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The administration was conducted in their joint names; but she possessed no sovran authority in her own right or independently of him. Her actual authority was formally limited (unlike Irene's) by the two guardians or co-regents whom Theophilus had appointed. To find two men who would work in harmony and could be trusted not to seek power for themselves to the detriment of his son was difficult, and Theophilus seems to have made a judicious choice. But it was almost inevitable that one of the two should win the effective control of affairs and the chief place in the Empress's confidence. It may well be that superior talent and greater political experience rendered Theoktistos a more capable adviser than Manuel, her uncle, who had probably more knowledge of warfare than of administration. Theoktistos presently became the virtual prime minister, and Manuel found it convenient to withdraw from his rooms in the Palace and live in his house near the Cistern of Aspar, though he did not formally retire from his duties and regularly attended in the Palace for the transaction of business.
Her uncle's practical abdication of his right to a voice in the management of the Empire corresponds to the policy which Theodora pursued, under the influence of the Logothete, towards the other members of her own family. Her brother Petronas, who was a competent general and had done useful work for her husband, seems to have been entrusted with no important post and allowed no opportunity of winning distinction under her government; he proved his military capacity after her fall from power. Her more famous and brilliant brother Bardas was forced to be contented with an inactive life in his suburban house. Theodora had also three sisters, of whom one, Sophia, had married Constantine Babutzikos. Another, Calomaria, was the wife of Arsaber,
1 παραδυναστεύων, Simeon (Cont. Georg.), 815.
2 Gen. 86, where it is explained that Theoktistos schemed to get rid of Manuel by a charge of treason, but Manuel anticipated the trouble by a voluntary semi-retirement. Simeon, ib. 816, mentions that Theoktistos built himself a house with baths and
garden, within the Palace. Manuel converted his house into a monastery, the church of which is now the Kefelé mosque, a little to the west of the Chukur Bostan or Cistern of Aspar. See Paspates, Bus. mel. 304 ; Millingen, Walls, 23; Strzygovski, Die byz. Wasserbehälter von Kpel (1893), 158.
a patrician, who was elevated to
was elevated to the higher rank of magister. On his death Calomaria lived in the Palace with her sister, and is said to have worn mean raiment and performed the charitable duty of paying monthly visits to the prisons 2 and distributing blessings and alms to the prisoners.
Michael was in his seventeenth year when his mother decided to marry him. . The customary bride-show was announced throughout the provinces by a proclamation inviting beautiful candidates for the throne to assemble on a certain day in the Imperial Palace.3 The choice of the Empress fell on Eudocia, the daughter of Dekapolites (A.D. 855). We know nothing of this lady or her family; she seems to have been a cipher, and her nullity may have recommended her to Theodora. But in any case the haste of the Empress and Theoktistos to provide Michael with a consort at such an early age was prompted by their desire to prevent his union with another lady. For Michael already had a love affair with Eudocia Ingerina, whom Theodora and her minister regarded as an unsuitable spouse. A chronicler tells us that
1 The text of the passage in Cont. Th. 175 seems perfectly right as it stands, but has been misunderstood both by the later historian Skylitzes (see Cedrenus, ii. 161) and by modern critics. The text is ή δέ Καλομαρία 'Αρσαβώρ τω .. μαγίστρω, το Ειρήνης της μητρός του μετά ταύτα τον πατριαρχικόν θρόνον αντιλαβομένου Φωτίου å deloợ. The translation is : “Calomaria married Arsaber, the brother of Irene, who was the mother of Photius, afterwards Patriarch.” There is no
difficulty about this. But because Theodora had three sisters, it was assumed that all three were married, and that the husbands of all three are mentioned. Irene was the name of the third sister, and Skylitzes says that she (Eipun dè) married Sergius, the brother of Photius. Hirsch criticizes the passage on the same assumption (215). The relationship of Photius to Theodora and the text of Cont. Th. will be made clear by a diagram.
Marinos = Theoktiste.
Arsaber=Calomaria. Theodora. Irene.
