Eudocia Ingerina, Wife of Basil I

Eudocia Ingerina (‘daughter of Inger’), arguably the central player in the establishment of the Macedonian dynasty, was the wife of Basil I (867-886), the first of this line. She was thus the mother of the two successive emperors, Leo VI (886-912) and Alexander (912-913) and grandmother of the renowned Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus(913-959). The dynasty which she founded, perhaps the most glorious in Byzantine history, was to rule the empire until the death of Eudocia’s great-great-great-granddaughter, the ‘purple-born’ nun Theodora, in 1056.

What is, of course, down-played in historical sources of the Macedonian dynasty is that this ‘well-branched vine bearing the grapes of the Empire’,[[1]] in order to achieve the accession of her new husband Basil, had been an active accomplice in the murder of her long-time lover, the twenty-seven-year-old Michael III (842-867), whom Basil then supplanted.

Eudocia and Michael III

Michael III ‘the Amorian’, a notable playboy emperor, had been born on 19 January 840.[[2]] As the only surviving son of Theophilus (829-842) and Theodora, following five older sisters — Thecla, Anna, Anastasia, Maria and Pulcheria (the three oldest of whom had been crowned empresses by their father in the absence of a son)[[3]] — Michael at his father’s unexpectedly early death came to the throne when only two years of age.

Michael’s mother, Theodora, daughter of Marinus, a drungarius or tourmarches (high-ranking provincial military officer), and his wife Theoctiste Phlorina,[[4]] originated from Paphlagonia. On 5 June 830 she had been married to Theophilus, supposedly after a brideshow, at which Theophilus rejected the poetess Kassia.[[5]] She brought her family to power with her: despite certain disagreements within the marriage (particularly over icon-veneration, Theophilus being a committed iconoclast), Theophilus clearly intended Theodora to act as regent in the event of his death, but included with her in the regency council the eunuch Theoctistus, logothete of the dromos, and Theodora’s uncle Manuel the protomagistros; her brother Bardas, and possibly another brother Petronas, may also have been included.[[6]]

While Theodora and Theoctistus took the opportunity as regents to restore icon-veneration in 843 (for which both were canonised),[[7]]Michael’s interests as he grew up were more liberal and less conventional. Certainly he was precocious by modern (if not by medieval) standards, and in 855, at the age of fifteen, was devoted to hunting and chariot racing and had already openly taken a mistress. This lady, Eudocia Ingerina, must have been born c. 840 or earlier and so was probably slightly older than Michael (for which there are many historical parallels at the Byzantine and other medieval courts). She was obviously of good family, perhaps a lady-in-waiting and one of Theodora’s retinue, and her father Inger may have been related to the iconoclast bishop Inger of Nicaea, who held the see of Nicaea c. 825.[[8]] Cyril Mango has postulated that the family was of Rus descent and Eudocia therefore of Scandinavian origin (Inger being an approximate rendering of Igor or Ingvarr). In this case Eudocia may well have been a fair-haired ‘Scandinavian beauty’.[[9]] We are told by various sources that her father Inger was of good family and she was also connected, presumably through her mother, with the Martinakioi, who, like bishop Inger, had iconoclast leanings.[[10]] Theophano, first wife of Eudocia’s son Leo VI, also belonged to this family, being the daughter of Constantine Martinakes and so one of Eudocia’s own relations. Eudocia herself chose Theophano as her son’s wife and as her successor as empress.[[11]]

While mistresses at court were nothing new in this period, they were almost invariably (as far as we can judge) of good family, involving girls at court who were there in their role as attendants of the women of the imperial family. Significantly many of these became imperial mistresses and ended up marrying the emperor. This was the case for Theodote, mistress and then second wife of Constantine VI; as well as for Zoe Zaoutzaina and Zoe Karbounopsina, mistresses of Leo VI and his second and fourth wives respectively. Eudocia would also have been one of this class: a well-born, educated, attractive and socially competent teenager with a highly respected family background, and so of appropriate material for an imperial bride at a period when it was usual for empresses to be chosen from within the Byzantine elite.

The association between Michael and Eudocia Ingerina was not at all to the liking of the pious empress Theodora, and it is recorded that Eudocia was hated by both Theodora and her chief minister Theoctistus because of her ‘impudence’ or shamelessness:[[12]] this teenage starlet, who had ‘entrapped’ the greatest catch in the empire, was clearly not concerned to play down her relationship with the young emperor and made her position as imperial concubine more than obvious. So, to counteract this infatuation as quickly as possible, in that same year as Michael’s liaison became notorious, Theodora is said to have arranged a bride-show to choose a suitable imperial bride. The fifteen-year old emperor was married to the more suitable Eudocia Decapolitissa, a lady of whose background we know nothing and whom Michael was to ignore for the rest of his reign. The marriage was stage-managed through the preliminaries of a bride-show, though Eudocia Decapolitissa was certainly of noble birth and belonged to court circles.[[13]] As with previous bride-shows, the potential groom had little, if any, say in the selection and the decision was orchestrated by Theodora and Theoctistus: Eudocia Ingerina — as a noble girl of good family, well-known at court, and presumably intensely good-looking (as was expected of an imperial mistress)[[14]] — was actually permitted to take part, but Michael was not allowed to choose her.[[15]] The fact that she was the emperor’s mistress was obviously not considered to be an appropriate qualification and Theodora intended to see this young rival to herself and her daughters upstaged at court.

This unwished-for marriage may have been one of the contributing factors behind Michael’s rebellion against his mother’s regency. While still fifteen years of age, he deposed Theodora and Theoctistus, with the help of his uncle Bardas, Theodora’s brother, who was to replace them as Michael’s chief minister. The most shocking aspect of Michael’s deposition of his mother was the murder of Theoctistus on 20 November 855. In a sense history was repeating itself, for Theoctistus had earlier helped Michael’s grandfather, Michael II, assassinate his predecessor Leo V. Bardas did not probably intend the murder, but Michael egged on the imperial guard to kill Theoctistus though Theodora tried to protect her logothete as he cowered behind a chair.[[16]] Kalomaria, Theodora’s sister, and Theophanes, chief of the wardrobe, are also said to have joined the conspiracy.[[17]] Bardas had encouraged this revolt, by convincing Michael that Theodora planned to depose him and marry Theoctistus herself (unlikely because he was a eunuch),[[18]] or marry off one of her daughters to a suitable son-in-law and make him emperor.[[19]] In any case it was easy to see that Theodora and Theoctistus would always stand in the way of Michael ruling in his own right.[[20]]

Once Michael was sixteen and of an age to rule for himself, he was officially acclaimed sole ruler on 15 March 856.[[21]] However Theodora was distraught at the murder of her minister and not happy at being sidelined, as she made clear to Michael. She was to continue to live in the palace till 858, when she and her daughters were sent to the Gastria and ta Karianou monasteries, though the Patriarch Ignatius would not tonsure them because they went unwillingly.[[22]] With Eudocia Ingerina prominent at court and the position of Eudocia Decapolitissa only nominal, the situation of the senior empress and her daughters must have been uncomfortable and perhaps their monastic seclusion came as a relief. Over time, however, Michael’s hostility towards Theodora gradually waned, and he appears to have released his mother and sisters from the Gastria a few years later, perhaps in 863, and allowed his mother to resume a ceremonial role at court.

