Slike stranica

Asiatic provinces. The system of immense estates owned by
rich proprietors and cultivated by peasants in a condition of
scrfilom, which had prevailed in the age of Justinian, had
been laryely superseiled by the opposite system of small
holdings, which the policy of the Isaurian Emperor's seems
to have encouraged. But by the tenth century, vast pro-
perties and pensant serfs have reappeared, and the process
by which this second transformation was accomplished must
be attributed to the ninth. The civil war could not fail to
ruin numberless small farmers who in prosperous times could
barely pay their way, and the fiscal burdens rendered it
impossible for them to recuperate their fortunes, unless they
were ailleil by the State. But it was casier and more con-
ducive to the immediate profit of the treasury to allow these
insolvent lands to pass into the possession of rich neighbours,
who in some cases might be monastic communities. It is
probalıle that many forms and homesteads were abandoned by
their masters. A modern historian, who had a quick eye for
economic changes, judged that the rebellion of Thomas
no inconsiderable cause of the accumulation of property in
immense estates, which began to depopulate the country and
prepare it for the reception of a new race of inhabitants.”
If the government of Michael II. had been wise, it would
have intervened, at all costs, to save the small proprietors.
Future Emperors might thus havt been spared a baslling
economic problem and a grave political danger.


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

§ 3. The Ecclesiastical Policy of Michael It was probably during or just after the war with Thomas that Thecla, the mother of Theophilus, died. At all events we find Michael soon after the end of the war making preparations for a second marriage, notwithstanding the deep yricf which he had displayed at the death of his first wife. A second marriage of any kind was deprecated by the strictly orthoclox; and some thought that at this juncture, when the Empire was involveil in so many misfortunes, the Emperor showed little concern to appease an offended Deity. But the Senators were urgent with him that he should marry. “ It is

· Finlay, ii. 133.

It was

not possible," they said," that an Emperor should live without a wife, and that our wives should lack a Lady and Empress.” The writer who records this wishes to make his readers believe that the pressure of the Senate was exerted at the express desire of Michael himself.' However this may be, it is interesting to observe the opinion that an Augusta was needed in the interests of Court society.

But those who carped at the idea of a second marriage were still more indignant when they heard who she was that the Emperor had selected to be Empress over them. not unfitting that the conqueror of the false Constantine should choose the daughter of the true Constantine for his wife. But Euphrosyne, daughter of Constantine VI, and grand-daughter of Irene, had long been a nun in a monastery on the island of Prinkipo, where she lived with her mother Maria. Here, indeed, was a scandal; here was an occasion for righteous indignation. Later historiaris at least made much of the crime of wedding a nun, but at the time perhaps it was inore a pretext for spiteful gossip than a cause of genuine dissatisfaction.' The latriarch did not hesitate to dissolve Euphrosyne from her vows, that she might fill the high station for which her birth had fitted her. The new Amorian house might claim by this marriage to be linked with the old Isaurian dynasty.


The ecclesiastical leanings of Michael II. were not different from those of his predecessor, but he adopted a different


I Cont. Th. 78. Our Greek author. ities do not tell us directly that Thecla was alive when Michael acccded to the throne. But Michael Syr. 72 states that she died “when he had reigned four years"; and the language of Cort. Th. 78, in noticing his second marriage, seems decidedly to imply that she had died very recently. Michael Syr. adds a dark and incred. ible scandal that Euphrosyno bore a male child, and reflecting that it was of Jewish race and would "corrupt the Imperial stock" caused it to be killed.

exhorting her not to go and live with her daughter in the Palace (Epp. ii. 181 ; cp. Ep. 148 Cozza L.).

Compare Finlay ii. 142. He gires no reason for this view, but I find one in the silence of the contemporary George, who does not mention Euphra syne.

2 Theodore of Studion denounced the Emperor for this unlawful (exvbuws) act in a catêchésis, Parva Cat. 74, p. 258, and he wrote a letter to Maria,

In the chronicle of Simeon (Add. Georg.783,789), she is mentioned, but the author does not know who she was and takes her for the mother of Theophilus.

