THE history of the Macedonian dynasty falls into two periods, unequal in significance and duration. The first period extends from 867 to 1025, the year of the death of Emperor Basil II; the second, the brief period from 1025 to 1056, when Empress Theodora, the last member of this dynasty, died.
The first period was the most brilliant time of the political existence of the Empire. The struggle in the east and in the north with the Arabs, Bulgarians, and Russians, was crowned with brilliant success for Byzantine arms by the second half of the tenth and the beginning of the eleventh century. This was achieved in spite of some failures at the end of the ninth and in the early part of the tenth century. This triumph of the Byzantine Empire was especially great under Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces, and reached its highest point in the reign of Basil II. In his time the separatist movements in Asia Minor were suppressed; Byzantine influence in Syria was strengthened; Armenia was in part annexed to the Empire and in part reduced to vassal dependence; Bulgaria was transformed into a Byzantine province; and Russia, upon adopting Christianity from Byzantium, entered into closer religious, political, commercial, and cultural relations with the Empire. This was the moment of the highest strength and glory ever attained by the Empire. The intensive legislative work, expressed in the publication of a gigantic code, the Basilics, and a number of famous novels directed against the pernicious growth of large landownership, and the intellectual advance associated with the names of Patriarch Photius and Constantine Porphyrogenitus add further glory and significance to the first period of the Macedonian dynasty.
After the year 1025, when the powerful figure of Basil II disappeared from the historical stage, the Empire entered a time of frequent court revolutions and anarchy which led to the troubled period of 1056–81. With the accession of the first of the Comneni, who seized the throne in 1081, the Empire regained its strength. Internal order was re-established, and for some time intellectual and artistic activity flourished once more.
THE ORIGIN OF THE DYNASTY
The question of the origin of the founder of the Macedonian dynasty has called forth many contradictory opinions, mainly because sources vary greatly on this point. While Greek sources speak of the Armenian or Macedonian extraction of Basil I, and Armenian sources assert that he was of pure Armenian blood, Arabic sources call him a Slav. On the one hand, the generally accepted name “Macedonian” is applied to this dynasty, but on the other hand, some scholars still consider Basil an Armenian, and still others, especially Russian historians prior to the seventies of the nineteenth century, speak of him as a Slav. The majority of scholars consider Basil an Armenian who had settled in Macedonia, and speak of his dynasty as the Armenian dynasty. But in view of the fact that there were many Armenians and Slavs among the population of Macedonia, it might be correct to assume that Basil was of mixed Armeno-Slavonic origin.1 According to one historian who has made a special study of Basil’s time, his family might have had an Armenian ancestry, which later intermarried with Slavs, who were very numerous in this part of Europe (Macedonia), and gradually became very much Slavonized.2 A more exact definition of the Macedonian dynasty from the point of view of its ethnographic composition might be Armeno-Slavic. In recent years scholars have succeeded in determining that Basil was born in the Macedonian city of Charioupolis.3
Basil’s life previous to his election to the throne was very unusual. As an unknown youth he came to Constantinople to seek his fortune, and there attracted the attention of courtiers by his tall stature, his enormous strength, and his ability to break in the wildest horses. Stories of young Basil reached Emperor Michael III. He took him to court and later became completely subject to his new favorite, who was soon proclaimed co-ruler and crowned with the imperial crown in the temple of St. Sophia. He repaid these favors received from the Emperor very brutally: When he noticed that Michael was becoming suspicious of him, he ordered his men to slay his benefactor, and then proclaimed himself emperor (867–86). After him the throne passed on to his sons, Leo VI the Philosopher or the Wise (886–912),4 and Alexander (886–913). Leo’s son, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913–59), remained indifferent to affairs of state and devoted all his time to literary work in the midst of the most learned men of his time. The administrative power was in the hands of his father-in-law, the skillful and energetic admiral, Romanus Lecapenus (919–44).5 In the year 944 the sons of Romanus Lecapenus forced their father to abdicate and retire to a monastery, and declared themselves emperors. They were deposed in 945 by Constantine Porphyrogenitus, who ruled independently from 945 until 959. His son, Romanus II, reigned only four years (959–63), leaving at his death his widow Theophano with two minor sons, Basil and Constantine. Theophano married the capable general, Nicephorus Phocas, who was proclaimed emperor (Nicephorus II Phocas, 963–69). His reign ceased when he was slain, and the throne passed to John Tzimisces (969–76), who claimed the imperial title because he had married Theodora, a sister of Romanus II and a daughter of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. Only after the death of John Tzimisces did the two sons of Romanus II, Basil II, surnamed Bulgaroctonus (the Bulgar-Slayer, 976–1025) and Constantine VIII (976–1028), become rulers of the Empire. Administrative power was concentrated mainly in the hands of Basil II, under whom the Empire rose to its highest power and glory. With his death began the period of decline for the Macedonian dynasty. After the death of Constantine VIII the aged senator, Romanus Argyrus, married to Constantine’s daughter, Zoë, became emperor and ruled from 1028 until 1034. Zoë survived him, and at the age of about fifty-six married her lover, Michael the Paphlagonian, who was proclaimed emperor at his wife’s entreaty, and ruled as Michael IV the Paphlagonian from 1034 to 1041. During his reign and in the brief reign of his nephew, Michael V Calaphates (1041–42), another accidental and insignificant figure, there was much disturbance and acute discontent in the Empire, which ended in the deposition and blinding of Michael V. For about two months the Byzantine Empire was ruled by the unusual combination of authority in the hands of Zoë, widowed for the second time, and of her younger sister, Theodora. In the same year (1042) Zoë married for the third time, and her new husband was proclaimed emperor. He ruled as Constantine IX Monomachus from 1042 until 1055. Zoë died before her third husband, but Theodora survived Constantine Monomachus and became the sole ruler of the Empire after his death (1055–56). After the reign of Irene, the famous restorer of image worship at the end of the eighth and early ninth centuries, the rule of Zoë and Theodora marks the second and last instance of feminine rule. Each of them occupied the throne as the autocratic and sovereign basilissa, i.e., Empress of the Romans. Shortly before her death Theodora yielded to the demands of the court party and elected the aged patrician, Michael Stratioticus, as her successor. He ascended the throne after Theodora’s death in the year 1056. Theodora was the last ruler of the Macedonian dynasty, which occupied the throne for a period of 189 years.
EXTERNAL AFFAIRS OF THE MACEDONIAN EMPERORS
Byzantine relations with the Arabs and Armenia
The main problem in the external policy of Basil I, the founder of the Macedonian dynasty, was the struggle with the Muslim world. Conditions were unusually favorable for great achievements in this struggle, because in his time the Empire maintained peaceful relations with Armenia in the east, with Russia and Bulgaria in the north, and in the west with Venice and the western emperor. Added to these advantages was the internal dissension within the eastern caliphate aroused by the increasing influence of the Turks at the Arabian court, the defection of Egypt, where the independent dynasty of the Tulunids arose in the year 868, the civil wars among the North African Arabs, and the difficult position of the Spanish Umayyads in the midst of the local Christian population. Basil’s position then was very advantageous for a successful struggle with the eastern and western Arabs. But although the Empire fought against the Arabs almost without interruption throughout the reign of Basil I, it did not take full advantage of the favorable external conditions.
The successful military campaign which opened at the beginning of the seventies in the eastern part of Asia Minor against the followers of the sect of the Paulicans resulted in the Emperor’s occupation of their main city of Tephrice. This conquest not only widened the extent of Byzantine territory, but also placed Basil face to face with the eastern Arabs. After several vigorously contested battles, the clashes between the two sides assumed the form of regular annual collisions which were not of very great consequence. Victory was sometimes on the side of the Greeks and sometimes on the side of the Arabs, but in the end the Byzantine borderline in Asia Minor moved considerably to the east.
Far more serious were Basil’s relations with the western Arabs, who at that time possessed the greater part of Sicily and occupied some important points in southern Italy. The troubled affairs of Italy caused the intervention of the western Emperor, Louis II, who occupied the important city of Bari. It was with this ruler that Basil I formed an alliance for a combined attempt to drive the western Arabs out of Italy and Sicily. But this alliance did not succeed and was soon dissolved. After the death of Louis the population of Bari handed over their city to Byzantine officials.
Meanwhile the Arabs occupied the strategically important island of Malta, south of Sicily, and in the year 878 they took Syracuse by assault after a siege of nine months. An interesting description of the siege of Syracuse was written by an eyewitness, the monk Theodosius, who was living there at the time, and after the fall of the city was imprisoned by the Arabs in Palermo. He related that during the siege a famine raged in the city, and the inhabitants were forced to eat grass, skins of animals, ground bones mixed with water, and even corpses. This famine caused an epidemic which carried off an enormous part of the population.6 After the loss of Syracuse, among important points in Sicily the Byzantine Empire retained only the city of Tauromemium or Taormina on the eastern coast of the island. This loss was a turning point in Basil’s external policy. His plans for a general attack on the Arabs were not to be realized. The occupation of Tarentum in southern Italy by Basil’s troops and their successful advance into the interior of this country under the leadership of their general, Nicephorus Phocas, during the last years of Basil’s reign might be considered as some consolation after the failure at Syracuse, however.
Notwithstanding the negative outcome of the western alliance against the Arabs, Basil attempted another alliance with the Armenian King Ashot Bagratid (Bagratuni) for the purpose of defeating the eastern Arabs. But at the time of the formation of this union Basil died. In spite of the loss of Syracuse and the unsuccessful campaigns against the Arabs, Basil increased somewhat the extent of Byzantine possessions in Asia Minor, and restored the lost importance of Byzantine rule in southern Italy. “The aged Basil,” said a recent student of his period, “could die in peace. He had fulfilled, both in the east and in the west, a very great military task, which was at the same time a civilizing task. The Empire left by Basil was stronger and more imposing than the one he had received.”7
The peaceful relations maintained by Basil with all his neighbors, excepting the Arabs, were broken under his successor, Leo VI the Wise (886–912). A war broke out with the Bulgarians, which ended with their victory. It was during this war that the Magyars (Hungarians) appeared in Byzantine history for the first time. Toward the end of Leo’s reign the Russians stood near Constantinople. Armenia, the ally of the Byzantine Empire, exposed to incessant Arabian invasions, did not receive the aid she expected from Byzantium. In addition to all this the question of the Emperor’s fourth marriage aroused strong internal disturbances. As a result of these external and internal complications the problem of the struggle with Islam became more complex and difficult for the Empire.
The campaigns against the Arabs were generally ineffective in the time of Leo VI. In the military clashes on the eastern borders the Arabs were at times as victorious as the Greeks. Neither side gained much from these collisions. In the west the Muslims occupied the city of Rhegium (Reggio) on the Italian shore of the Strait of Messina and after this the Strait was completely in the hands of the Arabs. In 902 they conquered Tauromenium or Taormina, the last important fortified point of Byzantine Sicily. With the fall of this city Sicily was, so to say, entirely in the hands of the Arabs, for the smaller cities which still belonged to the Greeks were of no importance in the later history of the Empire. The eastern policy of Leo VI during the second half of his reign in no way depended upon his relations with the Sicilian Arabs.
The beginning of the tenth century was marked by active operations of the Muslim fleet. Even at the end of the ninth century Cretan pirates had repeatedly raided the coasts of the Peloponnesus and the islands of the Aegean Sea. These sea raids of the Arabs became still more dangerous when their Syrian and Cretan fleets began to act together. The attack of Thessalonica by the Muslim fleet under the leadership of the Greek renegade, Leo of Tripolis, in 904 is the most famous deed of the Arabs in this period. The city was taken only after a long and difficult siege, but a few days after its fall the conquerors departed with a large number of prisoners and rich spoils, setting sail eastward to Syria. It was only after this disaster that the Byzantine government began the fortification of Thessalonica. A detailed account of the Arabian raid of the city came from the pen of John Cameniates, a priest who lived through all the hardships of the siege.8
The successful naval operations of the Arabs forced the Byzantine rulers to devote more attention to the improvement of their own fleet. The result was that in 906 the Byzantine admiral Himerius gained a brilliant victory over the Arabs in the Aegean. But in 911 the great sea expedition of Leo VI against the allied eastern and Cretan Arabs, also headed by Himerius, ended in complete failure for the empire. In his exact account of the composition of this expedition Constantine Porphyrogenitus spoke of the presence of 700 Russians.9
Thus the Byzantine struggle with the Arabs was highly unsuccessful in the time of Leo VI: in the west Sicily was definitely lost; in southern Italy Byzantine troops failed to accomplish anything after the recall of Nicephorus Phocas; on the eastern border the Arabs were slowly but persistently going forward; and on the sea the Byzantine fleet suffered several serious defeats.
In spite of the religious animosity toward the Arabs and the military clashes with them official documents at times referred to them in very friendly terms. Thus the patriarch of Constantinople of this period, Nicholas Mysticus, wrote to “the most illustrious, most honorable and beloved” Emir of the island of Crete that “the two powers of the whole universe, the power of the Saracens and that of the Romans, are excelling and shining as the two great luminaries in the firmament. For this reason alone we must live in common as brothers although we differ in customs, manners, and religion.”10
In the long reign of Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (913–59) and Romanus I Lecapenus (919–44) the Byzantine Empire could not struggle effectively with the Arabs until the end of the third decade of the tenth century, because all its forces were thrown into the Bulgarian war. Luckily for the Empire, the caliphate was at this time going through a period of disintegration and internal strife, and separate independent dynasties were being formed. However, one successful operation of the Byzantine fleet may be mentioned: in 917 the renegade pirate Leo of Tripoli, who in 904 had captured Thessalonica, was overwhelmingly defeated at Lemnos.11
After the Bulgarian campaign very capable generals appeared in the Greek and Arab armies. The Greek domesticus John Curcuas was, in the words of the chronicler, a “second Trajan or Belisarius” and a conquerer of “nearly thousands of cities.” A special work was even written about him, but it has not been preserved.12 His genius brought in a new “dawn on the eastern border”; with him there seemed to come a “new spirit into the imperial eastern policy, a spirit of confident aggression.”13 The Arabs, too, had an efficient chief in the person of Saif-ad-Daulah, a member of the independent dynasty of the Hamdanids, which ruled Aleppo. His court became a center of flourishing literary activity, and his period was called by contemporaries the “Golden Age.” Toward the middle of the tenth century Curcuas achieved numerous victories in Arabian Armenia and occupied many cities in upper Mesopotamia. In 933 Melitene was captured by Curcuas, and in 944 the city of Edessa was forced to give up its precious relic, the miraculous image of the Savior (mandilion, τò μανδίλιòν), which was transported to Constantinople with great pomp. This was the last triumph of Curcuas. These successes made him “the hero of the moment,”14 but his popularity alarmed the government and he was removed from his post. At that time Romanus Lecapenus fell, and in the next month his sons also were dethroned. Constantine Porphyrogenitus became sole emperor. “It was the end of an era; new actors were strutting onto the stage.”15
The epoch of Romanus Lecapenus was of very great importance for the Byzantine policy in the East. After three centuries of keeping to the defensive, the Empire under the guidance of Romanus and John Curcuas assumed the offensive and began to triumph. The frontier was in a very different condition from what it had been at the time of Romanus’ accession. The border provinces were comparatively free from Arab raids. During the last twelve years of Romanus’ reign Muhammedan raiders only twice crossed the frontier. Romanus appointed as commander-in-chief Curcuas, “the most brilliant soldier that the Empire had produced for generations. He infused a new spirit into the imperial armies, and led them victorious deep into the country of the infidels. . . . John Curcuas was the first of a line of great conquerors and as the first is worthy of high praise. And in the praise, a part should be given to Romanus Lecapenus to whose judgment the Empire owed his services and under whose rule were passed those twenty glorious years.”16
The last years of Constantine Porphyrogenitus were marked by desperate battles with Saif-ad-Daulah, and although the Greeks had been beaten in several of these collisions, the outcome of the struggle was the defeat of the Arabs in northern Mesopotamia and the crossing of the Euphrates by the Byzantine army. During these years of struggle John Tzimisces, the future emperor, distinguished himself by his capable leadership. But the large sea expedition organized against the Cretan Arabs in 949 resulted in complete failure and the loss of numerous vessels. Six hundred and twenty-nine Russians were among the Byzantine warriors who participated in this campaign.17 The constant clashes between the Greeks and the Muslims in the west, in Italy, and Sicily were of no importance for the general course of events.
The eastern conquests of John Curcuas and John Tzimisces, which extended the borders of the Empire beyond the Euphrates, inaugurated a brilliant period of Byzantine victories over the Muslims. In the words of the French historian, Rambaud, “All the failures of Basil I were revenged; the road was opened to Tarsus, Antioch, Cyprus, and Jerusalem. . . . Before his death Constantine could rejoice because during his reign so many great acts had been performed for the cause of Christ. He opened the era of Crusades for the East as well as for the West, for the Hellenes as well as for the Franks [i.e., for the western European nations].”18
During the brief reign of Romanus II (959–63), his capable and energetic general, Nicephorus Phocas, the future emperor, occupied the island of Crete, thus destroying the nest of Arabian pirates who had terrorized the population of the islands and coasts of the Aegean Sea. By reconquering Crete the Empire regained an important strategic and commercial point in the Mediterranean Sea.19 Nicephorus Phocas was equally successful in the ensuing war with Saif-ad-Daulah in the east. After a difficult siege he succeeded in temporarily occupying Aleppo, the seat of the Hamdanids.
The achievements of the next three emperors—Nicephorus Phocas, John Tzimisces, and Basil II Bulgaroctonus—form the most brilliant pages of the military history of the Empire in its struggle with Islam. During his six years’ reign (963–69) Nicephorus Phocas concentrated his attention on the East, although occasionally he diverted it to the hostile acts of the Bulgarians, which became more serious due to the intervention of the Russian prince, Sviatoslav. Some of the Emperor’s forces were also absorbed in the collisions with the German king, Otto the Great, in Italy. In the East the Byzantine troops followed the conquest of Tarsus by the occupation of Cilicia, while the fleet succeeded in taking from the Arabs the important island of Cyprus. In connection with the fall of Tarsus the Arab geographer of the thirteenth century, Yaqut, narrates an interesting story based on the accounts of refugees. Under the walls of Tarsus, he said, Nicephorus Phocas ordered that two banners be raised as emblems of “the land of the Romans” and “the land of Islam,” and commanded the heralds to announce that around the first banner should gather all who desired justice, impartiality, safety of property, family life, children, good roads, just laws, and kind treatment; and around the second, all those who upheld adultery, oppressive legislation, violence, extortion, the seizure of landed estates, and the confiscation of property.20
The occupation of Cilicia and Cyprus opened for Nicephorus the road to Syria, and he began to work toward the realization of his cherished dream: the conquest of Antioch, the heart of Syria. After a preliminary irruption into Syria, Nicephorus besieged Antioch, and when it became evident that the siege would last a very long time, the Emperor left his army and returned to the capital. During his absence, in the last year of his reign (969), his soldiers took Antioch with enormous spoils, thus fulfilling his great ambition. “Thus did Christian arms reconquer the great city of Antioch, the glorious Theoupolis [the name applied to the city by Justinian the Great], that ancient rival of Byzantium in the east, the city of great patriarchs and great saints, councils and heresies.”21 Soon after the fall of Antioch the Byzantine troops took one more important Syrian center, the city of Aleppo, the residence of the Hamdanids. There is in existence the interesting text of the agreement between the Byzantine general and the master of Aleppo.22 This treaty defined very carefully the boundaries and names of the Syrian districts ceded to the Byzantine Emperor and of those over which he was to become suzerain. Chief among the conquered points was Antioch. The city of Aleppo (Haleb, in Arabic) became a vassal state of the Empire. The Muslim population was taxed in favor of Byzantium, while the Christians of the vassal districts were freed from all taxation. The ruler of Aleppo (the emir) agreed to aid the Emperor in case of war with the non-Muhammedans of those provinces. He also bound himself to protect Byzantine trade caravans which might enter his territory. The reconstruction of the destroyed churches was guaranteed to the Christians. Freedom to change from Christianity to Muhammedanism or vice versa was also guaranteed.
The treaty was concluded after the death of Nicephorus Phocas, murdered at the end of the year 969. Never before had the Muslims been subjected to so much humiliation. Cilicia and a part of Syria with Antioch were taken from them, and a very large portion of their territory was placed under the suzerainty of the Empire.
The Arabian historian of the eleventh century, Yahya of Antioch, writes that the Muslim population was certain that Nicephorus Phocas would conquer all of Syria and other provinces, too. “The incursions of Nicephorus,” wrote this chronicler, “became a pleasure for his soldiers, for nobody attacked them or opposed them; he marched wherever he pleased, and destroyed whatever he liked, without encountering any Muslim, or anyone else who would divert him and prevent him from doing that which he wished. . . . Nobody could resist him.”23 The Greek historian of the time, Leo the Deacon, wrote that had Nicephorus not been assassinated, he would have been able “to fix the boundaries of their [i.e. Greek] Empire in the east as far as India, and in the west as far as the confines of the world,” in other words, the Atlantic Ocean.24
In the West the policy of Nicephorus Phocas was a failure. In his time the last points in Sicily which still belonged to the Empire were conquered by the Muslims, so that Sicily was completely in their hands. The main problem of John Tzimisces (969–76), who succeeded Phocas, was to secure the conquests in Cilicia and Syria. During the first years of his reign he could not participate personally in the military activities on the eastern border, because the Russian and Bulgarian wars, and the insurrection of Bardas Phocas demanded his undivided attention. He was victorious in the northern wars, and he also succeeded in suppressing the rebellion of Bardas Phocas. The Italian complications were settled through the marriage of the Byzantine princess, Theophano, to the heir of the German throne, the future Emperor Otto II. Only then was it possible for John Tzimisces to turn to his eastern problems.
His campaigns against the eastern Muslims were highly successful. Regarding his last campaign an interesting source is the letter from John Tzimisces to his ally, Ashot III, king of Armenia, preserved in the works of the Armenian historian, Matthew of Edessa.25This letter shows that the Emperor, in aiming to achieve his final goal of freeing Jerusalem from the hands of the Muslims, undertook a real crusade. He departed with his army from Antioch, entered Damascus, and in his southward movement advanced into Palestine, where the cities of Nazareth and Caesarea voluntarily delivered themselves to the Emperor; even Jerusalem began to plead for mercy. “If the pagan Africans who lived there,” wrote the Emperor in his letter to Ashot, “had not hidden out of fear of us in the seacoast castles, we would have entered, with God’s help, the sacred city of Jerusalem and prayed to God in the Holy Places.”26 But before reaching Jerusalem John Tzimisces directed his forces northward along the seacoast, and conquered many cities on his way. In the same letter the Emperor said, “Today all Phoenicia, Palestine, and Syria are freed from the Muhammedan yoke and recognize the authority of the Byzantine Greeks.”27 This letter, of course, contains many exaggerations. When it is compared with the testimony of the authentic information given by the Christian Arabian historian, Yahya of Antioch, it is evident that the results of the Palestinian campaign were much less notable. In all probability the Byzantine army did not go far beyond the boundaries of Syria.28
When the Byzantine soldiers returned to Antioch, the Emperor left for Constantinople, where he died early in 976. One Byzantine chronicler wrote, “All nations were horror-stricken by the attacks of John Tzimisces; he enlarged the land of the Romans; the Saracens and Armenians fled, the Persians feared him; and people from all sides carried gifts to him, beseeching him to make peace with them; he marched as far as Edessa and the River Euphrates, and the earth became filled with Roman armies; Syria and Phoenicia were trampled by Roman horses, and he achieved great victories; the sword of the Christian cut down like a sickle.”29 However this last brilliant expedition of John Tzimisces did not accomplish the annexation of the conquered provinces, for his army returned to Antioch, which became the main base of the Byzantine military forces in the east during the latter part of the tenth century.
