Basil II, nicknamed the Bulgar Slayer, was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty whose effective reign—the longest of any Byzantine monarch—lasted from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025. He had been associated with the throne since 960 as a junior colleague to a succession of senior emperors: his father Romanos II, his step-father Nikephoros II Phokas, John I Tzimiskes. In addition to these emperors, Basil's influential great-uncle Basil Lekapenos held power for several decades until he was overthrown in 985. From 962, Basil II's brother Constantine, who succeeded him as Constantine VIII, was nominal co-emperor; the early years of Basil's reign were dominated by civil wars against two powerful generals from the Anatolian aristocracy. Basil oversaw the stabilization and expansion of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire and the complete subjugation of the First Bulgarian Empire, its foremost European foe, after a prolonged struggle. Although the Byzantine Empire had made a truce with the Fatimid Caliphate in 987–988, Basil led a campaign against the Caliphate that ended with another truce in 1000.
He conducted a campaign against the Khazar Khaganate that gained the Byzantine Empire part of Crimea and a series of successful campaigns against the Kingdom of Georgia. Despite near-constant warfare, Basil distinguished himself as an administrator, reducing the power of the great land-owning families who dominated the Empire's administration and military and filling its treasury, he left the Empire with its greatest expanse in four centuries. Although his successors were incapable rulers, the Empire flourished for decades after Basil's death. One of the most important decisions taken during his reign was to offer the hand of his sister Anna Porphyrogenita to Vladimir I of Kiev in exchange for military support, thus forming the Byzantine military unit known as the Varangian Guard; the marriage of Anna and Vladimir led to the Christianization of the Kievan Rus' and the incorporation of successor nations of Kievan Rus' within the Byzantine cultural and religious tradition. Basil is seen as a Greek national hero but as a despised figure among Bulgarians.
The courtier and historian Michael Psellos, born towards the end of Basil's reign, gives a description of Basil in his Chronographia. Psellos describes him as a stocky man of shorter-than-average stature, an impressive figure on horseback, he had light-blue eyes arched eyebrows, luxuriant sidewhiskers—which he had a habit of rolling between his fingers when deep in thought or angry—and in life a scant beard. Psellos states that Basil was not an articulate speaker and had a loud laugh that convulsed his whole frame. Basil is described as having ascetic tastes and caring little for the pomp and ceremony of the Imperial court wearing a sombre, dark-purple robe furnished with few of the gems that decorated imperial costumes, he is described as a capable administrator who left a well-stocked treasury upon his death. Basil despised literary culture and affected scorn for the learned classes of Byzantium. According to the 19th century historian George Finlay, Basil saw himself as "prudent and devout.
For Greek learning he cared little, he was a type of the higher Byzantine moral character, which retained far more of its Roman than its Greek origin". The modern historian John Julius Norwich wrote of Basil, and it is hardly surprising: Basil was ugly, coarse, boorish and pathologically mean. He was in short un-Byzantine, he cared only for the greatness of his Empire. No wonder that in his hands it reached its apogee". Basil II was born c. 958. He was a porphyrogennetos, as were his father Romanos II and his paternal grandfather Constantine VII. Basil was the eldest son of Romanos and his Laconian Greek second wife Theophano, the daughter of a poor tavern-keeper named Krateros and may have originated from the city of Sparta, he may have had an elder sister named Helena. Romanos succeeded Constantine VII as sole emperor upon the latter's death in 959. Basil's father crowned him as co-emperor on 22 April 960, his brother Constantine in 962 or 963. Only two days after the birth of his youngest child Anna, Romanos II died on 15 March 963 at 24 years of age.
