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Theophanu Skleraina (960-991) was born in Constantinople and became the wife of Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor.

She was a good wife, and like all good wives- she caused a major rift between her husband and his meddling mommy, Adelaide of Italy. In fact, it was said that Adelaide was very happy when “that Greek woman” died. (I can relate, my husband’s grandmother referred to me as “that wino” until the day she died.)

Her and Otto had 5 children- Sophi I, Adelheid I, Matilda, Otto III, and a daughter that died in infancy.

Theophanu is described as being unpleasant and very talkative, she was criticized for being decadent- mainly because she bathed once a day, wore nice clothes and introduced Western Europe to the fork. Historical accounts mention the shock she caused when she “used a golden double prong to bring food to her mouth.”

Her eulogy was pretty hilarious: “Though Theophanu was of the weak sex, she possessed moderation, trustworthiness, and good manners. In this way she protected with male vigilance the royal power for her son, friendly with all those who were honest, but with terrifying superiority against rebels.”

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