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as Patriarch, while the Emperor and eleven others dressed themselves in episcopal garments, as twelve prominent bishops. With citherns, which they hid in the folds of their robes and secretly sounded, they intoned the liturgy. They enacted the solemn offices of consecrating and deposing bishops, and it was even rumoured that they were not ashamed to profane the Eucharist, using mustard and vinegar instead of the holy elements.1 A story was current that one day the mock Patriarch riding on an ass, with his execrable cortège, came face to face with the true Patriarch Ignatius, who was conducting a religious procession to a suburban church. The profane satyrs raised their hoods, loudly struck their instruments, and with lewd songs disturbed the solemn hymns of the pious procession. But this was only a sensational anecdote, for we have reason to believe that Michael did not begin to practise these mummeries till after the deposition of Ignatius. Mocking at the ecclesiastical schism, he is said to have jested "Theophilus (the Pig) is my Patriarch, Photius is the Patriarch of the Caesar, Ignatius of the Christians."3 How far mummeries of this kind shocked public opinion in Constantinople it is difficult to conjecture.
1 These mummeries are described by Constantine Porph. (Cont. Th. 244 sqq.). They are not referred to by Simeon, but are mentioned in general terms by Nicetas (lit. Igne tii, 248, where the proper name of Gryllos= the Pig is given as Theophilus), and are attested by the 16th Canon of the Council of 869-870, which describes and condemns them (Mansi, xvi. 169). In this canon Michael himself is not said to have participated in the parodies, which are attributed to "laymen of senatorial rank under the late Emperor." These men, arranging their hair so as to imitate the tonsure, and arrayed in sacerdotal robes, with epis copal cloaks, used to travesty the ceremonies of electing, consecrating, and deposing bishops; one of them used to play the Patriarch. The canon obviously insinuates that Photius had not done his duty in allowing such profanities to go on. But it does not speak of the profanation of the Eucharist, nor is this mentioned in Vit. Ign. I therefore think this must be regarded as an invention-an almost inovitable addition to the scandal. In
this connexion, I may refer to the curi ous (thirteenth or fourteenth century) composition called the Mass of the Spanos (i.e. Boardless), a parody of the rites of the Church, and doubtless connected with Satanic worship. See Krumbacher, G.B.L. 809 sqq.; A. Heisenberg, in B.Z. xii. 381.
The anecdote is told in Cont. Th. 244 (Vita Bas.), but not in Vit. Ign. where (loc. cit.) the profanities are recorded as happening after the fall of Ignatius, and Photius is blamed for not protesting and putting a stop to them. The author also reports (p. 247) that Simeon, a Cretan bishop (who had left the island on account of the Saracen invasion), remonstrated with Michael, and begged him to discontinue his sacrilegious conduct. The Emperor knocked his teeth out and had him severely beaten for his temerity. In the Madrid Skylitzes there is a representation of the Patriarch and the Synkellos standing in the portico of a church, outside which are Gryllos and the mummers with musical instruments (Beylié, op. cit. 91). Vit. Ign. 246.
The Imperial pleasures were costly, and Michael's criminal generosity to his worthless companions dissipated large treasures. He made it a practice to stand sponsor at the baptisms of children of his jockeys, and on such occasions he would bestow upon the father a present varying from £1296 to £2160, occasionally even as much as £4320-sums which then represented a considerably higher value than to-day. Not only was no saving effected during the eleven years in which he was master of the Empire, but he wasted the funds which had been saved by his father and by his mother, and towards the end of his reign he was in such straits for ready money that he laid hands upon some of the famous works of art with which Theophilus had adorned the Palace. The golden planetree, in which the mechanical birds twittered, the two golden lions, the two griffins hammered out of solid gold, and the organ of solid gold, all weighing not less than 200 pounds, were melted down; but before they were minted, Michael perished. It seems probable that it was in the last year or two of his reign that his extravagance became excessive and ruinous. For there is no sign that the Empire was in financial difficulties during the government of Bardas, who seems to have been able to restrain his nephew within certain bounds.
