Favourite Roman Empress (Up to two choices)

Who is/are your favourite Roman empresses (up to two choices)?

  • Agrippina the Elder

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  • Messalina

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  • Plotina

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  • Faustina the Elder

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  • Faustina the Younger

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  • Julia Domna

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  • Julia Maesa

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  • Julia Mamaea

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  • Helena

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  • Constantina

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  • Pulcheria

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  • Aelia Eudocia

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  • Honoria

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  • Licinia Eudoxia

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  • Total voters
    5
#4
I chose Zenobia and Galeria Valeria. As a Palmyrene noblewoman who took control of a sizeable chunk of the empire, and who successfully administered legions, Roman administrators and numerous Roman provinces, Zenobia is pretty impressive. I chose Galeria Valeria a) because she was the only imperial woman of the Tetrarchic Period to become an Augusta (in the context of the post-Diocletian Tetrarchs attempting to one-up one another), and b) because of her strength in refusing the marriage offers of Licinius and Maximinus, for which she was eventually executed (she was naturally sought after as a wife during the Tetrarchic power struggles, being the daughter of Diocletian, the widow of Galerius and an Augusta whose portrait was featured on many coins across the eastern empire). I'll give an honourable mention to Constantina for her role in persuading the general Vetranio to 'usurp', in order to prevent the imperial army in Pannonia from switching allegiance from the Constantinian dynasty to the usurper Magnentius.
 
Sep 2013
607
Ontario, Canada
#5
Livia Drusilla advised the Emperor Augustus on the policies of ruling an Empire, and he took her advice quite seriously. I do not think he would've been able to rule as well as he did without her able assistance. She also played a role in the administration of her son Tiberius, something which he came to resent, and their contentious relationship may have been one of the reasons why he ultimately withdrew from Rome to Capri. All of the Julio-Claudian rulers were her direct descendants. She would eventually be deified by her grandson Claudius after he became Emperor. I'd call her the strongest and, because of what was deeded to her from Augustus (she received one-third of his immense wealth) perhaps the richest and most powerful of all the Roman Empresses.

The other impressive Empress, though not of Rome, is that of Theodora. The wife of the Emperor Justinian, she ruled as empress regent. She was brilliant and sharp, and her advice was sound, Justinian even calling her the partner in his deliberations. The most crucial role she ever played was when she saved her husband's reign by standing fast during the Nika Riots. Justinian was ready to flee the city, an action that would've almost certainly cost him his throne if not his life. But she stood firm and told him that "royal purple is the noblest shroud" in reference to the burial winding sheet that deceased Emperors were wrapped in. So Justinian mustered himself up and sent in Belisarius, who crushed the revolt and restored order. She participated not only in the rebuilding of the burned city, including the Hagia Sophia, but also the Emperor's religious and legal reforms, being especially particular about him increasing the rights of women. She, too, like Livia, has been deified in her own way, being a saint under the Eastern Orthodox Church.
 

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