The Ancient Library
 

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Basilius I

468

BASILIUS.

to a second metropolis of Cappadocia by Valens ; and his defence of orthodoxy against the powerful Arian and Semi-Arian bishops in his neighbourhood, and against Modestus, the prefect of Cappadocia, and the emperor Valens himself. He died on the 1st of January, 379 A. d., worn out by his ascetic life, and was buried at Caesareia. His epitaph by Gregory Nazianzen is still extant. The following are his chief works : 1. Els Tr}v Qa.riiJt.spov, Nine Homilies on the Six Days' Work. 2. XVII. Ho-inilies on the Psalms. 3. XXXI. Homilies on various subjects. 4. Two Books on Baptism. 5. On true Virginity. 6. Commentary (ep^veia or e£if7?]<Tts) on the first XVI. chapters of Isaiah. 7. *AvTtpp7)Tiicos rov diro\ojr]Tiicov rov Svo'o'eSovs Evvofj-iov, An Answer to the Apology of the Arian Eunomius. 8. Tiepl rov dytov Trvev/Jiaros, a Trea­tise on the Holy Spirit, addressed to Eunomius : its genuineness is doubted by Gamier. 9. 'Acr/cTjri/fa, ascetic writings. Under this title are included his work on Christian Morals (-^i/ca), his monastic rules, and several other treatises and sermons. 10. Letters. 11. A Liturgy. His minor works and those falsely ascribed to him are enumerated by Fabricius and Cave. The first complete edition of Basil's works was published at Basel in 1551; the most complete is that by Gamier, 3 vols. fol. Paris, 1721—1730. (Gregor. Nazian. Or at. in Laud. Basilii M.; Gregor. Nyss. Vit. S. Macrinae; Gamier, Vita S. Basilii; Socrates, H. JE. iv. 26 ; Sozomen, H. E. vi. 17; Rufinus, H. E. xi. 9; Suidas, s, v. BaoiAeio?.)

3. Of oilicia (o KiA<£), was the author of a history of the Church, of which Photius gives a short account (Cod. 42), a work against John of Scythopolis (Phot. Cod. 107), and one against Archelaus, bishop of Colonia in Armenia. (Suidas, s. v.) He lived under the emperor Anastasius, was presbyter at Antioch about 497 A. d., and afterwards bishop of Irenopolis in Cilicia.

4. Bishop of seleuceia in Isauria from 448 till after 458, distinguished himself by taking al­ ternately both sides in the Eutychian controversy. His works are published with those of Gregory Thaumaturgus, in the Paris edition of 1622. He must not be confounded with Basil, the friend of Chrysostom, as is done by Photius. (Cod. 168, p. 116, ed. Bekker.) [P. S.]

BASILIUS I., MA'CEDO (Bcuriteios 6 Mo-KeSwi'), emperor of the East, one of the most ex­traordinary characters recorded in history, ascended the throne after a series of almost incredible adven­tures. He was probably born in a. d. 826, and is said to have been the descendant of a prince of the house of the Arsacidae, who fled to Greece, and was invested with large estates in Thrace by the emperor Leo I. Thrax. (451—474.) There were probably two Arsacidae who settled in Thrace, Chlienes and Artabanus. The father of Basil, however, was a small landowner, the family having gradually lost their riches ; but his mother is said to have been a descendant of Constantine the Great. At an early age, Basil was made prisoner by a party of Bulgarians, and carried into their country, where he was educated as a slave. He was ran­somed several years afterwards, arrived at Constan­tinople a destitute lad, and was found asleep on the steps of the church of St. Diomede. His naked beauty attracted the attention of a monk, on whose recommendation he was presented to Theophilus, surnamed the Little, a cousin of the emperor Theo-

BASILIUS,

philus (829-842), who, a diminutive man himself, liked to be surrounded by tall and handsome foot­men. Such was Basil, who, having accompanied his master to Greece, was adopted by a rich widow at Patras. Pier wealth enabled him to purchase large estates in Macedonia, whence he derived his surname Macedo, unless it be true that it was given him on account of his pretended de­scent, on his mother's side, either from Alexander the Great or his father, Philip of Macedonia, which however seems to be little better than a fable. He continued to attend the little Theophilus, and after the accession of Michael III. in 842, attracted the attention of this emperor by vanquishing in single combat a giant Bulgarian, who was reputed to be the first pugilist of his time. In .854 Michael ap­pointed him his chief chamberlain ; and the ambi­tion of Basil became so conspicuous, that the cour­tiers used to say that he was the lion who would devour them all. Basil was married to one Maria, by whom he had a son, Constantine ; but, in order to make his fortune, he repudiated his wife, and married Eudoxia Ingerina, the concubine of the emperor, who took in exchange Thecla, the sister of Basil. The marriage was celebrated in Decem­ber, 865 ; and in September, 866, Ingerina became the mother of Leo, afterwards emperor. The in­fluence of Basil increased daily, and he was daring enough to form a conspiracy against the emperor's uncle, Bardus, upon whom the dignity of Caesar had been conferred, and who was assassinated in the presence of Michael.

A short time afterwards, Basil was created Au­gustus, and the administration of the empire de­volved upon him, Michael being unable to conduct it on account of his drunkenness and other vices. The emperor became nevertheless jealous of his associate, and resolved upon his ruin ; but he was prevented from carrying his plan into execution by the bold energy of Basil, by whose contrivance Michael was murdered after a debauch on the 24th of September, 867.

Basil, who succeeded him on the throne, was no general, but a bold, active man, whose intelligence was of a superior kind, though his character was stained with many a vice, which he had learned during the time of his slavery among the barbarians and of his courtiership at Constantinople. The famous patriarch Photius having caused those re­ligious troubles for which his name is so conspi­cuous in ecclesiastical and political history, Basil instantly removed him from the see of Constanti­nople, and put Ignatius in his place. He likewise ordered a campaign to be undertaken against the warlike sect of the Paulicians, whom his generals brought to obedience. A still greater danger arose from the Arabs, who, during the reign of the in­competent Michael III., had made great progress in Asia and Europe. Basil, who knew how to choose good generals, forced the Arabs to renounce the siege of Ragusa. In 872, he accompanied his Asiatic army, which crossed the Euphrates and defeated the Arabs in many engagements, especi­ally in Cilicia in 875. In 877 the patriarch Igna­tius died, and Photius succeeded in resuming his former dignity, under circumstances the narrative of which belengs to the life of photius. The success which the Greek arms had obtained against the Arabs, encouraged Basil to form the plan of driving them out of Italy, the southern part of which, as well as Sicily and Syracuse, they had

Pages
About | First

467

468

469
letter/word  
volume
page #  
Search this site
Google


ancientlibrary.com
WWW
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of Isidore-of-Seville.com.