samedi 15 janvier 2011

Starting Chronographia by Michael Psellos

"In early infancy he had suffered castration--a natural precaution against a conubine's son, for under those circumstances he could never hope to usurp the throne from a legitimate heir." Chronographia I 3 about parakoimomenus Basil (the title means chamberlain).

"To most men of our generation who saw the emperor Basil he seemed austere and abrupt in manner, an irascible man who did not quickly change his mind, sober in his daily habits and averse to all effeminacy, but if I am to believe the historians of that period who wrote about him, he was not at all like that when his reign began. A change took place in his character ... It was the pressure of events that brought about this complete alteration in the course of his life. His character stiffened so to speak. ..." Next chapter about the future Boulgaroktonos.

Submitting someone to a series of events that forces him to change character is a bad thing for a man to do to another man. Only God knows if Basil had been better and more secure of his salvation if he had been spared that.

In the case of making Basil spoudaioteros--more serious--, men may have intrigued to play God. In the case of making the future parakoimomenus impotent, there is no question someone treated his happiness or not as a means for assuring some kind of Reason of State.

Despite Mount Athos, I cannot pretend Byzantium was better and more legitimate state than the Empire of Charlemagne./HGL

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