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hands. The murder of Theoktistos cut her to the heart, and though the Emperor endeavoured to pacify and conciliate her, she remained unrelenting in her bitterness."
The Senate was convoked, and that body applauded the announcement that Michael would henceforward govern alone in his own name.? Bardas was elevated to the rank of magister and was appointed Domestic of the Schools. that for nearly two years Theodora resided in the Palace, powerless but unforgiving, and perhaps waiting for a favourable opportunity to compass the downfall of her brother. It is said that her son plagued her, trying perhaps to drive her into voluntary retirement. At last, whether his mother's proximity became intolerable, or she involved herself in intrigues against Bardas, it was decided that she should not only be expelled from the Palace but consigned to a nunnery.
The Patriarch Ignatius, who owed his appointment to her, was commanded to tonsure her along with her daughters, but he absolutely declined on the sufficient ground that they were unwilling to take the monastic vow. The hair of their heads was shorn by other hands, and they were all immured in the monastery of Karianos (autumn A.D. 858).
It was probably soon afterwards that the Empress, thirsting 1 Simeon (Cont. Georg.), 822-823. inconsistent with Nicetas, only the Cont. Th. 171 describes her lamenta- author has confused the monastery with tion and anger as that of a tragedy the palace of Karianos (and has been queen.
followed in this by Finlay, ii. 173, 2 Simeon (ib.) Móvos aútokpatopei and Hergenröther, i. 348). The palace (the technical phrase).
of Karianos was within the precincts 3 For the chronology see Appendix of the Great Palace (see above, p. 132), VII. The sources here cause;difficulty; and as Theophilus built it for his I have followed Nicetas (Vit. Ign. 225), daughters, it is very probable that they who says: την μητέρα και τας αδελφάς lived there before they were expelled. καταγαγών εν τοις Καριανού λεγομένοις But they could not be “driven from απενεχθήναι κελεύει και καρήναι. Ac- the Palace to the palace of Karianos. cording to Simeon (ib.) the three eldest τα Καριανού in Nicetas and Simeon is sisters were expelled from the palace obviously the Convent of Karianos, and placed εις τα Καριανού. Pulcheria, which we can, I think, approximately as her mother's favourite, was sent to locate from the data in the Πάτρια Κπλ. the convent of Gastria ; Theodora re- 241. Here buildings along the Golden mained in the palace, but was after- Horn, from east to west, are described, wards also sent to Gastria. Gen. 90 thus : (1) Churches of SS. Isaiah and says simply that they were all ex- Laurentios, south of the Gate Jubali pelled to Gastria. Cont. Th. 174 Kapussi ; (2) house of Dexiokrates, states that they were tonsured by evidently near the gate of Dexiokrates Petronas and sent "to the palace of = Aya Kapu ; (3) τα Καριανού ; (4) Karianos,” but after Theodora's death Church of Blachernae. It follows that the daughters were confined in Gastria the Karianos was in the region between and their mother's corpse was taken Aya Kapu and Blachernae. For this thither. This last account is not region cp. van Millingen, Walls, c. xiv.
for revenge if she did not hope to regain power, entered into a plot against her brother's life.
The Imperial Protostrator was the chief of the conspirators, who planned to kill Bardas as he was returning to the Palace from his suburban house on the Golden Horn. But the design was discovered, and the conspirators were beheaded in the Hippodrome.
§ 2. Bardas and Basil the Macedonian. Bardas was soon raised to the high dignity of Curopalates, which was only occasionally conferred on a near relative of the Emperor and gave its recipient, in case the sovran died childless, a certain claim to the succession. His position was at the same time strengthened by the appointments of his two sons to important military posts. The Domesticate of the Schools, which he vacated, was given to Antigonus who was only a boy, while an elder son was invested with the command of several western Themes which were exceptionally united.* But for Bardas the office of Curopalates was only a step to the higher dignity of Caesar, which designated him more clearly as the future colleague or successor of his nephew, whose marriage had been fruitless. He was created Caesar on the Sunday after Easter in April A.D. 862.”
