Slike stranica
PDF
ePub

It was

been deposed from their commands and owed a grudge to Theoktistos,' were engaged to lend active assistance. arranged that Bardas should station himself in the Lausiakos, and there attack the Logothete, whose duties frequently obliged him to pass through that hall in order to reach the apartments of the Empress. Calomaria concealed herself in an

? upper room, where, through a hole, perhaps constructed on purpose, she commanded a view of the Lausiakos, and could, by signalling from a window, inform the Emperor as soon as Bardas sprang upon his victim.

Theoktistos had obtained at the secretarial office 4 the reports which he had to submit to the Empress, and as he passed through the Lausiakos he observed with displeasure Bardas seated at his ease, as if he had a full right to be there. Muttering that he would persuade Theodora to expel him from the Palace, he proceeded on his way, but in the Horologion, at the entrance of the Chrysotriklinos, he was stopped by the Emperor and Damianos. Michael, asserting his authority perhaps for the first time, angrily ordered him to read the reports to himself and not to his mother. As the Logothete was retracing his steps in a downcast mood, Bardas sprang forward and smote him. The ex-generals hastened to assist, and Theoktistos drew his sword.” The Emperor, on receiving a signal from his aunt, hurried to the scene, and by his orders

5

6

1

A grudge: this is a fair inference from the fact that they were selected for the purpose.

2 The apartments of Theodora seem to have been in the Chrysotriklinos. The eastern door of the Lausiakos faced the Horologion which was the portal of the Chrysotriklinos.

3 Gen. 87 ¢£ ÚTreptépov Tetpnuévou οικίσκου διόπτειραν καταστήσαντες. We may imagine this room to have been in the Eidikon, to which stairs led up from the Lausiakos. The Eidikon, which was over the Thermastra, adjoined the Lausiakos on the north side.

* Tà ảơngpmeữa, Simeon, do. 821. The accounts of the murder in this chronicle and in Genesios are independent and supplement each other. Simeon gives more details before the assault of Bardas, Genesios a fuller description of the murder and the part played by his own grandfather.

5 Gen. 88, Bardas threw Theoktistos down (καταπρηνίξας), και ευθέως επιδίδοται συν κουλες σπάθη επώμιος, ήν προς αποτροπήν εναντίων εγύμνωσεν. Simeon, ib. 822, says that Bardas began to strike him on the cheek and pull his hair; and Maniakes, the Drungary of the Watch, cried, “Do not strike the Logothete.' Maniakes was therefore the surname of Constantine the Armenian.

6 Gen. 88 κατασημαίνεται βασιλεύς προς εξέλευσιν τήν διά χαλκηλάτων πυλών Τιβερίου του άνακτος, και στάς ÉKeloe KTX. This gate, not mentioned elsewhere so far as I know, was probably a door of the Chrysotriklinos palace, which, we know, Tiberius II. improved. If Calomaria was,

as I suppose,

in the Eidikon building, she could have signalled from a window on its eastern side to the Chrysotriklinos.

[ocr errors]

2

"

5

Theoktistos was seized and dragged to the Skyla. It would seem that Bardas did not contemplate murder, but intended to remove the Logothete to a place of banishment. But the Emperor, advised by others, probably by Damianos, that nothing short of his death would serve, called upon the foreign Guards (the Hetairoi) to slay Theoktistos. Meanwhile the Empress had heard from the Papias of the Palace that the Logothete's life was in danger, and she instantly rushed to the scene to save her friend. But she was scared back to her apartments by one of the conspirators, a member of the family of Melissenos, who cried in a voice of thunder, "Go back, for this is the day of strikers.” 3 The Guards, who were stationed in the adjoining Hall of Justinian, rushed in ;4 one of them dragged the victim

, from the chair under which he had crawled and stabbed him in the belly (A.D. 856).

Of the two offices which Theoktistos had held, the less onerous, that of Chartulary of the Kanikleion, was conferred on Bardas, while his son-in-law Symbatios—whose name shows his Armenian lineage—was appointed Logothete of the Course. The reign of Theodora was now over. She had held the reins of power for fourteen years, and she was unwilling to surrender them. She was not an unscrupulous woman like Irene, she

. did not aspire to be Autocrat in her own right or set aside her son; but well knowing her son's incapacity she had doubtless looked forward to keeping him in perpetual tutelage, and retaining all the serious business of government in her own It would appear

