Mosaics of Hagia Sophia

From O City of Byzantium by Niketas Choniates

The emperor took a wife from a distinguished and most illustrious German family."' She was not so much concerned with physical beauty as with her inner beauty and the condition of her soul. Disdaining face powder, eye liner, and eyeshadow underneath the eye, and rouge instead of nature's flush, and ascribing such aids to silly women, she was adorned by the virtues to which she was devoted. She had the natural trait of being unbending and opinionated. Consequently, the emperor was not very attentive to her, but she shared in the honors, bodyguard, and remaining imperial splendors; in matters of the bed, however, she was wronged. For Manuel, being young and passionate, was wholly devoted to a dissolute and voluptuous life and given over to banqueting and reveling; whatever the flower of youth suggested and his vulgar passions prompted, that he did. Indulging in sexual intercourse without restraint and copulating undetected with many female partners, he unlawfully penetrated his kinswoman. And he was blemished by this disfiguring and unseemly action as warts or pustules of dull white leprosy sprout on the face mar a lovely countenance.

Meet Bob Atchison - the Creator of this Website

I am an icon painter, Russian Historian and Austin Web Designer formerly of Seattle, Washington and now living in Austin, Texas. My interest in Byzantium and icons began when I was 8 years old and read my first book on Byzantium called "The Fall of Constantinople".

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Bertha of Sulzbach