+ It is a mistake to suppose (as Schwarzlose does, p. 73) that Michael was neutral. Grossu (Prep. Theolot. 151) properly calls him “a convinced iconoclast, though not a fanatic." Finlay (ii. 129) speaks of his “in. difference to the ecclesiastical disputes which agitated a church to many of whose cloctrines he was at heart ad. verse" ; but this "indillirince" was relative; it would be misleading to describe him as an “inilitlerentist. llis own iconolastic convictions are esporesseed clearly in his Letter to Lewis (120 sq.! On luis actual policy, all writers agree: it is brielly suimmed up in the hela brilis 230 : latéxwo έκαστος δε το δοκούν αυτω ποιείτω.

policy. He decided to maintain the iconoclastic reform of Leo, which harmonized with his own personal convictions; but at the same time to desist from any further persecution of the image- worshippers. We can easily understand that the circumstances of his accession dictated a policy which should, so far as possible, disarm the opposition of a large and influential section of his subjects. Accorilingly, he delivered from prison and allowed to return from exile, all those who had been punished by Leo for their clefiance of his authority. The most eminent of the sufferers, Theodore of Studion, left his prison cell in Smyrnat, hoping that the change of government would mean the restoration of icons and the reinstallation of Nicephorus as Patriarch. He wrote a grateful and congratulatory letter to the Emperor, exhorting him to bestow peace and unity on the Church ly reconciliation with the sco of Rome.'. At the same time, he attempted to bring Court influence to bear on Michael, and we possess his letters to several prominent ministers, whom he exhorts to work in the cause of image-worship, while he malignantly exults over the fate of Leo the Armenian. Theodore had been joined by many members of his party on his journey to the neighbour. hood of Constantinople, and when he reached Chalcedon, he hastened to visit the ex-Patriarch who was living in his own monastery of St. Theodore, on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphorus." Here and in the monastery of Crescentius, where


" In the Epist. sin, ail Thcoph. 377 Michael is described as toy a padTATOV και γαληνότατον βασιλέα, wιο χριστοMenýrws said to those who were in chains, “ Conie forth." : Theolore, Epp. ii. 74.

Th, ü. 75, 76, 80, SI, 82. These and the letter to the Emperor were probably written at Pteleue, where Theodore stayed for some time, before

proceeding to Prusa and Chalcedon (Michael, l'it. Theol. . 58). On leaviny Smyrna, Theolore proceeded to Pteleite, loy way of Verolopha and lánkou utara, unknown places (ib. c. 18). The position of Ptoleae, on the river Onoponiktes (ilic. 51), is in. known, buit it is probably the same as l’telead on the Hellespont (for which sec Rimsay, sin Ninor, 163). In that case, Theodore must have followed the coast road from Smyrna.

(irossa (145) is wrong in saying that Theolore crossed the Bosphorus and visited Nicephorus in the monas. tery of Agathos.

This monastery may have been on the European sido of the Bosphorus, but Nicephorus was in the monastery of St." Thcolore (Ignatius, l'il. Niccph. 201), which was on the Asiatic side (l'argoire, Boradion, 476-477).

Theodore took up his abode somewhere on the Asiatic shore of the Propontis,' the image-worshippers deliberated how they should proceed.

Their first step seems to have been the composition of a letter? which Nicephorus addressed to the Emperor, admonishing hiin of his religious duties, and holding up as a warning the fate of his impious predecessor. In this document the arguments in favour of images were once more rehearsed. But Michael was deaf to these appeals. His policy was to allow people to believe what they liked in private, but not to permit image-worship in public. When he received the letter of Nicephorus he is reputed to have expressed admiration of its ability and to have said to its bearers words to this effect: “ Those who have gone before us will have to answer for their doctrines to God; but we intend to keep the Church in the same way in which we found her walking. Therefore we rule and confirm that no one shall venture to open his mouth either for or against images. But let the Synod of Tarasius be put out of mind and memory, and likewise that of Constantine the elder (the Fifth), and that which was lately held in Leo's reign; and let complete silence in regard to images be the order of the day. But as for him who is so zealous to speak and write on these matters, if lie wishes to govern the Church on this basis, preserving silence concerning the existence and worship of images, bid him come here."

