Byzantine Military Expansion in the Tenth Century. from when the King of Heavens called me guarding the children of New Rome Basil II turned to the Kievan Rus' for assistance, even though they were considered enemies at that time. Admit no woman to the imperial councils. The Macedonian Dynasty from 976 to 1057 A.D. (717–867)", «Un altro cielo»: l'imperatore Basilio II e le arti, Observations on Basil II as Patron of the Arts, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Basil_II&oldid=997514684, Byzantine people of the Arab–Byzantine wars, Byzantine people of the Byzantine–Bulgarian Wars, Wikipedia articles incorporating a citation from the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica with Wikisource reference, Use shortened footnotes from October 2018, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with incomplete citations from September 2020, Articles with failed verification from September 2020, Wikipedia articles with PLWABN identifiers, Wikipedia articles with SUDOC identifiers, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Bulgarian commentator Alexander Kiossev wrote in, This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 22:08. Trans. 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, filling its treasury, and leaving it with its greatest expanse in four centuries. Basil II Verses funereal on the tomb of lord Basil the Bulgar-slayer and Basileus. David's rebuff of Basil in Bardas Phokas' revolt of 987, however, evoked Constantinople's distrust of the Georgian rulers. He also conducted damaging raids into Byzantine territory as far as central Greece. the Evangelist), at the Hebdomon Palace complex, outside the walls of Constantinople. Although Polyeuctus, the patriarch of Constantinople, disapproved of the marriage, the Church declared it to be valid. His constant military campaigns led to the zenith of Byzantine power in the Middle Ages. George, who was young and ambitious, launched a campaign to restore the Kuropalates's succession to Georgia and occupied Tao in 1015–1016. [3][27][full citation needed][30] Theophano did not trust Bringas, however, and another enemy of the powerful parakoimomenos was Basil Lekapenos,[27][31] an illegitimate, eunuch son of Emperor Romanos I[32][33] – Basil's great-grandfather. A.-M. Talbot/D. Despite the almost constant wars, Basil's reign was considered an era of relative prosperity for the class. He is also described as a capable administrator who left a well-stocked treasury upon his death. Basil is seen as a Greek national hero but as a despised figure among Bulgarians. Birth and childhood [77] The following year, he based his army in Philippopolis and occupied the length of the military road from the western Haemus Mountains to the Danube, cutting off communications between Samuel's Macedonian heartland and Moesia. [50] Basil's brother Constantine—who had no interest in politics, statecraft, or the military[51]–led troops alongside Basil; this was the only military command Constantine would hold. At the end of Basil II's reign, the Byzantine Empire had a population of approximately 12 million people. Yet the … During the pillage of 1204, Basil's grave was ravaged by the invading Crusaders, and his corpse dumped into the street, but the epitaph is preserved in later manuscripts. [73] Basil escaped with the help of his Varangian Guard and attempted to recover his losses by turning Samuel's brother Aron against him. [87][88][89][34] He showed considerable statesmanship in his treatment of the defeated Bulgarians, giving many former Bulgarian leaders court titles, positions in provincial administration, and high commands in the army. In 1016, Byzantine armies in conjunction with Mstislav of Chernigov attacked the Crimea,[34] much of which had fallen under the control of the Khazar successor kingdom of George Tzoul based at Kerch. Basil was the son of Emperor Romanos II and Empress Theophano, whose maternal family was of Laconian Greek origin from the Peloponnesian region of Laconia, possibly from the city of Sparta. For Greek learning he cared little, and he was a type of the higher Byzantine moral character, which retained far more of its Roman than its Greek origin". The campaign ended without combat[52] when Skleros was forced to surrender to Basil in 989. the Evangelist) at the Hebdomon Palace complex outside the walls of Constantinople. "[54], To defeat these dangerous revolts, Basil formed an alliance with Prince Vladimir I of Kiev,[55] who in 988 had captured Chersonesos, the Empire's main base in the Crimean Peninsula. Because Bulgaria did not have a monetary economy to the same extent as Byzantium, Basil decided to accept Bulgarian taxes in kind. Basil's military experience that allowed him to eventually turn the war against Bulgaria in the Byzantine Empire's favor were gained through the revolts of Phokas and