After having Theoctistus assassinated, Michael named his uncle Bardas (who was, indeed, an outstanding administrator) chartoularios tou kanikleiou (keeper of the inkstand), magistros and then domestic of the Scholae; in 859 he was made curopalates, and on 26 April 862 Michael crowned him Caesar, thus nominating him as his heir-apparent in the absence of any children in the dynasty’s younger generation, a situation Michael himself had done much to bring about.[[23]]

Eudocia, the imperial mistress

What, in the meantime, of Eudocia Ingerina?  In the third year of Michael’s (sole) reign, so c. 857/8, we are told that he promoted his cousin Antigonus, one of Bardas’s sons, to the post of domestic of the Scholae, while making his other cousin domestic (commander-in-chief) of the West. This cousin was married off to a girl called Eudocia ‘who had an unsavoury reputation’. These are not necessarily sufficient grounds on which to identify her with our Eudocia Ingerina, as ‘Eudocia daughter of Inger’ is specifically named in our sources on numerous occasions and the identification with her would presumably have been made explicit.[[24]] On the other hand, Eudocia was not a particularly common name until the later Byzantine period, and arguably there would have been few Eudocias at court who were so notorious. It is, therefore, not unreasonable to speculate that Michael may have married his mistress to one of his cousins in order to legitimise her social status and give her an important position in the hierarchy of the women of the court. Once Michael’s mother and sisters were ensconced in convents, the wives of the remaining members of Theodora’s family (her brothers and nephews) would have held the highest ranks alongside the nominal empress Eudocia Decapolitissa. Additionally, Bardas’s family, as Michael would have found convenient, were comfortably positioned within the palace itself, for key figures in the regency lived within the palace precincts and Bardas’s other son, Antigonus, built a reception hall within the imperial residence.[[25]]

However, the young domestic of the West was to die shortly after his marriage, and Bardas himself was then rumoured to have taken up with his widowed daughter-in-law, Eudocia, almost immediately after his son’s death. He was pointedly criticised by the patriarch over this liaison.[[26]] This would fit with the fact that, while Bardas had married Theodosia, sister of St Irene of Chrysobalanton, as his second wife c. 855, he divorced her c. 862, the incestuous relationship with Eudocia, or the report of it, being perhaps the catalyst for this divorce.[[27]]

The presumption that this loose-living Eudocia in Bardas’s household and Michael’s mistress were one and the same is very appealing. Certainly Bardas’s marital situation (and the moral character of his daughter-in-law) was a matter of public knowledge and the subject of strict censure by the Patriarch Ignatius: indeed, if there were a liaison between the emperor’s uncle and the emperor’s mistress, it can hardly have been kept secret in the hot-house world of the court. Nicetas David Paphlagon, in his Life of the Patriarch Ignatius, confirms that Bardas deposed the patriarch for continually condemning his relationship with his daughter-in-law Eudocia as incestuous and for excommunicating him over this liaison: a further factor in Ignatius’s deposition may have been Ignatius’s refusal to tonsure the empress and her daughters, on the grounds that they became nuns unwillingly.[[28]] Ignatius was patriarch for the first time from 4 July 847 to 23 October 858,[[29]] and Ignatius’s deposition thus coincided both with the empress Theodora’s banishment from the palace and with the marriage and early death of Bardas’s son. But Eudocia’s position in Bardas’s household may purely have been a matter of imperial convenience from Michael’s point of view. A marriage to Michael’s short-lived cousin would have given Eudocia respectability and rank among the imperial women without removing her from court. Whether she then became intimate with her father-in-law after her husband’s death can only be a matter of conjecture. Perhaps Ignatius’s attack on Bardas was really an attempt to marginalise Eudocia without having to name the emperor as her lover. Theodora, for example, might have been trying to preserve her son’s reputation and damage that of Eudocia by transferring the moral blame for an unsavoury liaison with her onto her brother instead of implicating her son.

If Eudocia had been married to Theodora’s own nephew (and was now his widow), her prominent position at court both as a close family member and simultaneously as the imperial mistress can hardly have been palatable to the senior empress and her daughters. Without doubt, the palace — and the women’s quarters in particular — must have polarised into factions supporting the various imperial women. This embarrassing situation might well have made retirement to a convent seem more attractive for the empress-mother, especially if her son’s mistress was simultaneously said to be embroiled with Theodora’s own brother.

However, Michael’s career was to be soon indelibly altered (for the worse) when a new figure entered his — and Eudocia Ingerina’s — life. Basil I, founder of the Macedonian dynasty, had been born in Thrace or Macedonia in the 830s.[[30]] For the final ten years of Michael’s reign, Basil was to be his constant companion, terminating in his murder of Michael on the night of 23/24 September 867. Basil’s career, up to his accession to the throne, seems bizarre, but whatever the truth behind his rise to power the account we have must have seemed credible to Byzantines, although the different versions of it surely begged questions. It can be conjectured that at the age of about twenty-five Basil had entered the service of his local strategus in Macedonia. He shortly decided that career opportunities were better in Constantinople and, while sleeping rough outside the church of St Diomedes near the Golden Gate, was spotted and befriended by the sacristan of the church: the two became adoptive brothers. The sacristan’s brother was a doctor in the entourage of Theophilitzes, a courtier and one of Michael’s minor relatives, and this doctor recommended Basil to Theophilitzes as a groom. Impressed by his physique Theophilitzes employed him. When, on one occasion, Michael was having trouble examining the teeth of a new and splendid horse which he wished to use in his chariot team, Theophilitzes offered the services of Basil, who impressed the emperor with his skills as a horse-tamer. Basil was immediately employed in the emperor’s stables and from here, as might have been expected, bearing in mind Michael’s passion for horses and chariot racing,[[31]] became one of the emperor’s most intimate companions.[[32]]

