Slike stranica

some changes which he made in the types may be mentioned here. They are thus described by Wroth (xliii.): "He restored the cross (now the patriarchal cross) 1 on some specimens, and on the folles an inscription-in this case OEOFILE AVTOVSTE SV NICAS-takes the place of the familiar mark of value M. He also introduces on coins the legend Κύριε βοήθει τῷ σῷ δούλῳ 50 familiar on Byzantine seals and other monuments. On some of his coins Theophilus describes himself and his son Constantine as the Soulo of Christ: Justinian II., on his solidi, had called himself Servus Christi."

1 ‡, not the cross potent which appeared on the older coinage.



MICHAEL III. came to the throne January 21, 842, and died September 23, 867, so that his whole reign lasted twenty-five years, eight months. For the last year and four months, Basil was his colleague (from May 26, 866), so that the rest of his reign, including both the period of his minority and his sole reign after Theodora's fall, lasted twenty-four years, four months. Now, according to the contemporary chronicler George the Monk (801), he reigned fourteen years with Theodora, ten years and three months by himself. There is an error of a month, but here we are helped by the Anonymi Chron. Synt., ed. Bauer, p. 68 (cp. also an addition to the Chronography of Nicephorus, ed. de Boor, p. 101), where the joint reign is given as fourteen years, one month, twenty-two days. These figures are probably correct, and so we can fix the meeting of the Senate which signalised the formal deposition of Theodora to March 15, 856. In any case, these data seem to be independent, and they show that the deposition fell, not in 857 as Schlosser and Finlay supposed, but early in 856. This is the conclusion rightly supported by Hirsch (61). It bears out the narrative of the chroniclers (Simeon and Gen.) who connect Theodora's fall from power immediately with the murder of Theoktistos, who was still alive at the time of Michael's marriage, to which we cannot assign an earlier date than 855. The two events must thus have been in chronological proximity.


But a serious difficulty has arisen through the connexion of the deposition of Ignatius from the Patriarchate and the expulsion of Theodora from the Palace. This connexion rests on good authority, the Libellus of Ignatius (composed by Theognostos) addressed to

1 The other figures given by this source here are incorrect: Michael is said to have reigned alone eleven years, one month, nine days. Thus the total reign would be twenty-five years, three months, instead of twenty-five years, eight months. In the Cod. Matritensis

μήνα αʹ here is omitted. The error may have arisen in the additions to the Chron. of Nicephorus from a repetition of μva a' in the preceding notice. The list stops with Basil I., so that the compiler must have written soon after A.D. 886.

Pope Nicolas (Mansi, xvi. 296): "When the sovran, persuaded by Bardas, wished to ostracize his mother and sisters from the Palace, he ordered me to tonsure them, but I would not obey, because they were unwilling; for this reason too I was driven from the Church." In accordance with this statement of the Patriarch is his biographer's intimation that there was not a long interval (μeтà μiкρóv) between the two events (Vita Ignatii, 225).

According to the older view which was still held by Hirsch, Ignatius was deposed in November 857, so that if these statements are true, the tonsuring of the Imperial ladies cannot be placed before 857. Hirsch therefore (loc. cit.) rejects them as inaccurate. But it is quite impossible to set them aside.

We know now that the deposition of Ignatius falls in November 858 (not 857), and this seems to make the difficulty still greater. The Patriarch could never speak as he does of a refusal to comply with the Emperor's wishes early in 856 as the cause of his deposition near the close of 858.

The key to the solution of the difficulty is simple enough. Both the chronological statement of George the Monk (who was writing some ten years later) and the evidence of the Patriarch are perfectly correct. The fall of Theodora from power is a distinct event, chronologically divided by an interval, from her expulsion from the Palace. The end of the joint reign fell in the beginning (perhaps March) of 856, and was marked by the meeting of the Senate recorded in Cont. Georg. 823. But Theodora continued to live in the Palace and was expelled at a much later period. This seems to be the obvious inference from the data.

