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Byzantine Empire /
Basil 1
Byname: Basil the Macedonian
Greek: Basileios


(Around 812-886) Byzantine emperor 867-886.
Basil is usually described as highly capable leader, securing the strength of the civil and military administrations. The financial administration was excellent. While most of the changes leading to the new strength of the empire began already under Micheal 3, whom Basil had assassinated, it was Basil making sure that they were carried through correctly.
Basil's reign was one of some territorial expansion and consolidation; the empire grew into becoming the strongest country in Europe. He launched attacks against the Abbasids and their allies, the Paulicians, in the east. The Paulicians followed an orientation of Christianity deemed heretical by the Patriarch of Constantinople. The actual military advances here were limited, the key city of Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey) was not conquered, but Basil managed to stop their raids into the empire. On the European front, the main focus was to establish control over the Slavs in the Balkans.
Basil oversaw important juridical reforms. Justianian 1's 300 year old laws were revived and revised, and published as Basilica, consisting of 60 volumes.
Basil also showed great interest in culture, initiating a renaissance of Byzantine art.
His religious administration was mild, allowing him to maintain a peaceful co-existence with the Pope in Rome, as well as within the empire.

Biography
Around 812: Born in Macedonia, to a peasant family, possibly of Armenian origin. The year of birth is disputed, one estimate sets it as late as 835. The region was under control of Bulgaria.
830's: Escapes to Constantinople.
Late 850's: Is made chamberlain by Emperor Michael 3.
865 April: Influences Micheal to have his close advisor, Bardas, murdered; Basil takes Bardas position.
866 May: Michael makes Basil co-emperor, he even adopts him, although Basil is about 25 years older.
Around 865: Emperor Michael's mistress, Eudocia Ingerina, officially marries Basil, while Basil himself, lived in reality with Thekla, the emperor's sister.
866 September 19: Eudocia Ingerina gives birth to Leo, who is assumed to be Michael's son.
867 September 23: Basil has Michael murdered in Constantinople, making himself sole emperor.
— Reinstates the deposed Patriarch Ignatius and excommunicates Patriarch Photius.
869: Makes his real son, Constantine, co-emperor.
870: Makes Leo too co-emperor.
870's: Bulgaria accepts the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Constantinople, after Basil's pressure.
870's: Most of the remaining territory in Sicily is lost to the Abbasids.
872: Basil's son-in-law Christopher crushes the Paulicians on the borders of the Armenian province in Asia Minor.
877: Patrarch Ignatius dies, and Photius is made new patriarch.
878: Syracuse is captured by the Abbasids.
879: Photius is recognized as patriarch by the Pope in Rome.
— Basil's son, Constantine, dies. He appoints his youngest son, Alexander, co-emperor instead.
880: Captures strategically important ports on the southern Italian peninsula.
880's: Byzantines establishes a strong presence in the Adriatic Sea.
886 August 29: Dies from an hunting accident. He is succeeded by Leo.




By Tore Kjeilen