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such atrocities had been frequent, we should have heard much more about them. The severer punishments were probably inflicted for some display of fanatical insolence towards the Emperor personally. His chief object was to remove from the capital those men, whose influence would conflict with the accomplishment of his policy. But there may have been fanatical monks, who, stirred with an ambition to outstrip the boldness of Theodore of Studion, bearded the Emperor to his face, and to them may have been meted out extreme penalties. Again, it is quite possible that during the destruction of pictures in the city, which ensued on their condemnation by the Synod, serious riots occurred in the streets, and death penalties may have been awarded to persons who attempted to frustrate the execution of the imperial commands. We are told that “the sacred representations”]
1 The statements about the suffer- been thrown into prison. (Theod. ings of individuals in hagiographical Stud., writing to him in A.D. 824, literature (in which the principle that Epp. ii. 213, p. 1641, asks him, suffering for orthodoxy enhanced merit Why, when you had intended to guided the writers) cannot be accepted go elsewhere, were you compelled to without more ado. It is said that fall into the snares of those who Leo scourged Euthymios of Sardis and govern here ?”) It is not clear why banished him to Thasos (Acta Davidis, he did not return to Jerusalem under 229). George the bishop of Mytilene Michael II. ; he is said to have lived was sent to Cherson, and replaced by then in a convent near Brusa. Theo. Leo an iconoclast; he excited the dore and Theophanes were confined Emperor against the holy Simeon of by Leo in a fortress near the mouth of Lesbos, who, imitating his namesake the Bosphorus (see Vailhe's study, the Stylite, lived on a pillar at Molos, Saint Michel le Syncelle). For the a harbour in the south of the island, persecution of Makarios, abbot of Pelehaving fastened his calves to his kêtê (near Ephesus) see Vit. Macarii thighs with chains. The inhabitants
(Cp. Theodore Stud. were ordered to bring wood to the Ep. 38, ed. Cozza-L., p. 31.) John, foot of the column ; when the fire was abbot of the Katharoi monastery (E. of kindled, Simeon allowed himself to be the Harbour of Eleutherios), is said to taken down, and was banished to have suffered stripes and been banished Lagusae, an island off the Troad (ib. first to a fort near Lampe (Phrygia) 227 sq9). Theophylactus of Nico- and then to another in the Bukellarian media is said to have been struck in Theme (A.S. April 27, t. iii. 495). the face by the Emperor and banished to Hilarion, abbot of the convent of Strobilos in the Kibyrrhaeot Theme (see Dalmatos (or Dalmatoi ; n. of the Synax. Ecc. Cpl. 519-520, cp. Loparev, Forum Arcadii), was tortured by hunger Viz. Vrem. iv. 355). Michael, the Syn- by the Patriarch Theodotos, and then kellos of Jerusalem (born c. 761, made confined in various prisons (A.S. June Synkellos 811), his friend Job, and 6, t. i. 759). Others who were malthe two Palestinian brothers Theodore treated, exiled, etc., were Aemilian, and Theophanes (see below, p. 136), bishop of Cyzicus (Synax. Ecc. Cp. 875, were persecuted by Leo. But the Vita cp. 519), Eudoxios of Amorion (ib. Mich. Sync. is full of errors and must 519), and Michael of Synnada (ib. 703, be used with great caution. Theodore cp. Pargoire, Échos d'orient, iv. 347 and Theophanes seem to have been 899., 1903). The last-named died in among those monks who fled in the
A.D. 826. Joannes, abbot of Psichâ reign of Michael I. (on account of (at Cple.), suffered according to his Mohammadan persecution : A.D. 812 biographer (Vit. Joann. Psich. 114 monasteries and churches in Palestine sqq.) particularly harsh treatment. were plundered) to Constantinople, He was flogged, confined in various where the monastery of Chora was prisons, and then tortured by one placed at their disposal. Michael who outdid Jannes.” This must seems to have been sent by the Patri. mean not, as the editor thinks, John arch of Jerusalem on a mission to the Grammarian, but Theodotos. Cp. Rome in Leo's reign, and, tarrying on the story of the treatment of Hilarion. his way in Constantinople, to have
were at the mercy of anyone who chose to work his wicked will upon them. Holy vestments, embroidered with sacred figures, were torn into shreds and cast ignominiously upon the ground; pictures and illuminated missals were cut up with axes and burnt in the public squares.
Some of the baser sort insulted the icons by smearing them with cow-dung and foul-smelling ointments.?
Ignatius, Vit. Nic. ÈKTUT Guara.
1. The Accession of Michael (A.D. 820). The Coronation
and Marriage of Theophilus (A.D. 821) WHILE his accomplices were assassinating the Emperor, Michael lay in his cell, awaiting the issue of the enterprise which meant for him death or empire, according as it failed or prospered. The conspirators, as we have seen, did not bungle in their work, and when it was accomplished, they hastened to greet Michael as their new master, and to bear him in triumph to the Imperial throne. With his legs still encased in the iron fetters he sat on his august seat, and all the servants and officers of the palace congregated to fall at his feet. Time, perhaps, seemed to fly quickly in the surprise of his new position, and it was not till midday that the gyves which so vividly reminded him of the sudden change of his fortunes were struck off his limbs. The historians tell of a difficulty in finding the key of the fetters, and it was John Hexabulios, Logothete of the Course, who remembered that Leo had hidden it in his dress.
About noon, without washing his hands or making any other seemly preparation, Michael, attended by his supporters, proceeded to the Great Church, there to receive the Imperial crown from the hands of the Patriarch, and to obtain recognition from the people. No hint is given as to the attitude of the Patriarch Theodotos to the conspiracy, but he seems
According to Cont. Th. (41), broken with a hammer (μόλις however, the key was not forthcom- θλασθέντων). ing, and the fetters were loosened 2 At the seventh hour, Gen. 30.
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
own 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.5 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
i Such was the thought of the 5 Nicetas, Vit. Ign. 216. The Continuer of Theophanes, 42.
Sabbatians were a fourth-century off2 His age on his accession is not shoot from the Novatians; they held recorded, but he was certainly well that Easter should be celebrated on over forty.
the same day and in the same manner 3 See above, p. 40.
as the Jewish feast. 4 Cont. T'h. 42.
6 Michael Syr. 72.
doxy 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.3
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
Cp. Finlay, ii. pp. 128, 129. is described as not so cruel as Leo, but 2 Cont. Τh. 49 την Ελληνικήν
τα πάντα γαστρι χαριζόμενος και σχεδόν παίδευσιν διαπτύων, where Hellenic is
έν άνθρωπεία σώματι κτηνώδη αναστροφής not used in the bad sense of pagan.
και δίαιταν αναδειξάμενος.
4 Cont. Th. 49, clearly taken from 3 Ib. In the Acta Davidis, 230, he one of the popular lampoons.