« PrethodnaNastavi »
matins in the Palace Chapel of St. Stephen should enter by the Ivory Gate at daybreak, and as soon as they sang the morning hymn, the Emperor used to enter the church. The conspirators arrayed themselves in clerical robes, and having concealed daggers in the folds, mingled with the choristers who were waiting for admission at the Ivory Gate. Under the cover of the gloom easily escaping detection, they entered the Palace and hid themselves in a dark corner of the chapel. Leo, who was proud of his singing (according to one writer he sang execrably, but another, by no means well disposed to him, states that he had an unusually melodious voice *), arrived punctually to take part in the Christmas service, and harbouring no suspicion of the danger which lurked so near.
It was a chilly morning, and both the Emperor and the priest who led the service had protected themselves against the cold by wearing peaked felt caps. At a passage in the service which the Emperor used to sing with special unction, the signal was given and the conspirators leaped out from their hiding-place. The likeness in head-dress, and also a certain likeness in face and figure, between Leo and the chief of the officiating clergy, led at first to a blunder. The weapons of the rebels were directed against the priest, but he saved his life by uncovering his head and showing that he was bald. Leo, meanwhile, who saw his danger, had used the momentary respite to rush to the altar and seize some sacred object, whether the cross itself, or the chain of the censer, or a candelabrum, as a weapon of defence. When this was shattered by the swords of the foes who surrounded him and only a useless fragment remained in his hands, he turned to one of them who was distinguished above the others by immense stature and adjured him to spare his life.
Acta Davidis, etc., 229 kard tov Bieliaev) thought that the church του πρωτομάρτυρος Στεφάνου ναόν τον (which Gen. and Cont. Th. do not ένδον όντα των βασιλείων έν τόπο το idontify) is that of the Lord, which επιλεγομένη Δάφνη. But Nicetas (vid. was also close to Daphne. The Iyn. 216) places the murder in thio Armenian historian Warilan (sco Mar. Church of the Virgin of the Pharos, quart, Streifzüge, 404) says that the and this is accepted by Eborsolt (165), keoper of the prison was a friend of who conscquontly gets into dilliculties Michael and bribed the marylaßitai about tho Ivory Gato. From Gen, 24 (palace-guards), and that they use. it is clear that this gato was an cze- cuted the murder. He also mentions terior gate of the Palace (this is in the intervention of the Empress. accordance with Constantine, Cor. 600), 2 Cien. p. 19 σοβαρών εμβοών και doubtless communicating with the κακόρυθμος, but Cont. Τh. 39 ήν γάρ Hippolrome, and close to the Daphno φύσει τε εύφωνος και εν ταις μελωδίαις των Palace. Lubarto (122 ; followed by κατ' εκείνο καιρού ανθρώπων ήδύτατος.
But the giant, who for his height was nicknamed “ One-and-ahalf," swore a great oath that the days of Leo were numbered, and with the word brought down his sword so heavily on the shoulder of his victim that not only was the arm cut from the body, but the implement which the hand still held was cleft and bounded to a distant spot of the building. The Imperial hend was then cut off, and the work of murder and rescue was accomplished.?
Thus perished the Armenian Leo more foully than any Roman Emperor since Maurice was slain by Phocas. as even his enemies adınitted (apart from his religious policy), an excellent ruler, and a rebellion against him, not caused by ecclesiastical discontent, was inexcusable. Michael afterwards declared, in palliation of the conspiracy, that Leo had shown himself to be unequal to coping with the rebellion of Thomas, and that this incompetence had caused discontent among
the leading men of the State. But this plea cannot be admitted ; for although Thomas defeated a small force which Leo, not fully realizing the danger, had sent against him, there is no reason to suppose that, when he was fully informed of the forces and numbers of the rebel, he would have shown himself less able or less energetic in suppressing the insurrection than Michael himself. Certainly his previous conduct of warfare was not likely to suggest to his ministers that he was incapable of dealing with a revolt. But in any case we have no sign, except Michael's own statement, that the rebellion of Thomas was already formidable. We must conclude that the conspiracy was entirely due to Michael's .personal ambition, stimulated perhaps by the signs and omens and soothsayings of which the air was full. It does not appear that the religious question entered into the situation ; for Michael was himself favourable to iconoclasm.
The body of the slain Emperor was cast by his murderers into soine sewer or outhouse for the moment. It was after
i in nal hucov, see Cien. 25. from which they interpreted to signify Cont. Th. 39 we get another fact about some portentous event.