Skleros in Anatolia that challenged his throne and sometimes got close to deposing him. Basil presided over a Byzantium which was the superpower of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in the century before the Crusades. When Phokas died in battle,[49] Skleros, whom Phokas had imprisoned, assumed the leadership of the rebellion. Other kings of old, other burial places for themselves ordained, But I, Basil, born to the purple, place my tomb on the site of Hebdomon and I sabbatize from the endless toils which I accepted in battles, and which I endured. Preparations for a larger-scale campaign against the Kingdom of Georgia were set, beginning with the re-fortification of Theodosiopolis. [83][failed verification – see discussion]. Unfortunately, Basil’s empire wouldn’t last. Although the titular emperor Roman of Bulgaria was captured in 991, Basil lost Moesia to the Bulgarians. [58], Once the internal strife was quelled, Basil turned his attention to the Empire's other enemies. Even the acknowledgement of Fatimid suzerainty by Abu Muhammad Lu'lu' al-Kabir of Aleppo in 1004 and the Fatimid-sponsored installment of Aziz al-Dawla as the city's emir in 1017 did not lead to a resumption of hostilities, especially because al-Kabir continued to pay tribute to the Byzantines and al-Dawla quickly began acting as an independent ruler. The treasury was overflowing with the accumulated plunder of Basil's campaigns. Vladimir and Anna were married in Crimea in 989. [100] Basil was popular with the country farmers,[101] the class that produced most of his army's supplies and soldiers. The marriage of Anna and Vladimir led to the Christianization of the Kievan Rus' and the incorporation of later successor states of Kievan Rus' within the Byzantine cultural and religious tradition. The epitaph on this tomb celebrated Basil's campaigns and victories. [62] This defeat drew Basil back into the conflict; he arrived in Syria in October 999 and remained there for three months. Nevertheless, fifty years of prosperity and intellectual growth followed because the funds of state were full, the borders were safe from intruders, and the Empire remained the most powerful political entity of the age. [42] He immediately had his mother brought back from her convent. [111] Many of these children became his soldiers and officers, taking the places of their fathers. The younger Basil waited and watched without interfering, devoting himself to learning the details of administrative business and military science. Bagrat's son George I, however, inherited a longstanding claim to David's succession. Nikephoros II and John I were brilliant military commanders but proved to be poor administrators. Vladimir offered to evacuate Chersonesos and to supply 6,000 of his soldiers as reinforcements to Basil. The conquest of Bulgaria and the submission of the South Slavs created relative peace for the empire's Balkan lands, keeping larger cities – including Constantinople – safe from the previously frequent sieges and looting. Basil's troops raided as far as Baalbek, placed a garrison at Shaizar,[65] and burnt three minor forts in the vicinity of Abu Qubais, Masyath, and 'Arqah. [48][33], The relationship between the two generals was complicated; Phokas was instrumental in defeating the rebellion of Skleros but when Phokas later rebelled, Skleros returned from exile to support him. He was a porphyrogennetos ("born into the purple"), as were his father Romanos II and his grandfather Constantine VII; this was the appellation used for children who were born to a reigning emperor. Despite the enormous efforts they took only one Byzantine emperor was found in his own tomb, Andronikos II Palaeologus, who reigned from 1282 to 1328. To assure this continued, Basil's laws protected small agrarian property owners and lowered their taxes. [137] Because many of the empire's governors went to the capital with their soldiers to seize power after the capture of emperor Romanos IV,[138] the Anatolian frontier was largely left undefended against the Seljuk Empire. Basil II (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄, Basileios II; 958 – 15 December 1025) was a Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned legally as senior emperor but effectively as sole ruler from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025, having been associated with the throne since 960. Menaced both by land and sea, George agreed to a treaty that handed over Tao, Phasiane, Kola, Artaan, and Javakheti, and left his infant son Bagrat as Basil's hostage. [90] Basil's successors reversed this policy, a decision that led to considerable Bulgarian discontent and rebellion later in the 11th century. [56] At first, Basil hesitated. This list may not reflect recent changes (). Anna objected to marrying a barbarian ruler because such a marriage would have no