In a story with truly bizarre parallels to today, the Byzantine Empire was split into four factions. The Blues, Greens, Reds and Whites.
The Blues were the largest faction, and had been supported by the Emperor Justinian, but had been persuaded by the more radical Greens to join with them and overthrow the emperor.
But the empress Theodora I refused her husband’s plea to flee Constantinople and abdicate the thrown to the Green leader. Instead she called a peace conference, in which the Blues and Greens flooded into a giant amphitheater. Then she sent in a trusted slave with a bag of gold to the leader of the Blues, and reminded them that the emperor had long supported them.
They took the hint, and as a group, the Blues left the amphitheater, leaving the Greens who were more than happy to rule the whole empire for themselves. But after the Blues left, the amphitheater was surrounded by the army, who then went in and killed the Greens.
Simply by eliminating the most radical group of people in the empire, Theodora I extended the life of the empire by another 200 years.
The interesting comparison with today is if you envision these factions as we do today. Blue States and Red States, with the radical Green faction threatening our nation at every turn.
It just shows what one person can do. Empress Theodora I, by the way, was eventually given Sainthood.
The Nika riots.
Estimate half the city destroyed and 30,000 rioters killed.
Has parallels to the way Jehu handled the Baal worshippers. Get all your worst opponents together in one place and then send in the military.
There were only Blues and Greens. Theodora did indeed show backbone in a stirring speech when Justinian was on the verge of fleeing. Both Blues and Greens were slaughtered in the Hippodrome, in an assault of the Veringian (sp?) Guard - the first appearance of the Vikings in history. Interestingly, the assault was planned and led by a eunuch, Narcissus (sp?), who later had some success campaigning in Italy.
Finally, the Roman Empire (sometimes called Byzantium, though they and their enemies (Muslims) always called it Rome) endured for over 900 more years (fall of Constantinople to the Turks was on May 29, 1453, and Nike Riots were in 532 AD).
May America last so long!