His unexpected death was thought at the time to be the result of poisoning with hemlock. Basil and Constantine were too young to rule in their own right when Romanos died in 963. Therefore, although the Byzantine Senate confirmed them as emperors with their mother as the nominal regent, de facto power passed for the time into the hands of the parakoimomenos Joseph Bringas. Theophano did not trust Bringas and another enemy of the powerful parakoimomenos was Basil Lekapenos, an illegitimate, eunuch son of Emperor Romanos I – Basil's great-grandfather. Lekapenos himself had been parakoimomenos to Constantine VII and megas baioulos to Romanos II, yet another enemy of Bringas was the successful and popular gene
Family life and children of Vladimir I
Until his baptism, Vladimir I of Kiev was described by Thietmar of Merseburg as a great profligate. He had a few hundred concubines in the country residence of Berestovo, he had official pagan wives, the most famous being Rogneda of Polotsk. His other wives are mentioned in the Primary Chronicle, with various children assigned to various wives in the different versions of the document. Hence, speculations abound. Norse sagas mention that, while ruling in Novgorod in his early days, Vladimir had a Varangian wife named Olava or Allogia; this unusual name is a feminine form of Olaf. According to Snorri Sturluson the runaway Olaf Tryggvason was sheltered by Allogia in her house. Several authorities, notably Rydzevskaya, hold that skalds confused Vladimir's wife Olava with his grandmother and tutor Olga, with Allogia being the distorted form of Olga's name. Others postulate Olava was a real person and the mother of Vysheslav, the first of Vladimir's sons to reign in Novgorod, as behooves the eldest son and heir.
On the other hand, there is no evidence that the tradition of sending the eldest son of Kievan monarch to Novgorod existed at such an early date. Those scholars who believe that this early Norse wife was not fictitious, suppose that Vladimir could have married her during his famous exile in Scandinavia in the late 970s, they refer an account in Ingvars saga which tells that Eric VI of Sweden married his daughter to a'konung of fjord lying to the East from Holmgard'. This prince may have been Vladimir the Great. Rogneda of Polotsk is the best known of Vladimir's Varangian pagan wives; the Primary Chronicle mentions three of Rogneda's sons - Izyaslav of Polotsk, Vsevolod of Volhynia, Yaroslav the Wise. Following an old Yngling tradition, Izyaslav inherited the lands of his maternal grandfather, i.e. Polotsk. According to the Kievan succession law, his progeny forfeited their rights to the Kievan throne, because their forefather had never ruled in Kiev supreme. They, retained the principality of Polotsk and formed a dynasty of local rulers, of which Vseslav the Sorcerer was the most notable.
During his unruly youth, Vladimir begot his eldest son, relations with whom would cloud his declining years. His mother was a Greek nun captured by Svyatoslav I in Bulgaria and married to his lawful heir Yaropolk I. Russian historian Vasily Tatischev, invariably erring in the matters of onomastics, gives her the fanciful Roman name of Julia; when Yaropolk was murdered by Vladimir's agents, the new sovereign raped his wife and she soon gave birth to a child. Thus, Sviatopolk was the eldest of Vladimir's sons, although the issue of his parentage has been questioned and he has been known in the family as "the son of two fathers". Vladimir had a Czech wife, whose name is given by Vasily Tatishchev as Malfrida. Historians have gone to extremes in order to provide a political rationale behind such an alliance, as the Czech princes are assumed to have backed up Vladimir's brother Yaropolk rather than Vladimir, his children by these marriage were Svyatoslav of Smolensk, killed during the 1015 internecine war, Mstislav of Chernigov.
Some chronicles, report that Rogneda was Mstislav's mother. Another wife was a Bulgarian lady. Historians have disagreed as to whether she came from Bulgaria on the Danube. According to the Primary Chronicle, both Boris and Gleb were her children; this tradition, however, is viewed by most scholars as a product of hagiographical tendency to merge the identity of both saints. They were of different age and their names point to different cultural traditions. Judging by his Bulgarian name, Boris could have been Adela's only offspring. Anna was the daughter of Byzantine Emperor Romanos II ) and the Empress Theophano, she was the sister of Emperors Basil II Bulgaroktonos and Constantine VIII. Anna was a Porphyrogenita, a legitimate daughter born in the special purple chamber of the Byzantine Emperor's Palace. Anna's hand was considered such a prize that Vladimir became Christian just to marry her. Anna is known to have predeceased Vladimir by four years. Thietmar of Merseburg, writing from contemporary accounts, mentions that Boleslaw I of Poland captured Vladimir's widow during his raid on Kiev in 1018.