precedence in Imperial annals. [91], Although the Kievan Rus' had broken the power of the Khazar Khaganate in the 960s, the Byzantines had not been able to fully exploit the power vacuum and restore their dominion over Crimea and other areas around the Black Sea. After the revolt's failure, David was forced to make Basil the legatee of his extensive possessions. [78] Samuel reacted to the Byzantine campaign by launching a large-scale raid into the heart of Byzantine Thrace and took the major city of Adrianople by surprise. [55] This marriage had important long-term implications, marking the beginning of the process by which the Grand Duchy of Moscow many centuries later would proclaim itself "The Third Rome", and claim the political and cultural heritage of the Byzantine Empire. In the early years of his reign, administration remained in the hands of Basil Lekapenos. [34][102], Seeking to protect the lower and middle classes, Basil made ruthless war upon the system of immense estates in Asia Minor – [33] which his predecessor Romanos I had endeavored to check – [48] by executing a legal decree in January 996 that limited rights to property ownership. As soon as Bulgaria was conquered in 1018 and al-Hakim was dead, Basil led his army against Georgia. Basil II (c. 958 – 15 December 1025), also known as the Bulgar-Slayer for his subjugation of the first Bulgarian empire, was the senior Byzantine emperor from 976 to his death, and before that, a junior emperor after his father's death in 963. The family of Michael III were Anatolians fro… On 29 July 1014, in the Battle of Kleidion, he and his general Nikephoros Xiphias outmaneuvered the Bulgarian army,[81] which was defending one of the fortified passes. Photo by Cplakidus, 2012. 958. Manjutakin invaded the emirate, defeated a Byzantine force under the doux of Antioch Michael Bourtzes in June 992, and laid siege to Aleppo. Basil II was born c. 958. Many of the Georgian, Armenian, and Fatimid campaigns were undone after the succession crisis and eventual civil war after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071. Emmanuel Moutafov. [59] This lasted until the long-time vizier Yaqub ibn Killis died in 991. He became known as the Bulgar-Slayer ( Bulgaroktonos) for his exploits in conquering ancient Bulgaria, sweet revenge for his infamous defeat at Trajan ’s Gate. [98][note 6] According to one estimate, a Byzantine landowning farmer might expect a profit of 10.2 nomismata after paying dues for half of his best-quality land. and as far as the very frontiers of the East (Eos), [107][108] Despite his attempts to control the power of the aristocracy, they again took control of the government following his death. Other kings of old, other And now, man, looking upon this tomb [74][34], While Basil was distracted with internal rebellions and recovering the military situation on his eastern frontier, Samuel had extended his rule from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea, recovering most of the territory that was controlled by Bulgaria before the invasion of Svyatoslav. [3][13] He was a porphyrogennetos ("born into the purple"), as were his father Romanos II[14] and his grandfather Constantine VII;[15] this was the appellation used for children who were born to a reigning emperor. [35] Yet another enemy of Bringas was the successful and widely popular general Nikephoros Phokas, who had just returned from his conquest of the Emirate of Crete and a highly successful raid into Cilicia and Syria, which culminated in the sack of Aleppo. Basil II is generally considered to be one of the greatest Emperors of Byzantium and has been glorified as the Bulgar-Slayer for his military victories over the Bulgarians. [29][127] The restoration of the Danubian frontier helped establish a more stable and secure border for the empire in Europe, maintaining a stronger barrier against Hungarian and Pecheneg raiders. and along with them the Abasgian, Ishmael, the Arab, the Iberian. Psellos describes the defeated Skleros giving Basil the following advice, which he took to heart: "Cut down the governors who become over-proud. [92], The integrity of the Byzantine Empire was threatened after a full-scale rebellion led by Bardas Skleros broke out in 976. [79], After turning homeward with his extensive plunder, Samuel was intercepted near Skopje by a Byzantine army commanded by Basil, whose forces stormed the Bulgarian camp, defeating the Bulgarians and recovering the plunder from Adrianople. [22] Basil's father crowned him as co-emperor on 22 April 960,[3] and his brother Constantine (born 960 or 961, eventually to rule as sole emperor Constantine VIII in 1025–1028) in 962 or 963. autokrator of the earth and senior emperor. For nobody saw my spear at rest, [96] Basil created a strongly fortified frontier in those highlands. The Prophet had discovered the Divine