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It is obvious from the character both of his shorter notices and his longer narrations that the chronicler had a written source, dating from a time not far removed from the events. Any one accustomed to the investigation of sources can discern at once that Simeon's work could not have been compiled from anecdote, oral traditions, or Vitae Sanctorum. He has clearly used an older chronicle written by some one who had a first-hand knowledge of the reign of Michael III. and was in touch with contemporaries of Theophilus. Can we discover anything about this lost chronicle ?
One of the features of Simeon's work is his admiration for Romanus I.; another is the unfavourable light in which he presents Basil I. Hirsch has observed that the treatment of Theophilus, Michael III., and Bardas shows a certain impartiality, in the sense that the author recounts their good deeds as well as those which he esteems bad; he does not blacken Theophilus and Michael III. by lurid accounts of the persecutions of the former 1 and the debaucheries of the latter.
The chronicle, then, which was the basis of this part of Simeon's work was distinctly animated by hostility to Basil, and was not unfavourable to the Amorians, though it did not conceal their faults. We cannot say how favourable it was, because we are unable to determine what Simeon may have omitted or what touches of his own he may have added. The author of the lost Amorian chronicle, as it might be called, was probably attached to the Court in the reign of Michael III., and wrote his work during the reign of Basil or Leo VI. There is one passage which perhaps gives us an indication. Among the murderers of Michael III. are mentioned Βάρδας ὁ πατὴρ Βασιλείου τοῦ ῥαίκτορος καὶ Συμβάτιος ὁ ἀδελφὸς Βασιλείου καὶ ̓Ασυλαίων ἐξάδελφος Βασιλείου (Cont. Georg. 837= Mur. 750, agreeing exactly with vers. Slav. 110). Now the post of Rector, which we know to have existed in A.D. 899, was probably instituted either by Basil I. or Leo VI.3 The chronicler assumes Basil the Rector to be well known, for he identifies the three conspirators Bardas, Symbatios, and Asylaion by their relationship to him, and, as he does not himself play any part in history, it is natural to suppose that he was Rector when the chronicler was writing. His Rectorship we may reasonably assume to have fallen before that of Joannes, who held the office under Alexander and Romanus I. This could be established to a certainty if we could be quite sure that Baσideíov in the text means throughout Basil the Rector, and not Basil the Emperor
1 Hirsch notes (32) that the author probably made use of the Vita Theodori Grapti.
2 In this passage the Cont. Georg. text is markedly superior to Theod. Mel.
(καὶ Συμβάτιος οἱ ἀδελφοὶ βασ. 175) as well as to L. Gr. (251, where Toû д. – Bartelov is omitted ex homoeotel.).
3 See Bury, Imp. Administrative System, 115 sq.
(as it has been interpreted). For if Asylaion, nephew of Basil, was old enough to assist in the murder in 867, it is impossible to place the uncle's rectorship later than that of Joannes. That Symbatios and Asylaion were kinsmen of the Rector and not of the Emperor is, in my opinion, virtually certain, from the facts that (1) Marianos, the Emperor's brother, who is mentioned in the same sentence, is not described as such here, and (2) that in relating the murder of Bardas (Cont. Georg. 830), in which Symbatios and Asylaion also took part, the chronicler describes Asylaion as nephew of Symbatios, whereas it would have been obviously natural to describe him as nephew of Basil (the future Emperor), had he been his nephew.1
In the account of the reign of Basil I. there are distinct traces of the same hand which penned the chronicle of Michael III. I am not sure where this work terminated or at what point Simeon resorted to another source; but it may be conjectured that what I have termed the Amorian chronicle came down to the death of Basil, for the brevity of Simeon's account of Basil's reign contrasts with the comparative copiousness of the treatment of Leo VI., though both alike are unfavourable to the Basilian dynasty.
It must be noted that the chronicle preserved in Cod. Par. 1712, of which the later part has been printed by Combefis and Bekker under the title of "Symeon magister," is a totally different compilation and has nothing to do with Simeon. It is now generally designated as Pseudo-Simeon. See Bibliography, and Krumbacher, G.B.L. 359. It is important to observe that the chronological data by which this chronicle is distinguished are worthless (see Hirsch, 342 sqq.). The chronicler's chief sources were, according to Hirsch (318 sqq.), George, Simeon, Genesios, Cont. Th., Scriptor Incertus de Leone Armenio, the Vita Ignatii by Nicetas ; but he also furnishes a number of other notices (chiefly anecdotes), which are not found in our other sources.
1 The texts are here again divergent : vers. Slav. 107, "Marianus, his [Basil's] brother; and Symbatios and Bardas, his brother; and Joannes Chaldos, etc."; Theod. Mel. 170 Μαρ. ἀδελφὸς αὐτοῦ καὶ Συμβ. καὶ Βάρδας ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ, ̓Ασυλέων ¿ ¿§ádeλpos avтoû; Cont. Georg. 830 Μαυριανὸς καὶ Συμβάτιος καὶ ̓Ασυλαίων ὁ ¿§. avтοû ( cp. Muralt, 740 ad loc.).
