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Imperial presence. But another chance was granted to them. Four days later they were informed by the Prefect that if they would communicate once with the iconoclasts it would be sufficient to save them from punishment; "I,” he said, “will accompany you to the Church." When they refused, they were laid upon benches, and their faces were tattooed-it was a long process-with the vituperative verses. Some admiration is due to the dexterity and delicacy of touch of the tormentor who succeeded in branding twelve iambic lines on a human face. The other part of the sentence was not carried out. The brethren were not reconducted to their own country; they were imprisoned at Apamea in Bithynia, where Theodore died.1 Theophanes, the hymn writer, survived till the next reign and became bishop of Nicaea.
Of the acts of persecution ascribed to Theophilus, this is the most authentic. Now there is a circumstance about it which may help to explain the Emperor's exceptional severity, the fact that the two monks who had so vehemently agitated against his policy were strangers from Palestine. We can easily understand that the Emperor's resentment would have been especially aroused against interlopers who had come from abroad to make trouble in his dominion. And there are two other facts which are probably not unconnected. The oriental Patriarchs (of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) had addressed to Theophilus a "synodic letter" in favour of the worship of images,2 a manifesto which must have been highly displeasing to him and to the Patriarch John. Further, it is recorded, and there is no reason to doubt, that Theophilus
Skylitzes, reproduced in Beylié, L'Habitation byzantine, p. 122. The place of the punishment was the midgarden, μeσоkýπov, of the Lausiakos, doubtless the same as the μεσοκήπιον near the east end of the Justinianos, mentioned in Constantine, Cer. 585.
1 Dec. 27, 841. Vit. Theodori, 210; cp. Simeon, Add. Georg. 808; Menolog. Basil. Migne, 117, 229. An anecdote in Cont. Th. (160), makes him survive Theophilus (so Vit. Mich. Sync. 252; Narr. de Theoph. absol. 32), and in the same passage Theophanes is falsely described as bishop of Smyrna.
2 The Epistola synodica Orientalium ad Theophilum imp. (see Biblio
graphy) was supposed by Combefis
imprisoned Michael, the synkellos of the Patriarch of Jerusalem,1 who had formerly been persecuted by Leo V. We may fairly suspect that the offence of the Palestinian brethren was seriously aggravated in his eyes by the fact that they were Palestinian. This suspicion is borne out by the tenor of the bad verses which were inscribed on their faces.2
There was another case of cruelty which seems to be well attested. Euthymios, bishop of Sardis, who had been prominent among the orthodox opponents of Leo V., died in consequence of a severe scourging.3 But the greater number of image-worshippers, whose sufferings are specially recorded, suffered no more than banishment, and the Proconnesian island Aphusia is said to have been selected as the place of confinement for many notable champions of pictures.*
The very different treatment which Theophilus accorded to Methodius is significant. In order to bend him to his will, he tried harsh measures, whipped him and shut him up
1 Gen. 74; Vit. Mich. Sync. 238, where he and his companion Job are said to have been imprisoned in a cell in the Praetorium in A.D. 834. Cp. Vailhé, Saint Michel le Syncelle, 618.
2 The sense of the verses (which are preserved in Vil. Theod. Gr. 206; Add. Georg. 807; Cont. Th. 105; Pseudo-Simeon, 641; Acta Davidis, 239; Vit. Mich. Sync. 243; Zonaras, iii. 366, etc.-material for a critical text) may be rendered thus:
In that fair town whose sacred streets were trod
Once by the pure feet of the Word of God-
3 There is a difficulty about Euthymios. In the Acta Davidis, 237, his death is connected with the persecution in the reign of Theophilus. In Cont. Th. 48 it is placed in the reign of Michael II., who is made responsible, while the execution is ascribed to Theophilus. This notice is derived from Genesios (or from a common source), who says, at the end of Michael II.'s reign Εὐθύμιον . . Θεόφιλος
βουνεύροις χαλεπῶς ἐθανάτωσεν. Here
4 Simeon the Stylite of Lesbos (see above, p. 75), who in the reign of Michael II. lived in the suburb of Pêgae, on the north side of the Golden Horn, was banished to Aphusia (Acta Davidis, 239), whither Theodore and Theophanes had at first been sent. Other exiles to this island were Makarios, abbot of Pelekêtê (who was first flogged and imprisoned, according to Vit. Macarii, 158); Hilarion, abbot of the convent of Dalmatos (4.S., June 6, t. i. 759, where he is said to have received 117 stripes); and John, abbot of the Katharoi (A.S., April 27, t. iii. 496). All these men had suffered persecution under Leo V.; see above, Chap. II. § 3 ad fin.
