Coronation of Theophilos


Phocas (Latin: Flava Flavius Focas c. 547 – 5 October 610) was the Byzantine emperor from 602 to 610, a period of history in which mankind discovered that decapitation was a highly efficient alternative to crucifixion and comparable methods that had come before.

The reign of Phocas, which started in the same way as it ended, faced the same problems as modern government does, from opposition by the "Deep State," to problems with the in-laws, to spending excessive time striving against real and imagined enemies.

2 For the portrayal of Turks and Khazars in early Arabic literature see Frenkel , Y. , “ The Turks of the Eurasian Steppes in Medieval Arabic Writing ”, in Mongols, Turks, Others , (eds.) Amitai , R. and Biran , M. ( Leiden , 2005 ), pp. 201 – 242 Google Scholar . For general surveys of Khazar history see Golden , P. , “ Khazar Studies: Achievements and Perspectives ”, in World of the Khazars , (eds.) Golden , P. et al ( Leiden , 2007 ), pp. 7 – 53 CrossRefGoogle Scholar which gives an extremely useful overview of Khazar historiography, and Dunlop , D. M. , The History of the Jewish Khazars ( New York , 1967 )Google Scholar , which despite its age provides an indispensible guide to the vast majority of the written sources. Other useful treatments are provided by Golden , P. , Khazar Studies: an historico-philological inquiry into the origins of the Khazars , 2 vols ( Budapest , 1980 )Google Scholar , Brook , K. A. , The Jews of Khazaria , 2nd edition ( Maryland , 2006 )Google Scholar , and the chapter on the Khazars in Whittow , Mark , The Making of Orthodox Byzantium ( Basingstoke , 1996 )Google Scholar . For Khazaria's fortifications see Kovalev , R. K. , “ What Does Historical Numismatics Suggest about the Monetary Economy of Khazaria in the Ninth Century? – Question Revisited ”, Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi [henceforth AEMA], 13 ( 2004 ), pp. 97 – 128 Google Scholar .

3 For an interesting new approach to the issue of the emergence and foundation of Khazaria, see C. Zuckerman, “The Khazars and Byzantium – The First Encounter”, in World of the Khazars, pp. 399–432.

4 As many observers have commented diarchic rule was hardly an innovation, however the clear division between temporal and sacral offices was. For an example of a more balanced diarchic system see Gardīzī's description of the Magyars in which they are led by both a general and a vizier who jointly exercised great authority: Martinez , P. , “ Gardīzī's Two Chapters on the Turks ”, AEMA , 2 ( 1982 ), pp. 159 – 160 Google Scholar . An invaluable discussion of the Khazar diarchy is found in Golden , P. , “ Irano-Turcica: The Khazar Sacral Kingship Revisited ”, Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae , 60 / 2 ( 1997 ), pp. 161 – 189 CrossRefGoogle Scholar , esp. pp. 170–171. Also Zuckerman , C. , “ On the Origins of the Khazar Diarchy and the Circumstances of Khazaria's Conversion to Judaism ”, in The Turks, Volume I: Early Ages , (ed.) Karatay , O. ( Ankara , 2002 ), pp. 516 – 523 Google Scholar .

5 While there are hints of a few other ‘official conversions’ of polities to Judaism these appear of lesser significance – and certainly left a much lesser imprint on the historical record – than the Khazar conversion. See, for example, P. Golden, “The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism”, p. 153

6 Golden , P. , “ Khazaria and Judaism ”, AEMA , 3 ( 1983 ), pp. 127 – 156 Google Scholar .

7 For a succinct account of this three-stage process see Pritsak , O. , “ Turkological Remarks on Constantine's Khazarian Mission in the Vita Constantini ”, in Christianity Among the Slavs: The Heritage of Saints Cyril and Methodius , (ed.) Taft , R. F. ( Rome , 1988 ), pp. 295 – 298 Google Scholar . For the older, two-stage, account see Pritsak , O. , “ The Khazar Kingdom's Conversion to Judaism ”, Harvard Ukrainian Studies , 3 / 2 ( 1978 ), pp. 261 – 281 Google Scholar .

8 Zuckerman , C. , “ On the Date of the Khazars’ Conversion to Judaism to and the Chronology of the Rus’ Oleg and Igor ”, Revue des Études Byzantines , 53 ( 1995 ), pp. 237 – 270 CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Shepard , J. , “ The Khazars’ Formal Adoption of Judaism and Byzantium's Northern Policy ”, Oxford Slavonic Papers , 31 ( 1998 ), pp. 11 – 34 Google Scholar .

9 Kovalev , R. K. , “ Creating Khazar Identity Through Coins: The Special Issue Dirhams of 837/8 ”, in East Central and Eastern Europe in the Early Middle Ages , (ed.) Curta , Florin ( Michigan , 2005 ), pp. 220 – 253 Google Scholar . For Golden's support of Kovalev's thesis see his “Irano-Turcica”, p. 183 and “The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism”, p. 156.

10 An assessment of the available sources is a common feature of the secondary literature on the Khazar conversion, and the reader is advised to consult Dunlop, The History of the Jewish Khazars Zuckerman, “On the Date of the Khazars’ Conversion” Golden, “The Conversion of the Khazars to Judaism” and the relevant historiographical articles in the World of the Khazars collection. The principal reason a reassessment is required is because previous treatments have normally emphasised the utility of a particular source as a control against which the other evidence must be interpreted. We wish to stress, however, the limitations inherent within all of the extant sources.

11 The description which follows is based on the translation by Kantor , M. , Medieval Slavic Lives ( Michigan , 1983 ), pp. 23 – 97 Google Scholar .

12 Zuckerman, “On the Date of the Khazars’ Conversion”, pp. 244–245.

14 Pritsak, “Turkological Remarks”, p. 298.

15 Kantor, Medieval Slavic Lives, p. 57.

16 “The Vita aimed chiefly at defending the Slavic alphabet and liturgy just introduced in Moravia, by proving Constantine-Cyril to be a holy man and saint. Such an image of Constantine was particularly needed for Methodius and his disciples in their struggle over the Slavic liturgy with the Bavarian clergy” - Nikolov , S. , “ The Magyar connection or Constantine and Methodius in the steppes ”, Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies , 21 ( 1997 ), pp. 79 – 92 CrossRefGoogle Scholar . Another purpose of the Vita was most likely a didactic one it would serve as a handbook for the new Moravian clergy of the arguments that should be employed against rival faiths. The disputation narrative as a genre of Byzantine Christian writing was well established. For an overview see Walker , J. T. , The Legend of Mar Qardagh: Narrative and Christian Heroism in Late Antique Iraq ( Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London , 2006 ), pp. 164 – 205 Google Scholar . The idea of the valiant Christian who argues for his faith at the majlis of an unbeliever seems to have gained fresh impetus in the eighth and ninth-centuries, especially in Muslim-occupied lands. It is not impossible that stories Constantine heard on his travels to the ‘Abbasīd Caliphate served as models for his own narration of events. For more on the literary development of these disputation scenes see Griffith , S. , The Church in the Shadow of the Mosque: Christians and Muslims in the World of Islam ( Princeton , 2007 ), esp. pp. 75 – 95 CrossRefGoogle Scholar . An interesting attempt which seeks to compare what a Christian missionary claims about the events at a disputation at a foreign court with what probably happened is Kedar , B. , “ The Multilateral Disputation at the Court of the Grand Qan Möngke, 1254 ”, in The Majlis: Interreligious Encounters in Medieval Islam , eds Lazarus-Yafeh , H. et al ., Studies in Arabic Language and Literature 4 ( Wiesbaden , 1999 ), pp. 162 – 183 Google Scholar . Kedar concludes that while the missionary's description of what he claims to have said is likely to have been fairly accurate, the description of the events of the disputation and the various responses of his adversaries was much less so.

17 For an English translation of the ‘short’ manuscript see Letters of Jews Through the Ages, Vol. 1, (ed.) F. Kobler (Tonbridge, 1952), pp. 97–115. A thorough discussion of the text is found in Dunlop, The History of the Jewish Khazars, pp. 125–155.

18 See the discussion in Golb , N. and Pritsak , O. , Khazarian Hebrew Documents of the Tenth Century ( London , 1982 ), pp. 79 – 82 Google Scholar .

19 Shepard, “The Khazars’ Formal Adoption”, p. 12.

20 Zuckerman, “On the Date of the Khazars’ Conversion”, pp. 248–250. While it is clear that the original account has been the victim of heavy distortion by later authors it seems likely that the general outline of the conversion narrative has been preserved intact. This conclusion arises on the basis of similarities with the other sources for the Khazar conversion, and because the narrative subtly conforms to what we might expect from an ‘official’ conversion narrative. See below for more on both of these points.

21 DeWeese , D. , Islamization and Native Religion in the Golden Horde ( Pennsylvania , 1994 ), esp. pp. 300 – 313 Google Scholar . For DeWeese these symbolic elements are present in all conversion narratives, but with respect to the Khazars are particularly prevalent in the ‘Schechter Document’.

22 See Juwaynī, History of the World Conqueror, trans. J. A. Boyle, vol. 1 (Manchester, 1958), pp. 53–61. Juwaynī's narrative of Buqu Khan's conversion (who actually adopted Manichaeism rather than Buddhism) also features a chief and his second-in-command adopting a new religion at the behest of an apparition which appeared in their dreams. Conversion brought them great victories, and their faith was confirmed during a later disputation. The fact that the narrative in Juwaynī is clearly a composite account of a number of different conversion narratives, however, makes precise comparison difficult.

