RealmgART: Red-Figure Theophano

The Broken Sword.

Red-figure art of the Amazon Theophano.

Well, there’s the third of the Ten Most Worthy Women.

I tackled Theophano next because I had the clearest idea of how I wanted to improve the depiction of her.

Now, to recap, Theophano:

“Theophano” means something like “divine manifestation” and comes from the same root as (and is more or less a synonym, at least in the most literal sense) as “epiphany” .

It is the name of several Byzantine Empresses and one Holy Roman Empress of Greek origin [though her name is usually written as Theophanu in the Latin alphabet] — whom I’m pretty sure I’ve married in at least one of my Crusader Kings playthroughs.

Theophano’s name isn’t immediately related to her role as the Amazons’ lawgiver — with the possible kinda-sorta connection that Moses receiving the Law via a literal divine manifestation.

But even that really doesn’t hold up. I’ve been envisioning Theophano as more a respected mediator in purely human terms, rather than being divinely-ordained in any fashion.

The connection to Moses or any sort of actual law-related theophany isn’t a reference, it’s more of a vaguely-relevant parallel. I really did just pick the name “Theophano” because I liked how it sounded.

And possibly because I was in the middle of the Crusader Kings name where I married the historical Theophano.

Basically, she was the first Amazon to think “Maybe should talk out our disagreements and work out a system instead of just stabbing each other.”

Red-figure art of the Amazon Theophano.

I prefer this version of Theophano to my first go-around, though I only real change is that she’s looking straight ahead now. The symbolism is basically the same as it was before.

There are, of course, obvious similarities to traditional depictions of Lady Justice or the Justice tarot card. She’s holding a scale, like Lady Justice or the tarot card, to symbolise fairness.

Lady Justice and the Justice tarot are also invariably depicted holding swords. Theophano, however, is holding a broken sword, so there’s a different symbolic nuance here.

Basically, Theophano as the Broken Sword represents Law as an end to conflict — the Amazons don’t need to go around stabbing each other because they can now appeal to the law for justice and redress.

And, yeah, sure that’s maybe a little bit optimistic giving how legal systems tend to actually work, but she is an aspirational figure.

Now, since red-figure paintings are usually (though not universally) monochrome, it’s hard to convey that she’s supposed to be wearing a toga praetexta, a toga with a purple border worn by magistrates. The purple is probably the one thing I miss from the first depiction of her.

Incidentally, a toga is traditionally (and sort of by necessity) worn draped over one arm, which I don’t think I quite represented properly.

Her two emblems are twelve tablets, based on the Twelve Tables on which the earliest Roman law code was publicly inscribed, and a curule chair, another piece of magisterial paraphernalia.

Again, the name is written in Greek — though, this time, Theophano actually is a Greek name. “Ensis Fractus” is Latin and it means “Broken Sword”, the significance of which I explained above.

3 down, 7 to go. The rest are forthcoming.

And not, clearly, in any particular order based on how they’ve been previously presented…

Also, Fantasy Giveaway:

Promotional art for the YA Fantasy giveaway.
US Residents only.

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