Slike stranica

victims of such belated justice naturally exclaimed, "If we had not assisted your father, O Emperor, you would not now be on the throne." There are other versions of the circumstances, and it is possible that the assassins were condemned at a formal silention in the Magnaura.1 It would be useless to judge this punishment by any ethical standard. Michael II. had not only a guilty knowledge of the conspiracy, but had urged the conspirators to hasten their work. The passion of a doctrinaire for justice will not explain his son's act in calling his father's accomplices to a tardy account; nor is there the least probability in the motive which some image-worshippers assigned, that respect for the memory of Leo as a great iconoclast inspired him to wreak vengeance on the murderers.2 The truth, no doubt, is that both Michael II. and Theophilus were acutely conscious that the deed which had raised them to power cast an ugly shadow over their throne; and it is noteworthy that in the letter which they addressed to the Emperor Lewis they stigmatize the conspirators as wicked men. Michael, we may be assured, showed them no favour, but he could not bring himself to punish the men whom he had himself encouraged to commit the crime. The conscience of Theophilus was clear, and he could definitely dissociate the Amorian house from the murder by a public act of retribution. It may well be that (as one tradition affirms 1) Michael, when death was approaching, urged his son to this step. In any case, it seems certain that the purpose of Theophilus was to remedy a weakness in his political position, and that he was taking account of public opinion.


The Augusta Euphrosyne, last Imperial descendant of the Isaurian house, retired to a monastery soon after her stepson's accession to the supreme power. Michael is related to have bound the Senate by a pledge that they would defend the rights of his second wife and her children after his death.5 If this is true, it meant that if she had a son his position should be secured as co-regent of his stepbrother. She had no children, and found perhaps little attraction in the prospect of

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

residing in the Palace and witnessing Court functions in which Theodora would now be the most important figure. There is no reason to suppose that she retired under compulsion.1


The first five children born to Theophilus during his father's lifetime were daughters, but just before or soon after his accession Theodora gave birth to a son, who was named Constantine and crowned as Augustus. Constantine, however, did not survive infancy, and the Emperor had to take thought for making some provision for the succession. He selected as a son-in-law Alexios Musele, who belonged to the family of the Krênitai, of Armenian descent, and betrothed him to his eldest daughter, Maria (c. A.D. 831). Alexios (who had been created a patrician and distinguished by the new title of anthypatos,* and then elevated to the higher rank of magister) received the dignity of Caesar, which gave him a presumptive expectation of a still higher title. The marriage was celebrated about A.D. 836, but Maria died soon afterwards, and, against the Emperor's wishes, his son-in-law insisted on retiring to a monastery. There was a story that the suspicions of Theophilus had been aroused by jealous tongues against the loyalty of Alexios, who had been sent to fight with the Saracens in Sicily. It is impossible to say how much truth may underlie this report, nor can we be sure whether the Caesar withdrew from the world before or after the birth of a son to Theophilus (in A.D. 839), an event which would in any case have disappointed his hopes of the succession.5

1 On the retirement of Euphrosyne, see Melioranski, Viz. Vrem. 8, 32-33. The statements of Simeon (Add. Georg. 790) and Cont. Th. 86 contradict each other; according to the latter she was (laudably) expelled from the Palace by Theophilus (accepted as true by Hirsch, 205). I think Melioranski is right in following the former (Viz. Vrem. 8, 32-33), but his observations about the chronology do not hold. Cont. Th. is undoubtedly right in stating that Euphrosyne withdrew to the cloister in which she had formerly been a nun (in the island of Prinkipo ; see above, p. 111); she had nothing to do with the monastery of Gastria, to which Simeon sends her (Add. Georg. 790; cp. Vit. Theodorae Aug. p. 6). Gastria belonged to Theoktiste, the mother-in-law of Theophilus.


[blocks in formation]


While he was devoted to the serious business of ruling, and often had little time for the ceremonies and formal processions which occupied many hours in the lives of less active Emperors, Theophilus loved the pageantry of royal magnificence. On two occasions he celebrated a triumph over the Saracens, and we are so fortunate as to possess an official account of the triumphal ceremonies.2 When Theophilus (in A.D. 831) reached the Palace of Hieria, near Chalcedon, he was awaited by the Empress, the three ministers -the Praepositus, the chief Magister, and the urban Prefectwho were responsible for the safety of the city during his absence, and by all the resident members of the Senate. At a little distance from the Palace gates, the senators met him and did obeisance; Theodora stood within the rails of the hall which opened on the court, and when her lord dismounted she also did obeisance and kissed him. The train of captives had not yet arrived, and ten days elapsed before the triumphal entry could be held. Seven were spent at Hieria, the senators remaining in ceremonial attendance upon the Emperor, and their wives, who were summoned from the city, upon the Empress. On the seventh day the Court moved to the Palace of St. Mamas, and remained there for three days. On the tenth, Theophilus sailed up the Golden Horn, disembarked at Blachernae, and proceeded on horseback outside the walls to a pavilion which had been pitched in a meadow near the Golden Gate. Here he met the captives who had been conveyed across the Propontis from Chrysopolis.