See Gen. 26, the giant : he belonged to the family Cont. Th. 10. Cp. the story told of the of the brainbönites.
death of Wala of Corbie (A.D. 836).: ? There was a story told that at Simson, Ludwig, ii. 157. the very hour at which the deed 3 Gen. 26 εν ευλοειδέσι χώρους τους was wrought, four o'clock in the προς το δέξιμον (δ. seenis to nean 8 morning, some sailors, sailing on the receptacle for sewerage; not noticed Sein, beard a strange voice in the air, in Ducange's Gloss.).
wards dragged naked from the Palace by the “Gate of Spoils” to the Hippodrome,' to be exposed to the spurns of the populace, which had so lately trembled in the presence of the form which they now insulted. From the Hippodrome the corpse was borne on the back of a horse or mulo to a harbour and omburked in the same boat which was to convey the widow and the children of the Emperor to a lonely and lowly exile in the island of Prôtê. Here a new sorrow was in store for Theodosia : the body of the son who was called by her own name was to be laid by that of his father. The decree had gone forth that the four sons were to be made eunuchs, in order that they might never aspire to recover the throne from which their father had fallen. The same measure which Leo had meted to his predecessor's children was dealt out to his own offspring. Theodosius, who was probably the youngest of the brothers, did not survive the mutilation, and he was buried with Leo. There is a tale that one of the other brothers, but it is not quite clear whether it was Constantine or Basil,” lost his power of speech from the same cause, but that by dovout and continuous prayer to God and to St. Gregory, whose image had been set up in the island, his voice was restored to him.
The third son, Gregory, lived to become in later year's bishop of Syracuse. Both Basil and Gregory repented of their iconoclastic errors, and iconodule historians spoke of them in after days as "great in virtue.”
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 Leo 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.
| Thoro is a picture of the scene in the Madrid MS. of Skylitzes (Beylié, L'llabitation byzantine, 106). Partisans of Michael appear above the roof of the Palace to illustrato the chronicler's words (Cedrenus, ii. 67) did to the βασίλειον αυλήν όπλοις οικείους πάντοθεν περιφραχθήναι.
? Coni. Th. 47 Kwvotavtivos ó 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 prob. able that Basil was meant, as we tind the story told of him in PseudoSimeon, 819.
Gen. 99. • Cont. Th. 46, where their retreat is designated as the monastery Twv ' reply to a previous communication from the Putriarch. We may suppose that Leo remembered how Nicephorus had exacted ll written declaration of orthodoxy from Michael, and wished to anticipate such a demand. We know not in what terins 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, evaded the formality, which the uncrowned Emperor had perhaps promised or suggested ; and thus when he afterwarıls repudinted the Acts of the Seventh Ecumenical Council he could not legally be said to AcomotWv. I know no other reference monasteries, see Schlumberger, op. cit. to this cloister, but infer that it was in Halki from the letter of Theodoro 1 Tlicoph. 502 γράφει μεν Νικηφόρο of Studion to Theodosin and her soll τω πατριάρχη τα περί της εαυτού ορθοBasil (ii. 204 επειδή δε απεδόθη υμίν δοξίας διαβεβαιούμενος, αιτών μετά της παρά του μεγάλου βασιλέως ή νήσος της ευχής και επικεύσεως αυτού του κράτους Χαλκίτου εις κατοικητήριον). Tlicolore επιλαβέσθαι. This statement of Theo. complains ilint the nebot and monks phones is most important and sooms to hand bacon turned out of their house to be the key to the citliculty. Theophanes make room for Theodosin; and have 110 does not mny u word in pirojudico of Leo. homo. The latter might sig fost that llo wrote probably very soon astor Basil was with Theodosia (in contra- Leo's accession and before the icono. diction to the statement of Contl. 76.), clastic policy lud been announced. If but the inforence is not necessary and Leo haul Nighici, like Michael, a formal the superscription may be innocuiritto document, Theophanes would almost For a description of Halki and its certainly have mentioned 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.
We have already seen that Leo, before he entered Constantinople to celebrate his coronation, wrote to assure the Patriarch of his orthodoxy. No hint is given that this letter was a 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
ho sign such a document after his coronation, but, when it came to the point, refused. The first story Heizes the fuct of his reassuring letter to Nicephorus and represents it us a binding document; the second story seizes the fact that Leo after his coronation declined to bind himself, and represents this refusal is 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 iconoclasts 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 abstain from insulting them ; whereas the adoption of an iconoclastic policy rendered persecution inevitable. The course pursued by Nicephorus seems to have been
1 Ser. Incert. 340 aporepov tohoas idtbxecpor ; cp. 349. Simcon (Leo Gr. 207) βεβαιώσας αυτόν εγγράφως περί της dauroù Opo odoslas (cp. Vers. Slav. 90 ; oldd. Geory. ed. Mur. 079 has to tyypa por--doernoas). Hirsch is the only modorn authority sinco Lebeau (xii. 297) who accepts this account (22). According to l'il. Thcoul. Grupt. 005, Loo guvo ill undertuking at the time of the coronation.
? Ignatius, l'it, Niccph. l'alr. 163, 164 : Nicephorus sent al cluborato form (Touos), containing the orthodox creed, to Leo before his coronation ; Leo assented to its contents, but post. ponce signing until the diadem was
placed on his head ; then deutépa tñs βασιλείας ημέρας και αυθις ο θεοφόρος τω της ορθοδοξίας τόμο τον αρτιφανή βασιλέα κατήπειγεν ενσημήνασθαι ο δε κραταιώς απηρνείτo. This story may be near the truth though it is told by in partisan. It is repeated by Cienesios, etc., and accepted by Finlay, ii. 113 (whio hero confounds the Patriarch with the doncon Ignatius), llergene rother, i. 234, and most writers, Hotele leaves the question open (iv. 1). Ignatius relates that the Patriaroli
, when placing the crown on Leo's heal, telt as if lio wero poricked by thorns (101).