Slike stranica

to swear to a written undertaking that he would introduce no novelty into the Church.

Nicephorus obtained from Michael an autograph assurance -and the sign of the cross was doubtless affixed to the signature-in which he pledged himself to preserve the orthodox faith, not to stain his hands with the blood of Christians, and not to scourge ecclesiastics, whether priests or monks.

The Patriarch now showed that, if there had been no persecutions during his tenure of office, he at least would not have been lacking in zeal. At his instance the penalty of capital punishment was enacted against the Paulicians and the Athingani, who were regarded as no better than Manichaeans and altogether outside the pale of Christianity. The persecution began; not a few were decapitated; but influential men, to whose advice the Emperor could not close his ears, intervened, and the bloody work was stayed. The monk, to whom we owe most of our knowledge of the events of these years, deeply laments the successful interference of these evil counsellors.2 But the penalty of death was only commuted; the Athingani were condemned to confiscation and banishment.

The Emperor had more excuse for proceeding against the iconoclasts, who were still numerous in the army and the Imperial city. They were by no means contented at the rule of the orthodox Rangabé.3 Their discontent burst out after Michael's fruitless Bulgarian expedition in June, A.D. 812. We shall have to return to the dealings of Michael with the Bulgarians; here we have only to observe how this June expedition led to a conspiracy. When the iconoclasts saw Thrace and Macedonia at the mercy of the heathen of the north, they thought they had good grounds for grumbling at. the iconodulic sovran. When the admirers of the great Leo and the great Constantine, who had ruled in the days of their fathers and grandfathers, saw the enemy harrying the land at will and possessing the cities of the Empire, they might bitterly

1 The Athingani, if not simply a sect of the Paulicians, were closely related to them. The name is supposed to be derived from ἀ-θιγγάνειν, referring to the doctrine that the touch of many things defiled (cp. St. Paul, Coloss, ii. 21 unde Olyns). They seem to have chiefly flourished in Phrygia. It has been supposed by some that

Zigeuner (gipsy) is derived from the Athingani; since allyyavos means gipsy in Modern Greek.

2 Theoph. 495.

It may be noted that Michael made no changes, significant of orthodoxy, in the types of the coinage; cp. Wroth,. I. xli.

remember how heavy the arm of Constantine had been on the Bulgarians and how well he had defended the frontier of Thrace; they might plausibly ascribe the difference in military success to the difference in religious doctrine. It was a good opportunity for the bold to conspire; the difficulty was to discover a successor to Michael, who would support iconoclasm and who had some show of legitimate claim to the throne. The choice of the conspirators fell on the blind sons of Constantine V., who still survived in Panormos, or as it was also, and is still, called Antigoni, one of the Prince's Islands. These princes had been prominent in the reign of Constantine VI. and Irene, as repeatedly conspiring against their nephew and sister-in-law. The movement was easily suppressed, the revolutionaries escaped with a few stripes, and the blind princes were removed to the more distant island of Aphusia.' But though the iconoclasts might be disaffected, they do not seem to have provoked persecution by openly showing flagrant disrespect to holy pictures in the reigns of Nicephorus and Michael. Michael, however, would not suffer the iconoclastic propaganda which his father-in-law had allowed. He edified the people of Constantinople by forcing the iconoclastic lecturer Nicolas to make a public recantation of his error.

The Emperor and the Patriarch lost no time in annulling the decisions of those assemblies which the Studite monks

stigmatised as "synods of adulterers." The notorious Joseph, who had celebrated the "adulterous" marriage, was again suspended; the Studites were recalled from exile; and the schism was healed. It might now be alleged that Nicephorus had not been in sympathy with the late Emperor's policy, and had only co-operated with him from considerations of "3 economy." But the dissensions of the Studite monks, first


Theoph. 496. Aphusia, still so called, is one of the Proconnesian islands, apparently not the same as Ophiusa, for Diogenes of Cyzicus (Müller, F. H. G. iv. 392) distinguishes Φυσία καὶ ̓Οφιόεσσα. The other chief islands of the group are Proconnesus, Aulonia, and Kutalis; the four are described in Gedeon, Προικόννησος, 1895. Cp. Hasluck, J.H.S. xxix. 17.

2 The fact that Theophanes only records one case in Michael's reign (ib). is significant. A vagabond (éμπepl

AKTOS) hermit scraped and insulted a picture of the Mother of God, and was punished by the excision of his tongue.

