basil the bulgar slayer reddit

Under Basil, this was the case, and no noble would seriously think of challenging Basil after the first few years of his reign, and as such his tax policy was, as previously mentioned, wildly successful. To begin with, his sending of Anna, his sister, to marry Vladimir the Great meant that Rus, a rising power in the east, would remain allies of the Byzantines and not the West, of particular note due to its allowing of the foundation of the Varangian guard, an elite unit of Scandinavian Warriors that would provide some of the Empire’s best troops. There was no military authority outside of Basil, and as such this meant that the Empire was more prone to losing to invaders in the unfortunate event of an Emperor’s capture/incompetence (since there were few who had the resources to oppose invaders, due to this policy, other than the Emperor himself), something you see come to fruition at Manzikert. 5:03. Of course roman control was not enforsed in the western parts of the state, (modern day W. Bulgaria, Macedonia and E. Serbia), where the lands were still effectively under bulgarian rule - under the nobles of the so called Kometopoulos/Komitopuli dynasty, the brothers Samuel,David,Moses and Aaron (and Roman who would later escape Constantinople and return to rule as Tsar) which would be viewed by Basil as breakaways and traitors now. The Portal for Public History The author focuses on the legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer, allegedly one of the "great Emperor soldiers" and the one who had the longest reign of all (effectively reigned from 976 to 1025). Between her death and the accession of Alexios I, no emperor lasts even as long as Constantine IX. Basil and Constantine enthroned, each crowned and wearing loros, holding labarum between them / +BASILIO S COnSTAn TInOS En QO BASILEIS ROMAIOn. 17 days ago. Basil had also managed to antagonize most of the elites in Anatolia (dynatoi) for various reasons. It was a long frontier, and the Empire could never hope to man ALL of it, but the blessing of mountain ranges is that they form small gaps that are easily defensible by a small number of troops. This made the empire vulnerable to attack from both exterior and interior forces: the former exemplified by the battle of Manzikert in 1071, and the latter by Alexios I's usurpation ten years later. Vasil II The Bulgar Slayer The Bulgar Slayer Basil II the Bulgar slayer was Born in 958 and died in 15 December 1025. After that, Zoe and Theodora rule jointly for four months, until Zoe takes another husband, Constantine IX Monomachos, who holds on for a little over ten years (1042-1055). New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast. in the European half of the empire - but after his death the weakened frontier defenses and damaged cohesion of the great noble families in Asia minor, who might have been able to form a solid, united front, let the Turks roll right in. Basil was militarily successful during his lifetime (at least partially) but his conquests/reconquests, successful or otherwise, cause Byzantium a great deal of stress after his death. Basil was able to project (and probably actually accrue) a great deal of authority partly because he reigned for an incredibly long period of time. New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast, More posts from the AskHistorians community. The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 164 +xvii pp., $40, ISBN 0521815304. As a result of his treatment of the Bulgarian prisoners, Basil acquired the nickname of "Basil Bulgaroktonos" or "Basil the Bulgar-Slayer." Although the extent of Basil’s mistreatment of the Bulgarian prisoners may have been exaggerated, this incident helped give rise to Basil’s Greek epithet of Boulgaroktonos, meaning “the Bulgar-slayer”, in later tradition. The late eleventh century was not a fun time for Byzantium, so I'm curious what other people have thought about Basil's role in the wider context. Centralised regimnes always have that problem. Basil II Bulgaroktonos (The Bulgar Slayer), with Constantine VIII. Mostly for the very helpful diagram of the dynasty's progression, especially as it disintegrates after Basil's death. I didn’t know there are many cruelty between Greeks and Bulgarians. Holmes helpfully sifts through the rather muddled primary sources on Basil's reign (even Psellos admits he was only a child when Basil died), and pays careful attention to his interaction with elite families in Anatolia, though not in the context Kamer does. This left the empire unstable, no Emperor until Alexius