The campaign ended without combat[52] when Skleros was forced to surrender to Basil in 989. Anna objected to marrying a barbarian ruler because such a marriage would have no precedence in Imperial annals. Admit no woman to the imperial councils. [62] This defeat drew Basil back into the conflict; he arrived in Syria in October 999 and remained there for three months. [10], According to the 19th century historian George Finlay, Basil saw himself as "prudent, just, and devout; others considered him severe, rapacious, cruel, and bigoted. Fig. He cared only for the greatness of his Empire. [34], In 1000, a ten-year truce was concluded between the two states. The Byzantines were also involved in a relentless war with the Bulgarians, limiting their actions to the west. No wonder that in his hands it reached its apogee". [60], Encouraged by the defectors after the death of emir Sa'd al-Dawla, Al-Aziz decided to renew his attacks on the Hamdanid Emirate of Aleppo, a Byzantine protectorate, perhaps expecting Basil would not interfere. [56] At first, Basil hesitated. At the start of the second millennium, he fought Samuel of Bulgaria, his greatest adversary. [124] At the time of his death, the Empire stretched from southern Italy to the Caucasus and from the Danube to the Levant, which was its greatest territorial extent since the Muslim conquests four centuries earlier. Michael VIII Palaeologus translated Basil's relics from their original burial place at the Hebdomon (see below) to his own family monastery near Selymbria. Basil II turned to the Kievan Rus' for assistance, even though they were considered enemies at that time. George, who was young and ambitious, launched a campaign to restore the Kuropalates's succession to Georgia and occupied Tao in 1015–1016. Samuel was struck down by the sight of his blinded army and died two days later[33] on 6 October 1014 after suffering a stroke. Basil II, who ruled four generations after the first Basil (the Macedonian), is commemorated on many streets in Greek cities as ‘Voulgaroktonos’ (Bulgar-slayer). 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. Having crushed the Bulgarians, Basil exacted his vengeance cruelly—he was said to have captured 15,000 prisoners and fully blinded 99 of every 100 men, leaving one one-eyed man in each cohort to lead the rest back to their ruler. He was known in his time as Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his supposed ancestor, Basil I the Macedonian.. Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer (Greek: Βασίλειος Β΄ Βουλγαροκτόνος, Basileios II Boulgaroktonos) (958 – December 15, 1025) was Byzantine emperor from January 10, 976 to December 15, 1025. The epitaph on this tomb celebrated Basil's campaigns and victories. His paternal ancestry is of uncertain origins, his putative ancestor Basil I, the founder of the dynasty, being variously attributed as Armenian, Slavic, or Greek. Be accessible to no-one. Nativity of Christ miniature in the Menologion of Basil II, c. 1000 ... Christ, trailed by the Apostles, calls forth the shrouded Lazarus from the tomb, as seen in the templon beam fragment in Athens. [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. [81], Bulgaria fought on for four more years, its resistance fired by Basil's cruelty, but it submitted in 1018. Epitaph on the tomb of Basil II The long reign of the Byzantine Emperor Basil II (976–1025) saw continuous warfare in both East (against the Arabs) and West (against the Bulgarians). The exact size of the army under Basil II is unknown, but estimates put it as high as 110,000 men, excluding the imperial tagmata in Constantinople; a considerable force, compared with the nominal establishment force of c. 120,000 in the 9th–10th centuries, or the 150,000–160,000 of the field armies under Justinian I. This is the first book-length study in English of the Byzantine emperor Basil II, the "Bulgar-slayer." autokrator of the earth and senior emperor. which I accepted in battles, and which I endured. Al-Aziz now prepared to take to the field in person against the Byzantines and initiated large-scale preparations but they were abandoned upon his death. [140], Byzantine Emperor from the Macedonian dynasty, Replicated depiction of Basil II from the, Church of St. John the Theologian, Constantinople. And it is hardly surprising: Basil was ugly, dirty, coarse, boorish, philistine and almost pathologically mean. [72][73] Taking losses and worried about the loyalty of some of his governors, Basil lifted the siege and returned for Thrace but he fell into an ambush and suffered a serious defeat at the Battle of the Gates of Trajan. 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. the Evangelist), at the Hebdomon Palace complex, outside the walls of Constantinople. Psellos describes him as a stocky man of shorter-than-average stature who nevertheless was an impressive figure on horseback. For nobody saw my spear at rest, In the early years of his reign, administration remained in the hands of Basil Lekapenos. [103] In 1002, Basil also introduced the allelengyon tax[104] as a specific law obliging the dynatoi (wealthy landholders) to cover for the arrears of poorer tax-payers. He leads the Byzantines in Civilization VI. Bringas fled, leaving his post to Lekapenos, and on 16 August 963 Nikephoros Phokas was crowned emperor. Although the titular emperor Roman of Bulgaria was captured in 991, Basil lost Moesia to the Bulgarians. Basil II was born c. 958. [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. [61], In 994, Manjutakin resumed his offensive and in September scored a major victory at the Battle of the Orontes against Bourtzes. [41] Basil II acceded to the throne as effective ruler and senior emperor when John died[29] on 10 January 976. [45] At the start of his reign, the failures of his immediate predecessors left Basil II with a serious problem; Bardas Skleros and Bardas Phokas, members of the wealthy military elite of Anatolia, had sufficient means to undertake open rebellion against his authority. The Byzantine civil wars had weakened the Empire's position in the east, and the gains of Nikephoros II and John I had nearly been lost to the Fatimid Caliphate. [29] In 987–988, a seven-year truce with the Fatimids was signed; it stipulated an exchange of prisoners, the recognition of the Byzantine emperor as protector of Christians under Fatimid rule and of the Fatimid Caliph as protector of Muslims under Byzantine control, and the replacement of the name of the Abbasid caliph with that of the Fatimid caliph in the Friday prayer in the mosque at Constantinople. 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. This forced the successor Georgian Bagratid ruler Bagrat III to recognize the new rearrangement. reward my campaigns with prayers. 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. [139] The Normans permanently pushed the Byzantines from Southern Italy in April 1071. 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. settling countless trophies all over the earth. 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. Basil was to be buried in the last sarcophagus available in the rotunda of Constantine I in the Church of the Holy Apostles. Basil presided over a Byzantium which was the superpower of the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East in the century before the Crusades. Psellos also states that Basil was not an articulate speaker and had a loud laugh that convulsed his whole frame. [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. [34][83] The epitaph on Basil's tomb celebrated his campaigns and victories. [132] Though he was not a man of literature, Basil was a relatively pious ruler who involved himself in the construction of churches, monasteries, and to some extent cities.

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