23 A translation of the Schechter Document is found in. Golb and Pritsak, Khazarian Hebrew Documents, pp. 107–121.


It is a commonplace in the modern historiographical literature on late Byzantium that the Church rose in prestige and power in the last centuries of the empire, the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries, just as imperial power and authority declined. According to this view, if, at the beginning of the empire's life in the fourth to sixth centuries, the term caesaropapism could be applied to Church-state relations or the Church could be described as a department of state, by late Byzantium a dramatic reversal had occurred. Footnote 1 In his book on the Orthodox Church under Ottoman rule, The Great Church in Captivity, Steven Runciman, writing in the 1960s, expressed the situation as follows:

The recovery of the capital [in 1261] in the long run benefited the Patriarch more than the Emperor, re-establishing him as unquestioned head of a hierarchy whose sees stretched from the Adriatic to Russia and the Caucasus, while soon the Imperial territory began to shrink. The growing impoverishment of the Empire damaged the Emperor more than the Patriarch. For reasons of economy the Palace ceremonies were curtailed and simplified. The Emperor began to lose his aura of mystery and splendour. Footnote 2

In Runciman's view, a strong Church was the legacy of the Byzantine empire to the Ottomans. All those writing about the Church before and since Runciman have come to a similar conclusion. Footnote 3

In discussions of the change in status of Church and emperor under the Palaiologoi, the last dynasty to rule the empire, the ceremonial of the court which was mentioned by Runciman is rarely examined, while the Church's growth in ‘institutional strength, judicial powers and ideological claims’ is more often asserted and discussed. Footnote 4 This article will re-examine this question and the arguments put forward by those who adopt the view of an empowered Church and a diminished imperial office in the years that saw two attempts at the union of the Eastern and Western Churches in 1274 and 1439, two civil wars and Turkish conquests of Byzantine lands. Footnote 5

Whoever seeks to determine the relationship between emperor and Church in Byzantium will obtain little help from Byzantine formulations. Only once was an attempt made, in the ninth century, in the reign of Basil I, in a law book in the composition of which the patriarch Photios played a part. Two sections entitled ‘On the Emperor’ and ‘On the Patriarch’ describe the spheres of influence and authority of these two powers. The emperor, called a ‘lawful dominion’, is concerned with the physical wellbeing of the people, while the patriarch, ‘a living icon of Christ’, cares for their spiritual wellbeing. The legal activities and capacities of emperor and patriarch are clearly demarcated. The emperor must maintain and preserve Holy Scripture, the pronouncements of the seven ecumenical councils and also Roman law. He is not to promulgate any law that transgresses the canons. The patriarch alone, however, interprets the canons of the holy fathers and synods. Footnote 6

This attempt to delineate two powers with separate spheres of influence and distinct functions was short-lived. Thirty years after this law code was issued, a revision was promulgated. Just as it is no surprise that the remarkable formulation of the separate spheres of the two powers was the work of a patriarch, it is equally clear that its undoing was the work of an emperor, none other than a student of Photios, Leo VI. The desire of this emperor to expunge the problematic statements and thus to limit the Church's influence can be understood both in the light of his personal animosity towards Photios and with regard to the opposition he had experienced from the Church over his fourth marriage. Footnote 7 Never again was a demarcation of imperial and patriarchal functions and competences undertaken. Instead, we find sporadic attempts to identify and define imperial rights, but on the level of personal opinion. Footnote 8

A neglected source that can be used to gauge relations between emperor and Church is ceremonial. Until now, only Runciman has mentioned imperial ceremonial in this context. However, for the Byzantines, ceremonial held a constitutional significance, as is evident from the Greek word for ceremony, katastasis, literally meaning ‘state’. Footnote 9 In the absence of a definition on paper of the prerogatives and limits of the emperor's power and his role in the Church, we can look for a definition through performance.

Runciman saw an impoverishment of the emperor's ceremonial as an effect of the impoverishment of empire but he did not indicate the sources from which he drew this conclusion. In fact, the only text he could have had in mind is the mid-fourteenth-century ceremonial book known by its anonymous author's name, Pseudo-Kodinos. Footnote 10 The first thing that should be said about this text is the contrast it presents with the much earlier and better-known tenth-century Book of Ceremonies. Just a glance at the two is enough to convince historians of a cutting back in later ceremonial. Pseudo-Kodinos is a much shorter work and describes ceremonies for a different palace, not the Great Palace in the south-east corner of the city but another, the Blachernai, in the north-west, diametrically opposite, approximately five kilometres away. The Palaiologan emperors lived in that palace permanently from the time of the return to Constantinople after its reconquest from the Latins in 1261. Footnote 11 The significance of this new venue for the ceremonial routine of the court is great. First of all, for the first time since the foundation of the city by Constantine, emperor and patriarch were not neighbours. Hagia Sophia, the Great Church, where the patriarch had his apartments, was no longer a few minutes’ walk from the palace. A patriarch who wanted to speak with the emperor would have to board a ship and sail up the Golden Horn or go on horseback through the city. Furthermore, the emperor no longer had the use of the hippodrome, a huge space for self-display connected to the Great Palace. Footnote 12

All these changes since the tenth century might signify to some an impoverishment, a loss of splendour for the imperial office. Certainly the scale is different, the court is smaller and the palace is centralized around a courtyard. The Blachernai, unlike the Great Palace, was not a sprawling complex of buildings covering a vast area. Footnote 13 Many material changes and developments had taken place since the days of the tenth-century empire but do these changes signify a loss in imperial stature?

One of those who thinks they do is Gilbert Dagron, who in various publications concerned with the tenth-century Book of Ceremonies and in his book Emperor and Priest has made passing comments about late Byzantine imperial stature based on the protocols of Pseudo-Kodinos. Several passages arrested Dagron's attention. Their topics range from the symbolism attached to the imperial costume to the formula of words used by the emperor when he promoted a patriarch. I shall deal with each in turn.

Pseudo-Kodinos gives his fullest discussion of imperial attire in his protocol for Christmas, when the emperor appeared on a tall platform in the courtyard of the palace in a ceremony called prokypsis. Included in his description of the ceremony is an enumeration of the items of clothing and insignia an emperor might wear and bear, together with an interpretation of the significance of these items. He informs his readers:

The emperor wears whichever of these headdresses and garments he wishes. However, he always carries the cross in his right hand and a silk cloth similar to a scroll, tied with a handkerchief, in his left hand. This silk cloth contains earth and is called akakia. By carrying the cross the emperor shows his faith in Christ by the crown he shows his office by the belt, he shows that he is a soldier by his black sakkos, the mystery of the imperial office by the earth which, as we said, is called akakia, that he is humble, as he is mortal and that he is not to be proud or arrogant because the imperial office is so exalted by the handkerchief, the inconstancy of his office and that it passes from one person to another. Footnote 14

Interpretations of the emperor's clothing can be found also in earlier ceremonial books, the Kletorologion of Philotheos (899), a text laying out the seating arrangements at banquets, and the Book of Ceremonies. Yet there is a difference. While the two earlier ceremonial books assign a religious symbolism to the garments and insights, Pseudo-Kodinos associates the same items with attributes of the imperial office, imperial virtues, such as advice literature to the emperor (sometimes referred to as a ‘Mirror of Princes’) might endorse. For him, the belt shows that the emperor is a soldier for Philotheos, it signifies the winding cloth of Christ. Footnote 15 Pseudo-Kodinos describes the akakia as similar to a scroll, tied with a handkerchief and filled with earth. He is the first to state that the akakia contains earth (χῶμα). For Pseudo-Kodinos, the earth signifies the humble and mortal nature of the emperor. Philotheos makes an indirect reference to the earth in the cloth, interpreting its significance in a divergent way from Pseudo-Kodinos. For Philotheos, the akakia represents the resurrection and victory over man's earthly essence. Footnote 16

Dagron sees in these differences of interpretation a ‘reflection of the evolution of the imperial institution whose claims to sacredness and quasi-sacerdotal charisma were increasingly officially and effectively challenged by the Church’. Footnote 17 Yet before such a conclusion can be drawn, the context of the statements made on the imperial costume should be considered. In the work of Philotheos and in the Book of Ceremonies the interpretation of the emperor's clothing is embedded in the protocols for the Easter ceremonies, where references to the resurrection can be expected. Footnote 18 Pseudo-Kodinos's discussion is found in a much more mundane place – the emperor's wardrobe and the items of clothing he keeps in it. Pseudo-Kodinos inserts this list in his protocol for the prokypsis ceremony, the Christmas appearance of the emperor, like a radio or television presenter who fills in time during the intermission at a concert or other performance. While the emperor is changing his costume behind the curtains, Pseudo-Kodinos runs through the items kept in the imperial wardrobe, explaining the significance of each. Footnote 19

Furthermore, Pseudo-Kodinos's connection of the akakia with the mortality of the emperor relates to a tradition preserved in Arab authors going back to the late ninth century. Harun-ibn-Yahya describes a procession he witnessed in Constantinople in which the emperor holds in his hand a box of gold containing earth. The official who walks behind him says to him in Greek, ‘Remember death’. Al-Bakri, writing in the late eleventh century, gives a similar account. Footnote 20 Pseudo-Kodinos, then, transmits a different but coexisting tradition concerning the earth in the akakia.

Pseudo-Kodinos's explanation of the significance of individual items of the emperor's attire cannot be interpreted, as Dagron does, as evidence of the emperor's loss of sacrality, especially since Dagron has left an item out of consideration, the lampas or large candle carried in front of the emperor on the major feast days. It is also held in front of the enthroned emperor in his reception hall. Footnote 21 The lampas is described in the twelfth-century canonical commentaries of Theodore Balsamon, who says that it was decorated with two wreaths signifying the emperor's responsibility for the bodies and souls of his subjects. Footnote 22 This item is the last one discussed by Pseudo-Kodinos in his list of articles of clothing and imperial attributes. Of it, Pseudo-Kodinos says, ‘They carry [it] in front of him because of the words of the Lord, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven”’ (Matt. 5: 16). Footnote 23

On Palm Sunday the candle leads the way along an elevated outdoor walkway that connects the palace to the church. Emperor and clergymen walk along the path strewn with myrtle and laurel leaves. The emperor is in full regalia. The leader of the procession holds the candle of the emperor. He ascends the walkway chanting the hymn attributed to the ninth-century emperor Theophilos, ‘Go out nations, go out people and behold today the king of the heavens’. At this point Pseudo-Kodinos explains that the gospel book that joins the procession is a representation of Christ. But it is not the gospel book that follows the holder of the candle: it is the emperor. It is with him that the words of the hymn are associated: ‘behold today the king of the heavens’. Footnote 24 The sacred connotations traditionally associated with imperial power appear to have survived into the fourteenth century.

