The most beautiful example of this seal known. The empress Theodora came to power in January 1055, and ruled until her death in August 1056. She was only the second woman to become sole ruler of the Byzantine state, the first being Irene (797-802). She had ruled jointly for a matter of weeks with her older sister Zoe in 1042. Neither empress had children, and with the death of Theodora the line of Basil the Macedonian came to an end after nearly 200 years.