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1076

MICHAEL.

main array of the Arabs, commanded by 'Omar. The Greeks obtained a splendid victory• 'Omar was slain ; and his head was carried to Constan­tinople by Petronas, to whom his brother allowed the honour of a triumphal entrance. In order to commemorate the glory of his armies, and with a view of handing his name down to posterity, Michael ordered a hippodrome to be built, which surpassed everything of the kind in magnificence. Jealous of Petronas, the emperor set out in 864 for the purpose of taking the command. He had scarcely arrived in Asia when he was recalled, because a Russian fleet of 200 large barges had suddenly made its appearance in the Bosporus, and was attacking the Golden Horn. Michael hardly escaped being taken prisoner whilst crossing the Hellespont, but he was soon released from his fear, in consequence of the Russian fleet being destroyed by storm. This was the first blockade of Constan­tinople by the Russians, or, more correctly speak­ing, by the Norman nobles, who had just made themselves masters of Western Russia. By this time Michael had grown tired of the ascendancy of Bardas, and felt deeply offended at being ex­horted by him to lead a better life. Whether Bardas meant this in reality or not is a matter of doubt, for he certainly wished to establish his own elevation on the ruin of Michael. Bardas was thus gradually superseded .in the favour of his master by Basil the Macedonian, afterwards emperor, who married Michael's mistress, Eudoxia, in exchange for whom he surrendered his sister, The.cla, who became the emperor's mistress. Michael formed a plot with Basil to assassinate Bardas ; and soon afterwards the Caesar was treacherously killed by Michael, Basil, and a band of assassins hired for the purpose (866), Thereupon Basil rose to emi­nence, ,and was proclaimed Caesar. In the same year (866) the patriarch Photius proclaimed the deposition of pope Nicholas I. The conduct of Michael continued to be so disgusting, that Basil, in his turn, remonstrated with him, and soon in­curred the hatred of his master, who began to look out for some daring men who would help him in despatching the Macedonian. Of this Basil became informed, and very naturally resolved to anticipate the emperor's designs. He persuaded him to accept a supper in the house of his mother, Theodora, who., utterly unacquainted with .the intention of Basil, had consented to invite her son, as a means of restoring a good understanding between the rulers. As the supper degenerated into an orgy, Theodora and her daughter retired, leaving her son alone with Basil .and a few more guests, who soon made the emperor so drunk, that he was obliged to lie down on a bed. In this helpless state he was murdered by a band of assassins who had .been secretly introduced into Theodora's dwelling. (24th of September, 867.) Basil fol­lowed him on the throne. The reign of Michael III., however disgusting the part which he played, is one of the most interesting in Byzantine history: it is rich in events worthy of the attention of the scholar, the philosopher, the historian, the soldier, and the divine ; and whoever feels more than superficial sympathy for the fate of the later Greeks will be amply rewarded by turning from this im­perfect sketch to the sources from which it is taken, (Cedren. p. 533, &c.; Zonar, vol. ii, p. 152, &c.; Leo Gram., p, 457, &c.; Symeon M«taphrast., p. 428, &c.;, Theophan. Contin. p. 92, &c. ; Genes.

MICHAEL.

p. 37, &c.; Joel, p. 179, &c. j Const Manass. p. 100.) [W. P.]

MICHAEL IV. PA'PHLAGO (MiX^\ o Ha<t>\aywv), emperor of Constantinople from a. d. 1034 to 1041, was one of the younger brothers of John the Eunuch, first minister under Romanus III. and his predecessor, Constantine IX. Among the four brothers of John, who had once been a monk, Michael and Nicetas were originally money­changers, Constantine and George eunuchs and mountebanks by profession; Stephanus, their brother-in-law, whose name will appear hereafter, was a ship's calker. When John rose to eminence he promoted Michael to the office of chamberlain to Romanus III., a post for which he was well fit, for he was stupid and handsome. Having further the advantage of being young, he pleased the em­press Zoe so much, that she admitted him to her bed. The fact was reported to Romanus, who would not believe it, because he knew that Michael was subject to epileptic fits ; but Zoe and her lover were afraid that he would believe it one day or other, and consequently contrived the assassination of Roraanus. The day after his murder Zoe an­nounced to the senate that she had chosen Michael for her husband, and wished him to be acknow­ledged as emperor. John the Eunuch being the secret promoter of these transactions, the wishes of the empress were complied with, and Michael and Zoe were proclaimed on the llth of April, 1034. No sooner was this done than John re­moved Zoe from the administration of the state, by keeping her a prisoner in her palace; and as Michael was unfit to reign, he seized the supreme power without aspiring to the name. The beginning of Michael's reign was signalised by a general famine and a terrible earthquake at Jerusalem, which lasted forty days with scarcely any interruption. Upon this the barbarians invaded the territory of the empire on all sides, while the fleets of the Arabs in Sicily and Africa covered the Archipelago, and plundered the islands. John, however, suc­ceeded in making peace with them on tolerable conditions. He also brought the Servians to sub­mission, made peace with the Arabs in Egypt, and had the satisfaction of seeing the Arabs of Baghdad defeated under the walls of Edessa, which they had invested in 1037. About this time a civil war among the Arabs in Sicily afforded a good opportunity of bringing back that island to the im­perial sway ; and Leon Opus, the governor of the Greek dominions in Southern Italy, was conse­quently sent over into Sicily. He defeated the Arabs several times, and returned with many captives, besides 15,000 Christian prisoners of war, which he had taken from the Mohammedans. In

1039 John equipped a powerful fleet and an appro­priate army, the fleet being commanded by Ste­phanus, the brother-in-law of John and the em­peror ; and the whole expedition by Maniaces, who was the best general in the Greek army. The Greeks were joined by a small, but gallant body of Norman auxiliaries, commanded by three sons of the chivalrous Tancred. Messina and Syracuse were taken by the Greeks, and the Arabs sustained such losses that their brethren in Africa were in great alarm. They consequently came to their re-Jief with 50,000 men; but few of these ever re­turned to their native country, and thirteen towns and cities surrendered to the victorious Greeks. In

1040 a fresh army arrived from Africa, which waa

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