Under the successor of John Tzimisces, Basil II (976–1025), the general state of affairs was not favorable for an aggressive policy in the east. The menacing insurrections of Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas in Asia Minor and the continuing Bulgarian war demanded Basil’s undivided attention. Yet when the rebellions had been suppressed, the Emperor frequently participated in the struggle with the Muslims, even though the Bulgarian war had not ceased. The Syrian possessions of the Empire were greatly menaced by the caliph of Egypt, and the vassal city of Aleppo was occupied many times by the enemy’s army. By his personal appearance in Syria, at times unexpected, Basil frequently succeeded in restoring Byzantine influence in this province, but failed to make any significant new conquests. At the very outset of the eleventh century a treaty of peace was reached by the Emperor and the Egyptian Caliph Hakim of the dynasty of the Fatimids. During the remaining part of Basil’s reign there were no more serious collisions with the eastern Arabs. Meanwhile, Aleppo freed itself of its vassal dependence on the Byzantine Empire.
Although officially peaceful relations were established between Basil and the Caliph Hakim, the latter sometimes pursued a policy of cruel persecution of the Christians, which undoubtedly greatly chagrined Basil as a Christian emperor. In 1009 Hakim ordered the destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and Golgotha at Jerusalem. Church relics and riches were seized, monks were exiled, and pilgrims persecuted. The contemporary Arabian historian, Yahya of Antioch, said that the executor of the severe will of Hakim “endeavored to destroy the Holy Sepulcher itself and raze it to the ground; he broke to pieces the greater portion of it and destroyed it.”30 The terrified Christians and Jews thronged the Muslim offices, promising to deny their religion and accept Islam. Hakim’s decree ordering the destruction of the temple was signed by his Christian minister.
Basil II did nothing, apparently, for the defense of the persecuted Christians and their sanctuaries. After Hakim’s death (1021) a period of tolerance toward Christians again set in, and in 1023 the patriarch of Jerusalem, Nicephorus, was sent to Constantinople to announce that the churches and their property had been restored to the Christians, that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and all the destroyed churches in Egypt and Syria had been rebuilt, and that, in general, the Christians were safe in the dominions of the caliph.31 Of course, these tales of the rapid restoration of temples in such a brief period of time were exaggerated.
In the west the Sicilian Arabs continued their raids on southern Italy, and the Byzantine government, occupied in solving other problems, could do nothing against them. The intervention of the German Emperor Otto II (related to the Byzantine throne) in Italian affairs resulted after some successes in a severe defeat at the hands of the Arabs. By the end of his reign Basil II had begun to plan an extensive expedition for the reconquest of Sicily, but he died in the course of its preparation.
The anarchy which set in after Basil’s death emboldened the Muslims to start a series of offensive movements, which were particularly successful in the districts of Aleppo. The situation was somewhat improved for the Empire by the young and gifted general, George Maniaces, who succeeded in occupying Edessa in the early thirties of the eleventh century, taking from it its second relic, the apocryphal letter of Jesus Christ to Abgar, king of Edessa.32 After the fall of this city Emperor Romanus III proposed a treaty to the Muslims. Its first two conditions, concerning the city of Jerusalem, deserved special attention. First, the Christians should obtain the right to rebuild all the destroyed churches, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher should be restored at the expense of the imperial treasury. Second, the Emperor should keep the right of appointing the patriarch of Jerusalem. As a result of disagreement regarding several conditions of the treaty, negotiations lasted for a long time. The caliph seems not to have opposed these two demands. When the final agreement was reached in 1036, the Emperor received the right of restoring the Church of the Holy Sepulcher at his expense,33 and in 1046 the Persian traveler, Nasiri-Khusrau, who had visited the restored church, described it as a most spacious building with a capacity of eight thousand persons; the edifice, he said, was built with the utmost skill, of colored marbles, with ornamentation and sculptures; inside the church was adorned everywhere with pictures and Byzantine brocade worked in gold. The legend recorded by this Persian traveler noted that even the Emperor himself came to Jerusalem, but privily, so that no one should recognize him. The Persian related: “In the days when Hakim was ruler of Egypt, the Greek Caesar came in this manner to Jerusalem. When Hakim received news of this arrival, he sent for one of his cup-bearers and said to him, ‘There is a man of such and such a countenance and condition whom thou wilt find seated in the mosque of the Holy City; go thou, therefore, and approach him, and say that Hakim hath sent thee to him, lest he should think that I, Hakim, knew not of his coming; but tell him to be of good cheer, for I have no evil intention against him.’”34
The Empire’s attempts to reconquer Sicily did not bring about any definite results, in spite of the fact that George Maniaces was victorious in several battles. It is interesting to know that the Sicilian expedition of this period included the Varangian-Russian Druzhina (company) which served the Empire. The famous hero of Scandinavian sagas, Harald Haardraade, also participated in this campaign. In the middle of the eleventh century the Byzantine Empire was confronted by a new enemy, the Seljuq Turks, who were prominent in the subsequent period of Byzantine history.
Thus, in the time of the Macedonian dynasty, in spite of the troubled period which followed the death of Basil II, the efforts of John Curcuas, Nicephorus Phocas, John Tzimisces, and Basil II widened the eastern borders of the Empire as far as the Euphrates, and Syria, with Antioch, once more formed part of Byzantine territory. This was the most brilliant period in the history of Byzantine relations with the eastern Muslims.
At the same time very important and animated relations developed between the Empire and Armenia. For many centuries Armenia was the apple of discord between Rome and Persia. Their ancient struggle for this buffer state had finally led to the division of Armenia between them at the end of the fourth century. The smaller western part with the city of Theodosiopolis (now Erzerum) had been taken by the Roman Empire; the larger eastern part had fallen to the Persian Sassanids, and was known in the east as Persarmenia. According to one historian, the political division of Armenia “into two parts, eastern and western, led to a cultural break in the life of the Armenian people due to the difference between the Byzantine and Iranian rule.”35 Justinian the Great introduced important military and civil reforms in Armenia with the intention of destroying some of the surviving local customs and transforming Armenia into an ordinary imperial province.
In the seventh century, after the conquest of Syria and the defeat of Persia, the Arabs occupied Armenia. Armenian, Greek, and Arabic sources give contradictory accounts of this event. The Armenians later tried to take advantage of the troubled affairs of the caliphate, which frequently turned the attention of the Arabs away from Armenian problems, and made several attempts to throw off the new yoke. These attempts at revolt were repaid by terrible devastations on the part of the Arabs. N. Marr said that at the beginning of the eighth century Armenia was completely ruined by the Arabs; “the feudal lords were exterminated with much cruelty and the glorious achievements of Christian architecture were destroyed. In short, the fruit of all the cultural efforts of the preceding centuries was reduced to nothing.”36
When the Arabian caliph found himself greatly in need of Armenian aid for his struggle with the Byzantine Empire in the middle of the ninth century, he conferred the title of “Prince of Princes” upon the Armenian ruler Ashot, of the family of Bagratids. The wise administration of this ruler received general recognition, and at the end of the ninth century the caliph conferred upon him the title of king. By this act a new Armenian kingdom, ruled by the dynasty of Bagratids, was definitely established. When news of this reached Basil I, shortly before his death, he hastened to bestow a similar honor upon the new king of Armenia by sending him a royal crown and signing with him a treaty of friendship and union. Basil, in a letter, called Ashot his beloved son, and assured him that of all states Armenia would always remain the closest ally of the Empire.37 This shows clearly that both the Emperor and the caliph attempted to secure Ashot the Bagratid as an ally in their struggle against each other.38
The anarchy which set in after Ashot’s death forced the Muslims to intervene in the internal affairs of Armenia, and it was only in the reign of Ashot II “the Iron” in the first half of the tenth century39 that the Armenian territory was cleared to some extent of the Arabs, with the help of the Byzantine army and the assistance of the King of Iberia (Georgia, Gruzia). Ashot himself visited the court of Romanus Lecapenus at Constantinople and was accorded a triumphant reception. He was the first ruler to assume the title of Shahinshah, meaning “King of Kings,” of Armenia. His successor, Ashot III, transferred the official capital of his kingdom to the fortress of Ani in the second half of the tenth century, where in a subsequent period many magnificent edifices were erected. The city which grew up there became a rich center of civilization. Up to World War I the ruins of Ani were within the boundaries of Russia, and to them the Russian scholar N. Marr devoted much time. His excavations resulted in brilliant discoveries, highly significant notonly for the history of Armenia and the civilization of the Caucasian peoples in general, but also for a clearer conception of Byzantine influence in the Christian East.
The new disturbances in Armenia in connection with the invasions of the Seljuq Turks forced Basil II to assume personal leadership as soon as the Bulgarian war was over. As a result, one part of Armenia was annexed to the Empire and the other part placed in vassal dependence. This new expansion of the Empire in the East, for which the capital accorded Basil a triumphant reception, was the last military victory in the active and glorious reign of the aged basileus.40 In the forties of the eleventh century, under Constantine IX Monomachus, the new capital of Armenia, Ani, was taken over by the Empire. This put an end to the rule of the Bagratids (Bagratuni). The last member of the dynasty was induced to come to Constantinople, where he received in place of his lost kingdom lands in Cappadocia, a money pension, and a palace on the Bosphorus. The Byzantine Empire, however, was unable to maintain its power in Armenia because the people were greatly dissatisfied with the administrative as well as the religious policy of the central government. Most of the Byzantine troops who occupied Armenia, moreover, were removed and recalled to Europe to defend Constantine Monomachus, first against the insurrection of Leo Tornikios, and then against the Patzinaks (Pechenegs). The Turks, taking advantage of the existing state of affairs, made frequent irruptions into Armenia and gradually conquered it.
Relations of the Byzantine Empire with the Bulgarians and Magyars
The relations with Bulgaria in the time of the Macedonian emperors were extremely significant for the Empire. Although in the time of King Simeon Bulgaria became a formidable enemy of the Byzantine Empire, threatening even the capital and the Emperor’s power, the rulers of the Macedonian dynasty completely subjected this kingdom and transformed it into a Byzantine province.
During the reign of Basil I peaceful relations were maintained with Bulgaria. Immediately after the death of Michael III the negotiations concerning the restoration of the union between the Bulgarian and Greek churches came to a happy ending. King Boris went so far as to send his son, Simeon, to be educated in Constantinople. These friendly relations were very advantageous for both sides. Relieved of all anxiety about his northern borders, Basil could pour all his forces into the struggle with the eastern Arabs in the heart of Asia Minor and the western Muslims in Italy. Boris, in his turn, needed peace for the internal upbuilding of his kingdom, which had only recently adopted Christianity.
After the accession of Leo VI (886), peace with Bulgaria was broken immediately because of some dispute regarding certain customs duties which were highly detrimental to Bulgarian trade. Bulgaria was ruled at this time by its very famous King Simeon, son of Boris. His “love of knowledge led him to reread the books of the ancients,”41 and he rendered his kingdom great services in the realms of culture and education. His wide political schemes were to be realized at the expense of the Byzantine Empire. Leo VI, aware of the fact that he was unable to offer adequate resistance to Simeon because the Byzantine army was engaged in the Arabian campaigns, appealed for help to the wild Magyars. The latter agreed to make a sudden invasion of Bulgaria from the north in order to divert Simeon’s attention from the Byzantine borders.
This was a very significant moment in the history of Europe. For the first time, at the end of the ninth century, a new people, the Magyars (Hungarians, Ugrians; Byzantine sources frequently call them Turks, and western sources sometimes refer to them as Avars),42 became involved in the international relations of European states, or, as C. Grot put it, this was “the first appearance of the Magyars on the arena of European wars as an ally of one of the most civilized nations.”43 Simeon was defeated by the Magyars in several early battles, but he showed much skill in handling the difficult situation, by trying to gain time in negotiations with the Byzantine Empire, during which he succeeded in winning over the Patzinaks. With their aid he defeated the Magyars and forced them to move north to the place of their future state in the valley of the Middle Danube. After this victory Simeon turned his attention to the Byzantine Empire. A decisive victory over the Greek troops brought him to the very walls of Constantinople. The defeated Emperor succeeded in negotiating a peace treaty according to which he bound himself to refrain from any hostile action against the Bulgarians and to send rich gifts to Simeon every year.
After the Arabian siege and pillage of Thessafonica in the year 904, Simeon became very desirous of annexing this great city to his kingdom. Leo VI succeeded in preventing the realization of this scheme only by ceding to the Bulgarians other lands of the Empire. The boundary stone set up between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire in 904 still exists. It bears an interesting inscription concerning the agreement between the two powers,44 about which the Bulgarian historian Zlatarsky commented: “According to this agreement all the Slavonic lands of contemporary southern Macedonia and southern Albania, which until this time belonged to the Byzantine Empire, now [in 904] became part of the Bulgarian Kingdom; in other words, by this treaty Simeon united under the Bulgarian sceptre all those Slavonic tribes of the Balkan peninsula which gave Bulgarian nationality its ultimate aspect.”45 From the time of this treaty until the end of Leo’s rule no collisions occurred between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire.
During the period which elapsed between the death of Leo VI and the death of Simeon the Bulgarian in 927 there was almost continuous warfare between the Empire and Bulgaria, and Simeon very definitely strove to conquer Constantinople. In vain did Patriarch Nicholas Mysticus send him abject epistles, written “not with ink, but with tears.”46 At times the patriarch tried to abash Simeon and threatened that the Byzantine Empire would form an alliance with the Russians, the Patzinaks, the Alans, and the western Turks, i.e., the Magyars or Hungarians.47 But Simeon was well aware that these projected alliances could not be realized, and hence the threats had no effect upon him. The Bulgarian army defeated the Greeks in several battles. Greek losses were especially severe in 917, when the Byzantine troops were annihilated at the river Achelous, close to Anchialus (in Thrace). The historian Leo the Deacon visited the site of the battle at the end of the tenth century and wrote: “Even now one can see heaps of bones close to Anchialus, where the Roman army, taking to flight, was ingloriously cut to pieces.”48 After the battle of Achelous the way to Constantinople lay open to Simeon. But in 918 the Bulgarian armies were occupied in Serbia.49 In 919 the clever and energetic admiral Romanus Lecapenus became emperor. Meanwhile the Bulgarians forged their way as far south as the Dardanelles,50 and in 922 took Hadrianople (Odrin). Thence their troops penetrated into Middle Greece on the one hand and on the other to the walls of Constantinople, which they threatened to occupy at any moment. The suburban palaces of the Emperor were put to the torch. Meanwhile, Simeon attempted to form an alliance with the African Arabs for a joint siege of the capital. All of Thrace and Macedonia, excepting Constantinople and Thessalonica, were in the hands of the Bulgarian forces. Excavations made by the Russian Archaeological Institute of Constantinople near Aboba in northeastern Bulgaria have revealed several columns intended for the great church near the king’s palace; their historical interest lies in their inscriptions, which list the names of the Byzantine cities Simeon occupied. It was partly on the possession of the larger part of Byzantine territory in the Balkan peninsula that Simeon based his right to call himself “emperor of the Bulgarians and Greeks.”
In 923 or 924 the famous interview between Romanus Lecapenus and Simeon took place under the walls of Constantinople. The Emperor, who arrived first, came from his imperial yacht and Simeon from the land. The two monarchs greeted each other and conversed; Romanus’ speech has been preserved.51 Some sort of truce was arranged, with conditions comparatively not too harsh, though Romanus had to pay a yearly tribute to Simeon. Simeon, however, was now compelled to retreat from Constantinople because he anticipated great danger from the newly formed Serbian kingdom, which was carrying on negotiations with the Byzantine Empire, and also because he had not attained satisfactory results in his negotiations with the Arabs. He later began to organize a new campaign against Constantinople, but he died in the midst of his preparations (927).
In the time of Simeon Bulgarian territory expanded enormously. It extended from the shores of the Black Sea to the Adriatic coast, and from the lower Danube to central Thrace and Macedonia, as far as Thessalonica. For these achievements, Simeon’s name is significant for the first attempt to replace Greek domination in the Balkan peninsula by Slavonic supremacy.
Simeon was succeeded by the meek Peter, who by his marriage became related to the Byzantine Emperor. The peace treaty that was signed by the Empire recognized his royal title, as well as the Bulgarian patriarchate established by Simeon. This peace lasted for some forty years. After the long succession of brilliant Bulgar victories, the terms of this peace, very satisfactory to Byzantium, “scarcely disguised the fact that actually Bulgaria had collapsed.”52 This treaty represented a real success of wise and energetic policy on the part of Romanus Lecapenus. “Great Bulgaria” of Simeon’s time was torn asunder by internal strife under Peter. In connection with the collapse of the political might of Bulgaria, the Magyars and the Patzinaks invaded Thrace in 934 and penetrated as far as Constantinople. In 943 they reappeared in Thrace. Romanus Lecapenus concluded with them a five years’ peace, which was renewed after his fall and lasted throughout the reign of Constantine Porphyrogenitus.53 Later, in the second half of the tenth century, the Magyars invaded the Balkan peninsula several times. The decline of Bulgaria’s strength was very advantageous for the Byzantine Empire. Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces continued to struggle persistently with the Bulgarians, and were aided by the Russian Prince Sviatoslav at the invitation of Nicephorus Phocas. When the success of Russian arms in Bulgaria brought Sviatoslav to the very borders of the Empire, however, the Emperor became greatly disturbed, and with reason, because the Russian troops later advanced so far on Byzantine territory that an early Russian chronicler reports that Sviatoslav “had almost reached the walls of Tzargrad (Constantinople).”54 John Tzimisces directed his forces against the Russians under the pretext of defending Bulgaria from the onslaught of the new conquerors. He defeated Sviatoslav, conquered all of Eastern Bulgaria, and captured the entire Bulgarian dynasty. The annexation of eastern Bulgaria was thus definitely completed in the time of John Tzimisces.
After his death the Bulgarians took advantage of the internal complications in the Empire and rebelled against Byzantine domination. The outstanding leader of this period was Samuel, the energetic ruler of western independent Bulgaria, and probably the founder of a new dynasty, “one of the most prominent rulers of the First Bulgarian Empire.”55 For a long time the struggle of Basil II with Samuel went against the Byzantine Empire, chiefly because its forces were engaged in eastern wars. Samuel conquered many new districts and proclaimed himself king of Bulgaria. Only at the beginning of the eleventh century did fortune begin to smile upon Basil. So cruel was his fight with the Bulgarians that he was given the name of Bulgaroctonus (“Slayer of the Bulgarians”). When Samuel beheld 14,000 Bulgarians blinded by Basil II and sent back to their homeland, he died of shock received from this horrible sight. After his death in 1014, Bulgaria was too weak to resist the Greeks, and was soon conquered by the Byzantine Empire. In 1018 the first Bulgarian kingdom ceased to exist, for it was transformed into a Byzantine province ruled by an imperial governor. It preserved its internal autonomy to a certain extent, however.
The Bulgarian rebellion, which broke out against the Empire in about the middle of the eleventh century under the leadership of Peter Delyan, was suppressed and resulted in the nullification of Bulgarian autonomy. During the period of Byzantine domination the districts populated by Bulgarians gradually were penetrated by Hellenic culture. The Bulgarian people, however, maintained their nationality, which reached particular strength when the Second Bulgarian Kingdom was formed in the twelfth century.
According to an Austrian historian, “the downfall of the Bulgarian Kingdom in 1018 belongs among the most important and decisive events of the eleventh century, and of the Middle Ages in general. The Roman (Byzantine) Empire was again raised up and extended from the Adriatic to the Black Sea, from the Danube to the southern extremity of the Peloponnesus.”56
The Byzantine Empire and Russia
In the time of the Macedonian dynasty very animated relations developed between Russia and Byzantium. According to the Russian chronicler, during the reign of Leo VI the Wise in the year 907 the Russian Prince Oleg appeared at the walls of Constantinople with numerous vessels. After pillaging the environs of the capital and killing a large number of people, Oleg forced the Emperor to initiate negotiations and reach a final agreement. Although no sources, Byzantine, western, or eastern, known up to recent times, refer to this expedition or to the name of Oleg, this account of the Russian chronicler, touched with legendary detail as it is, is based on actual historical events. It is very probable that this preliminary agreement of 907 was confirmed in 911 by a formal treaty which, also according to the old Russian chronicler, provided important trade privileges for the Russians.57
The famous history of Leo the Deacon, an invaluable source for the second half of the tenth century, has an interesting passage which does not usually receive due consideration, although at present it ought to be viewed as the sole hint at Oleg’s treaties found in Greek sources. This hint is the threat to Sviatoslav which Leo the Deacon put into the mouth of John Tzimisces: “I hope you have not forgotten the defeat of your father Igor who, having scorned the sworn agreements (τὰς ἐνóρκovς σπoνδὰς), came by sea to the imperial city with a great army and numerous vessels.”58 These “sworn agreements” made with the Byzantine Empire before Igor’s time must have been the agreements of Oleg reported by the Russian chronicler. It might be interesting to compare the reference just given with the accounts found in Byzantine sources of the presence of Russian subsidiary troops in the Byzantine army from the early tenth century, and with the corresponding clause of the treaty of 911 (as given in the Russian chronicle), which permits the Russians, if they should so desire, to serve in the army of the Byzantine Emperor.59
In 1912 a Jewish scholar in America, Schechter, edited and translated into English the surviving fragments of an interesting Jewish medieval text on Khazaro-Russian-Byzantine relations in the tenth century. The value of this document is especially great because of the fact that it mentions the name of “Helgu [Oleg], the King of Russia” and contains some new evidence about him, such as the story of his unsuccessful expedition to Constantinople.60 The chronological and topographical difficulties presented by this text are still in a stage of preliminary investigation; hence it is too early to pass any definite judgment about this unquestionably interesting document. In any event, the publication of this text has brought about a new attempt to re-examine the chronology of Oleg given by the old Russian chronicles.
In the time of Romanus Lecapenus the capital was twice attacked by the Russian Prince Igor. His name has been preserved not only in Russian chronicles, but in Greek and Latin sources as well. His first campaign in the year 941 was undertaken on numerous vessels which sailed to the Bithynian coast of the Black Sea and to the Bosphorus. Here the Russians pillaged the seacoast and advanced along the Asiatic shore of the Strait to Chrysopolis (now Scutari, facing Constantinople), but the expedition ended with complete failure for Igor. A large number of Russian vessels were destroyed by Greek fire, and the remnants of Igor’s fleet returned to the north. The Russian prisoners captured by the Greeks were put to death.
Igor’s forces for his second campaign in 944 were much greater than those of his earlier expedition. The Russian chronicler related that Igor organized a large army of “Varangians, Russians, Poliane, Slavs, Krivichi, Tivertsy, and Patzinaks.”61 The Byzantine Emperor, frightened by these preparations, sent his best noblemen (boyars) to Igor and to the Patzinaks, offering them costly gifts and promising to pay Igor a tribute similar to that received by Oleg. In spite of all this Igor started out for Constantinople, but when he reached the banks of the Danube he consulted his druzhina(company) and decided to accept the conditions proposed by the Empire and return to Kiev. In the following year the Greeks and Russians negotiated a treaty on conditions less favorable to the Russians than those of Oleg. This peace agreement was to last “as long as the sun shall shine and the world shall stand, in the present centuries, and in the centuries to come.”62
The friendly relations established by this treaty were expressed more concretely under Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the year 957, when the Russian Grand Princess Olga (Elga) arrived at Constantinople and was magnificently received by the Emperor, the Empress, and the heir to the throne. Olga’s reception has been described in detail in an official contemporary record, the famous work of the tenth century Concerning the Ceremonies of the Byzantine Court.63 The relations of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisceswith the Russian prince Sviatoslav have been discussed in connection with the Bulgarian wars.
