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gradually conquered during the ninth century. They had also laid siege to Chalcis ; but there they were defeated with great loss, and the Greeks burnt the greater part of their fleet off Greta. After these successes, Basil sent an army to Italy, which was commanded by Procopius and his lieutenant Leo. Procopius defeated the Arabs wherever he met them; but his glory excited the jealousy of Leo, who abandoned Procopius in the heat of a general action. Procopius was killed while endeavouring to rouse the spirit of his soldiers, who hesitated when they beheld the defection of Leo. Notwithstanding these unfavourable occurrences, the Greeks carried the day. Basil immediately recalled Leo, who was mutilated and sent
into exile. The new commander-in-chief of the-Greek army in Italy was Stephanus Maxentius, an incompetent general, who was soon superseded in his command by Nicephorus Phocas, the grandfather of Nicephorus Phocas who became emperor in 963. This happened in 885 ; and in one campaign Nicephorus Phocas expelled the Arabs from the continent of Italy, and forced them to content themselves with Sicily.
About 879, Basil lost his eldest son, Constantine. His second son, Leo, who succeeded Basil as Leo VI. Philosophus, was for some time the favourite of his father, till one Santabaren succeeded in kindling jealousy between the emperor and his son. Leo was in danger of being put to death for crimes which he had never committed, when Basil discovered that he had been abused by a traitor. Santabaren was punished (885), and the good understanding between Basil and Leo was no more troubled. In the month of February, 886, Basil was wounded by a stag while hunting, and died in consequence of his wounds on the 1st of March of the same year.
Basil was one of the greatest emperors of the East; he was admired and respected by his subjects and the nations of Europe. The weak government of Michael III. had been universally despised, and the empire under him was on the brink of ruin, through external enemies and internal troubles. Basil left it to his son in a flourishing state, with a well organised administration, and increased by considerable conquests. As a legislator, Basil is known for having begun a new collection of the laws of the Eastern empire, the Bao-iAtical Aiard^eis,"Constitution.es Basilicae," or simply " Basilica," which were finished by his son Leo, and afterwards augmented by Constantine Porphyrogeneta. The bibliographical history of this code belongs to the history of leo VI. Philosophus. (See Diet, of Ant. s. v. Basilica.} The reign of Basil is likewise distinguished by the propagation of the Christian religion in Bulgaria, a most important event for the future history of the East.
Basil is the author of a small work, entitled KetydAata TrapaiveriKa, |(/. Trpos rov eavrov vibv Aeoj/ra (Exliortationum Capita LXVI. ad Leonem ilium)) which he dedicated to, and destined for, his son Leo. It contains sixty-six short chapters, each treating of a moral, religious, social, or political principle, especially such as concern the duties of a sovereign. Each chapter has a superscription, such as* Ilepl TrcuSeucrecos, which is the first; Hepl Ti/Jiiis 'lepe&n/ ; Ylepl Su/caioffWTjs; Ylepl Tlzpl \6yov reAeiov, &c., and Tlepl ypatbwv, which is the last. The first edition of this work was published, with a Latin translation.,
by F. Morellus, at Paris, 1584, 4to.; a second edition was published by Damke, with the translation of Morellus, Basel, 1633, 8vo.; the edition of Dransfeld, Gottingen, 1674, 8vo., is valued for the editor's excellent Latin translation; and another edition, with the translation of Morellus corrected by the editor, is contained in the first volume (pp. 143-156) of Bandurius, " Imperium Orientale," Paris, 1729.
BASILIUS II. (BacriAetos), emperor of the East, was the elder son of Romanus II., of the Macedonian dynasty, and was born in a. d. 958 ; he had a younger brother, Constantine, and two sisters, Anna and Theophano or Theophania. Romanus ordered that, after his death, which took place in 963, his infant sons should reign together, under the guardianship of their mother, Theophano or Theophania; but she married Nicephorus Phocas, the conqueror of Greta, and raised him to the throne, which he occupied till 969, when he was murdered by Joannes Zimisces, who succeeded to his place. Towards the end of 975, Zimisces received poison in Cilicia, and died in Constantinople in the month of January, 976. After his death, Basil and Constantine ascended the throne ; but Constantine, with the exception of some military expeditions, in which he distinguished himself, led a luxurious life in his palace in Constantinople, and the care of the government devolved upon Basil, who, after having spent his youth in luxuries and extravagances of every description, shewed himself worthy of his ancestor, Basil I., and was one of the greatest emperors that ruled over the Roman empire in the East.
The reign of Basil II. was an almost uninterrupted series of civil troubles and wars, in which, however, the imperial arms obtained extraordinary success. The emperor generally commanded his armies in person, and became renowned as one of the greatest generals of his time. No sooner was he seated on the throne, than his authority was shaken by a revolt of Sclerus, who, after bringing the emperor to the brink of ruin, was at last defeated by the imperial general, Phocas, and obliged to take refuge among the Arabs. Otho II., emperor of Germany, who had married Theophania, the sister of Basil, claimed Calabria and Apulia, which belonged to the Greeks, but had been promised as a dower with Theophania. Basil, unable to send sufficient forces to Italy, excited the Arabs of Sicily against Otho, who, after obtaining great successes, lost an engagement with the Arabs, and on his flight was taken prisoner by a Greek galley, but nevertheless escaped, and was making preparations for a new expedition, when he was poisoned. (982.) In consequence of his death, Basil was enabled to consolidate his authority in Southern Italy. In different wars with Al-masin, the kha-lif of Baghdad, and the Arabs of Sicily, who were the scourge of the sea-towns of Southern Italy, the Greeks made some valuable conquests, although they were no adequate reward either for the expenses incurred or sacrifices made in these expeditions. Basil's greatest glory was the destruction of the kingdom of Bulgaria, which, as Gibbon says, was the most important triumph of the Roman arms since the time of Belisarius. Basil opened