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 Constantinople and Basil II

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Posts : 1150
Join date : 2012-01-09

PostSubject: Constantinople and Basil II   Tue 06 Aug 2013, 23:58

I hadn't heard of Basil II till I was skimming a large coffee table book I have out the library called The Great Cities in History. At the end of the section on Constantinople by John Julius Norwich it talks of the city under Basil II, and says of him, "Ugly, dirty, philistine, almost pathologically mean, caring nothing for the outward trappings of power, he was profoundly un-Byzantine, yet he dominated and directed every branch of Church and State. He was also one of the most brilliant generals that the empire had ever seen. He possessed no glamour, no charisma; nobody liked him much. A friendless bachelor, he cared only for the greatness and prosperity of his empire. No wonder that in his hands it reached its apogee."

I realise I don't have a great knowledge of this period, though I did do some of the church split in history and the influence of Constantine at university, but I might have thought a brilliant general's exploits would have more common knowledge somehow. There was also a sentence saying, "The importance of religion in Constantinople cannot be exaggerated. To every Byzantine it was the breath of life. 'If you ask a man for change,' wrote St Gregory of Nyssa, 'he will give you a piece of philossophy concerning the Begotten and the Unbegotten. Theological disputation was incessant, everywhere.'"

What do you all know of this man and his period in history? The few pages here don't seem to mention wars or battles.
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Tim of Aclea

Posts : 343
Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Re: Constantinople and Basil II   Fri 16 Aug 2013, 12:30

Hi Caro

I do not think that one can really consider the Byzantine Empire reached its apogee under Basil II.  Under the Emperor Justininian and empress Theodora in the 6th C the Byzantine empire controlled all of North Africa and much of the Middle east and that was all lost to the Arabs in the 7th C AD.


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