Still more important were the relations of Basil II Bulgaroctonus with the Russian Prince Vladimir, whose name is closely connected with the conversion of Russia to Christianity. In the ninth decade of the tenth century the position of the Emperor and his dynasty seemed very critical. Bardas Phocas, the leader of the rebellion against Basil, won over to his side almost all of Asia Minor and drew close to the capital; at the same time the northern provinces of the Empire were in danger of being invaded by the victorious Bulgarians. Basil appealed for help to the northern Prince Vladimir, and succeeded in forming an alliance with him on the condition that Vladimir should send 6000 soldiers to aid Basil, for which he was to receive the hand of the Emperor’s sister, Anna, and promise to accept Christianity and convert his people. With the help of this subsidiary Russian regiment, the so-called “Varangian-Russian Druzhina” (Company), the insurrection of Bardas Phocas was suppressed and its leader killed. But Basil was apparently unwilling to live up to his promise of arranging the marriage of his sister, Anna, to Vladimir. Then the Russian prince besieged and took the important Byzantine city of Cherson (Chersonesus, or Korsun) in the Crimea and forced Basil to yield and fulfill his original promise. Vladimir was baptized and married the Byzantine princess, Anna. It is not known exactly whether Russia’s conversion to Christianity took place in 988 or in 989. Some scholars accept the former date; others, the latter. Peaceful and friendly relations were established between Russia and the Byzantine Empire, and they lasted for a considerable length of time. Both countries engaged freely in extensive trade with one another.
According to one source, during the reign of Constantine Monomachus, in 1043, “the Scythian merchants” (i.e., Russians) in Constantinople and the Greeks had a quarrel, during which a Russian nobleman was killed.64 It is very probable that this incident was used by Russia as a sufficient motive for a new campaign against the Byzantine Empire. The Russian Great Prince Iaroslav the Wise sent his older son, Vladimir, with a large army on numerous vessels to Byzantine shores. This Russian fleet was almost demolished by the imperial forces through the use of Greek fire. The remnants of the Russian army of Vladimir hastened to retreat.65 This expedition was the last undertaken by the Russians against Constantinople in the Middle Ages. The ethnographic changes which occurred in the steppes of present-day southern Russia in the middle of the eleventh century because of the appearance of the Turkish tribe of the Polovtzi removed all possibilities of direct relations between Russia and the Byzantine Empire.
The Patzinak problem
In the eleventh century the Patzinaks of the Greek sources, or the Pechenegs of the Russian chronicles, exerted enormous influence upon the fate of the Empire for a considerable length of time. There was even a period, shortly before the First Crusade, when for the only time in their brief and barbarian historical existence the Patzinaks played a very significant part in world history.
The Byzantine Empire had known the Patzinaks for a long time. They had settled some time in the ninth century on the territory of modern Wallachia, north of the Lower Danube, and in the plains of what is now Southern Russia, so that their territory extended from the Lower Danube to the shores of the Dnieper, and sometimes even beyond this river. In the west the border line between their territory and the Bulgarian kingdom was definitely established, but in the east there was no district boundary because the Patzinaks were constantly forced to the west by other barbaric nomadic tribes, especially by the Uzes and the Cumans, or Polovtzi. The Patzinaks, the Uzes, and the Cumans were all tribes of Turkish origin, and therefore akin to the Seljuq Turks, who began to menace Byzantine possessions in Asia Minor in the eleventh century. The Cumanian dictionary or lexicon, which survives today, proves convincingly that the language of the Cumans or the Polovtzi is so closely related to other Turkish tongues that the difference between them is only that of dialects. For future historical developments this kinship between the Patzinaks and the Seljuq Turks was of very great importance.
The Byzantine rulers considered the Patzinaks as their most significant northern neighbors because they were the basic element in maintaining the equilibrium of the Empire’s relations with the Russians, Magyars, and Bulgarians. Constantine Porphyrogenitus devoted much space to the Patzinaks in his work On the Administration of the Empire, written in the tenth century and dedicated to his son Romanus, who was to succeed him on the Byzantine throne. The royal writer advises his son first of all to maintain peaceful and friendly relations with the Patzinaks for the benefit of the Empire; for so long as the Patzinaks remain friendly to the Empire, neither the Russians, nor the Magyars, nor the Bulgarians will be able to attack Byzantine territory. From many things recorded by Constantine in this work it is also evident that the Patzinaks served as mediators in the trade relations of the Byzantine districts in the Crimea (the theme of Cherson) with Russia, Khazaria, and other neighboring countries.66 Hence the Patzinaks of the tenth century were of great importance to the Byzantine Empire, both politically and economically.
In the second half of the tenth and early part of the eleventh centuries conditions changed. Eastern Bulgaria was conquered by John Tzimisces, and Basil II continued the conquest until all of Bulgaria was under Byzantine sway. The Patzinaks, who had formerly been separated from the Byzantine Empire by the Bulgarian kingdom, now became direct neighbors of the Empire. These new neighbors were so strong and numerous and aggressive that the Empire was unable to offer adequate resistance to their onslaught, caused by the pressure of the Polovtzi from behind. Theophylact of Bulgaria, the church writer of the eleventh century, spoke of the irruptions of the Patzinaks, whom he called Scythians: “Their invasion is a flash of lightning; their retreat is both heavy and light at the same time: heavy with spoils and light in the speed of their flight. . . . The most terrible thing about them is that they exceed in number the bees of the springtime, and no one knows yet how many thousands, or tens of thousands they count; their number is incalculable.”67Until the middle of the eleventh century, however, the Empire, apparently, had no cause to fear the Patzinaks. They became dangerous only when, in the middle of that century, they crossed the Danube.
V. G. Vasilievsky, who was the first among historians to make clear the historical significance of the Patzinaks, wrote in 1872 concerning their advance into Byzantine territory: “This event, which has escaped the attention of all modern historical works, had enormous significance for the history of humanity. In its consequences it was almost as important as the crossing of the Danube by the western Goths, which initiated the so-called migration of nations.”68
Constantine Monomachus (1042–55) assigned the Patzinaks certain Bulgarian districts for settlement and gave them three fortresses on the shore of the Danube. It became the duty of the Patzinak settlers to defend the borders of the Empire from the attacks of their kinsmen who remained on the other side of the river, as well as against the campaigns of the Russian princes.
But the Patzinaks on the northern shores of the Danube were persistently advancing to the south. In the early period of their irruptions they had crossed the Danube in large numbers (some sources speak of 800,000 people)69 and had descended as far as Hadrianople, while some of their smaller detachments had reached the capital. Still, the troops of Constantine Monomachus were able to resist these hordes and deal them very painful blows. But toward the end of Constantine’s reign it became more difficult to oppose the advance of the Patzinaks. The expedition organized by the Emperor toward the end of his reign resulted in a complete annihilation of the Byzantine army. “In a terrible night of slaughter the crushed Byzantine regiments were destroyed by the barbarians almost without any resistance; only a small number of them escaped somehow and reached Hadrianople. All the gains of former victories were lost.”70
This complete defeat made it impossible for the Empire to begin a new struggle with the Patzinaks, and the Emperor was forced to buy peace at a very heavy price. His generous gifts induced them to promise to live peacefully in their provinces north of the Balkans. The Empire also bestowed Byzantine court titles upon the Patzinak princes. Thus, in the later years of the Macedonian dynasty, especially in the time of Constantine Monomachus, the Patzinaks were the most dangerous enemy of the Empire in the north.
Relations with Italy and western Europe
The Italian developments of this period consisted primarily of the successful Arabian campaigns in Sicily and southern Italy. By the middle of the ninth century the republic of St. Mark (Venice) freed itself completely of Byzantine power and became an independent state. The Empire and this new state treated each other like independent governments in all the negotiations which arose later, for example, in the time of Basil I. In the ninth century their interests coincided in many points in so far as the aggressive movement of the western Arabs and the Adriatic Slavs were concerned.
From the time of Basil I an interesting correspondence with Louis II exists. It appears from the letters exchanged by these two rulers that they were engaged in a heated dispute regarding the illegal adoption of the imperial title by Louis II. Thus, even in the second half of the ninth century the results of the coronation of 800 were still in evidence. Although some historians have asserted that the letter of Louis II to Basil is spurious,71 recent historians do not support this opinion.72 Basil’s attempt to form an alliance with Louis II failed. The Byzantine occupation of Bari and Tarentum and the successful operations of Nicephorus Phocas against the Arabs in southern Italy raised Byzantine influence in Italy toward the end of Basil’s reign. The smaller Italian possessions, such as the duchies of Naples, Beneventum, Spoleto, the principality of Salerno, and others, frequently changed their attitude toward the Byzantine Empire in correspondence with the course of the Byzantine campaign against the Arabs. Disregarding the recent break with the eastern church, Pope John VIII began active negotiations with Basil I, for he fully appreciated the extent of the Arabian menace to Rome. In striving to form a political alliance with the Eastern Empire the pope showed his readiness to make many concessions. Some scholars go so far as to attribute the absence of an emperor in the West for three and a half years after the death of Charles the Bold (877) to the fact that John VIII purposely delayed the coronation of a western ruler in order to avoid hurting the feelings of the Byzantine Emperor, whose aid was so much needed by Rome.73
In the time of Leo VI, Byzantine possessions in Italy were divided into two themes: Calabria and Longobardia. The Calabrian theme was all that was left of the vast Sicilian theme because, through the fall of Syracuse and Taor-mina, Sicily was entirely in the hands of the Arabs. As a result of the success of Byzantine arms in Italy Leo VI definitely separated Longobardia from the theme of Kephallenia, or the Ionian Islands, and made it an independent theme with its own strategus. Because of the incessant warfare, during which Byzantine forces were not always victorious, the borders of Calabria and Longobardia changed frequently. With the increase of Byzantine influence in southern Italy in the tenth century there was also a noticeable growth in the number of Greek monasteries and churches, some of which later became important cultural centers.
In the same century the Byzantine Empire and Italy witnessed the rise of a strong rival in the person of the German ruler, Otto I, crowned with the imperial crown in Rome by Pope John XII in 962. He is known in history as the founder of “The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” Upon assuming the imperial title, Otto strove to become master of all Italy. This was, of course, a direct infringement upon Byzantine interests, especially in Longobardia. Negotiations between Otto and the eastern Emperor, Nicephorus Phocas, who was at this time probably dreaming of an offensive alliance with the German ruler against the Muslims, progressed very slowly, and Otto suddenly made an unsuccessful inroad into the Byzantine provinces of southern Italy.
For new negotiations with the eastern Emperor the German ruler sent to Constantinople his legate, Liudprand, the bishop of Cremona, who had been once before ambassador to the Byzantine court in the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. The population on the shores of the Bosphorus did not greet him with due respect, and he was exposed to great humiliation and many insults. He later wrote an account of his second sojourn at the Constantinopolitan court in the form of a malicious libel, which was in sharp contrast to his reverent description of his first visit to the eastern capital. From this second account, usually known as the Relation on the Constantinopolitan Legation (Relatio de legatione Constantino politana), it appears that the Byzantine Empire continued the old disputes about the title of basileus assumed by the western ruler. Liudprand accused the Byzantines of being weak and inactive, and justified the claims of his sovereign. In one part of this work he wrote, “Whom does Rome serve, about whose liberation you make so much noise? To whom does the city pay taxes? And did not this ancient city formerly serve courtesans? And then, in a time when all men were asleep and even in a state of impotence, my sovereign, the most august emperor, freed Rome of that shameful servitude.”74When Liudprand became aware of the fact that the Greeks were prolonging the negotiations intentionally in order to gain time for the organization of an Italian campaign, forbidding him meanwhile to hold any communications with his Emperor, he made every effort to depart from Constantinople, succeeding only after much trouble and prolonged delay.
The break between the two empires was accomplished, and Otto I invaded the province of Apulia. However, the new Byzantine Emperor, John Tzimisces, completely altered the Byzantine policy toward Italy. Not only did he conclude a treaty of peace with the German ruler, but he strengthened his relations with him by arranging the marriage of Otto’s son and heir, Otto II, to the Byzantine Princess Theophano. Thus an alliance was finally formed between the two empires. The Arabian attacks on southern Italy, against which the successor of John Tzimisces, Basil II, could do nothing because his attention was claimed by the internal disturbances in the Byzantine Empire, forced the young Emperor Otto II (973–983) to organize a campaign against the Arabs. In one of the battles he was defeated, and died soon after. From this time on German advance into the Byzantine themes of Italy ceased for a long period of time.
At the end of the tenth century an administrative reform took place in Byzantine Italy. The former strategus of Longobardia was replaced by the catapan of Italy, who resided in Bari. As long as the various Italian kingdoms were engaged in mutual strife, the Byzantine catapan was able to handle the difficult problem of defending the southern coast of Italy against the Saracens.
The son of the Princess Theophano, Otto III (983–1002), educated in profound reverence for the Byzantine Empire and classical culture, was a contemporary and a relative of Basil II and a pupil of the famous scholar, Gerbert, who later became Pope Sylvester II. Otto III made no secret of his hatred for German coarseness, and dreamed of the restoration of the ancient Empire with Old Rome as the capital. According to James Bryce, “None save he desired to make the seven-hilled city again the city of dominion, reducing Germany and Lombardy and Greece to their rightful place of subject provinces. No one else so forgot the present to live in the light of the ancient order; no other soul was so possessed by that fervid mysticism and that reverence for the glories of the past whereon rested the idea of the Medieval Empire.”75 Although the prestige of ancient Rome was extremely high in Otto’s imagination, still he was attracted chiefly to eastern Rome, to that court of fairy-like magnificence where his mother had been born and bred. Only in following the footsteps of the Byzantine rulers did Otto III hope to restore the imperial throne in Rome. He called himself imperator romanorum, and referred to the future world-monarchy as Orbis romanus. This young enthusiast, whose illusory schemes promised to introduce disturbance and difficulty into the life of the Byzantine Empire, died suddenly at the very beginning of the eleventh century, at the age of twenty-two (1002).
While in the early eleventh century Byzantine provinces in southern Italy were made safe from Arabian attacks through the interference of the Venetian fleet, they soon became exposed to danger from a new and formidable enemy, the Normans, who later began to threaten the Eastern Empire. The first large detachment of Normans arrived in Italy at the beginning of the eleventh century at the invitation of Meles, who rose in rebellion against Byzantine domination. The allied forces of Meles and the Normans were defeated, however, near Cannae, so famous in history since the victory of Hannibal during the Second Punic War. Basil II owed part of his success in this battle with the Normans to the Russian soldiers, who served in the ranks of the Byzantine army. The victory at Cannae strengthened the position of Byzantium in southern Italy to such an extent that in the fourth decade of the eleventh century Emperor Michael IV the Paphlagonian equipped an expedition for the reconquest of Sicily from the Arabs. This expedition was led by George Maniaces. In his army were the Scandinavian hero, Harald Haar-draade, and the Varangian-Russian Druzhina (Company). Although this campaign was successful, and achieved, among other things, the occupation of Messina, the reconquest of Sicily was not accomplished, mainly because George Maniaces was recalled when he was suspected of having ambitious schemes.76
During the period of strife between Byzantium and Rome which ended in the division of churches in 1054, the Normans sided with Rome and began to advance, slowly but steadily, in Byzantine Italy. By the end of this period, i.e., about the middle of the eleventh century, there arose among the Normans in Italy a very capable and energetic leader, Robert Guiscard, whose major activities developed in the period subsequent to the Macedonian dynasty.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS
The major event in the church life of the Byzantine Empire in the time of the Macedonian dynasty was the final separation of the Christian church into the eastern Orthodox and the western Catholic, which took place in the middle of the eleventh century after long disputes which lasted for almost two centuries.
The first act of Basil I in the realm of church affairs was the deposition of Patriarch Photius and the reinstatement of Ignatius, who had been deposed in the time of Michael III. By this measure Basil hoped to strengthen his position on a throne which did not rightfully belong to him. He felt that by raising Ignatius he was accomplishing the double purpose of maintaining peaceful relations with the pope and gaining the support of the Byzantine people, many of whom, as he knew very well, were partisans of the deposed Ignatius. In their letters to the pope both Basil and Ignatius acknowledged his authority and influence in the affairs of the eastern church. The Emperor, for example, wrote, “Spiritual Father and divinely reverend Pontiff! Hasten the improvement of our church and through your interference with injustice give us an abundance of goods, namely, pure unity and spiritual joining free from any contention and schism, a church one in Christ, and a flock obedient to one shepherd.” Ignatius sent the pope a letter full of humility, requesting that the Roman patriarch send vicars to Constantinople. In the concluding statement he wrote, “With them [the vicars] we should well and suitably arrange our church, which we have received by the providence of God manifested in the intercession of the sublime Peter and at your instance and intervention.”77 These letters indicate a moment of apparent triumph for the papacy in the East, but Pope Nicholas I did not live to witness this victory, because the letters sent to him from Byzantium came after his death and were received by his successor, Hadrian II.
At the Roman councils, and later in Constantinople in the year 869, in the presence of papal legates, Photius was deposed and anathematized with his partisans. The Constantinopolitan council of 869 was recognized as an ecumenical council by the western church and is still considered as such.
In its own church life, then, the Empire yielded to the pope in all points. Quite different was the Emperor’s attitude toward the problem of religious affairs in Bulgaria, where the Latin clergy had triumphed at the end of the reign of Michael III. In spite of the pope’s displeasure and the opposition of the papal legates, Basil I succeeded in achieving the removal of Latin priests from Bulgaria, and Bulgarian King Boris again formed a union with the eastern church. This event exerted much influence upon the later historical fate of the Bulgarian people.
During his confinement, in which he was subjected to great privations, the deposed and excommunicated Photius continued to enjoy the admiration of his followers, who remained true to him throughout Ignatius’ patriarchate. Basil himself soon recognized that his attitude toward Photius had been wrong, and he tried to correct it. He began by recalling Photius from confinement and bringing him to the Byzantine court, where he was entrusted with the education of the Emperor’s children. Later, when Ignatius died at a very advanced age, Basil offered Photius the patriarchal throne. This reinstatement of Photius marked the beginning of a new policy toward the pope.
In the year 879 a council was convoked in Constantinople. In the number of participating hierarchs and in the general magnificence of the setting it surpassed even some of the ecumenical councils. According to one historian, this council “was, on the whole, a truly majestic event, such as had not been seen since the time of the Council of Chalcedon.”78 The legates of Pope John VIII also came to this council, and not only were they forced to consent to the absolution of Photius and the restoration of his communion with the Roman church, but they also had to listen without any contradiction to the reading of the Nicaeo-Constantinopolitan Creed, which did not include the filioque so widely used in the West. At the last session of the council the legates exclaimed, “If any man refuse to recognize Photius as the Holy Patriarch and decline to be in communion with him, his lot shall be with Judas, and he shall not be included among the Christians!” The Catholic historian of Photius wrote that “praises to Photius were the opening statements of the council, and its sessions were closed also with the glorification of the patriarch.”79 This council also argued that the pope was a patriarch like all other patriarchs, that he possessed no authority over the entire church, and hence that it was not necessary for the patriarch of Constantinople to receive the confirmation of the Roman pontiff. Greatly angered, the pope sent a legate to Constantinople to insist upon the annulment of any measure passed at the council which was disagreeable to the pope. The legate was also to obtain certain concessions regarding the Bulgarian church. Basil and Photius refused to yield in any of these points and even went so far as to arrest the legate. It was formerly believed that when news of this act of defiance reached John VIII he anathematized Photius in a solemn ceremony in the Church of St. Peter in the presence of a large number of his flock, holding the Gospel in his hands. This was the so-called second schism of Photius. Recent investigations by Amann, Dvornik, and Grumei, however, have shown that the second schism of Photius never existed, and that neither John VIII or any of his successors anathematized Photius.80 Relations between the Empire and Rome did not cease completely, however, but they became casual and indefinite. Photius did not remain in the patriarchal chair until the end of his life, for he was forced to leave it in 886, when his pupil, Leo VI, succeeded Basil I. Five years later Photius died. Throughout his long lifetime he played a very significant part in the religious as well as in the intellectual life of the Byzantine Empire.
The reign of Basil I was marked also by a number of attempts to spread Christianity among pagan and heterodox peoples. Probably in his time the Empire endeavored to convert the Russians to Christianity, but very little light has been thrown on this subject. A source asserts that Basil persuaded the Russians “to take part in salutary baptism”81 and accept the archbishop ordained by Ignatius. As yet it is difficult to determine which Russians the writer of this source had in mind. The conversion of the greater part of the Slavonic tribes settled in the Peloponnesus took place in the time of Basil I; the pagan Slavs remained in the mountains of Taygetus. It is also known that Basil forced the Jews of the Empire to accept Christianity.
The deposition of Photius by Leo VI can be explained by Leo’s fear of the growing political influence of the patriarch and his party, as well as by Leo’s desire to raise his brother Stephen to the patriarchal throne. Through this latter measure he hoped to acquire unlimited authority in the church affairs of the Empire; Photius’ strong will would have opposed the Emperor’s tendency to rule over ecclesiastical matters. Under Leo’s successors there was a noticeable tendency toward a reconciliation with the Roman church through mutual concessions.
The church problems of the Byzantine Empire became especially complicated at the beginning of the tenth century during the patriarchate of Nicholas Mysticus, a relative and pupil of Photius and the most remarkable of his successors. According to one historian, “the most noble traits of Photius were reincarnated in his pupil, Nicholas Mysticus, who, more than any one else, strove to follow the ideal example of a patriarch symbolized by Photius.”82 This patriarch left a very interesting collection of letters invaluable from the historical and ecclesiastical points of view.
Strong disagreements arose between Leo and Nicholas Mysticus on account of the Emperor’s fourth marriage, vehemently opposed by the patriarch on the basis that it was against all church laws.83 In spite of this, the Emperor forced a presbyter to perform the marriage ceremony between him and Zoë, who thus became his fourth wife (his first three wives had died in rapid succession). After the wedding had been performed, in the absence of a patriarch, Leo himself placed the imperial crown upon Zoë’s head; this later gave Nicholas Mysticus occasion to say that the Emperor was to Zoë “both groom and bishop.”84 The eastern patriarchs, when questioned with regard to this problem, expressed themselves in favor of allowing Leo to marry for the fourth time.85 This marriage excited great confusion among the population of the Empire. The recalcitrant Nicholas Mysticus was deposed and exiled. At the Constantinopolitan council it was determined to grant a dispensation to the Emperor without dissolving his fourth marriage. After long deliberations the rank of patriarch was conferred upon Euthymius.
