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girls. Their father, suspecting that they were being tainted with the idolatrous superstition, asked them one day, when they returned from a visit to their grandmother, what presents she had given them and how they had been amused. The older girls saw the trap and evaded his questions, but Pulcheria, who was a small child, truthfully described how her grandmother had taken a number of dolls from a box and pressed them upon the faces of herself and her sisters. Theophilus was furious, but it would have been odious to take any severe measure against the Empress's mother, who was highly respected for her piety. All he could do was to prevent his daughters from visiting her as frequently as before.
§ 4. Death of Theophilus and Restoration of Icon Worship
Theophilus died of dysentery on January 20, A.D. 842.2 His last illness was disturbed by the fear that his death would be followed by a revolution against the throne of his infant son.
The man who seemed to be the likely leader of a movement to overthrow his dynasty was Theophobos, a somewhat mysterious general, who was said to be of Persian descent and had commanded the Persian troops in the Imperial service. Theophobos was an “orthodox” Christian, but he was one of the Emperor's right-hand men in the eastern wars, and had been honoured with the hand of his sister or sister-in-law.5 He had been implicated some years before in a revolt, but had been restored to favour and lived in the Palace. It is said that he was popular in Constantinople, and the Emperor may have had good reasons for thinking that he might aspire with success to the supreme power.
From his deathbed he ordered Theophobos to be cast into a dungeon of the Bucoleon Palace, where he was secretly decapitated at night.? i Theoktiste is represented giving
6 Gen. 59. an icon to Pulcheria, the other 7 Gen. 60, and Add. Georg. 810, daughters standing behind, in a where Petronas, with the logothete miniature in the Madrid Skylitzes (i.e. Theoktistos), is said to have per(see reproduction in Beylié, op. cit. 56). formed the decapitation. The alter2 Cont. Th. 139.
native account given by Gen. 60-61 has 3 See below, p. 252 sq.
no value, as Hirsch pointed out, p. 4 Simeon, Add. Georg. 803 (cp. Gen. 142, but it is to be noticed that 6110);
Ooryphas is there stated to have been 5° 16. 793. See below, p. 253. drungarios of the watch. We meet a 1 In the same way the Emperor Alexander appointed seven guardians (èrrit potol) for his nephew Constantine, A.D. 913.
Exercising a constitutional right of his sovran authority, usually employed in such circumstances, the Emperor had appointed two regents to act as his son's guardians and assist the Empress, namely, her uncle Manuel, the chief Magister, and Theoktistos, the Logothete of the Course, who had proved himself a devoted servant of the Amorian house. It is possible that Theodora's brother Bardas was a third regent, but this cannot be regarded as probable. The position of Theodora closely resembled that of Irene during the minority of Constantine. The government was carried on in the joint names of the mother and the son, but the actual exercise of Imperial authority devolved upon the mother provisionally. Yet there was a difference in the two cases. Leo IV., so far as we know, had not appointed any regents or guardians of his son to act with Irene, so that legally she had the supreme power entirely in her hands; whereas Theodora was as unable to act without the concurrence of Manuel and Theoktistos as they were unable to act without her.
It has been commonly thought that Theophilus had hardly closed his eyes before his wife and her advisers made such pious haste to repair his ecclesiastical errors that a council was held and the worship of images restored, almost as a matter of course, a few weeks after his death. The
persons of this holding different offices under the Amorians: (1) Ooryphas, in command of a fleet, under Michael II. (see below, Chap. IX. p. 290); (2) Ooryphas, one of the commanders in an Egyptian expedition in A.D. 853 (see below, Chap. IX. p. 292); (3) Ooryphas, Prefect of the City in A.D. 860 (see below, Chap. XIIŤ. p. 419); (4) Ooryphas,
strategos” of the fleet at the time of the death of Michael III.; see Vat. MS. of Cont. Georg. in Muralt, p. 752 =Pseudo-Simeon, 687. The fourth of these is undoubtedly Nicetas Ooryphas whom we meet in Basil's reign as drungarios of the Imperial fleet. He may probably be the same as the second, but is not likely (from considerations of age) to be the same as the first. In regard to (3), it is to be noted that according to Nicetas, Vit. Ign. 232, Nicetas Ooryphas, drungarios of the Imperial fleet, oppressed Ignatius in A.D. 860. Such business would
have devolved on the Prefect, not on the admiral, and I conclude that Nicetas Ooryphas was prefect in A. D. 860, and drungarios in A.D. 867 (such changes of office were common in Byzantium), and that the author of Vit. Ign. knowing him by the later office, in which he was most distinguished, described him erroneously. Ooryphas the drungarios of the watch may be identicalwith (1); but I suspect there is a confusion with Petronas, who seems to have held that office at one time in the reign of Theophilus (see above, p. 122).