The historians long had no clue as to identity of this wife. The emigre historian Nicholas Baumgarten, pointed to the controversial record of the "Genealogia Welforum" and the "Historia Welforum Weingartensis" that one daughter of Count Kuno von Oenningen by "filia Ottonis Magni imperatoris" married "rex Rugorum", he interpreted this evidence as pertaining to Vladimir's last wife. It is believed that the only child of this alliance was Dobronega, or Maria, who married Casimir I of Poland between 1038 and 1042; as her father Vladimir died about 25 years before that marriage and she was still young enough to bear at least five children, including two future Polish dukes, it is thought probable that she was Vladimir's daughter by the last marriage. There is a case for Yaroslav's descent from Anna. According to this theory, Nestor the Chronicler deliberately represented Yaroslav as Rogneda's son, because he systematically
Romanos II was a Byzantine Emperor. He succeeded his father Constantine VII in 959 at the age of twenty-one and died in 963. Romanos II was a son of Emperor Constantine VII and Helena Lekapene, the daughter of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos and his wife Theodora. Named after his maternal grandfather, Romanos was married, as a child, to Bertha, the illegitimate daughter of Hugh of Arles, King of Italy to bond an alliance, she had changed her name to Eudokia after their marriage, but died an early death in 949 before producing an heir, thus never becoming a real marriage, dissolving the alliance. On January 27, 945, Constantine VII succeeded in removing his brothers-in-law, the sons of Romanos I, assuming the throne alone. On April 6, 945, Constantine crowned his son Romanos co-emperor. With Hugh out of power in Italy and dead by 947, Romanos secured the promise from his father that he would be allowed to select his own bride. Romanos chose an innkeeper's daughter named Anastaso, whom he renamed Theophano.
In November 959, Romanos II succeeded his father on the throne amidst rumors that he or his wife had poisoned him. Romanos replaced them with friends. To appease his bespelling wife, he excused his mother, Empress Helena, from court and forced his five sisters into convents. Many of Romanos' appointees were able men, including his chief adviser, the eunuch Joseph Bringas; the pleasure-loving sovereign could leave military matters in the adept hands of his generals, in particular the brothers Leo and Nikephoros Phokas. In 960 Nikephoros Phokas was sent with a fleet of 1,000 dromons, 2,000 chelandia, 308 transports carrying 50,000 men to recover Crete from the Muslims. After a difficult campaign and nine-month Siege of Chandax, Nikephoros re-established Byzantine control over the entire island in 961. Following a triumph celebrated at Constantinople, Nikephoros was sent to the eastern frontier, where the Emir of Aleppo Sayf al-Dawla was engaged in annual raids into Byzantine Anatolia. Nikephoros liberated Cilicia and Aleppo in 962, sacking the palace of the Emir and taking possession of 390,000 silver dinars, 2,000 camels, 1,400 mules.
In the meantime Leo Phokas and Marianos Argyros had countered Magyar incursions into the Byzantine Balkans. After a lengthy hunting expedition Romanos II took ill and died on March 15, 963. Rumor attributed his death to poison administered by his wife Theophano, but there is no evidence of this, Theophano would have been risking much by exchanging the secure status of a crowned Augusta with the precarious one of a widowed Regent of her young children. Romanos II's reliance on his wife and on bureaucrats like Joseph Bringas had resulted in a capable administration, but this built up resentment among the nobility, associated with the military. In the wake of Romanos' death, his Empress Dowager, now Regent to the two co-emperors, her underage sons, was quick to marry the general Nikephoros Phokas and to acquire another general, John Tzimiskes, as her lover, having them both elevated to the imperial throne in succession; the rights of her sons were safeguarded and when Tzimiskes died at war, her eldest son Basil II became senior emperor.
