The Madrid Skylitzes is a richly illustrated illuminated manuscript of the Synopsis of Histories, by John Skylitzes, which covers the reigns of the Byzantine emperors from the death of Nicephorus I in 811 to the deposition of Michael VI in 1057. The manuscript was produced in Sicily in the 12th century, is now at the Biblioteca Nacional de España in Madrid, with the shelfmark MS Graecus Vitr. 26-2. It is the only surviving illustrated manuscript of a Greek chronicle, includes 574 miniatures, it is unclear whether these illustrations are copies of earlier Byzantine images or were newly created for this copy. Color facsimile edition by Militos Publishers, ISBN 960-8460-16-6. Vasiliki Tsamakda, The Illustrated Chronicle of Ioannes Skylitzes, Leiden 2002. Bente Bjørnholt and J. Burke, eds. "The Cultures and Contexts of the Madrid Skylitzes" International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 13 July 2004. Images from the Madrid Skylitzes World Digital Library page, PDF download of the Madrid Skylitzes Evans, Helen C.
& Wixom, William D. The glory of Byzantium: art and culture of the Middle Byzantine era, A. D. 843-1261, no. 338, 1997, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, ISBN 9780810965072.
Theophylact (son of Michael I)
Theophylact or Theophylaktos was the eldest son of the Byzantine emperor Michael I Rhangabe and grandson, on his mother's side, of Nikephoros I. He was junior co-emperor alongside his father for the duration of the latter's reign, was tonsured and exiled to Plate Island after his overthrow, under the monastic name Eustratius. Theophylact was born to Michael Rhangabe and Prokopia c. 793. He was the couple's oldest child, but the list of his siblings given in the hagiography of Patriarch Ignatius I of Constantinople, Theophylact's youngest brother, is unclear on whether he was the eldest child or was born after his oldest sister Georgo, he was named after his paternal grandfather, the droungarios of the Dodekanesos Theophylact Rhangabe, who had participated in a failed conspiracy to wrest the throne from Empress-regent Irene of Athens in 780. His maternal grandfather, the emperor Nikephoros I, rose to become General Logothete under Empress Irene before deposing her in October 802. Following the death of Nikephoros in the Battle of Pliska on 26 July 811 and the crippling of his only son and heir Staurakios in the same battle, on 2 October the Byzantine Senate and the tagmata guard units acclaimed Nikephoros's son-in-law Michael Rhangabe as emperor and forced Staurakios to abdicate.
Michael set about to consolidate his rule, distributing lavish gifts, crowning his wife as Augusta on 12 October, crowning Theophylact – aged eighteen – as co-emperor in the Hagia Sophia on Christmas Day, 25 December 811. At about the same time, Michael sent an embassy under Bishop Michael of Synnada to the Frankish court, which among other issues raised the prospect of an imperial marriage between Theophylact and one of Charlemagne's daughters. Despite a warm reception at Aachen and the ratification of a peace treaty between the two realms, Charlemagne wary after the repeated failures of successive efforts to that effect over the previous decades, hesitated to agree to such a match. Nothing further is known of Theophylact until 11 July 813, when Michael, faced with a military revolt under Leo the Armenian, abdicated the throne. Michael and his family sought refuge in the Church of the Virgin of the Pharos, where they were tonsured as monks and nuns. Michael and his sons were castrated to make them incapable of claiming the throne in the future, exiled to Plate, one of the Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara.
Leo accorded them an annual stipend. According to Theophanes Continuatus, who adopted the monastic name Eustratius, died five years after his father, on 15 January 849, was buried alongside him in a church on Plate Island. Theophanes Continuatus reports that his body was transferred by his brother, Patriarch Ignatios, to the monastery known as "tou Satyrou"
Nesebar is an ancient city and one of the major seaside resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, located in Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Nesebar Municipality. Referred to as the "Pearl of the Black Sea", Nesebar is a rich city-museum defined by more than three millennia of ever-changing history; the small city exists in two parts separated by a narrow man-made isthmus with the ancient part of the settlement on the peninsula, the more modern section on the mainland side. The older part bears evidence of occupation by a variety of different civilisations over the course of its existence, it is one of the most prominent tourist destinations and seaports on the Black Sea, in what has become a popular area with several large resorts—the largest, Sunny Beach, is situated to the north of Nesebar. Nesebar has on several occasions found itself on the frontier of a threatened empire, as such it is a town with a rich history. Due to the city's abundance of historic buildings, UNESCO came to include Nesebar in its list of World Heritage Sites in 1983.
