Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


15 March 963

Basil II nominally becomes Byzantine Emperor.

Sure, it's the Ides of March, but Basil II is much cooler than Julius Caesar! Who the heck is Basil II? I'm so glad you asked. Basil, known as "the Bulgar-Slayer" because he slew many Bulgars,¹ was five years old today when his father, Romanus II, died and he became titular emperor. When he was 18 he reached his majority and, after a power struggle, became the greatest emperor at least since Justinian (527-565) and possibly since Constantine (306-337). He was ugly and coarse, with no interest in learning, and apparently died a virgin, which is kind of weird. But he was a great general. He came to the throne at a time in Byzantine history when it appeared the apogee of the empire had come and gone, but he enlarged its territory greatly, mainly at the expense of the Bulgars, who had vexed the Greeks before. Under their ruler Samuel, they fought long and hard against Basil. Finally, in 1014, Basil destroyed the Bulgarian army. He celebrated his victory in brutal fashion - he had his captives blinded and sent them back to Samuel with guides whom he only blinded in one eye. He was a hell of a lot nicer once he had subjugated the territory, however.

Basil also helped bring Christianity to Russia, as he made an alliance with Vladimir, the prince of Kiev, in 988, offering his sister to the prince in marriage only if Vladimir became a Christian. So he wasn't all bad!

Basil died in 1025. The Byzantine Empire never achieved the greatness it did under him, although there were some strong emperors.

¹ That has to be one of the top ten nicknames of all time, doesn't it?

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