The weak point of the position of the Caesar lay in the circumstance that he had to share his influence over the Emperor with boon companions; for there was always the danger that a wily schemer, concealing ambition under the mask of frivolity, might successfully use the opportunities of intimate intercourse to discredit him and undermine his power. The fact that he retained for ten years the unshaken, almost childish confidence of his nephew is a striking proof of his
(ταύτας refers to στολάς). Hirsch did not observe this distinction, and thought that the contradiction was complete. Basil rescued the robes, but coined the melted gold, and called the nomisma of this coinage a senzáton. The name, I suppose, was given be cause the lions, plane-tree, etc., were Ev T σENTS (Constantine, Cer. 569). The Vita Bas. was a source of the Vita Mich.; here the author of the latter seems to correct an inaccuracy of Constantine VII., the author of the former.
talent and tact; and when at last he was overthrown, his supplanter was one of the two ablest men who arose in the Eastern Empire during the ninth century.
Basil the Macedonian, who now comes on the stage, is the typical adventurer who rises from the lowliest circumstances to the highest fortune. His career, wonderful in itself, was made still more wonderful by mythopoeic fancy, which converted the able and unscrupulous upstart into a hero guided by Heaven. He was born about A.D. 812,' of poor Armenian parents, whose family had settled in the neighbourhood of Hadrianople. His Armenian descent is established beyond doubt, and the legend that he was a Slav has no better a foundation than the fiction which claimed Slavonic parentage for the Emperor Justinian.3 But his family was obscure; and the illustrious lineage which his descendants claimed, connecting him through his grandfather with the Arsacids and by his grandmother with Constantine the Great and Alexander, was an audacious and ingenious invention of the Patriarch Photius.* In his babyhood he was carried into captivity, along with his parents, by the Bulgarian Krum, and he spent his youth in the region beyond the Danube which was known as "Macedonia." 5
In the reign of Michael I. (811813), Cont. Georg. 817. Pankalo was his mother's name (Constantine, Cer. 648).
It is now generally admitted: the most decisive evidence is a passage in the Vita Euthymii, ed. de Boor, p. The whole question has recently been discussed fully by Vasil'ev (Proiskhozhdenie, etc., see Bibliography).
The sole foundation of the Slavonic theory is the fact that Arabic writers designate him as a Slav. But this is explained by the Arabic view that Macedonia was Slavonic; "Slav" is simply the equivalent of "Macodonian" (ep. Vasil'ev, op. cit. 15).
Vita Ignatii, 283. This case of a fictitious genealogy is interesting. Photius after his deposition cast about for ways of ingratiating himself with Basil, and conceived the idea of providing this son of nobody with an illustrious lineage. He invented a line of descendants from Tiridates, king of Armenia, stopping at Basil's father. He wrote this out in uncial characters (γράμμασιν ̓Αλεξανδρίνοις) οιι old parchment, and added a prophecy
that Basil's father would beget a son named Beklas, whose description unmistakably pointed to Basil, and who would have a long and happy reign. Photius gave this document to a confederate, one of the palace clergy, who deposited it in the palace library and then seized an opportunity of showing it to the Emperor as an ancient book full of secret lore, which no one but Photius could interpret. Photius was summoned. His explanation easily imposed on the Emperor's simplicity and vanity. How could Basil resist the interpretation of Beklas as a mysterious acrostich containing the initial letters of the name of himself, his wife, and his four sons (B-asil, E-udocia, K-onstantine, L-eo, A-lex. ander, S-tephen)? The genealogy was accepted by Basil's house; it is recorded in Gen. and Cont. Th.
5 See below, p. 370. When Simeon speaks of Hadrianople as in Macedonia, it is only to explain Basil's designation as the Macedonian. It is in passages where Basil is in question that the geographical term Macedonia was extended to include Thrace.
We may conjecture that he derived his designation as Basil the Macedonian from his long sojourn in this district, for "Macedonian" can hardly refer to his birthplace, which was in Thrace. He was twenty-five years old when the captives succeeded (as is related in another Chapter 1) in escaping from the power of the Bulgarians and returning to their homes. Basil obtained some small post in the service of a stratêgos, but seeing no hope of rising in the provinces he decided to seek his fortune in Constantinople. His arrival in the city has been wrought by the storyteller into the typical form of romance. On a Sunday, near the hour of sunset, he reached the Golden Gate, a poor unknown adventurer, with staff and scrip, and he lay down to sleep in the vestibule of the adjacent church of St. Diomede. During the night, Nicolas, who was in charge of the church, was awakened by a mysterious voice, saying, "Arise and bring the Basileus into the sanctuary." He got up and looking out saw nothing but a poor man asleep. He lay down again, and the same thing was repeated. The third time, he was poked in the side by a sword and the voice said, "Go out and bring in the man you see lying outside the gate." He obeyed, and on the morrow he took Basil to the bath, gave him a change of garments, and adopted him as a brother.