An alternative version has Basil’s skills as a wrestler bringing him to Michael’s notice when he defeated a visiting Bulgarian champion.[[33]] Whatever the attraction, Michael was entranced by this new companion, who is praised for his skills in hunting, ball-playing, wrestling and jumping, discus-throwing, weight-lifting and running.[[34]] Accordingly Basil was given increasing rank and dignities and, though Theodora is said to have warned Michael of the danger inherent in this association (clearly she trusted Basil no better than she did Eudocia Ingerina), her son took no notice.[[35]]. Thus it seems that Basil’s meeting with Michael must have taken place before Theodora’s forced retirement in 858, when Michael was at the impressionable age of eighteen.[[36]]

Basil was made patrician and finally in 865 Lord Chamberlain (parakoimomenos), a position which could support the suggestion that Basil and Michael also engaged in a homosexual relationship (the post, which required close personal attendance on the emperor, was generally reserved for a eunuch).[[37]]Basil was ambitious, and now it was time to give Bardas the push. Michael might also have wanted him out of the way, even if he was not the prime mover in the plot. When on 21 April 866 the army was assembling at the river Maeander in the Thrakesion theme for an expedition against the Arabs, Michael stood by while Basil assassinated Bardas.[[38]]  His murder is graphically depicted in the Madrid Scylitzes manuscript.[[39]] Indeed, the complicated and extended love-triangle (or rectangle) between Eudocia Ingerina, Bardas, his son, and Michael might well have made the fact that Bardas’s genitals were paraded around the army on a pole particularly appropriate in the circumstances — perhaps Eudocia’s relationship to his uncle (or the public perception thereof) had become closer than Michael had initially anticipated.

Eudocia and Basil the Macedonian

If there is any truth in the suggestion that Eudocia had become the lover of Bardas, it is clear that this situation had already been altered before the murder of Michael’s uncle, for Basil the Macedonian had become Eudocia’s husband. The exact date of the marriage is not known, though it has traditionally been located in the year 865.[[40]]

After Bardas’s murder, Michael immediately abandoned his Arab expedition: the implication that the expedition was merely a ‘set up’ in order to effect the easy elimination of Bardas is inescapable. Once back in Constantinople Michael then had Basil crowned co-emperor by the patriarch Photius; this took place only a month after the murder, on 26 May 866.[[41]] Eudocia was now empress. At this point she was five months pregnant. Her son Leo, later Leo VI, was to be born on 1 September 866, and so had been conceived late in 865.

The marriage to Eudocia had been effected on condition that Basil treated her with respect as his ‘lady’ (i.e., appropriately to her rank as empress) and, according to the Logothete tradition, the marriage of the imperial concubine to Basil was not as straightforward as one might imagine, for Basil was made to divorce an existing wife Maria, who was sent back to Macedonia with a suitably generous pay-off. It is even possible that Basil and Maria may have had children and Mango suggests not only the existence of a daughter, Anastasia, but that Basil’s eldest son Constantine was Maria’s and not Eudocia’s.[[42]] The parentage not only of Constantine, but of Leo too has given rise to considerable conjecture: some anti-Macedonian sources, which assume that Eudocia remained Michael’s mistress during Michael’s lifetime, point out that the date of Leo’s birth makes the assumption that the child was Michael’s (not Basil’s) a foregone conclusion.[[43]]

It is possible that Michael had intended the Eudocia-Basil liaison to be only a nominal marriage, for we are told that, by Michael’s desire, Basil was to take Michael’s eldest sister Thecla as his mistress.[[44]] Thecla had been a nun and was now approximately thirty-five years of age, but she also held the rank of an empress, having been crowned during her father’s reign.[[45]] She had probably returned to the palace after five or so years of monastic seclusion with the other females of the family in 863. According to Mango, the whole point of the charade of the marriage of Basil and Eudocia appears to have been to ensure that the baby with whom she was pregnant in 866 (the future Leo VI, supposedly a son of Michael and not Basil) would be ‘born in the purple’.[[46]] At the same time Eudocia would have imperial status, and Michael and Eudocia would be able to continue their relationship, while Basil would have an imperial mistress.

The liaison between Michael and Eudocia — and presumably that between Basil and Thecla — may have continued up till Michael’s death: the Logothete implies that Eudocia’s next son Stephen was also Michael’s and that only Alexander, the youngest of Eudocia’s three sons, was a legitimate son of Basil’s.[[47]] While Macedonian sources insist that Leo was Basil’s child, it can be argued that this was because it would have been too embarrassing to reveal the existence of the ménage à trois, especially Eudocia’s position within it, since she was after all the future matriarch of the Macedonian dynasty. Certainly, if she was still Michael’s mistress up to his death in September 867, Stephen, born two months later, would have been Michael’s son as well as Leo. However, the ingenious theory of Mango can be questioned.[[48]] One must not forget the hostility of the Logothete to the Macedonian dynasty. The fact that Basil’s eldest son, Constantine, is also said to be a son of Michael and Eudocia, is overlooked.[[49]]This undermines the argument that the birth of Leo was particularly significant. Further, it seems rather odd that Leo would have been the first child of Michael and Eudocia if they had been having an affair since Michael was a teenager.

It is entirely possible (if not probable) that Leo was a son of Basil and Eudocia after all: or, of course, that even Eudocia herself was not sure whether Basil or Michael was the father of her child. Indeed the burgeoning family of Basil may explain the tension that developed in the relationship between Michael and Basil; their intense relationship began to turn sour. At a banquet following chariot races at the palace of St Mamas which Michael celebrated with Basil and Eudocia, Basil had cause to fear for his new position when a patrician Basiliscianus (one of Michael’s more disreputable promotions), who had just flattered the emperor over his chariot victory for the Blues, was invited to put on the imperial shoes: the purple jewelled shoes were the very essence of imperial status. Both Basil and Eudocia, the empress, were concerned at this suggestion that Basil might be losing favour and that demotion might be in the cards. When Basiliscianus hesitated in putting on Basil’s shoes, Michael said bluntly to Basil, ‘They suit him better than they do you. I made you emperor — don’t I have the authority to make another?’ Eudocia then burst into tears with the words, ‘The imperial dignity, O my lord, is a great thing and I too was unworthy to have been honoured with it. But it is not right that it should be treated with contempt.’[[50]]Michael told her not to distress herself: it was his firm intention to make Basiliscianus emperor.

