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grew worse and he saw that his days were numbered, he wavered between two alternative plans for the future of the Enpire. One of these was to devolve the succession on his wife Theophano.
The other alternative conceived by Stauracius is 80 strange that we hardly know what to make of it. The idea comes to us as u surprise in the pages of a ninth-century chronicle. It appears that this Emperor, as he felt death approaching, formed the conception of changing the Imperial constitution into a democracy. It was the wild vision of a
' morbid brain, but we cannot help wondering how Stauracius would have proceeded in attempting to carry out such a scheme. Abstractly, indeed, so far as the constitutional aspect was concerned, it would have been simple enough. The Imperial constitution might be abolished and a democratic republic established, in theory, by a single measure. All that he had to do was to repeal a forgotten law, which had regulated the authority of the early Caesars, and thereby restore to the Roman people the powers which it had delegated to the Imperator more than seven hundred years before. Of the Lex de imperio Stauracius had probably never heard, nor is it likely that he had much knowledge of the early constitutional history of Rome. Perhaps it was from ancient Athens that he derived the political idea which, in the circumstances of his age, was a chimera ; and to his wife, thirsty for power, he might have said, “ Athens, your own city, has taught the world that democracy is the best and noblest form of government.”
The intervention of the Patriarch Nicephorus at this juncture helped to determine and secure the progress of events. He was doubtless relieved at the death of his stark namesake, however much he may have been distressed at the calamity which brought it about; and we are told that, when Stauracius arrived at Constantinople, the Patriarch hastened to give him ghostly advice and exhort him to console those who had been pecuniarily wronged by his father, by making σασαν αυτά ταϊς θεοφανούς της αυγούστης αποστρεφόμενος. The insinuations of Togolais. The meaning of this would his wife caused the aversion of be that Theophano subórned Procopia Stauracius to his sister. to plot against Stauracius. It is clear 1 10. η δημοκρατίαν εγείραι Χριστιανούς that we should punctuate after aúrý επί τοις προλαβούσι κακοίς (“ to crown and onnect ταϊς υποβολαίς witli their misfortunes").
restitution. But like his sire, according to the partial chronicler, Stauracius was avaricious, and was unwilling to sacrifice more than three talents in this cause, although that suin was but a small fraction of the monies wrongfully appropriated by the late Emperor. The Patriarch failed in his errand at the bedside of the doomed monarch, but he hoped that a new Emperor, of no doubtful voice in matters of orthodoxy, would soon sit upon the throne. And it appeared that it would be necessary to take instant measures for securing the succession to this legitimate and desirable candidate. The strange designs of Stauracius and the ambition of Theophano alarmed Nicephorus, and he determined to prevent all danger of a democracy or a sovran Augusta by anticipating the death of the Emperor and placing Michael on the throne. At the end of September he associated himself, for this purpose, with Stephanos and Theoktistos. The Emperor was already contemplating the cruelty of depriving his brother-in-law of eyesight, and on the first day of October he summoned the Domestic of the Schools to his presence and proposed to blind Michael that very night. It is clear that at this time Stauracius placed his entire trust in Stephanos, the man who had proclaimed him at Hadrianople, and he knew not that this officer had since then veered round to the view of Theoktistos. Stephanos pointed out that it was too late, and took care to encourage his master in a feeling of security. The next day had been fixed by the conspirators for the elevation of the Curopalates, and throughout the night troops were filing into the Hippodrome to shout for the new Emperor.” In the early morning the senators arrived; and the constitutional forinalities of election preliminary to the coronation were complied with (Oct. 2, A.D. 811). Michael Rangabé was proclaimed “Emperor of the Romans” by the Senate and the residential troops '—that remnant of them which had escaped from the field of blood beyond the Haemus. Meanwhile the Emperor, who had been less lucky on that fatal day, escaping only to die after some months of pain, was sleeping or tossing in the Imperial bedchamber, unconscious of the scene which was being enacted not many yards away. But the message was soon conveyed to his ears, and le hastened to assume the visible signs of abdication by which deposed Emperors were wout to disarm the fears or jealousy of their successors. A monk, named Simeon, and a kinsman of his own, tonsured him and arrayed him in monastic garb, and he prepared to spend the few days of life left to him in a lowlier place and a lowlier station. But before his removal from the Palace his sister Procopia, in compuny with her Imperial husband and the Patriarch Nicephorus, visited him. They endeavoured to console him and to justify the step which had been taken ; they repudiated the charge of a conspiracy, and explained their act as solely necessitated by his hopeless condition. Stauracius, notwithstanding their plausible argu
