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On this page: Romanus Ii – Romanus Iii

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Romanus, so wise in many respects, compromised himself extremely in 933, by making his son Theophylactus, a lad of sixteen, patriarch of Con­stantinople, after first obtaining the approbation of Pope John XI. Theophylactus proved a very miserable prelate. From 934 to 940 the empire enjoyed an almost universal peace, Italy excepted, where the petty warfare with the Lombard princes went on as before. But in 941 Constantinople was in terror at the sudden appearance of a Rus­sian fleet of 10,000 boats, commanded by Prince Ingor, who cast anchor at the very entrance of the Bosporus, and whose troops ravaged the neighbour­ing country, Romanus, however, equipped in all haste a small-number of galleys (15?) lying in the Golden Horn, with which Theophanes boldly attacked the Russians, destroyed a great number of their boats, and compelled Ingor to fly. Theo­phanes soon afterwards obtained a second victory over the rest of the fleet on the coast of Thrace, and of this formidable armada very little came back to Russia. Ingor died soon afterwards, and in 945 his wife Olga came to Constantinople to receive baptism: she was christened Helena, and is held in the utmost veneration in the Russian church.

Down to this period Constantine Porphyrogeni- tus, although the legitimate emperor by descent, had only enjoyed the title of his rank, and he now resolved upon having the power also. To this effect he excited the ambition of the two sur­ viving sons of Romanus, Stephanus and Constan­ tine, both Augusti, who in their turn were tired of the autocracy of their aged father. A con­ spiracy was set on foot, headed by Stephanus, who had the assistance of several energetic and distin­ guished men. Sure of success, he suddenly seized upon the person of his father, and with secret despatch had him carried to the island of Protea, at the entrance of the Propontis, where Romanus was thrown into a convent and had his head shaved forthwith, as he was thus rendered incom­ petent to reign (20th of December, 944). The sons of Romanus, however, did not reap the fruits of their treachery, for Constantine VII. was pro­ claimed sole emperor, after the unnatural children of the deposed emperor had enjoyed the title of co-emperors during the short space of five weeks. They were then arrested and sent to Protea, where a touching interview took place between them and their unfortunate father. Stephanus died nineteen years afterwards in exile, and Constantine sur­ vived his captivity only two years, when he was massacred in an attempt at making his escape. Romanus lived a quiet monkish life in his con­ vent, and died a natural death on the 15th of June, 948. (Cedren. p. 614, &c. ; Leo. Diacon. p. 492, &c.; Manass. p. Ill, &c. ; Zonaras, vol. ii. p. 186, &c.; Glycas, p. 300, &c. all in the Paris editions.) [W. P.]

ROMANUS II., or the Younger, Byzantine emperor from a. d. 959—963, the son and suc­cessor of Constantine VII. Porphyrogenitus, was born in 939, and succeeded his father on the fifteenth of November 959. His short reign offers a few events of note. Endowed with great personal beauty and bodily strength, he preferred gymnastics, hunting, and other pleasures to the duties of an emperor, which he left to his minister Bringas. His wretched wife Theo­phano, who had persuaded him to poison his


father, was no sooner independent than she excited Romanus against his own family ; his five sisters were compelled to leave the palace, and confined in the same convent where Sophia, the widow of Christophorus Augustus had then been during thirty years ; but the empress dowager, Helena, possessed too much energy to yield to her daughter- in-law, and she accordingly remained in the palace, but she died soon afterwards of a broken heart. Although Romanus never showed himself in the field, he had two renowned generals by whom some glorious deeds were done, namely, the two brothers Nicephorus and Leo Phocas. Nicephorus recovered the flourishing island of Creta, after a long siege of its capital Candia, and after the Arabs had ruled there during 150 years (961) ; and Leo was successful against the Arabs in Asia. After the fall of Candia, and the splendid triumph of Nicephorus in Constantinople, the two brothers joined their forces against the Arabs, and obtained most signal victories over them. A rumour having spread of the death of Romanus, Nicephorus ap­ proached the capital through fear of Bringas ; but the rumour was false, and Nicephorus remained in Asia, observing Constantinople. Events showed the prudence of this step ; for Romanus, already exhausted by his mode of life, was despatched by poison administered to him by his own wife Theo- phano. He died oh the 15th of March, 963, at the age of twenty-four. Ambition, and perhaps the secret advice of the eunuch Bringas, urged Theophano to commit the foul deed. Romanus married first Bertha, afterwards called Eudoxia, the natural daughter of Hugo, king of Italy, who died a child before the marriage was consummated. By his second wife Anastasia, afterwards called Theophano, a woman of base extraction, he left two sons, Basil II. and Constantine VIII., who followed him on the throne, and two daughters, Theophano, who married Otho II. emperor of Ger­ many, an excellent woman, who became the an­ cestress of most of the reigning houses in Europe, and Anna Posthuma, who married Wladimir, first Christian prince of Russia. (Cedren. p. 642, &c.; Zonar. vol. ii. p. 196, &c.; Manass. p. 115, Glyc. p. 304 ; Leo Diacon. p. 500, &c. in the Paris editions.) . [W. P.]

ROMANUS III., ARGYRUS or ARGY-ROPU'LUS (ePw/*wos 6 'Apyvpos or 6 Apyvp6-•rrouAos), Byzantine emperor from a. d. 1028 — 1034, was the son of Leo Argyrus Dux, and belonged to a distinguished family. Romanus obtained such military glory in the reign of Con­stantine VIII., that this prince appointed him his successor, and offered him the hand of one of his daughters, a few days before he died. Romanus was married to Helena, a virtuous woman, whom he tenderly loved, and declined both the crown and the bride. Constantine, however, left him the choice between his offer, or the loss of his eyes. Even then Romanus did not yield to the tempta­tion, and would have declined it again but for the prayers of his own wife, who implored him to accept both, and rather sacrifice her than the em­pire. Their marriage was accordingly dissolved ; and Romanus, now married to the princess Zoe, succeeded Constantine on the 12th of Novem­ber, 1028. He was a brave, well-instructed man, perhaps learned; but he over-valued himself, and thought himself the best general and the best scholar of his time. Numerous acts of liberality

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