would rule for more than 13 years, and the infighting and intrigue that resulted from this sapped the empire of much of its resources. Nice, but it was actually Basil II who was known as the Bulgar slayer, Here is my follis of Basil I.. Recommended further reading (if you're still interested after this wall of text! He ordered 99% of the prisoners to have both of their eyes gouged out, and left the 1% with one eye left to guide the others back to their king. Basil the 'Bulgar Slayer' certainly had many military successes, but did his victories also contribute to political stability or institutional reform at home? DOC III 9a; SB 1710. In an era when bloodlines and dynastic politics were so important, why did Basil never marry? The long reign of the Byzantine emperor Basil II (976-1025) has been considered a "golden age", in which his greatest achievement was the annexation of Bulgaria after a long and bloody war. Admit no woman to the imperial councils. 976-1025. TIL in 1014 AD Byzantine Emperor Basil II the "Bulgar-Slayer" had 15,000 Bulgarian captives blinded. He also forbade these magnates to purchase peasants' lands used to support soldiers (stratiotika ktemata) which would have allowed them to weaken the imperial military while simultaneously building up their own armed forces - something, again, they might have used to rebel. If you aren’t familiar with history, Basil II ruled Byzantium 976 AD – 1025 AD. On his deathbed, he scrambled to find someone suitable to marry his daughter Zoe and thus to succeed him as emperor. Image Source: Basil II.Wikimedia Commons. A great answer! Thanks again for taking the time to write this! On 29 July 1014, Basil II and his general Nikephoros Xiphias outmanoeuvred the Bulgarian army, which was defending one of the fortified passes, in the Battle of Kleidion. Would all of this had happened had Basil II had a son? To begin with, I’ll go through some of the really un-arguably good things he did for the Empire. These weren’t Justinian type expansions where they were almost impossible to hold either, Catherine Holmes in her Basil II and the governance of Empire, for example, argues that there’s very little reason to believe that these borders shouldnt have given the Byzantines supremely defensible and easy to manage territory. One final aspect of Basil’s reign that I will touch on is the only one I would say was undeniably bad, his overall lack of interest in women. I am Basil, both hero and villain, loved by my people and hated by my enemies. Let no generals on campaign have too many resources. These two rebellions (put down in part due to the aforementioned diplomatic success of Basil, 12,000 georgians served under his army at the time) caused Basil to become a severely austere man. However, what he did next is what went down into history. by Unknown Artist (Public Domain) Basil II (aka Basilius II) was the emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 976 to 1025 CE. This is how Basil earned the title "the Bulgar Slayer" Close. However, what he did next is what went down into history. Æ Follis Constantinople mint. Basil II ordered that the captured Bulgars be blinded and then put into groups of one hundred men each. It sounds and acts, if not breathes cool! was due to this basing of legitimacy on the army, meaning the Komnenoi deliberately got rid of everything that could possibly result in the army being led by someone other than the Emperor or a trusted relative/friend. 5 years ago. It is incorrect to call Roman Emperor a Greek King. Samuel was physically struck down by the dreadful apparition of his blinded army, and he died two days later after suffering a stroke. TIL that the Byzantine emperor Basil II captured over 15,000 Bulgars. Top 10 Reasons the Byzantine Empire Was Among the Most Successful in History - Duration: 17:23. Basil’s removal of the old important families not only removed them from power, however, it also removed the source of much of the competent military leadership of the Empire. Power depends on two things: the force of arms and the observance of laws." We learned about that in our history lessons too. In the west, he pushed the Empire to the Danube, a powerful river that would effectively act as a barrier for the vast majority of the next 100 years until the revolt of the Assen brothers under Isaac II.1 In the East, Basil pushed the borders of the Empire to the incredibly mountainous regions of Armenia and lake Van which, together with the extensive fortifications Basil commissioned, formed an incredibly effective barrier against southward movement by steppe peoples