As of December 2009, the town has a population of 11,626 inhabitants. The settlement was known in Greek as Mesembria, sometimes mentioned as Mesambria or Melsembria, the latter meaning the city of Melsas. According to a reconstruction the name might derive from Thracian Melsambria; the Thracian origin of that name seems to be doubtful. Moreover, the tradition pertaining to Melsas, as founder of the city is tenuous and belongs to a cycle of etymological legends abundant among Greek cities, it appears that the story of Melsas was a latter reconstruction of the Hellenistic era, when Mesembria was an important coastal city. Before 1934, the common Bulgarian name for the town was Mesemvriya, it was replaced with the current name, used in the Erkech dialect spoken close to Nesebar. Both forms are derived from the Greek Mesembria. Bulgarian archaeologist Lyuba Ognenova-Marinova led six underwater archaeological expeditions for the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences between 1961 and 1972 in the waters along the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast.
Her work led to the identification of five chronological periods of urbanization on the peninsula surrounding Nesebar through the end of the second millennium B. C. which included the Thracian protopolis, the Greek colony Mesambria, a Roman-ruled village to the Early Christian Era, the Medieval settlement and a Renaissance era town, known as Mesemvria or Nessebar. A Thracian settlement, known as Menebria, the town became a Greek colony when settled by Dorians from Megara at the beginning of the 6th century BC, was an important trading centre from on and a rival of Apollonia, it remained the only Dorian colony along the Black Sea coast, as the rest were typical Ionian colonies. At 425-424 BC the town joined the Delian League, under the leadership of Athens. Remains date from the Hellenistic period and include the acropolis, a temple of Apollo and an agora. A wall which formed part of the Thracian fortifications can still be seen on the north side of the peninsula. Bronze and silver coins were minted in the city since the 5th century BC and gold coins since the 3rd century BC.
The town fell under Roman rule in 71 BC, yet continued to enjoy privileges such as the right to mint its own coinage. It was one of the most important strongholds of the Eastern Roman Empire from the 5th century AD onwards, was fought over by Byzantines and Bulgars, being captured and incorporated in the lands of the First Bulgarian Empire in 812 by Khan Krum after a two-week siege only to be ceded back to Byzantium by Knyaz Boris I in 864 and reconquered by his son Tsar Simeon the Great. During the time of the Second Bulgarian Empire it was contested by Bulgarian and Byzantine forces and enjoyed particular prosperity under Bulgarian tsar Ivan Alexander until it was conquered by Crusaders led by Amadeus VI, Count of Savoy in 1366; the Bulgarian version of the name, Nesebar or Mesebar, has been attested since the 11th century. Monuments from the Middle Ages include the 5–6th century Stara Mitropoliya, a basilica without a transept. In the 13th and 14th century a remarkable series of churches were built: St Theodore, St Paraskeva, St Michael St Gabriel, St John Aliturgetos.
The capture of the town by the Ottoman Empire in 1453 marked the start of its decline, but its architectural heritage remained and was enriched in the 19th century by the construction of wooden houses in style typical for the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast during this period. At the early 19th century many locals joined the Pan Orthodox organization sometimes wrongly called Greek patriotic organization, Filiki Eteria, while at the outbreak of the Greek War of Independence part of the town's youth participated in the struggle under Alexandros Ypsilantis. Nesebar was a kaza centre in İslimye sanjak of Edirne Province before 1878. After the Liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule in 1878, Nesebar became part of the autonomous Ottoman province of Eastern Rumelia in Burgaz department until it united with the Principality of Bulgaria in 1885. Around the end of the 19th century Nesebar was a small town of Greek vinegrowers. In the early 20th century, the total population increased to 1,870, but it remained a empty town.
It developed as a key Bulgarian seaside resort since the beginning of the 20th century. After 1925 a new t
Byzantine bureaucracy and aristocracy
The Byzantine Empire had a complex system of aristocracy and bureaucracy, inherited from the Roman Empire. At the apex of the hierarchy stood the emperor, yet "Byzantium was a republican absolute monarchy and not a monarchy by divine right". Beneath the emperor, a multitude of officials and court functionaries operated the complex administrative machinery, necessary to run the empire. In addition to those officials, a large number of honorific titles existed, which the emperor awarded to his subjects or to friendly foreign rulers. Over the more than thousand years of the empire's existence, different titles were adopted and discarded, many lost or gained prestige. At first the various titles of the empire were the same as those in the late Roman Empire. However, by the time that Heraclius was emperor, many of the titles had become obsolete. By the time of Alexios I reign, many of the positions were drastically changed. However, from that time on they remained the same until the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453.
