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—of which many are still to be seen, many others have disappeared in recent times-recorded his name, which appears more frequently on the walls and towers than that of any other Emperor.1 The restoration of the seaward defences facing Chrysopolis may specially be noticed: at the ancient gate of St. Barbara (Top-kapussi, close to Seraglio Point),2 and on the walls and towers to the south, on either side of the gate of unknown name (now Deïrmen-kapussi) near the Kynegion.3 Just north of this entrance is a long inscription, in six iambic trimeters, praying that the wall which Theophilus “raised on new foundations" may stand fast and unshaken for ever. It may possibly be a general dedication of all his new fortifications. But the work was not quite completed when Theophilus died.5 South of the Kynegion and close to the Mangana, a portion of the circuit remained in disrepair, and it was reserved for Bardas, the able minister of Michael III., to restore it some twenty years later.
§ 3. Iconoclasm
It was not perhaps in the nature of Theophilus to adopt the passive attitude of his father in the matter of imageworship, or to refrain from making a resolute attempt to terminate the schism which divided the Church. But he appears for some years (perhaps till A.D. 834) to have continued the tolerant policy of Michael, and there may be some reason for believing, as many believe, that the influence of his friend John the Grammarian, who became Patriarch in A.D. 832, was chiefly responsible for his resolution to suppress icons. He did
1 Gen. ib. notes the inscriptions as a feature.
2 Van Millingen, 184. Hammer, Constantinopolis, i. Appendix, gives copies of inscriptions which have disappeared.
Van Millingen, 250, 183.
4 Van Millingen's conjecture. The inscription is in one line 60 feet long. The last verse should be restored
ἄσειστον ἀκλόνητον ἐστ[ηριγμένον]. 5 I infer this from the Bardas inscription, which, with the restorations of Mordtmann and van Millingen (op. cit. 185-186), runs as follows: πολλ]ῶν κραταιῶς δεσποσάντων σ[άλου]
ἀλλ ̓ οὐ]δενὸς πρὸς ὕψος ἢ εὐκοσμίαν
τὸ [βλ]ηθὲν εἰς γῆν τεῖχος ἐξηγερκότος
6 Cont. Th. 121, see Vasil'ev, Viz. i Ar., Pril. 147 sqq. Before his elevation he held the office of Synkellos. For his work under Leo V. see above, p. 60 sq.
not summon a new council, and perhaps he did not issue any new edict; but he endeavoured, by severe measures, to ensure the permanence of the iconoclastic principles which had been established under Leo the Armenian. The lack of contemporary evidence renders it difficult to determine the scope and extent of the persecution of Theophilus; but a careful examination of such evidence as exists shows that modern historians have exaggerated its compass, if not its severity.1 So far as we can see, his repressive measures were twofold. He endeavoured to check the propagation of the false doctrine by punishing some leading monks who were actively preaching it; and he sought to abolish religious pictures from Constantinople by forbidding them to be painted at all.2
Of the cases of corporal chastisement inflicted on ecclesiastics for pertinacity in the cause of image-worship, the most famous and genuine is the punishment of the two Palestinian brothers, Theodore and Theophanes, who had already endured persecution under Leo V. On Leo's death they returned to Constantinople and did their utmost in the cause of pictures, Theodore by his books and Theophanes by his hymns. But Michael II. treated them like other leaders of the cause; he did not permit them to remain in the city. Under Theophilus they were imprisoned and scourged, then exiled to Aphusia, one of the
1 The contemporary chronicler
George gives no facts, but indulges in vapid abuse. Simeon relates the treatment of the brothers Theodore and Theophanes, but otherwise only says that Theophilus pulled down pictures, and banished and tormented monks (Add. Georg. 791). Genesios (74-75) is amazingly brief: Emperor disturbed the sea of piety; (1) he imprisoned Michael, synkellos of Jerusalem, with many monks; (2) branded Theodore and Theophanes ; (3) was assisted by John the Patriarch. The lurid description of the persecution, which has generally been adopted, is supplied by the biographer of Theophilus, Cont. Th. c. 10 sqq., who begins by stating that Th. sought to outdo his predecessors as a persecutor. The whole account is too rhetorical to be taken for sober history, and it is in marked contrast with that of Genesios, who was not disposed to spare the iconoclasts. (We can, indeed, prove the writer's inaccuracy
in his account of the affair of Theodore and Theophanes, for which we have a first-hand source in Theodore's own letter. Simeon made use of this source honestly; in Cont. Th. there are marked discrepancies.) Various tortures and cruelties are ascribed in general terms to Th. in Acta 42 Mart. Amor. (г 24, a document written not very long after his death).