It is true that any one reading the chronicles of Genesios and Simeon would infer that the expulsion of Theodora from the Palace ensued almost immediately upon the fall of Theoktistos. Gen. 90 kai μετὰ βραχὺ τὰ κατὰ τὴν δέσποιναν ἐκταράττεται· διὸ τοῦ παλατίου

ἐξοστρακίζεται κτλ. But the chronology of these writers is extremely vague; they furnish very few absolute dates, and they had no precise information as to the intervals between events. Such phrases as μετὰ βραχύ and μετὰ μικρόν generally conceal their ignorance. Moreover, if we look more closely at the statements of Simeon (Cont. Georg. 823), we find that they assume an interval (which may be either short or long) between the murder of Theoktistos and the expulsion of Theodora. (1) Michael tried to pacify his mother, who was irreconcilable; then (2) he endeavoured to distress her he expelled three of his sisters to Karianos, and the youngest, Pulcheria, to the monastery of Gastria; afterwards he tonsured them all and confined them in Gastria. (3) He was recognized by the Senate as sole ruler, and created Bardas Domestic of the Schools. (4) He sent Theodora also to Gastria. Although this account is confused and cannot be right in detail, yet it assumes

a distinct interval during which Theodora lived in the Palace after her fall from power. And we may accept the statement, which was not likely to be invented, that the removal of her daughters to Karianos preceded her own expulsion. Against this we need not press the actual words of Theognostos (quoted above), which are accurate enough for his purpose if we suppose that all the ladies were tonsured at the same time.

As this last event was connected with the deposition of Ignatius, it can hardly have been prior to 858. It is, however, worth noticing that the author of the Vita Ignatii (258) assigns fifteen years and eight months to the joint reign of Michael and Theodora. The period is one year, seven months, too long. But it is a possible hypothesis that he reckoned not to her fall from power but to her expulsion. In that case the date of her expulsion would be about August or September 857. This would mean that Ignatius remained Patriarch for some fourteen months after his refusal to obey the Emperor's command. And it may be thought that this is quite possible, since that refusal was certainly only one of the offences which Ignatius committed in the eyes of Michael and Bardas, and we might suppose that it simply began a breach between the Patriarch and the Court. But this is not probable, and does not do justice to the drift of the passage in the Libellus.

If we look more closely at the chronological text in the Vita Ignatii, we observe that there is an error. Nine years are assigned to Michael alone, which, with the fifteen years, eight months, of the joint reign, makes twenty-four years, eight months, just a year too little. My conjecture is that the author intended to count the joint reign as extending to the expulsion of the Empress from the Palace, but that he miscalculated by a year. He ought to have written sixteen years, eight months. This would bring us to August or September 858 for the expulsion-a date which precedes the fall of Ignatius by just about the interval we might expect.



THE events and chronology of these years have been carefully studied by Vasil'ev, from the Greek and Arabic writers; but he was not acquainted with the original Syriac Chronicle of Michael Syrus, knowing it only through the Armenian abbreviation and the compilation of Bar-Hebraeus, nor does he seem to have realised its importance for the reign of Theophilus, and especially for the last years of Mamun. Michael's source was the lost Chronicle of Dionysios of Tell-Mahre, the Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch (A.D. 818-845), who was not only a contemporary but was a friend of Mamun and was with him at times during these years. visited the Caliph in his camp at Kasin in the autumn of A.D. 831 (Michael Syr. 74), and accompanied him in the following February to Egypt (ib. 76). The evidence of Michael is therefore of the highest importance.


It appears that in the spring of A.D. 830, Theophilus-with Theophobos and his new Persamenian allies-crossed the mountains and captured and burned the town of Zapetra, perhaps massacring many of the inhabitants.1 Mamun lost no time in retaliating. In the same year, marching by Mosul, Zeugma, Membij, and

1 This capture of Zapetra, not mentioned by the Greek writers, is recorded by Michael Syr. 74, and must be accepted. There is, however, some chronological confusion in this chapter of Michael. Immediately after his notice of the accession of Theophilus he records: (1) without date, the capture of Zapetra; (2) "in the following year" the revolt of Manuel, and Mamun's capture, in or after June, of four forts; (3) in May 1142=831, the siege of Lulon; (4) in 1143=October 831 to October 832, Mamun's departure for Damascus, on hearing that Egypt had revolted; the capture of Lulon; "at this period" the return of Manuel to Theophilus; the embassy of Theophilus ;

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