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the war, which lasted, with a few interruptions, till 1018, with a successful campaign in 987; and, during the following years, he made conquest after conquest in the south-western part of that kingdom, to which Epeirus and a considerable part of Macedonia belonged. In 996, however, Samuel, the king of the Bulgarians, overran all Macedonia, laid siege to Thessalonica, conquered Thessaly, and penetrated into the Peloponnesus. Having marched back into Thessaly, in order to meet with the Greeks, who advanced in his rear, he was routed on the banks of the Sperchius, and hardly escaped death or captivity; his army was destroyed. In 999, the lieutenant of Basil, Nicephorus Xiphias, took the towns of Pliscova and Parasth-lava in Bulgaria Proper. But as early as 1002, Samuel again invaded Thrace and took Adrianople. He was, however, driven back; and during the twelve following years the war seems to have been carried on with but little energy by either party. It broke out again in 1014, and was signalized by an extraordinary success of the Greeks, who were commanded by their emperor and Nicephorus Xiphias. The Bulgarians were routed at Zetunium. Being incumbered on his march by a band of 15,000 prisoners, Basil gave the cruel order to put their eyes out, sparing one in a hundred, who was to lead one hundred of his blind companions to their native country. When Samuel beheld his unhappy warriors, thus mutilated and filling his
camp with their cries, he fell senseless on the ground, and died two days afterwards. Bulgaria was not entirely subdued till 1017 and 1018, when it was degraded into a Greek thema, and governed by dukes. This conquest continued a province of the Eastern empire till the reign of Isaac Angelug. (1185—1195.)
Among the other events by which the reign of Basil was signalised, the most remarkable were, a new revolt of Sclerus in 987, who was made prisoner by Phocas, but persuaded his victor to make common cause with him against the emperor, which Phocas did, whereupon they were both attacked by Basil, who killed Phocas in a battle, and granted a full pardon to the cunning Sclerus; the cession of Southern Iberia to the Greeks by its king David in 991; a glorious expedition against the Arabs in Syria and Phoenicia ; a successful campaign of Basil in 1022 against the king of Northern Iberia, who was supported by the Arabs ; and a dangerous mutiny of Sclerus and Phocas, the son of Nicephorus Phocas mentioned above, who rebelled during the absence of Basil in Iberia, but who were speedily brought to obedience. Notwithstanding his advanced age, Basil meditated the conquest of Sicily from the Arabs, and had almost terminated his preparations, when he died in the month of December, 1025, without leaving issue. His successor was his brother and co-regent, Constantine IX., who died in 1028. It is said, and it cannot be doubted, that Basil, in order to expiate the sins of his youth, promised to become a monk, that he bore the frock of a monk under his imperial dress, and that he took a vow of abstinence. He was of course much praised by the clergy; but he impoverished his subjects by his continual wars, which could not be carried on without heavy taxes; he was besides very rapacious in accumulating treasures for himself; and it is said that he left the enormous sum of 200,000 pounds of gold, or nearly eight million pounds sterling. Zonaras (vol. ii. p. 225)
multiplies the sum by changing pounds into talents | but this is either an enormous exaggeration, or the error of a copyist. Basil, though great as a gene ral, was an unlettered, ignorant man, and during his long reign the arts and literature yielded to the power of the sword. (Cedren. p. 645, &c. ed. Paris; Glycas, p. 305, &c. ed. Paris; Zonar. vol. ii. p. 197, &c. ed. Paris; Theophan. p. 458, &c. ed. Paris.) [W. P.]
BASILUS, the name of a family of the Minucia gens. Persons of this name occur only in the first century b. c. It is frequently written Baailius, but the best MSS. have Basilus, which is also shewn to be the correct form by the line of Lucan (iv. 416),
" Et Basilum videre dueem," &c.
2. M. minucius basilus. (Cic. pro Cluent, 38.)
4. L. minucius basilus, the uncle of M. Sa,trius, the son of his sister, whom he adopted in his will. (Cic. de Off. iii. 18.)
5. L. minucius basilus, whose original name was M. Satrius, took the name of his uncle, by whom he was adopted. [No. 4.] He served under Caesar in Gaul, and is mentioned in the war against Ambiorix, b. c. 54, and again in 52, at the end of which campaign he was stationed among the Remi for the winter with the command of two legions. (Caes. B. G. vi. 29, 30, vii. 92.) He probably continued in Gaul till the breaking out of the civil war in 49, in which he commanded part of Caesar's fleet. (Flor. iv. 2. § 32 ; Lucan, iv. 416.) He was one of Caesar's assassins in b. c. 44, although, like Brutus and others, he was a personal friend of the dictator. In the following year he was himself murdered by his own slaves, because he had punished some of them in a barbarous manner. (Appian, B. C. ii. 113, iii. 98 ; Oros. vi, 18.) There is a letter of Cicero's to Basilus, congratulating him on the murder of Caesar. (Cic. ad Fam. vi. 15.)
BASSAREUS (BcwrcrapciJs), a surname of Dio nysus (Hor. Carm. i. 18. 11; Macrob. Sat. i. 18), which, according to the explanations of the Greeks, is derived from fiaao-dpy, or ftaffffapis, the long robe which the god himself and the Maenads used to wear in Thrace, and whence the Maenads them selves are often called bassarae or bassarides. The name of this garment again seems to be connected with, or rather the same as, fiaffarapis, a fox (He- sych. s. v. fiao-o-dpai), probably because it was ori ginally made of fox-skins. Others derive the name Bassareus from a Hebrew word, according to which its meaning would be the same as the Greek trpa- Tpv-yyS) that is, the precursor of the vintage. On some of the vases discovered in southern Italy Dionysus is represented in a long garment which is commonly considered to be the Thracian bas- sara, [L. S.J