Source, an object that granted immortality, and leverage… The Byzantines were also involved in a relentless war with the Bulgarians, limiting their actions to the west. [23][24] Only two days after the birth of his youngest child Anna,[25][26] Romanos II died on 15 March 963 at 24 years of age. The throne went to two generals, Nikephoros Phokas (r. 963–969) then John Tzimiskes (r. 969–976), before Basil became senior emperor. place my tomb on the site of Hebdomon Basil, born in 958 CE, was the son of Emperor Romanos II of the Macedonian dynasty, and when his father died, Basil, aged just five, and his younger brother Constantine jointly inherited the throne. I stayed alert throughout my life and protected the children of the New Rome, valiantly campaigning both in the West and at the outposts of the East ... O, man, seeing now my tomb here, reward me for my campaigns with your prayers". [21] Romanos succeeded Constantine VII as sole emperor upon the latter's death in 959. Share with few your most intimate plans. Bourtzes' defeat forced Basil to intervene personally in the East; with his army, he rode through Asia Minor to Aleppo in sixteen days, arriving in April 995. Basil then 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. Basil II (aka Basilius II) was the emperor of the Byzantine empire from 976 to 1025 CE. For most of them life was gay and colourful, and if the city's defensive fortifications were at some points in disrepair they had no cause to dread attacks. 3 Women at the Tomb, ivory plaque from Rome, London, British Museum, c. 380-450. Civil war was endemic in the first thirteen years of his adult reign. In 998, the Byzantines under Damian Dalassenos, the successor of Bourtzes, launched an attack on Apamea but the Fatimid general Jaysh ibn al-Samsama defeated them in battle on 19 July 998. The Macedonian Dynasty from 867 to 976 A.D. (717–867)", "Chapter IV. [47] The fall of Lekapenos occurred between the rebellions in 985;[29] he was accused of plotting with the rebels and was punished with exile and the confiscation of his property. and I sabbatize from the endless toils Basil's sudden arrival and the exaggeration of his army's strength circulating in the Fatimid camp caused panic in the Fatimid army, especially because Manjutakin, expecting no threat, had ordered his cavalry horses to be dispersed around the city for pasture. Fatimid caliph Al-Aziz Billah chose to pursue a more aggressive stance in Syria and appointed Manjutakin as governor of Damascus. The history of the earliest mosaics is unknown as many of them were destroyed or covered during Iconoclasm. [29] The defection of Dyrrhachium completed the isolation of Samuel's core territories in the highlands of western Macedonia. [7][8] Basil is described as having ascetic tastes and caring little for the pomp and ceremony of the Imperial court, typically wearing a sombre, dark-purple robe furnished with few of the gems that usually decorated imperial costumes. [34], In late 1021, Basil, at the head of a large Byzantine army reinforced by the Varangian Guard, attacked the Georgians and their Armenian allies, recovering Phasiane and continuing beyond the frontiers of Tao into inner Georgia. No wonder that in his hands it reached its apogee". Basil, showing a penchant for ruthlessness, took to the field himself and suppressed the rebellions of both Skleros (979) and Phokas (989)[46] with the help of 12,000 Georgians of Tornikios and David III Kuropalates of Tao. Other Byzantine forces restored much of Southern Italy, which had been lost during the previous 150 years. He and his brother Constantine[note 4] were named as co-rulers before their father Romanos II died in 963. στίχοι ἐπιτάφιοι εἰς τὸν τάφον κυροῦ Βασιλείου τοῦ Βουλγαροκτόνου καὶ βασιλέως. [140], Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty, Replicated depiction of Basil II from the, Church of St. John the Theologian, Constantinople. Skopje surrendered shortly after the battle,[29] and Basil treated its governor Romanos with overt kindness. The courtier and historian Michael Psellos, who was born towards the end of Basil's reign, gives a description of Basil in his Chronographia. [9] Basil supposedly despised literary culture and affected scorn for the learned classes of Byzantium. Basil II's sarcophagus, not that of his brother Constantine, should have been the twentieth and last sarcophagus to fit within the crowded rotunda of Constantine the Great at … This ploy failed so Basil used a respite from his conflict with the nobility to lead a 30,000-strong army into Bulgaria and besiege Sredets (Sofia) in 986. [50] Skleros was allowed to live but he died blind, either through disease or from being blinded as punishment for his insurrection. [34], In 1000, a ten-year truce was concluded between the two states. A true soldier-emperor, Basil led most of these campaigns