Another case for Dagron of diminution of the emperor's prestige is the ceremony of the prokypsis mentioned earlier. The origins of the ceremony can be traced to the twelfth century and the reign of Manuel I Komnenos. Footnote 25 In the fourteenth century it is performed twice a year, at Christmas and Epiphany, on an elevated platform in the courtyard of the palace. Footnote 26 Curtains part to reveal the emperor from the knees up, framed by the columns of the structure and its balustrade. Singers chant verses appropriate to the feast day and instruments sound – trumpets, bugles, kettle drums and flutes. Footnote 27

The prokypsis display of the emperor has characteristics similar to his appearance at the hippodrome. Both were imperial manifestations from a height in a structure connected to the palace. The emperor's box at the hippodrome, his kathisma, was actually part of the palace at the top of a spiral staircase or ramp. The emperor in his box was seen from a distance by the people of the city. He was framed by the columns of the box and balustrade and surrounded by members of his court. The crowds chanted ‘Rise’ (Anateilon), inviting the emperor to appear before the start of the races. The emperor's emergence in the kathisma was thus compared to the rising of the sun on the horizon. Footnote 28

In his discussion of imperial appearances at the hippodrome based on the Book of Ceremonies, Dagron makes a passing reference to the prokypsis. He asserts that the magnificence of the imperial emergence in the hippodrome has deteriorated to become a banal appearance on the prokypsis platform. He compares the latter to the appearance of a speaker behind the podium, hardly spectacular or grand. Footnote 29 If, however, the hippodrome emperor was invited by chanting crowds to rise like the sun, the prokypsis emperor actually appeared in a sudden burst of light accompanied by fanfare. On two of the darkest afternoons of the winter months, an immobile illuminated emperor emerged from the frame of the prokypsis structure as if from the frame of an icon. As Kantorowicz remarked, the emperor on the prokypsis ‘stages’ Christ. Footnote 30 The verses written for the Christmas and Epiphany prokypseis celebrate the emperor as imitating ‘Him who was born in a cave. Like Christ he emerges from the darkness of the prokypsis with light shining on him and from him. He brings light to his subjects but fire to his enemies. As Christ came to earth on Christmas day, the emperor ascends to heaven’. Footnote 31 The elevation of the emperor high above his subjects, on a tall platform supported by columns, is also suggestive of a stylite saint's posture and position. Although saints who stood on pillars were no longer a part of the fourteenth-century cityscape, the spectators of this ceremony could not but be reminded of them. Footnote 32 The emperor's sacrality is intact.

Further observations on the emperor's diminished standing are made with regard to his liturgical privileges, which included the right to enter the sanctuary and cense the altar table and clergy there. Pseudo-Kodinos comments: ‘It was an old custom at this vesper service, for the emperor to enter the holy sanctuary and to cense the holy altar table and to give the clerics a gift of 100 pounds of gold from the vestiarion. Now this does not take place.’ Footnote 33 Those who believe in a weaker emperor and a stronger Church claim that the emperor was no longer ‘permitted’ to enter the sanctuary. Pseudo-Kodinos's statement gives no indication of the reason for this change. It is not clear why this old Easter custom attested in the tenth-century Book of Ceremonies Footnote 34 no longer took place in Pseudo-Kodinos's time, but it is certain that the emperor did not have 100 pounds of gold to give to the Church in the fourteenth century. In the early eleventh century the emperor raised the value of his gift to Hagia Sophia from 100 pounds to 180 pounds of gold. Footnote 35 In 1143 the emperor gave 200 pounds of silver coins, Footnote 36 while at the end of the thirteenth century he gave 1000 hyperpyra or 14 pounds of gold. Footnote 37 Large gifts to the Great Church (Hagia Sophia) were a thing of the past in the fourteenth century.

The Book of Ceremonies gives a number of occasions, the major feast days, when the emperor entered the sanctuary and censed the altar table. Footnote 38 Apart from Pseudo-Kodinos's explicit reference to the discontinuation of this tradition on Easter Day, there is no evidence that all the other occasions for the emperor's entrance into the sanctuary mentioned in the Book of Ceremonies were likewise eliminated by the fourteenth century. The protocols in Pseudo-Kodinos are far fewer and far less detailed than those in the Book of Ceremonies, a fact that has occasioned many arguments ex silentio. Footnote 39 It is clear, however, that on their coronation day, emperors entered the sanctuary and censed the altar table. This was the case both in the tenth and the fourteenth centuries, but there was a significant addition after the time of the Book of Ceremonies: Pseudo-Kodinos describes the emperor on his coronation day receiving communion in the sanctuary and in the manner of the clergy. Footnote 40

By the fourteenth century the liturgy had become an integral part of the coronation ritual. Pseudo-Kodinos describes the emperor just before the Great Entrance, putting on a golden mantle and holding the cross in one hand and a staff in the other: ‘He occupies then the ecclesiastical rank that they call depotatos’. Footnote 41

Holding then both of these things, namely the cross and the staff [narthex] he leads the entire Entrance. All the axe-bearing Varangians and young armed noblemen, about a hundred in number, follow along with him on both sides. They accompany on either side . . . near the emperor. Immediately after him come the deacons and priests carrying other holy vessels and also the holy things themselves. Footnote 42

Symeon, archbishop of Thessalonike (1416/17–29), explains that the staff of the depotatos is soft and light. It is used to maintain good order in church. Footnote 43 Indeed, the emperor at the head of the Great Entrance procession, surrounded by a large bodyguard, can be seen to clear the way in the nave. He opens the way for the holy gifts. Footnote 44

Dagron sees in the emperor's status as depotatos a ‘breathtaking fall’, a ‘downgrading’ of the emperor's position. Footnote 45 Indeed, depotatos is a very low title in the Church hierarchy. Footnote 46 A tenth-century miracle collection refers to a son of a high official who was cured of a fever at the shrine of the Virgin at Pege, in Constantinople. In thanks for his cure, he served as depotatos at the church of the Virgin, leading the procession at the time of the holy eucharist. Footnote 47 In the miracle collection, as in Pseudo-Kodinos, the function of the title-holder is to lead the Great Entrance procession.

In the discussion of the depotatos title it is assumed that the emperor relinquished or was forced to relinquish a much more potent title, that of the difficult-to-translate epistemonarches, ‘chief scholar’ or ‘chief scientific expert’. It is a title associated with twelfth- and thirteenth-century emperors, and especially Manuel I Komnenos, a high-profile emperor if ever there was one. Footnote 48 It is used always in connection with the emperor's involvement in church affairs, his interrogation of a patriarch in a synodal gathering, or the synod's consultation with him on a matter of canon law. The last emperor to refer to himself with this designation is Michael VIII Palaiologos who in 1270 instructs the patriarch to give the deacon Theodore Skoutariotes a rank in the hierarchy equivalent to that of dikaiophylax, keeper of the law, which the emperor had bestowed on him. Footnote 49

Epistemonarches, however, like depotatos, is a minor ecclesiastical position low in the hierarchy. The epistemonarches is in charge of discipline in the monastery until the twelfth century the word is found exclusively in monastic foundation charters where it refers to the duty of the monk epistemonarches to keep order at meal times and during chanting. Footnote 50 Thus it is similar to depotatos in its low rank and its function of maintaining order. But there is one large difference between them. No emperor ever referred to himself as a depotatos, whereas emperor and Church applied epistemonarches to the emperor, ‘a convenient and ambiguous label, a screen which avoided the necessity of justifying more or less recognised rights’. Footnote 51 When it suited them, patriarchs would acknowledge the emperor's right to intervene in ecclesiastical affairs by reference to their epistemonarchic competence. Thus, the patriarch Athanasios (1289–93, 1303–9), an ascetic and staunch supporter of the ‘liberty of the Church’, called on the emperor Andronikos II to expel provincial bishops residing in Constantinople and to put on trial the metropolitan of Cyzicus who was accused of simony. In doing so he made reference to the emperor's epistemonarchic rights. Footnote 52 Makarios, metropolitan of Ankyra (1397–1405), attacked the involvement of the emperor in ecclesiastical administration in a treatise on canon law, but referred to his epistemonarchic right in an anti-Latin treatise. Footnote 53 These examples indicate that the designations attached to emperors at different times are more indicative of the particular circumstances in which they are used than of the emperor's status.

Finally, Dagron draws attention to the form of words used by the emperor at the ceremony for the promotion of the patriarch. He finds significant the fact that in the Book of Ceremonies it is divine grace and the royal office, the basileia, that promote the candidate to the position of patriarch, while in Pseudo-Kodinos it is the Holy Trinity alone. Footnote 54 But if we look at the protocol for the promotion of a patriarch other striking aspects emerge.