Romanos married firstly on September 944 with Bertha, illegitimate daughter of Hugh of Arles, King of Italy, who changed her name to Eudokia after her marriage. She died in 949, her marriage unconsummated. By his second wife Theophano he had at least three children: Basil II, born in 958 Constantine VIII, born in 960 Anna Porphyrogenita, born 13 March 963 List of Byzantine emperors Leo the Deacon, Histories Ancestral Roots of Certain American Colonists Who Came to America Before 1700 By Frederick Lewis Weis, Line 147-20 The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991. George Ostrogorsky, History of the Byzantine State, 1969. John Julius Norwich, Byzantium: The Apogee, 1991. Reuter, Timothy. "Appendix". The New Cambridge Medieval History: Volume 3, c.900-c.1024. Cambridge University Press. Attribution This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Romanus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 23. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 583–584. Media related to Romanus II at Wikimedia Commons
Vladimir the Great
Vladimir the Great. Vladimir's father was prince Sviatoslav of the Rurik dynasty. After the death of his father in 972, prince of Novgorod, was forced to flee to Scandinavia in 976 after his brother Yaropolk had murdered his other brother Oleg and conquered Rus'. In Sweden, with the help from his relative Ladejarl Håkon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, he assembled a Varangian army and reconquered Novgorod from Yaropolk. By 980, Vladimir had consolidated the Kievan realm from modern-day Belarus and Ukraine to the Baltic Sea and had solidified the frontiers against incursions of Bulgarian, Baltic tribes and Eastern nomads. A follower of Slavic paganism, Vladimir converted to Christianity in 988 and Christianized the Kievan Rus'. Born in 958, Vladimir was the natural son and youngest son of Sviatoslav I of Kiev by his housekeeper Malusha. Malusha is described in the Norse sagas as a prophetess who lived to the age of 100 and was brought from her cave to the palace to predict the future. Malusha's brother Dobrynya was most trusted advisor.
Hagiographic tradition of dubious authenticity connects his childhood with the name of his grandmother, Olga of Kiev, Christian and governed the capital during Sviatoslav's frequent military campaigns. His place of birth is identified as Budyatychi or Budnik. Transferring his capital to Pereyaslavets in 969, Sviatoslav designated Vladimir ruler of Novgorod the Great but gave Kiev to his legitimate son Yaropolk. After Sviatoslav's death at the hands of the Pechenegs in 972, a fratricidal war erupted in 976 between Yaropolk and his younger brother Oleg, ruler of the Drevlians. In 977, Vladimir fled to his kinsman Haakon Sigurdsson, ruler of Norway, collecting as many Norse warriors as he could to assist him to recover Novgorod. On his return the next year, he marched against Yaropolk. On his way to Kiev he sent ambassadors to Rogvolod, prince of Polotsk, to sue for the hand of his daughter Rogneda; the high-born princess refused to affiance herself to the son of a bondswoman, so Vladimir attacked Polotsk, slew Rogvolod, took Ragnhild by force.
Polotsk was a key fortress on the way to Kiev, capturing Polotsk and Smolensk facilitated the taking of Kiev in 978, where he slew Yaropolk by treachery and was proclaimed knyaz of all Kievan Rus. Vladimir continued to expand his territories beyond his father's extensive domain. In 981, he seized the Cherven towns from the Poles. Although Christianity spread in the region under Oleg's rule, Vladimir had remained a thoroughgoing pagan, taking eight hundred concubines and erecting pagan statues and shrines to gods, he may have attempted to reform Slavic paganism in an attempt to identify himself with the various gods worshipped by his subjects. He built a pagan temple on the a hill in Kiev dedicated to six gods: Perun - the god of thunder and war "a Norse god favored by members of the prince’s druzhina". Slav gods Dazhd ` bog. A mob killed his son Ioann. After the murder of Fyodor and Ioann, early medieval Rus' saw persecutions against Christians, many of whom escaped or concealed their belief. However, Prince Vladimir mused over the incident long after, not least for political considerations.
According to the early Slavic chronicle called Tale of Bygone Years, which describes life in Kievan Rus' up to the year 1110, he sent his envoys throughout the civilized world to judge first hand the major religions of the time, Roman Catholicism and Byzantine Orthodoxy. They were most impressed with their visit to Constantinople, saying, "We knew not whether we were in Heaven or on Earth… We only know that God dwells there among the people, their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations." The Primary Chronicle reports that in the year 987, after consultation with his boyars, Vladimir the Great sent envoys to study the religions of the various neighboring nations whose representatives had been urging him to embrace their respective faiths. The result is described by the chronicler Nestor. Of the Muslim Bulgarians of the Volga the envoys reported there is no gladness among them, only sorrow and a great stench, he reported that Islam was undesirable due to its taboo against alcoholic beverages and pork.