were it not for the overall incompetence of the later Macedonians. For the simple “these are things he did” type facts, I’m referring, unless noted, to the only real “complete” narrative of his reign, John Skylitzes “Synopsis of Byzantine History,” although I’ll note the issues of the text later. As such, Basil spent much of his reign breaking the back of the Dynatoi, almost eliminating them as a source of power in favor of giving their land and authority to small land owners and newer, less prone to intrigue families (such as the Komnenoi). The late eleventh century was not a fun time for Byzantium, so I'm curious what other people have thought about Basil's role in the wider context. More Bulgars went over to Basil's rule than were "slain" by the supposed Bulgar-slayer. Zoe had died in 1050, so after Constantine IX the throne goes to Theodora, who only lives for another year. E. R. A. Sewter, Chronographia [Fourteen Byzantine Rulers] (Baltimore: Penguin, 1979). Basil II, for those who are not familiar with, was a Byzantine Emperor of the Macedonian dynasty who ruled from 976 - 1025 A.D. (High Middle Ages). Basil II ruled with his brother Konstantin VIII (who practically did not interfere in the affairs of the state administration). Having defeated the Bulgars, Basil II now adopted the title Bulgaroctonus, or Bulgar-Slayer. His reign saw the apogee of Byzantine political and cultural influence in Europe, and as such this arguably his most successful sphere as a ruler. As author Paul Stephenson notes in his introduction to his book, Emperor Basil II's reign (976-1025) over the Byzantine Empire was at the height of its existence. The other unfortunate result of Basil’s breaking the backs of the nobility was that to keep the nobility down, due to their own ability to raise money and oppose the emperor if the opportunity came, the Emperor had to always be strong and able to oppose them. His impressive defeat of the Bulgars earned 1 him the nickname Bulgaroctonos, literally 'Bulgar slayer'. Constantine had only daughters -- Eudokia (a nun), Zoe, and Theodora -- but he was only a few years younger than Basil, who died at 67. Basil - during his lifetime - was undoubtedly one of the most successful emperors of the Middle Byzantine period. 868-879 AD. ): Michael Psellos, trans. Basil II: The Bulgar Slayer | Tooky History - Duration: 5:03. Sofia, 07.10.2014 But is he responsible for the extinction of the Macedonian dynasty, which led to weakened emperors, diminished infrastructure in the eastern empire, and uncoordinated defense against the Turks? The author focuses on the legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer, allegedly one of the "great Emperor soldiers" and the one who had the longest reign of all (effectively reigned from 976 to 1025). Basil II, byname Basil Bulgaroctonus (Greek: Basil, Slayer of the Bulgars), (born 957/958—died Dec. 15, 1025), Byzantine emperor (976–1025), who extended imperial rule in the Balkans (notably Bulgaria), Mesopotamia, Georgia, and Armenia and increased his domestic authority by attacking the powerful landed interests of the military aristocracy and of the church. Constantine, moreover, was an incredibly weak emperor. TIL that Emperor Basil II was named "the Bulgar-slayer" after capturing 15000 prisoners and blinding 99 of every 100 men, leaving one one-eyed man in each cohort to lead the rest back. So, to answer your question shortly: No, it’s not really fair to put blame on Basil II as the “architect” of the decline of the Byzantine Empire. He finds someone - Romanos III Argyros, formerly the Eparch of the City - but the fact that neither Basil nor Constantine could ensure a direct, blood succession is the death knell of the Macedonian dynasty. Basil certainly committed appalling violence, but much of his campaigning was done diplomatically. This dislike for powerful nobles may have stemmed from the revolts of Bardas Phokas and Bardas Skleros Basil had seen in his youth; nevertheless he made clear attempts to remove the old elite families (e.g. According to some historians, the punishment was intentional, to show the Byzantine view of Samuel as a traitor since blinding was a punishment reserved for traitors in the Byzantine empire.After the war and capture of the capital of Preslav in 971, the Tsar, Boris II was officially de-crowned, and was accepted as a roman subordinate together with his brother Roman and the north-eastern parts of the Bulgarian state were ceded to the Imperium (the themes of Paristrion and Makedonia), which in the contemporary roman view, would signify the end of the Bulgarian