The government of the Empire was in the hands of Bardas for ten years, and the reluctant admissions of hostile chroniclers show that he was eminently fitted to occupy the throne. A
i The source is Simeon, ib., and we the command almost immediately, as can hardly hesitate to accept his Petronas died shortly after. Vogt statement as to the implication of (Basile Ter) is wrong in supposing that Theodora, to whom he was well dis- Petronas succeeded Bardas in this posed. He speaks of her part in an post. apologetic tone, as if she were not 4 Simeon, ib. The wife of this son responsible for her acts : αθυμία was her father-in-law's mistress. For μετεωρισθείσα τον νούν και υπό εκπλή- other examples of such extended comξεως αφαιρεθείσα και το φρονείν, ανάξια mands see pp. 10, 222. εαυτής κατασκευάζει βουλήν κατά Βάρδα 5 The year is given by Gen. 97, the Boulevouévn.
day by Simeon, ib., 824. No known 2 It appears from Cont. Th. 176, facts are incompatible with this date that he was already Curopalates when (which Hirsch accepts), and we must he took part in the expedition against decisively reject the hypotheses of Samosata, the date of which we other- Aristarchos (A.D. 860), Vogt (A.D. 865 wise know to be 859 (see below, p. or 866), and others. 279).
6 The concession of Nicetas (Vit. 3 Simeon (Cont. Georg.) 828. Ac- Ign. 224) is, among others, especially cording to Cont. Th. 180, Petronas significant : σπουδαίον και δραστήριον succeeded him in 863 as Domestic ; περί την των πολιτικών πραγμάτων but if this is true, he was restored to μεταχείρισιν.
brilliant success won (A.D. 863) against the Saracens, and the conversion of Bulgaria, enhanced the prestige of the Empire abroad; he committed the care of the Church to the most brilliant Patriarch who ever occupied the ecclesiastical throne of Constantinople; he followed the example of Theophilus in his personal attention to the administration of justice;? and he devoted himself especially to the improvement of education and the advancement of learning. The military and diplomatic transactions of this fortunate decade, its importance for the ecclesiastical independence of the Eastern Empire, and its significance in the history of culture, are dealt with in other chapters.
Michael himself was content to leave the management of the state in his uncle's capable hands. He occasionally took part in military expeditions, more for the sake of occupation, we may suspect, than from a sense of duty. He was a man of pleasure, he only cared for amusement, he had neither the brains nor the taste for administration. His passion for horseraces reminds us of Nero and Commodus; he used himself to drive a chariot in the private hippodrome of the Palace of St. Mamas. His frivolity and extravagance, his impiety and scurrility, are held up to derision and execration by an imperial writer who was probably his own grandson but was bitterly hostile to his memory.
Little confidence can be placed in the anecdotes related by the Emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos and his literary satellites, but there is no doubt that they exhibit, in however exaggerated a shape, the character and reputation of Michael. We may not be prepared, for instance, to believe that the firesignals of Asia Minor were discontinued, because on one occasion he was interrupted in the hippodrome by an inopportune message ; 8 but the motive of the story reflects his genuine impatience of public business. The most famous or infamous performance of Michael was his travesty of the mysteries and ministers of the Church. One of his coarse boon-companions, a buffoon known as the “Pig," was arrayed
--confined to invited menibers of the Court. High officials took part in these amateur performances (Cont. Th. 198).
3 Cont. Th. 197.
as Patriarch, while the Emperor and eleven others dressed themselves in episcopal garments, as twelve prominent bishops. With citherns, which they hid in the folds of their robes and secretly sounded, they intoned the liturgy. They enacted the solemn offices of consecrating and deposing bishops, and it was even rumoured that they were not ashamed to profane the Eucharist, using mustard and vinegar instead of the holy elements,
A story was current that one day the mock Patriarch riding on an ass, with his execrable cortège, came face to face with the true Patriarch Ignatius, who was conducting a religious procession to a suburban church. The profane satyrs raised their hoods, loudly struck their instruments, and with lewd songs disturbed the solemn hymns of the pious procession. But this was only a sensational anecdote, for we have reason to believe that Michael did not begin to practise these mummeries till after the deposition of Ignatius. Mocking at the ecclesiastical schism, he is said to have jested “ Theophilus (the Pig) is my Patriarch, Photius is the Patriarch of the Caesar, Ignatius of the Christians.” 3 How far mummeries of this kind shocked public opinion in Constantinople it is difficult to conjecture.
