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to have made no difficulty in performing the ceremony of coronation for the successful conspirator. The Amorian soldier received the crown from the prelate's hands, and the crowd was ready to acclaim the new Augustus. Those who held to image worship did not regret the persecutor of their faith, but thought that he had perished justly; and perhaps to most in that superstitious populace the worst feature in the whole work seemed to be that his blood had stained a holy building. We have already seen how Michael dealt with the Empress Theodosia and her children.
The new Roman Emperor was a rude provincial, coarse in manners, ill-educated, and superstitious. But he was vigorous, ambitious, and prudent, and he had worked his way up in the army by his own energy energy and perseverance. Amorion, the city of his birth, in Upper Phrygia, was at this time an important place, as the capital of the Anatolic province. It was the goal of many a Saracen invasion. Its strong walls had defied the generals of the Caliphs in the days of the Isaurian Leo; but it was destined, soon after it had won the glory of giving a dynasty to the Empire, to be captured by the Unbelievers. This Phrygian town was a head-quarter for Jews, and for the heretics who were known as Athingani. It is said that Michael inherited from his parents Athingan views, but according to another account he was a Sabbatian." Whatever be the truth about this, he was inclined to tolerate heresies, of which he must have seen much at his native town in the days of his youth. He was also favourably disposed to the Jews; but the statement that his grandfather was a converted Jew does not rest on very good authority. It is certain that his parents were of humble rank, and that his youth, spent among heretics, Hebrews, and half-Hellenized Phrygians, was subject to influences which were very different from the Greek polish of the capital. One so trained must have felt himself strange among the men of old nobility, of Hellenic education, and ecclesiastical ortho
Such was the thought of the Continuer of Theophanes, 42.
His age on his accession is not, recorded, but he was certainly well over forty.
3 See above, p. 40.
Cont. Th. 42,
"Nicetas, Vit. Ign. 216. The Sabbatians were a fourth-century offshoot from the Novatians; they held that Easter should be celebrated on the same day and in the same manner as the Jewish feast.
Michael Syr. 72.
doxy1 with whom he had to deal in Constantinople. He did not disguise his contempt for Hellenic culture, and he is handed down to history as an ignorant churl. Such a man was a good aim for the ridicule of witty Byzantines, and it is recorded that many lampoons were published on the crowned boor.s
The low-born Phrygian who founded a new dynasty in the ninth century reminds us of the low-born Dardanian who founded a new dynasty exactly three hundred years before. The first Justin, like the second Michael, was ignorant of letters. It was told of Justin that he had a mechanical contrivance for making his signature, and of Michael it was popularly reported that another could read through a book more quickly than he could spell out the six letters of his name. They were both soldiers and had worked their way up in the service, and they both held the same post at the time of their elevation. Justin was the commander of the Excubitors when he was called upon to succeed Anastasius, even as Michael when he stepped into the place of Leo. But Michael could not say like Justin that his hands were pure of blood. The parallel may be carried still further. The soldier of Ulpiana, like the soldier of Amorion, reigned for about nine years, and each had a successor who was a remarkable contrast to himself. After the rude Justin, came his learned and intellectual nephew Justinian; after the rude Michael, his polished son Theophilus.
Michael shared the superstitions which were not confined to his own class. He was given to consulting soothsayers and diviners; and, if report spoke true, his career was directed by prophecies and omens. It is said that his first marriage was brought about through the utterances of a soothsayer. He had been an officer in the army of the Anatolic Theme, in days before he had entered the service of Bardanes. The general of that Theme, whose name is not recorded, was as ready as most of his contemporaries to believe in prognostication, and when one of the Athingan sect who professed to
1 Cp. Finlay, ii. pp. 128, 129.
2 Cont. Th. 49 τὴν ̔Ελληνικὴν παίδευσιν διαπτύων, where Hellenic is not used in the bad sense of payan.
3 lb. In the Acta Davilis, 230, he
is described as not so cruel as Leo, but τὰ πάντα γαστρὶ χαριζόμενος καὶ σχεδὸν ἐν ἀνθρωπείῳ σώματι κτηνώδη ἀναστροφὴν καὶ δίαιταν ἀναδειξάμενος.
Cont. Th. 49, clearly taken from one of the popular lampoons.
tell fortunes, declared to him that Michael and another officer of his staff were marked out for Imperial rank in the future, he lost no time in taking measures to unite them with his family. He prepared He prepared a feast, and chose them out of all the officers to be his guests, to their own astonishment. But a greater surprise awaited them, for when they were heated with wine, he offered them his daughters in marriage. At this unexpected condescension, the young men, of whom one at least was of humble birth, were stupefied and speechless. They drew back at first from an honour of which they deemed themselves unworthy; but the superstitious general overcame their scruples, and the marriages took place. Thus it came about that Michael won Thecla,' who became the mother of the Emperor Theophilus. The other son-in-law, whoever he may have been, was not so fortunate; in his case the soothsayer was conspicuously at fault."