In the early Byzantine period the system of government followed the model established in late Roman times under Diocletian and Constantine the Great, with a strict separation between civil and military offices and a scale of titles corresponding to office, where membership or not in the Senate was the major distinguishing characteristic. Following the transformation of the Byzantine state during the 7th century on account of massive territorial loss to the Muslim conquests, this system vanished, during the "classic" or middle period of the Byzantine state, a new, court-centered system emerged. In this, the new titles derived from older, now obsolete, public offices, dignities of a certain level were awarded with each office. A senatorial class remained in place, which incorporated a large part of the upper officialdom as every official from the rank of protospatharios was considered a member of it. During this period, many families remained important for several centuries, several Emperors rose from the aristocracy.
Two groups can be distinguished: a metropolitan civil nobility and a provincial military one, the latter remaining regionally based and having large land-holdings, but no military forces of their own, in contrast to contemporary Western Europe. The 10th and 11th centuries saw a rise in importance of the aristocracy, an increased number of new families entering it; the catastrophic losses in the latter 11th century again prompted a reorganization of the imperial administrative system, at the hands of the new Komnenos dynasty: the older offices and titles fell into disuse, while an array of new honorifics emerged, which signified the closeness of their recipient's familial relationship to the Emperor. The Komnenian-led Empire, their Palaiologan successors, were based on the landed aristocracy, keeping the governance of state controlled by a limited number of intermarrying aristocratic families. In the 11th and 12th century for instance, some 80 civil and 64 military noble families have been identified, a small number for so large a state.
In the Palaiologan system as reported by pseudo-Kodinos one can discern the accumulated nomenclature of centuries, with high ranks having been devalued and others taken their place, the old distinction between office and dignity had vanished. These were the highest titles limited to members of the imperial family or to a few select foreign rulers, whose friendship the Emperor desired. Basileus: the Greek word for "sovereign" which referred to any king in the Greek-speaking areas of the Roman Empire, it referred to the Shahs of Persia. Heraclius adopted it in 629, it became the Greek word for "emperor." Heraclius used the titles autokrator and kyrios. The Byzantines reserved the term "basileus" among Christian rulers for the emperor in Constantinople, referred to Western European kings as rēgas, a Hellenized form of the Latin word rex; the feminine form basilissa referred to an empress. Empresses were addressed as eusebestatē avgousta, were called kyria or despoina. Primogeniture, or indeed heredity itself, was never established in Byzantine imperial succession, because in principle the Roman Emperor was selected by common acclamation of the Senate, the People and the Army.
This was rooted in the Roman "republican" tradition, whereby hereditary kingship was rejected and the Emperor was nominally the convergence of several offices of the Republic onto one person. Many emperors, anxious to safeguard their firstborn son's right to the throne, had them crowned as co-emperors when they were still children, thus assuring that upon their own death the throne would not be momentarily vacant. In such a case the need for an imperial selection never arose. In several cases the new Emperor ascended the throne after marrying the previous Emperor's widow, or indeed after forcing the previous Emperor to abdicate and become a monk. Several emperors were deposed because of perceived inadequacy, e.g. after a military defeat, some were murdered. Porphyrogennētos – "born in the purple": Emperors wanting to emphasize the legitimacy of their ascent to the throne appended this title to their names, meaning they were born in the delivery room of the imperial palace, to a reigning emperor, were therefore legit
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. In the English-speaking world it is most understood to mean "king" or "emperor"; the title was used by sovereigns and other persons of authority in ancient Greece, the Byzantine emperors, the kings of modern Greece. The feminine forms are basileia, basilissa, or the archaic basilinna, meaning "queen" or "empress"; the etymology of basileus is unclear. The Mycenaean form was *gʷasileus, denoting some sort of court official or local chieftain, but not an actual king, its hypothetical earlier Proto-Greek form would be *gʷatileus. Most linguists assume that it is a non-Greek word, adopted by Bronze Age Greeks from a pre-existing linguistic Pre-Greek substrate of the Eastern Mediterranean. Schindler argues for an inner-Greek innovation of the -eus inflection type from Indo-European material rather than a Mediterranean loan; the first written instance of this word is found on the baked clay tablets discovered in excavations of Mycenaean palaces destroyed by fire.