1 These mummeries are described by this connexion, I may refer to the curiConstantine Porph. (Cont. Th. 244 ous (thirteenth or fourteenth century) sqq.). They are not referred to by composition called the Mass of the Simeon, but are mentioned in general Spanos (i.e. Beardless), a parody of the terms by Nicetas (Vit. Ignatič, 246, rites of the Church, and doubtless where the proper name of Gryllos= connected with Satanic worship. See the Pig is given as Theophilus), and Krumbacher, G.B.L. 809 sqq.; A. are attested by the 16th Canon of the Heisenberg, in B.2. xii. 361. Council of 869-870, which describes and 2 The anecdote is told in Cont. Th. condemns them (Mansi, xvi. 169). In 244 (Vita Bas.), but not in Vit. Ign. this canon Michael himself is not said where (loc. cit.) the profanities are reto have participated in the parodies, corded as happening after the fall of which are attributed to laymen of Ignatius, and Photius is blamed for senatorial rank under the late Em- not protesting and putting a stop to
These men, arranging their them. The author also reports (p. hair so as to imitate the tonsure, and 247) that Simeon, a Cretan bishop arrayed in sacerdotal robes, with epis- (who had left the island on account copal cloaks, used to travesty the of the Saracen invasion), remonstrated ceremonies of electing, consecrating, with Michael, and begged him to and deposing bishops; one of them discontinue his sacrilegious conduct. used to play the Patriarch. The canon The Emperor knocked his teeth out obviously insinuates that Photius had and had him severely beaten for his not done his duty in allowing such temerity. In the Madrid Skylitzes profanities to go on. But it does there is a representation of the Patri. not speak of the profanation of the arch and the Synkellos standing in the Eucharist, nor is this mentioned in portico of a church, outside which are Vit. Ign. I therefore think this must Gryllos and the mummers with musibe regarded as an invention-an almost cal instruments (Beylié, op. cit. 91). inevitable addition to the scandal. In 3 Vit. Ign. 246.
The Imperial pleasures were costly, and Michael's criminal generosity to his worthless companions dissipated large treasures. He made it a practice to stand sponsor at the baptisms of children of his jockeys, and on such occasions he would bestow upon the father a present varying from £1296 to £2160, occasionally even as much as £4320-sums which then represented a considerably higher value than to-day. Not only was no saving effected during the eleven years in which he was master of the Empire, but he wasted the funds which had been saved by his father and by his mother, and towards the end of his reign he was in such straits for ready money that he laid hands upon some of the famous works of art with which Theophilus had adorned the Palace. The golden planetree, in which the mechanical birds twittered, the two golden lions, the two griffins hammered out of solid gold, and the organ of solid gold, all weighing not less than 200 pounds, were melted down; but before they were minted, Michael perished. It seems probable that it was in the last year or two of his reign that his extravagance became excessive and ruinous. For there is no sign that the Empire was in financial difficulties during the government of Bardas, who seems to have been able to restrain his nephew within certain bounds.
The weak point of the position of the Caesar lay in the circumstance that he had to share his influence over the Emperor with boon companions; for there was always the danger that a wily schemer, concealing ambition under the mask of frivolity, might successfully use the opportunities of intimate intercourse to discredit him and undermine his power. The fact that he retained for ten years the unshaken, almost childish confidence of his nephew is a striking proof of his
1 The sums mentioned are 30, 40, 50, 100 litrai, Cont. Th. 172. See further, Chapter VII. p. 220.
2 There is an inconsistency here between the Vita Basilii and the Vita Michaelis in Cont. Th., but it is not so serious as Hirsch thinks (244). According to the former source (257) Michael melted down the plane-tree, lions, etc., and the gold on the Imperial and senatorial state-robes ; according to the latter (173) the plane-tree, etc., were melted, but the robes were found still untouched on Michael's death
(ταύτας refers to στολάς). Hirsch did not observe this distinction, and thought that the contradiction was complete. Basil rescued the robes, but coined the melted gold, and called the nomisma of this coinage a senzáton. The name, I suppose, was given because the lions, plane-tree, etc., were £v TÔ oévtsu (Constantine, Cer. 569). The Vita Bas. was
source of the Vita Mich. ; here the author of the latter seems to correct an inaccuracy of Constantine VII., the author of the former.