In Pseudo-Kodinos's compilation, the protocol for the promotion of a patriarch Footnote 55 follows that for the three highest dignitaries after emperor – despot, sebastokrator and caesar – and presents a number of parallels with the third of these. The same word ‘promotion’ (problesis) designates the elevation of the highest dignitaries and that of the patriarch. Footnote 56 All these promotions take place in a hall of the palace. Footnote 57 The emperor wears his crown, which signifies his most formal dress. Footnote 58 The patriarch-to-be, called the ‘candidate-patriarch’, Footnote 59 is escorted by a high court official when he steps forward to receive his ensign of office, the staff, from the emperor. Footnote 60 The patriarch leaves the palace on horseback, mounting his horse in the palace courtyard, a privilege given only to members of the imperial family and highest dignitaries, Footnote 61 and returns to Hagia Sophia accompanied by court officials. Footnote 62

These elements of the patriarch's promotion which are also found in the ceremonial of a dignitary's promotion raise questions about the status of the patriarch. He is both above the highest dignitaries and equal to them. This ambiguity is demonstrated by Pseudo-Kodinos when he explains why the despot, sebastokrator and caesar are not present for the patriarchal promotion. It is ‘inappropriate’ for them to stand while the patriarch sits nor can they sit while he stands. Footnote 63

Other elements in the protocol further illustrate the patriarch's status vis-à-vis the emperor. Both the emperor and the patriarch sit on thrones that have been prepared for the occasion. However, the two thrones are not side-by-side on the same level. Not only is the emperor's throne raised up on a platform but it is also higher than his usual throne. His throne is like the one used at the emperor's coronation it is ‘four or even five steps high’. Footnote 64 By contrast, the throne of the patriarch rests on the floor and is thus much lower than the emperor's, which it faces. Footnote 65 To receive his staff of office the patriarch has to ‘mount’ the platform where the emperor stands. He ‘again descends’. Footnote 66 On the other hand, unlike the despot, the patriarch does not kiss the foot of the emperor after his promotion, a sign of his submission and gratitude, but rather blesses him. Footnote 67

If these outward gestures and material conditions on the occasion of the promotion provide a mixed response to the question of the patriarch's status, the protocol leaves no room for doubt when it describes the way a patriarch-elect becomes patriarch. It is the emperor who creates the patriarch. Until his promotion in the palace he is a patriarch-elect. When the emperor pronounces the words, ‘The Holy Trinity . . . promotes you archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and ecumenical patriarch’, the patriarch is made. Footnote 68 This formulation is similar to that used in the ‘little consecration’ by which a bishop is ordained and, as Pseudo-Kodinos says, in the case of the patriarch the emperor's promotion takes the place of that consecration. Footnote 69 Indeed, the whole process of choosing a new patriarch is initiated by an imperial order. Footnote 70 The synod cannot meet without this imperative of the emperor and, as is well known, the emperor has the right to reject the candidates put forward by the synod.

Yet it could be asked how we can know that these protocols reflect the practice of the time and are not merely projecting a procedure that was never carried out as described. The answer is that numerous examples of patriarchal elections from different times attest to aspects of the election, while the specifics of the ceremony as Pseudo-Kodinos describes it are corroborated by two fourteenth- and fifteenth-century churchmen whose writings attempt to reduce the significance of the emperor's role in the making of a patriarch. Symeon of Thessalonike is the more consistent and polemical of the two. He explains how patriarchs are made:

The emperor serves [the decisions] of the synod, for he was established as the anointed of the Lord, defender (dephensor) and servant of the Church, and promised this when he was anointed . . . . They talk nonsense, those who, innovating and struck by malice, say that the emperor makes the patriarch. For, as explained, it is in no way the emperor but the synod that effects it and the emperor, being pious, simply serves. It is not only because he is protector (ekdikos) and emperor anointed by the Church but so that he might, by assisting and serving, cherish and maintain secure [the decisions] of the Church. . . . If the one elected is not a priest, he is made priest before he accepts the summons. Then something else happens before ordination it is called ‘promotion’. It is a declaration of agreement from the very mouth of the emperor and [a mark of] honour to the Church that he cherishes the one chosen by her and voted by her, accepted to be the shepherd of the Church and in the name of the Holy Trinity which gave him the imperial majesty, he considers him archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome and ecumenical patriarch. He does not make him patriarch, he confers nothing on him but rather he expresses his agreement and assists in the deed. Footnote 71

Symeon's insistence that the emperor carries out the decisions of the Church as its helper and servant – the verbs ‘to serve’, ‘to assist’ and the noun ‘servant’ appear no fewer than five times in the statements cited above – betrays the importance of the emperor's role in the making of a patriarch, from start to finish. His statements likewise show that the question, who makes a patriarch, was controversial in his time. He engages in a polemic with anonymous opponents, addressing the issues raised by those who ‘talk nonsense, those who . . . say that the emperor makes the patriarch’. Symeon emphasizes that at every stage of the procedure the emperor is serving the Church, honouring and not ‘ruling’ it. Footnote 72 According to him, as protector of the Church the emperor has permission from on high and from the holy fathers to bring together the holy synod to elect a candidate. When the candidate is elected, the summons brought to him by a high-ranking member of the court, in the name of the emperor, states that it is from the emperor and the holy great synod, ‘bearing witness that the emperor makes known the [decision] of the synod not from himself but with the synod. He serves only’. Footnote 73 With respect to the emperor's investiture of the patriarch-elect with his staff (dikanikion), Symeon declares that the emperor gives ‘nothing’. Footnote 74

In similar fashion, Makarios of Ankyra plays down the emperor's part in the making of a patriarch. He stresses that ‘the patriarch is called patriarch before the imperial promotion’. According to him, the promotion in the palace – the venue was not mentioned by Symeon – takes place only for the sake of ‘honour’ it has no foundation in civil or canon law. Footnote 75 Makarios is, however, less insistent, less polemical. He is also a less consistent writer than Symeon on the subject of the emperor's authority in church matters. His views are contradictory, as can be seen from his use of epistemonarches to refer to the emperor in an anti-Latin treatise, discussed above. Footnote 76

Despite the protests of Symeon and Makarios, it remains the case until the end of the Byzantine empire that the process of electing a new patriarch is put in motion only by an imperial order (prostagma), that the emperor can reject the candidate elected by the synod and put his own candidate in place, and that the patriarch-elect goes to the palace to be promoted and invested by the emperor. Concerning this last point, Symeon says as much. Footnote 77

Now, as then, the procedure for the election and installation of a patriarch is open to rival interpretations. Bréhier saw in the texts under discussion an evolution in the election procedure that corresponded to a weakening of imperial power. Footnote 78 Laurent rejected the idea of an effective change and stated that if there was change it was only ‘on the polemical plane, in the thought of two theoreticians carried along by circumstances to fight for the independence of the church, reduced every day more and more’. Footnote 79 Blanchet, the latest to analyse the writings of the churchmen, agrees that ‘it is difficult to conclude that there was any historical transformation’. Footnote 80 She does, however, point out that both Symeon and Makarios directly and indirectly express the view that a patriarch-elect who is a bishop has no need of the ‘little consecration’ Footnote 81 which the emperor's promotion replaces, according to Pseudo-Kodinos. Footnote 82 Yet, even in this case, the patriarch-elect must go to the palace and be promoted by the emperor.

The reverse situation of that described by these two late churchmen is indicated by a late fourteenth-century patriarchal document which states that the emperor may employ metropolitans as if they were his douloi, ‘servants’. Footnote 83 In letters addressed to a crowned emperor a metropolitan must refer to himself as the emperor's doulos kai euchetes, ‘servant and the one who prays for your mighty and holy imperial majesty’, a formula close to the one used by lay servants of the emperor. Footnote 84 In the fifteenth century the use of the formula was extended to include all clerics. Sylvester Syropoulos, in his account of the council at Ferrara-Florence, where a union of the Churches was agreed in 1438–9, protested, saying that it was not acceptable for the Church to be put to the service of the emperor. Footnote 85 In these later centuries churchmen were often among the ambassadors who were sent abroad Footnote 86 churchmen also acted as the emperor's go-between or mediator (mesazon) in public affairs, whereas earlier this role was always assigned to a layman. Footnote 87 Historians have seen these examples as signs of the growing importance of the Church. They can, however, be read as signs of the emperor's use of churchmen as his douloi. Footnote 88 Vitalien Laurent, an Augustinian Assumptionist and editor of these late patriarchal texts, was so revolted by the language of douleia (servitude), which he translated as ‘slavery’ (l'esclavage), that he looked upon the Ottoman conquest of the empire as a time of liberation for the Church. Footnote 89

Another factor that has been adduced as evidence of the Church's rising power and prestige is the expansion of its judicial competence. The patriarchal court in Constantinople, whose register has survived for the years from 1315 to 1402, Footnote 90 passed judgment not only on cases within its recognized jurisdiction, marriage and inheritance law, Footnote 91 but also beyond. For modern historians, the register provides proof of the Church's newly acquired judicial powers. Yet it needs to be considered that the apparent widening of the court's jurisdiction may be due to the fact that in the same period (1394–1402), the imperial court was absent from the capital or not functioning because of the Turkish siege of the city and the dispute between John VII and Manuel II. Footnote 92

The evidence presented above, the ceremonial protocol, the patriarchal document and the writings of the churchmen, admits of a reading that differs from the conventional one. The history of the Church under the Palaiologan emperors in the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries shows that the ascendancy of the emperor over the Church remained strong. The descriptions of imperial debilitation in the last centuries of the empire would seem to have more to do with modern historians’ knowledge of shrinking territory and diminished resources than with the actual state of the emperor's office. Pero Tafur, a Spanish traveller who visited Constantinople in 1437, in the reign of John VIII, remarked, ‘The emperor's state is as splendid as ever, for nothing is omitted from the ancient ceremonies but, properly regarded, he is like a Bishop without a See’. Footnote 93

What is new in the Palaiologan period is the existence of churchmen who contested loudly the ascendancy of imperial power. In their discussions of ceremonial, Symeon of Thessalonike and Makarios of Ankyra tried to show that the emperor was subject to the Church, while practice shows the opposite. Footnote 94 It is their writings that have been adopted by historians to form a picture of the rising Church.

The confident claims made by these churchmen have to do, to some extent, with the sins of the founder of the dynasty, Michael VIII, who usurped power from the young heir to the throne John IV and had him blinded, and who deposed the patriarch Arsenios who had excommunicated him. Footnote 95 The so-called Arsenite schism damaged the emperor beyond his death and produced literature that proclaimed the anointer to be superior to the anointed. Footnote 96 The lasting effects of this schism in the Church elevated defiance of the Palaiologan emperors to the level of a virtue. A further damaging act of two Palaiologan emperors, the union of the Churches declared by Michael VIII in 1274 and John VIII in 1439 but never accepted, contributed to divisions and gave the Church the moral upper hand. Footnote 97 Relations between Church and emperor, not only in the last centuries but also earlier, depended on the personalities and circumstances of the moment. It was these factors that determined who took the lead.