2 This seems to be a genuine tradition, preserved in Cont. Th. (Vit. Theoph.) cc. 10 and 13. See below.
3 For the following account the source is the Vita Theodori Grapti (see Bibliography). See also Vit. Mich. Sync., and Vailhé, Saint Michel le Syncelle.
Op. cit. 201, where it is said that John (afterwards Patriarch) shut them up in prison, and having argued with them unsuccessfully, exiled them. This is probably untrue. They lived in the monastery of Sosthenes (which survives in the name Stenia), on the European bank of the Bosphorus.
Proconnesian islands.1 Theophilus was anxious to win them over; the severe treatment which he dealt out to them proves the influence they exerted; they had, in fact, succeeded Theodore of Studion as the principal champions of icons. The Emperor hoped that after the experience of a protracted exile and imprisonment they would yield to his threats; their opposition seemed to him perhaps the chief obstacle to the unity of the Church. So they were brought to Constantinople and the story of their maltreatment may be told in their own words.2
The Imperial officer arrived at the isle of Aphusia and hurried us away to the City, affirming that he knew not the purpose of the command, only that he had been sent to execute it very urgently. We arrived in the City on the 8th of July. Our conductor reported our arrival to the Emperor, and was ordered to shut us up in the Praetorian prison. Six days later (on the 14th) we were summoned to the Imperial presence. Conducted by the Prefect of the City, we reached the door of the Chrysotriklinos, and saw the Emperor with a terribly stern countenance and a number of people standing round. It was the tenth hour.3 The Prefect retired and left us in the presence of the Emperor, who, when we had made obeisance, roughly ordered us to approach. He asked us "Where were ye born?" We replied, "In the land of Moab." Why came ye here?" We did not answer, and he ordered our faces to be beaten. After many sore blows, we became dizzy and fell, and if I had not grasped the tunic of the man who smote me, I should have fallen on the Emperor's footstool. Holding by his dress I stood unmoved till the Emperor said “Enough " and repeated his former question. When we still said nothing he addressed the Prefect [who appears to have returned] in great wrath, "Take them and engrave on their faces these verses, and then hand them over to two Saracens to conduct them to their own country." One stood near-his name was Christodulos-who held in his hand the iambic verses which he had composed. The Emperor bade him read them aloud, adding, "If they are not good, never mind.” He said this because he knew how they would be ridiculed by us, since we are experts in poetical matters. The man who read them said, “Sir, these fellows are not worthy that the verses should be better."
They were then taken back to the Praetorium, and then once more to the Palace, where they received a flogging in the
1 See above, p. 41.
2 In their letter to John of Cyzicus, quoted in op. cit. 204 sqq.
3 Three o'clock in the afternoon. 4 Before they were admitted to the presence they were kept in the Thermastra. The writers on the Palace (Labarte, Bieliaev, Ebersolt,
etc.) are, I believe, wrong in their conception of the Thermastra. The evidence points, as I have tried to show, to its being north of the Lausiakos and forming the ground floor of the Eidikon. The scene of the scourging is represented in a miniature in the Madrid MS. of
Imperial presence. But another chance was granted to them. Four days later they were informed by the Prefect that if they would communicate once with the iconoclasts it would be sufficient to save them from punishment; "I," he said, “will accompany you to the Church." When they refused, they were laid upon benches, and their faces were tattooed-it was a long process-with the vituperative verses. Some admiration is due to the dexterity and delicacy of touch of the tormentor who succeeded in branding twelve iambic lines on a human face. The other part of the sentence was not carried out. The brethren were not reconducted to their own country; they were imprisoned at Apamea in Bithynia, where Theodore died.1 Theophanes, the hymn writer, survived till the next reign and became bishop of Nicaea.