The tablets are dated from the 15th century BC to the 11th century BC and are inscribed with the Linear B script, deciphered by Michael Ventris in 1952 and corresponds to a early form of Greek. The word basileus is written as qa-si-re-u and its original meaning was "chieftain". Here the initial letter q- represents the PIE labiovelar consonant */gʷ/, transformed in Greek into /b/. Linear B uses the same glyph for /l/ and /r/, now uniformly written with a Latin "r" by convention. Linear B only depicts syllables of single vowel or consonant-vowel form, therefore the final -s is dropped altogether; the word can be contrasted with wanax, another word used more for "king" and meaning "High King" or "overlord". With the collapse of Mycenaean society, the position of wanax ceases to be mentioned, the basileis appear the topmost potentates in Greek society. In the works of Homer wanax appears, in the form ánax in descriptions of Zeus and of few human monarchs, most notably Agamemnon. Otherwise the term survived exclusively as a component in compound personal names and is still in use in Modern Greek in the description of the anáktoron/anáktora, i.e. of the royal palace.
The latter is the same word as wa-na-ka-te-ro, wanákteros, "of the wanax/king" or "belonging to the wanax/king", used in Linear B tablets to refer to various craftsmen serving the king, to things belonging or offered to the king. Most of the Greek leaders in Homer's works are described as basileís, conventionally rendered in English as "kings". However, a more accurate translation may be "princes" or "chieftains", which would better reflect conditions in Greek society in Homer's time, the roles ascribed to Homer's characters. Agamemnon tries to give orders to Achilles among many others, while another basileus serves as his charioteer, his will, however, is not to be automatically obeyed. In Homer the wanax is expected to rule over the other basileis by consensus rather than by coercion, why Achilles proudly and furiously rebels when he perceives that Agamemnon is unjustly bossing him around. A study by Robert Drews has demonstrated that at the apex of Geometric and Archaic Greek society, basileus does not automatically translate to "king".
In a number of places authority was exercised by a college of basileis drawn from a particular clan or group, the office had term limits. However, basileus could be applied to the hereditary leaders of "tribal" states, like those of the Arcadians and the Messenians, in which cases the term approximated the meaning of "king". According to pseudo-Archytas's treatise "On justice and law", quoted by Giorgio Agamben in State of Exception, Basileus is more adequately translated into "Sovereign" than into "king"; the reason for this is that it designates more the person of king than the office of king: the power of magistrates derives from their social functions or offices, whereas the sovereign derives his power from himself. Sovereigns have auctoritas. Pseudo-Archytas aimed at creating a theory of sovereignty enfranchised from laws, being itself the only source of legitimacy, he goes so far as qualifying the Basileus as nomos empsykhos, or "living law", the origin, according to Agamben, of the modern Führerprinzip and of Carl Schmitt's theories on dictatorship.
In classical times all Greek states had abolished the hereditary royal office in favor of democratic or oligarchic rule. Some exceptions existed, namely the two hereditary Kings of Sparta, the Kings of Syracuse, the Kings of Cyrene, the Kings of Macedon and of the Molossians in Epirus and Kings of Arcadian Orchomenus; the Greeks used the term to refer to various kings of "barbaric" tribes in Thrace and Illyria, as well as to the Achaemenid kings of Persia. The Persian king was referred to as Megas Basileus or Basileus Basileōn, a translation of the Persian title xšāyaθiya xšāyaθiyānām, or "the king". There was a cult of Zeus Basileus at Lebadeia. Aristotle distinguished the basileus, constrained by law, from
Nikephoros I, or Nicephorus I, was Byzantine Emperor from 802 to 811, when he was killed in the Battle of Pliska. Prior to his accession, he had served as genikos logothetēs, whence he is sometimes surnamed "the Logothete" and "Genikos" or "Genicus". Both Syriac sources such as Michael the Syrian and Arabic ones like al-Tabari and Mas'udi hold that the emperor was of a Ghassanid Arab origin. Byzantine chronicles, although hostile to him, make no explicit mention about his ethnic background. On the other hand, al-Tabari claims that he learned of Nikephoros' Arab origins from Byzantine sources; some scholars, like Paul Julius Alexander, accept al-Tabari's account, citing a Byzantine apocalyptic text in which the emperor is said to be "from the race of Gopsin". The word "Gospin" could be a Greek rendering of the name "Ghassan", or the name "Gafna", the eponym of the Ghassanids. A patrician from Seleucia Sidera, Nikephoros was appointed finance minister by the Empress Irene. With the help of the patricians and eunuchs he contrived to dethrone and exile Irene, to be chosen as Emperor in her stead on October 31, 802.