If Runciman's picture of the late Byzantine Church has continued to find acceptance in the literature on Palaiologan Byzantium, his perception of the Church's position under Ottoman rule has been criticized and overturned. The idea that ecclesiastical power was centralized in the patriarchate of Constantinople and that the patriarch had centralized control over the Eastern patriarchates has been shown to be false. Footnote 98 It has been shown too that the patriarch in Constantinople was not leader of the whole Orthodox community he was not ‘an ethnarch, the ruler of a millet’, as Runciman stated. Footnote 99 Runciman ‘merged the nineteenth-century ideology of the Patriarchate of Constantinople and Ottoman millet system theory and back-projected this view to the whole Ottoman period’. Footnote 100 Given this revision of the Constantinopolitan patriarchate's position under Ottoman rule, it is time to have another look at Byzantium's legacy to the Ottomans. The interpretation of the late Byzantine sources presented here suggests that there was more continuity from the Byzantine empire to Ottoman rule as regards Church-ruler relations than was previously thought. Footnote 101

It’s Time to Rethink the Byzantine Legacy

Michael Goodyear is a J.D. candidate at the University of Michigan Law School. He holds a degree in History and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from the University of Chicago, where he specialized in Byzantine history.

Hagia Sophia - By Arild Vågen - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

The sun was setting on the Roman Empire. After 2,000 years, the empire of Augustus, Constantine, and Justinian, whose annals were replete with conquests, wealth, and glory, was on its knees. John VI Kantakouzenos’ (r. 1347-1354) coronation in Constantinople in 1347 took place not in the grand Hagia Sophia, which lay in disrepair, but at the smaller Church of the Virgin at Blachernae. He was not crowned with the imperial jewels, which had been pawned off to Venice, but with a crown of mere glass baubles. At the subsequent banquet, guests no longer dined off of dishes of silver and gold, but made do with pewter and clay. The fortunes of Rome, now in the guise of the Byzantine Empire, had reached their nadir.

But even when the Empire’s coffers were bare, enemies besieged imperial forces on all sides, and borders shrunk closer and closer to Constantinople, Western Europeans still thought of Constantinople as an exotic, prosperous land. Crusaders were partially galvanized to attack Constantinople in 1204 due to the loot they could recover. Travelers such as Englishman John Mandevillein the mid-14th century recounted with awe Constantinople’s hallowed churches. Even when Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453, horror resonated throughout Europe at the loss of this far off bastion of Christendom.

This image was not by pure accident. The Byzantines had purposefully cultivated the image of a majestic and wealthy land, and it had been doing so for centuries. Especially with scholars drawing distinctions between East and West, many have seen the West as the primary agent in making Byzantium different, a foreign “Greek” empire rather than one bound up in the same Roman heritage. However, it was the Byzantines themselves who crafted this image of a different, more fantastical empire. Responding to changes in European politics, Byzantium leveraged not only its fabulous capital of Constantinople, but during the ninth and tenth centuries the emperors also employed extensive court ceremonials, including the famous golden automata, to create an image of exotic otherness and majesty.

After the fall of the Western Roman Empire to Germanic warriors in the fifth century, the Eastern Roman Empire continued to survive. To distinguish it from its classical Roman predecessor, early modern scholars dubbed this empire, based at Constantinople, the Byzantine Empire. Yet the Byzantines always thought of themselves as Romans, calling themselves the Romaioi. For centuries other former areas of the Roman Empire also thought of the Byzantines as the Roman Empire. After all, there was only one emperor in the land.

That all changed when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne Roman emperor on Christmas Day in the year 800. There were now two emperors, and the Byzantine emperor reluctantly accepted this fait accompli a decade later. Although the title of Roman emperor was only tenuously held for the next 150 years, the damage to Byzantine prestige was already done and perceptions were already changing. Byzantium became seen as more foreign and distant. A schism between the eastern and western churches broke out in the mid-ninth century. Westerners began to refer to Byzantium as the “Empire of the Greeks,” to belittle and otherize them. The aura of the Roman Empire was at least partially lost to Byzantium in the West.

Byzantium’s strongest asset to create a new sense of awe in its European neighbors was its capital city of Constantinople. Approaching the city from sea, visitors are still stunned by the picturesque outline of the city. From land, travelers would have been welcomed by Constantinople’s mighty triple set of walls, a practically impregnable fortification that turned away dozens of would-be conquerors over the centuries. Walking along the main road, the Mese, Europeans would have marveled at the number of products for sale from across the known world: furs from the lands of the Rus, spices from Baghdad, silks from China. The Book of the Eparch tells us that trade was so extensive that the Byzantine emperor strictly regulated the myriad businesses. They also would be inside the largest city in Europe, several tens of thousands strong. Rome, Paris, and London at the time were just overgrown villages in comparison.

Yet perhaps the most impressive part of Constantinople was the Hagia Sophia. Justinian built the great church in the 6th century, and upon its completion he supposedly exclaimed, “Solomon, I have surpassed thee.” Russian emissaries in the 10th century were similarly impressed and reported back to Prince Vladimir of Kiev that “we did not know where we were, on heaven or on earth . . . . Only this we know, that God dwells there among men.” Even today, nearly 1500 years since it was erected, the Hagia Sophia still has the power to inspire a unique admiration in visitors from across the globe.

However, Constantinople had existed in all of its splendor for centuries. While emperors likely leveraged its grandeur for their own aims, they created new aspects of majesty in the 9th and 10th centuries. Byzantine emperors introduced elaborate new ceremonies into court processionals, which comprised hundreds of pages in Emperor Constantine VII’s (r. 913-959) work De Ceremoniis. There was a right place and time for everything. Both domestic and foreign dignitaries were ranked in order of honor. It was almost impossible for even embassies from France or Germany to see the Byzantine emperor, and if they did, they often waited for months to do so. The presentation of a highly refined and stately court no doubt left a very different impression than the disorderly and significantly smaller courts of the West.

Perhaps the most memorable arrow in Byzantine emperors’ quivers was the use of gold automata. These automata were machines coated in gold and bedecked with jewels. While the technology was not necessarily new, the automata were incredibly novel and wondrous to medieval Europe. When a dignitary finally did get to enter the throne room, he would have been startled and awed by them as was German envoy Liutprand of Cremona in 949. Liutprand recollected:

In front of the emperor’s throne was set up a tree of gilded bronze, its branches filled with birds, likewise made of bronze gilded over, and these emitted cries appropriate to their species. Now the emperor’s throne was made in such a cunning manner that at one moment it was down on the ground, while at another it rose higher and was to be seen up in the air. This throne was of immense size and was, as it were, guarded by lions, made either of bronze or wood covered with gold, which struck the ground with their tails and roared with open mouth and quivering tongue. Leaning on the shoulders of two eunuchs, I was brought into the emperor’s presence. As I came up the lions began to roar and the birds to twitter, each according to its kind, but I was moved neither by fear nor astonishment . . . After I had done obeisance to the Emperor by prostrating myself three times, I lifted my head, and behold! the man whom I had just seen sitting at a moderate height from the ground had now changed his vestments and was sitting as high as the ceiling of the hall.

These automata had been built by Emperor Theophilos (r. 829-842), but had supposedly been melted down for cash by his son Michael III (r. 842-867). However, by the reign of Constantine VII they were up and running once again. The throne was so magnificent that it became referred to as the “Throne of Solomon,” conjuring up images of the biblical king’s own “great throne of ivory . . . overlaid . . . with the best gold,” which notably also featured roaring lions.

Although the magnificent automata disappeared sometime after Constantine VII’s reign, they had served their purpose. They had inspired awe in visitors and enhanced Byzantium’s aura of majesty and prestige. In the coming centuries, as the Byzantine Empire continued its slow decline, Byzantine emperors continued to innovate and use court ceremonials and Constantinople to project a much greater impression of strength than Byzantium could actually muster.

Even after the façade of strength was thrown to the side and Byzantium was exposed for the rotting edifice it was during the 4th Crusade, the strategy did not disappear. The Byzantine Empire used a mix of otherness, majesty, and ceremony to fascinate the world and keep everyone guessing as to the true nature of Byzantine power. It was the Byzantines themselves who crafted this image of an empire apart from the rest of Europe. Western Europe’s shifting views were only largely in reaction to these efforts. Although the golden automata are long gone, Byzantium continues, even in death, to fascinate visitors to Istanbul with the ruins and memories of its imperial capital and craft our own otherworldly impressions of the former imperial city and its empire.

Famous People Who Died in 1934

    Daniel Protheroe, Welsh conductor and composer, dies at 67 John McGraw, American Baseball Hall of Fame infielder/manager (manager NY Giants World Series champions 1905, 21-22), dies of uremic poisoning at 60 Norman O'Neill, English composer, dies at 58 Harry Green, English athlete (WR marathon 2:38:16.2 1913), dies from pneumonia at 37 Fritz Cortolezis, German conductor, opera director, and composer, dies at 56

Davidson Black

Mar 15 Davidson Black, Paleoanthropologist, dies while working alone during the night, in Beijing, China at 49

    Anthony J Block, lawyer (Dutch strafproces), dies at 66 Emma of Waldeck and Pyrmont, Queen consort of William and Regent of the Netherlands, dies at 76 Franz Schreker [Schrecker], Austrian conductor, composer (Die Gezeichneten Der ferne Klang), teacher, and administrator dies of a heart attack at 55 Lilyan Tashman, American actress (Millie, Bulldog Drummond), dies following cancer surgery at 34 Theophilos Hatzimihail, Greek painter (b. 1870) William Donne, English cricket batsman, (Olympic gold 1900) and administrator (President England Rugby Football Union), dies at 58 Grete Gulbransson, Austrian writer and poet (Geliebte Schatten), dies at 51 Francis William Reitz, 5th State President of the Orange Free State, dies at 89

Bonnie Parker

May 23 Bonnie Parker, American outlaw (Bonnie & Clyde), killed in police ambush in Louisiana at 23

Clyde Barrow

May 23 Clyde Barrow, American outlaw (Bonnie & Clyde), killed in police ambush in Louisiana at 25

    Gustav Holst, English composer (The Planets Ode to Death), dies at 59 Meijer Linnewiel [Prof Kokadorus], Amsterdam street hawker, dies Eugenie Besserer, American actress (Anna Christie, Madame X), dies at 65

Marie Curie

Jul 4 Marie Curie, Polish-French scientist who discovered radium and the 1st woman to win a Nobel Prize (1903, 1911), dies at 66