Of the acts of persecution ascribed to Theophilus, this is the most authentic. Now there is a circumstance about it which may help to explain the Emperor's exceptional severity, the fact that the two monks who had so vehemently agitated against his policy were strangers from Palestine. We can easily understand that the Emperor's resentment would have been especially aroused against interlopers who had come from abroad to make trouble in his dominion. And there are two other facts which are probably not unconnected. The oriental Patriarchs (of Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem) had addressed to Theophilus a "synodic letter" in favour of the worship of images,2 a manifesto which must have been highly displeasing to him and to the Patriarch John. Further, it is recorded, and there is no reason to doubt, that Theophilus
Skylitzes, reproduced in Beylié, L'Habitation byzantine, p. 122. The place of the punishment was the midgarden, μeσokýπLOV, of the Lausiakos, doubtless the same as the μεσοκήπιον near the east end of the Justinianos, mentioned in Constantine, Cer. 585.
1 Dec. 27, 841. Vit. Theodori, 210; cp. Simeon, Add. Georg. 808; Menolog. Basil. Migne, 117, 229. An anecdote in Cont. Th. (160), makes him survive Theophilus (so Vit. Mich. Sync. 252; Narr. de Theoph. absol. 32), and in the same passage Theophanes is falsely described as bishop of Smyrna.
2 The Epistola synodica Orientalium ad Theophilum imp. (see Biblio
graphy) was supposed by Combefis to be a joint composition of the three eastern Patriarchs. This is very unlikely, but the author may have belonged to one of the eastern dioceses (cp. c. 30), though it would be rash to argue (with Schwarzlose, 111), from a certain tone of authority, that he was a Patriarch. He sketches the history of the controversy on images from the beginning to the death of Michael II. (committing some chronological blunders pointed out by Schwarzlose), and exhorts Theophilus
follow the example of pious Emperors like Constantine, Theodosius, Marcian, and not that of the godless iconoclasts.
imprisoned Michael, the synkellos of the Patriarch of Jerusalem,1 who had formerly been persecuted by Leo V. We may fairly suspect that the offence of the Palestinian brethren was seriously aggravated in his eyes by the fact that they were Palestinian. This suspicion is borne out by the tenor of the bad verses which were inscribed on their faces.2
There was another case of cruelty which seems to be well attested. Euthymios, bishop of Sardis, who had been prominent among the orthodox opponents of Leo V., died in consequence of a severe scourging. But the greater number of image-worshippers, whose sufferings are specially recorded, suffered no more than banishment, and the Proconnesian island Aphusia is said to have been selected as the place of confinement for many notable champions of pictures.*
The very different treatment which Theophilus accorded to Methodius is significant. In order to bend him to his will, he tried harsh measures, whipped him and shut him up
1 Gen. 74; Vit. Mich. Sync. 238, where he and his companion Job are said to have been imprisoned in a cell in the Praetorium in A.D. 834. Cp. Vailhé, Saint Michel le Syncelle, 618.
2 The sense of the verses (which are preserved in Vit. Theod. Gr. 206; Add. Georg. 807; Cont. Th. 105; Pseudo-Simeon, 641; Acta Davidis, 239; Vit. Mich. Sync. 243; Zonaras, iii. 366, etc.-material for a critical text) may be rendered thus:
In that fair town whose sacred streets were
Once by the pure feet of the Word of God-
As scoundrels, hunted to their native
3 There is a difficulty about Euthymios. In the Acta Davidis, 237, his death is connected with the persecution in the reign of Theophilus. In Cont. Th. 48 it is placed in the reign of Michael II., who is made responsible, while the execution is ascribed to Theophilus. This notice is derived from Genesios (or from a common source), who says, at the end of Michael II.'s reign Εὐθύμιον . . Θεόφιλος
βουνεύροις χαλεπῶς ἐθανάτωσεν. Here
4 Simeon the Stylite of Lesbos (see above, p. 75), who in the reign of Michael II. lived in the suburb of Pêgae, on the north side of the Golden Horn, was banished to Aphusia (Acta Davidis, 239), whither Theodore and Theophanes had at first been sent. Other exiles to this island were Makarios, abbot of Pelekêtê (who was first flogged and imprisoned, according to Vit. Macarii, 158); Hilarion, abbot of the convent of Dalmatos (4.S., June 6, t. i. 759, where he is said to have received 117 stripes); and John, abbot of the Katharoi (4.S., April 27, t. iii. 496). All these men had suffered persecution under Leo V.; see above, Chap. II. § 3 ad fin.