A eunuch, he assisted in the ascent of Michael II to the throne in 822, and was rewarded with the titles of patrikios and magistros. He held the posts of chartoularios tou kanikleiou and logothetēs tou dromou under Michael. After Theophilos death in 842, Theoktistos became member of the regency council, noted for his administrative and political competence, Theoktistos played a major role in ending the Byzantine Iconoclasm, and fostered the ongoing renaissance in education within the Empire. He continued the persecution of the Paulicians, but had mixed success in the wars against the Arabs, nothing is known of Theoktistos early life. By 820 he held a position at the court of Emperor Leo V the Armenian. Following Theophilos death, the council took over the conduct of affairs of state. Theodoras brothers Bardas and Petronas and her relative Sergios Niketiates played an important role in the days of the regency. The regency moved quickly to end Byzantine Iconoclasm, which had dominated Byzantine religious, in early 843, an assembly of selected officials and clerics convened in the house of Theoktistos.
The synod repudiated iconoclasm, re-affirmed the decisions of the 787 Second Council of Nicaea, in his stead was elected Methodios I, who had been imprisoned by Theophilos for his iconophile beliefs. This event is commemorated as the Triumph of Orthodoxy by the Eastern Orthodox Church ever since, Theoktistos played a major role in these events. He is commemorated as a saint by the Orthodox Church on 20 October, a week after that and Sergios Niketiates were sent on a campaign to recover Crete, which had been conquered in the 820s by Andalusian exiles. The expedition at first went well, as the Byzantine army landed and took control over most of the island, confining the Andalusians to their capital, Chandax. At this juncture, Theoktistos heard a rumour that in his absence and he hastily abandoned the army under Niketiates and returned to Constantinople, only to find the rumours false. Once in Constantinople, news arrived of an invasion of Asia Minor by Umar al-Aqta, Theoktistos was sent at the head of an army to confront him, but the resulting Battle of Mauropotamos ended in a Byzantine defeat.
At the same time, the corps left in Crete was defeated and almost annihilated by the Andalusians. Theoktistos continued the persecution of the Paulicians, which had been initiated by Theodora in 843, many fled to Arab territory, where with Umar al-Aqtas aid they established a state of their own at Tephrike under their leader Karbeas. Theoktistos concluded a truce with the Abbasid Caliphate and arranged an exchange of prisoners took place on 16 September 845. Nevertheless, in the year, the execution of the surviving Byzantine prisoners from the Arab Sack of Amorium in 842 took place in the Abbasid capital
The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, southern Albania, Sicily, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world, many of these regions coincided to a large extent with the borders of the Byzantine Empire of the late 11th century and the Eastern Mediterranean areas of ancient Greek colonization. The cultural centers of the Greeks have included Athens, Alexandria, most ethnic Greeks live nowadays within the borders of the modern Greek state and Cyprus. The Greek genocide and population exchange between Greece and Turkey nearly ended the three millennia-old Greek presence in Asia Minor, other longstanding Greek populations can be found from southern Italy to the Caucasus and southern Russia and Ukraine and in the Greek diaspora communities in a number of other countries. Today, most Greeks are officially registered as members of the Greek Orthodox Church, the Greeks speak the Greek language, which forms its own unique branch within the Indo-European family of languages, the Hellenic.
They are part of a group of ethnicities, described by Anthony D. Smith as an archetypal diaspora people. Both migrations occur at incisive periods, the Mycenaean at the transition to the Late Bronze Age, the Mycenaeans quickly penetrated the Aegean Sea and, by the 15th century BC, had reached Rhodes, Crete and the shores of Asia Minor. Around 1200 BC, the Dorians, another Greek-speaking people, followed from Epirus, the Dorian invasion was followed by a poorly attested period of migrations, appropriately called the Greek Dark Ages, but by 800 BC the landscape of Archaic and Classical Greece was discernible. The Greeks of classical antiquity idealized their Mycenaean ancestors and the Mycenaean period as an era of heroes, closeness of the gods. The Homeric Epics were especially and generally accepted as part of the Greek past, as part of the Mycenaean heritage that survived, the names of the gods and goddesses of Mycenaean Greece became major figures of the Olympian Pantheon of antiquity. The ethnogenesis of the Greek nation is linked to the development of Pan-Hellenism in the 8th century BC, the works of Homer and Hesiod were written in the 8th century BC, becoming the basis of the national religion, ethos and mythology.
