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Before arriving there, he was joined by the empress and a host of partisans. Relying on the promises of Irene, he returned to Constantinople, but was surprised in his palace by a band of assassins hired by Irene and her favourite, the general Stauracius. His eyes were put out by their order with so much violence that he died on the same day. By a singular coincidence of circumstances, lie was murdered in the " Porphyra," the name of the apartment where the empresses were accustomed to be confined, and where he was born. His only son, Leo, having died in his lifetime, he was succeeded by his mother Irene. Constantine VI. was the last of the Isaurian dynasty. Zonaras and Cedrenus say, that he survived his excaeca- tion for a considerable time ; but their opinion seems to be untenable, although Le Beau believes it to be correct. (Theophan. p, 382, &c., ed. Paris; Cedren. p. 469, &c., ed. Paris ; Zonar. vol. ii. p. 93, &c., ed. Paris ; Joel, p. 178, ed. Paris ; Gly- cas, p. 285, ed. Paris. [W. P.]
CONSTANTINUS VII. FLA'VIUS POR-PHYROGE'NITUS (6 Uop^vpoyewnros), emperor of the East, A. d. 911—959, the only son of the emperor Leo VI. Philosophus, of the Macedonian dynasty, and his fourth wife, Zoe, was born in a. d. 905 ; the name HoptyvpoyevvrjTos, that is, " born in the purple," was given to him because he was born in an apartment of the imperial palace called Tropc/wpa, in which the empresses awaited their confinement. The name Porphyrogenitus is also given to Constantine VI., but it is generally employed to distinguish the subject of this article. Constantine succeeded his father in 911, and reigned under the guardianship of his paternal uncle, Alexander, who was already Augustus, governed the empire as an absolute monarch, and died in the following year, 912. After his death the government was usurped by Romanus Lecapenus, who excluded Constantine from the administration, leaving him nothing but an honorary retreat in the imperial palace, and who ruled as emperor till 944, when he was deposed and exiled by his sons Stephanus and Constantine, both Alignsti, and who expected to be recognised as emperors. [ romanus lecapenus.] They were deceived ; the people declared for the son of Leo; Constantine left his solitude, and, supported by an enthusiastic population, seized upon the usurpers, banished them, and ascended the throne.
In the long period of his retirement Constantine had become a model of learning and theoretical wisdom ; but the energy of his character was suppressed ; instead of men he knew books, and when he took the reins of government into his hands, he held them without strength, prudence, and resolution. He would have been an excellent artist or professor, but was an incompetent emperor. Yet the good qualities of his heart, his humanity, his love of justice, his sense of order, his passion for the fine arts and literature, won him the affections of his subjects. His good nature often caused him to trust without ''discernment, and to confer the high offices of the state upon fools or rogues ; but he was not always deceived in his choice, and many of his ministers and generals were able men, and equally devoted to their business and their master. The empire was thus governed much better than could have been expected. In a long and bloody war against the Arabs in Syria, the (i'reek arms were victorious under Leo and Nice-
phorus, the sons of Bardas Phocas ; the Christian princes of Iberia recognised the supremacy of the emperor ; alliances of the Greeks with th<5 Petchenegues or Patzinacitae ii. soul hern Russiu checked both the Russians and the Bulgarians in their hostile designs against the empire: and Constantine had the satisfaction of receiving in his palace ambassadors of the khalifs o>' Baghdad and Africa, and of the Roman emueror Otbo the Great. Luitprand, the emperor's ambassador, has Jeft us a most interesting account of his nrssion to Constantinople. (Annales Luitprandi.} One of the most praiseworthy acts of Constan tine was the restoration to their lawful proprietors of estates confiscated during rebellions, and held by robbers and swindlers without any titles, or under fraudulent ones. Constantine's end was hastened by poison, administered to him by an ungrateful son, Romanus (his successor), in consequence of which he died on the 15th of November, A. i>. 959. His wife was Helena, by whom he had the above-mentioned son Romanus, a daughter Theodora, married to Joannes Zimiscus, and other children.
Constantine Porphyrogenitus holds a high rank in literature. His productions are no master-works in point of style and thought, but they treat of important and interesting subjects, and without him our knowledge of his time would be reduced to a few vague notions ; for he not only composed works himself, but caused others to be composed or compiled by the most able men among his subjects. His own works are—
I. 'IffTopiKr Si'/iyricrt.s tou /3iou Kal 7rpa£ecoi/ rov BatnAeiou tov doidi/jLov /3arrtAea)S (Vita Basilii], the life of Basilius I. Macedo, the grandfather of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, a work of great importance for the reign and character of that great emperor, although it contains many things which cannot be relied upon, as Constantine was rather credulous, and embellished the truth from motives of filial piety or vanity. Editions: 1. By Leo Allatius in his 2tfytyu/croj, with a Latin translation, Cologne, 1653, 8vo.; the text divided into 70 sections or chapters. 2. By Combefisius, in his " Scriptores post Theophanem," Paris, 1685, fol. ; divided into 101 sections or chapters ; with a new translation and notes of the editor.
II. Ilepi tuv ©e^arco*', " De Thematibus." (The origin and signification of the word &e/m as a new name for " province," is given in the life of constantinus IV.) This work is divided into two books; the first treats on the Eastern (Eastern and Southern) or Asiatic themas, and the second on the Western (Western and Northern) or European themas. Editions: 1. The first book, with a Latin translation and notes, by B. Vulcanius, Leyden, 1588, 8vo. 2. The second book, with a Latin translation and notes by T. Morellus, Paris, 1609, 8vo. Both these editions, and consequently the complete work, were reprinted and edited with some other works of Constantine, by Meursius, Leyden, 1617, 8vo. 3. The same in the sixth volume of " J. Meursii Opera," edited by Lami. 4. The complete work, by Bandurius, in the first volume of his " Lnperium Orientale," with notes and a corrected version by the editor. 5. The same in the third volume of the Bonn edition oi the works of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, a revised reprint of the edition of Bandurius, but without the map of De Plsle, edited by Immamiel Bekker, Bonn, 1840»