Upon the death of Constantine V in 775, Irene's husband Leo ascended to the throne as Leo IV. 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. Then, through the use of a bride-show, Irene selected Maria of Amnia as Constantine's bride. Get a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to exclusive content. Irene also had a nephew. Updates? It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. 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. 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. What does irene of athens mean? 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. 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. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. This letter became the beginning of the misconception that Irene is considered a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Irene then reigned alone as emperor (not empress) for five years. Irene of Athens was the first woman to be sole ruler (Autokrator) of the Byzantine empire. An attempt to seize power was crushed by the Empress, who demanded that the military oath of fidelity should recognize her as senior ruler. He was 26 years old. 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. Irene was born to a noble Greek family of Athens, the Sarantapechos family. Ruling alone, Irene reigned from 797 to 802, calling herself basileus (βασιλεύς), "emperor," rather than basilissa (βασίλισσα), "empress." Omissions? By this marriage they had two daughters, Euphrosyne and Irene. It is believed that she was born of a Greek noble family. She arranged the convening of the Second Council of Nicea in 787 that restored the practice of veneration of icons. She ruled jointly with her son, Constantine, after the death of her husband Leo. 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. She was exiled, first to the island of Prinkipo (now Büyükada) and then to Lesbos. Irene of Athens (c.752-30 September 806), also known as Irene Sarantapechos, was the Byzantine Empress regnant from 797 to 806. 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. Thus the two halves of the Roman empire would be united. 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. 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). The rival factions continued their intrigues and, in 797, Constantine found it necessary to flee the palace. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. She is most remembered for her marriage to Charlemagne in 803, unifying the Franks and the Byzantines. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Irene of Athens - Champion of Orthodoxy and the Birth of the Welfare State. The couple were married in November 788. Definition of irene of athens in the Definitions.net dictionary. 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. This came at a critical point in history, when the eastern empire was controlled by iconoclasts. Constantine, however, did not like Maria and forced her to become a nun. 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. Irene was also known for her generous financial policies, which were especially friendly to monasteries. Same When Leo died in 780, she became regent for her nine-year-old son. Irene of Athens is similar to these monarches: Tzitzak, Theophylact (son of Michael I), Aelia Eudocia and more. 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 … She died on August 9, 803. Their son was born just a little Her feast day is August 9. Corrections? In January 792, however, Irene was allowed to return to court and even to resume her position as co-ruler. 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 of Athens Biography: Irene came from a noble family in Athens. Lethal and beautiful, one of the most evil women in history but also one of the most influential. She had Tarasius, one of her supporters, elected patriarch of Constantinople and then summoned a general church council on the subject. This page was last edited on January 6, 2015, at 06:52. She was brought to Constantinople by Emperor Constantine V on 1 November 769, and was married to his son Leo IV on 17 December. She gave birth to a son, Constantine, on January 14, 771. 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. Irene of Athens is credited as Byzantine empress, Isaurian Dynasty, Pala D'oro, Venice. Britannica Explores. 100 Women Trailblazers. 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 was married by Constantine V, ruler of the Eastern Empire, to his son, the future Leo IV, in 769. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Although she was an orphan, her uncle, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patricianand possibly strategosof the themeof Hellas. If you find our videos helpful you can support us by buying something from amazon. 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. Nikephoros was then crowned by Patriarch Tarasius in Hagia Sophia Cathedral. She was the wife of Leo IV. To blunt the threat from the half-brothers, she had them ordained as priests, since clergy could not rule. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. 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. She was also known to have initiated the Second Council of Nicea. Irene was born in Athens, sometime between 750-755. Before becoming empress, she was consort to Leo IV from 775 to 780 and empress dowager from 780 to 797. With the election of Tarasius as the Patriarch of Constantinople on December 25, 784, she was able to convene the Seventh Ecumenical Council. A female relative of Irene, Theophano was chosen in 807 by Empereor Nikephoros as the bride of his son Staurakios. Not having a dynastic background, Irene was continually confronted by opposition forces, some of whom used Leo's half-brothers as figureheads. 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. In January 771 Irene gave birth to a son, the goal of all queens and empresses of the time. Portraits [] The marriage, however, was very unpopular with the Church, because its legality was seriously questioned. Events came to a head when emissaries from Charlemagne and Pope Leo arrived in Constantinople with a proposal of marriage between Irene and Charlemagne. Irene of Athens, Byzantine basilissa, is comparable to Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, and Russian empress Catherine the Great. Anger at the demand prompted the themes (administrative divisions) of Asia Minor to open resistance in 790. Irene had taken a hands-off attitude with Constantine's handling of his marriage. 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. Irene was born in Athens about the year 752. Constantine VI was proclaimed sole ruler and his mother banished from court. 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. In 790, discontent swelled to open resistance when soldiers from the Theme of Armeniacs proclaimed Constantine the sole ruler. 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. 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. Irene was born to a noble Greekfamily of Athens, the Sarantapechos family. As Constantine approached maturity, he grew resentful of his mother’s controlling influence in the empire. By 792, the feud between Irene and her son had cooled and Irene's title as empress was confirmed. 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. Biography Irene was born in 752 to the House of Sarantapechos, the daughter of Theophylaktos Sarantapechos, and she married Emperor Leo IV of Byzantium. 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. 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. Although she was an orphan, her uncle, Constantine Sarantapechos, was a patrician and possibly strategos of the theme of Hellas. 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。 This council, in contrast with the robber council of 754 in Hieria, was attended by the patriarchs or their representatives. 42759397, citing Constantinople, Monastery of St Euphrosyne, Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey ; Maintained by Find A Grave . Irene of Athens Tuesday, January 1, 752 Irene of Athens is the most famous person named Irene. She sponsored many philanthropic endeavors, remitting taxes and canceling payments from soldiers' widows, which were required in lieu of the deceased soldiers' military service. Empress Irene of Athens was the first female ruler of the Byzantine Empire. Their Zodiac sign is Capricorn. 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. Irene acceded to the change of events and only asked to continue to live as a private citizen in her palace. Irene’s zeal in restoring icons and her patronage of monasteries ensured her a place among the saints of the Greek Orthodox Church. FAQs. They are considered the most important person in … Irene favoured the restoration of the use of icons, which had been prohibited in 730. Vita Irenes, 'La vie de l'impératrice Sainte Irène', ed. 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. By her marriage to Emperor Leo IV the Khazar, Irene had only one son Constantine VI, whom she succeeded on the throne. In 802 Irene was deposed and exiled to Prinkipo (now Büyükada) and then to Lesbos, where she died August 9, 803. Her family background is not known. 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 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. Meaning of irene of athens. Irene was a strong iconodule. Leo, however, was a steadfast iconoclast who, according to tradition, found that Irene possessed icons and thereafter would no longer share their marriage bed. Civilization VI Wiki is a Fandom Gaming Community. 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. Her family background is not known. 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. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). See Article History. She was born about 752. Her family background is not known. 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. Irene of Athens was the wife of the Byzantine Emperor Leo IV and mother of Constantine VI, both strong iconoclasts. The council affirmed the principle of veneration of icons and declared iconoclasm a heresy. After Irene's deposition, the forces for iconoclasm returned to power, finally to be defeated under another strong iconodule leader, the Empress Theodora. Irene of Athens is one of the Great People specifically a Great Merchant in Civilization VI. 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