It is abundantly clear that the emperor could instantaneously raise a courtier to the highest levels (and similarly demote one), and after his meteoric career the co-emperor would have been only too well aware of that fact.[[51]] From Eudocia’s point of view her position as Augusta was under threat. Basil is reported as having been both angered and distressed.[[52]] There is further evidence that Michael was turning against Basil: there appears to have been an assassination attempt on Basil while he was out hunting, and he was deliberately omitted from the co-emperor’s usual place on Constantinople’s gold and silver coinage.[[53]]

Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the whole matrimonial tangle according to the Logothete’s account is Michael’s suggestion that Basil should take Michael’s own sister as his mistress.[[54]] Yet there is no evidence that Thecla objected. Her liaison with Basil is even confirmed by the fact that three years later, c. 870, when she sent a man of business to Basil, then securely emperor in his own right, he asked the retainer who Thecla’s (current) lover was. On being told that it was a certain Neatocomites, Basil reacted violently: Neatocomites was forced to become a monk and Thecla was beaten and deprived of her property. Apart from the jealousy of an ex-lover, there might also have been a sub-text here, as Neatocomites had unsuccessfully tried to warn Bardas of the threat posed by Basil the day before he was murdered: perhaps Basil saw Thecla not just as unfaithful to his memory, but as disloyal to his regime.[[55]] This reported relationship betweern Thecla and Neatocomites, like the later affair of Eudocia herself, gives us an interesting window into the lifestyle possible for women of the imperial family.

Assassination and accession

The final act in this bloody Jacobean melodrama was the removal of Michael. Now that Basil had reason to believe he might be losing Michael’s favour, time was running out for the emperor, and while he was hunting outside the city in September 867 he was warned by a monk of a plot against him masterminded by Basil.[[56]] The actual murder took place later that month, on the night of 23 September 867, after the ‘co-imperial’ couple, Basil and Eudocia, had been invited to dinner in Michael’s suburban palace of St Mamas. Michael can hardly have taken the warning of the threat posed by Basil very seriously: no doubt, too, he had perfect faith in Eudocia, who was now seven months pregnant (by whom is hardly relevant in this context). The bolt of Michael’s bedroom door was tampered with by Basil so the door could not be locked, and he was encouraged by Eudocia to get very drunk as usual; Rentacius his protovestiarios (possibly parakoimomenos), who would normally have slept near him, was off hunting.[[57]] While Michael was snoring in bed, sleeping off his wine, Basil and eight friends rushed into the bedroom and butchered him, after first cutting off his hands.[[58]]

Basil and his conspirators then rushed to the palace to secure their position. The commander of the palace guards, Artavasdus, was informed by the conspirators ‘in his own tongue’ by one of Basil’s Persian associates that Michael was dead and the new emperor wanted entry. With the palace opened up to them, the conspiracy had succeeded.[[59]] The heavily pregnant Eudocia was then escorted from St Mamas to the imperial palace ‘with great honour’:[[60]] the implication that she had been involved in the conspiracy, not least by lulling the tipsy Michael into a false sense of security, is unavoidable. Michael’s body was quickly and unceremoniously buried in the monastery of Chrysopolis, on the eastern side of the Bosphorus, but significantlyLeo VI later had it ceremonially reburied in the church of the Holy Apostles, the traditional site for imperial tombs.[[61]] The other Eudocia, Michael’s widow, the ‘ghost’ empress, was immediately returned to her parents;[[62]] her entire time as empress had been overshadowed by her unofficial rival.

Theodora by this point had been restored to liberty in the palace for the last three or four years and would have played a ceremonial role at court, if not any active part in government; perhaps her son was pleased for her to contest the stage with his despised wife Eudocia Decapolitissa prior to the elevation of Eudocia Ingerina as third empress in the hierarchy. Theodora was certainly now on speaking terms with Michael, for on the day of his death she sent him a dinner invitation for the following day, and Michael told Rentacius to go out hunting with other members of his entourage for something suitable to send her to serve at dinner (which explains Rentacius’s absence from Michael’s chamber on the night of the murder). When Theodora heard that Basil had been acclaimed as emperor, she rushed to the palace of St Mamas, where her son lay dead. Our last glimpse of her is when she was found by Paul the cubicularius, who had been sent to arrange Michael’s burial, weeping with her daughters over Michael’s body, which was wrapped in the blanket belonging to the right-hand horse (the lead horse of the chariot team) that he drove: a nice touch — Michael’s deep affection for his horses in life was replicated at his death. We have to wonder if one of his entourage deliberately chose this blanket as an appropriate shroud or if it was just close at hand as if in frequent use. Perhaps Eudocia Ingerina in the palace of St Mamas, anxiously awaiting news of Basil’s take-over of the Great Palace and the entourage to escort her there with the full pomp and ceremony of an empress, was the one who found the covering for the disembowelled body of her dead lover. Maybe she, too, shed a few tears. One can only hope that she was able to get away with her escort before the arrival of Michael’s desolate mother and sisters. Eudocia’s ceremonial departure from St Mamas threw into sharp relief the way in which Michael’s body was hastily shipped across the Bosphorus to Chrysopolis and unceremoniously buried there.[[63]]

Theodora died some time after the accession of Basil and was buried in the Gastria monastery, to which she probably retired again after Michael’s death. The knowledge that her son’s assassin was now emperor, with his accomplice Eudocia Ingerina as empress alongside him, must have been particularly galling.[[64]] At times in her monastic seclusion, with her son dead and her daughters aging and unmarried, she can hardly have helped wondering whether she had been altogether wise, twelve years earlier, in her attempt to stabilise the dynastic succession by forcibly separating the teen-age Michael and his lovely Eudocia.

Eudocia Augusta

The imperial mistress of one emperor had now succeeded in reaching the throne as the crowned wife of his successor and assassin. Eudocia’s own views on the situation are of course a matter of conjecture, but, whether or not she preferred Basil ‘the Macedonian‘ to Michael ‘the Amorian’, she was at least officially the empress and possessed of all imperial dignity — a position which must have had its attractions. After all, while Eudocia Decapolitissa lived, she could never have become Michael’s empress, but remained just a participant in a rather shady matrimonial intrigue, which still left her in an equivocal position at court. Any children she openly had by Michael could never have been ‘purple-born’. Whatever her motives, outwardly, at least, her marriage to Basil was successful: she was to have four further children: Alexander (born c. 870) and three daughters, Anna, Helena and Maria, though these were to be sent to a monastery by their father.[[65]]

