Fantasy Guide to Addressing Nobility
It can be hard to remember how to properly address your noble or royal characters when writing a fantasy court. Here is a quick guide:
Usually addressed as either "Your Grace" or "Your Majesty". Consort (married to a ruler and not reigning in their own right) can be addressed the same. Sire or Madam can be used also.
They are addressed as "Your Highness". They are NEVER addressed the same as a King or Queen
These are addressed with "Your Grace". This was a common term also used by royalty before Henry VIII got to big for his codpiece.
4. Earl (Count)/Countess:
Are almost never referred as the "Earl of Narnia" but "Lord Narnia".
An easy one. They are called "My Lord" or "My Lady".
These may be equal to a King/Queen for status but the have a grander title. They are only addressed as "Your Imperial Highness/Majesty"
I hope this helps when writing your court or fantasy novel.
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Forgotten Women Friday #44
Empress Theodora- 500-548- Byzantine Empire
“The Sex Worker Empress”
Theodora was quite literally the empress of scandal. Born around 500 AD, Theodora was probably either born in Syria or Cyprus, but she grew up in Constantinople. After her father died when Theodora was four years old, she and her older sisters worked as sex workers in a brothel and as actresses (at this time in history there was a very thin line between the two professions). On stage, Theodora became famous for her portrayal of Leda and the Swan, during which, she stripped down to as little as she legally was allowed to in public. Off stage, Theodora was rumored to have taken as many as 40 men to bed in one night. For some time, Theodora was a mistress for multiple men, and it’s likely that she underwent numerous abortions before she was even 18-years-old. When she was 21, the tantalizing Theodora caught the eye of Justinian, the soon-to-be Emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire. However, it was forbidden for Justinian, an heir to the throne, to marry an actress, because of their promiscuous lifestyles. Justinian ultimately persuaded his uncle, Justin I, to repeal the law and he happily married Theodora, who became Empress two years later when Justinian succeeded the throne.
Theodora would become one of the most influential empresses in history, and Justinian called her his "partner in my deliberations." Theodora truly proved herself during the Nika riots of 532 AD. When Justinian’s forces could not control the angry mobs in the streets, the Emperor prepared to flee, but Theodora spoke up saying, “My lords, the present occasion is too serious to allow me to follow the convention that a woman should not speak in a man’s council.” She urged her husband and his men to stay, arguing that it was better to die in power than flee and live in solitude and safety for years to come. Standing in a room full of men, Theodora declared, “May I never be deprived of this purple robe, and may I never see the day when those who meet me do not call me empress.” Theodora’s words won the men over, and Justinian’s army eventually settled the rioting.
After the Nika riots, Justinian never forgot that it was his wife who saved his reign. From then on, he gave Theodora real power, and the two transformed Constantinople into one of the most sophisticated, artistic cities in the world. Theodora got laws passed that advanced women’s rights, such as a law that banned forced prostitution, better known today as sexual trafficking. She also made pimping a crime, made rape punishable by death, and expanded the rights of women over property and in divorce. Theodora died at the age of 48 of cancer, and her husband wept bitterly at her funeral. Along with Justinian, she is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church. Theodora is the true embodiment of the rags to riches fairy tale and forever remembered in history as the most powerful woman in Byzantium.
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