state. Stephenson also takes a good look at what Basil was doing in Bulgar lands and concludes that "slaying" was the least of his policies. First, we’ll look at the army, where Basil II succeeded the most. But in no way can you claim there was a single most powerful empire at the time, how is Byzantium greater than Song China or the Ghaznavids who were also going through their golden ages? If Basil II had had an heir of his own blood, it’s likely that that heir, much like Basil’s own ancestors (Leo the Wise, Constantine the Purple Born, and his father Romanos II) would have gone through the slow introduction to and education in power that made the Macedonian dynasty so wildly successful. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts, Minority Politics in Central Europe, 1600-1950. The history of Roman borders is one of natural defenses, the Romans were always interested in expanding to the point where their Empire was easily defendable due to natural barriers, and Basil was no different. Unfortunately, due to something I’ll mention later, this simply wasn’t the case, and a series of incompetent emperors followed Basil and allowed for the general collapse of the Empire’s eastern frontier. To Basil and any other Emperor who was capable, this meant that the Empire could act with one mind, allowing for a much more effective government power, but also that the Emperor needed to be an incredibly capable ruler to ensure stability. Also the shitty times what was the middle ages created such names as 'bulgar slayer', Um, we do and it pains me as much as studying the Balkans wars. Psellos relates many of the problems following Basil's death, at least those that affected his cushy life at court. Basil II didn’t even do this in overly-oppressive ways, Skylitzes reports that Basil allowed many of his subjects to pay taxes in kind (I’ll speak more of this later), and Basil’s reign also saw a “golden age” of sorts for lower-class farmers and peasants (This is potentially, actually, one source of trouble after Basil II’s death that I’ll report on later). This policy proved disastrous, as Constantine, as previously mentioned, was not a good ruler and was much more interested in the pleasures of Empire than the responsibilities. Obverse:Cross crosslet with central X set on globus atop four steps, between crowned facing busts of Basil and Constantine In the first years of Basil’s reign, he faced two large rebellions from two prominent generals Bardas Skrelos and Bardas Phokas. 2, Finally among the almost completely positive things about his reign was Basil II’s diplomacy. Basil II, byname Basil Bulgaroctonus (Greek: Basil, Slayer of the Bulgars), (born 957/958—died Dec. 15, 1025), Byzantine emperor (976–1025), who extended imperial rule in the Balkans (notably Bulgaria), Mesopotamia, Georgia, and Armenia and increased his domestic authority by attacking the powerful landed interests of the military aristocracy and of the church. Emperor Basil the Bulgar-Slayer was an asskicking colon annihilator so insanerballs fucking hardcore in his ability to de-face Bulgarian people that history remembers him solely for his relentless ability to gruesomely disfigure his enemies until every man who opposed him was left horribly mutilated beyond recognition and stumbling aimlessly around the wilderness vomiting uncontrollably. Just learned about him. At his death in 1025, the empire was relatively strong: a competent military, a relatively abundant treasury (especially impressive since he fought so many wars), a complex and vibrant culture. His father was Romanos II and his mother Theophano. He was considered emperor-co-ruler since childhood, but actually gained the throne at the age of 17 or 18 years after the death of John I Tzimiskes (January 976). Whether or not this was a deliberate action or one of reaction is up to debate: Skylitzes paints it as Basil simply being a genius while more modern historians, such as Jonathan Shepherd, paint it as more of Basil II being opportunistic and fortunate moreso. Emperor Basil the Bulgar-Slayer was an asskicking colon annihilator so insanerballs fucking hardcore in his ability to de-face Bulgarian people that history remembers him solely for his relentless ability to gruesomely disfigure his enemies until every man who opposed him was left horribly mutilated beyond recognition and stumbling aimlessly around the wilderness vomiting uncontrollably. Diss. Question of Constantine producing a male Macedonian heir led to almost a century where only one emperor ruled more! 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