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wards dragged naked from the Palace by the “Gate of Spoils
But although Michael, with a view to his own security, dealt thus cruelly with the boys, he did not leave the family destitute. He gave them a portion of Leo's property for their support, but he assigned them habitations in different places. The sons were confined in Prôtê, while the wife and the mother of Lco were allowed to dwell“ safely and at their own will” in a more verdant and charming island of the same group, Chalkitês, which is now known as Halki.'
1 There is a picture of the scene in the Madrid MS. of Skylitzes (Beylié, L'Habitation byzantine, 106). Partisans of Michael appear above the roof of the Palace to illustrate the chronicler's words (Cedrenus, ii. 67) Sid to the βασίλειον αυλήν όπλοις οικείους πάντοθεν περιφραχθήναι.
: Cont. Th. 47 Κωνσταντίνος ο μετονομασθείς Βασίλειος. This, of
course, is a mistake. Constantine was not Basil. The renaming was of Symbatios, who became Constantine (ib. 41 ; below, p. 58). It seems probable that Basil was meant, as we find the story told of him in Pseudo Simeon, 619.
3 Gen. 99.
• Cont. Th. 46, where their retreat is designated as the monastery Tân We have already seen that Leo, before he entered Constantinople to celebrate his coronation, wote to assure the Patriarch of his orthodoxy. No hint is given that this letter was a reply to a previous communication from the Patriarch. We may suppose that Leo remembered how Nicephorus had exacted a written declaration of orthodoxy from Michael, and wished to anticipate such a demand. We know not in what terms the letter of Leo was couched, but it is possible that he gave Nicephorus reason to believe that he would be ready to sign a more formal document to the same effect after his coronation. The crowned Emperor, however, evade the formality, which the uncrowned Emperor had perhap: promised or suggested ; and thus when he afterwards repu.liated the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council he could not legally be said to Jeototür, I know no other reference monasteries, see Schlumberger, op. cit. to this cloister, but inser that it was in Halki from the letter of Thcodore 1 Theoph. 502 γράφει μεν Νικηφόρο of Studion to Theolosia and her son τω πατριάρχη τα περί της εαυτού ορθοBasil (ii. 204, επειδή δε ατεδόθη υμίν δοξίας διαβεβαιούμενος, αιτών μετά της ταρα του μεγάλου βασιλέως η νήσος της ευχής και επινεύσεως αυτού του κράτους Χαλκίτου εις κατοικητήριο»). Tlicolore erilaßéolai. This statement of Theo. complains that the alilot and niouks phanes is most important and seems to had been turned out of their house to be the key to the dilliculty. Theophanes niake room for Theolosia, and have no does not say a word in prejudice of Leo. home. The letter might sugrest that He wrote probably very soon after Basil was with Theodosia (in contra. Leo's accession and before the icono. diction to the statement of Curl. TI.), clastic policy had been announced. If but the inference is not necessary anıl Leo had signed, like Michael, a formal the superscription may be inaccurate. document, Theophanes would almost For a description of Halki and its certainly have rucntioned it.
§ 3. The Revival of Iconoclasm The revival of image-worship by the Empress Irene and the authority of the Council of Nicaea had not extinguished the iconoclastic doctrine, which was still obstinately maintained by powerful parties both in the Court circles of Byzantium and in the army. It is not surprising that the struggle should have been, however unwisely, renewed. The first period of iconoclasm and persecution, which was initiated by Leo the Isaurian, lasted for more than fifty, the second, which was initiated by Leo the Armenian, for less than thirty years.
The two periods are distinguished by the greater prominence of the dogmatic issues of the question in the later epoch, and by the circumstance that the persecution was less violent and more restricted in its range.
have broken solemn engagements. But his adversaries were eager to represent him as having broken faith. According to one account,' he actually signed a solemn undertaking to preserve inviolate the received doctrines of the Church; and this he flagrantly violated by his war against images According to the other account,” he definitely promised to sign such a document after his coronation, but, when it came to the point, refused. The first story seizes the fact of his reassuring letter to Nicephorus and represents it as a binding document; the second story seizes the fact that Leo after his coronation declined to bind himself, and represents this refusal as a breach of a definite promise.
The iconoclastic doctrine was still widely prevalent in the army, and was held by many among the higher classes in the capital. If it had not possessed a strong body of adherents, the Emperor could never have thought of reviving it. That he committed a mistake in policy can hardly be disputed in view of subsequent events. Nicephorus I., in preserving the settlement of the Council of Nicaea, while he allowed icono clasts perfect freedom to propagate their opinions, had proved himself a competent statesman. For, considered in the interest of ecclesiastical tranquillity, the great superiority of imageworship to iconoclasm lay in the fact that it need not lead to persecution or oppression. The iconoclasts could not be compelled to worship pictures, they had only to endure the offence of seeing them and abstnin from insulting them; whereas the adoption of an iconoclastic policy rendered persecution inevitable. The course pursued by Nicephorus seems to have been perfectly satisfactory and successful in securing the peace of the Church.