The council did not bring harmony to the Empire. Two parties were formed among the Byzantine clergy. The first, which sided with Nicholas Mysticus, was against the confirmation of the Emperor’s fourth marriage and denounced the new patriarch, Euthymius. The other, a minority party, was in agreement with the decision of the council concerning Leo’s marriage, and recognized Euthymius as the chosen leader of the church. The dissension between these two parties spread from the capital into the provinces, and an obstinate struggle developed everywhere between the Nicholaites and the Euthymites. Some scholars view this struggle as a continuation of the former animosity between the Photinians (or Photians) and the Ignatians, which had subsided only for a short while.86 In the end the Emperor saw that only the energetic and experienced Nicholas Mysticus could remedy the situation, and shortly before his death (912) Leo VI recalled Nicholas from confinement, deposed Euthymius, and reinstated the former on the patriarchal throne.87
In the interests of religious peace in the Empire Nicholas Mysticus strove to restore the friendly relations with Rome which had been severed because of the pope’s approval of Leo’s fourth marriage. During the regency of Zoë, who ruled during the minority of her son, Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, Nicholas Mysticus was deprived of influence. But in the year 919, when the government was transferred to Constantine’s father-in-law, Romanus I Lecapenus, and Zoë was forced to embrace monastic life, Nicholas Mysticus again rose to his former influential position. The main event in the last years of his patriarchate was the convocation in 920 of a council in Constantinople, which consisted of Nicholaites and Euthymites. They composed the Tome of Union (ὁ τóμoς τῆς ἑνσεως), approved by the general assembly. This act proclaimed that marriage for the fourth time was “unquestionably illicit and void, because it was prohibited by the church and intolerable in a Christian land.”88 No direct reference was made in the Tome to the fourth marriage of Leo the Wise. Both parties remained satisfied by the decision of the council. It is probable, as Drinov supposed, that the reconciliation between the Nicholaites and the Euthymites was prompted also by “the terror aroused in the Byzantine population by the success of Bulgarian arms.”89 After the council several letters were exchanged with the pope, and he agreed to send to the capital two bishops, who were to condemn the conflicts aroused by Leo’s fourth marriage. Direct communications were thus re-established between the churches of Rome and Constantinople. The Russian church historian, A. P. Lebedev, summed up the outcome of this period: “Patriarch Nicholas emerged as full victor in this new clash between the churches of Constantinople and Rome. The Roman church has to yield to the church of Constantinople and condemn its own acts.”90 After the death of Nicholas Mysticus in 925, Romanus Lecapenus gained complete control over the church, and, as Runciman said, “Caesaropapism once more emerged victorious.”91
Emperor Nicephorus Phocas was a very interesting personality from the ecclesiastical point of view. This most capable warrior, whose name is closely bound up with the brilliant pages of Byzantine military history, had devoted much of his time and attention, especially before he ascended the throne, to monastic ideals. He had even worn the hair shirt, and he kept up intimate relations with St. Athanasius of Athos, the famous founder of the large monastery on Mount Athos. The Life of Saint Athanasius even relates that once in a transport of religious zeal Nicephorus supposedly confided to Athanasius his sacred dream of forsaking all worldly vanity in order to devote himself to the service of God.92 The Byzantine historian, Leo the Deacon, wrote that Nicephorus was “indomitably firm in his prayers to God and his nocturnal devotions; he maintained a very high spirit in his church hymns, and had no leanings toward anything vain.”93 Nicephorus Phocas was semi soldier, semi recluse.94 Many Byzantine people were greatly exercised when the ascetically inclined Emperor married the young and beautiful Theophano, the widow of Emperor Romanus II, who had a very dubious reputation. Traces of this feeling are found in the inscription on the sarcophagus of Nicephorus, which says that this emperor “vanquished all but woman.”95
The most important ecclesiastic measure of Nicephorus was his famous Novel of the year 964 with regard to monasteries and the philanthropic institutions connected with them. In the time of the Macedonian dynasty monastic landownership had assumed unusual proportions and frequently expanded at the expense of the free peasant holdings defended by several emperors of this dynasty. Even before the iconoclastic period, i.e., at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth centuries, the eastern church had already been in possession of enormous landed estates. This led some scholars to compare the possessions of the eastern church with the similar landed wealth of the western church in the time of the Frankish kings, who complained of the emptiness of their treasury caused by the transfer of their lands into the hands of the clergy. The iconoclastic emperors of the eighth century waged a campaign against monasteries. Some were closed and their possessions confiscated by the treasury. This reform was simultaneous with the analogous secularization of church property in the western Frankish kingdom under the famous major-domo, Charles Martel. With the failure of iconoclasm and the rise of the Macedonian dynasty, the number of monasteries and the extent of their landed property began to increase very rapidly. Already the Novel of Romanus I Lecapenus had expressed the intention of limiting somewhat the growth of monasterial landed estates. A more decisive step in this direction was taken by Nicephorus Phocas in 964, when he published his Novel.
This Novel states that, since the “obvious disease” of excessive cupidity has become widely spread in the monasteries and “other sacred institutions,” and since “the acquisition of many-acred enormous estates and the numerous cares of fruit trees” cannot be regarded as a commandment of the Apostles or as a tradition of the Fathers, the Emperor desires to “root out the God-hated evil of ambition,” and, in order to attain this end, forbids the founding of new monasteries, as well as the contribution of endowments and donations toward the upkeep of old monasteries, hospitals, and hostelrics, or any gifts for the benefit of metropolitans and bishops.96
This harsh decree, which must have aroused great discontent among the religious-minded population, could not very long remain in force, even imperfectly. Basil II abrogated the Novel of Nicephorus Phocas “as a law outrageous and offensive not only to the churches and hospitals but also to God himself.”97 He restored the monasterial laws of the time of Basil I and Leo VI the Wise, i.e., the Basilics and the Novel of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. One of the reasons for Basil’s abolition of the Novel of Nicephorus Phocas was his conviction that this law had brought upon the Empire the anger of God when, toward the end of the tenth century, both internal and external complications brought the Empire to the verge of ruin.
Nicephorus Phocas made an important step in the direction of strengthening Byzantine ecclesiastical organization in the southern Italian provinces of Apulia and Calabria, where papal and western influence was becoming very prominent in the second half of the tenth century, especially after the coronation of the German King Otto I and the growth of Longobardian power in the southern parts of Italy. Through his patriarch, Nicephorus Phocas prohibited the Latin ritual in Apulia and Calabria, and prescribed the observance of the Greek church ceremonial. This measure served as one of the many causes for the further alienation of the papacy from the Byzantine Empire. During the last years of Nicephorus’ reign the pope began to address him as the “Emperor of the Greeks,” while the title of “Emperor of the Romans,” an official title of the Byzantine rulers, he transferred to Otto of Germany. It is also interesting to note the attempt of Nicephorus Phocas to venerate as martyrs all soldiers who had fallen in the struggle with the infidels. This attempt was vehemently opposed by the patriarch and the bishops, and the Emperor was forced to give up his scheme.
The names of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces are connected with the beginning of a new era in the life of Mount Athos, famous for its monasteries. Individual hermits had lived on this mountain since the very beginning of monasticism in the fourth century, and several small and poor monasteries grew up there about the seventh century. During the period of the iconoclastic troubles of the eighth century the inaccessible districts of Mount Athos were sought as a refuge by many persecuted image-worshipers, who brought with them numerous church utensils, relics, and manuscripts. But life on Mount Athos was not safe because of the repeated maritime raids of the Arabs, during which many monks were killed or carried off as prisoners. Previous to the middle of the tenth century Mount Athos had gone through several periods of desolation. In the time of Nicephorus Phocas, the Athonian monastic organizations became much stronger, especially when St. Athanasius founded the first large monastery with its cenobitic organization and new set of rules (typikon, in Greek, the usual name for monastic rules in the Byzantine Empire) which determined the further life of the monastery. The hermits (anchorites) of Mount Athos, opposed to the introduction of cenobitic monasticism, sent a complaint against Athanasius to John Tzimisces, the successor of Nicephorus Phocas, accusing Athanasius of breaking the ancient customs of the Holy Mountain (as Athos was called in the typikon of Athanasius). Tzimisces investigated this complaint and confirmed the ancient Athonian rule, which tolerated the existence of both anchorites and cenobites. Following the lead of St. Athanasius, many new monasteries, Greek and others, were founded. In the time of Basil II there was already one Iberian or Georgian monastery; emigrants from Italy founded two, a Roman and an Amalfitan. Bishop Porphyrius Uspensky, a profound Russian student of the Christian East, asserted that when the aged Athanasius died (about 1000A.D.) there were three thousand “various monks” on Mount Athos.98 As early as the eleventh century there was a Russian Laura on this mountain. The name of Holy Mountain for Mount Athos, as an official term, appears for the first time in the second set of rules (typikon) given by Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus about the middle of the eleventh century.99 The administration of the monasteries was entrusted to a council of Abbots (Igumens) headed by the first one among them, the protos (from the Greek πρῶτoς, “the first”). The council was known as theprotaton. Thus, in the time of the Macedonian dynasty Mount Athos became a very important cultural center, not only for the Byzantine Empire, but for the world at large.
The problem of the division of churches which became so acute in the ninth century was brought to a final solution in the middle of the eleventh century. And while the main causes of this break were doctrinal, the final break was undoubtedly accelerated by the changed conditions in Italy in the middle of the eleventh century. In spite of the prohibitions of Nicephorus Phocas, Latin church influence continued to penetrate into the church organization of Apulia and Calabria. In the middle of the eleventh century the papal throne was occupied by Leo IX, whose interests were not limited by ecclesiastical affairs, but extended also into the field of political interests. The Cluniac movement, which embraced wide circles of western European clergy, developed under the direct protection of the pope. The aim of this movement was to reform the church, raise its low morals, give firmness to its loose discipline, and destroy the worldly manners and customs which had permeated the life of the church (such as simony, wedlock of the clergy, secular investiture, etc.). Whenever the advocates of this movement penetrated into a province, they placed its spiritual life in direct dependence upon the pope. The remarkable progress made by the Cluniac movement in southern Italy greatly displeased the Eastern church. Leo IX was convinced that he had also a sound political basis for intervening in the affairs of southern Italy. For instance, during the exchange of messages between the pope and the patriarch of Constantinople (Michael Cerularius) the pope referred to the famousDonation of Constantine (Donatio Constantini), which had presumably placed in the hands of the bishop of Rome not only spiritual but also temporal power. Yet, in spite of the various complications which arose between the East and the West, a break between the churches was not to be expected in the near future, especially since the Byzantine Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus was inclined to seek a peaceful solution to the problem.
Papal legates were sent to Constantinople, among them the very haughty Cardinal Humbert. All of them, especially Humbert, acted insolently and arrogantly toward the patriarch, forcing him to refuse to carry on further negotiations with them. The patriarch also refused to make any concessions to Rome. Then, in the summer of the year 1054, the legates deposited upon the altar of St. Sophia a bull of excommunication, which proclaimed anathema for Patriarch “Michael and his followers, guilty of the above-mentioned errors and insolences . . . along with all heretics, together with the devil and his angels.”100 In response to this action Michael Cerularius convoked a council at which he excommunicated the Roman legates and all people connected with them who had come to “the God-guarded city like a thunder, or a tempest, or a famine, or, better still, like wild boars, in order to overthrow truth.”101
Thus did the final separation of the western and eastern churches occur in the year 1054. The attitude of the three eastern patriarchs toward this break was exceedingly important for Michael Cerularius. Through the patriarch of Antioch he notified the patriarchs of Jerusalem and Alexandria of the separation of the churches, accompanying the news with fitting explanations. In spite of the scantiness of sources on this point, it may be stated with certainty that the three eastern patriarchates remained loyal to orthodoxy and supported the patriarch of Constantinople.102
For the patriarch of Constantinople the break of 1054 could be considered a great victory, which made him completely independent of the papal pretensions of the West. His authority became much greater in the Slavonic world and in the three eastern patriarchates. But for the political life of the Empire this break was fatal, because it definitely destroyed all possibilities of any lasting future political understanding between the Empire and the West, which remained under the strong influence of the papacy. And this was fatal because the Byzantine Empire was at times greatly in need of western help, especially when the eastern Turkish menace arose. Bréhier’s appraisal of the consequences of this break was: “It was this schism, which, by rendering fruitless all efforts at conciliation between the Empire of Constantinople and the West, paved the way for the fall of the Empire.”103
The final break of 1054 was felt immediately only in official circles by the clergy and the government. The great mass of the population reacted very calmly to this separation, and for some time even remained unaware of the distinction between the teachings of Constantinople and of Rome. The attitude of Russia to this phenomenon was interesting. The Russian metropolitans of the eleventh century, appointed or confirmed by Constantinople, quite naturally accepted the Byzantine point of view, but the mass of Russian people had no grievances whatever against the Latin church and could find no errors in its teachings. For example, the Russian prince of the eleventh century appealed to the pope for help against the usurper, and this appeal did not arouse any surprise or protest.104
Legislation of the Macedonian emperors and social and economic relations within the Empire
Prochiron and Epanagoge.—The time of the Macedonian dynasty was a period of stirring legislative activity. Basil I desired to create a general code of Graeco-Roman or Byzantine law containing a chronological arrangement of legislative acts, both old and new. In other words, he planned to revive the legislative work of Justinian by adapting it to changed conditions, and to add to it the laws which had appeared in later times. The four parts of the Justinian code, written mostly in Latin and very bulky, were usually studied only in their Greek abridged versions, or in expositions, abstracts, and commentaries based on the Latin original. Many of these, though widely used, were very inaccurate and frequently mutilated the original texts. Basil I intended to exclude the old laws annulled by later Novels, and to introduce a number of new laws. The Latin terms and expressions retained in the new code were to be explained in Greek, for Greek was to be the language of Basil’s legislative work. The Emperor himself characterized his attempted reform in the field of law as “a purging of ancient laws” (ἀνακáθαρσις τῶν παλαιῶν νόμων).105
Knowing that the completion of the projected code would take much time, Basil issued meanwhile a smaller work entitled the Prochiron (ὁ πρόχειρoς νόμoς), i.e., a manual of the science of law. This was to supply people interested in legal works with a brief account of the laws by which the Empire was to be ruled. The preface to the Prochiron refers to these laws as laws establishing in the Empire righteousness, “by which alone, according to Solomon, a nation is exalted” (Proverbs 14134).106 The Prochiron was subdivided into forty titles (tituli) and contained the principal norms of civil law and a complete list of penalties for various offenses and crimes. Its main source, especially for the first twenty-one sections, were the Institutes of Justinian. Other parts of the Justinian code were used to a much lesser degree. So usual was the recourse to the Greek revised and abridged versions of this older code that even the compilers of the Prochiron resorted to them rather than to the Latin originals. The Prochiron refers to the Ecloga of Leo and Constantine as a “subversion of the good laws which was useless for the empire,” and states that “it would be unwise to keep it in force.”107 Yet in spite of this harsh judgment, the Ecloga of the Isaurian emperors was apparently so practical and popular that the Prochiron used much of its contents, especially in the titles following the twenty-first. According to the introduction to the Prochiron, all persons interested in a more detailed study of active law were supposed to use the larger code of sixty books, also compiled in Basil’s time.108
By the end of Basil’s reign a new volume of laws was compiled and published under the title of the Epanagoge (ἡ ἐπαναγωγή, “introduction”). Several scholars have somewhat incorrectly considered this legislative work as merely a revised and enlarged Prochiron.109 According to its preface, the Epanagoge was an introduction to the forty volumes of “purified” older laws110 collected also in Basil’s time; it, too, was divided into forty titles. Just what these two collections—one in sixty books mentioned in the Prochiron, the other in forty books mentioned in the Epanagoge—represented, is not certain. They were probably not finished for publication in Basil’s time but formed the foundation of the Basilics published by his successor, Leo VI. Some scholars believe that the Epanagoge was never really published, and remained only in the form of a draft,111 while others hold that this work was an officially published law.112
The Epanagoge differs very greatly from the Prochiron. In the first place, its first part contains entirely new and very interesting chapters on imperial authority, on the power of the patriarch, and other civil and ecclesiastic officials, which gives a very clear picture of the foundations of the public and social structure of the Empire and of the relations of the church to the state.113 In the second place, the materials borrowed for the Epanagoge from the Prochiron are arranged in a new manner. It is almost certain that Patriarch Photius took part in the compilation of the Epanagoge, and his influence is especially evident in the definition of the relation of imperial power to the power of the patriarch, and in the treatment of the position to be occupied by the ecumenical patriarch of New Rome with regard to all the other patriarchs, who were to be considered only as local hierarchs. Following in the footsteps of the Prochiron, the introduction to the Epanagoge refers to the Ecloga of the iconoclastic emperors as “the gossip of the Isaurians, intended to oppose the divine doctrine and to destroy the salutary laws.”114 This part of the Epanagoge speaks also of the complete abrogation of the Ecloga, and yet uses some of its materials.
It may be mentioned here that the Epanagoge, together with a number of other Byzantine legal collections, has been translated into Slavonic, and many extracts from it are to be found in Slavonic codes and in the Russian Book of Rules (the so-called Kormchaia Kniga), or the Administrative Code, mentioned as early as the tenth century. The ideas expressed in the Epanagoge exerted great influence upon the later history of Russia. For instance, the documents concerning the cause of Patriarch Nikon in the time of Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich (seventeenth century) contain direct quotations from the rulings of the Epanagoge with reference to the authority of the Emperor.115
The Prochiron and the Epanagoge, together with the work on the “purification of ancient law,” represent the successful achievements of the time of Basil I. Going back, so to speak, to the elements of the somewhat neglected Roman law, Basil revived Justinian law and brought it closer to the life of his time by adding later laws called forth by changed social and economic conditions.
The Basilics and the Tipucitus.—Basil’s accomplishments in the field of law made it possible for his son and successor, Leo VI the Wise, to publish the Basilics (τὰ βασιλικά), which represented the most complete monument of Graeco-Roman or Byzantine law. In it all parts of Justinian’s code are reshaped and combined into one code written in Greek. For this purpose a commission of qualified jurisconsults was appointed. The name of the Basilics originated not, as was formerly incorrectly supposed, from the name of Basil I, in whose time much material had been prepared for them, but from the Greek word basileus, meaning tsar, emperor; hence the proper translation for the title would be “Imperial Laws.”
The compilation of Leo VI, subdivided into sixty books, followed the aim set out by Basil I: it strove to revive the legislative work of Justinian by omitting laws which had lost their significance or were not applicable to the changed conditions of Byzantine life. The Basilics do not, therefore, represent a complete, literal translation of the Justinian code, but an adaptation of it to the new conditions of life. Some Novels and other legal documents published after Justinian, including even several Novels of Basil I and Leo VI, were also used as sources for the Basilics.116 No one manuscript has preserved the whole of the Basilics, but various manuscripts have preserved parts, so that more than two-thirds of the whole exists.
From the point of view of the reconstruction of the lost books of the Basilics a work of the eleventh or twelfth century is very important, the Tipucitus (Tιπoύειτoς),117 attributed to a Byzantine jurisconsult, Patzes.118 The book is a table of contents of the Basilics, giving the rubrics and most important chapters under each title and indicating analogous passages in all of them. The Tipucitus has not yet been published in its entirety.119
The revived classical code of the Basilics, however, carefully adapted to existing conditions, still remained artificial and inadequate. That is why many parts of the Ecloga remained in force even after the appearance of the Basilics and were later revised and enlarged many times. The Basilics, however, is a colossal achievement in the domain of Byzantine jurisprudence and culture, ranking after the Corpus Iuris Civilis. It is still a book almost under seven seals, and a scientific and exhaustive study of it will undoubtedly reveal new horizons and wide perspectives.120
The Book of the Eparch.— To the time of Leo VI may perhaps be referred a most interesting document, “an invaluable treasure for the internal history of Constantinople,”121 the so-called Book of the Eparch or Book of the Prefect, discovered in Geneva by the Swiss scholar, Nicole, at the end of the nineteenth century.122 The date of this document has not been definitely established. It may have been compiled during the reign of Leo VI or later in the tenth century, perhaps even under Nicephorus Phocas (after 963).123
The rank of eparch or prefect of Constantinople was applied in the Byzantine Empire to the governor of the capital; he was entrusted with almost unlimited authority, and stood, so to speak, on the highest rank of the Byzantine bureaucratic ladder. It was his duty first of all to maintain public order and safety in the capital, and for this purpose he had at his disposal a large body of employees known as the secretum of the eparch. Besides these duties, he also had jurisdiction over the corporations and guilds of craftsmen and traders in the capital. The Book of the Eparch throws much light on this side of Constantinopolitan life, scarcely touched upon by earlier sources. It lists the various ranks of craftsmen and traders, and gives an account of the internal organization of their guilds, of the government’s attitude to them, and so forth. The list of corporations in this document is headed by an organization which in the modern conception would not fall into the general class of craft or trade associations, namely by the corporation of notaries (oἱ ταβoνλλάριoι, tabulant), who, among other things, were required to be familiar with the sixty books of the Basilics. Then follow the guilds of jewelers, silk-producers, silk-weavers, linen-makers, makers of wax, soap, and leather, and the bakers. The list of traders found in the Book of the Eparch speaks of money-changers, traders in silk goods and dresses, dealers in raw silk, sellers of perfumes, wax, and soap; grocers, butchers, sellers of pigs, fish, horses, and bread, and tavern keepers. Each corporation enjoyed a monopoly, and severe penalty was provided for anyone who attempted to pursue two trades, even if they were very similar. The internal life of the guilds, their organization and work, the grant of markets, the regulation of prices and profit, export and import from and to the capital, and many other problems were regulated under very strict government supervision. Free trade and free production were unknown in the Byzantine Empire. The eparch of Constantinople was the only high official who had the right to intervene personally, or through his representatives, in the life of the guilds and regulate their production or trade.124 The account of the Byzantine guilds found in this source provides data for an interesting comparison with the medieval guilds of western Europe.
Over a hundred novels from the period of Leon VI exist, which supply rich material for the internal history of the Byzantine Empire at the end of the ninth and the beginning of the tenth century, and which have not yet been adequately studied and utilized.125
The “powerful” and the “poor.”—The legislative works of Basil I and Leo VI in the ninth and tenth centuries brought about a temporary revival in the field of juridical literature which expressed itself, on the one hand, in the appearance of numerous commentaries and interpretations of the Basilics (such commentaries were usually known as scholia), and, on the other hand, in the publication of various abridged collections and manuals. The tenth century was marked also by an exceedingly interesting tendency in the legislative work of the Byzantine emperors, who were compelled to express through a number of Novels their reaction to one of the most acute questions in the social and economic life of that period, namely, the problem of the excessive development of large landownership, highly detrimental to small peasant landholding and the free peasant community.
In the time of the Macedonian dynasty the class of the “powerful” (δυvατoί), or magnates, had again grown very prominent. At the other extreme stood the class of the “poor” people (πένητες), who may be compared with the poor people (pauperes) of medieval western Europe, and the orphans(siroti) of the Moscow period in Russian history. The poor people of the Byzantine Empire of the tenth century were those small peasant owners and members of organized communes whom heavy taxes and various duties forced to appeal for protection to the powerful magnates and pay for that protection the price of their freedom and independence.
The rise of the powerful in the tenth century, seemingly sudden at first glance, may be partly explained by the aftereffects of the insurrection of Thomas in the third decade of the ninth century. This was especially true of Asia Minor, where the number of large landowners grew to enormous proportions in the tenth century. The severe and lasting nature of this insurrection caused the ruin of a vast number of small landholders, forcing them to transfer their property to their wealthy neighbors. But this was only one of the many causes of the development of large estates. On the whole, the problem of the growth of large landownership in the Byzantine Empire during the ninth and tenth centuries has not yet been sufficiently elucidated.
The rulers of the Macedonian dynasty, at least those from Romanus Lecapenus (919–44) to Basil II, who died in 1025, energetically defended the cause of the small landowners and the peasant communes against the infringements of the powerful. The reasons must be sought in the excessive growth of the large landholdings. The powerful, who controlled a vast number of serfs and immense landed estates, could easily organize and subsidize armies composed of their dependents, and were thus enabled to conspire against the central government. The emperors, by their efforts to crush the strength of the powerful and uphold the interests of the small peasantry and the peasant commune, were at the same time defending their own power and throne, seriously threatened in the tenth century, especially by Asia Minor.