    Edward Vermeulen, Flemish writer, dies at 73 Doodles Tapscott, cricketer (South African batsman 1922-23), dies Benjamin Baillaud, French astronomer, dies at 1934 Otakar Zich, Czech composer, dies at 55 Ole Evinrude, Norwegian-American industrialist and inventor (outboard marine engine), dies at 57

Kate Sheppard

Jul 13 Kate Sheppard, New Zealand suffragette and the most prominent member of New Zealand's women's suffrage movement, dies at 87

    Jules Renkin, Belgian politician (28th Prime Minister of Belgium 1931-32), dies at 71 Alaska P. Davidson, America's first female FBI agent, dies at 66

John Dillinger

Jul 22 John Dillinger, Notorious American bank robber, shot dead at 31 by federal agents at the Biograph Theater in Chicago

    Hans Hahn, Austrian mathematician, dies at 54 Engelbert Dollfuss, Austrian Fascist chancellor, assassinated by Nazis at 41 François Coty, French perfume manufacturer, dies at 60 Nestor Makhno, Ukrainian anarchist Insurrectionary leader, dies at 45 Winsor McCay, American cartoonist (Little Nemo), dies at 63 Louis HG Lyautey, French minister of Defense (1916-17), dies at 79 Louis Tancred, South African cricketer (fourteen Tests batting for South Africa 1905-14), dies at 57

Marie Dressler

Jul 28 Marie Dressler, Canadian-American actress (Dinner at 8, Anna Christie), dies at 65 of cancer

    Didier Pitre, Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame right wing (Montreal Canadiens), dies of acute indigestion at 50 Piotr Maszyński, Polish composer, dies at 79

Paul von Hindenburg

Aug 2 Paul von Hindenburg, German WW1 general and President of Germany (1925-34), dies of lung cancer at 86

    Carl F baron von Langen-Parow, German equestrian (Olympic gold 1928) Neville Quinn, South African cricket fast bowler (12 Tests, 35 wickets), dies of heart failure at 26 Hermann Glauert, British aerodynamicist, dies at 41 Wilbert Robinson, baseball manager (Bkln Dodgers), dies John Kane, Scottish-American primitivist painter (Self-Portrait), dies at 73 Hendrik P Berlage, architect (Stock exchange Amsterdam), dies at 78 Delilah L Beasley, American author/columnist (Oakland Tribune), dies at 61 Doris Ulmann, American photographer best known for her portraits of the people of Appalachia, dies aged 52 Earnest L Wolzogen, German writer (That tolle Komtess), dies at 79 Jan Schaper, Dutch publicist and politician (SDAP), dies

Pretty Boy Floyd

Oct 22 Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd, American gangster and FBI Most Wanted criminal, shot dead at 30 by the FBI in Ohio

Post-classical assertions to the title [ edit | edit source ]

Survival of the Roman Empire in the East [ edit | edit source ]

Imaginary portrait of Constantine XI, the last Roman emperor of the Eastern Roman empire (until 1453).

The line of Roman emperors in the Eastern Roman Empire continued unbroken at Constantinople until the capture of Constantinople in 1204 by the Fourth Crusade. In the wake of this action, four lines of Emperors emerged, each claiming to be the legal successor: the Empire of Thessalonica, evolving from the Despotate of Epirus, which was reduced to impotence when its founder Theodore Komnenos Doukas was defeated, captured and blinded by the Bulgarian Emperor Ivan Asen III ⎚] the Latin Empire, which came to an end when the Empire of Nicaea recovered Constantinople in 1261 the Empire of Trebizond, whose importance declined over the 13th century, and whose claims were simply ignored ⎛] and the Empire of Nicaea, whose claims based on kinship with the previous emperors, control of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and possession of Constantinople through military prowess, prevailed. The successors of the emperors of Nicaea continued until the fall of Constantinople in 1453 under Constantine XI Palaiologos.

These emperors eventually normalized the imperial dignity into the modern conception of an emperor, incorporated it into the constitutions of the state, and adopted the aforementioned title Basileus kai autokratōr Rhomaiōn ("Emperor and Autocrat of the Romans"). They had also ceased to use Latin as the language of state after Emperor Heraclius (d. 641 AD). Historians have customarily treated the state of these later Eastern emperors under the name "Byzantine Empire". It is important to note, however, that the adjective Byzantine, although historically used by Eastern Roman authors in a metonymic sense, was never an official term.

Last Roman emperor [ edit | edit source ]

Constantine XI Palaiologos was the last reigning Roman emperor. A member of the Palaiologos dynasty, he ruled the remnant of the Eastern Roman Empire from 1449 until his death in 1453 defending its capital Constantinople.

He was born in Mystra ⎜] as the eighth of ten children of Manuel II Palaiologos and Helena Dragaš, the daughter of the Serbian prince Constantine Dragaš of Kumanovo. He spent most of his childhood in Constantinople under the supervision of his parents. During the absence of his older brother in Italy, Constantine was regent in Constantinople from 1437–40.

Before the beginning of the siege, Mehmed the Conqueror made an offer to Constantine XI. ⎝] In exchange for the surrender of Constantinople, the emperor's life would be spared and he would continue to rule in Mystra. Constantine refused this offer. Instead he led the defense of the city and took an active part in the fighting along the land walls. At the same time, he used his diplomatic skills to maintain the necessary unity between the Genovese, Venetian, and Byzantine troops. As the city fell on May 29, 1453, Constantine is said to have remarked: "The city is fallen but I am alive." Realizing that the end had come, he reportedly discarded his purple cloak and led his remaining soldiers into a final charge, in which he was killed. With his death, Roman imperial succession came to an end, almost 1500 years after Augustus.

After the fall of Constantinople, Thomas Palaiologos, brother of Constantine XI, was elected emperor and tried to organize the remaining forces. His rule came to an end after the fall of the last major Byzantine city, Corinth. He then moved in Italy and continued to be recognized as Eastern emperor by the Christian powers.

His son Andreas Palaiologos continued claims on the Byzantine throne until he sold the title to Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile, the grandparents of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

New Western lineage [ edit | edit source ]

Charles V was the last emperor of the Holy Roman Empire to receive a papal coronation (until abdication in 1556).

The concept of the Roman Empire was renewed in the West with the coronation of the king of the Franks, Charlemagne (Charles the Great), as Roman emperor by the Pope on Christmas Day, 800. This coronation had its roots in the decline of influence of the Pope in the affairs of the Byzantine Empire at the same time the Byzantine Empire declined in influence over politics in the West. The Pope saw no advantage to be derived from working with the Byzantine Empire, but as George Ostrogorsky points out, "an alliance with the famous conqueror of the Lombards, on the other hand . promised much". ⎞]

The immediate response of the Eastern Roman emperor was not welcoming. "At that time it was axiomatic that there could be only one Empire as there could be only one church", writes Ostrogorsky. "The coronation of Charles the Great violated all traditional ideas and struck a hard blow at Byzantine interests, for hitherto Byzantium, the new Rome, had unquestionably been regarded as the sole Empire which had taken over the inheritance of the old Roman imperium. Conscious of its imperial rights, Byzantium could only consider the elevation of Charles the Great to be an act of usurpation." ⎟]

Nikephoros I chose to ignore Charlemagne's claim to the imperial title, clearly recognizing the implications of this act. According to Ostrogorsky, "he even went so far as to refuse the Patriarch Nicephorus permission to dispatch the customary synodica to the Pope." ⎠] Meanwhile, Charlemagne's power steadily increased: he subdued Istria and several Dalmatian cities during the reign of Irene, and his son Pepin brought Venice under Western hegemony, despite a successful counter-attack by the Byzantine fleet. Unable to counter this encroachment on Byzantine territory, Nikephoros' successor Michael I Rangabe capitulated in return for the restoration of the captured territories, Michael sent Byzantine delegates to Aachen in 812 who recognized Charlemagne as Basileus. ⎡] Michael did not recognize him as Basileus of the Romans, however, which was a title that he reserved for himself. ⎢]

This line of Roman emperors was actually generally Germanic rather than Roman, but maintained their Roman-ness as a matter of principle. These emperors used a variety of titles (most frequently "Imperator Augustus") before finally settling on Imperator Romanus Electus ("Elected Roman Emperor"). Historians customarily assign them the title "Holy Roman Emperor", which has a basis in actual historical usage, and treat their "Holy Roman Empire" as a separate institution. To Latin Catholics of the time, the Pope was the temporal authority as well as spiritual authority, and as Bishop of Rome he was recognized as having the power to anoint or crown a new Roman emperor. The last man to be crowned by the pope (although in Bologna, not Rome) was Charles V. All his successors bore only a title of "Elected Roman Emperor".

This line of Emperors lasted until 1806 when Francis II dissolved the Empire during the Napoleonic Wars. Despite the existence of later potentates styling themselves "emperor", such as the Napoleons, the Habsburg Emperors of Austria, and the Hohenzollern heads of the German Reich, this marked the end of the Western Empire. Although there is a living heir, Karl von Habsburg, to the Habsburg dynasty, as well as a Pope and pretenders to the positions of the electors, and although all the medieval coronation regalia are still preserved in Austria, the legal abolition of all aristocratic prerogatives of the former electors and the imposition of republican constitutions in Germany and Austria render quite remote any potential for a revival of the Holy Roman Empire.

For rulers of Italy after Romulus "Augustulus" and Julius Nepos, see list of barbarian kings. For the Roman emperors who ruled in the East after The Fall in the West, see List of Byzantine emperors. For emperors of the Holy Roman Empire in the West, see Holy Roman Emperor.


As a rule, Byzantine history is broken down into three political phases: the proto-Byzantine period stretches from the 4th to the 7th century, initiated by the foundation of Constantinople (circa 330) or taken from the split between the Western and Eastern Roman empires (395) the meso-Byzantine period occupies the 7th to the 12th century the late Byzantine Empire opens on the fall of Constantinople before the Crusaders in1204 and ends with the capture of the city by the Ottomans in 1453. At that date the Byzantine Empire, which knew its highest territorial expansion in the 6th century has ceased to exist as a political entity.