Theophilus, for whom Leo V. had probably stood sponsor," was adult when his father came to the throne, and on the following Whitsunday (May 12 A.D. 821) Michael, according to the usual practice, secured the succession by elevating him to the rank of Basileus and Augustus.* The ceremony of
his marriage was celebrated on the same occasion. Having
The true date of the elevation of Theophilus and his marriage has been ascertained by Brooks (B.Z. 10, 540 sqq.). The will of Justinian, Duke of Venice, equates indiction 7 (A.D. 828. 829) with the ninth year of Michael and the eighteenth (mistake for eighth) of Theophilus. This is compatible with his coronation in A. D. 821 or 822. Now there are no coins of Michael II. alone (see Wroth, ii. 416), and this fact, combined with the probability that the Emperor would not delay long to crown his son, justifies us in deciding for 821. The day of the ceremony is recorded by Simeon,
Simeon (Theol. Mel. 147), OTÉDEL δὲ Θεοδώραν ἐν τῷ εὐκτηρίῳ τοῦ ἁγίου Στεφάνου, στεφθεὶς καὶ αὐτὸς ἅμα αὐτῇ
ὑπὸ ̓Αντωνίου πατριάρχου καὶ τῷ τοῦ γάμου καὶ τῷ τῆς βασιλείας στέφει τῇ ȧyla TEVTηKOOTη. (Cp. vers. Slav. 93, and Add. Georg. 790; the text of Leo Gr. is imperfect.) See Brooks, op. cit. 542, who rightly says that this is an authentic notice which must be separated from the legend which precedes it. It is not clear whether all these ceremonies were performed on the same day. The crowning of Theophilus with the diadem (oréuμa or diádŋua) must have come first, and was performed in St. Sophia; the ceremony is described in Constantine, Cer. i. 38. We must not press the notice so as to imply that Michael was absent himself and deputed the Patriarch to crown his son. Except in the Emperor's absence, the Patriarch handed the crown to him, and he placed it on his colleague's head. The marriage ceremony was always performed in the Church of St. Stephen in Daphne, and is described Cer. i. 39 (the nuptial crown is repávшμа, as distinguished from the Imperial
received the Imperial crown from his father's hands in St. Sophia, he was wedded by the Patriarch, in the Church of St. Stephen in the Palace, to Theodora, a Paphlagonian lady, whose father and uncle were officers in the army. The ceremony was followed by her coronation as Augusta.
It is probable that the provincial Theodora, of an obscure but well-to-do family, was discovered by means of the bride-show custom which in the eighth and ninth centuries was habitually employed for the purpose of selecting brides for Imperial heirs. Messengers were sent into the provinces to search for maidens who seemed by their exceptional physical attractions and their mental qualities worthy of sharing the throne of an Emperor. They were guided in their selection by certain fixed standards; they rejected all candidates who did not conform, in stature and in the dimensions of their heads and feet, to prescribed measures of beauty. It was thus that Maria, discovered in a small town in Paphlagonia, came to be the consort of Constantine VI., and we saw how a bride-show was held for the wedding of Stauracius.* In later times Michael III. and Leo VI. would win their brides in the same fashion; and it is not improbable that Irene of Athens owed her marriage with Leo IV. to this custom.
The bride-show of Theophilus has been embroidered with legendary details, and it has been misdated, but there is no reason for doubting that it was actually held. The story represents Theophilus as still unmarried when he became sole Emperor after his father's death. His stepmother Euphrosyne
στέμμα). The coronation of the Augusta was celebrated in the same place (ib. i. 40). The procedure where the marriage and coronation of an Augusta were combined is described ib. i. 41. For the succession of Antonius to the Patriarchate, sce below, p. 115.
Her father was Marinos, a drun garios, if not a turmarch. He belonged to the town of Ebissa (Cont. Th. 89). In the same passage the fact that Theodora had been crowned "long ago," ráλai dý, i.c. before her husband's accession to the autocracy, is recorded. For the family relations of Theodora seo below, Chapter V. p. 156, Gencalogical Table. She was of Armenian descent, at least on one side, for her
assembled the maidens, who had been gathered from all the provinces, in the Pearl-chamber in the Palace, and gave the Emperor a golden apple to bestow upon her who pleased him best. Theophilus halted before Kasia, a lady of striking beauty and literary attainments, and addressed to her a cynical remark, apparently couched in metrical form, to which she had a ready answer in the same style.
A woman was the fount and source
Of all man's tribulation.
And from a woman sprang the course.
The boldness of the retort did not please the Emperor, and he gave the golden apple to Theodora.
It was in the spring of A.D. 821, and not nine years later, that Theophilus made his choice, and it was his mother, Thecla, if she was still alive, and not Euphrosyne, who presided over the bride-show. Some may think that the golden apple, the motif of the judgment of Paris, must be rejected as a legendary trait in the story; yet it seems possible that the apple had been deliberately borrowed from the Greek myth as a symbol by which the Emperor intimated his choice and was a regular feature of the Byzantine brideshows. Nor does there seem any reason to doubt that the poetess Kasia was one of the chosen maidens; and the passage between her and the Emperor is, if not true, happily invented so far as her extant epigrams reveal her character.* Dis
The story in its genuine form is told by Simeon (Add. Geory, 790). It is completely altered and corrupted in Vita Theodorac, 4 (see below). The Pearl-chamber (μapyapiтov тpíkλivos) is an anachronism. It was one of the new buildings of Theophilus himself (see below, p. 131). The bride-show of Leo VI was held ἔν τινι βασιλικῷ ταμιείῳ τῆς περιβλέπτου Μαναύρας (Vita Theophanus, loc. cit.).
With slight change the dialogue in the chronicle falls into the "political metre," which I have reproduced in English:
Θ. «ὦ γύναι), διὰ γυναικὸς εἰσερρύη τὰ φαῦλα.
Κ. ἀλλὰ καὶ διὰ γυναικὸς τὰ κρείττονα πηγάζει.
(text: πηγ. τὰ κρ.). I pointed this out in Gibbon, v. 199 note, and Engl. Hist. Rev. xiii. p. 340 (1898).
Eudocia, his mother (not Basil), manages the bride-show of Leo VI. (Vita Theophanus, loc. cit.).
Her strong opinions came out in her epigrams; she did not suffer fools gladly see the verses on the uŵpos in Krumbacher, Kasia, p. 362, cp. p. 365. Three hymns of Kasia are printed in