The emperors were also compelled to defend the so-called “military holdings.” Even in the time of the Roman Empire it had been customary to assign land to soldiers on the border lines of the Empire, and sometimes even within the Empire, on the condition that they should continue to serve in the army. These allotments survived until the tenth century, although they were in a state of decline. They, too, were threatened in the ninth and tenth centuries by the powerful, who strove to buy up these military estates just as they did the small peasant holdings. The emperors of this period also made attempts to defend these military fiefs.
The measures taken by the rulers of the Macedonian dynasty in defense of peasant and military landholding were in reality very simple. They prohibited the powerful from buying their way into peasant communities or from acquiring peasant and military allotments. The government’s campaign in this direction was initiated by the publication of a Novel in the year 922 by Romanus I Lecapenus, the co-regent of Constantine Porphyrogenitus. This Novel proposed three regulations: (1) in any sale and temporary or hereditary lease of real estate, i.e., land, houses, vineyards, etc., the preferential right would belong to the peasants and their free commune; (2) the powerful would be forbidden to acquire the property of the poor in any manner, whether it be by donation, will, patronage, purchase, rent, or exchange; (3) the military allotments alienated in any manner during the last thirty years, and also those which were about to be alienated, would be returned to their original owners without any compensation to the holders.
The terrible disasters which occurred in the Empire soon after the publication of this Novel put these measures of Romanus to a difficult trial. The untimely frosts, terrible famine, and pestilence made the lot of the peasants very hard. The powerful took advantage of the desperate position of the peasants and bought up their holdings at very low prices, or for mere trifling amounts of bread. This shocking open practice of the powerful forced Romanus to publish in 934 a second Novel in which he harshly reproved the cruel avidity of the wealthy class, stating that they were “to the unhappy villages like a plague or gangrene, which had eaten its way into the body of the village, bringing it closer to final peril”126 This Novel provided that the peasants from whom the powerful had bought land against the law during or after the year of famine could redeem their holdings at the price at which they had sold it; the new owners were to be removed immediately after payment was made by the peasant. After a brief remark about the successful operations of the Byzantine army, the Novel contained the following concluding statement: “If we have attained such success in our struggle with our external enemies, then how can we fail to crush our domestic and internal enemies of nature, men, and good order, through our rightful desire of freedom and the sharpness of the present law?”127
But this decree of Romanus failed to halt the development of large land-ownership and the dissolution of small peasant households and communities. In a subsequent Novel of Constantine Porphyrogenitus it was officially stated that the older laws were not observed. The restrictions placed upon the rich in Constantine’s reign surpassed those of Romanus. Nicephorus Phocas, who rose to the throne through his marriage to the widow of Romanus II, was a member of the powerful class, and, quite naturally, understood and favored the interests of that class more than any of his predecessors. In the words of V. G. Vasilievsky, the Novel of Nicephorus Phocas “unquestionably indicates a certain reaction in the field of legislation in favor of the powerful class, even though it speaks only of an equally just treatment of both sides.”128 This Novel stated that “ancient legislators considered all rulers as champions of justice, calling them a general and equal benefit to all,” and indicates that the predecessors of Nicephorus Phocas have deviated from this original ideal. “They completely neglected to care for the prosperity of the powerful, and did not even permit them to remain in possession of what they had already acquired.”129 By the abrogation of previous rulings, Nicephorus Phocas gave new freedom to the lawlessness and growth of the powerful class.
The sternest foe of the powerful class was Basil II Bulgaroctonus. Two leaders of the powerful families of Asia Minor, Bardas Phocas and Bardas Sclerus, rebelled against the Emperor and nearly deprived him of the throne. Only the intervention of the Russian auxiliary corps sent by Prince Vladimir prevented the fall of the Emperor. It is not surprising, therefore, that Basil II viewed the large landowners as his most dangerous enemies, and was very harsh and unscrupulous in his treatment of them. Once, in passing through Cappadocia, Basil and his entire army were lavishly entertained in the enormous estate of Eustathius Maleinus. Suspecting that his host might be a possible rival, and fearing that he might attempt to follow in the footsteps of Phocas and Sclerus, the Emperor took him to the capital and forced him to remain there to the end of his days. After the death of Maleinus, his vast estates were confiscated. A similar incident was related in the Novel itself. The story stated that the Emperor heard that a certain Philocales of Asia Minor, a poor peasant by birth, had become famous and wealthy, attained high rank in service, and had seized the village in which he lived and transformed it into his own estate, changing even its name. Basil ordered that all the magnificent buildings which belonged to Philocales should be completely destroyed and razed to the ground and the land returned to the poor. By the orders of the Emperor Philocales himself was again reduced to the state of a simple peasant.130 There is no doubt that the families of Phocas, Sclerus, and Maleinus, and such individuals as Philocales, were only a few of the large landowning class of Asia Minor.
The famous Novel of 996 abolished the forty years’ prescription which protected the rights of the powerful who had illegally seized peasant estates and who tried “to extend this term either by means of gifts, or by means of power, in order to acquire final ownership of that which they had acquired from the poor by wicked means.”131 The estates acquired by the powerful from village communities previous to the issue of Romanus’ first law were to remain in the hands of the powerful only if the latter could prove their rights of ownership by written evidence or by a sufficient number of witnesses. The Novel stated that the demands of the treasury could not consider any prescription; hence the state “may claim its rights by going back to the time of Caesar Augustus.”132 The problem of military fiefs also compelled the Macedonian rulers to issue several novels.
In addition to the Novel of 996, Basil II issued a decree concerning the tax called allelengyon, meaning mutual warrant (ἀλληλέγγυòov). As far back as the early part of the ninth century (in so far as the brief statement on this point in one of the sources shows)133Emperor Nicephorus I issued orders which placed upon their richer neighbors the responsibility for the full payment of taxes of the poor. The allelengyon as a tax was nothing new. It represented a continuation, and at the same time a variation, of the late Roman system of the epibole (see in discussion of Anastasius): “Theallelengyon system of payment imposed excessively heavy charges on the peasantry, and this sufficiently explains why membership of a village community was considered burdensome, and why a peasant usually preferred to own a detached property.”134 The orders of Nicephorus I aroused so much hatred toward the Emperor that his successors were apparently compelled to forsake this tax. When the need of money for the upkeep of the Bulgarian war became very great and the desire to deal the powerful a heavy blow had grown very strong in Basil II, he revived the law which made the wealthy landowners responsible for the taxes of the poor, if the latter were unable to pay them. If this measure, so strongly defended by Basil II, had remained in force for a long time, it might have gone far to ruin the powerful owners of both ecclesiastical and temporal estates. But theallelengyon was enforced only for a brief period of time. In the first half of the eleventh century Romanus III Argyrus, who acquired the throne through his marriage to Zoë, the daughter of Constantine VIII, urged by his interest in the welfare of the powerful and by his desire to find a way for reconciliation with the higher clergy and landed nobility, repealed the hated allelengyon.
On the whole, the decrees of the Macedonian emperors of the tenth century, though limiting to some extent the encroachments of the powerful, accomplished very few definite results. In the eleventh century the famous Novels were gradually forgotten and abandoned. The same century witnessed a material change in the internal policy of the Byzantine emperors, who began to favor and openly protect large landownership, hastening the wide development of serfdom. Still, the free peasant commune and the free small landowners did not disappear entirely from the Empire. These institutions continued to exist and will be discussed in connection with later periods.
The provincial administration of the Empire in the ninth century and in the time of the Macedonian dynasty continued to develop along the path of theme organization, discussed in an earlier chapter. This development expressed itself, on the one hand, in the further breaking up of the older themes and consequently in the increase in the number of themes, and, on the other hand, in elevating to the position of themes districts which previously had borne some other name, such as clisurae.
Both exarchates, which are considered by historians as the true precursors of themes, had become alienated from the Empire: the Carthagenian or African exarchate was conquered by the Arabs in the middle of the seventh century, while the Ravenna exarchate was occupied in the first half of the eighth century by the Longobards, who were soon forced to cede the conquered territories of this exarchate to the Frankish king, Pippin the Brief. He, in his turn, handed them over to the pope in 754, thereby laying the foundations for the famous medieval papal state. In the seventh century the Byzantine Empire had, in addition to the exarchates, five military governments which did not yet bear the name of themes. At the beginning of the ninth century there were ten themes: five Asiatic, four European, and one maritime. On the basis of data found in the works of the Arabian geographer of the ninth century, Ibn-Khurdadhbah, and in other sources, historians claim that there were twenty-five military districts in the ninth century, but that not all of these were themes. Among them were included two clisurarchiae, one ducatus, and two archontatus. The ceremonial treatise of precedence at court, written by the court marshal (atriclines), Philotheus, in 899 and usually included as part of the so-called book on Ceremonies of the Byzantine Court of the time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, lists twenty-five themes.135 In his work Concerning Themes (tenth century), Constantine Porphyrogenitus gives a list of twenty-nine themes: seventeen Asiatic, including the four sea themes, and twelve European, including the Sicilian theme, part of which formed the theme of Calabria in the tenth century after the Arabian conquest of Sicily proper. The twelve European themes included also the theme of Cherson (Korsun) in the Crimea, founded probably as far back as the ninth century, and frequently referred to as “the Klimata” or “Gothic Klimata.” The list published by V. Beneševič and attributed to the reign of Romanus Lecapenus before 921–927 gives thirty themes.136 In the eleventh century the number rose to thirty-eight.137 Most of them were governed by a military governor, the strategus. Because of the frequent changes in the number of themes, and because of the lack of sources on the historical development of the theme organization, knowledge of this important side of Byzantine life is still very limited and inexact.
Something should be said of the clisurae and the clisurarchs. The name clisura, which even today means a “mountain pass” in Greek, was applied in the Byzantine period to a “frontier fortress” with limited neighboring territory, or, more generally, to “a small province” ruled by a clisurarch,whose authority was not as great as that of the strategus, and did not, in all probability, combine both military and civil responsibilities. Some of the clisurae, as, for instance, those of Seleucia, Sebastea in Asia Minor, and a few others, eventually rose in importance by being transformed into themes.
The strategi who stood at the head of the themes had a large body of subordinates. At least in the time of Leo VI the Wise the strategi of the eastern themes, including the sea themes, were receiving definite maintenance from the government treasury, while the strategi of the western themes were supported by the revenues of their respective districts and not by the treasury.
The theme organization had reached the highest stage of its development in the time of the Macedonian dynasty. After this period the system began to decline gradually, partly because of the conquests of the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor, and partly because of the changes which took place in Byzantine life during the period of crusades.
THE TIME OF TROUBLES (1056–81)
As early as 1025, after the death of Basil II Bulgaroctonus, the Empire entered upon a period of troubles, frequent changes of accidental rulers, and the beginning of a general decline. Empress Zoë succeeded in raising each of her three husbands to the throne. In the year 1056, with the death of Empress Theodora, Zoë’s sister, the Macedonian dynasty was definitely extinguished. A period of troubles set in and lasted for twenty-five years (1056–81). It ended only with the accession of Alexius Comnenus, the founder of the famous dynasty of the Comneni.
This period, characterized externally by frequent changes on the throne, which was occupied for the most part by incapable emperors, was a very significant period in the history of the Byzantine Empire; for during these twenty-five years those conditions developed in the Empire which later called forth the crusade movements in the West.
During this period the external enemies of the Byzantine Empire exerted pressure on all sides: the Normans were active in the west, the Patzinaks and Uzes in the north, and the Seljuq Turks in the east. In the end the territory of the Byzantine Empire was considerably reduced.
Another distinguishing feature of this period was the struggle waged by the military element and the large landowning nobility (especially that of Asia Minor) against the central bureaucratic government. This struggle between the provinces and the capital ended, after a number of fluctuations, in the victory of the army and the landowners, which was a victory of the provinces over the capital. Alexius Comnenus was at the head of the victorious side.
All the Emperors of the period of troubles of the eleventh century were of Greek origin. In the year 1056 the aged Empress Theodora was compelled by the court party to select as her successor the aged patrician, Michael Stratioticus. Theodora died soon after her choice had been made, and Michael VI Stratioticus, the candidate of the court party, remained on the throne for about a year (1056–57). Against him an opposition formed, headed by the army of Asia Minor, which proclaimed as emperor their general, Isaac Comnenus, a representative of a large landowning family famous for his struggle with the Turks. This was the first victory of the military party over the central government during the period of troubles. Michael Stratioticus was forced to abdicate and spend the remainder of his days as a private individual.
This victory of the military party was short-lived. Isaac Comnenus ruled only from 1057 to 1059, and renounced the throne and took holy orders. The reasons for his abdication are still not very clear. It may be that Isaac Comnenus was a victim of skillful plotting on the part of those who were dissatisfied with his independent active rule. It is known that he considered the interests of the treasury of primary importance, and in order to increase its income he laid his hands upon lands illegally acquired by large landowners, secular as well as ecclesiastic, and reduced the salaries of high officials. It seems probable that the famous scholar and statesman, Michael Psellus, had something to do with this conspiracy against Isaac Comnenus.
Isaac was succeeded by Constantine X Ducas (1059–67). This gifted financier and defender of true justice devoted all his attention to the affairs of civil government. The army and military affairs in general interested him very little. His reign may be characterized as a reaction of the civil administration against the military element which had triumphed in the time of Isaac Comnenus, or as the reaction of the capital against the provinces. It was “the unhappy time of the domination of bureaucrats, rhetoricians, and scholars.”138And yet the threatening advances of the Patzinaks and Uzes from the north and the Seljuq Turks from the east did not justify the antimilitary nature of Constantine’s administration. The Empire was urgently in need of a ruler who could organize the necessary resistance to the enemy. Even such an anti-militarist of the eleventh century as Michael Psellus wrote: “The army is the backbone of the Roman state.”139 In view of this a strong opposition was formed against the Emperor. When he died in 1067 imperial authority passed for a few months to his wife. Eudo3cia Macrembolitissa. The military party compelled her to marry the capable general Romanus Diogenes, born in Cappadocia. He ascended the throne as Romanus IV Diogenes and ruled from 1067 to 1071.
His accession marks the second victory of the military party. The four years rule of this soldier-emperor ended very tragically for him when he was captured and became a prisoner of the Turkish sultan. Great tumult arose in the capital when it received the news of the Emperor’s captivity. After some hesitation a new emperor was proclaimed, the son of Eudocia Macrembolitissa by Constantine Ducas, her first husband, and a pupil of Michael Psellus. He is known in history as Michael VII Ducas, surnamed Parapinakes.140Eudocia found protection by assuming the veil. When Romanus had been set free by the Sultan and had returned to the capital, he found the throne occupied by a new ruler, and in spite of the fact that he was given the assurance of personal safety upon his return, he was barbarously blinded and died shortly after.
Michael VII Ducas Parapinakes (1071–78) was fond of learning, scholarly disputes, and verse-writing, and was not at all inclined toward military activity. He restored the bureaucratic regime of his father, Constantine Ducas, which was unsuitable to the external position of the Empire. The new successes of the Turks and Patzinaks were persistently demanding that the Empire be guided by a soldier-emperor supported by the army, which alone could save it from ruin. In this respect “the spokesman of popular needs, who gave hopes of fulfilling them”141 was the strategus of one of the themes in Asia Minor, Nicephorus Botaniates. He was proclaimed emperor in Asia Minor and forced Parapinakes to assume the cowl and retire to a monastery. He then entered the capital and was crowned by the patriarch. He remained on the throne from 1078 until 1081, but as a result of old age and physical weakness he was unable to deal with either internal or external difficulties. At the same time the large landowning aristocracy in the provinces did not recognize his rights to the throne, and many pretenders who disputed these rights appeared in various parts of the Empire. One of them, Alexius Comnenus, a nephew of the former Emperor, Isaac Comnenus, who was also related to the ruling family of Ducas, showed much skill in utilizing the existing conditions for reaching his goal, the throne. Botaniates had abdicated and retired to a monastery, where he later took holy orders. In the year 1081 Alexius Comnenus was crowned emperor and put an end to the period of troubles. The accession of this first ruler of the dynasty of the Comneni in the eleventh century marked still another victory of the military party and large provincial landowners.
It was very natural that during such frequent changes of rulers and unceasing hidden and open strife for the throne the external policy of the Empire should have suffered greatly and caused Byzantium to descend from the high position it had occupied in the medieval world. This decline was furthered by the complicated and dangerous external conditions brought about by the successful operations of the main enemies of the Empire: the Seljuq Turks in the east, the Patzinaks and Uzes in the north, and the Normans in the west.
The Seljuq Turks
The Byzantine Empire had known the Turks for a long time. A project of a Turko-Byzantine alliance existed in the second half of the sixth century. The Turks also served in Byzantium as mercenaries as well as the imperial bodyguard.142 They were numerous in the ranks of the Arabian army on the eastern borders of the Empire, and they took an active part in the taking as well as the plundering of Amorion in 838. But these relations and conflicts with the Turks were of little or no consequence to the Empire until the eleventh century. With the appearance of the Seljuq Turks on the eastern border in the first half of the eleventh century conditions changed.143
The Seljuqs, or Seljucids, were the descendants of the Turkish prince Seljuq, who was in the service of a Turkestan khan about the year 1000. From the Kirghiz steppes Seljuq had migrated with his tribe to Transoxiana, near Bukhara, where he and his people embraced Islam. In a short period of time the strength of the Seljuqs had increased to such an extent that the two grandsons of Seljuq were able to lead the savage Turkish hordes into attacks on Khorasan (Khurasan).
The aggressive movement of the Seljuqs in western Asia created a new epoch in Muslim, as well as in Byzantine, history. In the eleventh century the caliphate was no longer a united whole. Spain, Africa, and Egypt had long since led a political life independent of the caliph of Bagdad. Syria, Mesopotamia, and Persia were also divided among various independent dynasties and separate rulers. After their conquest of Persia in the middle of the eleventh century the Seljuqs penetrated into Mesopotamia and entered Bagdad. From now on the caliph of Bagdad was under the protection of the Seljucids, whose sultans did not reside at Bagdad, but exercised their authority in this important city through a general. Shortly after this, when the strength of the Seljuq Turks increased still more because of the arrival of new Turkish tribes, they conquered all of western Asia, from Afghanistan to the borders of the Byzantine Empire in Asia Minor, and the Egyptian caliphate of the Fatimids.
From the middle of the eleventh century the Seljuqs became a very prominent factor in the history of the Byzantine Empire, for they began to menace its border provinces in Asia Minor and in the Caucasus. In the fourth decade of the eleventh century Constantine IX Monomachus annexed to the Empire Armenia with its new capital, Ani. Armenia was therefore no longer a buffer state between the Empire and the Turks; when it was attacked, Byzantine territory was attacked. Moreover in this attack the Turks were very successful. Turkish troops were also advancing into Asia Minor.
During the very active, though very brief, rule of Isaac Comnenus, the eastern border was well defended against the attacks of the Seljuqs. But after his fall the antimilitary policy of Constantine Ducas weakened the military power of Asia Minor and facilitated the advance of the Turks into Byzantine districts. It is not unlikely, according to one historian, that the government viewed “the misfortunes of these stubborn and arrogant provinces” with some pleasure. “The East, like Italy, paid a heavy price for the mistakes of the central government.”144 Under Constantine X Ducas, and during the subsequent seven months’ rule of his wife, Eudocia Macrembolitissa, the second of the Seljuq sultans, Alp Arslan, conquered Armenia and devastated part of Syria, Cilicia, and Cappadocia. In Caesarea, the capital of Cappadocia, the Turks pillaged the main sanctuary of the city, the Church of Basil the Great, where the relics of the saint were kept.145 A Byzantine chronicler wrote of the time of Michael Parapinakes (1071–1078): “Under this emperor almost the whole world, on land and sea, occupied by the impious barbarians, has been destroyed and has become empty of population, for all Christians have been slain by them and all houses and settlements with their churches have been devastated by them in the whole East, completely crushed and reduced to nothing.”146
The military party found a husband for Eudocia in the person of Romanus Diogenes. The new Emperor conducted several campaigns against the Turks and achieved some success in the early battles. His army, made up of various tribes—Macedonian Slavs, Bulgarians, Uzes, Patzinaks, Varangians, and Franks (a name applied in this period to all western European nationalities)— lacked good training and solid organization and was not able to offer strong resistance to the rapid movement of the Turkish cavalry and their quick and bold nomadic attacks. The most untrustworthy part of the Byzantine army was the Uze and Patzinak light cavalry, which, in the course of their conflicts with the Turks, immediately felt a tribal kinship with the latter.
The last campaign of Romanus Diogenes ended with the fatal battle of 1071 near Manzikert (Manazkert, now Melazgherd), in Armenia, north of Lake Van. Shortly before the combat the detachment of Uzes with their leader went over to the side of the Turks. This caused great unrest in the army of Romanus Diogenes. At the crisis of the battle one of the Byzantine generals began to spread the rumor of the defeat of the imperial army. The soldiers became panic-stricken and turned to flight. Romanus, who fought heroically throughout the battle, was captured by the Turks, and upon his arrival in the enemy’s camp was greeted with great honor by Alp Arslan.
The victor and the vanquished negotiated an “eternal” peace and a treaty of friendship whose main points, as indicated in Arabian sources, were: (1) Romanus Diogenes obtained his freedom by the payment of a definite sum of money; (2) Byzantium was to pay a large annual tribute to Alp Arslan; (3) Byzantium was to return all Turkish captives.147 Romanus upon his return to Constantinople found the throne occupied by Michael VII Ducas; Romanus was blinded by his foes, and died shortly after.
The battle of Manzikert had marked consequences for the Empire. Although according to the treaty the Byzantine Empire probably ceded no territory to Alp Arslan,148 its losses were very great, for the army which defended the borders of Asia Minor was so completely destroyed that the Empire was unable to resist the later advance of the Turks there. The woeful condition of the Empire was further aggravated by the weak antimilitary administration of Michael VII Ducas. The defeat at Manzikert was a death blow to Byzantine domination in Asia Minor, that most essential part of the Byzantine Empire. After the year 1071 there was no longer a Byzantine army to resist the Turks. One scholar goes so far as to say that after this battle all of the Byzantine state was in the hands of the Turks.149 Another historian calls the battle “the death hour of the great Byzantine Empire,” and continues that “although its consequences, in all their horrible aspects, were not felt at once, the East of Asia Minor, Armenia, and Cappadocia—the provinces which were the homes of so many famous emperors and warriors and which constituted the main strength of the Empire—were lost forever, and the Turk set up his nomadic tents on the ruins of ancient Roman glory. The cradle of civilization fell prey to Islamic barbarism and to complete brutalization.”150
During the years which elapsed from the catastrophe of 1071 to the accession of Alexius Comnenus in 1081, the Turks took advantage of the unprotected position of the Empire and the internal strife of it’s parties, who frequently appealed for aid, and penetrated still deeper into the life of Byzantium. Separate detachments of Turks reached as far as the western provinces of Asia Minor. The Turkish troops which aided Nicephorus Botaniates in his seizure of the throne accompanied him as far as Nicaea and Chrysopolis (now Scutari).