The first Iconoclastic period intervened during the reigns of Leo III and his son Constantine V [ 1 ] . The second took place between the reigns of Leo V the Armenian [ 2 ] and Theodora [ 3 ] . Between those two periods Empress Irene [ 4 ] , wife of Leo IV [ 5 ] , sought to reverse the trend regarding the attitude to images in the Eastern Empire. She had Tarasios elected as patriarch of Constantinople and called an ecumenical council in 786 with a view to re-establish the veneration of icons. It failed in its purpose in the face of powerful opposition from the iconoclastic current. It is only at the Council of Nicaea in 787 that the veneration of images was reinstated. Meanwhile following disputes with her son, who would reign as Constantine VI [ 6 ] , and as a result of her diplomatic advisers' reservations towards her policy of rapprochement with Charlemagne [ 7 ] , the Empress was sent into exile. She was succeeded by Nikephoros [ 8 ] , who succumbed in battle before he could entrench the principles adopted at the 7th ecumenical council. Facing attacks from the Bulgarians on their Western flank and the Arabs to the South, the Byzantine Empire was also internally weakened by endless succession disputes.

Son of Leo III. Associated to the throne as from 720, he succeeded his father but not before facing down Artabasdos who had usurped the throne and taken over the capital city (741-743). He then fought the Arabs and had to defend Constantinople against the Bulgarians (756) whom he trounced at Anchialos (763), winning thereafter several victories against the Slavs. In Italy the seizure of Ravenna by the Lombards resulted in the loss of the Exarchate (the part of Italy and Dalmatia still under Byzantine control in 751). Pepin then Charlemagne's interference in the quarrel with Rome destroyed Byzance's efforts to reconquer the peninsula. Within the Empire, Constantine first sought to negotiate the implementation of faith-related decisions but faced with resistance, he resorted to violence. The cult of the virgin and the saints was forbidden, the monasteries secularised, their property confiscated monks and nuns were forced to marry. This attitude would earn the Emperor the titles of copronymus.

Byzantine emperor (813-820). A general in the imperial army, a military coup placed him on the throne. He defended Constantinople against a Bulgarian campaign (813) and defeated them the following ear. Defending iconoclastic views, he started a second period of debates and conflicts (815-842). He deposed Patriarch Nikephoros (815) and had a synod in Constantinople re-affirm the 754 decisions. He lost his throne (and his life) to Michael the Amorian in December 820.

Byzantine empress consort then regent (842-856). As such she reversed the iconoclastic policies of her husband Theophilos and called a council to reinstate the veneration of icons. She pursued a vigorous campaign of persecution of the Paulicians. The suspected heretics allied themselves to Muslims on the fringes of the Byzantine Empire. She failed to prevent the Arabs from taking over Sicily (842-847) but ably governed the empire, replenishing the treasury and pacifying her northern border. Having gained considerable influence over her son and heir Michael III, her brother forced her out of power (856). She retired in a monastery in 858. She is venerated as a saint in the Eastern church.

Byzantine Empress regnant (797-802) She was empress consort as the wife of Leo IV and empress dowager and regent for their son Constantine when the Emperor died. Encouraged by Patriarch Tarasios she called the Council of Nicaea which condemned iconoclastic theories and admitted the veneration of images (787). She attempted to cling to power after her son's majority but a military mutiny forced her abdication (December 790). She was called back by Constantine VI (792) but intrigued against him, accused him of bigamy after his divorce (795) unseated him and had his eyes gouged out (July (797). She is known to have used the masculine title of Basileus. Betrayals and military setbacks forced her to pay a tribute to the Abbasids (798) and she could not forestall further Slav encroachments. With a view to reestablish imperial unity, she sought alliances with Charlemagne whose coronation as Emperor in 800 was seen as a usurpation. In 802, the Empress was exiled to Lesbos where she died the following year.

Byzantine emperor, son of Constantine V whose policy towards the Bulgarian he upheld (baptism of Khan Telerig, 777). He fought the Arabs (expeditions in Syria in 778 then in Anatolia in 779. An iconoclast, he first acted prudently because of his brothers' intrigues but he resumed the persecutions after exiling them.

Byzantine Emperor, son of Leo IV and Irene. Barely aged 10 at his father&lsquos death, he first ruled under the regency of his mother, Irene who succeeded in excluding him from power. In 790 a military coup enabled him to finally wield imperial power. However his defeats before the Bulgarians (792) and the Arabs (797) lost him support in the army. His second marriage alienated the Church establishment and facilitated Irene's usurpation after he called her back to court. She had him blinded and replaced him on the throne.

Carolus Magnus, known as Charlemagne sovereign of the Frankish kingdom from 768 to 814. At the death of his father (Pepin III the Short, he accessed to power and promptly sidelined his brother to govern alone. Although he did not found it, he left his name to the Carolingian dynasty because of the prestige associated to his person and reign. Through conquest (Bavaria, Italy, Saxony, Catalogna) he considerably enlarged the kingdom the organisation of which he undertook around a royal court which he had soon fixed in Aachen. The imperial coronation in Rome on 25 December 800 consecrated the return of a Christian Empire in the west. This political re-birth of the Christian West was also a cultural revival which saw the thriving of arts and letters. At his death in 814, he left to his son Louis the Pious a prosperous empire, a fitting match to the Byzantine Empire.

Byzantine emperor (802-811). Appointed finance minister (logothetēs tou genikou) by Irene, he seized power in a palace coup in October 802. His support for the worship of icons set him at loggerheads with powerful elements in the church. He reformed finances, reorganized the byzantine war machine. His settlement policies in the Slav regions restored Constantinople's hegemony in the Balkans after his victory at Patras in 805. However, he could not regain Byzantine control over Venice (809) and was defeated by the Arabs so had to accept Harun e-Rashid's humiliating terms. At the term of a major expedition against the Bulgarians, he and his army were massacred by Khan Krum in 811


Reunion attempts

The eastern Emperor John VIII Palaeologus, pressed hard by the Ottoman Turks, was keen to ally himself with the West, and to do so he arranged with Pope Eugene IV for discussions about reunion to be held again, this time at the Council of Ferrara-Florence. After several long discussions, the emperor managed to convince the Eastern representatives to accept the Western doctrines of Filioque, Purgatory and the supremacy of the Papacy. On 6 June 1439, an agreement was signed by all the Eastern bishops present but one, Mark of Ephesus, who held that Rome continued in both heresy and schism. It seemed that the Great Schism had been ended. However, upon their return, the Eastern bishops found their agreement with the West broadly rejected by the populace and by civil authorities (with the notable exception of the emperors of the East who remained committed to union until the Fall of Constantinople two decades later). The union signed at Florence has never been accepted by the Eastern churches.

Fall of Constantinople

In 1453, the Eastern Roman Empire fell to the Ottoman Empire. But Orthodoxy was still very strong in Russia which became autocephalous (since 1448, although this was not officially accepted by Constantinople until 1589) and thus Moscow called itself the Third Rome, as the cultural heir of Constantinople.

Eastern Christians expressed a belief that the fall of Constantinople was God's punishment for the emperor and clergy accepting the West's doctrines of filioque, purgatory and the supremacy of the papacy. The West did not fulfill its promise to the Eastern emperor of troops and support if he agreed to the reconciliation. The Sack of Constantinople is still considered proof by the East that the West ultimately succeeded in its endeavor to destroy the East.

Under Ottoman rule, the Orthodox Church acquired power as an autonomous millet. The ecumenical patriarch was the religious and administrative ruler of the entire Rum Millet (Ottoman administrative unit), which encompassed all the Eastern Orthodox subjects of the empire. Those appointed to the role were chosen by the Muslims rulers not the Church.

As a result of the Ottoman conquest, the entire Orthodox communion of the Balkans and the Near East became suddenly isolated from the West. For the next four hundred years, it was confined within the Islamic world, with which it had little in common religiously or culturally. The Russian Orthodox Church and the Orthodox Churches from Wallachia and Moldavia were the only part of the Orthodox communion that remained outside the control of the Ottoman Empire.

Isolation from the West

As a result of the Ottoman conquest of the Byzantine Empire in 1453, and the Fall of Constantinople, the entire Orthodox communion of the Balkans and the Near East became suddenly isolated from the West. For the next four hundred years, it was confined within a hostile Islamic world, with which it had little in common religiously or culturally. The Russian Orthodox Church was the only part of the Orthodox communion which remained outside the control of the Ottoman Empire. It is, in part, due to this geographical and intellectual confinement that the voice of Eastern Orthodoxy was not heard during the Reformation in 16th-century Europe. As a result, this important theological debate often seems strange and distorted to the Orthodox. They never took part in it and thus neither Reformation nor Counter-Reformation is part of their theological framework.

Religious rights under the Ottoman Empire

Islam recognized Jesus as a great prophet and tolerated Christians as another People of the Book. As such, the Church was not extinguished nor was its canonical and hierarchical organization completely destroyed. Its administration continued to function though in lesser degree, no longer being the state religion. One of the first things that Mehmet the Conqueror did was to allow the Church to elect a new patriarch, Gennadius Scholarius. The Hagia Sophia and the Parthenon, which had been Christian churches for nearly a millennium, were converted into mosques, yet most other churches, both in Constantinople and elsewhere, remained in Christian hands. Because Islamic law makes no distinction between nationality and religion, all Christians, regardless of their language or nationality, were considered a single millet, or nation. The patriarch, as the highest ranking hierarch, was thus invested with civil and religious authority and made ethnarch, head of the entire Christian Orthodox population. Practically, this meant that all Orthodox Churches within Ottoman territory were under the control of Constantinople. Thus, the authority and jurisdictional frontiers of the patriarch were enormously enlarged.