Photius. Tarasius. Sergius. Stephen. Bardas. 2 The Chalke and the Numera in 3 The evidence for this bride-show the Palace, and the Praetorium in the is in the Vit. Irenes, 603-604. Irene, town. She was accompanied by the a Cappadocian lady, was one of the Count of the Walls, the Domestic of competitors. Her sister-apparently the Numeri, or the Prefect of the also a candidate-afterwards married City. Cont. Th. ib.
they disliked her intensely“ on account of her impudence”;1 which means that she was a woman of some spirit, and they feared her as a rival influence. The young sovran was obliged to yield and marry the wife who was not of his own choice, but if he was separated from the woman he loved, it was only for a short time. Eudocia Ingerina did not disdain to be his mistress, and his attachment to her seems to have lasted till his death.
But the power of Theodora and her favourite minister was doomed, and the blow was struck by a member of her own family (A.D. 856, January to March).? Michael had reached an age when he began to chafe under the authority of his mother, whose discipline had probably been strict; and his uncle Bardas, who was ambitious and conscious of his own talents for government, divined that it would now be possible to undermine her position and win his nephew's confidence. The most difficult part of his enterprise was to remove Theoktistos, but he had friends among the ministers who were in close attendance on the Emperor.The Parakoemômenos or chief chamberlain, Damianos (a man of Slavonic race), persuaded Michael to summon his uncle to the Palace, and their wily tongues convinced the boy that his mother intended to depose him, with the assistance of Theoktistos, or at all events—and this was no more than the truth-that he would have no power so long as Theodora and Theoktistos co-operated. Michael was brought to acquiesce in the view that it was necessary to suppress the too powerful minister, and violence was the only method. Theophanes, the chief of the private wardrobe, joined the conspiracy, and Bardas also
over his sister Calomaria.4 Some generals, who had 1 Simeon (Cont. Georg.), 816, the from the official description in Consource for Michael's marriage. The stantine, Cer. 213. probable date, A.D. 855, is inferred 2 For date see Appendix VII. from the fact that the marriage pre- 3 So Simeon (Cont. Georg.), 821. Acceded the death of Theoktistos, com- cording to Gen. 87, Bardas suggested bined with Michael's age. The bridal to Michael that Theodora intended ceremony of an Emperor was performed to marry herself, or to find a husband in the church of St. Stephen in the for one of her daughters, and depose Palace of Daphne. The chronicler (ib.) Michael, with the aid of Theoktistos. notes that the bridal chamber (Ò 4 The part played by Caloniaria is Traotóv) was in the palace of Magnaura, recorded by Genesios, whose informaand the marriage feast, at which the tion was doubtless derived from his senators were present, was held in the ancestor Constantine the Armenian, hall of the Nineteen Couches. This who was an eye-witness of the murder. was the regular habit, as
For Theophanes of Farghana see p. 238. for the purpose.
been deposed from their commands and owed a grudge to Theoktistos,' were engaged to lend active assistance.
It was arranged that Bardas should station himself in the Lausiakos, and there attack the Logothete, whose duties frequently obliged . him to pass through that hall in order to reach the apartments of the Empress.Calomaria concealed herself in an upper room, where, through a hole, perhaps constructed on purpose, she commanded a view of the Lausiakos, and could, by signalling from a window, inform the Emperor as soon as Bardas sprang upon his victim.
Theoktistos had obtained at the secretarial office 4 the reports which he had to submit to the Empress, and as he passed through the Lausiakos he observed with displeasure Bardas seated at his ease, as if he had a full right to be there. Muttering that he would persuade Theodora to expel him from the Palace, he proceeded on his way, but in the Horologion, at the entrance of the Chrysotriklinos, he was stopped by the Emperor and Damianos. Michael, asserting his authority perhaps for the first time, angrily ordered him to read the reports to himself and not to his mother. As the Logothete was retracing his steps in a downcast mood, Bardas sprang forward and smote him. The ex-generals hastened to assist, and Theoktistos drew his sword.The Emperor, on receiving a signal from his aunt, hurried to the scene, and by his orders
1 A grudge: this is a fair inference from the fact that they were selected
2 The apartments of Theodora seem to have been in the Chrysotriklinos. The eastern door of the Lausiakos faced the Horologion which was the portal of the Chrysotriklinos.