But this attempt to close the controversy was vain; the injunction of silence would not be obeyed, and its enforcement could only lead to a new persecution. The Emperor

· Michael, V'it. Thcoil. c. 59, names has, I think, been a confusion here the monastery, and seems to imply it between Michael's reply to the Patri. way on the Gulf of Nicomedia.' But arch and liis subsequent reply to the in l'it. l'icol. Strul. 900, the placo of audience of ccclesiastics whom he Theodoro's abode at this time is received, doubtless at a silentina in described as a παρακολπιος τόπος της the presence of the Senate. We do Il pouons, which would naturally nican not know whether Nicephorus wrote on the bay of Mudania.

his letter before or after the appearance ? Ignatius, Vit. Niccph. 209, where of Theodore on the scene. Grossu Michael's reply προς τους το γράμμα (144 899.) is right, I think, in his dla Kouco auévous is given. George Mon., general reconstruction of the order of without mentioning Nicephorus or his events, but it cannot be considered letter, cites Michael's reply (froni absolutely certain. Ignatius), referring to it as a public 3 From these words, I think we harangle, επί λαού δημηγορήσας (792). may infer that the Patriarchate was The texts of Simicon have tri gelevilov already vacant through the death of instead of doi laoû (Leo Gr. 211; Theodotos. l'ers. Slav. 92, na selenilii). There


presently deemed it expedient to essay a reconciliation, by ineans of a conference between leading representatives of both parties, and he requested the ex-Patriarch and his friends to meet together and consider this proposal.'

The imageworshippers decided to decline to meet heretics for the purpose of discussion, and Theodore, who was empowered to reply to the Emperor on behalf of the bishops and abbots, wrote that, while in all other matters they were entirely at their sovran's disposition, they could not comply with this command, and suggested that the only solution of the difficulty was to appeal to Rome, the head of all the Churches.

It was apparently after this refusal that, through the intervention of one of his ministers, Michael received in audience Theodore and his friends. Having permitted them to expound their views on image-worship, he replied briefly and decisively : “Your words are good and excellent. But, as I have never yet till this hour worshipped an image in my life, I have determined to leave the Church as I found it. To you, however, I allow the liberty of adhering with impunity to what you allege to be the orthodox faith ; live where you choose, only it must be outside the city, and you need not apprehend that any danger will befall you from my government."

It is probuble that these negotiations were carried on while the Patriarchal chair was vacant. Theoilotos died early in the year, and while the image-worshippers endeavoured to procure the restoration of Nicephorus on their own terms, the Emperor hoped that the ex-Patriarch might be induced to yield. The audience convinced him that further attempts to come to an understanding would be useless, and he caused the

· Theodore, Epp. ii. 86.

They based their refusal on an apostolic command, sc. of Paul in Titus iji. 9.10.

: So Schneider, 89; Grossu, 147. C. Thonias places the audience almost immediately after Theodore's return froni cxile, anul before the letter of Nicepoloorus (136). The dilliculty as to the orilor arise's from the fact that the three negotiations (1) the lotter of Nicephorns, (3) the foresposal for a couferince, (3) the audience-file re. conlied in threo sources, vaclı of which

mentions only the one transaction. We can, therefore, only apply con. siderations of probability.

• Michael, il.. c. 60 (cp. Vila Nicol. Stud. 892). The Patriarch was not present (ib.; and Theodore, Epp. ii. 129, p. 1417; from which passage it appears that at this audience the Emperor Again proposed a conference loetuern representatives of tho two Hoitrines, and otlivold to levevo tho decision to cortuin persons who fit'o fessored 10 ho immge Worshippoors---TOUTON κακείνον των δήθεν ομοφρόνων ημϊν).

« PrethodnaNastavi »