In the same way that Theodora, wife of Justinian, was able to shake off her disreputable past once empress and become ‘more royal than the royals’, Eudocia Ingerina too enjoyed all the perquisites of imperial rank. She was seated beside Basil, drawn by white horses, in the triumphal procession conducted for the baptism of her son Stephen on Christmas Day 867.[[66]] She is also portrayed standing between two of her sons, Leo and Alexander, in the Paris Gregory MS (Paris B.N. gr. 510), an illustrated manuscript containing the Homilies of St Gregory of Nazianzus, plus some of his letters, and Gregory the presbyter’s life of the saint. The manuscript was produced in Constantinople around 880 (perhaps as a gift to the emperor from the patriarch Photius).[[67]] Eudocia’s crown is more lavish than that of Basil’s, who is depicted in a separate miniature, and she carries a sceptre in her right hand and an orb in her left. The inscription around the miniature focuses on Eudocia: ‘Basil, emperor of the Romans, elevated you, a well-branched vine bearing as the grapes of sovereignty the serene despots [princes] with whom you shine, O light-bringing Eudocia’.[[68]] In addition, like some other Augustas of the period such as Michael’s mother Theodora (but not Eudocia Decapolitissa), Eudocia appeared on her husband’s coinage: she had definitely been granted full imperial status.[[69]] Furthermore, she clearly had her own imperial funds, for at Basil’s accession she made liberal donations to the people.[[70]]

In 879, Basil’s eldest son Constantine died unexpectedly, and Leo became the heir apparent. Some have seen significance in the fact that Basil and Leo had a dysfunctional relationship, arguing that it gives credence to the possibility that Leo was not Basil’s son. However it is possible that both Leo and his elder brother Constantine were sons of Basil and Eudocia, and that there are other explanations for the difficult relationship between Basil and Leo.[[71]] There are signs that Eudocia’s relationship with Basil, too, was less than perfect also, for at about this time, c. 878, she became romantically involved with a Nicetas Xylinites. Basil punished him by having him tonsured as a monk, though Leo on his accession in 886 promoted Xylinites to the position of oikonomos, or administrator of the property, of St Sophia.[[72]]

The last we hear of Eudocia is when in 882 she supposedly arranged a brideshow for Leo as heir to the throne, at which ‘he’ chose Theophano, one of Eudocia’s own relatives, and a member of the Martinakioi family, like herself. Leo was very unhappy at the choice of his bride, and Eudocia may have been siding with her husband against her son — or was merely following the normal practice of aggrandising her own family.[[73]]Leo already had a mistress, Zoe, daughter of Stylianus Zaoutzes, the commander of the imperial guard, and the Life of the patriarch St Euthymius quotes Leo as saying that ‘all the members of the senate know that I married her [Theophano] against my will from fear of my father and in utter distress’. When Theophano informed her father-in-law of the fact that Zoe was Leo’s mistress, Basil beat him up with his fists (Basil’s earlier career as a wrestler must have made this a memorable experience) and had Zoe forcibly married off. This intrigue between Leo and Zoe might have seemed merely a slight peccadillo, but, in view of the long-term consequences arising from Michael III‘s liaison with Eudocia Ingerina, Basil may well have seen the situation as a threat to his regime; in effect, it was to prove so, if one accepts that Zoe’s father Zaoutzes was involved in plots against Basil in the interests of his daughter’s imperial lover.[[74]]

Eudocia was not to see her son on the throne: she died in late 882 or early 883. Perhaps her death had some effect in worsening the relationship between her husband and eldest son, for in 883 Leo was imprisoned for three years and his supporter, the general Andrew the Scythian, was deposed as domestic of the ScholaeLeo supposedly had been slandered and unjustly accused of conspiracy by the cleric Santabarenus, but perhaps he had been involved in a very real plot against Basil. Certainly he was only released and reconciled to his father just before Basil’s death, after a second conspiracy in which he could have had no part.[[75]] Leo’s reconciliation with his father was stage-managed on 20 July, the feast of Elijah — though Basil apparently said to the crowd on this occasion, ‘Are you praising God on account of my son? You will suffer many misfortunes and painful day on his account!’ — which hardly sounds like a vote of confidence.[[76]] Later, as ruler, Leo reinstated Andrew the Scythian as domestic of the Scholae and personally flogged Santabarenus and had him exiled first to Athens and then blinded and sent to the East.[[77]]

Eudocia’s legacy

In August 886 Basil I died, supposedly from wounds sustained during a hunting accident. Some, however, have suggested that he finally fell victim to a conspiracy, orchestrated by Stylianus Zaoutzes, the father of Leo’s mistress.[[78]] If there was a plot, however, it is not certain that Leo was an active participant. Some have also seen significance in one of Leo’s first acts as ruler, the collection of Michael III’s remains and their burial with honour in the imperial burial place, the Church of the Holy Apostles, insisting that the body be accompanied by both his younger brothers (Stephen and Alexander). This, it can be argued, shows little respect for his recently deceased ‘father’ Basil and supports the hypothesis that he was Michael’s son.[[79]] However, it is possible that Leo was simply trying to atone for the bloody crime which put the Macedonian dynasty in power.[[80]] The funeral oration he later delivered for Basil in 888 gives a conventionally eulogistic picture of the family and was perhaps intended to further stabilise the position of the dynasty. In this funeral oration for Basil in 888, Leo calls his mother the ‘finest of women’, and ‘the most aristocratic and virtuous woman who ever lived’; states that while Michael could have married her, Providence reserved a ‘greater’ destiny for her; and asserts that she and Basil attained the throne unwillingly and without violence. However unconvincing this attempt to whitewash his mother and however little this reflected his real feelings towards his parents, Macedonian sources invariably present her as the revered matriarch of the dynasty.[[81]]

Historians of the Macedonian dynasty, Genesius and the Continuator of Theophanes in particular, work hard at blackening the character of Michael III in order to justify his murder and Basil’s usurpation,[[82]] but his later sobriquet Michael ‘the Drunkard’ is hardly justified.[[83]] He was not the only emperor to turn aside from the stuffy conventions of court and enjoy horse-racing, associate with jesters and buffoons, and keep an official mistress — in his case, Eudocia Ingerina. But while emperors were to continue to be murdered by their best friends or their wives, Michael was perhaps the only emperor to be assassinated by a combination of his (former) best friend and his own pregnant mistress.