3 Gen. 87 F ÚTTEPTÉpov Tetpnuévou οικίσκου διόπτειραν καταστήσαντες. We may imagine this room to have been in the Eidikon, to which stairs led up from the Lausiakos. The Eidikon, which was over the Thermastra, adjoined the Lausiakos on the north side.
4 Tà ảơ moonTeữa, Simeon, do. 821. The accounts of the murder in this chronicle and in Genesios are independent and supplement each other. Simeon gives more details before the assault of Bardas, Genesios a fuller de. scription of the murder and the part played by his own grandfather.
5 Gen. 88, Bardas threw Theoktistos down (καταπρηνίξας), και ευθέως επιδίδοται συν κουλες σπάθη επώμιος, ήν προς αποτροπήν εναντίων εγύμνωσεν. Simeon, ib. 822, says that Bardas began to strike him on the cheek and pull his hair; and Maniakes, the Drungary of the Watch, cried, "Do not strike the Logothete.” Maniakes was therefore the surname of Constantine the Armenian.
6 Gen. 88 κατασημαίνεται βασιλεύς προς εξέλευσιν τήν διά χαλκηλάτων πυλών Τιβερίου του ανακτος, και στάς ÉKELOE KTX. This gate, not mentioned elsewhere so far as I know, was probably a door of the Chrysotriklinos palace, which, we know, Tiberius II. improved.
If Calomaria was, as I suppose, in the Eidikon building, she could have signalled from a window on its eastern side to the Chrysotriklinos.
Theoktistos was seized and dragged to the Skyla. It would seem that Bardas did not contemplate murder, but intended to remove the Logothete to a place of banishment. But the Emperor, advised by others, probably by Damianos, that nothing short of his death would serve, called upon the foreign Guards (the Hetairoi) to slay Theoktistos. Meanwhile the Empress had heard from the Papias of the Palace that the Logothete's life was in danger, and she instantly rushed to the scene to save her friend. But she was scared back to her apartments by one of the conspirators, a member of the family of Melissenos, who cried in a voice of thunder, “Go back, for this is the day of strikers.” 3
The Guards, who were stationed in the adjoining Hall of Justinian, rushed in ;4 one of them dragged the victim from the chair under which he had crawled and stabbed him in the belly (A.D. 856).
Of the two offices which Theoktistos had held, the less onerous, that of Chartulary of the Kanikleion, was conferred on Bardas, while his son-in-law Symbatios—whose name shows his Armenian lineage—was appointed Logothete of the Course. The reign of Theodora was now over. She had held the reins of power for fourteen years, and she was unwilling to surrender them. She was not an unscrupulous woman like Irene, she did not aspire to be Autocrat in her own right or set aside her son; but well knowing her son's incapacity she had doubtless looked forward to keeping him in perpetual tutelage and retaining all the serious business of government in her own
1 Cont. Th. 170, whose narrative family see above, p. 25, n. 3. varies in particulars, represents Theo- 4 Gen. (ib.) states that Constantine, ktistos as making an attempt to flee the Drungary of the Watch, tried to to the Hippodrome through the Asêk- save Theoktistos by holding the doors rêteia, “for at the time the office of between the Skyla and the Triklinos the Asêkrêtai was there.” The secre- of Justinian, hoping that he would be tarial offices were probably in the same condemned to banishment before the building as the Eidikon (cp. Ebersolt, guards appeared. But Michael called Le Grand Palais, 124), and were them, and Constantine was obliged reached through a door on the north unwillingly to give way. It is clear side of the Lausiakos. Theoktistos from the narrative that Theoktistos was doubtless returning thither. was not taken through the Triklinos 2 Gen. 89.
of Justinian ; therefore he must have 3 This is told by Gen. 88, and prob- been dragged through a door on the ably comes from his grandfather. The north side of the Lausiakos, into the identification of the ex-general who Thermastra, and thence to the Skyla scared the Empress as a Melissenos is by way of the Hippodrome. in favour of the incident. Simeon 5 Cont. Th. 171. does not mention this, but states that
seems probable, though the Papias informed Theodora (Cont. Symbatios is not mentioned till some Georg. 822). For the Melissenos