i Scr. Incert. 340 apbrepov toñoas placeed on his head ; then deutépę rhs idebxeipov ; cp. 349. Simcon (Leo Gr. βασιλείας ημέρας και αυθις ο θεοφόρος 207) βεβαιώσας αυτόν εγγράφως περί της τω της ορθοδοξίας τόμο τον άρτιφανή autoù oppodočlas (cp. Vers. Slav. 90 ; βασιλέα κατήπειγεν ενσημήνασθαι ο δε Add. Geury. ed. Mur. 679 las To κραταιώς απηρνείτo. This story may έγγραφον-άθετήσας). Hirsch is -).
the be near the truth though it is told by only modern authority since Lebeau it partisan. It is repeated by Genesios, (xii. 297) who accepts this account etc., and accepted by Finlay, ii. 113 (22). According to l'it. Theod. Grapt. (who here confounds the Patriarch 665, Leo gave an undertaking at the with the deacon Ignatius), Hergen. time of the coronation.
rüther, i. 234, and most writers. Hefele ? Ignatius, l'it. Niccpl. Patr. 163, leaves the question open_liv. 1). 164 : Nicephorus sent an elaborate Ignatius relates that the Patriarch, form (tbuos), containing the orthodox when placing the crown on Leo's, head, creed, to Leo before his coronation ; felt as if he were pricked by thorns Leo assented to its contents, but post. (161). poned signing until the diadem was
All this, however, must have been as obvious to Leo the Armenian as it seems to us. He cannot have failed to realize the powerful opposition which a revival of iconoclasm would arouse; yet he resolved to disturb the tranquil condition of the ecclesiastical world and enter upon a dangerous and disagreeable conflict with the monks.
Most of the Eastern Emperors were theologians as well as statesmen, and it is highly probable that Leo's personal conviction of the wrongfulness of icon-worship,' and the fact that this conviction was shared by many prominent people and: widely diffused in the Asiatic Themes, would have been sufficient to induce him to revive an aggressive iconoclastic policy. But there was certainly another motive which influenced his decision. It was a patent fact that the icono
a clastic Emperors had been conspicuously strong and successful rulers, whereas the succeeding period, during which the worship of images had been encouraged or permitted, was marked by weakness and some signal disasters. The day is not yet entirely past for men, with vague ideas of the nexus of cause and effect, to attribute the failures and successes of nations to the wrongness or soundness of their thcological beliefs; and even now some who read the story of Leo's reign may sympathize with him in his reasoning that the iconoclastic doctrine was proved by events to be pleasing in the sight of Heaven. We are told that “he imitated the Isaurian Emperors Leo and Constantine, whose heresy he revived, wishing to live many years like them and to become illustrious.” ?
To the ardent admirer of Leo the Isaurian, his own name emed a good omen, in days when men took such coincidences seriously; and to make the parallel between his own case and that of his model nearer still, he changed the Armenian name of his eldest son Symbatios and designated hiin Constantine.' The new Constantine was crowned and proclaimed Augustus at the end of 813, when the Bulgarians were still
· That the iconoclastic policy of Leo III. and Constantine V. is not to be explained by “considerations of ad. ministrative and military interest has beeu shown by Lombard, Con.
slantin l', cap. viii. See also Schenk,
devastating in Thrace or just after they had retreated, and it pleased Leo to hear the soldiers shouting the customary acclamations in honour of “ Leo and Constantine." Propitious names inaugurated an Armenian dynasty which might rival the Isaurian.
Stories were told in later times, by orthodox fanatics who execrated his memory, of sinister influences which were brought to bear on Leo and determine his iconoclastic policy. And here, too, runs a thread of that drama in which he was one of the chief actors. The prophecy of the hermit of Philomelion had come to pass, and it is said that Leo, in grateful recognition, sent a messenger with costly presents to seek out the true prophet. But when the messenger arrived at Philomelion he found that the man was dead and that another monk namned Sabbatios had taken possession of his hut. Sabbatios was a zealous opponent of image-worship, and he prophesied to the messenger in violent language. The Empress Irene he reviled as “Leopardess” and “ Bacchant," he perverted the name of Tarasius to “ Taraxios ” (Disturber), and he foretold that God would overturn the throne of Leo if Leo did not overturn images and pictures.'
The new prophecy from Philonelion is said to have alarmed the Emperor, and he consulted his friend Theodotos Kassiteras on the matter. We already met this Theodotos playing a part in the story of the possessed damsel who foretold Leo's elevation. Whatever basis of fact these stories may have, we can safely infer that Theodotos was an intimate adviser of the Emperor. On this occasion, according to the tale, he did not deal straightforwardly with his master. He advised Leo to consult a certain Antonius, a monk who resided in the capital; but in the meantime Theodotos himself secretly repaired to Antonius and primed him for the coming interview. It was arranged that Antonius should urge the Emperor to adopt the doctrine of Leo the Isaurian and should prophesy that he would reign till his seventy-second year. Leo, dressed as a
a private individual, visited the monk at night, and his faith
Gen. 13 (repeated in Cont. Th.).
describes himself as Sesuch the lord of