In addition, after the death of Romanus Diogenes and Alp Arslan, neither Turks nor Empire considered themselves bound by the treaty negotiated by these rulers. The Turks utilized every occasion for pillaging Byzantine provinces in Asia Minor, and, according to a contemporary Byzantine chronicler, entered these provinces not as momentary bandits but as permanent masters.151 This statement, however, is exaggerated, at least for the period prior to 1081. As J. Laurent asserted, “In 1080, seven years after their first appearance on the shores of the Bosphorus, the Turks had yet been established nowhere; they had founded no state; they had been always merely errant and disorderly pillagers.”152 The successor of Alp Arslan entrusted military leadership in Asia Minor to Suleiman-ibn-Qutalmish, who occupied the central part of Asia Minor and later founded there the sultanate of Rum, or Asia Minor.153 Since its capital was the richest and most beautiful Byzantine city in Asia Minor, Iconium (now Konia), this state of the Seljuqs is often called the sultanate of Iconium.154 From its central position in Asia Minor the new sultanate spread out as far as the Black Sea in the north and the Mediterranean coast in the south, and became a dangerous rival of the Empire. The Turkish troops continued to move farther to the west, and the forces of the Byzantine Empire were not strong enough to oppose them.
The onward movement of the Seljuqs and perhaps the menacing advances of the northern Uzes and Patzinaks toward the capital compelled Michael VII Ducas Parapinakes, in the early part of his reign, to appeal for western aid by sending a message to Pope Gregory VII, promising to repay the pope’s assistance by bringing about a union of the churches. Gregory VII reacted favorably and sent a number of messages to the princes of western Europe and to “all Christians (ad omnes christianos), in which he stated that “the pagans were exerting great pressure upon the Christian Empire and had devastated with unheard-of cruelty everything almost as far as the walls of Constantinople.”155 But Gregory’s appeals brought about no material results, and no aid was sent from the West. Meanwhile, the pope became involved in the long and severe struggle for investiture with the German king Henry IV. At the time of the accession of Alexius Comnenus it became very evident that the westward movement of the Seljuqs was the deadliest menace to the Empire.
Toward the end of the Macedonian period the Patzinaks were the most dangerous northern enemies of the Byzantine Empire. The imperial government gave them permission to settle in the districts north of the Balkans, and bestowed Byzantine court ranks upon several Patzinak princes. But these measures provided no real solution to the Patzinak problem, first because the Patzinaks were unable to accustom themselves to a settled life, and also because new hordes of Patzinaks and their kinsmen, the Uzes, were continually arriving from beyond the Danube, directing their entire attention to the south, where they could raid Byzantine territory. Isaac Comnenus was very successful in opposing the advances of the Patzinaks, “who had crawled out of their caves.”156 He restored Byzantine authority on the Danube, and was also able to offer strong opposition to the attacks of the Turks.
In the time of Constantine Ducas the Uzes appeared on the Danube. “This was an actual migration; an entire tribe, numbering 600,000, with all its goods and chattels, was crowded on the left bank of the river. All efforts to prevent their crossing were in vain.”157The districts of Thessalonica, Macedonia, Thrace, and even Hellas became subject to terrible devastation. One contemporary Byzantine historian remarks even that “the entire population of Europe was considering (at that time) the question of emigration.”158 When this terrible menace was removed the mass of people ascribed their relief to miraculous aid from above. Some of the Uzes even entered the Emperors service and received certain government lands in Macedonia. The Patzinaks and Uzes who served in the Byzantine army played an important part in the fatal battle at Manzikert.
The new financial policy of Michael VII Ducas Parapinakes, who on the advice of his prime minister reduced the money gifts usually sent to the cities of the Danube, aroused unrest among the Patzinaks and Uzes of the Da-nubian districts. They formed an alliance with the nomads on the other side of the Danube, reached an agreement with one of the Byzantine generals who rebelled against the Emperor, and, together with other tribes, including perhaps the Slavs, moved on to the south, pillaged the province of Hadrianople, and besieged Constantinople, which suffered greatly from lack of provisions. At this critical moment Michael Parapinakes, under pressure of the Seljuq and Patzinak attacks, sent the appeal for aid to Pope Gregory VII.
The skillful plotting of Byzantine diplomacy succeeded, apparently, in sowing discord among the allied forces which surrounded the capital. They raised the siege and returned to the banks of the Danube with rich spoils. By the end of this period the Patzinaks were active participants in the struggle between Nicephorus Botaniates and Alexius Comnenus for the Byzantine throne.
The Uze and Patzinak problem was not settled in the time of troubles, which preceded the time of the Comneni dynasty. This northern Turkish menace, which at times threatened the capital itself, was handed down to the dynasty of the Comneni.
Toward the end of the period of the Macedonian dynasty the Normans appeared in Italy, and, taking advantage of the internal difficulties in the Byzantine Empire and its breach with Rome, began to advance successfully into the southern Italian possessions of the Empire. The eastern government could do nothing against this menace because its entire forces were thrown into the struggle with the Seljuq Turks, who, together with the Patzinaks and Uzes in the north, seemed to be the natural allies of the Normans. To use the words of Neumann, “the Empire defended itself in Italy only with its left arm.”159 A strong weapon of the Normans in their struggle with the Byzantine Empire was their fleet, which in a later period was a great aid to the Norman land forces. In the middle of the eleventh century the Normans had also a very capable leader in the person of Robert Guiscard, “who, from a chief of brigands, rose to the rank of a founder of an Empire.”160
The main object of Robert Guiscard was the conquest of Byzantine southern Ital Although the Byzantine Empire was confronted with many grave difficulties, the struggle in Italy in the fifties and sixties of the eleventh century progressed with alternating success. Robert conquered Brindisi, Tarentum, and Reggio (Rhegium); yet a few years later the first two cities were conquered by Byzantine troops sent to Bari, which numbered Varangians among their soldiers. In a later period of this struggle success was on the side of the Normans.
Robert Guiscard besieged Bari, which was at that time the main center of Byzantine domination in southern Italy, and one of the most strongly fortified cities of the peninsula. It was only through cunning methods that, in the ninth century, the Muslims had succeeded in occupying Bari for a brief period of time. In the same century the city offered very stubborn resistance to the western Emperor Lewis II. Robert’s siege of Bári was a difficult military undertaking, greatly aided by the Norman fleet, which blockaded the port. The siege lasted about three years and ended in the spring of 1071, when Bari was compelled to yield to Robert.161
The fall of Bari signified the end of Byzantine domination in southern Italy. From this very important point in Apulia Robert could quickly achieve the final conquest of the small remnants of Byzantine dominions in the inner parts of Italy. This conquest of southern Italy also set Robert’s forces free for the reconquest of Sicily from the Muslims.
The subjection of southern Italy by the Normans did not destroy all of Byzantine influence. The admiration for the Eastern Empire, its traditions, and its splendor was still felt very strongly throughout the West. The Western Empire of Charlemagne, or that of Otto of Germany, represented in many ways a reflection of the eastern customs, ideas, and external living conditions sanctified by many centuries. The Norman conquerors of southern Italy, as represented by Robert Guiscard, must have felt a still greater fascination in the Byzantine Empire.
Robert, the duke of Apulia, who considered himself the legal successor of the Byzantine emperors, preserved the Byzantine administrative organization in the conquered districts. Thus we find that Norman documents speak of the theme of Calabria, and indicate that cities were governed by strategi or exarchs and that the Normans were striving to attain Byzantine titles. The Greek language was preserved in the church services of Calabria, while in some districts Greek was used as the official language in the time of theNormans. Generally speaking, the conquerors and the conquered lived side by side, without merging, maintaining their own language, customs, and habits.
The ambitious plans of Robert Guiscard went beyond the limited territories of southern Italy. Well aware of the internal weakness of the Byzantine Empire and her grave external difficulties, the Norman conqueror began to dream of seizing the imperial crown of the basileus.
The fall of Bari in the spring of 1071 and the fatal battle of Manzikert in August of the same year make it evident that the year 1071 was one of the most important dates in the course of the whole Byzantine history. Southern Italy was definitely lost in the West, and in the East the domination of the Empire in Asia Minor was doomed. Territorially reduced and deprived of her main vital source, Asia Minor, the Eastern Empire considerably declined from the second half of the eleventh century. Notwithstanding some revival under the Comneni, the Empire was gradually yielding its political as well as its economic importance to the states of Western Europe.
Emperor Michael VII Ducas Parapinakes fully understood the extent of Robert’s menace to the Empire and wanted to avert it by means of intermarriage between the two royal houses. The Emperor’s son became engaged to Robert’s daughter. But this did not seem to relieve the existing situation, and after Michael’s deposition the Normans resumed their hostilities against the Empire. At the time of the accession of the Comneni they were already preparing to transfer their military attacks from Italy to the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. The period of troubles which resulted in the retreat of imperial power on all borders of the Empire, both in Asia and in Europe, and which was characterized by almost incessant internal strife, left for the new dynasty of the Comneni a very difficult political heritage.
EDUCATION, LEARNING, LITERATURE; AND ART
The time of the Macedonian dynasty, marked by stirring activity in the field of external and internal affairs, was also a period of intense development in the sphere of learning, literature, education, and art. This epoch witnessed the clearest exhibition of the characteristic traits of Byzantine learning, expressed in the progress of a closer union between secular and theological elements or the reconciliation of the ancient pagan wisdom with the new ideas of Christianity in the development of universal and encyclopedic knowledge, and finally, in the lack of original and creative genius. During this period the higher school of Constantinople was once more the center of education, learning, and literature, about which the best cultural forces of the Empire were gathered.
Emperor Leo VI the Wise, a pupil of Photius, though not endowed with great literary genius, wrote several sermons, church hymns, and other works. His greatest service was expressed in his efforts to uphold the intellectual atmosphere created by Photius, so that, in the words of one historian, he “made for himself a place of honor in the history of Byzantine education in general, and of its ecclesiastical education in particular.”162 Leo favored and protected all men of learning and letters; in his time “the imperial palace was sometimes transformed into a new academy and lyceum.”163
The outstanding figure in the cultural movement of the tenth century was Emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who did much for the intellectual progress of Byzantium, not only by protecting education, but also by contributing many original writings. Constantine left all government affairs to Romanus Lecapenus, and devoted the greater part of his time to the field which interested him. He succeeded in becoming the heart of an intense literary and scholarly movement to which he contributed greatly by active participation. He wrote much, induced others to write, and attempted to raise the education of his people to a higher level. His name is closely connected with the erection of many magnificent buildings; he was passionately interested in art and music, and spent large sums of money on the compilation of anthologies from ancient writers.
A large number of writings of the time of Constantine VII in the tenth century are preserved. Some of them were written by Constantine himself, others with his personal aid, while still others, in the form of anthologies of ancient texts and encyclopedias with extracts on various questions, were compiled at his suggestion. Among his works are his eulogistic biography of his grandfather, Basil I. Another work, On the Administration of the Empire, dedicated to his son and successor, contains interesting and valuable information about the geography of foreign countries, the relations of the Byzantine Empire with neighboring nations, and Byzantine diplomacy. This work opens with chapters on the northern peoples, the Patzinaks, Russians, Uzes, Khazars, Magyars (Turks), who, especially the first two, played a dominating part in the political and economic life of the tenth century. It also deals with Arabs, Armenians, Bulgarians, Dalmatians, Franks, southern Italians, Venetians, and some other peoples. The work contains also the names of the rapids of the Dnieper, given in two languages, “Slavonic” and “Russian,” that is, Scandinavian. It is one of the most important bases on which rests the theory of the Scandinavian origin of the first “Russian” princes. It was composed between 948 and 952 (or 951) and written in an order different from that of the modern published text. Bury, who wrote a special study on the treatise, called it a patchwork.164 It gives, however, an impressive idea of the political, diplomatic, and economic power of the Empire in the tenth century.165 Much geographical material is found also in his third work, On Themes, based partly on geographical works of the fifth and sixth centuries. It was also in his time that the large work On the Ceremonies of the Byzantine Court was compiled. This was primarily a detailed description of the complicated code of life at the imperial court, and might almost be considered as a book of “court regulations.” It was compiled chiefly on the basis of official court records of various periods, and the data found in it on baptism, marriage, coronation, burial of emperors, on various church solemnities, on the reception of foreign ambassadors, on the equipment of military expeditions, on offices and titles, and many other aspects of life form an invaluable source for the study, not only of the life at court, but also of the social life of the whole Empire. The Byzantine court ceremonial which sprang up and developed out of the court ceremonies of the late Roman Empire of the time of Diocletian and Constantine the Great later penetrated the court life of western Europe and the Slavonic states, including Russia. Even some of the court ceremonies of Turkey of the twentieth century bear traces of Byzantine influence. Constantine is also responsible for the lengthy account of the triumphant removal of the miraculous image of the Saviour from Edessa to Contantinople in the year 944. Popular tradition claimed that this image had been originally sent by Christ to the Prince of Edessa.
From the circle of literary and scholarly men gathered about Constantine came the historian Joseph Genesius, the author of a history from the time of Leo V to that of Leo VI (813–86), and Theodore Daphnopates, who wrote a historical work which has not survived, some diplomatic letters, several sermons for Christian holidays, and a number of biographies. At the instance of the Emperor, Constantine the Rhodian wrote a poetic description of the Church of the Apostles, which is especially valuable because it gives us a picture of this famous church which was later destroyed by the Turks.
Among the encyclopedias which appeared under Constantine was the famous collection of Li ves of Saints, compiled by Simeon Metaphrastes. To the early tenth century belongs also the Anthologia Palatina, compiled by Constantine Kephalas. It derives its name from the only manuscript, the Codex Palatinus, which is now at Heidelberg, Germany. The claim of some scholars that Constantine Kephalas was no other than Constantine the Rhodian should be considered improbable. The Anthologia Palatina is a large collection of short poems of both Christian and pagan times, and stands out as an example of the fine literary taste of the tenth century.166
The time of Constantine Porphyrogenitus witnessed also the compilation of the famous Lexicon of Suidas. There is no information whatever on the life and personality of the author of this lexicon, which is the richest source for the explanation of words, proper names, and articles of general use. The literary and historical articles concerning works which have not come down to the present are of especially great value. In spite of many shortcomings, “the Lexicon of Suidas is a lofty monument of the compilatory diligence of Byzantine scholars at the time when the learned activity of the rest of Europe had completely declined. This was a new evidence of the wide extent to which the Byzantine Empire, in spite of all the internal and external upheavals, preserved and developed the remnants of ancient culture.”167
Another eminent figure of the period of the Macedonian dynasty was Arethas, archbishop of Caesarea, in the early part of the tenth century. His broad education and profound interest in literary works, both ecclesiastic and secular, were reflected in his own writings. His Greek commentary on the Apocalypse, the first as far as is known, his notes on Plato, Lucían, and Eusebius, and finally his valuable collection of letters, preserved in one of the Moscow manuscripts and still unpublished, indicate that Arethas of Caesarea was an outstanding figure in the cultural movement of the tenth century.168
Patriarch Nicholas Mysticus, well known for his active part in the ecclesiastical life of this period, left a valuable collection of over 150 letters. It contains messages written to the Arabian Emir of Crete, to Simeon of Bulgaria, to the popes, to Emperor Romanus Lecapenus, to bishops, monks, and various officials of civil administration. From them come materials on the internal and political history of the tenth century.
Leo the Deacon, a contemporary of Basil II and an eyewitness of the events of the Bulgarian war, left a history in ten books which covers the time from 959–975 and contains accounts of the Arabian, Bulgarian, and Russian campaigns of the Empire. This history is all the more valuable because it is the only contemporary Greek source dealing with the brilliant period of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces. The work of Leo the Deacon is also invaluable for the first pages of Russian history because of the extensive data on Sviatoslav and his war with the Greeks.
The monograph of John Cameniates, a priest of Thessalonica, on the Arabian conquest of Thessalonica in 904, of which Cameniates was an eyewitness, has already been mentioned.
Among the chroniclers of this period was the anonymous continuator of Theophanes (Theophanes Continuatus), who described events from 813 to 961 on the basis of the works of Genesius, of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, and of the continuator of George Hamartolus. The question of the identity of the author of this compilation is still unsolved.169
The group of chroniclers of the tenth century are usually represented by four men: Leo the Grammarian, Theodosius of Melitene, the anonymous Continuator of George Hamartolus, and Symeon Magister and Logothete, the so-called Pseudo-Symeon Magister. But these are not original writers; all of them were copyists, abbreviators, or revisers of the Chronicle of Symeon Logothete, whose complete Greek text has not yet been published. There is, however, a published Old Slavonic version of it so that a fairly good idea can be formed of the unpublished Greek text.170
To the tenth century belongs also a very interesting figure in the history of Byzantine literature, John Kyriotes, generally known by his surname, Geometres. The height of his literary activity falls in the time of Nicephorus Phocas, John Tzimisces, and Basil II. The first of these was his favorite hero. He left a collection of epigrams and occasional poems, a work in verse on ascetism (Paradise), and some hymns in honor of the Holy Virgin. His epigrams and occasional poems are closely related to the important political events of his time, such as the deaths of Nicephorus Phocas and John Tzimisces, the insurrection of Bardas Sclerus and Bardas Phocas in his poem The Rebellion, the Bulgarian war, etc. All these are of special interest to the student of this period. One poem on his journey from Constantinople to Selybria, through districts which had seen military action, gives a strikingly forceful and pathetic picture of the sufferings and ruin of the local peasantry.171 Krum-bacher was undoubtedly right when he said that John Geometres belongs to the best aspect of Byzantine literature.172 Many of his poems deserve translation into modern tongues. His prose works, of a rhetorical, exegetical, and oratorical character, are less interesting than his poems.
During the reign of Nicephorus Phocas also the pseudo-Lucianic Dialogue, Philopatris was compiled. This, it has been said, represents “a Byzantine form of humanism,” and for the tenth century reveals “a renaissance of Greek spirit and classical tastes.”173
One of the best of Byzantine poets, Christopher of Mytilene, who has only recently become well known, flourished in the first half of the eleventh century. His short works, written mainly in iambic trimeter in the form of epigrams or addresses to various persons, including a number of contemporary emperors, are distinguished by graceful style and fine wit.174
In the tenth century, when Byzantine civilization was experiencing a period of brilliant development, representatives of the barbarian West came to the Bosphorus for their education. But at the end of the tenth and beginning of the eleventh centuries, when the entire attention of the Empire was concentrated upon campaigns which raised the Empire to the pinnacle of its military fame, intellectual and creative activity declined somewhat. Basil II treated scholars with disdain. Anna Comnena, a writer of the twelfth century, remarks that “from the reign of Basil Porphyrogenitus (i.e., Basil II Bulgar-octonus) until that of (Constantine) Monomachus, learning was neglected by the majority of the people, but did not go down entirely, and later rose again.”175 Separate individuals continued to work diligently and spend long nights over books by the light of lamps.176 But higher education with government support on a wide scale was revived only in the middle of the eleventh century under Constantine Monomachus, when a group of scholars, headed by the young Constantine Psellus, aroused the Emperor’s interest in their projects and exerted much influence at court. Heated disputes began concerning the nature of the reforms of the higher school. While one party wanted a law school, the other demanded a philosophical school, i.e., a school for general education. The agitation constantly increased, and even assumed the aspect of street demonstrations. The Emperor found a good way out of the situation by organizing both a philosophical faculty and a school of law. The founding of the university followed in 1045. The Novel dealing with the founding of the law school has been preserved. The philosophical department, headed by the famous scholar and writer, Psellus, taught philosophy and aimed at giving its student a broad general education. The law school was a sort of juridical lyceum or academy.
A strong need was felt by the Byzantine government for educated and experienced officials, especially jurists. In the absence of special legal schools, young men gained their knowledge of law from practicing jurists, notaries, and lawyers, who very seldom possessed deep and extensive knowledge in this field. The juridical lyceum founded in the time of Constantine Monomachus was to aid in meeting this urgent need. The lyceum was directed by John Xiphilin, a famous contemporary and friend of Psellus. As before, education was free of charge. The professors received from the government good salaries, silk garments, living provisions, and Easter gifts. Admission was free for all those who desired to enter, regardless of social or financial status, providing they had sufficient preparation. The Novel on the founding of the juridical academy gives an insight into the government’s views on education and juridical knowledge. The law school of the eleventh century had distinctly practical aims, for it was expected to prepare skillful officials acquainted with the laws of the Empire.177
The head of the philosophy school, Constantine Psellus, usually known by his monastic name of Michael, was born in the first half of the eleventh century. Through his excellent education, wide knowledge, and brilliant ability he rose very high in the esteem of his contemporaries and became one of the most influential personalities in the Empire. He was invited to the court, and there he was given important offices and high titles. At the same time he taught philosophy and rhetoric to a large number of students. In one of his letters Psellus wrote: “We have enthralled the Celts [i.e., the peoples of western Europe] and Arabs; and they have resorted to our glory even from the two continents; the Nile irrigates the land among the Egyptians, and my tongue [irrigates] their spirit. . . . One of the peoples calls me a light of wisdom, another, a luminary, and the third has honored me with the most beautiful names.”178 Following the example of his friend John Xiphilin, the head of the law academy, he took the monastic habit under the name of Michael and spent some time in a monastery. But solitary monastic life did not appeal to Psellus’ nature. He left the monastery and returned to the capital, resuming his important place at court. Toward the end of his life he rose to the high post of prime minister. He died near the end of the eleventh century, probably in the year 1078.179
Living as he did in the time of unrest and decline of the Empire, accompanied by frequent changes on the throne which often meant changes in policy, Psellus showed great ability in adjusting himself to the changing conditions of life. During his service under nine emperors he continued to rise in rank and grow in influence. Psellus did not hesitate to use flattery, subserviency, or bribes in order to build up his own well-being. It cannot therefore be said that he possessed very high moral qualities, although in this regard he was not different from a large number of men of that troubled and difficult period.
He possessed many qualities however which placed him far above his contemporaries. He was a highly educated man who knew much, read extensively, and worked assiduously. He achieved much in his lifetime and left many works on theology, philosophy (in which he followed Plato), natural sciences, philology, history, and law, and he wrote some poetry, a number of orations, and many letters. The History of Psellus, describing events from the death of John Tzimisces until the last years of the author’s life (976–1077), is a very valuable source for the history of the eleventh century, in spite of certain prejudices in the account. In all his literary activity Psellus was a representative of secular knowledge imbued with Hellenism. It is very apparent that he was not modest in his opinions of himself. In his chronography he wrote, “I was certified that my tongue has been adorned with flowers even in simple utterances; and without any effort natural sweetness falls in drops from it.”180 Elsewhere Psellus said that Constantine IX “admired his eloquence exceedingly, and his ears were always attracted to his tongue”; that Michael VI “admired him profoundly and tasted, as it behooves, the honey which flowed from his lips”; that Constantine X “filled himself with his words as with nectar”; that Eudócia “regarded him as a God.”181 Historians still disagree in their appraisal of the personality and activity of Psellus. And yet there seems to be little doubt that he must have occupied as high a place in the Byzantine cultural life of the eleventh century as Photius did in the ninth century, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus in the tenth.182
The time of the Macedonian dynasty, especially the tenth century, is viewed as the period of the development of Byzantine epic poetry and Byzantine popular songs, whose chief hero was Basil Digenes Akrites. The intense life on the eastern border with its almost incessant warfare offered a wide field for brave deeds and dangerous adventures. The deepest and most durable impression was left in the memory of the people by the hero of these border provinces, Basil Digenes Akrites. The true name of this epic hero was, apparently, Basil; Digenes and Akrites were only surnames. The name “Digenes” may be translated as “born of two peoples,” and originated because his father was a Muhammedan Arab and his mother a Christian Greek. Digenes was usually applied to children born of parents of different races. Akrites (plural Akritat) was a name applied during the Byzantine period to the defenders of the outermost borders of the Empire, from the Greek word akra (ἄκρα), meaning “border.” The Agitai sometimes enjoyed a certain amount of independence from the central government, and are compared with the western European markgraves (meaning rulers of the borderlands, marches) and with the cossacks of the ukraina (meaning border, also) in the history of Russia.