So much is probable that Basil found shelter in St. Diomede, and that through Nicolas he was enabled to place his foot on the first rung of the ladder of fortune. monk had a brother who was a physician in the service of Theophilus Paideuomenos, or, as he was usually called, Theophilitzes, a rich courtier and a relative of the Empress Theodora. The physician, who saw Basil at St. Diomede, and admired his enormous physical strength, recommended him to
1 See p. 371.
2 Tzantzes, Strat. of the Theme of Macedonia, Simeon, ib. 819.
3 A parochial church situated between the Golden Gate and the sea, at Yedikulè. Some remains have been found which are supposed to mark its site. Sce van Millingen, Walls, 265: "The excavations made in laying out the public garden beside the city walls west of the Gas Works at Yedi Koulè, brought to light substructures of an ancient edifice, in the construction of which bricks stamped with the monogram of Basil I. and
with a portion of the name of Diomed were employed." Simeon rightly designates Nicolas as caretaker, wрoσ. μονάριος (= παραμονάριος, sexton), and carefully explains that the church was then parochial (xadoλký). Genesios miscalls him xa@nyovμevos. St. Diomede was converted into a monastery, almost certainly by Basil, but as in many other cases the foundation was attributed to Constantine (cp. Pargoire, Rev. des questions historiques, lxv. 73 sqq.).
4 ἐποίησεν ἀδελφοποίησιν, Simeon, ib. 820. Simeon tells the whole story more dramatically than Genesios.
his employer, who hired him as a groom. Basil gained the favour of Theophilitzes, who was struck by the unusual size of his head; and when his master was sent on a special mission to the Peloponnesus, Basil accompanied him.3 Here he met with a singular stroke of good fortune. At Patrae he attracted the attention of a rich lady, who owned immense estates in the neighbourhood. Her name was Danêlis. When Theophilitzes had completed his business and prepared to return, Basil fell ill and remained behind his patron. On his recovery Danêlis sent for him, and gave him gold, thirty slaves, and a rich supply of dresses and other things, on the condition of his becoming the "spiritual brother" of her son.* The motive assigned for her action is the conviction, on the strength of a monk's prophecy, that he would one day ascend the throne; and Basil is said to have promised that, if it ever lay in his power, he would make her mistress of the whole land. But whatever her motive may have been, there is no doubt that she enriched Basil, and she lived to see him Emperor and to visit his Court.
It is said that the munificence of the Greek lady enabled Basil to buy estates in Thrace and to assist his family.
he remained in his master's service, till a chance brought him under the notice of the Emperor. Michael had received as a gift an untamed and spirited His grooms were
1 Gen. 109 says nothing of the physician, and makes Theophilitzes visit the monastery himself.
· ἐπίσγουρον και μεγάλην κεφαλὴν Exovra, hence he called him Kephalas (Cont. Geory, 820).
The Peloponnesian episode comes from Constantine's l'ita Bus., Cont. Th. 226 sqq. If the author is accurate in saying that Theoph:litzes was sent by Michael and Barda:, we may place it in A.D. 856, when Easil was about 44. He returned from captivity about A.D. 837, but we have no evidence as to the date of his arrival at Constanti
youths, and there was rivalry between them and the youths in the employ ment of the Emperor and the Caesar One day Theophilitzes gave an enter tainment for the purpose of a wrestling match; Bardas was not present, but was represented by his son Antigonus. The champions of the Emperor and the Caesar defeated the others, until Basil who had not taken part was summoned to wrestle with the strongest of the adversaries. Constantine the Armenian (Drungary of the Watch) intervened to sprinkle the floor with chaff, fearing that Basil might slip. Basil threw his opponent by a grip which was called by the Slavonic term podreza. Antigonus reported this achievement to his father, who told Michael, and Basil was summoned to the Emperor's presence. Constantine Porph. gives a different version of the story and places the event before the taming of the horse (which Genesios