Meanwhile, under the direction of the Prefect, the city had been set in festive array, decorated "like a bridal chamber,"

he came on a site which pleased him in the suburb of Anthemios, somewhere near the modern AnadoliHissar. The ground belonged to the Imperial arsenal (mangana), but, through the influence of Theodora, Alexios was permitted to buy it. His tomb and that of his brother existed here in the following century (Cont. Th. 109). Pargoire (Boradion, 456 sqq., 473-475) has shown that the suburban quarter of Anthemios was near AnadoliHissar-north of Brochthoi, which was near Kandili, and south of Boradion, which was near Phrixu-limen = Kanlija (for these districts see Hammer, Con

[blocks in formation]

with variegated hangings and purple and silver ornaments. The long Middle Street, through which the triumphal train would pass, from the Golden Gate of victory to the place of the Augusteon, was strewn with flowers. The prisoners, the trophies and the spoils of war preceded the Emperor, who rode on a white horse caparisoned with jewelled harness; a tiara was on his head; he wore a sceptre in his hand, and a goldembroidered tunic framed his breastplate.2 Beside him, on another white steed similarly equipped, rode the Caesar Alexios, wearing a corslet, sleeves, and gaiters of gold, a helmet and gold headband, and poising a golden spear. At a short distance from the triumphal gate the Emperor dismounted and made three obeisances to the east, and, when he crossed the threshold of the city, the Praepositus, the Magister, and the Prefect, now relieved of their extraordinary authority, presented him with a crown of gold, which he carried on his right arm. The demes then solemnly acclaimed him as victor, and the procession advanced. When it reached the milestone at the gates of the Augusteon, the senators dismounted, except those who, having taken part in the campaign, wore their armour, and, passing through the gates, walked in front of the sovran to the Well of St. Sophia. Here the Emperor himself dismounted, entered the church, and, after a brief devotion, crossed the Augusteon on foot to the Bronze Gate of the Palace, where a pulpit had been set, flanked by a throne of gold, and a golden organ which was known as the Prime Miracle.3 Between these stood a large cross of gold. When Theophilus had seated himself and made the sign of the cross, the demes cried, "There is one Holy." The city community then offered him a pair of golden armlets, and wearing these he acknowledged the gift by a speech," in which he described his military successes. Amid new acclamations he remounted his horse, and riding through the Passages of Achilles and past the Baths of Zeuxippus, entered the Hippodrome and reached the Palace at the door of the Skyla. On the next

1 σκαραμάγγια.

2 πIŃρIKOV (cp. Ducange, s. v. λωρίκη). The tunic was ῥοδόβοτρυς : does this mean that the design represented roses and bunches of grapes?

3 πρωτόθαυμα.


4 τὸ πολίτευμα, the whole body of the citizens of the capital, of whom the prefect of the city was the "father." He and his subordinates were the πολιτάρχαι.

5 Delivered evidently from the pulpit.

day, at a reception in the Palace, many honours and dignities were conferred, and horse-races were held in the Hippodrome, where the captives and the trophies were exhibited to the people.

§ 2. Buildings of Theophilus

The reign of Theophilus was an epoch in the history of the Great Palace. He enlarged it by a group of handsome and curious buildings, on which immense sums must have been expended, and we may be sure that this architectural enterprise was stimulated, if not suggested, by the reports which reached his ears of the magnificent palaces which the Caliphs had built for themselves at Baghdad.1 His own pride and the prestige of the Empire demanded that the residence of the Basileus should not be eclipsed by the splendour of the Caliph's abode.

At the beginning of the ninth century the Great Palace 2 consisted of two groups of buildings-the original Palace, including the Daphne, which Constantine the Great had built adjacent to the Hippodrome and to the Augusteon, and at some distance to the south-east the Chrysotriklinos (with its dependencies), which had been erected by Justin II. and had superseded the Daphne as the centre of Court life and ceremonial. It is probable that the space between the older Palace and the Chrysotriklinos was open ground, free from buildings, perhaps laid out in gardens and terraced (for the ground falls southward). There was no architectural connexion between the two Palaces, but Justinian II. at the end of the seventh century had connected the Chrysotriklinos with the Hippodrome by means of two long halls which opened into one another—the Lausiakos and the Triklinos called after his name. These halls were probably perpendicular to the Hippodrome, and formed a line of building which closed in the principal grounds of the Palace on the southern side.3

1 See below, Chap. VIII. § 2.

2 Palace suggests to us a single block of building, and is so far misleading, though it can hardly be avoided. The Byzantine residence resembled the oriental "palaces" which consisted of many detached halls and buildings in large grounds. Compare, for instance, the residence of the Heian Emperors

of Japan at Kyoto, described by F. Brinkley, Japan, its History, Arts, and Literature, vol. i. 198-199 (1901).

3 The eastern door of the Lausiakos faced the western portico of the Chrysotriklinos; its western door opened into the Triklinos of Justinian, on the west of which was the Skyla which opened into the Hippodrome.


« PrethodnaNastavi »