THEODORA - EMPRESS OF THE EASTERN ROMAN EMPIRE
Empress Theodora: the powerful, controversial better half of Emperor Justinian I of the Byzantine Empire. From humble beginnings rose a beautiful, intelligent, strategic, courageous women who championed Women's Rights through legislation and saved the crown during the Nika Revolt in 532 AD with this epically famous speech:
"Whether or not a woman should give an example of courage to men, is neither here nor there. At a moment of desperate danger one must do what one can. I think that flight, even if it brings us to safety, is not in our interest. Every man born to see the light of day must die. But that one who has been emperor should become an exile I cannot bear. May I never be without the purple I wear, nor live to see the day when men do not call me 'Your Majesty.' If you wish safety, my Lord, that is an easy matter. We are rich, and there is the sea, and yonder our ships. But consider whether if you reach safety you may not desire to exchange that safety for death. As for me, I like the old saying, that the purple is the noblest shroud."
Byzantine mosaic in the Basilica of San Vitale, Ravenna Italy. 547 AD