The Oracle of Apollo at Delphi was established in this period, the classical period of Greek civilization covers a time spanning from the early 5th century BC to the death of Alexander the Great, in 323 BC. It is so named because it set the standards by which Greek civilization would be judged in eras, the Peloponnesian War, the large scale civil war between the two most powerful Greek city-states Athens and Sparta and their allies, left both greatly weakened. Many Greeks settled in Hellenistic cities like Alexandria and Seleucia, two thousand years later, there are still communities in Pakistan and Afghanistan, like the Kalash, who claim to be descended from Greek settlers. The Hellenistic civilization was the period of Greek civilization, the beginnings of which are usually placed at Alexanders death. This Hellenistic age, so called because it saw the partial Hellenization of many non-Greek cultures and this age saw the Greeks move towards larger cities and a reduction in the importance of the city-state.
These larger cities were parts of the still larger Kingdoms of the Diadochi, however, remained aware of their past, chiefly through the study of the works of Homer and the classical authors. An important factor in maintaining Greek identity was contact with barbarian peoples and this led to a strong desire among Greeks to organize the transmission of the Hellenic paideia to the next generation
Theophilos was the Byzantine Emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the emperor of the Amorian dynasty and the last emperor to support iconoclasm. Theophilos personally led the armies in his war against the Arabs. Theophilos was the son of the Byzantine Emperor Michael II and his wife Thekla, Michael II crowned Theophilos co-emperor in 822, shortly after his own accession. Unlike his father, Theophilos received an education from John Hylilas, the grammarian. On 2 October 829, Theophilos succeeded his father as sole emperor, Theophilos continued in his predecessors iconoclasm, though without his fathers more conciliatory tone, issuing an edict in 832 forbidding the veneration of icons. He saw himself as the champion of justice, which he served most ostentatiously by executing his fathers co-conspirators against Leo V immediately after his accession. His reputation as a judge endured, and in the literary composition Timarion Theophilos is featured as one of the judges in the Netherworld, at the time of his accession, Theophilos was obliged to wage wars against the Arabs on two fronts.
Sicily was once invaded by the Arabs, who took Palermo after a year-long siege in 831, established the Emirate of Sicily. The invasion of Anatolia by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mamun in 830 was led by the Emperor himself, in 831 Theophilos retaliated by leading a large army into Cilicia and capturing Tarsus. The Emperor returned to Constantinople in triumph, but in the autumn he was defeated in Cappadocia, another defeat in the same province in 833 forced Theophilos to sue for peace, which he obtained the next year, after the death of Al-Mamun. During the respite from the war against the Abbasids, Theophilos arranged for the abduction of the Byzantine captives settled north of the Danube by Krum of Bulgaria, the rescue operation was carried out with success in c. 836, and the peace between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire was quickly restored, however, it proved impossible to maintain peace in the East. Theophilos had given asylum to a number of refugees from the east in 834, including Nasr and he baptized Theophobos, who married the Emperors aunt Irene and became one of his generals.
As relations with the Abbasids deteriorated, Theophilos prepared for a new war, in 837 Theophilos led a vast army of 70,000 men towards Mesopotamia and captured Melitene and Arsamosata. The Emperor took and destroyed Zapetra, which some sources claim as the birthplace of Caliph al-Mutasim, Theophilos returned to Constantinople in triumph. Eager for revenge, Al-Mutasim assembled a vast army and launched an invasion of Anatolia in 838. Theophilos decided to strike one division of the army before they could combine
Theodore the Studite
Theodore the Studite was a Byzantine Greek monk and abbot of the Stoudios Monastery in Constantinople. Theodores letter, containing suggested monastery reform rules, is the first recorded stand against slavery and he played a major role in the revivals both of Byzantine monasticism and of classical literary genres in Byzantium. He is known as an opponent of iconoclasm, one of several conflicts that set him at odds with both emperor and patriarch. Theodore was born in Constantinople in 759 and he was the oldest son of Photeinos, an important financial official in the palace bureaucracy, and Theoktiste, herself the offspring of a distinguished Constantinopolitan family. The brother of Theoktiste, Theodores uncle Platon, was himself an important official in the financial administration. It has often been assumed that Theodores family belonged to the party during the first period of Byzantine Iconoclasm. There is however no evidence to support this, and their position in the imperial bureaucracy of the time renders any openly iconodule position highly unlikely.
The family as a whole was most likely indifferent to the question of icons during this period, Platon became abbot of the new foundation, and Theodore was his right hand. The two sought to order the monastery according to the writings of Basil of Caesarea, shortly thereafter Tarasios himself ordained Theodore as a priest. In 794, Theodore became abbot of the Sakkudion Monastery, while Platon withdrew from the operation of the monastery. Also in 794, Emperor Constantine VI decided to separate from his first wife, Maria of Amnia, and to marry Marias kubikularia, Theodote, a cousin of Theodore the Studite. Although the Patriarch may initially have resisted this development, as a divorce without proof of adultery on the part of the wife could be construed as illegal, he ultimately gave way. The marriage of Constantine and Theodote was celebrated in 795, although not by the patriarch, as was normal, but by a certain Joseph, as a result, imperial troops were sent to the Sakkudion Monastery, and the community was dispersed.