in a subterranean prison.1 But he presently released him, and Methodius, who, though an inflexible image-worshipper, was no fanatic, lived in the Palace on good terms with the Emperor, who esteemed his learning, and showed him high honour.2
Of the measures adopted by Theophilus for the suppression of icon-worship by cutting off the supply of pictures we know nothing on authority that can be accepted as good. It is stated that he forbade religious pictures to be painted, and that he cruelly tortured Lazarus, the most eminent painter of the time.1 There is probably some truth behind both statements, and the persecution of monks, with which he is charged, may be explained by his endeavours to suppress the painting of pictures. Theophilus did not penalise monks on account of their profession; for we know from other facts that he was not opposed to monasticism. But they were the religious artists of the age, and we may conjecture that many of those who incurred his displeasure were painters.
If we review the ecclesiastical policy of Theophilus in the light of the few facts which are certain and compare it with other persecutions to which Christians have at various times. resorted to force their opinions upon differing souls, it is obviously absurd to describe it as extraordinarily severe. The list of cases of cruel maltreatment is short. That many obscure monks besides underwent distress and privation we cannot doubt; but such distress seems to have been due to a severer enforcement of the same rule which Michael II. had applied to Theodore of Studion and his friends. Those
1 Vit. Meth. 1, § 8. The subterranean prison (with two robbers, in the island of Antigoni: Pseudo-Simeon, 642), may be a reduplication of the confinement in the island of S. Andreas under Michael II. Cp. Pargoire, Saint Méthode, in Échos d'Orient, vi. 183 sqq. (1903).
2 Gen. 76; Cont. Th. 116. Genesios says that Theophilus was very curious about occult lore (тà άπокрupá), in which Methodius was an adept.
3 See above p. 136, n. 2.
4 Cont. Th. 102: Lazarus was at first cajoled, then tortured by scourging; continuing to paint, his palms were burnt with red-hot iron nails (πέταλα σιδηρᾶ ἀπανθρακωθέντα), and
he was imprisoned. Released by the
who would not acquiesce in the synod of Leo V. and actively defied it were compelled to leave the city. The monastery of Phoberon, at the north end of the Bosphorus, seems to have been one of the chief refuges for the exiles.1 This brings us to the second characteristic of the persecution of Theophilus, its geographical limitation. Following in his father's traces, he insisted upon the suppression of pictures only in Constantinople itself and its immediate neighbourhood. Iconoclasm was the doctrine of the Emperor and the Patriarch, but they did not insist upon its consequences beyond the precincts of the capital. So far as we can see, throughout the second period of iconoclasm, in Greece and the islands and on the coasts of Asia Minor, image-worship flourished without let or hindrance, and the bishops and monks were unaffected by the decrees of Leo V. This salient fact has not been realised by historians, but it sets the persecution of Theophilus in a different light. He would not allow pictures in the churches of the capital; and he drove out all active picture-worshippers and painters, to indulge themselves in their heresy elsewhere. It was probably only in a few exceptional cases that he resorted to severe punishment.
