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The Eastern Roman Empress Zoe and her cat Mahlebe.


Zoe Porphyrogenita the Byzantine Empress with her cat Mahlebe

As we read in Tzetzes' Chiliades.


As did our emperor's, Monomachus', wife,

Who called her cat Mehlebe.

They say that one time, when that animal got stuck on a rooftop,

The wife of Augustus said to the senate:

"0 lords, my dear Mehlebe got stuck on the edge of a roof".

They blushed from shame and could not but laugh;


They said to each other with a faint smile on their faces:

"Do you see how our empress' beloved Mehlebe suffers?"


That cat of the kingly throne used to eat all kinds of foods every day In golden containers; not a thing would be missing.

It had its own slaves for shopping, preparing its meals,

Carrying his basket around, making bread And all kinds of servants,

As the richest among men usually do.


This is the time of Mehlebe; for now we have some doggy That moves around in the empress' embrace.



Gli the cat that used to live in the Hagia Sophia museum and the mosaic of Zoe in Hagia Sophia.

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