Basil II

   Called "Bulgar-Slayer" (Bulgaroktonos), he reigned from 976-1025 as the greatest of the Macedonian emperors (qq.v). This was not apparent at the beginning of his long reign. His first military expedition (in 986) against Samuel of Bulgaria (q.v.), ended in total defeat at a narrow pass called Trajan's Gate (q.v.). This encouraged two rebellions, those of Bardas Skleros and Bardas Phokas (qq.v.). Only with the help of 6,000 Varangians (q.v.) sent by Vladimir I of Kiev (qq.v.) were the revolts suppressed. In return, Basil gave his sister Anna (q.v.) to Vladimir in marriage, requiring that he convert and be baptized, which he did. Basil II tried to curb the expansion of the landed estates of great landowners (including monasteries), the dynatoi (q.v.), in an effort to preserve peasant land, especially military holdings. Among his decrees (the first in 996) was one forcing the great magnates to pay the unpaid taxes (allelengyon [q.v.]) of their poorer neighbors. Basil further reduced the power of the provincial armies, the themes (q.v.), which the military magnates controlled, by commuting army service into a money payment. The revenues he used to create a standing army, the elite forces of which were his Varangian Guard (q.v.). With such troops, Basil II set out to subjugate the Bulgars (q.v.) while at the same time defending Antioch and Aleppo in Syria (qq.v.). Total victory against the Bulgars was achieved only in 1014, after a great victory in which Basil II captured 14,000 Bulgarian soldiers. Basil II blinded them and sent them back to Tsar Samuel (qq.v.), who was struck senseless and died two days later (on 6 October 1014). Former Bulgaria became a part of Byzantium (q.v.). Toward the end of his reign he intervened in Armenia (q.v.), annexing Vaspurkan and part of Iberia (qq.v.). At his death in 1025, there were no serious external threats on the horizon. Indeed, Byzantium seemed invincible. But Basil II was a hard act for future 11th-century emperors to follow, one that demanded harsh fiscal and foreign policies that few emperors could emulate.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Basil — ist ein männlicher Vorname[1] und ein Familienname. Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname 2.2 Familien …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Basil — Bas il, n. [F. basilic, fr. L. basilicus royal, Gr. basiliko s fr. basiley s king.] (Bot.) The name given to several aromatic herbs of the Mint family, but chiefly to the common or sweet basil ({Ocymum basilicum}), and the bush basil, or lesser… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • basil — aromatic shrubby plant, early 15c., from O.Fr. basile (15c., Mod.Fr. basilic), from M.L. basilicum, from Gk. basilikon (phyton) royal (plant), from basileus king (see BASIL (Cf. Basil)). So called, probably, because it was believed to have been… …   Etymology dictionary

  • Basil — m English: from the Greek name Basileios ‘royal’ (a derivative of basileus king). This name was borne by St Basil the Great (c.330–379), bishop of Caesarea, a theologian regarded as one of the Fathers of the Eastern Church. It was also the name… …   First names dictionary

  • Basil — Basil,   Otto, österreichischer Schriftsteller, * Wien 24. 12. 1901, ✝ ebenda 19. 2. 1983; schrieb Gedichte, Essays, Theaterkritiken (Sammlung »Lob und Tadel«, 1981); übersetzte aus dem Französischen; gab 1938 und 1945 48 die Zeitschrift »Plan«… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • basil — [bā′zəl, baz′əl] n. [ME & OFr basile < ML basilicum < Gr basilikon ( phyton), basil, lit., royal (plant) < basileus, king] any of a genus (Ocimum) of fragrant plants of the mint family, esp. a white flowered garden herb ( O. basilicum)… …   English World dictionary

  • Basil — Bas il (b[a^]z [i^]l), n. [Corrupt. from E. basan, F. basane, LL. basanium, bazana, fr. Ar. bith[=a]na, prop., lining.] The skin of a sheep tanned with bark. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Basil — Bas il (b[a^]z [i^]l), n. [Cf. F. basile and E. {Bezel}.] The slope or angle to which the cutting edge of a tool, as a plane, is ground. Grier. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Basil — Bas il, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Basiled} (?); p. pr. & vb. n. {Basiling}.] To grind or form the edge of to an angle. Moxon. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Basil — Basil, so v.w. Basilios …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Basil — masc. proper name, from L. Basilius, from Gk. Basileios kingly, royal, from basileus king, of unknown origin, possibly from a language of Asia Minor (Cf. Lydian battos king ) …   Etymology dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.