Theodore was flogged, together with ten other monks, banished to Thessaloniki, following the accession of Irene, the priest Joseph was stripped of his office, and Theodoros was received in the imperial palace. The monks returned to the Sakkudion Monastery, but were forced back to the capital in either 797 or 798 on account of an Arab raid on Bithynia, at this time, Irene offered Theodore the leadership of the ancient Stoudios Monastery in Constantinople, which he accepted. Theodore set about building various workshops within the monastery to guarantee autarky, constructing a library and a scriptorium and he composed a series of poems on the duties of the various members of the community, which were likely inscribed and displayed within the monastery. He furthermore composed a rule for the governance of the monastery, in 806, the Patriarch Tarasios died, and Emperor Nikephoros I set about seeking his replacement. It appears likely that Platon at this time put forth Theodores name, but Nikephoros, a layman who held the rank of asekretis in the imperial bureaucracy, was chosen instead
The First Iconoclasm, as it is sometimes called, lasted between about 726 and 787. The Second Iconoclasm was between 814 and 842, according to the traditional view, Byzantine Iconoclasm constituted a ban on religious images by Emperor Leo III and continued under his successors. It was accompanied by destruction of images and persecution of supporters of the veneration of images. Iconoclasm, Greek for breaker of icons, is the destruction within a culture of the cultures own religious icons and other symbols or monuments. People who engage in or support iconoclasm are called iconoclasts, a term that has come to be applied figuratively to any person who breaks or disdains established dogmata or conventions, people who revere or venerate religious images are derisively called iconolaters. They are normally known as iconodules, or iconophiles and these terms were, not a part of the Byzantine debate over images. They have been brought into usage by modern historians and their application to Byzantium increased considerably in the late twentieth century.
The Byzantine term for the debate over religious imagery, iconomachy means struggle over images or image struggle, Iconoclasm has generally been motivated theologically by an Old Covenant interpretation of the Ten Commandments, which forbade the making and worshipping of graven images. It was a debate triggered by changes in Orthodox worship, which were generated by the major social and political upheavals of the seventh century for the Byzantine Empire. Traditional explanations for Byzantine iconoclasm have sometimes focused on the importance of Islamic prohibitions against images influencing Byzantine thought, the role of women and monks in supporting the veneration of images has been asserted. On the other hand, the wealthier Greeks of Constantinople and the peoples of the Balkan and Italian provinces strongly opposed Iconoclasm, Christian worship by the sixth century had developed a clear belief in the intercession of saints. A strong sacramentality and belief in the importance of physical presence joined the belief in intercession of saints with the use of relics and holy images in early Christian practices.
Believers would, make pilgrimages to places sanctified by the presence of Christ or prominent saints and martyrs. Relics, or holy objects which were a part of the remains, or had come into contact with, the Virgin or a saint, were widely utilized in Christian practices at this time. The use and abuse of images had greatly increased during this period, in some cases it defends itself against infidels with physical force. Key artefacts to blur this boundary emerged in c.570 in the form of miraculously created acheiropoieta or images not made by human hands and these sacred images were a form of contact relic, which additionally were taken to prove divine approval of the use of icons. The two most famous were the Mandylion of Edessa and the Image of Camuliana from Cappadocia, by in Constantinople. The latter was regarded as a palladium that had won battles and saved Constantinople from the Persian-Avar siege of 626
The Excubitors were founded in c.460 as the imperial guards of the early Byzantine emperors. Their commanders soon acquired great influence and provided a series of emperors in the 6th century. The Excubitors fade from the record in the late 7th century, but in the century, they were reformed into one of the elite tagmatic units. The Excubitors are last attested in 1081, the Excubitors were founded by Emperor Leo I c. Their high status is illustrated by the fact that both officers and ordinary Excubitors were often sent for special missions by the emperors, including diplomatic assignments. The unit was headed by the Count of the Excubitors, who, by virtue of his proximity to the emperor and this post, which can be traced up to c. 680, was held by close members of the imperial family. Thus it was the support of his men that secured Justin I, Justin II relied on the support of the Excubitors for his unchallenged accession, their count, was a close friend who had been appointed to the post through Justins intervention.
