La Papesse

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What if Empress Theodora did not exist and was in fact a myth inspired from the Geek theater ? What if she was just a comedian, a medieval character for the purpose of governing and setting up the sovereignty upon the raising Byzantine Empire ? What if she was not a woman ?

The importance may not have been that Theodora would have been a woman, but that her role in a basilica was representing the institution of law. She was a representation of the weak, of the fragile, of the endangered gender and this fragility became a canon that was saying "the standard is not the soldier, the standard is the woman in her most fragile instance while she creates and while she delivers her inner femininity, while she is young and while she is naive, while she is old and while her modest virtue has become a marble". The law in the mosaic says that this house, the emerald house, is the house of every women. Here they have a voice.

The mosaics were a language for the people who could not read, or even speak the official language. The empire has changed hands many times, and the official language has changed. With the language, the interpretation of the laws has changed and the perception that the people may have. With symbols, and with pictures, the Byzantine Empire has done what the Egyptians had done before. They have created a universal language that talks to the consciousness, the imagination and lastly, the spirit of the people. It's easier to have a good word from a dancer than from a speaker and I have chosen the three videos below to show the language in an Empire that encompasses so many diversities and tribes.


On the first video, when you see Illan dancing, he brings an emotion that puts the life inside the sculpture. The light on the body is creating the sculpture and the life inside, animated with the emotion and the inspiration from the music, creates this movement of grace. On the second video, Illan responds to an interview, he does not speak very well English but he can understand it. He is dressed like a bird, like an Horus. When a question is asked, he responds in French, because he wants to speak with his heart, not with his mind. On the third video, the young man could be pausing as a model for the Christ. He is almost naked. "Keep concentrating, just relax" says the voice. The image is telling a story.

Male belly dancers are very creative and their dramatic interpretation of the dance removes the sexual aspect of it. The body is a language, it is not an object. Once you remove the sexual aspect of the body, the dancing tells you a story and women are telling their version of the story, making the move of the rivers, of the mountains, of the sand in the Sahara. Would you believe there is some life over there? They express the pulse that creates the life and they embody something that is bigger than mankind. They place the humanity in the world. They place the man to face his mystery, the mystery of the lamb.

The heart is the center of the emotions while the law is given with the mind. Men give the law with the mind. They organize the society with the mind. The women suffer in their heart and a humanized society is hypnotized with its emotions. Emotions can spread like the oil in the water, like the seeds in the win, like the wine in the brain. There is no control over it that would not change the world. The basilica San Vitale in Ravenne could have been an opera. The Arion is supporting the rumor, the apostles and the dome.

During the 6th century BE, Thespis is credited to have been the first actor to play and not to speak for himself. He was a dithyramb singer who created a very new style that introduced masks to interpret the different roles. He also created the skene from where the hypokrites were other actors giving him the answers. With acting, the actors would step out of their normal being to reach the ecstasy that brings to a state of divinity, the enthoustase. Before Thespis, the song of the dithyramb were directed to celebrate Dionysus, the God of religious ecstasy, of fertility, of wine and harvest. The ritual would take place in a valley, at the bottom of a slope. An altar would be placed, the Thymele. A goat would be sacrificed, the Tragos. Men would sing in choir around the altar what became later the dithyrambs of Arion, this religious literature that has become the sacred texts. The labyrinth symbolizes the orchestra in which the men sing in circle around the altar of the sacrifice. This is the vertical axis between life to death, where the soul meets with the God.

The orchestra of the Greek opera has become the octagon of the San Vitale basilica. The Skene has become the Narthex. The Thymele has become the vertical axis between the labyrinth and the oculus inside the cupola. The Tragos has become the lamb inside the oculus. The open sky has become the cupola that was probably inspired from the adobe architecture of Egypt. The Arion has become the fish of the Christian symbols. The actors and the hypokrites have become the priests, the judges and the lawyers. The masks have become wigs. The choir has become a music with men and castrates. Just like in the Greek theater, women were forbidden to perform the rituals of the law.

The castrates like Farinelli were young boys whose voice was feminized with the castration. They have been part of the European culture and inspired its brightest compositors. The voice of the women has been introduced after the first millennium of Christianity and probably as a consequence of the crusades. The voice has been an early mechanism that brings to the ecstasy that separates the mind from the body. The enthoustasy symbolizes this state of divinity when the music touches the soul with such emotions that the mind is all devoted to God.

The Old St. Peter's Basilica was squared with the shape of a synagogue. We find the same shape in the plan of Hagia Irene of Constantinople, but something happened in the elevation of Hagia Irene. We find a dome just like in the basilica San Vitale of Ravenne. The Old St. Peter Basilica has been built between 318 and 322 CE. Theodoric the Great has built San Apollinare Nuovo in 504 and introduced the iconostasis with mosaics and frescoes. The construction of San Vitale started in 526 CE and finished in 547 CE. In between, Hagia Sophia was started in 532 and Hagia Irene in 537 CE. They are both situated close to the harbor at the entrance by the sea of Constantinople.

Just like San Vitale in Ravenne, Hagia Irene is a MONUMENT of the Christian history because it encompasses several cultures inside one very symbolical architecture. There is the plan of the synagogue. There is the cupola from Egypt. There is the mosaic from Ravenne. There is the scenography from Greece. This is all the Mediterranean sea which is designed with the building, something very new that will start the Christian history. This is a new era of state welfare when Constantinople becomes the figure of the Lady Philosophy, the mother, the human incarnation of the lamb who carries the high priest for his preaching of the law. And this is one characteristic of the basilica, the law is preached, it is not taught. The sacrifice of the lamb has become a symbol, the blood no more sully the floor below the sky because the music, the arts and the emotions have taught that humanity could reach God with its own soul.

The basilica was no more a theater, but the Arion has carried the Christian literature  through the knowledge of the masons, and building the basilicas has become a religion, something deeply questioning the intellect. It became a new class of construction workers who were given the sacred knowledge of architecture, layers by layers and everyone individually. The few masters who were instructed would dispatch the knowledge into the crumbs of the light they have put in the building. And building, this wonderful act of peace, became the engineering of the Byzantine empire.

The process of building is a process of teaching and learning continuously. You have to read plans, you have to find the materials then to put the materials together. You have to solve problems and be part of the solution. This is extremely creative and this creation is essentially divine because this is an orchestration of people, their life, their time, their wealth, their health, the health of their family, children, parents and grand-parents. Justinian has been a state builder while one woman has been the champion of State Welfare. Her name gave the name to Hagia Irene, but like a man she was called Emperor. She was Emperor Irene of Constantinople

The construction of Hagia Irene was finished in 548 CE. It's only 22 years later that Muhammad was born in Mecca. He started to preach in 610 CE. The Hijra in 622 CE marks the beginning of Islam. In 638 CE, Islam had taken Saudi Arabia, in 680 CE all the South of the Mediterranean sea was under Islamic control and in 780 CE, when Irene became the Regent of the Byzantine Empire, she had to battle the invasion of Islam, the density of the population in Constantinople and the iconoclasm. In 787 CE,  Irene has won the battle against iconoclasm and she has kept the religion of Islam out of Constantinople, but Islam had started a revolution that would start a new era. The era of scripture, the era of copied books, the era of populism and an easy philosophy for the illiterate people.

From 476 CE to 726 CE, the Byzantine Empire has flourished for 250 years, opening harbors and creating cities such Venice and Ravenna. It was an era of prosperity where profligacy has become a business. People would get baptized like they would go to the pool. Libertinism was legal practice and there was a confusion of genders that probably has brought the basilica under question.