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(Basíleios). Emperors of Byzantium:
Basil I the Macedonian. Born May 25, 836(?); died Aug. 29, 886, in Constantinople. Emperor beginning in 867; founder of the Macedonian dynasty.
Basil was of Macedonian (more accurately of Thracian) peasant origin. He made a brilliant career at the court of Emperor Michael III, and in 866 he became Michael’s coruler. After assassinating the emperor, Basil I seized the throne. Basil I conducted a policy of strengthening the centralized state. He crushed the Paulician movement. He introduced Roman law (publication in the years 870-879 of the Procheiron and the preparation of the Epanagoge). He carried on a struggle against the Arabs in the east and in Italy; with this objective he sought an alliance with Emperor Louis II, who ruled from 855 to 875, and with the papacy (Photius was deposed in 868, and Ignatius, a supporter of rapprochement with the pope, was restored to the patriarchal throne). In 886, Basil I recognized the independence of the Armenian state. Around 883-885 a conspiracy by the feudal nobility against Basil I, in which Photius turned out to be involved, was discovered.
REFERENCESVasil’ev, A. A. “Vizantiia i araby. … ” Zapiski istoriko-filologicheskogo fakul’teta Sankt-Peterburgskogo universiteta, 1902, part 66, pp. 5-96.
Vogt, A. Basile I-er, empereur de Byzance (867-886).… Paris, 1908.
A. P. KAZHDAN
Basil II the Bulgar-Slayer. Born 958 in Constantinople; died there on Dec. 15, 1025. Emperor beginning in 976.
Basil II crushed the revolts of the provincial landowning nobility headed by Bardas Sclerus (976-979) and Bardas Phocas (987-989). He defeated Phocas with the help of the Kievan prince Vladimir, who was married to Basil’s sister Anna. In the interests of the officials of the capital and the urban commercial-artisan elite, Basil tried to limit the growth of large secular landholdings and tried to prevent the ruin of the taxpayers—that is, the free peasantry. By the end of his rule, he had won a considerable amount of territory from the Arabs and extended the domain of the empire at the expense of Armenian and Georgian lands. After a long war with the Western Bulgarian kingdom, he subjugated it to Byzantium in 1018; for the cruelty displayed in this war, he was nicknamed the Bulgar-Slayer.
REFERENCEImperator Vasilii Bolgaroboitsa: Izvlechenie iz letopisi I akh” i Antiokhiiskogo. Published, translated, and explicated by V. R. Rozen. St. Petersburg, 1883.
G. G. LITAVRIN