Tiberius was to be the Emperors right-hand man throughout his reign and he too would be succeeded by his own comes excubitorum, Maurice. Under Maurice, the post was held by his brother-in-law Philippicus, valentinus dominated the new regime, but his attempt to become emperor in 644 ended in his being lynched by the mob. As one of the tagmata, the Excubitors were no longer a palace guard, by the 780s, following years of imperial favour and military victories under Constantine V and his son Leo IV the Khazar, the tagmata had become firm adherents to the iconoclast cause. The Domestics were originally of strikingly low court rank, but they gradually rose to importance, at the same time, the court dignities they held rose to those of prōtospatharios and even patrikios. The most prominent Domestic of the Excubitors of the period was Michael II the Amorian, whose supporters overthrew Emperor Leo V the Armenian and raised him to the throne. The Excubitors took part in the failed Azaz campaign of 1030, where they were ambushed and dispersed by the Mirdasids, while their commander, the patrikios Leo Choirosphaktes, was taken captive.
The internal structure of the original excubitores regiment is unknown, other than that it was a unit. The historian Warren Treadgold speculates that they fulfilled a similar to the regular cavalry decurions, commanding troops of 30 men each. Bury suggested that the scribones, though associated with the excubitores, were a separate corps, in its incarnation as a tagma, the regiment was structured along standardized lines followed by the other tagmata, with a few variations. The domestikos was assisted by a topotērētēs and a chartoularios, the regiment itself was divided into at least eighteen banda, probably each commanded by a skribōn
Nikephoros I of Constantinople
St. Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I, was a Christian Byzantine writer and Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from April 12,806, to March 13,815. He was born in Constantinople as the son of Theodore and Eudokia, of an orthodox family. Nevertheless, he entered the service of the Empire, became cabinet secretary and he withdrew to one of the cloisters that he had founded on the eastern shore of the Bosporus, until he was appointed director of the largest home for the destitute in Constantinople c. After the death of the Patriarch Tarasios, although still a layman, after vain theological disputes, in December 814, there followed personal insults. From there he carried on a literary polemic for the cause of the iconodules against the synod of 815, on the occasion of the change of emperors, in 820, he was put forward as a candidate for the patriarchate and at least obtained the promise of toleration. He died at the monastery of Saint Theodore, revered as a confessor and his feast is celebrated on this day both in the Greek and Roman Churches, the Greeks observe 2 June as the day of his death.
He was mild in his ecclesiastical and monastical rules and non-partisan in his treatment of the period from 602 to 769. He used the chronicle of Traianus Patricius, the Chronography offered a universal history from the time of Adam and Eve to his own time. To it he appended a canon catalog, the catalog of the accepted books of the Old and New Testaments is followed by the antilegomena and the apocrypha. Next to each book is the count of its lines, his stichometry, to which we can compare our accepted texts and this is especially useful for apocrypha for which only fragmentary texts have survived. Nikephoros follows in the path of John of Damascus, list of Catholic saints The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press,1991. Paul J. Alexander, The Patriarch Nicephorus of Constantinople, Oxford University Press,1958, development of the Canon of the New Testament, the Stichometry of Nicephorus St. Nicephorus
History of the Byzantine Empire
This history of the Byzantine Empire covers the history of the Eastern Roman Empire from late antiquity until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 AD. Several events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period during which the Roman Empires east and west divided. In 285, the emperor Diocletian partitioned the Roman Empires administration into eastern and western halves, between 324 and 330, Constantine I transferred the main capital from Rome to Byzantium, known as Constantinople and Nova Roma. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion, and finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use instead of Latin. The borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through cycles of decline. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia as a homeland, the final centuries of the Empire exhibited a general trend of decline.
Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Roman Empire, during the 3rd century, three crises threatened the Roman Empire, external invasions, internal civil wars and an economy riddled with weaknesses and problems. The city of Rome gradually became important as an administrative centre. The crisis of the 3rd century displayed the defects of the system of government that Augustus had established to administer his immense dominion. His successors had introduced some modifications, but events made it clearer that a new, more centralized, Diocletian was responsible for creating a new administrative system. He associated himself with a co-emperor, or Augustus, each Augustus was to adopt a young colleague, or Caesar, to share in the rule and eventually to succeed the senior partner. After the abdication of Diocletian and Maximian, the tetrachy collapsed, Constantine moved the seat of the Empire, and introduced important changes into its civil and religious constitution.