1 Cont. Th. 170, whose narrative family see above, p. 25, n. 3. varies in particulars, represents Theo- 4 Gen. (ib.) states that Constantine, ktistos as making an attempt to flee the Drungary of the Watch, tried to to the Hippodrome through the Asek- save Theoktistos by holding the doors rêteia, for at the time the office of between the Skyla and the Triklinos the Asêkrêtai was there.” The secre- of Justinian, hoping that he would be tarial offices were probably in the same condemned to banishment before the building as the Eidikon (cp. Ebersolt, guards appeared. But Michael called Le Grand Palais, 124), and

them, and Constantine was obliged reached through a door on the north unwillingly to give way. It is clear side of the Lausiakos. Theoktistos from the narrative that Theoktistos was doubtless returning thither. was not taken through the Triklinos 2 Gen. 89.

of Justinian; therefore he must have 3 This is told by Gen. 88, and prob- been dragged through a door on the ably comes from his grandfather. The north side of the Lausiakos, into the identification of the ex-general who Thermastra, and thence to the Skyla scared the Empress as a Melissenos is by way of the Hippodrome. in favour of the incident. Simeon 5 Cont. Th. 171. does not mention this, but states that

probable, though the Papias informed Theodora (Cont. Symbatios is not mentioned till some Georg. 822). For the Melissenos

were

6 This

seems

years later.

a

3

hands. The murder of Theoktistos cut her to the heart, and though the Emperor endeavoured to pacify and conciliate her, she remained unrelenting in her bitterness.

The Senate was convoked, and that body applauded the announcement that Michael would henceforward govern alone in his own name.? Bardas was elevated to the rank of magister and was appointed Domestic of the Schools. that for nearly two years Theodora resided in the Palace, powerless but unforgiving, and perhaps waiting for a favourable opportunity to compass the downfall of her brother. It is said that her son plagued her, trying perhaps to drive her into voluntary retirement. At last, whether his mother's proximity became intolerable, or she involved herself in intrigues against Bardas, it was decided that she should not only be expelled from the Palace but consigned to a nunnery. The Patriarch Ignatius, who owed his appointment to her, was commanded to tonsure her along with her daughters, but he absolutely declined on the sufficient ground that they were unwilling to take the monastic vow. The hair of their heads was shorn by other hands, and they were all immured in the monastery of Karianos (autumn A.D. 858).

It was probably soon afterwards that the Empress, thirsting 1 Simeon (Cont. Georg.), 822-823. inconsistent with Nicetas, only the Cont. Th. 171 describes her lamenta- author has confused the monastery with tion and anger as that of a tragedy the palace of Karianos (and has been queen.

followed in this by Finlay, ii. 173, 2 Simeon (ib.) Móvos aůtokpatopei and Hergenröther, i. 348). The palace (the technical phrase).

of Karianos was within the precincts 3 For the chronology see Appendix of the Great Palace (see above, p. 132), VII. The sources here cause difficulty; and as Theophilus built it for his I have followed Nicetas (Vit. Ign. 225), daughters, it is very probable that they who says: την μητέρα και τας αδελφάς lived there before they were expelled. καταγαγών εν τοις Καριανού λεγομένοις But they could not be -driven from απενεχθήναι κελεύει και καρήναι. AC- the Palace to the palace of Karianos. cording to Simeon (ib.) the three eldest τα Καριανού in Nicetas and Simeon is sisters were expelled from the palace obviously the Convent of Karianos, and placed eis Kaplavoû. Pulcheria, which we can, I think, approximately as her mother's favourite, was sent to locate from the data in the Πάτρια Κπλ. the convent of Gastria ; Theodora re- 241. Here buildings along the Golden mained in the palace, but was after- Horn, from east to west, are described, wards also sent to Gastria. Gen. 90 thus : (1) Churches of SS. Isaiah and says simply that they were all ex- Laurentios, ‘south of the Gate Jubali pelled to Gastria. Cont. Th. 174 Kapussi; (2) house of Dexiokrates, states that they were tonsured by evidently near the gate of Dexiokrates Petronas and sent “to the palace of = Aya Kapu ; (3) τα Καριανού ; (4) Karianos,” but after Theodora's death Church of Blachernae. It follows that the daughters were confined in Gastria the Karianos was in the region between and their mother's corpse was taken Aya Kapu and Blachernae. For this thither. This last account is not region cp. van Millingen, Walls, c. xiv.

for revenge if she did not hope to regain power, entered into a plot against her brother's life. The Imperial Protostrator was the chief of the conspirators, who planned to kill Bardas as he was returning to the Palace from his suburban house on the Golden Horn. But the design was discovered, and the conspirators were beheaded in the Hippodrome.