The reports of Michael’s generosity (giving christening presents of gold to his charioteers’ children), love of his horses (stables furnished with marble and running water), and practical jokes (dressing up his favourite jester, Gryllus, to impersonate the patriarch),[[84]] make him particularly attractive to modern eyes, as do other tales of his idiosyncratic behaviour. Most notable is the anecdote of his dining without notice with an ordinary woman in the city and laying the table himself when she was overcome with social embarrassment.[[85]] And he was a popular and successful emperor, bearing his age in mind — after all he was only in his late twenties when he died. He had some successful campaigns to his credit. Nor was he without discernment — his comment on the Photian-Ignatian schism, if it is correctly attributed to him, shows some wit, and a proper appreciation of Bardas’s motives in deposing Ignatius as patriarch: ‘Theophilus [Gryllus’s proper name] is my Patriarch, Photius is the Patriarch of the Caesar [Bardas], Ignatius of the Christians.’[[86]]

But to what extent was Eudocia Ingerina openly responsible both for the licentiousness at court and the events relating to Michael’s death? Clearly, however much Theodora and Theoctistus disapproved of her, it would have been far better for the dynasty — and for Michael himself — had Eudocia and Michael been allowed to marry back in 855. The consequence of preventing this had been the creation of a tortuous series of relationships suited to Michael’s play-boy mentality. If a year is a long time in politics, ten years is an eternity for an extra-marital affair at court. Indeed this ‘Scandinavian beauty’ must have shared Michael’s sense of humour and love of inebriate fun generally over the decade they spent together. Perhaps in her middle age she regretted the laissez-faire atmosphere of Michael’s court as opposed to the strictness of that of Basil. But no doubt she would have been comforted to know that the dynasty she helped to found was to be in power some two centuries later, and that, even in its last generation, her great-great-great granddaughter Zoe would carry on the tradition of jollity, love affairs, and festivity at court, which Michael III and Eudocia herself had so greatly enjoyed some two hundred years earlier.


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[[1]] I. Spatharakis, The Portrait in Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts, Leiden, 1976, 97-8 with fig. 63; L. Brubaker, Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium: Image as Exegesis in the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus, Cambridge, 1999, 162-3 with fig. 2.

[[2]] C. Mango, ‘When was Michael III Born?’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 21 (1967), 253-8.

[[3]] Theophanes Continuatus, Chronographia 89-91; P. Grierson, Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection, vol. 3.1, Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1973, 428 (with pl. 22.4); L. Rydén, ‘The Bride-shows at the Byzantine Court — History or Fiction?’ Eranos 83 (1985), 175-91, at 182 n. 30. An elder boy, Constantine, had drowned in one of the palace cisterns as a toddler; Maria died c. 839 at about four years of age: Leo Grammaticus 216; Judith Herrin, Women in Purple, Princeton 2001, 179, 192.

[[4]] Theophanes Continuatus 89; P. Charanis, ‘The Armenians in the Byzantine Empire,’ Byzantinoslavica 22 (1961), 196-240, at 207-8.

[[5]] E.W. Brooks, ‘The Marriage of the Emperor Theophilos,’ Byzantinische Zeitschrift 10 (1901), 540-5; W.T. Treadgold, ‘The Problem of the Marriage of the Emperor Theophilus,’ Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies 16 (1975), 325-41. Theophilus was born in 812/813 according to Treadgold (at 337). He died on 20 January 842. For his reign see W.T. Treadgold, The Byzantine Revival 780-842, Stanford, 1988, 263-329.

[[6]] Genesius, Four Books of the Kings 55; Theophanes Continuatus 148; Scylitzes, Synopsis Historiarum81: however, it is uncertain whether Manuel was in fact still alive in 842.

[[7]] Genesius 56-8; Leo Grammaticus 228; Theophanes Continuatus 148; George the Monk (Continuator), Lives of the Recent Emperors 811; Scylitzes 83-4. The council which restored orthodoxy was held in Theoctistus’s house.

[[8]] Theophanes Continuatus235; Leo Grammaticus 229-30; Life of Ioannicius by Sabas §30 (Acta Sanctorum Bollandiana, Brussels, 1643-1779; Nov. II/1.360); Life by Peter §38 (ibid. 406).

[[9]] C. Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina, the Normans and the Macedonian Dynasty,’ Zbornik radova Vizantoloshkog Instituta 14/15 (1973), 17-27. Liudprand gives a similar form of the name Inger: Antapodosis 5.15.

[[10]] Theophanes Continuatus 121; Genesius 70; A. Vogt, ‘La jeunesse de Léon VI le Sage,’ Revue historique 174 (1934), 389-428; an Anastasius Martinakes, c. 817, was an iconoclast government official responsible for the punishment of Theodore the Studite: Life of TheodorePG 99 292CD, 293B. Theophilus, as emperor, was said to have consulted an Arab prophetess who foretold that his son and wife would rule the empire and that the Martinakioi would then rule the empire for a long time.

[[11]] Leo Grammaticus 259; Life of Theophano: ‘Zwie griechische Texte über die Hl. Theophano, die Gemahlin Kaisers Leo VI.’ ed. E. Kurtz, Zapiski Imp. Akad. Nauk, 8th ser., Hist.-phil. otdel, 3.2, St Petersbourg, 1898, 1-24; S. Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI (886-912): Politics and People, Leiden, 1997, esp. 134-6.

[[12]] Pseudo-Symeon, Chronographia 655; George the Monk (Continuator) 816; Leo Grammaticus 229-30.

[[13]] Leo Grammaticus 229; Leo VI, ‘Oraison funèbre de Basile I [Funeral oration for Basil I],’ 54; W.T. Treadgold, ‘The Bride-Shows of the Byzantine Emperors,’ Byzantion 49 (1979), 404-5; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 19-20.

[[14]] For Eudocia’s outstanding beauty and Michael’s passionate love for her, see Pseudo-Symeon 675; Leo Grammaticus 242. On beauty as a prerequisite for imperial women, see L. Garland, ‘The Eye of the Beholder: Byzantine Imperial Women and their Public Image from Zoe Porphyrogenita to Euphrosyne Kamaterissa Doukaina (1028-1203),’ Byzantion 64 (1994), 19-39 and 261-313.

[[15]] George the Monk (Continuator) 816; Leo Grammaticus 229-30; cf. Pseudo-Symeon 655. Leo VI himself, in his funeral oration for Basil, says that Eudocia was not chosen to marry Michael because she was destined for a greater match (Basil): ‘Oraison funèbre,’42-4, 52-4.

[[16]] Accounts of the murder vary in their details. See Genesius 62-4; Leo Grammaticus 235-6; Theophanes Continuatus 169-70; Pseudo-Symeon 658; George the Monk (Continuator) 823; Scylitzes 94-5; F. Halkin, ‘Trois dates historiques précisées grace au Synaxaire,’ Byzantion 24 (1954), 7-17, at 11-14.

[[17]] Genesius 62. The fact that Kalomaria sided with Bardas rather than with Theodora might imply that she genuinely considered that Theoctistus was blocking Michael’s rightful role in government.

[[18]] Theophanes Continuatus 148; R. Guilland, ‘Les logothètes,’ Revue des Études Byzantines 29 (1971), 1-115, at 49.

[[19]] Theophanes Continuatus 148, 169-70. Of the five sisters, only Maria, who died c. 839, had been betrothed.

[[20]] Leo Grammaticus 235.

[[21]] W.T. Treadgold, ‘The Chronological Accuracy of Symeon the Logothete for the Years 813 to 845,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 33 (1979), 157-97, at 190; Leo Grammaticus 237.