Constantine began the building of the fortified walls, which were expanded. Constantine built upon the administrative reforms introduced by Diocletian and he stabilized the coinage, and made changes to the structure of the army. Under Constantine, the Empire had recovered much of its military strength and he reconquered southern parts of Dacia, after defeating the Visigoths in 332, and he was planning a campaign against Sassanid Persia as well. In the course of the 4th century, four great sections emerged from these Constantinian beginnings, Constantine established the principle that emperors should not settle questions of doctrine, but should summon general ecclesiastical councils for that purpose
Iconoclasm is the destruction of religious icons and other images or monuments for religious or political motives. Over time, the word, usually in the form, has come to refer to aggressive statements or actions against any well-established status quo. It is a frequent component of political or religious changes. The term does not generally encompass the destruction of images of a ruler after his death or overthrow. Conversely, one who reveres or venerates religious images is called an iconolater, in a Byzantine context, Iconoclasm may be carried out by people of a different religion, but is often the result of sectarian disputes between factions of the same religion. The Church Fathers identified Jews and Judaism with heresy and they saw deviations from orthodox Christianity and opposition to the veneration of images as heresies that were essentially Jewish in spirit. The degree of iconoclasm among Christian branches greatly varies, Islam, in general, tends to be more iconoclastic than Christianity, with Sunni Islam being more iconoclastic than Shia Islam.
Akhenatens actions are described thusly, In rebellion against the old religion, public references to Akhenaten were destroyed soon after his death. Comparing the ancient Egyptians with the Israelites, Jan Assmann writes, For Egypt, in the eyes of the Israelites, the erection of images meant the destruction of divine presence, in the eyes of the Egyptians, this same effect was attained by the destruction of images. In Egypt, iconoclasm was the most terrible crime, in Israel. It is more probable that these traditions evolved under mutual influence. In this respect and Akhenaten became, after all, the period after the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian evidently saw a huge increase in the use of images, both in volume and quality, and a gathering aniconic reaction. In the Eastern Roman Empire, government-led iconoclasm began with Byzantine Emperor Leo III, the religious conflict created political and economic divisions in Byzantine society. It was generally supported by the Eastern, non-Greek peoples of the Empire who had to frequently with raids from the new Muslim Empire.
On the other hand, the wealthier Greeks of Constantinople, and the peoples of the Balkan and Italian provinces, within the Byzantine Empire the government had probably been adopting Christian images more frequently. One notable change came in 695, when Justinian IIs government added an image of Christ on the obverse of imperial gold coins. The change caused the Caliph Abd al-Malik to stop his earlier adoption of Byzantine coin types and he started a purely Islamic coinage with lettering only. As a result, individuals attacked statues and images, however, in most cases, civil authorities removed images in an orderly manner in the newly reformed Protestant cities and territories of Europe
Nikephoros I or Nicephorus I, logothetēs tou genikou, was Byzantine Emperor from 802 to 811 AD, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska. A patrician from Seleucia Sidera, Nikephoros was appointed minister by the Empress Irene. With the help of the patricians and eunuchs he contrived to dethrone and exile Irene and he crowned his son Staurakios co-emperor in 803. But Nikephoros gained over the two, and by inducing the rebel army to disperse achieved the submission of Bardanes, who was blinded and relegated to a monastery. A conspiracy headed by the patrician Arsaber had a similar issue, Nikephoros embarked on a general reorganization of the Empire, creating new themes in the Balkans and strengthening the frontiers. Needing large sums to increase his forces, he set himself with great energy to increase the Empires revenue. By his rigorous tax imposts he alienated the favour of his subjects, and especially of the clergy, although he appointed an iconodule, Nikephoros as patriarch, Emperor Nikephoros was portrayed as a villain by ecclesiastical historians like Theophanes the Confessor.
In 803 Nikephoros concluded a treaty, called the Pax Nicephori, with Charlemagne, relations deteriorated and led to a war over Venice in 806–810. In the process Nikephoros had quelled a Venetian rebellion in 807, by withholding the tribute which Irene had agreed to pay to the caliph Hārūn al-Rashīd, Nikephoros committed himself to a war against the Arabs. Compelled by Bardanes disloyalty to take the field himself, he sustained a defeat at the Battle of Krasos in Phrygia. In 806 a Muslim army of 135,000 men invaded the Empire, unable to counter the Muslim numbers, Nikephoros agreed to make peace on condition of paying 50,000 nomismata immediately and a yearly tribute of 30,000 nomismata. Nikephoros was captured during the battle and sent to Pliska, where Krum ordered his decapitation, Krum is said to have made a drinking-cup of Nikephoros skull. By an unknown wife Nikephoros I had at least two children, who succeeded as emperor, who married Michael I Rangabe, emperor 811–813. List of Byzantine emperors The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, ed.
by Alexander Kazhdan and this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Hugh, ed. article name needed. Norwich, John J. Byzantium, The Apogee