Wu Zetian, concubine and housemaid to the emperor, became the supreme ruler of China and became the great proponent of Buddism.
Buttressed by texts like the Great Cloud sutra, Wu declared herself Emperor of China. Founding a new dynasty in her family’s name.
Theodora as Empress has associated herself with the Virgin Mary. She was hailed as ‘Theotokus’, God-Bearer and the Christian Council in Ephesus has decreed her to be the Mother of God.
Justinian and Theodora presided over the Imperial Court in Ephesus as if it was the court of judgement in heaven. He was God and she was the Virgin Mary.
The Vestal Virgins are tasked with keeping the sacred fire of Vesta alight. Appointed by the Pontifex Maximus they must remain pure for thirty years.
In ancient Rome, religion gave a select group of women a key role as priestesses… At the price of their freedom.
But there would be one man’s glittering intellect and powers of persuasion that would make this hotchpotch of women-hating bile stick.
Augustine developed the concept of original sin and, in the process, demonised women for hundreds of years.
Thecla, as a young girl, persuaded by the words of Paul, chose to abandon decades of tradition to promote the word of Christianity.
The early followers of Christ were told that they were living in the end of days. And so for them, earthly matters were no longer a concern. What this meant for women was nothing short of remarkable.
The Goddess Durga is worshipped in the Kamakhya Temple. In the Devi Mahamtmyam she is incarnated in many forms, the most terrifying of which is Kali.
Shakti means alive. Shakti means nature. Shakti means creative force, the kinetic energy, the creative force that a woman has within her.
Theodora, born at the bottom of the social ladder. Working as a whore and a spy she worked herself into the affections of Justinian, the heir to the throne.
Within a year, she’d moved into the palace. Shortly afterwards, Justinian persuaded his uncle, the Emperor, to change the law to allow him to marry an actress.
St Paul sends Phoebe to interpret his letter, a vital role to be performed, especially as he has chosen a woman to do it.
Even the Bible itself suggests that in the first few centuries of Christianity, women played similar rules to men. But there are clearly some who were troubled by this state of affairs.
Theodora might have started out in life rejected by Christendom, but she ended up as one of the greatest champions of the Eastern Church.
Theodora’s Christian ideals have clearly shaped the world we live in today, but how did her own society react?
Khadija bint Khuwaylid was a wealthy business-woman when she married the young Muhammed. She would use her wealth and influence to promote the fledgling new religion – Islam
So we know that she was critical to Muhammad. She became his first convert. She was the first Muslim.
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