The epic hero Digenes Akrites devoted all of his life to the struggle with the Muslims and Apelatai. The latter name, which originally meant “those who drive away the cattle,” and later simply “robbers,” was applied on the eastern border of the Byzantine Empire to mountain robbers, “those bold fellows, strong in spirit and body, half robbers and half heroes,”183 who scorned the authority of the Emperor and the caliph, and devastated the lands of both. In times of peace these robbers were fought by the joint efforts of Christians and Muslims, while in times of war each side strove to gain the support of these daring men. Rambaud said that in the border districts “one felt far removed from the Byzantine Empire, and it might have seemed that one was not in the provinces of an enlightened monarchy, but in the midst of the feudal anarchy of the West.”184
On the basis of various hints found throughout the epic of Digenes Akrites it may be asserted that the real event on which it is based took place in the middle of the tenth century in Cappadocia and in the district of the Euphrates. In the epic Digenes accomplishes great deeds and fights for the Christians and the Empire; in his conception orthodoxy and Romania (the Byzantine empire) are inseparable. The description of Digenes’ palace gives a closer view of the magnificence and wealth found in the midst of the large landowners of Asia Minor so strongly resented by Basil II Bulgaroctonus. The original prototype of Digenes Akrites, however, has been said to be not Christian but the half-legendary champion of Islam, Saiyid Battal Ghazi, whose name is connected with the battle at Acroïnon in 740. The name of Digenes remained popular even in the later years of the Byzantine Empire. Theodore Prodromus, the poet of the twelfth century, when attempting to give due praise to Emperor Manuel Comnenus, could not find a better title for him than “the new Akrites.”185
According to Bury, “As Homer reflects all sides of a certain stage of early Greek civilization, as the Nibelungenlied mirrors the civilization of the Germans during the period of the migrations, so the Digenes cycle presents a comprehensive picture of the Byzantine world in Asia Minor and of the frontier life.”186 This epic has survived the Byzantine Empire. Even today the people of Cyprus and Asia Minor sing of the famous Byzantine hero.187 Near Trebizond travelers are still shown his grave, which, according to popular tradition, is supposed to protect the newly born against evil spells. In its contents the epic resembles very closely well-known western European epic legends, such as the Song of Roland of the time of Charlemagne, or The Cid, both of which also grew out of the struggle between Christianity and Muhammedanism.
The epic of Digenes Akrites is preserved in several manuscripts, the oldest of which belongs to the fourteenth century.188 The study of it has recently entered a new phase in the illuminating researches initiated by H. Grégoire and brilliantly carried out by his collaborators, M. Canard and R. Goossens. It is almost certain that the historical prototype of Digenes was Diogenes, the turmarchus of the theme of Anatolici, in Asia Minor, who fell in 788 fighting against the Arabs. Many elements of the poem date from the events of the tenth century, when the Byzantine troops established themselves on the Euphrates and the tomb of Digenes, near Samosata, was identified about 940. Extremely interesting connections have been discovered between the Byzantine epic and Arabian and Turkish epics, and even with the Tales of the Thousand-and-One Nights. This epic, with its historical background and ramifications in the field of Oriental epics, presents one of the most fascinating problems of Bvzantine literature.189
Byzantine epics in the form of popular ballads have been reflected in Russian epic monuments, and the epic of Digenes Akritas has its place there. In ancient Russian literature The Deeds and Life of Digenes Abrites appears; this was known even to the Russian historian, Karamzin (early nineteenth century), who at first viewed it as a Russian fairy tale. It was of no little importance in the development of old Russian literature, for old Russian life and letters were profoundly affected by Byzantine influence, both ecclesiastical and secular. It is interesting to note that in the Russian version of the poem on Digenes there are sometimes episodes which have not yet been discovered in its Greek texts.190
The intellectual and artistic life of the Empire in the difficult and troubled times continued to develop along the lines of the Macedonian period. The activity of Michael Psellus, for instance, was not interrupted. This alone may serve as an indication of the fact that the cultural life of the country did not cease to exist. Psellus was favored by the accidental rulers of the period as much as he was by the representatives of the Macedonian house.
Among the notable writers of this period was Michael Attaliates. He was born in Asia Minor, but later migrated to Constantinople and there chose a legal and juristic career. His surviving works belong to the field of history and jurisprudence. His history, embracing the period from 1034 to 1079, based on personal experience, gives a true picture of the time of the last Macedonian rulers and the years of the troubled period. The style of Michael Attaliates already showed evidences of the artificial renaissance of classicism which became so widespread under the Comneni. The law treatise of Michael, derived entirely from the Basilics, enjoyed very great popularity. His aim was to edit a very brief manual of law accessible to all. Highly valuable data on the cultural life of the Byzantine Empire in the eleventh century are found in the statute compiled by Michael for the poorhouse and monastery he founded. This statute contains an inventory of the property of the poorhouse and monastery which included, among other things, a list of books donated to the monasterial library.
The time of the Macedonian dynasty is of great importance for the history of Byzantine art. The period from the middle of the ninth century until the twelfth century, i.e., including the period of the subsequent dynasty of the Comneni, is characterized by scholars as the second Golden Age of Byzantine Art, the first Golden Age being the time of Justinian the Great. The iconoclastic crisis liberated Byzantine art from stifling ecclesiastic and monastic influences and indicated new paths outside of religious subjects. These paths led to the return to the traditions of early Alexandrian models, to the development of ornament borrowed from the Arabs and therefore closely related to the ornament of Islam, and to the substitution for ecclesiastical subjects of historical and profane motives, which were treated with greater realism. But the artistic creations of the epoch of the Macedonian dynasty did not limit themselves to merely borrowing or copying these subjects; it introduced something of its own, something original.
The revived Greek style of the Macedonian and Comnenian periods was able to contribute something more than the physical grace of the fourth-century Hellenistic manner; it had gathered to itself much of the gravity and strength of an earlier age. These qualities imposed themselves upon Middle Byzantine expression. Their influence excluded the clumsy forms of the sixth century, which continued only in religious centers in remote provinces where the power of the capital was not felt. They lent a dignity and graciousness, a restraint and balance, an undisturbed refinement which became characteristics of Byzantine design in its maturer period. They grew into harmony with religious emotion; they had a seriousness which the work of Hellenistic times had not possessed. Though there may be exaggeration in saying that in its later centuries Byzantine art was systematically and progressively hellenized, it is certain that a thorough and complete orientalization was no longer possible.191
The famous Austrian art historian, J. Strzygowski, attempted to prove a theory which is closely connected with the epoch of the Macedonian dynasty. In his opinion the accession of the first ruler of this dynasty, an Armenian by birth, marked a new stage in the history of Byzantine art, namely, the period of the direct influence of Armenian art upon the artistic efforts of Byzantium. In other words, in place of the older notion that Armenia was under the strong influence of Byzantine art, Strzygowski attempted to prove the very opposite. It is true that Armenian influence was strongly felt in the time of the Macedonian dynasty, and that many Armenian artists and architects worked in Byzantium. The New Church, built by Basil I, may have reproduced an Armenian plan; when in the tenth century the dome of St. Sophia was damaged by an earthquake, it was to an Armenian architect, builder of the cathedral of Ani in Armenia, that the work of restoration was entrusted. But though in Strzygowski’s theories, as Ch. Diehl said, there are “many ingenious and seductive things,” they cannot be accepted in full.192
Basil I was a great builder. He erected the New Church, the Nea, which was as important an event in Basil’s constructive policy as the erection of St. Sophia in that of Justinian. He constructed a new palace, the Kenourgion, and decorated it with brilliant mosaics. Basil I also restored and adorned St. Sophia and the Church of the Holy Apostles. St. Sophia, damaged by the earthquake of 989, was also the object of the care of the emperors of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
Under the Macedonian emperors there appeared for the first time the imperial ikon-painting schools, which not only produced large numbers of ikons and decorated the walls of churches, but also engaged in illustrating manuscripts. In the time of Basil II appeared the famous Vatican Menologium, or Menology, with beautiful miniatures—illustrations carried out by eight illuminators whose names are inscribed on the margins.193 To this epoch belong also many other interesting, orignal, and finely executed miniatures.
The main center of artistic developments was the city of Constantinople, but the Byzantine provinces of that period have also preserved important monuments of art, such as the dated “Church of Skripu” (A.D. 874), in Boeotia; a group of churches on Mount Athos, dating from the tenth or early eleventh century; St. Luke of Stiris in Phocis (the early eleventh century); Nea Moni on Chios (the middle of the eleventh century), the monastery church of Daphni in Attica (the end of the eleventh century). In Asia Minor the numerous rock-cut churches of Cappadocia have preserved a large number of extremely interesting frescoes, many of which belong to the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries. The discovery and study of these Cappadocian frescoes, which “revealed an astonishing wealth of mural painting,”194 are closely connected with the name of the G. de Jerphanion, S.I., who devoted most of his life to the minute investigation of Cappadocia, “a new province of Byzantine art.”195
The influence of Byzantine art of the Macedonian period extended beyond the boundaries of the Empire. The most recent painting in the famous Santa Maria Antica at Rome, assigned to the ninth or tenth centuries, may take a place with the best products of the Macedonian Renaissance.196 St. Sophia of Kiev (A.D. 1037), in Russia, as well as many other Russian churches, belong also to the “Byzantine” tradition of the epoch of the Macedonian emperors.
The most brilliant period of the Macedonian dynasty (867–1025) was also the best time in the history of Byzantine art from the point of view of artistic vitality and originality. The subsequent period of troubles and the time of the Comneni, beginning with the year 1081, witnessed the rise of an entirely different, drier, and more rigid art.
“The Byzantine standards, which had been carried (in the time of Basil II) into Armenia, were by degrees withdrawn; those of the Seljuq Turks advanced. At home there reigned the spirit of immobility which finds its expression in ceremonies and displays, the spirit of an Alexius Comnenus and his court. All this was reflected in the art of the century preceding the invasion of the Crusaders from the West. The springs of progress dried up; there was no longer any power of organic growth; the only change now possible was a passive acceptance of external forces. Religious fervor was absorbed in formal preoccupations. The liturgical system, by controlling design, led to the production of manuals, or painter’s guides, in which the path to be followed was exactly traced; the composition was stereotyped; the very colors were prescribed.”197
1 See A. A. Vasiliev, “The Origin of Emperor Basil the Macedonian,” Vizantiysky Vremennik, XII (1906), 148–65.
2 A. Vogt, Basile I, et la civilisation byzantine à la fin du IXe siècle, 21, n. 3. See N. Adonz, “L’âge et l’origine de l’empereur Basile I (867–86),” Byzantion, IX (1934), 223– 60 (Armenian origin). Sirarpie der Nersessian, Armenia and the Byzantine Empire, 20: The Armenian origin of Basil I is now generally recognized.
3 A. Papadopoulos-Kerameus, Fontes historiae Imperii Trapezuntini, 79. See N. A. Bees, “Eine unbeachtete Quelle über die Abstammung des Kaisers Basilios I., des Mazedoniers,” Byzantinisch-neugriechische Jahrbücher, IV (1923), 76.
4 A. Vogt, “La jeunesse de Leon VI le Sage,” Revue Historique, CLXXIV (1934), 389–428.
5 A very high opinion of Romanus Lecapenus’ personality and activity in S. Runci man, The Emperor Romanus Lecapenus, and His Reign, 238–45.
6 Θєoδoσίoυ Moναχoῦ τoῦ καί γραμματικoῦ ἐπιστoλὴ πρòς Λέoντα Διάκoνoν περί τῆς ἁλώσεως Συρακoνσης, ed. Hase, 180–81; ed. C. Zuretti, 167. See A. A. Vasiliev, Byzantium and the Arabs, II, 59–68.
7 Vogt, Basile Ier, 337. Cf. Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 54.
8 De excidio Thessalonicensi narratio, ed. I. Bekker, Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae, 487–600. See Vasiliev, Byzantium and the Arabs, II, 143–53. A. Struck, “Die Eroberung Thessalonikes durch die Sarszenen im Jahre 904,” Byzantinische Zeitschrift, XIV (1905), 535–62. O. Tafrali,Thessalonique des origines au XIVe siècle, 143–56.
9 De Cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, II, 44; Bonn ed., 651.
10 Epistola, I; ed. J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXI, 28. See J. Hergenröther, Photius, Patriarch von Constantinopel, II, 600; Vasilicv, Byzantium and the Arabs, appendix, 197.
11 Vasiliev, ibid., 219.
12 Theophanes Continuatus, Historia, Bonn ed., 427–28.
13 Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 69, 135, 241–49.
14 Ibid., 145. A rich collection of Arab texts referring to Saif-ad-Daulah in M. Canard, Sayf al Daula.
15 Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 146.
16 Ibid., 146–50.
17 On this expedition, Vasiliev, Byzantium and the Arabs, II, 279–86.
18 L’Empire grec au dixième siècle. Constantin Porphyrogénète, 436.
19 A. M. Shepard, The Byzantine Reconquest of Crete (A.D. 960), 1121–30.
20 Geographisches Wörterbuch, ed. Wüstenfeld, III, 527. See V. Barthold, Transactions of the Oriental College, I (1925), 476.
21 G. Schlumberger, Un empereur byzantin au dixième siècle. Nicéphore Phocas, 723.
22 In the works of the Arabian historian of the thirteenth century, Kamal-ad-Din. See G. Freytag, Regnum Saahd-Aldaulae in oppido Halebo, 9–14. The Latin trans. Bonn ed. Leo the Deacon, Historiae, 391–94.
23 Histoire de Yahya-ibn-Said d’Antioche, ed. and trans. J. Kratchkovsky and A. A. Vasiliev, Patrología Orientalis, XVIII (1924), 825–26 (127–28); ed. L. Cheikho, 135.
24 Historiae, V, 4; Bonn ed., 81.
25 E. Dulaurier, “Chronique de Matthieu d’Edesse,” Bibliothèque historique arménienne, 16–24. Chr. Kuchuk-Ioannesov, “The Letter of Emperor John Tzimisces to the Armenian King Ashot III,” Vizantiysky Vremennik, X (1903), 93–101.
26 Dulaurier, ibid,, 20; Kuchuk-Ioannesov, ibid., 98.
27 Dulaurier, ibid., 22; Kuchuk-Ioannesov, ibid., 100.
28 See Barthold, Transactions of the Oriental College, I (1925), 466–67. He said that the entire account of the invasion of Palestine belongs to the realm of fantasy.
29 George Hamartolus, Continuator, ed. E. Murait, 865.
30 V. Rosen, The Emperor Basil Bulgaroctonus, 46; in Russian, 48. Annales Yahia Ion Said Antiochensis, ed. L. Cheikho, 196.
31 See Barthold, Transactions of the Oriental College, I (1925), 477. The best source here is Yahya.
32 See p. 306 for discussion of the first relic of Edessa, the miraculous image of the Savior.
33 Yahya, Annales, ed. Cheikho, 270–71; Ibn-al-Athir ed. Tornberg, IX, 313. See Barthold, Transactions of the Oriental College, I (1925), 477–78.
34 Nasir-i-Khusrau, A Diary of a Journey Through Syria and Palestine, trans. Guy le Strange, 59–60.
35 N. Adonz, Armenia in the Epoch of Justinian, 3–4.
36 “The Caucasian Cultural World and Armenia,” Journal of the Ministry of Public Instruction, LVII (1915), 3I3–14; see Barthold, Transactions of the Oriental College, I (1925),
37 Jean Catholicos, Histoire d’ Arménie, trans. A. J. Saint-Martin, 126.
38 Vasiliev, Byzantium and the Arabs, 83–84. J. Laurent, L’Arménie entre Byzance et l’Islam depuis la conquête arabe jusqu’en 886, 282–83. Grousset, Histoire de l’Arménie (Paris, 1947), 394–97.
39 On this period see Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 125–33, 151–74.
40 J. Laurent, Byzancc et les Turcs Seldjoucides dans l’Asie occidentale jusqu’en 1081, 16–18. On the details of this expedition into Armenia and on Basil’s relations with Abasgia and Iberia sec G. Schlumberger, L’Épopée byzantine à la fin du dixième siècle, II, 498–536. Grousset, 547–80.
41 Nicolai Mystici Epistola, XX; ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXI, 133.
42 The problem of the origin of the Magyars is very complicated. It is very difficult to determine whether they were of Finno-Ugrian or of Turkish origin. See J. B. Bury, History of the Eastern Roman Empire, III, 492; the Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 194–95. J. Moravcsik, “Zur Geschichte der Onoguren,” Ungarische Jahrbücher, X (1930), 86, 89. C. A. Macartney, The Magyars in the Ninth Century, esp. 176–88. I have not seen a book by J. Szinnyei, Die Herkunft der Ungarn, ihre Sprache und Urkultur.
43 Moravia and Magyars from the Ninth Until the Beginning of the Tenth Centuries, 291.
44 Th. I. Uspensky, ‘The Boundary Stone between Byzantium and Bulgaria under Simeon,” Transactions of the Russian Archeological Institute at Constantinople, III (1898), 184–94.
45 “Accounts of the Bulgarians in the Chronicle of Simeon Metaphrastes and Logothete,” Sbornik za narodni umotvoreniya, nauka i knizhnina, XXIV (1908), 160. See also Zlatarsky, A History of the State of Bulgaria in the Middle Ages, I (2), 339–42.
46 NicoIai Mystici, Epistola, V; ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXI, 45.
47 Ibid., XXIII; ed. Migne, ibid., 149–52.
48 Historiae, VII, 7; Bonn ed., 124.
49 On Serbia and Byzantium in the first half of the tenth century see C. Jireček, Geschichte der Serben, I, 199–202. F. Šišić, Geschichte der Kroaten, I, 127–29, 140–43. S. Stanojević, History of the Serbian People (3rd ed., 1926), 52–53.
50 Zlatarsky, Bulgaria in the Middle Ages, I (2), 412 (in 920). Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 87 (in 919). Cf. Runciman, A History of the First Bulgarian Empire, 163 (the Dardanelles are not mentioned).
51 Theophanes Continuatus, Historia, Bonn ed., 408–9. Symcon Magister, Bonn ed., 737–38. See Zlatarsky, Bulgaria in the Middle Ages, I (2), 464–69, esp. 467, n. 1. Sources are indicated. Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, 169–72. Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 90–93, 246–48 (in 924).
52 Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 100.
53 See J. Marquart, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streijzüge, 60–74 (on the invasion of 934). Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 103–8.
54 The Laurentian Chronicle, under 971.
55 See enthusiastic appreciation of Samuel’s activity in Zlatarsky, Bulgaria in the Middle Ages, I (2), 742–43. On Samuel, see also Runciman, First Bulgarian Empire, 241–43. The status of eastern and western Bulgaria at the time is debatable and presents a very complicated question. The hypothesis has recently been set forth that John Tzimisces conquered the whole of the Bulgarian Empire, both west and east, and that only after his death, during the internal troubles in Byzantium, did Samuel revolt in the west and succeed in establishing his Sloveno-Macedonian Empire. See D. Anastasijević, “A Hypothesis of Western Bulgaria,” Bulletin de la Société Scientifique de Skoplje, III (1927), 1–12; in French, Mélanges Uspensky. See also J. Ivanov, “The Origin of the Family of the Tsar Samuel,” Volume in Honor of V. N. Zlatarsky, 55.
56 K. R. von Höfler, Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiete der slavischen Geschichte, I, 229.
57 See G. Ostrogorsky, “L’expédition du prince Oleg contre Constantinople,” Annales de l’Institut Kondakov, XI (1940), 47–62. Ostrogorsky has fully proved once more that the expedition of Oleg was a real historical fact. I specifically emphasize my statement, because at present the study of early Russian history is again passing through a crucial period. A wave of hypercriticism has swept over the minds of several eminent western European scholars. They classify Oleg as a legendary figure, waging a “legendary” campaign against Constantinople. Authentic Russian history is supposed to have started only in the year 941 with the expedition of the Russian Prince Igor against Constantinople; everything before this date is classed as legend and tradition tinged with fable. See H. Grégoire, “La légende d’Oleg et l’expedition d’Igor,” Bulletin de la classe des lettres de l’Académie Royale de Belgique, XXIII (1937), 80–94. It would be out of place to list here the names of the subscribers to this point of view. Vasiliev, “The Second Russian Attack on Constantinople,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers, VI (1951), 161–225.
58 Historiae, VI, 10; Bonn ed., 106. See Rambaud, L’Empire grec au dixième siècle, 374. A. Kunik, On the Report of the Toparchus Gothicus, 87. M. Suzumov, “On the Sources of Leo the Deacon and Scylitzes,” Vizantiyskoe Obozrenie, II, 1 (1916), 165.
59 Vasiliev, Byzantium and the Arabs, II, 166–67.
60 S. Schechter, “An Unknown Khazar Document,” Jewish Quarterly Review, N.S. III (1912–13), 181–219; the name of Helgu, 217–18. See P. C. Kokovtzov, “A New Jewish Document on the Khazars and the Khazaro-Russo-Byzantine Relations in the Tenth Century,” Journal of the Ministry of Public Instruction, XLVIII (1913), 150–72. Kokovtzov, “A Note on the Judeo-Khazar Manuscripts at Cambridge and Oxford,” Comptesrendus de l’Académie des Sciences de l’Union des Républiques Soviétiques Socialistes(1926), 121–24. A new interpretation of this letter is given by V. A. Moshin, “Again on the Newly Discovered Khazar Document,” Publications of the Russian Archaeological Society in the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, I (1927), 41–60; the author denies the name of Oleg and refers the data of the documents to the later events of the years 943–45. A new Russian translation of this document by Kokovtzov, A Hebrew-Khazar Correspondence of the Tenth Century, xxvi-xxxvi, 113–23.
61 The Poliane, Krivichi, and Tivertsy were the tribes of the eastern branch of the eastern Slavs, who established themselves on the banks of the Dnieper and its tributaries as well as on the banks of the Dniester.
62 The Laurentian Chronicle, under 945 (at the close of the treaty). A. Shakhmatov, The Story of the Current Times, I, 60; in English, S. H. Cross, The Russian Primary Chronicle, 160–63. A vast literature exists on treaties between Byzantium and Russia, especially in Russian. See Vasiliev,Byzantium and the Arabs, II, 164–67, 246–49, 255–56. J. Kulischer, Russische Wirtschajtsgeschichte, I, 20–30. K. Bártová, “Igor’s Expedition on Tsargrad in 941,” Byzantinoslavica, VIII (1939–1946), 87–108.
63 Constantini Porphyrogeniti, De Cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, II, 15; Bonn ed., 594–98. See also Cross, Russian Primary Chronicle, 168–69.
64 Georgii Cedreni Historiarum compendium, Bonn ed., II, 551.
65 Our chief sources: Michael Psellus, Chronographia, ed. C. Sathas, Bibliotheca Graeca Medii Aevi, IV, 143–47; ed. E. Renauld, II, 8–13. Georgii Cedreni Historiarum compendium, Bonn ed., II, 551–55. See V. G. Vasilievsky, Works, I, 303–8. Schlumberger,L’Épopée byzantine, III, 462–76.
66 Constantin! Porphyrogeniti De administrando imperio, 67–74; ed. Moravcsik-Jenkins, 48–56.
67 Oratio in Imperatorem Alexium Comnenum; ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXXVI, 292–93.
68 “Byzantium and the Patzinaks,” Works, I, 7–8.
69 Georgii Cedreni Historiarum compendium, Bonn ed., 585.
70 Vasilicvsky, “Byzantium and the Patzinaks,” Works, I, 24.
71 See, e.g., M. Amari, Storia dei Musulman di Sicilia, I, 381; (2nd ed., 1933), I, 522–23. A. Kleinclausz, L’Empire Carolingien: ses origines et ses transformations, 443 ff.