The boy's mother Zoe was not included. Cont. Th. 380.
2 It is safest to follow Gen. 77. Bardas was probably added by Cont. Th. (148) suo Marte, on account of his prominent position a few years later. So Uspenski, Ocherki, 25.
truth is that more than a year elapsed before the triumph of orthodoxy was secured. The first and most pressing care of the regency was not to compose the ecclesiastical schism, but to secure the stability of the Amorian throne; and the question whether iconoclasm should be abandoned depended on the view adopted by the regents as to the effect of a change in religious policy on the fortunes of the dynasty.
For the change was not a simple matter, nor one that could be lightly undertaken. Theodora, notwithstanding her personal convictions, hesitated to take the decisive step. It is a mistake to suppose that she initiated the measures which led to the restoration of pictures. She had a profound belief in her husband's political sagacity; she shrank from altering the system which he had successfully maintained ;and there was the further consideration that, if iconoclasm were con
1 demned by the Church as a heresy, her husband's name would be anathematized. Her scruples were overcome by the arguments of the regents, who persuaded her that the restora- 1 tion of images would be the surest means to establish the safety of the throne. But when she yielded to these reasons, to the pressure of other members of her own family, and probably to the representations of Methodius, she made it a condition of her consent, that the council which she would
1 The old date was in itself impos- μακαρίτης σοφίας αρκούντως εξείχετο και sible: the change could not have ουδέν των δεόντων αυτώ ελελήθει" και been accomplished in the time. The πώς των εκείνου διαταγμάτων αμνημονήright date is furnished by Sabas, Vit. σαντες εις ετέραν διαγωγήν εκτραπείημεν ; Joannic. 320, where the event is 4 The chief mover was, I have no definitely placed a year after the doubt, Theoktistos. His name alone accession of Michael.
This is con- is mentioned by the contemporary firmed by the date of the death of George Mon. 811 (cp. Vita Theodorae, Methodius, who was Patriarch for four 14). In Gen. he shares the credit years and died June 14, 847 (Vit. with Manuel (78), and in Cont. Th. Joannic. by Simeon Met. 92 ; the same (148-150) Manuel appears alone as date can be inferred from Theophanes, Theodora's adviser. But the part De ex. S. Niceph. 164). All this was played by Manuel is mixed up with shown for the first time by de Boor, a hagiographical tradition, redoundAngriff der Rhos, 450-453 ; the proofs ing to the credit of the monks of have been restated by Vasil'ev, Viz. Studion, whose prayers were said to i Arab., Pril. iii. ; and the fact is have saved him from certain death now universally accepted by savants, by sickness, on condition of his promisthough many writers still ignorantly ing to restore image-worship when repeat the old date.
he recovered. (For the connexion of ? Her hesitation comes out clearly Manuel with the Studites, cp. also in the tradition and must be accepted Vita Nicolai, 916, where Nicolaus is as a fact.
said to have healed Helena, Manuel's 3 Gen. 80 ο έμός ανήρ γε και βασιλεύς wife.)
have to summon should not brand the memory of Theophilus with the anathema of the Church.'
Our ignorance of the comparative strength of the two parties in the capital and in the army renders it impossible for to understand the political calculations which determined the Empress and her advisers to act in accordance with her religious convictions. But the sudden assassination of Theophobos by the command of the dying Emperor is a significant indication 2 that a real danger menaced the throne, and that the image-worshippers, led by some ambitious insurgent, would have been ready and perhaps able to overthrow the dynasty. The event seems to corroborate the justice of their fears. For when they re-established the cult of pictures, iconoclasm died peacefully without any convulsions or rebellions.
The case of Theoktistos may be adduced to illustrate the fact that many of those who held high office were not fanatical partisans. He had been perfectly contented with the iconoclastic policy, and was probably a professed iconoclast, but placed in situation where iconoclasm appeared to be a peril to the throne, he was ready to throw it over for the sake of political expediency.
