Image: detail from the cloister of Colegiata de Santa Juliana, Santillana del Mar, Cantabria.

From: Theodora (2010), by Stella Duffy:

“She had a strong, fit body, trained to climb towers of acrobats, and equally useful on a feast day to climb the great aqueduct for a better view of the procession below. Today she had a perfect view of the lauded Juliana Anicia, carried through the streets in her sedan chair.

What those on the street couldn’t see, their eyes averted either from politeness or awe, was the bald patch right on top of the famously pious lady’s head, neither her hairpiece nor her lace scarf thick enough to hide it from Theodora’s gimlet gaze. Nor did the public have Theodora’s vantage point to count the many coins the much-praised princess had in her purse, and how few her servant handed out. Juliana of the Anicii was renowned for her building works and Theodora supposed she was keeping her coins for grander schemes. As a child of the City, Theodora had often been tempted by the scaffolding for one of Juliana’s new churches; like any other citizen she took pride in the building works of her town as the city spread further back, well beyond Constantine’s original walls, right out to Blachernae in the west.”

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