It is to be presumed that three parts of the Great Hippodrome, tho tulonts means thrco litrui (£129:12s.). liorthern purt boing rooted over, the Thu mero fact that Stauracius could southern uncovered. But this view ofler such a sum shows that the is untenable, and Bieliaev is also Patriarch's demand inust have referred wrong in placing the Kathisma-the to some small and particular cases of building in which the Emperor sat injustice suffered by individuals. when he witnessed the races-between
2 Theoph. 493 εν τω σκεπαστώ ιππο- these two portions. The Kathisma 3pbmw. Labarto (131-2) supposed that was at the north end of the Hippo. this covered hippodrome was inside drome. Ebersolt (Le Granul Pulais, the Palace (Paspates actually assumed 157-8) holds that the northern part two hippodromes, one roofed, the other was uncovered, the southern covered. unroofed, within the Palace : Tà Bus. This view is equally improbable. I αν. 219 sqq.). Ιη περί ταξ. 507 ο κάτω hope to show elsewhere that “the σκεπαστός ίππ, and ο ασκέπαστος ιππ. roofed Hippodrome" was contiguous are mentioned together. Bieliaev sup. to the great "unroofed" Hippodrome, posed that they are only different though not part of the Palai'e.
. ments, felt bitter; he thought that the Patriarch had dealt doubly with him.
“ You will not find," he said to Nicephorus, "a better friend than me." ?
Nicephorus took the precaution of requiring from Michael, before he performed the ceremony of coronation, a written assurance of his orthodoxy and an undertaking to do no violence to ecclesinstics, secular or regulur.' The usual pro
" cession was formed; the Imperial train proceeded from the Palace to the Cathedral; and the act of coronation was duly accomplished in the presence of the people." The rejoicings, we are told, were universal, and we may believe that there was a widespread feeling of relief, that an Emperor sound in
1 The Tagmata (Theoph. ib.). vised by the author.
2 Theoph. 493 φίλον αυτού κρείττονα 3 The importance of this undero'x euphoes. Anastasius seems right taking, in its constitutional aspect, in rendering avtoû by me. Perhaps will be considered below in Section 5. duoll should be inserted, or perhaps • The proclamation in tho HippoWe should read euphoeiv. I suspect, εύρήσειν
drome was at the first hour (6 o'clock), however, that the last pages of his the coronation at the fourth. Theoplo. chronography wore insulliciently re. il
limb was again at the head of the state. The bounty of Michael gave cause, too, for satisfaction on the first day of his reign. He bestowed on the Patriarch, who had done so much in helping him to the throne, the sum of 50 lbs. of gold (£2160), and to the clergy of St. Sophia he gave half that amount.
The unfortunate Stauracius lived on for more than three months, but towards the end of that time the corruption of his wound became so horrible that no one could approach him for the stench. On the 11th of January 812 he died, and was buried in the new monastery of Braka.
This was a handsome building, given to Theophano by the generosity Procopia when she resolved, like her husband, to retire to a cloister.3
§ 4. Reign and Policy of Michael I. It is worth while to notc how old traditions or prejudices, surviving from the past history of the Roman Empire, gradually disappeared. We might illustrate the change that had come over the “Romans” since the age of Justinian, by the fact that in the second year of the ninth century a man of Semitic stock ascends the throne, and is only prevented by chance from founding a dynasty, descended from the
from Ghassanids. Ho bears a name, too, which, though Greek and common at the time, was borne by no Emperor before him. lliy son's name is Greek too, but unique on the Imperial list. A hundred years before men who had names which sounded strange in collocation with Basileus and luyustus (such as Artemius and Apsimur) adopted new names which had an
I At the end of the ninth contury στήριον τα 'Εβραϊκά λεγόμενον αυτή παρthe custom wis for the Emperor, on έσχεν [Μιχαήλ) ένθα Σταυράκιου ετάφη his accession, to givo 100 lbs. of gold (ib. 494). Tho locality is not known. to the Great Church (St. Sophia) It is called tà kpakâ in George Mon. (Philotheos, ed. Bury, 135). This 776. Is the name really derived from would include the preseut to the Slaurucius : Etavpakiou being taken Patriarch.