The females of the Emperor's household were devoted to images, and the secret opinion of Theodora must have been well known to Theophilus. The situation occasioned anecdotes turning on the motive that the Empress and her mother Theodora kept a supply of icons, but kept them well out of sight. The Emperor had a misshapen fool and jester, named Denderis, whose appearance reminded the courtiers of the Homeric Thersites.2 Licensed to roam at large through the Palace, he burst one day into Theodora's bedchamber and found her kissing sacred images. When he curiously asked
1 εὐκτήριον Προδρόμου (St. John Baptist) rò οὕτω καλούμενον τοῦ Φοβεροῦ κατὰ τὸν Εὔξεινον πόντον (Cont. Th. 101). The monks of the Abraamite monastery (which possessed a famous image of Christ impressed on a cloth, and a picture of the Virgin ascribed to St. Luke) were expelled to Phoberon, and said to have been beaten to death (ib.). The monastery of St. Abraamios was outside the city, near the Golden Gate (Leo Diaconus, 47-48). It was called the Acheiropoiêtos, from
the miraculous image.. Legend ascribed its foundation to Constantine (cp. Ducange, Const. Chr. iv. 80), but it was probably not older than the sixth century. Cp. Pargoire, “Les débuts de monachisme à Constantinople" (Revue des questions historiques, lxv., 1899) 93 sqq.
2 Cont. Th. 91.
3 The scene is represented in the Madrid Skylitzes, and reproduced by Beylié, L'Habitation byzantine, 120.
what they were, she said, "They are my pretty dolls, and I love them dearly." He then went to the Emperor, who was sitting at dinner. Theophilus asked him where he had been. With nurse," "1 said Denderis (so he used to call Theodora), " and I saw her taking such pretty dolls out of a cushion." The Emperor comprehended. In high wrath he rose at once from table, sought Theodora, and overwhelmed her with reproaches as an idolatress. But the lady met him with a ready lie. "It is not as you suppose," she said; “I and some of my maids were looking in the mirror, and Denderis took the reflexions for dolls and told you a foolish story." Theophilus, if not satisfied, had to accept the explanation, and Theodora carefully warned Denderis not to mention the dolls again. When Theophilus asked him one day whether nurse had again kissed the pretty dolls, Denderis, placing one hand on his lips and the other on his posterior parts, said, "Hush, Emperor, don't mention the dolls."
Another similar anecdote is told of the Emperor's motherin-law, Theoktiste, who lived in a house of her own,2 where she was often visited by her youthful granddaughters. sought to imbue them with a veneration for pictures and to counteract the noxious influence of their father's heresy. She would produce the sacred forms from the box in which she kept them, and press them to the faces and lips of the young
1 παρὰ τὴν μάναν. 2 Cont. Th. 90. The house was known as Gastria. She had bought it from Nicetas, and afterwards converted it into a monastery. It was in the quarter of Psamathia, in the southwest of the city. Paspates (Buš. μeλ. 354-357) has identified it with the ruinous building Sanjakdar Mesjedi (of which he gives a drawing), which lies a little to the north of the Armenian Church of St. George (where St. Mary Peribleptos used to stand). Gastria is interpreted as flower-pots in the story told in the Πάτρια Κπλ. 215, where the foundation of the cloister is ascribed to St. Helena, who is said to have brought back from Jerusalem the flowers which grew over the place where she had discovered the cross, and planted them in pots (yáσrpas) on this spot. Paspates points out that
the abundance of water in the grounds below the Sanjakdar mosque favours the tradition that there was a flowergarden there, and this would explain the motive of the Helena legend. Mr. van Millingen is disposed to think that the identification of Paspates may be right, but he suggests that the extant building was originally a library, not a church. The good Abbé Marin, who accepts without question all the monastic foundations of Constantinian date, thinks there was a monastic foundation at Gastria before Theoktiste. The evidence for Constantinian monasteries has been drastically dealt with by Pargoire, "Les Débuts de monachisme à Constantinople," in the Revue des questions historiques, lxv. 67 sqq. (1899).