However, these rights and privileges, including freedom of worship and religious organisation, were often established in principle but seldom corresponded to reality. The legal privileges of the patriarch and the Church depended, in fact, on the whim and mercy of the Sultan and the Sublime Porte, while all Christians were viewed as second-class citizens. Moreover, Turkish corruption and brutality were not a myth. That it was the "infidel" Christian who experienced this more than anyone else is not in doubt. Nor were pogroms of Christians in these centuries unknown (see Greco-Turkish relations). [1] [2] Devastating, too, for the Church was the fact that it could not bear witness to Christ. Missionary work among Moslems was dangerous and indeed impossible, whereas conversion to Islam was entirely legal and permissible. Converts to Islam who returned to Orthodoxy were put to death as apostates. No new churches could be built, and even the ringing of church bells was prohibited. Education of the clergy and the Christian population either ceased altogether or was reduced to the most rudimentary elements.


The Orthodox Church found itself subject to the Turkish system of corruption. The patriarchal throne was frequently sold to the highest bidder, while new patriarchal investiture was accompanied by heavy payment to the government. In order to recoup their losses, patriarchs and bishops taxed the local parishes and their clergy. Nor was the patriarchal throne ever secure. Few patriarchs between the 15th and the 19th centuries died a natural death while in office. The forced abdications, exiles, hangings, drownings, and poisonings of patriarchs are well documented. But if the patriarch's position was precarious so was the hierarchy's.


Devshirmeh was the system of the collection of young boys from conquered Christian lands by the Ottoman sultans as a form of regular taxation in order to build a loyal army (formerly largely composed of war captives) and the class of (military) administrators called the "Janissaries", or other servants such as tellak in hamams. The word devşirme means "collecting, gathering" in Ottoman Turkish. Boys delivered to the Ottomans in this way were called ghilmán or acemi oglanlar ("novice boys").


The Church of Antioch was moved to Damascus in response to the Ottoman invasion of Antioch. Its traditional territory includes Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and parts of Turkey. The remainder of the Church of Antioch, primarily local Greeks or Hellenized sections of the indigenous population, remained in communion with Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Jerusalem

Birthdays in History

Birthdays 1 - 100 of 272

    Carla Hills, American lawyer and politician (Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1975-77), born in Los Angeles, California Rudolf Schuster, President of Slovakia Harry M. Miller, Australian entrepreneur, born in Auckland, New Zealand (d. 2018) Tassos Papadopoulos, Cypriot politician & barrister (President, 2003–2008), born in Nicosia, Cyprus (d. 2008) Jean Corbeil, Canadian politician (d. 2002) Piet Dankert, Dutch politician (PvdA), born in Stiens, Netherlands (d. 2003) Alexandra Ripley, American writer, born in Charleston, South Carolina (d. 2004) Leonid Kravchuk, Ukrainian politician, born in Wołyń Voivodeship, Poland Sir Charles Antony Richard Hoare, Computer scientist

Jean Chretien

Jan 11 Jean Chrétien, 20th Prime Minister of Canada (Liberal: 1993-2003), born in Shawinigan, Quebec

    William Vollie Alexander Jr., American politician (Rep-D-AR, 1969- ), born in Memphis, Tennessee Graham Kerr, English-born chef (Galloping Gourmet), born in London, England Pierre Bourgault, Quebec politician & essayist, born in East Angus, Canada (d. 2003) Stanisław Grochowiak, Polish poet, born in Leszno, Poland (d. 1976) Roger Landry, Quebec businessman and newspaper publisher Donald Spiers, controller (Aircraft MoD) Edithe Cresson, premier of France (1991-92) Federico Mayor Zaragoza, UNESCO director (1987- ), born in Barcelona, Spain Julian Ogilvie Thompson, CEO (De Beers) Raymond Boudon, French sociologist, born in Paris, France (d. 2013) BR White, principal (Regent's Park College-Oxford) Vernon "Vern" Ehlers, American politician (Michigan House of Representatives), born in Pipestone, Minnesota (d. 2017) Piet Bukman, Dutch minister for Development Aid (CDA) Eddie Fenech Adami, President of Malta Fleur Adcock, New Zealand poet Mary Quant, English fashion designer (Chelsea Look, Mod Look), born in Kent, England Patrick Holmes Sellors, British ophthalmologist (d. 2010)

Manuel Noriega

Feb 11 Manuel Noriega, Panamanian general and dictator (1983-89), born in a Panama City slum, Panama (d. 2017)

    Mel Carnahan, American politician (d. 2000) Anne Krueger, American economist Niklaus Wirth, Swiss computer programmer/inventor (PASCAL) Paul Ekman, American psychologist, born in Washington, D.C. Paco Rabbane [Francisco Cuervo], Spanish fashion designer & perfumer, born in Pasajes, Spain Audre Lorde, American writer, feminist and activist (Black Unicorn), born in NYC, New York (d. 1992) David Hugh Jones, Poole Dorset England, director (Betrayal) Julian Belfrage, theatre Agent Myrtle Robertson, 11th Baroness Wharton Bettino Craxi, Italy's 1st socialist premier (1983-87) Bingu wa Mutharika, Thyolo, Nyasaland (Malawi), Malawi President (2004-2012), (d. 2012) Nicholas Edwards, Baron Crickhowell, British Conservative Party politician Michael Wheeler-Booth, Clerk of the Parliaments Robert Neame, British brewer (Shepherd Neame)

Ralph Nader

Feb 27 Ralph Nader, American consumer advocate (Unsafe at Any Speed), born in Winsted, Connecticut

    N. Scott Momaday, American author (House Made of Dawn, Pulitzer 1969), born in Lawton, Oklahoma Vincent Fourcade, French interior designer, born in Paris, France (d. 1992) Riet [M. J. J.] Roosen-van Pelt, Dutch politician, 2nd Chamber member (CDA), born in Tilburg, the Netherlands Jane van Lawick-Goodall, British primatologist, anthropologist, and writer (Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe), born in Hampstead, London Janez Strnad, Slovenian physicist, , and author (We Are Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made Of), born in Ljubljana, Kingdom of Yugoslavia (now Slovenia) (d. 2017) Gleb Yakunin, Russian priest and dissident, born in Moscow (d. 2014)

Daniel Kahneman

Mar 5 Daniel Kahneman, Israeli economist and Nobel laureate (2002), born in Tel Aviv, Israel

Yuri Gagarin

Mar 9 Yuri Gagarin, Russian cosmonaut and 1st man into space (aboard Vostok 1), born in Klushino, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union (d. 1968)

    George Stamatoyannopoulos, Greece, medical genetics researcher Keith Speed, British MP Rudolph Agner, CEO (Consolidated Gold Fields) Barry Hughart, American author of fantasy novels (Bridge of Birds), born in Peoria, Illinois Eugene A Cernan, Capt USN, astronaut (Gemini 9, Apollo 10 17), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2017) Paul Rader, the 15th General of The Salvation Army Kanshi Ram, Indian dalit leader Ray Hnatyshyn, Governor-General of Canada (d. 2002) Eric Hebborn, artist/faker Marion Conti, arch bishop (Aberdeen England) Willie Brown, American Democratic politician and 41st Mayor of San Francisco (1996-2004), born in Mineola, Texas David Malouf, Australian author Leslie Turnberg, British medical researcher and academic, President of the Royal College of Physicians Orrin Hatch, American politician (Sen-R-UT, 1977-2019) longest-serving Republican US Senator, born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Ludvig Faddeev, Russian mathematician

Gloria Steinem

Mar 25 Gloria Steinem, American feminist and publisher (Ms Magazine), born in Toledo, Ohio

    David Hancock, British civil servant, secretary (British Department of Education & Science), born in Beckenham, Kent (d. 2013) Istvan Csurka, Hungarian politician and writer, born in Budapest, Hungary (d. 2012) Paul Crouch, American televangelist (Trinity Broadcasting Network), born in Saint Joseph, Missouri (d. 2013) Lord Tanlaw [Simon Mackay], crossbench member of the House of Lords Grigori Grigoyevich Nelyubov, Russian cosmonaut (Vostok 1 backup) Wim H Sinnige, Dutch alderman of finance (social democratic) Vladimir Posner, Russian-French-American journalist who represented and explained the views of the Soviet Union during the Cold War, born in Paris Christopher France, British permanent secretary (Department of Health) (d. 2014) Peter Middleton, British permanent secretary (Treasury) Paul Joseph Cohen, American mathematician (Cohen forcing, Continuum hypothesis), born in Long Branch, New Jersey (d. 2007)

Jane Goodall

Apr 3 Jane Goodall, British ethologist (studied African chimps), born in London, England

    John Lelliott, English contractor and multi-millionaire Tina Maria Stone, runner (1 year distance record of 15,472 miles) Roman Herzog, President of Germany (1994-99), born in Landshut, Bavaria, Germany (d. 2017) Swami Shantananda, Hindu Saint, Philosopher, Disciple of Swami Sivananda, Founder of Temple of Fine Arts Kisho Kurokawa, Japanese architect (d. 2007) Bill Birch, New Zealand politician (38th Minister of Finance), born in Hastings, New Zealand David Halberstam, American journalist, historian and author (Pulitzer 1964), born in NYC, New York (d. 2007) Dame Anne Poole, British chief nursing officer (Department of Health) Mark Strand, American poet, editor and translator (Another Republic), born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada (d. 2014) Richard A. Garland, artist and photographer (d. 1994) Charlie Robertson, American politician (mayor of York, Pennsylvania 1994-2002), born in York, Pennsylvania, (d. 2017) Fredric Jameson, American philosopher, cultural theorist Geoffrey Owen, British editor (Financial Times) Lindsay Oliver John Boynton, furniture historian (d. 1995) Robert G. Wilmers, American banker (M&T Bank), billionaire and philanthropist, born in New York (d. 2017) Nico Ladenis, Tanganyikan-British restaurateur (Nico at 90), born in Tanganyika, Tanzania Michael McCloskey, American environmentalist and chairman (Sierra Club), born in Eugene, Oregon Lois Duncan, American young adult novelist (I Know What You Did Last Summer), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 2016) Pedro Pires, President of Cape Verde (2001-2011), Prime Minister of Cape Verde (1975-91), born in Fogo, Cape Verde Alette Beaujon, Curacaos poet (Gedichten on the Bay & Elsewhere) Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, Mexican politician
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Watch the video: Marches in celebration of the Coronation of King George V 1911 (January 2022).