Theodora, the sixth century empress of the Byzantine empire, led a colorful and renowned life. Born to an actress and the bearkeeper of the Hippodrome, Theodora became an actress, courtesan and eventually, mistress to Emperor Justinian I before she was 20 years old. Her husband afforded her great respect, jointly ruling the empire with her. Theodora affected change for women during her reign, creating homes for former prostitutes, granting more rights for women after divorce and allowing them to own and inherit property. She died of cancer before turning 50.