for otá Bpaklov? Pargoire (Les Mon. ? Michael Syr. (70) has recorded a de Saint Ign. 72) says: "Ta Staupaxiou
. ) τα Σταυρακίου serious charge against Procopia, which dont le peuple fit plus tard à Bpara he found in the chronicle of Dionysios et les demi-savants Tà'EBpaika." This of Toll-Mahre. An intelligent and is a seductive idea ; my difficulty is well-informed inhabitant of Constanti- that the form 'Espainá occurs in Theo. noplo told Dionysios that Procopia phanes, who wrote only a couple of administered a deadly poison to her years later, and must have known the brother.
truo name, if that name had been only 3 εν οις και επίσημον οίκον εις μονα- then given to the monastery.
Imperial ring (such as Anastasius and Tiberius). instinctively felt then that a Bardanes was no fit person to occupy the throne of the Caesars, and therefore he became Philippicus. But this instinct was becoming weak in a city where stranye names, strange faces, and strange tongues were growing every year more fainiliar. The time had come when men of Armenian, Slavonic, or even Semitic origin might aspire to the highest positions in Church and State, to the Patriarchate and the Empire. The time had come at last when it was no longer deemed strange that a successor of Constantino should be a Michael.
The first Michael belonged to the Raugubé family, of which we now hear for the first time. He was in the prime of manhood when he came to the throne; his hair was black and curling, he wore a black beard, and his face was round. He seems to have been a mild and good-humoured man, but totally unfit for the position to which chance hud raised him. As a general he was incapable; as an administrator he was injudicious; as a financier he was extravagant. Throughout his short reign he was subject to the will of a woman and the guidance of a priest. It may have been the ambition of Procopia that led him to undertako the duties of a sovran ; and she shared largely in the administration.”
Ten days after her lord's coronation, l'rocopia -- daughter and sister, now wife, of an Emperor- was crowned Augusta in the throne-room of Augusteus, in the Palace of Daphne, and she courted the favour of the Senators by bestowing on thiem many gifts.
She distributed, moreover, five pounds of gold 1 Cont. Τh. 12 εκ γενεάς δε κατ. ? Scr. Incert. 311 erlogoupov ( = αγομένου του ayouevov Toù l'annast. Beforo his oyupáv, curly), tho right reading, 18 elevation ho dwolled nour the Man. llo Boor has shown (B.2. ii. 297). It gana. His father's name was Theoply. may bo noted hero thint the Byzantines lactus : Nicetas, Vil. Iywili (Minsi
, regularly wore boards. There was a xvi. 210). Family Murnames begin Ntrong prejudico agninst beardless to liecome frequent in the ninth Meu Coravol), who were popularly century. They aro costantly imdi. regarlail us dangerous ; epi tho cated by the idiom ó kará (its well as modern Greek proverb, and otavdu (x). For instance, a man of the άνθρωπον μακριά τα ρουχά σου : ses for family of tho Melissenoi miglit be this, and for further illustration, called M. Ó Melioonyos or M. • kata Krumbacher, G.B.L. 809. Michuel, τον Μελισσηνόν or M. ό κατά τους Μελισ. of course, appear's bearded on his σηνούς or M. ο εκ των Μελ. (κατάγων 'coins, but the faco is only conven. to grévos). For Byzantine surnamoy sco tional. H. Moritz, Die Zunomen bei den byz. : Ser. Incert. 335 aütn gdp riv Historikernt und (hronistond, Toil i. διατιθούσα πάντα τα της βασιλείας. 1896-97, Toil ii, 1897.98 (Landshut).