[[22]] Theophanes Continuatus 174; Pseudo-Symeon 658; George the Monk (Continuator) 823; Leo Grammaticus 237; Herrin, Women in Purple, 227-8. The ta Karianou may have been a residence established within the palace itself; Pulcheria, the youngest and favourite of her mother, was initially sent to the Gastria, so she could remain close to Theodora. They were all shortly afterwards united at the Gastria.

[[23]]  Leo Grammaticus 237-8.

[[24]] Leo Grammaticus 238; Pseudo-Symeon 665; George the Monk (Continuator) 824; cf. E. Kislinger, ‘Eudokia Ingerina, Basileios I., und Michael III.,’ Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 33 (1983), 119-36, at 123-5; R.J.H. Jenkins, ‘A Note on Nicetas David Paphlago and the Vita Ignatii,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 19 (1965), 246-7, for the Life of Ignatius 508, as aimed by Nicetas at Leo VI and his patriarch Nicholas: Nicetas David Paphlagon was a writer of the late ninth and early tenth centuries who was later to oppose the fourth marriage of Leo VI. He composed about fifty encomia of saints and his Life of Ignatius is a primarily a diatribe against Ignatius’s opponent the Patriarch Photius.

[[25]] Theophanes Continuatus 229; A.P. Kazhdan and M. McCormick, ‘The Social World of the Byzantine Court,’ in Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204, ed. H. Maguire, Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks, 1997, 167-98 at 186.

[[26]] Leo Grammaticus 240; Pseudo-Symeon 667, who places this in the seventh year of Michael’s reign, but the chronology cannot be correct as Ignatius was deposed in 858. Pseudo-Symeon’s dating is notoriously erratic.

[[27]] Acta Sanctorum July VI, 604D, 616D.

[[28]] Patrologia Graeca, ed. J.-P. Migne, vol. 105.487-574, at 504C; Kislinger, ‘Eudokia Ingerina, Basileios I., und Michael III.’; cf. F. Dvornik, ‘Patriarch Ignatius and Caesar Bardas,’ Byzantinoslavica 27 (1966), 7-22. See also Leo Grammaticus 240; Pseudo-Symeon 665, 667; Theophanes Continuatus 193; George the Monk (Continuator) 824; cf. Genesius 99.

[[29]]  His second incumbency was from 23 November 867 to 23 October 877.

[[30]] 830 or 835: E.W. Brooks, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 20 (1911), 486-91; 25 May 836: N. Adontz, Études arméno-byzantines, Lisbon, 1965, 67. For acceptance of a much earlier date of birth for Basil, during the reign of Michael I (811-813) according to the Logothete tradition, see for instance W. Treadgold, A Concise History of Byzantium, Basingstoke and New York, 2001, 133.

[[31]] Theophanes Continuatus 243; at 253 he is said to have given a fortune to one of his charioteers, Cheilas.

[[32]] Leo Grammaticus 230, 233-4, 239; George the Monk (Continuator) 816-21.

[[33]] Pseudo-Symeon 816; Theophanes Continuatus 229-30; Scylitzes 193-4; Genesius 78.

[[34]] Genesius 89.

[[35]] For the prophecy that Basil would become emperor, see Theophanes Continuatus 227-8, 233; George the Monk (Continuator) 821; Scylitzes 122-3. Danielis, who enriched him as a consequence of this prophecy, was given the title basileometer, ‘mother of the emperor’: Theophanes Continuatus 317-8.

[[36]] Leo Grammaticus 234-5; Genesius 78; Theophanes Continuatus 233; George the Monk (Continuator) 821; Scylitzes 126.

[[37]]  Leo Grammaticus 242; for a discussion of the evidence of a possible homosexual relationship between Basil and Michael, see S. Tougher, ‘Michael III and Basil the Macedonian; just good friends?’ in Desire and Denial in Byzantium, ed. Liz James, Aldershot, 1999, 149-58; see also A. Schminck, ‘The Beginnings and Origins of the ‘Macedonian’ Dynasty’ in Byzantine Macedonia: Identity, Image and History, ed. R. Scott and J. Burke, Melbourne, 2000, 61-8, esp. 61-4.

[[38]] Leo Grammaticus 245; Theophanes Continuatus 206, 235-8.

[[39]] A. Grabar & M. Manoussacas, L’illustration du manuscrit de Skylitzès de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Madrid, Venice, 1979, no. 195.

[[40]] Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 43-4 with n. 9.

[[41]] Leo Grammaticus 245-7: the sight of two thrones caused great surprise to the onlookers prior to the ceremony.

[[42]]   Leo Grammaticus 242; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 22 with n. 35 (citing a sixteenth-century copy of an inscription of the walls of the Golden Horn); Constantine Porphyrogenitus, de ceremoniis, 648-9 mentions four daughters of Basil — Anastasia, Anna, Helena and Maria (the last three of whom were Eudocia’s). If born c. 856, Anastasia would have been old enough to have been married to the general Christopher, Basil’s ‘gambros’, who defeated the Paulicians in 872: Leo Grammaticus 255 ( but see Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 227-8).

[[43]] Leo Grammaticus 249 states specifically that Leo was the child of Michael and Eudocia Ingerina, which would imply that the elder brother Constantine was also not a son of Basil’s; see ibid. 258, where Leo Grammaticus reports the death of Constantine, ‘Michael’s son by Eudoxia [sic], whom Basil greatly mourned’; cf. Zonaras 3.415. George the Monk (Continuator) 841 makes the point that Alexander was Basil’s legitimate child. Judith Herrin (Women in Purple 225) dates Basil and Eudocia’s marriage to shortly after Michael’s acquaintance with Basil and ignores the Bardas connection; she considers Basil’s first son Constantine to have been Eudocia’s not Maria’s.

[[44]] Leo Grammaticus 242; Pseudo-Symeon 675; George the Monk (Continuator) 828.

[[45]] Leo Grammaticus 242, 256; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 22-3.

[[46]] Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina’.

[[47]] Leo Grammaticus 249, cf. 255; George the Monk (Continuator) 835; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 23; cf. P. Karlin-Hayter, ‘L’enjeu d’une rumeur. Opinion et imaginaire à Byzance au IXe siècle,’ Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 14 (1991), 85-111.

[[48]] Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, esp. 45.

[[49]] Leo Grammaticus 258.

[[50]] Leo Grammaticus 249-51; George the Monk (Continuator) 835-6; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 24.

[[51]] Kazhdan and McCormick, ‘The Social World of the Byzantine Court,’ 190 note that promotion might result from a snap decision by the emperor and be made with only a few minutes notice, even to the courtier involved.

