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Regent for Constantine VI (her son), 8 September 780 - 790 A.D. Co-rule as Empress with Constantine VI (her son), January 792 - 19 August 797 A.D. Sole rule, 19 August 797 - 31 October 802 A.D. Irene served as regent for her young son Constantine VI, but in 790 he took control and sent her into exile. Constantine was cruel, weak and unpopular. Within a year Irene was back, but with more power as co-ruler. Irene was also cruel, but not weak. In 797, she deposed and blinded her own son and took sole rule of the empire. Irene was the first woman to rule the Empire (at least officially). In 802, she was ousted in a coup, and exiled to Lesbos where she died soon after.