72 J. Gay, L’Italie Méridionale et l’Empire Byzantin, 84, 87, 88. L. M. Hartmann, Geschichte Italiens im Mittelalter, III (1), 306–7. F. Dvornik, Les Slaves, Byzance et Rome au IXe siècle, 220–21.
73 A. Gasquct, L’Empire byzantin et la monarchie franque, 459–60.
74 Legatio, chap. XVII.
75 The Holy Roman Empire, 148.
76 On Harald in the army of George Maniaces, see V. G. Vasilievsky, “The Varangian-Russian and Varangian-English Company (druzina) in Constantinople,” Workst I, 289–90. R. M. Dawkins, “Greeks and Northmen,” Custom Is King: Essays presented to Dr. R. R. Marett, 45–46.
77 J. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum Nova et Amplissima Collectio, XVI, 47, 49. See A. Lebedev, A History of the Separation of the Churches in the Ninth, Tenth and Eleventh Centuries (2nd ed., 1905), 117, 120. Dvornik, 136 ff.
78 Hergenröther, Photius, II, 462.
79 Ibid., II, 524. See Dvornik, 187.
80 See a very fine survey of this question by H. Grégoire, “Du nouveau sur le Patriarche Photius,” Bulletin de la classe des lettres de l’Académie Royale de Belgique, XX (1934), 36–53. Dvornik, The Photian Schism, 202–236.
81 Theophanes Continuatus, Historia, Bonn ed., 342–43.
82 Hergenröther, Photius, III, 655.
83 See an interesting article on the four marriages of Leo the Wise in Charles Diehl, Figures byzantines (4th ed., 1909), I, 181–215; English trans. H. Bell, Byzantine Portraits, 172–205.
84 Epistola, XXXII; ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXI, 197.
85 Eutychii Alexandrini patriarchae, Annales; ed. L. Cheikho, B. Carra de Vaux, H. Zayyat, II, 74; ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXI, 1145.
86 N. Popov, The Emperor Leo VI the Wise, 160.
87 A very valuable source for Leo’s fourth marriage and for the general history of the period is Vita Euthymii: Ein Anecdoton zur Geschichte Leo’s des Weisen A.D. 886–912, ed. C. de Boor; in addition to the Greek text, de Boor gives a very valuable study on theVita from the historical point of view.
88 Popov, Leo VI, 184. Cf. Mansi, Amplissima collectio conciliorum, XVIII, 337–38.
89 The Southern Slavs and Byzantium in the Tenth Century, 21; reprinted in Works of M. S. Drinov, ed. V. N. Zlatarsky, I, 365–520.
90 Separation of the Churches (2nd ed., 1905), 325.
91 Runciman, Romanus Lecapenus, 70, 243.
92 Vie de Saint Athanase l’Athonite, ed. L. Petit, Analecta Bollandiana, XXV (1906), 21.
93 “Historiae, V, 8; Bonn ed., 89.
94 Schlumberger, Nicéphore Phocas, 366.
95 An epitaph of John, the bishop of Melitene, on Nicephorus Phocas. It is published in the Bonn ed. of Leo the Deacon, Historiae, 453, and in the edition of Cedrenus, Historiarum compendium, II, 378. See K. Krumbacher, Geschichte des byzantinischen Litteratur, 368.
96 K. E. Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graeco-romanum, III, 292–96. V. G. Vasiliev-sky, “Materials for the Internal History of Byzantium; Measures in Favor of Peasant Land-ownership,” Journal of the Ministry of Public Instruction, CCII (1879), 224 ff. J. and P. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, I, 249–52.
97 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graecoromanum, III, 303. Vasilievsky, Journal, CCII (1879), 220. Zepos, Jus Graecoromanum, I, 259.
98 History of Athos, III (I), 154.
99 Ibid., 93, 170–71. P. Meyer, Die Haupturkunden für die Geschichte der Athosklosters, 153.
100 Migne, Patrologia Latina, CXLIII, 1004.
101 Lebedev, Separation of the Churches, 347.
102 See L. Bréhier, Le Schisme oriental du XIe siècle, 232–41.
103 The Greek Church,” Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 273. See also J. Gay, Les papes du XIe siècle et la chrétienté, 166–67. M. Jugie, “Le Schisme de Michel Cérulaire,” Échos d’Orient, XXXVI (1937), 440–73.
104 On this subject there are many interesting data in the book by B. Leib, Rome, Kiev, et Byzance a la fin du XIe siècle, 18–19, 51, 70.
105 Imperatorem Basilii Constantini et Le-onis Prochiron, ed. K. E. Zachariä von Lingenthal, par. 3, 10. E. Freshfield, A Manual of Eastern Roman Law, 51. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, II, 117.
106 Zachariä von Lingenthal, ibid., par. 4.
107 Ibid., par. 9. Freshfield, Manual of Eastern Roman Law, 51; Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, II, 116.
108 In the twelfth century appeared the Ecloga ad Prochiron mutata, applied to the Greek-speaking subjects of the Norman Kingdom of Sicily. See K. E. Zachariä von Lingenthal, Geschichte der griechisch-römise hen Rechts (3rd ed., 1892), 36. E. Freshfield, A Manual of Later Roman Law—the Ecloga ad Prochiron mutata, 1. Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graeco-romanum, IV, 53. The author of the code lived between the tenth and the twelfth centuries.
109 Vogt, Basile 1er, 134; Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 712.
110 Collectio librorum juris graeco-romani ineditorum, ed. Zachariä von Lingenthal, 62. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, II, 237.
111 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Geschichte des griechisch-römischen Rechts, 22.
112 V. Sokolsky, “Concerning the Nature and Meaning of the Epanagoge,” Vizantiysky Vremennik, I (1894), 26–27. See also G. Vernadsky, “The Tactics of Leo the Wise and the Epanagoge,” Byzantion, VI (1931) 333–35.
113 See G. Vernadsky, “Die kirchlich-politische Lehre der Epanagoge und ihr Einfluss auf das russische Leben im XVII. Jahrhundert,” Byzantinisch-neugriechische Jahr-bücher, VI (1928), 121–25.
114 Zachariä von Lingenthal, ed., Collectio librorum juris, 62. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, II, 237.
115 G. Vernadsky, “Die kirchlich-politische Lehre der Epanagoge,” Byzantinisch-neugriechische fahrbücher, VI (1928), 127–42. He speaks of the influence of the ideas of the Epanagoge on the epoch of the Patriarchs Filaret (1619–31) and Nikon (1652–58).
116 See the edict (proemium) found in the beginning of the Basilics, in Basilicorum Libri LX, ed. G. Heimbach, I, xxi-xxii; ed. I. D. Zepos, I (1896), 3. The exact date of the Basilics has not been definitely determined (between 886 and 892, in 888, 889, or 890). See G. Heimbach, “Ueber die angebliche neueste Redaction der Basiliken durch Constantinus Porphyrogeneta,” Zeitschrijt für Rechtsgeschichte, VIII (1869), 417. Heimbach, Basilicorum Libri LX, VI. Prolegomena et Manuale Basilicorum continens, III. P. Collinet “Byzantine Legislation From the Death of Justinian (565) to 1453,” Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 713.
117 The title is derived from the Greek words Tί ποῦκεῖται, in Latin, quid ubi invenitur?
118 On the author of the Tipucitus, see Tιπoύκειτoς sive Librorum LX Basilicorum Summarium praefatio, in Studi e testi, XXV. G. Ferrari, in Byzantinische Zeitschrijt, XXVII (1927), 165–66. P. Collinet said that the Tipucitus is the work of an unknown author(Cambridge Medieval History, IV, 722). See also P. Noailles, “Tipucitus,” Mélanges de Droit Romain dédiés à George Cornil, II, 175–96. A. Berger, “Tipoukeitos: The Origin of a Name,” Traditio, III (1945), 394–402. Berger wrote: “If we recall the modern reference books known as Who’s Who we can translate the title of Patzes’ work as “What is Where” (p. 400). Very useful study.
119 A summary of books I-XII, ed. C. Ferrini and J. Mercati; a summary of Books XIII-XXIII, in Librorum LX Basilicorum Summarium; Books XIII-XXIII, ed. F. Dölger, in Studi e testi, 51. Some articles by Ferrini on the manuscripts and reconstruction of the Basilics in Opere di Contardo Benini, I, 349–63.
120 See Lawson’s opening lines in his study on the Basilica: The Basilica occupies the central place in Byzantine law, and yet to all but experts it is practically unknown. F. H. Law-son, “The Basilica,” The Law Quarterly Review, XLVI (1930), 486. A. A. Vasiliev, “Justinian’s Digest,” Studi bizantini e neoellenici, V (1939), 734. Very useful information on the Basilics is to be found in A. Albertoni, Per una esposizione del diritto bizantino, 43, 55–57.
121 Th. I. Uspensky, “The Eparch of Constantinople,” Transactions of the Russian Archeological Institute at Constantinople, IV, 2 (1890), 90.
122 Le Livre du préfet ou l’édit de l’empereur Léon le Sage sur les corporations de Constantinople, ed. J. Nicole. For other editions, see the bibliography.
123 In 1935 a Greek historian, A. P. Chris-tophilopoulos, apparently fixed the exact date: between the first of September, 911 and the eleventh of May, 912. Tò ἐπαρχικὸν βιβλίoν Λέoντoς Toῦ Σοφοῦ καὶ αἱ συντεχνίαι ἐν Bυςαντίῳ, 13. In his review of the book, G. Mickwitz declared that the Greek author had solved the controversy. Byzantinischneugriechische Jahrbücher, XII (1936), 369. See also Mickwitz, Die Kartelljunktionen der Zünfte, 205. But Christophilopoulos based his conclusion on the erroneous description by Papadopoulos-Kerameus of a Greek manuscript preserved in Constantinople. According to Papadopoulos-Kerameus, this manuscript contained the Book of the Prefect, but we know now that that is not the case. It contains instead some ordinances of the Palestinian architect, Julian Ascalonites. Christophilopoulos’ “discovery” then is to be discarded. See D. Ghines, “Tὸ ἐπαρχικὸν βιβλίoν και oἱ νόμoι ’Ioνλιανoῦ τοῦ ’Aσκαλωνίτoυ,” ’Eπετηρὶς ’Eταιρείας Bυζαντινῶν Σπoυδῶν (1937), 183–91; esp. 183–85. The relevant Greek text of the manuscript, 187–91.
124 A vast literature exists on the Book of the Prefect; it is indicated by Ostrogorsky, Geschichte des byzantinischen Staates, 177, n. 3. The best study is by A. Stöckle, Spätromische und byzantinische Zünfte, 147–48 (on the dating). In Russian, P. V. Bezobrazov,Vi-zantiysfy Vremennik, XVIII (1911), 33–36; also his addition to his Russian translation of G. F. Hertzberg, Geschichte der Byzantiner.
125 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graecoromanum, III, 65–226. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, I, 54–191. See H. Monnier, Les nouvelles de Léon le Sage. C. A. Spulber, Les nouvelles de Léon le Sage. See also Ostrogor-sky’s remarks in Geschichte des byzantinischen Staates, 172.
126 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graecoromanum, III, 247. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, I, 210.
127 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graecoromanum, III, 252. V. G. Vasilievsky, “Materials for the Internal History of Byzantium,” Journal of the Ministry of Public Instruction, CCII (1879), 188; Works, IV, 281. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum, I, 214.
128 Vasilievsky, ibid., 206; Works, IV, 302.
129 Zachariä von Lingenthal, Jus graecoromanum, III, 297. Zepos, Jus graecoromanum,I, 253–54.
130 Zachariä von Lingenthal, ibid., 310; Vasilievsky, “Materials,” Journal of Public Instruction, CCII (1879), 217; Works, IV, 314–15; Zepos, ibid., 265.
131 Zachariä von Lingenthal, 308; Vasilievsky, 215–16, Worlds, IV, 312–13; Zepos, I, 263.
132 Zachariä von Lingenthal, III, 315; Vasilievsky, 220, Works, IV, 317; Zepos, 269.
133 Theophanes, Chronographia, ed. de Boor, 486. Bury, Eastern Roman Empire, III, 214.
134 G. Ostrogorsky, “Agrarian Conditions in the Byzantine Empire in the Middle Ages,” Cambridge Economic History,I, 202–3. The question of the connection between the epibole and allelengyon still remains debata ble. See F. Dölger, Beiträge zur Geschichte der byzantinischen Finanzverwaltung be-sonders des 10. und 11. fahrhunderts, 129–30. See also G. Brătianu, Études byzantines d’histoire économique et sociale, 197–201.
135 J. B. Bury, The Imperial Administrative System in the Ninth Century, with a revised text of the Kletorologion of Philotheos, 146–47•
136 V. Beneševič, “Die byzantinischen Rang-listen nach dem “Kletorologion Philothei,’” Byzantinisch-neugriechische Jahrbücher, V (1926), 118–22; on the dating, 164–65.
137 See N. Skabalanovich, The Byzantine State and Church in the Eleventh Century, 193–230.
138 Gelzer, Abriss der byzantinischen Kaisergeschichte, 1006.
139 K. Sathas, Bibliotheca graeca medii aevi, IV, 58.
140 The surname Parapinakes originated from the fact that, during the bad harvest which occurred in the time of this ruler, a nomisma (Byzantine gold coin) was demanded, not for a whole medimnus (measure) of bread, but for a pinakion, as a quarter of medimnuswas called.
141 Skabalanovich, Byzantine State and Church, 115.
142 See Constantini Porphyrogeniti, De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, Bonn ed., 661. Harun-ibn-Yahya (in the ninth century) in M. de Goeje, Bibliotheca geographorum arabi-corum, VII, 121, 124. Harun-ibn Yahya’s description of Constantinople is inserted in the Arab geographical work of Ibn-Rustah (of the tenth century). A. A. Vasiliev, “Harun-ibn-Yahya and his Description of Constantinople,” Annales de l’Institut Kondakov, V (1932), 156, 158. Marquart, Osteuropäische und ostasiatische Streifzüge, 216, 219, 227.
143 See P. Wittek, “Von der byzantinischen zur türkischen Toponymie,” Byzantion, I (1935), 12–53. Wittek, “Deux chapitres de l’histoire des Turcs de Roum,” ibid., XI (1936), 285–302.
144 C. Neumann, Die Weltstellung des by-zantinischen Reiches vor den Kreuzzügen, 107; in French, 104.
145 Michaelis Attaliotae Historia, 94; Joannis Scylitzae Historia, 661.
146 ’Aνωνυύoυ Σύνoψις “Χρoνική; Sathas, Bibliotheca Graeca Medii Aevi, VII, 169. On the Turkish devastations in the eleventh century before 1071 sec also the Chronique de Michael le Syrien, trans. Chabot, III, 158–65.
147 See G. Weil, Geschichte der Chalijen, III, 115–16. J. Laurent, “Byzance et les Turcs Seldjoucides en Asie Mineure, leurs traités antérieurs à Alexis Comnène,” Bνζαντίζ, II (1911–12), 106–26. An excellent article by C. Cahen, “La campagne de Mantzikert d’après les sources musulmanes,”Byzantion, IX (1934), 613–42.
148 J. Laurent, Byzance et les Turcs Seldjoucides dans l’Asie occidentale jusqu’en 1081, 95: this treaty “perhaps required a cessation of territory”; but we do not know the detailed clauses of this treaty (p. 95, n. 1). See also Cahen, “La campagne de Mantzikert,”Byzantion, IX (1934), 637–38.
149 A. Gfrörer, Byzantinische Geschichten, III, 791.
150 Gelzer, Abriss der byzantinischen Kaiser geschichte, 1010.
151 Joannis Scylitzae Historia, Bonn ed., 708.
152 Laurent, Byzance et les Turcs, 13–26, 97 (esp. n. 3), 110–11.
153 The word Rum, which is merely the word Romans, was used by Muslim writers to denote the medieval Byzantine Greeks and their possessions; Rum was also used as a name for Asia Minor.
154 For this early period, Iconium is indicated as the capital in oriental sources; Greek sources call Nicaea Suleiman’s residence. Laurent, Byzance et les Turcs, 8 and n. 1, 11 and n. 1. Laurent, “Byzance et l’origine du sultanat de Roum,” Mélanges Charles Diehl, I, 177–82.
155 Migne, Patrologia Latina, CXLVIII, 329.
156 Joannis Scylitzae Historia, Bonn ed., 645.
157 Vasilievsky, “Byzantium and the Patzinaks,” Works, I, 26.
158 Michaelis Attaliotae Historia, 84.
159 Neumann, Die Weltstellung des by-zantinischen Retches, 103; in French, 100,
160 Ibid., 102; in French, 99.
161 On the sources, Gay, L’Italie Méridionale, 536, n. 3.
162 Popov, Leo VI, 232.
164 J. B. Bury, “The Treatise De administrando Imperio” Byzantinische Zeitschrijt, XV (1906), 517–77. G. Manojlović of Zagreb, published in Serbo-Croatian four interesting memoirs on this treatise, Publications of the Academy of Zagreb, CLXXXII, CLXXXVI-VII (1910–11). The author summarized his four memoirs in French at the International Congress of Byzantine Studies in Belgrade in 1927; see Compte-rendu du Congrès (1929), 45–47.
165 Now we have a new critical edition of the De administrando imperio by G. Moravcsik with an English translation by R. Jenkins (1949).
166 See Krumbacher, Geschichte der by-zantinischen Litteratur, 727. Montelatici, Storia della letter atura bizantina, 120, 125.
167 Krumbacher, ibid., 568. On recent studies ee bibliography.
168 On Arethas and his environment see some interesting data in M. A. Shanguin, “Byzantine Political Personalities of the First Half of the Tenth Century,” Vizantiysky Sbornii( (1945), 228–36.
169 S. P. Shcstakov of Kazan believes that the author of the Continuation of Theophanes was Theodore Daphnopates. See, e.g., his “The Question of the Author of the Continuation of Theophanes,” Compte-rendu du deuxième congrès international des études byzantines (1929), 35–45. See H. G. Nickles, “The Continuatio Theophanis,” Transactions of the American Philological Association, LXVIII (1937), 221–27.
170 This complicated problem was first elucidated in 1895 by Vasilievsky and was recently discussed in greater detail and clearly explained by Ostrogorsky. Vasilievsky, “The Chronicle of Logothe in Slavonic and Greek,” Vizantiysky Vremenni\, II (1895), 78–151. Ostrogorsky, “A Slavonic Version of the Chronicle of Symeon Logothete,’* Annales de l’Institut Kondakov, V (1932), 17–36. See also a brief but very clear summary of this question by Ostrogorsky in French, “L’Expédition du Prince Oleg contre Constantinople en 907,” Annales de l’Institut Konda\ov, XI (1939), 50.
171 See Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CVI, 956–59; in Russian, Vasilievsky, Works, II, 121–22.
172 Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzan-tinischen Litteratur, 734. The late Polish philologist, J. Saidak, worked on the writings of John Geometres, particularly on his hymns in honor of the Holy Virgin. Saidak, “Que signifie Kνριώτης Γεωμέτρης?” Byzantion, VI (I93i), 343–53. See Saidak’s short item on John Geometres in his Literatura Bizantyńska, 725–26.
173 S. Reinach, “Le Christianisme à Byzance et la question du Philopatris,” in his Cultes, mythes et religions (3rd ed., 1922), I, 368, 391.
174 See Krumbacher, Geschichte der byzantinischen Litteratur, 737–38. Montelatici, Storia délia letter atura bizantina, 128–30. Die Gedichte des Christophoros Mytilenaios, ed. E. Kurtz.
175 Anna Comnena, Alexias, V, 8; ed. A. Reifferscheid, I, 177–78; trans. E. A. S. Dawes, 132. See G. Buckler, Anna Comnena. A Study, 262. See also Michael Psellus, Chronography, ed. Sathas, Bibliotheca Graeca Medii Aevi, IV, 19; ed. E. Renauld, I, 19.
176 See F. Fuchs, Die hòheren Schulen von Konstantinopel im Mittelalter, 24–25.
177 Ibid. Contains detailed information on these two higher schools.
178 Sathas, Bibitotheca Graeca Medu Aevi, V, 508.
179 Renauld, Michel Psellos: Chronographie ou Histoire d’un siècle de Byzance, 976–1077, I, ix.
180 Ibid., 139. Sathas, Bibliotheca Graeca Medii Aevi, IV, 123–24.
181 E. Renauld, Étude de la langue et du style de Michel Psellos, 432–33; Renauld, Psellos: Chronographie, I, xiv-xv.
182 J. Hussey, “Michael Psellus,” Speculum, X (1935)> 81–90. Hussey, Church and Learning in the Byzantine Empire, 867–118$, 73–88. M Jugie, “Michael Psellus,” Dictionnaire de the-ologie catholique, XIII (1936), 1149–58. V. Valdenberg, “The Philosophical Ideas of Michael Psellus,”Vizantiyslçy Sborni^ (1945), 249–55.
183 A. N. Veselovsky, “The Poem of Digenes,” Vestni\ Evropy (1875), 753.
184 Etudes sur l’histoire byzantine, 73.
185 Bibliotheque grecque vulgaire, ed. E. Lcgrand, I, 83 (v. 180), 96 (v. 546). Cf. Poèmes Prodromiques en grec vulgaire, cd. D. C. Hesscling and H. Pernot, 55 (v. 164). E. Jcanselme and L. Occonomos, “La Satire contre les Higoumènes,” Byzantion, I (1924), 328.
186 J. B. Bury, Romances of Chivalry on Creek Soil, 18–19.
187 Some “Acritic” songs have been published by S. Kyriakides, ’OΔιγἐνης ’Aκρίτας (1926), IIQ-50.
188 See D. C. Hesseling, La plus ancienne rédaction du poème épique sur D i genis Abritas, 1–22.
189 In 1942 H. Grégoire published an excellent summary of the studies of the epic in Modern Greek in Digenis Afoitas. The Byzantine Epic in History and Poetry. Since this indispensable book is written in Modern Greek and hence accessible to a restricted number of readers, an English or French translation would be highly desirable. Among Grégoire’s numerous studies on the subject, I wish to indicate two which may be particularly useful as an introduction: “Le tombeau et la date de Digenis Akritas,” and “Autour de Digenis Akritas,” both in Byzantion1 VI (1931), 481–508; VII (1932), 287–320.
190 See a very important work on this subject by M. Speransky, “Digenis’ Deeds,” Sbornik Otdeleniya Russkago Yazika i Slovesnosti, XCIX, 7 (1922); in French, P. Pascal, “Le ‘Digenis’ slave ou la ‘Geste de Devgenij,’” Byzantion, X (1935), 301–34.
191 O. M. Dalton, East Christian Art, 17–18.
192 J. Strzygowski, Die Baukunst der Ar-menier und Europa. Sec Charles Diehl, Manuel d’art byzantin, I, 476–78. Dalton, East Christian Art, 34–35.
193 See Sirarpie der Nersessian, “Remarks on the Date of the Menologium and the Psalter Written for Basil II,” Byzantion, XV (1940–41), 104–125.
194 Dalton, East Christian Art, 250.
195 Diehl, Manuel d’art byzantin, II, 567–79. See G. de Jerphanion, Une nouvelle province de l’art byzantin. Les églises rupestres de Cap-padoce, I, part 1, with an album of excellent plates. Diehl (Manuel d’art byzantin[2nd ed., 1925–26], II, 908–9) could not yet use this work.
196 Diehl, ibid., II, 585.
197 Dalton, East Christian Art, 18–19.