[[52]] Leo Grammaticus 250.

[[53]] Theophanes Continuatus 209, cf. 249, mentions the attempt on Basil’s life; cf. Leo Grammaticus 248. Grierson, Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection, 3.1, 453 comments that Michael ‘ostentatiously denied him [Basil] the place on the gold and silver coinage of the capital to which as co-Augustus he could reasonably aspire’. Michael’s willingness to be rid of Basil may also have been connected with an insurrection in the army in 866, attesting Basil’s unpopularity.

[[54]] Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 23 notes that the anecdote is repeated in a source independent of the Logothete: the Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (d. 940), in A.A. Vasiliev, Byzance et les Arabes, 2/2, Brussels, 1950, 25.

[[55]]  Leo Grammaticus 256, 244.

[[56]]  Leo Grammaticus 250; Pseudo-Symeon 683.

[[57]] Leo Grammaticus 250; George the Monk (Continuator) 836; Pseudo-Symeon 684.

[[58]] Theophanes Continuatus 209-10; George the Monk (Continuator) 836-7; Karlin-Hayter, ‘L’enjeu d’une rumeur,’ 85-111.

[[59]] Leo Grammaticus 251-2.

[[60]] Leo Grammaticus 252; George the Monk (Continuator) 838. After Michael’s murder Eudocia may also have been given the high-ranking title ‘zoste patricia’: P.G. Sayre, ‘The Mistress of the Robes: Who was She?’ Byzantine Studies/Études Byzantines 13 (1986), 229-39 at 231. The title, however, belonged to the chief attendant of the empress, especially the empress’s mother for whom the title was created by Theophilus (for his wife Theodora’s mother Theoctiste Phlorina), and could not have been held by Eudocia as empress. Perhaps after Theodora’s banishment from the palace, and prior to her own coronation, Eudocia could have held the position as Eudocia Decapolitissa’s main attendant.

[[61]] Theophanes Continuatus 353; P. Grierson, ‘The Tombs and Obits of the Byzantine Emperors (337-1042),’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 16 (1962), 1-63, at 57.

[[62]] Leo Grammaticus 252.

[[63]] Leo Grammaticus 250, 252. Chariot-horses were highly prized and loved, from classical Greece onwards: the mares of Cimon, father of Miltiades, which won three consecutive Olympic victories in the four-horse chariot race (536, 532, and 528 BC), were buried prominently on the other side of the road from Cimon’s own tomb outside of Athens: Herodotus 6.103.3.

[[64]]  Grierson, ‘Tombs and Obits,’ 57.

[[65]] Theophanes Continuatus 264; Mango, ‘Eudocia Ingerina,’ 22 n. 35.

[[66]] Leo Grammaticus 254.

[[67]] S. der Nersessian, ‘The illustrations of the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus, Paris gr. 510,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 16 (1962), 195-228; L. Brubaker, ‘Politics, Patronage, and Art in Ninth-Century Byzantium: the Homilies of Gregory of Nazianzus in Paris (B.N. gr. 510),’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 39 (1985) 1-13, and idem, Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium; H. Omont, Miniatures des plus anciens manuscrits grecs de la Bibliothèque Nationale du VIe au XIVe siècle, second edition, Paris, 1929, pl. 16. There is debate about whether it is Basil and Eudocia who are depicted on the ivory casket in the Palazzo Venezia in Rome: see H. Maguire, ‘The Art of Comparing in Byzantium’, The Art Bulletin 70 (1988), 88-103, esp. 89-92; A. Cutler and N. Oikonomides, The Art Bulletin 70 (1988), 77-87; I. Kalavrezou, ‘A New Type of Icon: Ivories and Steatites’, in Constantine VII and his Age, ed. A. Markopoulos, Athens, 1987, 377-396, esp. 392-6.

[[68]] Spatharakis, The Portrait in Byzantine Illuminated Manuscripts, 97-8 with fig. 63; I. Kalavrezou-Maxeiner, ‘Eudokia Makrembolitissa and the Romanos Ivory,’ 305-25, at 317 n. 58; Brubaker, Vision and Meaning in Ninth-Century Byzantium, 162-3 with fig. 2

[[69]] Grierson, Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins, vol. 3.2, 489-90.

[[70]] Theophanes Continuatus 256.

[[71]] Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 42-67.

[[72]] Leo Grammaticus 257.

[[73]] Leo Grammaticus 259; Life of Theophano, ed. Kurtz 5-6, §8-10; Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 134-40.

[[74]] Leo Grammaticus 260, 263; Life of St EuthymiusVita Euthymii Patriarchae Cp., ed. & tr. P. Karlin-Hayter, Brussels: Éditions de Byzantion, 1970, 38-48.

[[75]] A. Vogt, ‘La jeunesse de Léon VI le Sage,’ Revue historique 174 (1935), 389-428 at 420-1; Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 57-60.

[[76]] Leo Grammaticus 260-1.

[[77]] Life of St Euthymius, 40-53.

[[78]] Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 61-2.

[[79]] Leo Grammaticus 262-3.

[[80]] Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI, 62-4.

[[81]] See. Leo VI, Oraison funèbre,’ esp. 52-6.

[[82]] He is said to have become an intolerable tyrant, and issued orders for the execution of innocent men in his fits of drunkenness: Theophanes Continuatus 209.

[[83]] See esp. P. Karlin-Hayter, ‘Études sur les deux histoires du règne de Michel III,’ Byzantion 41 (1971), 452-96; R.J.H. Jenkins, ‘Constantine VII’s Portrait of Michael III,’ Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences morales et politiques Académie Royale de Belgique (5e série), 34 (1948), 71-7 (= Studies on Byzantine History of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, London: Variorum, 1970, I). For the section of Theophanes Continuatus known as the Vita Basilii [Life of Basil], written by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, see esp. P.J. Alexander, ‘Secular Biography at Byzantium,’ Speculum, 15 (1940), 194-209; Jenkins, ‘Constantine VII’s Portrait of Michael III,’ 73: ‘the Michael of the Vita Basilii is a quite unconvincing compound of vulgarity, reckless extravagance, drunkenness, impiety, hippomania and cruelty.’

[[84]] Leo Grammaticus 239; Theophanes Continuatus 172-3, 253-4, 200-2, 244-7; George the Monk (Continuator) 825; cf. the Life of Ignatius 528; Ja. Ljubarskij, ‘Der Kaisar als Mime,’ Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 37 (1987), 39-50.

[[85]] Theophanes Continuatus 199-200; R. Scott, ‘Malalas, The Secret History, and Justinian’s Propaganda,’ Dumbarton Oaks Papers 39 (1985), 99-109, at 100-1.

[[86]] Life of Ignatius 528.