Acacius "the Bear-keeper"
|Occupation:||Bear-keeper, treser niedźwiedzi w hipodromie|
|Managed by:||Lynn Diane Riemann|
About Acacius "the Bear-keeper"
Acacius was the keeper of wild beasts used in the amphitheater in Constantinople; he belonged to the Green faction and was nicknamed the Bearkeeper. This man, during the rule of Anastasius, fell sick and died, leaving three daughters named Comito, Theodora and Anastasia: of whom the eldest was not yet seven years old. His widow took a second husband, who with her undertook to keep up Acacius' family and profession. But Asterius, the dancing master of the Greens, on being bribed by another, removed this office from them and assigned it to the man who gave him the money. For the dancing masters had the power of distributing such positions as they wished."  James Allan Evans, a modern historian, notes that animal acts appeared as entr'actes between chariot races. The post of animal trainer for the various factions often passed from father to son. But Acacius left no son and the second husband of his widow had a weaker claim to the position.
"When this woman saw the populace assembled in the amphitheater, she placed laurel wreaths on her daughters' heads and in their hands, and sent them out to sit on the ground in the attitude of suppliants. The Greens eyed this mute appeal with indifference; but the Blues were moved to bestow on the children an equal office, since their own animal-keeper had just died. When these children reached the age of girlhood, their mother put them on the local stage, for they were fair to look upon; she sent them forth, however, not all at the same time, but as each one seemed to her to have reached a suitable age. Comito, indeed, had already become one of the leading hetaerae [high class prostitutes] of the day."  Evans notes that Theodora would later favor the Blues as an empress. Which could point to them having earned her loyalty through saving her family from the threat of unemployment and poverty.;"Theodora, the second sister, dressed in a little tunic with sleeves, like a slave girl, waited on Comito and used to follow her about carrying on her shoulders the bench on which her favored sister was wont to sit at public gatherings.
John Malalas records that Comito married general Sittas in 528. The marriage is also recorded by Theophanes and Cedrenus. Sittas and Comito may be the parents of Sophia, who would succeed Theodora as the Byzantine Empress. Sophia is recorded as a niece to Theodora. Whether Anastasia ever married is unknown.[