himself, something reflected in his epitaph. He cared only for the greatness of his Empire. Despite having a considerably larger and well-rested army, Manjutakin was at a disadvantage. Though it proved unpopular with the wealthier sections of Byzantine society,[105] Basil did not abolish the tax;[106] the emperor Romanos III abolished the allelengyon in 1028. His unexpected death was commonly thought at the time to be the result of poisoning with hemlock;[27] the chroniclers Leo the Deacon and John Skylitzes imply that Theophano was responsible,[14] and according to Skylitzes, she had been complicit in an earlier attempt by Romanos II to poison Constantine VII. εὐχαῖς ἀμείβου τὰς ἐμὰς στρατηγίας. He lived the life of a soldier to the point of eating the same daily rations as the rest of the army. [62] The Byzantines besieged Tripoli unsuccessfully and occupied Tartus, which they refortified and garrisoned with Armenian troops. [122], Basil was preparing a military expedition to recover the island of Sicily when he died on 15 December 1025,[123] having had the longest reign among Byzantine emperors. [76] In 1001, Basil, operating from Thessalonica, regained control of Vodena, Verrhoia, and Servia. [69] Al-Hakim's persecution of Christians in his realm and especially the 1009 destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at his orders strained relations and, along with Fatimid interference in Aleppo, provided the main focus of Fatimid–Byzantine diplomatic relations until the late 1030s. gr. He leads the Byzantines in Civilization VI. And it is hardly surprising: Basil was ugly, dirty, coarse, boorish, philistine and almost pathologically mean. [119] At the same time, however, under Basil the practice began of relying on allied states—most notably Venice—for naval power, beginning the slow decline of the Byzantine navy during the 11th century. Psellos also states that Basil was not an articulate speaker and had a loud laugh that convulsed his whole frame. He burned his camp and retreated to Damascus without battle. Towards the end of his reign, John I had belatedly planned to curb the power of the great landowners; his death, which occurred soon after he spoke out against them, led to rumors that he had been poisoned by Lekapenos, who had illegally acquired vast estates and feared an investigation and punishment. (AD 47/48A) 310,102, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Epitaph_on_the_tomb_of_Basil_II&oldid=976008437, Articles with unsourced statements from August 2020, Articles containing Ancient Greek (to 1453)-language text, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 August 2020, at 17:31. In the urgency of the situation, Georgian prince David III of Tao aided Basil; after a decisive loyalist victory at the Battle of Pankaleia, he was rewarded by lifetime rule of key imperial territories in eastern Asia Minor. He was in short deeply un-Byzantine. Subsequently, the Byzantines occupied southern Crimea. The lot of ordinary folk in Constantinople must have been pleasant enough. Basil II died in December of 1025 AD. Pages in category "Basil II" The following 25 pages are in this category, out of 25 total. Basil II, who ruled four generations after the first Basil (the Macedonian), is commemorated on many streets in Greek cities as ‘Voulgaroktonos’ (Bulgar-slayer). [34], The rulers of neighbouring Croatia, Krešimir III and Gojslav, who were previously allies of Bulgaria, accepted Basil's supremacy to avoid the same fate as Bulgaria;[84] Basil warmly received their offers of vassalage and awarded them the honorary title of patrikios. [139] The Normans permanently pushed the Byzantines from Southern Italy in April 1071. [note 5] Basil II then held power for forty years. Basil II: A Bulgar-Slayer or a True-Born Bulgarian? Exhaust them with unjust exactions, to keep them busied with their own affairs. [97], In 992, Basil concluded a treaty with the Doge of Venice Pietro II Orseolo under terms reducing Venice's custom duties in Constantinople from 30 nomismata to 17 nomismata. Basil was to be buried in the last sarcophagus available in the rotunda of Constantine I in the Church of the Holy Apostles but he later asked his brother and successor Constantine VIII to be buried in the Church of St. John the Theologian at the Hebdomon Palace complex outside the walls of Constantinople. 'S younger sister Anna campaign to restore former territories of the most significant in Byzantine history was the of. The most significant in Byzantine history the invading Crusaders of the Bulgarian state earned him the ``! During Iconoclasm Vodena, Verrhoia, and education threatened after a prolonged resistance of relative prosperity for greatness! [ 96 ] during early 1022, Basil led most of these campaigns himself, something reflected his... 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