It is not known whether the Emperor or the Patriarch was the prime mover. It is interesting to note that the Emperor Nicephorus had given the brothers of the Empress Theodote quarters in the Palace, tnus emphasizing his approbation of her marriage, and that Michael I. expelled them (Scr. Incert. 336).

with Tarasius and then with Nicephorus, were more than passing episodes. They were symptomatic of an opposition or discord between the hierarchy of the Church and a portion of the monastic world. The heads of the Church were more liberal and more practical in their views; they realized the importance of the State, on which the Church depended; and they deemed it bad policy, unless a fundamental principle were at stake, to oppose the supreme authority of the Emperor. The monks were no politicians; they regarded the world from a purely ecclesiastical point of view; they looked upon the Church as infinitely superior to the State; and they were prepared to take extreme measures for the sake of maintaining a canon. The "third party" and the monks were united, after the death of Michael I., in a common struggle against iconoclasm, but as soon as the enemy was routed, the disagreement between these two powers in the Church broke out, as we shall see, anew.




§1. Reign and Administration of Leo V

LEO V. was not the first Armenian who occupied the Imperial throne. Among the Emperors who reigned briefly and in rapid succession after the decline of the Heraclian dynasty, the Armenian Bardanes who took the name of Philippicus, had been chiefly noted for luxury and delicate living. The distinctions of Leo were of a very different order. If he had "sown his wild oats" in earlier days, he proved an active and austere prince, and he presented a marked contrast to his immediate predecessor. Born in lowly station and poor circumstances, Leo had made his way up by his own ability to the loftiest pinnacle in the Empire; Michael enjoyed the advantages of rank and birth, and had won the throne through the accident of his marriage with an Emperor's daughter. Michael had no will of his own; Leo's temper was as firm as that of his namesake, the Isaurian. Michael was in the hands of the Patriarch; Leo was determined that the Patriarch should be in the hands of the Emperor. Even those who sympathized with the religious policy of Michael were compelled to confess that he was a feeble, incompetent ruler; while even those who hated Leo most bitterly could not refuse to own that in civil administration he was an able sovran. A short description of Leo's


1 On one side his parentage was Assyrian," which presumably means Syrian (Gen. 28; Cont. Th. 6 καтà συζυγίαν ἐξ ̓Ασσυρίων καὶ ̓Αρμενίων).

The statements are vague. His parents (one or both ?) are said to have slain their (?) parents and been exiled for that reason to Armenia.

personal appearance has been preserved. He was of small stature and had curling hair; he wore a full beard; his hair was thick; his voice loud.'

On the very day of his entry into Constantinople as an Augustus proclaimed by the army, an incident is related to have occurred which seemed an allegorical intimation as to the ultimate destiny of the new Emperor. It is one of those stories based perhaps upon some actual incident, but improved and embellished in the light of later events, so as to bear the appearance of a mysterious augury. It belongs to the general atmosphere of mystery that seemed to envelop the careers of the three young squires of Bardanes, whose destinies had been so closely interwoven. The prophecy of the hermit of Philomelion, the raving of the slave-girl of Michael Rangabé, and the incident now to be related,3 mark stages in the development of the drama.

Since Michael the Amorian had been rewarded by Nicephorus for his desertion of the rebel Bardanes, we lose sight of his career. He seems to have remained an officer in the Anatolic Theme, of which he had been appointed Count of the tent, and when Leo the Armenian became the stratêgos of that province the old comrades renewed their friendship. Leo acted as sponsor to Michael's son; and Michael played some part in bringing about Leo's elevation. The latter is said to have shrunk from taking the great step,


1 Pseudo-Simeon, 603. This is one of the notices peculiar to this chronicle and not found in our other authorities. I have conjectured that the source was the Scriptor Incertus, of whose work we possess the valuable fragment frequently cited in these notes. See Bury, A Source of Symeon Magister B.Z. i. 572 (1892). Note de Boors emendation σχυράν for ὀγυράν (Kóμŋ) in this passage, and cp. above, p. 22, n. 2. On most of the coins of Leo, which are of the ordinary type of this period, his son Constantine ap pears beardless on the reverse. A seal, which seems to belong to these Emperors, with a cross potent on the obverse, and closely resembling one type of the silver coinage of these Emperors and of their predecessors Michael and Theophylactus (see Wroth, Pl. xlvii. 4, 11, 12), is preserved in the Russian Arch. Institute

[blocks in formation]
« PrethodnaNastavi »