The Slav. version omits Asylaion; Cont. Georg. omits Bardas. In Theod. Mel. ἀδελφοί is an error for ἀδελφός. As to Bardas, there need be no inconsistency with the passage enumerating the conspirators against Michael. Bardas may have been the name of the father of Symbatios and also of one of his brothers.
GENESIOS AND THE CONTINUATION OF THEOPHANES
THE Basileiai of Genesios (written c. 944-948 A.D.) and the Chronography (Books 1-4, written, under the auspices of Constantine VII., 949-950 A.D.)1 known as the Continuation of Theophanes, which along with George and Simeon are the chief sources for the continuous history of our period, have been analysed in detail by Hirsch in his Byzantinische Studien. He has determined some of their sources, and he has made it quite clear that, as we should expect, the author or authors of Cont. Th. used the work of Genesios. Some of his particular results admit of reconsideration, but for the most part they are sufficient as a guide to the historical student. There are two things, however, which may be pointed out.
(1) Joseph Genesios was a kinsman of Constantine the Armenian, for whom he evinces a particular interest in his history. Constantine was Drungarios of the Watch under Michael III. (see above, pp. 147, 157, etc.), and from Simeon (Leo Gr. 249 Theod. Mel. 174) we learn that he was ὁ πατὴρ θωμᾶ πατρικίου καὶ Γενεσίου. Hirsch concluded that Genesios the historian was his son. But de Boor (B.Z. x. 62 sqq.) has shown that Simeon refers to another Genesios who was a magister in the reign of Leo VI., while Joseph Genesios the historian was Chartulary of the Ink (ò éπì TOû Kavikλelov) under Constantine VII. The relationship is
Constantine, δρουγγ. τ. βίγλας.
(2) It can be proved, I think, from a number of comparisons
1 Cp. Bury, Treatise De adm. imp. 570 sqq.
that the Continuators of Theophanes used, along with Genesios, the source of Genesios. There are passages in Cont. Th. in which the relationship to Gen. is plain, but there are additions which cannot be explained either as amplifications invented by the author or as derived from oral tradition, and which, therefore, probably come from the source used by Gen. and were omitted by him. It will be sufficient here to mention two examples. In the account of the campaign of Theophilus in A.D. 837, the close interdependence of Cont. Th. 124 and Gen. 63-64 is obvious in the similar phraseology; but while Gen. particularises only the capture of Zapetra, Cont. Th. records that two other cities were also taken. There is no probability that this record came from any other source than that which Gen. used. Again, the two relations of the rescue of Theophilus by Manuel, and Manuel's subsequent flight (Gen. 61-62; Cont. Th. 117 sq.), are manifestly interdependent. But Cont. Th. designates the person who accused Manuel of treasonable designs, while Gen. confines himself to a generality. Here, too, this addition probably comes from the source which Gen. used; and I suspect that the further particulars of Manuel's services to the Saracens should be referred to the
same origin. For other additions in Cont. Th. which may be derived from the common source, cp. above, pp. 46, 54, 87, 88, 93, 95, 97, 99, 106, 290.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE WAR BETWEEN MICHAEL II. AND
THOMAS THE SLAV
OUR authorities supply singularly few landmarks for the chronology of the Civil War. It will be well to set down in a list exactly what determinations of time they furnish, before we consider what inferences may or must be drawn.
(1) The whole revolt lasted three years. We have this on early authority: George, p. 797 Tòv év Tρươìv éteσi πόλεμον. It is repeated by Genesios, 34 (cf. Cont. Th. 67). It might almost be inferred also from the Letter of Michael to Lewis, which describes the whole course of the rebellion, and was written in April 824.
(2) The siege of Constantinople lasted a year. For this we have the authority of the besieged Emperor himself in his Letter (p. 418), and also that of George (797) ἐφ' ἕνα χρόνον ἐκπορθήσας.
(3) The siege began in December of the 15th Indiction, that is December 821 A.D. We get this date from Michael's Letter (ib.). Cp. Cont. Th. 61 ἅτε δὴ καὶ χειμῶνος ἐπιγενομένου.
(4) Having wintered elsewhere, Thomas returned to the siege of the city in the spring following (i.e. spring of 822). Cont. Th., ib. ἤδη δὲ τοῦ ἔαρος ἥμερον ἐπιλάμποντος.
(5) The embassy of the Bulgarians is only indicated roughly by Genesios as taking place when the first decade of the Thirty Years' Peace with Leo was nearly coming to a close: p. 41 ai yàp ὑπὸ Λέοντος τοῦ βασιλέως πρὸς αὐτοὺς τριακοντούτεις σπονδαὶ ἤδη τὴν πρώτην δεκαετηρίδα συνεπλήρουν σχεδόν.
(6) The battle of Diabasis belongs to the third year of the war: Cont. Th. 67 τρίτος γὰρ (χρόνος) ἐξηνύετο (wrongly rendered in the Latin translation, cum-fluxisset); the third year was current.
(7) The siege of Arcadiopolis lasted five months: Michael's Letter, p. 419.
(8) The tyrant Thomas was slain in the middle of October. This we learn from Genesios, 45 μηνὸς Οκτωβρίου μεσοῦντος ἤδη,
and Cont. Th. 70.