Our brief, vague, and contradictory records supply little certain information as to the manner in which the government conducted the preparations for the defeat of iconoclasm." It is evident that astute management was required; and a considerable time was demanded for the negotiations and intrigues needful to facilitate a smooth settlement.
1 This is an inevitable inference from the traditions.
Cp. Uspenski, ib. 59. 3 The story of Genesios (77-78) that Manuel addressed the assembled people in the Hippodrome, and demanded a declaration of loyalty to the government, and that the people-expecting that he would himself usurp the throne-were surprised and disappointed when he cried, “Long life to Michael and Theodora,” seems to be also significant.
(78) says of him that he wavered (dià μέσου τινός παρεμπεσόντος διώκλασεν), but this seems to imply that he at first shared the hesitation of the Empress.
4 The interest of the Studites in Manuel (see above, p. 145, n. 4) argues that he was at heart an imageworshipper, as the other relatives of Theodora seem to have been. Gen.
5 We must assume that Theodora, before a final decision was taken, held a silention at which both the Senate and ecclesiastics were present. Such a meeting is recorded in Theophanes, De ex. S. Niceph. 164, and in Skylitzes (Cedrenus), ii
. 142. The assembly declared in favour of restoring images, and ordered that passages should be selected from the writings of the Fathers to support the doctrine. The former source also asserts that Theodora addressed a manifesto to the people.
take it for granted that Theodora and her advisers had at once destined Methodius (who had lived for many years in the Palace on intimate terms with the late Emperor, and who, we may guess, had secretly acted as a spiritual adviser to the Imperial ladies) as successor to the Patriarchal chair. To him naturally fell the task of presiding at a commission, which met in the official apartments of Theoktistos ? and prepared the material for the coming Council.*
Before the Council met, early in March (A.D. 843), the Patriarch John must have been officially informed by the Empress of her intention to convoke it, and summoned to attend. He was not untrue to the iconoclastic doctrine which he had actively defended for thirty years, and he declined to alter his convictions in order to remain in the Patriarchal chair. He was deposed by the Council, Methodius was elected
1 Cp. Uspenski, op. cit. 33. That Council supplied the Commission with Methodius took the leading part in its material. the preparations, and that the success 4 In the sources there is some variaof the Council was chiefly due to his tion in the order of events. Theoinfluence and activity is a conclusion phanes, De ex. S. Niceph., represents which all the circumstances suggest ; the deposition of John (with the without the co-operation of such an measures taken against him) as an act ecclesiastic, the government could not of the Council which restored orthohave carried out their purpose. But doxy. George Mon. (also a contema hagiographical tradition confirms porary) agrees (802), and the account the conclusion. It was said that of Genesios is quite consistent, for he hermits of Mount Olympus, Joannikios, relates the measures taken against who had the gift of prophecy, and John after the Council (81). According Arsakios, along with one Esaias of to Cont. Th.John received an ultimatum Nicomedia, were inspired to urge from the Empress before the Council Methodius to restore images, and that met (150-151), but this version cannot at their instigation he incited the be preferred to that of Genesios. After Empress (Narr. de Theophili absol. 25). the act of deposition by the Council, This story assumes that Methodius Constantine, the Drungary of the played an important part. According Watch, was sent with some of his to Vit. Mich. Sync. A 249, the officers, to remove John from the Empress and Senate sent a message
Patriarcheion. He made excuses and to Joannikios, who recommended would not stir, and when Bardas went Methodius. The same writer says to inquire why he refused, he displayed (ib.) that Michael the synkellos was his stomach pricked all over with designated by popular opinion as sharp instruments, and alleged that John's successor. But the hagio- the wounds were inflicted by the graphers are unscrupulous in making cruelty of Constantine (an Armenian) statements which exalt their heroes and his officers, whom he stigmatized (see below, p. 148, n. 1). He seems as pagans (this insult excites the wrath to have been made abbot of the Chora of Genesios who was a descendant of convent (ib. 250); he died January 4, Constantine). But Bardas saw through 846 (cp. Vailhé, Saint Michel, 314). the trick. Genesios does not expressly 2 Gen. 80.
say that the wounds were self-inflicted, 3 The preparation of the reports for but his vague words suggest this inthe Council of A.D. 815 had occu- ference to the reader (cp. Hirsch, 153). pied nearly a year (see above, p. 60). In Cont. Th. the story is elaborated, and The Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical the manner in which John wounded