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On this page: Phlias – Phobus – Piiocas



PHLIAS (*Aias), a son of Dionysus and Chthonophyle, also called Phlius, was a native of Araithyrea in'Argolis, and is mentioned as one of the Argonauts. (Apollon. Rhod. i. 115, with the Schol. ; Paus. ii. 12. § 6; Val. Flacc. i. 411.) According to Pausanias, he was a son of Ceisus and Araithyrea, and the husband of Chthonophyle, by whom he became the father of Androdamas ; and Hyginus (Fab. 14) calls him Phliasus, and a son of Dionysus and Ariadne. The town of Phlius (formerly called Araithyrea) was believed to have derived its name from him. (Steph. Byz. s. v. 4>AtoOs.) [L. S.]

PHOBUS (3>o§os), Latin Metus9 the personi­ fication of fear, is described as a son of Ares and Cythereia, a brother of Deimos, and is one of the ordinary companions of Ares. (Horn. II. xi. 37, xiii. 299, xv. 119; Hes. Theog. 934.) Phobus was represented on the shield of Agamemnon, on the chest of Cypselus, with the head of a lion. (Paus. v. 19. §1.) [L.S.]

PIIOCAS (4>co/fas), emperor of Constantinople from a. d. 602 to 610. The circumstances under which this monster was raised to the throne are related at the end of the life of the emperor mau-ricius. Phocas was of base extraction, and a native of Cappadocia. For some time he was groom to the celebrated general Priscus, and at the time of his accession he held the humble office of a centurion. His brutal courage had gained him a name among the common soldiers, and among those of his companions who liked warfare as the art of butchering mankind. His coronation took place on the 23d of November 602 ; his wife Leontia was likewise crowned. After he had momentarily quenched his thirst for revenge and murder in the blood of Mauricius, of his five sons, and of his most eminent adherents, such as Con-stantine Lardys, Comentiolus and others, he bought an ignoble peace from the Avars, but was prevented from enjoying it by a fierce attack of the Persian king Chosroes. This prince con­sidered the accession of a despicable murderer to the Byzantine throne as a fair opportunity of avenging himself for the many defeats he had suf­fered from Mauritius ; and he was still more urged to take up arms by Narses, a faithful adherent of the late emperor, and then commander-in-chief on the Persian frontier. Anxious to escape the fate of so many of his friends, Narses made overtures to Chosroes, left the head-quarters of his army, and remained in a sort of neutral position at Hierapolis. Thus a war broke out with Persia which lasted twenty-four years, the first eighteen of which presented an uninterrupted series of misfortunes to the Romans, and which was de­cidedly the most disastrous that was ever carried on between the two empires. Asia Minor from the Euphrates to the very shores of the Bosporus was laid waste by the Persians; a great number of its populous and flourishing cities was laid in ashes ; and hundreds of thousands of its inha­bitants were carried off into slavery beyond the Tigris. But for this war Asia Minor would have better withstood the attacks of the Arabs, who some years later achieved what the Persians had begun. Afraid to lose his crown if he absented himself from Constantinople, and feeling, as it seems, the inferiority of his military capacities, Phocas remained in his capital to enjoy executions and beastly pleasures, while the eunuch Leontius


started for the theatre of the war with a motley army composed of the most incongruous elements, He thus encountered the Persian veterans com­manded by their king Chosroes, the greatest man of the East. At Dara the eunuch was utterly defeated. His successor Domentiolus, the em­peror's brother, was not able to stop the progress of the enemy, and from the Black Sea to the con­fines of Egypt the Persians ravaged the country. During this time Domentiolus entered into nego­tiations with Narses with a view of reconciling him with the emperor. Beguiled by the brilliant promises pf Domentiolus, Narses imprudently left his stronghold, and finally proceeded to Con­stantinople. While he hoped to be placed again at the head of the Roman armies, he was suddenly arrested, and without further inquiries condemned to death. He was burnt alive. Thus perished the worthy namesake of the great Narses, with whom he has often been confounded, although the one was a centenarian when the other first tried his sword against the Persians. This Narses was so much feared by the Persians that mothers used to frighten their children with his name. His murder increased the unpopularity of the emperoi, Germanus, the father-in-law of the unfortunate Theodosius, the eldest son of Mauricius, who had once had a chance of obtaining the crown, now persuaded the captive empress Constantina to form a plot against the life of the tyrant. She consented, being under the impression that her son Theodosius was still alive, and accompanied by one Scholasticus, who seems to have been the scape-goat in this affair, she left her dwelling, together with her three daughters, and followed him to the church of St. Sophia. At her aspect the people were moved with pity. They took up arms, and a terrible riot ensued. But for the bad will of John, the leader of the Greens, who paid for his conduct by being burnt alive by the mob, the outbreak would have been crowned with success. As it was, however, Phocas had the upper hand. The riot was quelled ; Scholasticus was put to death ; and Germanus was forced to take the monastic habit: he had managed things so cleverly that no evidence could be produced against him : else he would have paid for the plot with his life. The empress Constantine found a protector in the person of the patriarch Cyriacus, and her Hfe was spared ; but she was confined in a monastery with her three daughters. The general hatred against Phocas, however, was so great that Constantina braved the dangers of another con­spiracy which broke out in 607, and in which she interested several of the principal personages of the empire: she still believed that her son Constantine was alive. A woman contrived this plot, and a woman frustrated it. This was Petronea who, being in the entire confidence of the empress, was employed by her as a messenger between the different parties, and who sold the secret to Phocas as soon as she had gathered sufficient evidence against its leaders. The tyrant quelled the plot by bloody, but decisive measures. Constantina and her three daughters had their heads cut off at Chalcedon, on the same spot where her husband and her five sons had suffered death. Among those of her chief adherents who paid for their rashness with their lives were Georgius, governor of Cappadocia ; Romanus, advocatus curiae ; Theo-dorus, praefectus Orientis j Joannes, primus e

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