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From Chalcedon Zimisces continued his adulterous intercourse with Theophano, and was received by her in disguise in the very apartments of her husband. They concerted a plan to kill Nicephorus, and to have Zimisces proclaimed emperor. In the night of the llth to the 12th of December, 969, Zimisces crossed the Bosporus with a few daring followers, and having been wound up, by means of baskets attached to ropes, to the upper story of the imperial palace by some of the servants of the empress, they were led to the bedroom of Nicephorus, who soon fell under their weapons. Before he expired he was exposed to most unmerciful tortures, and, abusing him with the most opprobrious terms, Zimisces broke his jaw-bone with the pommel of his sword.
Being proclaimed emperor, Zimisces imitated the example of his unfortunate predecessor, and reigned as colleague of the two sons of Romanus. His first act was to send his enemy Leo, the brother of Nicephorus, into exile ; his second, to obey the summons of Polyeuctes, the patriarch of Constantinople, who urged him to banish Theophano ; his third, to divide part of his property among the poor, and spend the rest in building a vast and splendid hospital on the Asiatic shore of the Bosporus. He then sent his general Nicolaus against the Arabs, who were besieging Antioch with the flower of their army ; and his general Bardas Sclerus against the Russians, who had overrun and traversed Bulgaria, and laid siege to Adrianople. Both of the generals were successful, and the Greek arms obtained decisive victories in Europe and Asia. The triumph of Zimisces was checked by a rebellion of Bardas Phocas, the son of the exiled Leo, who assumed the imperial title at Caesareia, and was supported by his father and his brother Nicephorus ; but the rebellion was soon quelled, and Leo and Nicephorus were taken prisoners, and condemned to death. The emperor, nevertheless, spared their lives, and sent them into exile, till, having rebelled a second time, they were blinded, and kept in confinement. Bardas Phocas having surrendered to Bardas Sclerus, was compelled to assume the monastic habit, and to spend the rest of his life in a convent in Chios. Previous to these events (970), Zimisces, who was then" a widower, having lost his wife Maria, the sister of Bardas Sclerus, married Theodora, the daughter of Constantine Porphyrogenrieta, and the sister of the late Romanus II., a marriage agreeable to the Greeks, who revered the memory of the learned and mild Constantine. Meanwhile, the Russians had again invaded Bulgaria; and they would have formed lasting settlements in that country but for the valour of Zimisces, who took the command in the field, while a Greek fleet sailed up the Danube, cutting off the retreat of the northern barbarians. Parasthlava, the capital of the Bulgarian kingdom, had been taken by the Russians, and the Bulgarian king,' Bosisa, was kept there by the Norman Sven-tislav(Sviatoslav,Wenceslaus), or Sphendosthlaba, as the Greeks call him, the prince of the Russians 6f Kiew. Under the waifs of Parasthlava the Russians suffered a bloody defeat; a large body of their best troops, who defended the castle, was cut to pieces ; and Zimisces once more gave proof of military "genius and undaunted courage. Sphendosthlaba made peace, and withdrew to Russia, while Bosisa was generously re-established by Zimisces on his hereditary throne. These events
were followed by the marriage of Theophano or Theophania—not the banished empress, but the daughter of the late emperor Romanus II.—with Otho II., Roman emperor and king of Germany. A fresh war with the Arabs called the emperor from his capital to Syria. Zimisces fought with his usual fortune, defeated the Arabs in several pitched battles, and pursued them as far as the confines of Palestine, when they sued for peace. On his re turn to Europe the emperor beheld with pleasure a large extent of land in Cilicia, covered with beau tiful villas and thriving farms ; but having been informed that those fine estates belonged to the eu nuch Basilius, who was one of the principal officers of his household, u Is it for eunuchs," he cried out, " that brave men fight, and we endure the hardships of so many campaigns! " Basilius was informed of this, but disguised his apprehensions or anger. A few days afterwards, however, Zimisces felt symptoms of a serious illness ; he grew worse and worse, and on his arrival in his capital he was on the verge of death. He expired shortly after his return, on the 10th of January, 976, at the age of fifty-one, leaving the memory of one of the most distinguished rulers of the Byzantine em pire. His successor was Basil II., who reigned together with his brother Constantine VIII. (Ce- dren. vol. ii. p. 375—415, ed. Bonn; Zonar. xvi. 28, &c, xvii.l—5 ; Leo Diaconus, 1. iii.—ix., x. c. 1 —12.) [W. P.]
^ JOANNES III. VATATZES (*Iadvvns 6 Bo-rdrfys), also called joannes ducas vatatzes, because he was descended in the female line from the great family of the Ducas, emperor of Nicaea (a. d. 1222—1255), was one of the most remarkable among the successors of Constantine. He first distinguished himself in the defence of Constantinople against the Latins in 1204, and after its loss fled with Theodore Lascaris to Nicaea. Next to this distinguished prince, Vatatzes was the most active and successful in preventing the whole of the Greek empire from becoming a prey to the Latins, and he was likewise one of those who supported Theodore Lascaris after he had assumed the imperial title, and taken up his residence at Nicaea. In reward for his eminent services in the field as well as in the council, Theodore gave him the hand of his daughter Irene, and appointed him his future successor, because, having no children, he thought Vatatzes more fit and worthy for the crown than either of his four brothers, Alexis, John, Manuel, and Michael. Vatatzes thus succeeded Theodore Lascaris on the imperial throne of Nicaea in 1222. In the same year Theodore Angelus, despot or prince of Epeirus and Aetolia, made himself master of Thessalonica and of nearly the whole of Macedonia, assumed the title of emperor, and was crowned by the bishop of Achrida.
Four emperors now reigned over the remnants of the Eastern empire, Andronicus I. Gidon in Trebi-zond, Theodore Angelus in Epeirus and Macedonia, Robert of Courtenay in Constantinople, and John Vatatzes in Nicaea ; and it is curious that the imperial crown devolved upon three of them in the same year, 1222, while the fourth, Robert of Courtenay, took actual possession of his dominions only in the previous year, 1221. Of these, the emperor in Nicaea was the greatest.
No sooner had Vatatzes ascended the throne