler. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Information and translations of irene of athens in the most comprehensive dictionary definitions resource on the By 792, the feud between Irene and her son had cooled and Irene's title as empress was confirmed. He was 26 years old. An unnamed female relative was married to the Bulgar ruler Telerig in 776. Irene of Athens - Champion of Orthodoxy and the Birth of the Welfare State. Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree.... Meet extraordinary women who dared to bring gender equality and other issues to the forefront. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). She sponsored many philanthropic endeavors, remitting taxes and canceling payments from soldiers' widows, which were required in lieu of the deceased soldiers' military service. Constantine VI was proclaimed sole ruler and his mother banished from court. Thus the two halves of the Roman empire would be united. Learning from the experience in Constantinople, Irene arranged that the council in 787 would be away from the capital, in Nicea, which incidentally was the site of Constantine the Great's council of 325. Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. Although she was an orphan, her uncle, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patrician and possibly strategos of the theme of Hellas. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Before becoming empress, she was consort to Leo IV from 775 to 780 and empress dowager from 780 to 797. Vita Irenes, 'La vie de l'impératrice Sainte Irène', ed. Irene of Athens, Byzantine basilissa, is comparable to Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, and Russian empress Catherine the Great. She was married by Constantine V, ruler of the Eastern Empire, to his son, the future Leo IV, in 769. Each of these women's stories is a great … In 790, discontent swelled to open resistance when soldiers from the Theme of Armeniacs proclaimed Constantine the sole ruler. Irene of Athens is one of the Great People specifically a Great Merchant in Civilization VI. Though this claim is not supported by the Menaion, the "Lives of Saints" by Nikodemos the Hagiorite, or any other related book of the Orthodox Church, some Western sources [2] still cite Irene as a saint of the Orthodox Church, based on the writings of the Bollandists. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Since Irene didn’t have any siblings, she must have had quite a lonely childhood being shuttled from one house to another. However, after she had disclosed the location of the imperial treasures she held Nikephoros banished her to the island of Lesbos, where she supported herself by spinning. Irene of Athens (780-802), Solidus, Constantinople, AD 797-802 AV (g 4,41; mm 19; h 6) Bust of Irene facing, wearing loros and crown with cross, pinnacles and pendilia, holding a globus cruciger and a cross tipped sceptre, Rv. However, Irene broke off the engagement in 788, over her son's objections. Irene of Athens (c.752-30 September 806), also known as Irene Sarantapechos, was the Byzantine Empress regnant from 797 to 806. Omissions? Irene of Athens was the first woman to be sole ruler (Autokrator) of the Byzantine empire. Irene had taken a hands-off attitude with Constantine's handling of his marriage. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. Irene was born to a noble Greek family of Athens, the Sarantapechos family. She is most remembered for her marriage to Charlemagne in 803, unifying the Franks and the Byzantines. Irene of Athens was the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Leo IV and mother of Constantine VI, both strong iconoclasts. Another council, which is recognized by both the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches as the Seventh Ecumenical Council, met at Nicaea in 787 and restored the cult of images. She apparently was a beautiful but orphaned girl who at the age of seventeen was brought to Constantinople by the Emperor Constantine V to be married to his son Leo in November 769. In 798 she opened diplomatic relations with the Western emperor Charlemagne, and in 802 a marriage between her and Charlemagne was reportedly contemplated. 100 Women Trailblazers. Irene of Athens is credited as Byzantine empress, Isaurian Dynasty, Pala D'oro, Venice. After Irene's deposition, the forces for iconoclasm returned to power, finally to be defeated under another strong iconodule leader, the Empress Theodora. Ruling alone, Irene reigned from 797 to 802, calling herself basileus (βασιλεύς), "emperor," rather than basilissa (βασίλισσα), "empress." By her marriage to Emperor Leo IV the Khazar, Irene had only one son Constantine VI, whom she succeeded on the throne. Their Zodiac sign is Capricorn. Irene of Athens is similar to these monarches: Tzitzak, Theophylact (son of Michael I), Aelia Eudocia and more. In 802 Irene was deposed and exiled to Prinkipo (now Büyükada) and then to Lesbos, where she died August 9, 803. Same Please consider supporting OrthodoxWiki. She was also known to have initiated the Second Council of Nicea. Irene was born c. 752 to the influential Sarantapechos family of Athens (hence the moniker); she was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V and married to his son Leo in 768. Irene of Athens Tuesday, January 1, 752 Irene of Athens is the most famous person named Irene. Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. Irene of Athens (Greek: Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία; c. 752 – 9 August 803 AD), also known as Irene Sarantapechaina (Greek: Εἰρήνη Σαρανταπήχαινα), was Byzantine empress from 797 to 802. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. If you find our videos helpful you can support us by buying something from amazon. When it comes to Irene of Athens, who ruled the Byzantine Empire at the turn of the 9 th century, iconoclasm was fine as long as it wasn’t for religious reasons. This letter became the beginning of the misconception that Irene is considered a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Irene's place in the Orthodox Christian church is that of a strong defender of the veneration of images. This council, in contrast with the robber council of 754 in Hieria, was attended by the patriarchs or their representatives. See Article History. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com: accessed ), memorial page for Irene of Athens (c.752–803), Find a Grave Memorial no. Irene of Athens Biography: Irene came from a noble family in Athens. Irene of Athensの意味や使い方 エイレーネー (東ローマ女帝)エイレーネー“アテナイア”(ギリシア語:Ἐιρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία, Eirēnē hē Athēnaiā、752年 - 803年8月9日)は、東ローマ帝国イサウリ... - 約1171万語ある英和辞典・和英辞典。 Their son was born just a little Irene of Athens was one of the most ruthless, ambitious, and forceful women ever to hold a throne and, in her determination to prevent her son from reigning and her boldness in daring to become the first woman ever to hold the Roman throne, she ranks with Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt and Catherine the Great as a profound breaker with dynastic tradition. In January 792, however, Irene was allowed to return to court and even to resume her position as co-ruler. Irene was born to a noble Greekfamily of Athens, the Sarantapechos family. Irene was born in Athens, sometime between 750-755. Irene acceded to the change of events and only asked to continue to live as a private citizen in her palace. For what she thought was for the safety and protection of her family Britannica Explores. She was also known to have initiated the Second Council of Nicea. Leo, however, was a steadfast iconoclastwho, according to tradition, found that Irene possessed icons and thereafter would no longer … She arranged the convening of the Second Council of Nicea in 787 that restored the practice of veneration of icons. Her common name was Irene Sarantapechaina, she was born to a noble family in Athens; but she became an orphan at a young age, her uncle took her under his wing and using his political influences, he helped her to secure a an advantageous marriage. The rival factions continued their intrigues and, in 797, Constantine found it necessary to flee the palace. In the meantime, having taken Theodote, Irene's lady-in-waiting, as mistress, Constantine arranged that Theodote be crowned augusta, a title which Maria was not granted, and then married her. Events came to a head when emissaries from Charlemagne and Pope Leo arrived in Constantinople with a proposal of marriage between Irene and Charlemagne. The council affirmed the principle of veneration of icons and declared iconoclasm a heresy. Portraits [] Being in poor health, Leo died after only five years as emperor, on September 8, 780. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Irene of Byzantium (752-9 August 803) was the Empress of the Byzantine Empire from 797 to 802, succeeding Constantine VI of Byzantium and preceding Nicephorus I of Byzantium. Her family background is not known. FAQs. Irene’s zeal in restoring icons and her patronage of monasteries ensured her a place among the saints of the Greek Orthodox Church. She was born about 752. She was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 769, and was married to his son Leo IV on 17 December. Also, to open the posts of this year, certainly later than planned, we begin with the Byzantine Empress Irene of Athens and how important she was to the Orthodox Eastern Church. This page was last edited on January 6, 2015, at 06:52. Updates? The marriage, however, was very unpopular with the Church, because its legality was seriously questioned. As Constantine matured he became involved in plots to wrestle control from Irene. Anger at the demand prompted the themes (administrative divisions) of Asia Minor to open resistance in 790. She had Tarasius, one of her supporters, elected patriarch of Constantinople and then summoned a general church council on the subject. Although she was an orphan, her uncle, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patricianand possibly strategosof the themeof Hellas. F. Halkin, Analecta Bollandiana, 106 (1988) 5-27; see also W.T. Irene also had a nephew. Lethal and beautiful, one of the most evil women in history but also one of the most influential. At this time, October 31, 802, the nobles of the empire, having been concerned with her financial incompetency, took action and chose Nikephoros, Irene's finance minister, as emperor. Irene then reigned alone as emperor (not empress) for five years. By this marriage they had two daughters, Euphrosyne and Irene. She ruled jointly with her son, Constantine, after the death of her husband Leo. By skillful intrigues with the bishops and courtiers she organized a conspiracy against Constantine, who was arrested and blinded at his mother’s orders (797). Definition of irene of athens in the Definitions.net dictionary. Irene was related to the noble Greek Sarantapechos family of Athens. According to the contemporary Byzantine historian Theophanes, the scheme was frustrated by one of Irene’s favourites. To forestall threats of disloyalty and to strengthen her position in these feuds, Irene demanded that oaths of fidelity be taken only in her name. With the election of Tarasius as the Patriarch of Constantinople on December 25, 784, she was able to convene the Seventh Ecumenical Council. She was the wife of Leo IV. Treadgold, 'The Unpublished Saint's Life of the Empress Irene', Byzantinische Forschungen, 7 (1982) 237-51. https://orthodoxwiki.org/index.php?title=Irene_of_Athens&oldid=120658. Constantine, however, did not like Maria and forced her to become a nun. Please leave this field empty Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and join We don’t know much about her parents, but she was very young when they passed, leaving the poor little girl at the mercy of different relatives. In January 771 Irene gave birth to a son, the goal of all queens and empresses of the time. She showed little interest in finance or diplomacy, but made her mark in the Orthodox Christian world by rejection of iconoclasm. Meaning of irene of athens. Not having a dynastic background, Irene was continually confronted by opposition forces, some of whom used Leo's half-brothers as figureheads. A female relative of Irene, Theophano was chosen in 807 by Empereor Nikephoros as the bride of his son Staurakios. Nikephoros was then crowned by Patriarch Tarasius in Hagia Sophia Cathedral. They are considered the most important person in … Irene of Athens (Greek: Εἰρήνη ἡ Ἀθηναία, Eirénē ē Athēnaía; c. 752 – 9 August 803), surnamed Sarantapechaina (Σαρανταπήχαινα), was Byzantine empress consort by marriage to Emperor Leo IV from 775 to 780, regent during the minority of her 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 died on August 9, 803. Biography Irene was born in 752 to the House of Sarantapechos, the daughter of Theophylaktos Sarantapechos, and she married Emperor Leo IV of Byzantium. When it met in Constantinople in 786, it was broken up by Iconoclast soldiers stationed in that city. Rivalries in court also intensified. In 802 a conspiracy of officials and generals deposed her and placed on the throne Nicephorus, the minister of finance. Then, she had them administer communion at the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Nativity of our Lord to demonstrate that they had rejected politics. The couple were married in November 788. When Leo died in 780, she became regent for her nine-year-old son. Theodore the Studite wrote a praising letter [1] to Irene because of her work in supporting icons. Her zeal for the restoration of icons put an end to the most virulent phase of iconoclasm in the Byzantine empire and paved the way for the permanent acceptance of icons in the Orthodox Church. As Constantine approached maturity, he grew resentful of his mother’s controlling influence in the empire. Irene of Athens was one of the most ruthless, ambitious, and forceful women ever to hold a throne and, in her determination to prevent her son from reigning and … Irene was also known for her generous financial policies, which were especially friendly to monasteries. The first woman ever to hold the throne of the Roman Caesars in her own right, however illegally, the empress Irene was born to an obscure but Irene Serantapechaina, known as Irene of Athens or Irene the Athenian (Greek: Ειρήνη η Αθηναία, "Eirēnē") (c. 752 – August 9, 803) was a Byzantine empress regnant from 797 to 802, having previously been Empress consort from Civilization VI Wiki is a Fandom Gaming Community. Although she was an orphan, her uncle or cousin Constantine Sarantapechos was a patrician and was possibly strategos of the theme of Hellas at the end of the 8th century. She was exiled, first to the island of Prinkipo (now Büyükada) and then to Lesbos. Seeking closer relations with the Carolingians, Irene negotiated a marriage between her son and Rotrude, who was a daughter of Charlemagne by his third wife Hildegard. 42759397, citing Constantinople, Monastery of St Euphrosyne, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey ; Maintained by Find A Grave . She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. Upon the death of Constantine V in 775, Irene's husband Leo ascended to the throne as Leo IV. Irene was a strong iconodule. Her feast day is August 9. Corrections? 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. Initially convened in Constantinople on August 1, 786, the council was moved to Nicea in May 787 because of the instigated opposition in Constantinople of soldiers loyal to the iconoclasts who forced the dissolution of the 786 sessions. Born in Athens of a Greek noble family, between the years of 750 and 755, little is known regarding Irene Sarantapechaina's life before ascending to the Byzantine throne. Later in that year she crushed what seems to have been a plot by the Iconoclasts (opposers of the use of icons) to put Leo’s half brother, Nicephorus, on the throne. To blunt the threat from the half-brothers, she had them ordained as priests, since clergy could not rule. 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. Her family background is not known. 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