Vladimir remarked on the occasion: "Drinking is the joy of all Rus'. We cannot exist without that pleasure." Ukrainian and Russian sources describe Vladimir consulting with Jewish envoys and questioning them about their religion, but rejecting it as well, saying that their loss of Jerusalem was evidence that they had been abandoned by God. His emissaries visited pre-schism Latin Rite Christian and Eastern Rite Ch
Constantine VIII was the Byzantine Emperor from 15 December 1025 until his death in 1028. He was the son of Emperor Romanos Empress Theophano, he was nominal co-emperor for 63 years from 962, successively with his father, his stepfather Nikephoros II Phokas, his uncle John I Tzimiskes, his elder brother Basil II. Basil II died childless in 1025 and thus left the rule of the Byzantine Empire in Constantine's hands. Constantine had no interest in statecraft or the military, his brief reign is said to have been "an unmitigated disaster", sparking "a collapse of the military power of the Empire". Constantine's father, Romanos II, was the sixth Byzantine emperor of the Macedonian dynasty. After the death of his first wife, daughter of Hugh of Arles, he fell in love with and married an innkeeper's daughter from the Peloponnese, Theophano. Contemporaries called Theophano the most beautiful woman in Christendom as well as ambitious, an inveterate schemer and utterly amoral, she bore Romanos four children, including Constantine, born in 960, his elder brother Basil, born in 958.
His sister Anna's hand was considered such a prize that Vladimir I of Kiev converted to Christianity in order to marry her. Aged eight, Constantine was engaged to a daughter of Emperor Boris II of Bulgaria but in the end he married a Byzantine aristocrat named Helena, daughter of Alypius. By Helena he had three daughters: Eudokia. Romanos died in amidst rumours that Theophano had poisoned him. Constantine and his brother had been crowned co-emperors by their father in March 962; the widowed Theophano installed herself as regent for her sons and promptly purged the imperial government, appointing her own men. Passing over a bevy of suitors among Constantinople's courtiers, she made an alliance with Nikephoros Phokas. Nikephoros, a physically repulsive ascetic twice her age, was the greatest military hero of the Empire. In return for her hand, the childless Nikephoros gave his sacred pledge to protect her children and their interests. Nikephoros entered Constantinople three months after Romanos' death, breaking the resistance of Joseph Bringas, a eunuch palace official, Romanos' chief counsellor, in street fighting.
Nikephoros was crowned emperor in the presence of his nominal co-emperors and Basil. A month he married their mother. Six years Nikephoros was murdered at Theophano's instigation and her lover and co-conspirator John Tzimiskes was acclaimed emperor. Tzimiskes proposed to marry Theophano but the Empress had by been too damaged by gossip and rumours, many of them accurate. Patriarch Polyeuktos refused to perform the coronation unless Tzimiskes removed the "scarlet empress" from the court. Tzimiskes calculated that his legitimacy would be better enhanced by church approval than betrothal to the unpopular empress and acceded to the Patriarch's demands. Theophano was sent into exile and Tzimiskes was crowned, again with Constantine and Basil as co-emperors, he married Constantine's aunt. Following the death of Tzimiskes in January 976, Basil and Constantine took power. Although the sixteen year old Constantine was nominally co-emperor it was clear that Basil was senior emperor as Basileus Basil II. Constantine as a young man was tall and graceful, he was a superb horseman and trained his own horses.
He competed in athletic and wrestling competitions. He had a good grasp of rhetoric, he was a gourmand. He never developed any. Constantine led troops alongside his brother in 989. Basil II had an illustrious reign, earning the sobriquet "Bulgar-slayer", he died childless on 15 December 1025 and Constantine, a sixty-five-year-old widower, became sole emperor as Constantine VIII. He had been a co-emperor for sixty-three years but had always been content to enjoy the privileges of imperial status, without concerning himself with state affairs, he spent his life in the search of pleasure and entertainment, or amusing himself with riding and hunting. He was "of frivolous disposition, he desired nothing more than to pass his life wallowing in extravagant pleasures." Constantine as emperor carried on as he always had – hunting and enjoying life – and avoided state business as much as possible. By the time he became emperor he could hardly walk, he met challenges with persecuting the nobility and ordering an orgy of torture.