2

3

[ocr errors]

§ 2. Bardas and Basil the Macedonian. Bardas was soon raised to the high dignity of Curopalates, which was only occasionally conferred on a near relative of the Emperor and gave its recipient, in case the sovran died childless, a certain claim to the succession. His position was at the same time strengthened by the appointments of his two sons to important military posts. The Domesticate of the Schools, which he vacated, was given to Antigonus who was only a boy, while an elder son was invested with the command of several western Themes which were exceptionally united.* But for Bardas the office of Curopalates was only a step to the higher dignity of Caesar, which designated him more clearly as the future colleague or successor of his nephew, whose marriage had been fruitless. He was created Caesar on the Sunday after Easter in April A.D. 86 2.5

The government of the Empire was in the hands of Bardas for ten years, and the reluctant admissions of hostile chroniclers show that he was eminently fitted to occupy the throne. A

1 The source is Simeon, ib., and we the command almost immediately, as can hardly hesitate to accept his Petronas died shortly after. Vogt statement as to the implication of (Basile Ter) is wrong in supposing that Theodora, to whom he was well dis- Petronas succeeded Bardas in this posed. He speaks of her part in an post. apologetic tone, as if she were not 4 Simeon, ib. The wife of this son responsible for her acts : αθυμία was her father-in-law's mistress. For μετεωρισθείσα τον νούν και υπό έκπλή- other examples of such extended comξεως αφαιρεθείσα και το φρονείν, ανάξια mands see pp. 10, 222. εαυτής κατασκευάζει βουλήν κατά Βάρδα 5 The year is given by Gen. 97, the βουλευομένη.

day by Simeon, ib., 824. No known 2 It appears from Cont. Th. 176, facts are incompatible with this date that he was already Curopalates when (which Hirsch accepts), and we must he took part in the expedition against decisively reject the hypotheses of Samosata, the date of which we other- Aristarchos (A.D. 860), Vogt (A.D. 865 wise know to be 859 (see below, p. or 866), and others. 279).

6 The concession of Nicetas (Vit. 3 Simeon (Cont. Georg.) 828. Ac- Ign. 224) is, among others, especially cording to Cont. Th. 180, Petronas significant : σπουδαίον και δραστήριον succeeded him in 863 as Domestic ; περί την των πολιτικών πραγμάτων but if this is true, he was restored to μεταχείρισιν.

M

6

[ocr errors]

1

brilliant success won (A.D. 863) against the Saracens, and the conversion of Bulgaria, enhanced the prestige of the Empire abroad; he committed the care of the Church to the most brilliant Patriarch who ever occupied the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople; he followed the example of Theophilus in his personal attention to the administration of justice;? and he devoted himself especially to the improvement of education and the advancement of learning. The military and diplomatic transactions of this fortunate decade, its importance for the ecclesiastical independence of the Eastern Empire, and its significance in the history of culture, are dealt with in other chapters.

Michael himself was content to leave the management of the state in his uncle's capable hands. He occasionally took part in military expeditions, more for the sake of occupation, we may suspect, than from a sense of duty. He was a man of pleasure, he only cared for amusement, he had neither the brains nor the taste for administration. His passion for horseraces reminds us of Nero and Commodus; he used himself to drive a chariot in the private hippodrome of the Palace of St. Mamas. His frivolity and extravagance, his impiety and scurrility, are held up to derision and execration by an imperial writer who was probably his own grandson but was bitterly hostile to his memory.

Little confidence can be placed in the anecdotes related by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos and his literary satellites, but there is no doubt that they exhibit, in however exaggerated a shape, the character and reputation of Michael. We may not be prepared, for instance, to believe that the firesignals of Asia Minor were discontinued, because on one occasion he was interrupted in the hippodrome by an inopportune message ;but the motive of the story reflects his genuine impatience of public business. The most famous or infamous performance of Michael was his travesty of the mysteries and ministers of the Church.

One of his coarse boon-companions, a buffoon known as the “ Pig," was arrayed

2

[ocr errors]

3

[ocr errors]

1

Cp. Cont. Th. 193. 2 Gen. 112, Cont. Th. 197. It does not appear that he ever drove in the Great Hippodrome himself. At St. Mamas the spectacle would be private

-confined to invited menibers of the Court. High officials took part in these amateur performances (Cont. Th. 198).

3 Cont. Th. 197.

« PrethodnaNastavi »