He crowned his son Staurakios co-emperor in 803. His rule was endangered by Bardanes Tourkos, one of his ablest generals, who revolted and received support from other commanders, notably the emperors Leo V the Armenian and Michael II the Amorian in 803, but Nikephoros gained over the latter two, by inducing the rebel army to disperse achieved the submission of Bardanes, 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 Roman Empire, creating new themes in the Balkans and strengthening the frontiers. Needing large sums to increase his military forces, he set himself with great energy to increase the Empire's revenue. By his rigorous tax imposts he alienated the favour of his subjects, of the clergy, whom he otherwise sought to control firmly. 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, but refused to recognize the latter's imperial dignity. Relations deteriorated and led to a war over Venice in 806–810. In the process Nikephoros had quelled a Venetian rebellion in 807, but suffered extensive losses to the Franks; the conflict was resolved only after Nikephoros' death, Venice, the Dalmatian coast and South Italy were assigned to the East, while Rome and the Pentapolis were included in the Western realm. 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 severe 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 and a yearly tribute of 30,000 nomismata. With a succession struggle enveloping the caliphate on the death of Hārūn al-Rashīd in 809, Nikephoros was free to deal with Krum, Khan of Bulgaria, harassing his northern frontiers and had just conquered Serdica.
In 811 Nikephoros invaded Bulgaria, defeated Krum twice, sacked the Bulgarian capital Pliska. The Chronicle of 12th-century patriarch of the Syrian Jacobites, Michael the Syrian, describes the brutalities and atrocities of Nikephoros: "Nikephoros, emperor of the Byzantine empire, walked into the Bulgarians' land: he was victorious and killed great number of them, he seized it and devastated it. His savagery went to the point that he ordered to bring their small children, got them tied down on earth and made thresh grain stones to smash them." During Nikephoros' retreat, the imperial army was ambushed and destroyed in Varbishki mountain passes on July 26 by Krum. Nikephoros was 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: Staurakios. Prokopia, who married Michael I Rangabe, emperor 811–813. Mikaberidze, Alexander, ed.. Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World: A Historical Encyclopedia.
Vol. 1. ABC-CLIO; the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, ed. by Alexander Kazhdan, Oxford University Press, 1991. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Nicephorus". Encyclopædia Britannica. 19. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 647–648. Norwich, John J.. Byzantium: The Apogee. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ISBN 0-394-53779-3. List of Byzantine emperors
Ignatios of Constantinople
St. Ignatius or Ignatios, was a Patriarch of Constantinople from July 4, 847, to October 23, 858, from November 23, 867, to his death on October 23, 877. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, he is regarded as a saint, with a feast day of October 23. Ignatios named Niketas, was a son of the Emperor Michael I Rangabe and Prokopia, his maternal grandfather was Nikephoros I. Although he was still a child, Niketas had been appointed nominal commander of the new corps of imperial guards, the Hikanatoi, he was forcibly castrated and tonsured after his father's deposition in 813. He founded three monasteries on the Princes' Islands, a favourite place for exiling tonsured members of the imperial house. Empress Theodora appointed Ignatios, a staunch opponent of Iconoclasm, to succeed Methodios I as patriarch of Constantinople in 847. Ignatios soon became embroiled in the conflict between the Stoudites and the moderates in the Church, the issue being whether or not to depose clergymen who had cooperated with iconoclast policies in the past.
Ignatios took the side of the conservative Stoudites and deposed the archbishop of Syracuse, Gregory Asbestas, the leader of the moderate party. Asbestas appealed for redress to Pope Leo IV and thus inaugurated a period of friction in relations between the Roman and Constantinopolitan churches. A fervent critic of the Caesar Bardas, Ignatios lost support after Emperor Michael III and Bardas removed Theodora from influence in 857. Ignatios was replaced by the layman Photios; those questions were discussed at councils held in Constantinople in 859, again in 861. When Photios reversed some of his predecessor's policies, Ignatios's supporters appealed to Pope Nicholas I, who at first tried to stay out of the controversy, but condemned Photios; the immediate issues in the conflict were the question of papal precedence over the patriarch, jurisdiction over newly converted Bulgaria. In 867 Basil I the Macedonian usurped the throne and, seeking an alliance with Nicholas I and Louis II, Holy Roman Emperor, banished Photios and restored Ignatios on the patriarchal throne.
Reinstated, Ignatios refused to yield to the papacy and drew Bulgaria back into the orbit of the Byzantine Church in 870. Since Ignatios and Photios pursued the same policy, the latter was recalled and reinstated as tutor to the emperor's children; when Ignatios died in October 877, Photios was reinstated as patriarch and contributed to Ignatios' sanctification. Council of Constantinople Council of Constantinople Council of Constantinople Schism of 863 Dvornik, Francis; the Photian Schism: History and Legend. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Ostrogorsky, George. History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell; the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991. Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "St. Ignatius of Constantinople". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company