He filled the senior state positions with nonentities. Within months the land laws of Basil II were dropped, under pressure from the Anatolian aristocracy. "Devoid of any semblance of moral fibre" he would grant any concession. Favouritism failed to win him friends and he persecuted the nobility when he felt threatened by conspiracy; the start of the decline of the Byzantine Empire has been linked to Constantine's accession to the throne. His reign has been described as "an unmitigated disaster", "a break up of the system" and causing "a collapse of the military power of the Empire", he ruled for less than three years before his death on 11 November 1028. On his deathbed, without a male heir, Constantine recalled the senior aristocrat Constantine Dalessenos, Duke of Antioch, to the capital in order to marry his oldest daughter Zoë; the Dalassenus were one of the few powerful patrician
Integrated Authority File
The Integrated Authority File or GND is an international authority file for the organisation of personal names, subject headings and corporate bodies from catalogues. It is used for documentation in libraries and also by archives and museums; the GND is managed by the German National Library in cooperation with various regional library networks in German-speaking Europe and other partners. The GND falls under the Creative Commons Zero licence; the GND specification provides a hierarchy of high-level entities and sub-classes, useful in library classification, an approach to unambiguous identification of single elements. It comprises an ontology intended for knowledge representation in the semantic web, available in the RDF format; the Integrated Authority File became operational in April 2012 and integrates the content of the following authority files, which have since been discontinued: Name Authority File Corporate Bodies Authority File Subject Headings Authority File Uniform Title File of the Deutsches Musikarchiv At the time of its introduction on 5 April 2012, the GND held 9,493,860 files, including 2,650,000 personalised names.
There are seven main types of GND entities: LIBRIS Virtual International Authority File Information pages about the GND from the German National Library Search via OGND Bereitstellung des ersten GND-Grundbestandes DNB, 19 April 2012 From Authority Control to Linked Authority Data Presentation given by Reinhold Heuvelmann to the ALA MARC Formats Interest Group, June 2012
The Macedonian dynasty ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867 to 1056, following the Amorian dynasty. During this period, the Byzantine state reached its greatest expanse since the Muslim conquests, the Macedonian Renaissance in letters and arts began; the dynasty was named after its founder, Basil I the Macedonian who came from the Theme of Macedonia which at the time was part of Thrace. Claims have been made for the dynasty's founder being of Armenian, Slavic, or indeed "Armeno-Slavonic" descent. Hence, the dynasty is referred to by as the Armenian Dynasty by several scholars, such as George Bournoutian and Mack Chahin. Zachary Chitwood suggests it is the term Macedonian dynasty is "something of a misnomer" because of Basil I's Armenian origin; the author of the only dedicated biography of Basil I in English has concluded that it is impossible to be certain what the ethnic origins of the emperor were, though Basil was reliant on the support of Armenians in prominent positions within the Byzantine Empire.
Basil I the Macedonian – married the Varangian Eudokia Ingerina, mistress of Michael III. Deposed by his sons and entered monastery Romanos II the Purple-born – son of Constantine VII Nikephoros II Phokas – successful general, married Romanos II's widow, regent for Basil; the Early Medieval Balkans: A Critical Survey from the Sixth to the Late Twelfth Century. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press. Obolensky, Dimitri; the Byzantine Commonwealth: Eastern Europe, 500-1453. London: Cardinal. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Runciman, Steven; the Emperor Romanus Lecapenus and His Reign: A Study of Tenth-Century Byzantium. Cambridge University Press. Stephenson, Paul. Byzantium's Balkan Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204. Cambridge University Press. Stephenson, Paul; the Legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Thurn, Hans, ed.. Ioannis Scylitzae Synopsis historiarum. Berlin-New York: De Gruyter