Talk:Basil I

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Armenian Name[edit]

I added/fixed Basil I's name in Armenian writing. Just letting people know, since it seems relevant that we include his Armenian name, since he was in fact of Armenian descent.


I find it very sad that many greeks feel it right to edit the true identity of Basil I's origins. I mean he was Armenian, and I have cited NUMEROUS references that point that out. The references that Antonios has cited are not able to be verified and are in greek, so that would lead one to think whether or not they are biased or even credible in any way. I have provided references that are not only from the Official Website on Constantinople from the Greek Government, but I also go ahead and cite references that are translated from the Greek into english. Basil I was Armenian, the entire dynasty was AT LEAST part Armenian. Kindly give the Armenians credit where credit is due. It is a WIDELY known fact that the Byzantine Empire was a Armeno-Greco Empire. If the nationalistic greeks cannot accept this, than they are NO DIFFERENT than the turks who deny the Armenian Genocide.

It is widely known that the Byzantine Empire was, as its predecessor the Roman Empire, a multicultural Empire in which the common element of the people was not, as it is in modern states, ethnicity, but the Christian (Orthodox) religion. Nonetheless one should acknowledge that the dominant ethnicity in the Empire was the Greek. This is clearly illustrated by the fact that Latin was replaced by Greek as the official language of the State during the reign of Heraclius. It would be an exaggeration to call Byzantium a Greek-Armenian Empire, since the Armenians is just one of the many ethnicities of the Empire whereas Greek is obviously the dominant one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.144.6.39 (talk) 19:09, 10 October 2012 (UTC)

/.[edit]

The following was just posted this to Slashdot:

So while, say, the Robert Novak page is going to see a lot of dispute between now and whenever someone finally drives a stake through his heart, the page on the Byzantine Emperor Basil I (811-886 AD) probably isn't going to see a great number of worthwhile changes anytime soon. [1]

Someone will probably take this the wrong way. Something to look out for. Aaronrp 04:28, 6 August 2005 (UTC)

Ethnic Origins of Basil The 1st[edit]

There is some controversy surroundung Basil the 1sts ethnic origins, some say he was ethnically Armenian others say Greek, Does anyone know or have any verifiable sources which can confirm what his ethnicity/s were? E-mail adress 13:59, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

There isn't any controversy. Who says they are Greek? Not Greek sources. A Greek source has been given already. Peter Charanis, born in Greece and called the "father Of Byzantine studies".--Eupator 16:11, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
And Russian sources say he was Slavic. Let's return to the neutral wording. --Ghirla | talk 14:33, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
So lets expand the section then. The current intro is using weasel words. There are no primary Russian or any other Slavic sources on his origin, Russian sources are based on primary Arab sources since they assumed that Macedonia was inhabited by Slavs. --Eupator 16:10, 20 February 2006 (UTC)
I've added links to Armenian (ermeni.org) and English (E. Britannica) sources that prove the Armenian origin of Basil I (Armenian: Բարսեղ I)
--Armatura 16:39, 28 January 2007 (UTC))


Ostrogorsky (the highest scientific authoritiy on the subject) says the ethnic origin of Basil I the Macedonian is unclear and almost certainly not Armenian! Why was he called Macedonian? He was named the Macedonian because it is possible that he was in fact of Macedon origin. (Ostrogorski, G., History of Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press, revised edition, 1969).Maxkrueg 1 (talk) 07:05, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Age[edit]

I think the article shows Basil as being too old. He cannot have been more than a few years older than Michael III. I would assume that he was born in the 830's not 811.

Girlindajo Original Research/Vandalism[edit]

I cleaned up the article's contents. He is indesputably Armenian. Girlindajo tries to include a fringe point that has been dismissed by the scholarly community. On top, he has added original research by adding words as "grain of salt." If he continues this, I will report him to ANI.Hetoum I 04:58, 25 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, we don't need edit wars and vandalism here. It's better to report NOW, because the part about Armenian origin of Basil I was reverted (reppaced with apparently incorrect info) more than once whithout providing sensible base for doing that. No offense to anyone, but we don't need pseudohistory here. Armatura 16:28, 30 July 2007 (UTC)

To Hetoum I and Armatura. You say that the ethnic origin of Basil I the Macedon ( ὁ Μακεδών , the Macedonian!!) is indesputably Armenian!? There is NO evidence in the historical sources that he was of Armenian Origin. Look herefore Ostrogorsky (Ostrogorski, G., History of Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press, revised edition, 1969) the most scientific authority on the subject of Byzantium. Please, if you have any primary historical sources than let us know! This what you are provding here is really pseudohistory or Googwik-science! Maxkrueg 1 (talk) 07:13, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Armenian Name[edit]

I added/fixed Basil I's name in Armenian writing. Just letting people know, since it seems relevant that we include his Armenian name, since he was in fact of Armenian descent. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.168.212.17 (talk) 02:29, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Well you see the royal family of England is also of German descent, but we do not write their German name... Kapnisma ? 18:06, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Ostrogorsky (the highest scientific authoritiy on the subject) says the ethnic origin of Basil I the Macedonian is unclear and almost certainly not Armenian! Why was he called Macedonian? He was named the Macedonian because it is possible that he was in fact of Macedon origin. (Ostrogorski, G., History of Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press, revised edition, 1969).Maxkrueg 1 (talk) 07:06, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Armenian?[edit]

We now have unequivocal claims in the text of the article that Basil I was of Armenian origins.

This is untenable. The truth is that Basil's parents were obscure peasants from the Theme of Macedonia (what would have been part of classical Thrace). At the time Greeks, Slavs and Armenians were all living in Byzantine Thrace and Basil's ancestry could have been from any one or more of these peoples. Once he was in power court panegyricists gave him a lofty ancestry including from the Armenian Arsacids, Constantine the Great and Alexander the Great. All of these ancestries were confections designed to flatter the emperor. Rather than being uninformed the contemporary Arab writers who called Basil a 'Sclavonian' were impartial and not under any pressure, as were Byzantine writers, to flatter the ruling emperor.

Byzantine bynames were accurate: Leo the Armenian was of Armenian origins, Basil the Macedonian was from Macedonia and his ethnic ancestry is therefore vague, had he been of obvious Armenian speech, culture or religious background he would have been called 'Basil the Armenian.' The text needs to be balanced on its quoted sources, and an element of the real uncertainty concerning Basil's ethnicity has to be included.Urselius (talk) 09:39, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Very well, but what is your ref for all that? The article currently says "was born to Armenian parents" and that is referenced to (Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: University of Stanford Press. p. 455. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2). It then says "While one source has claimed him to be of Slavic descent, such assumptions have been dismissed as fiction by the scholarly world" and that is referenced to (Bury, John Bagnell (1912). A History of the Eastern Roman Empire, from the Fall of Irene to the Accession of Basil I, A.D. 802–867. London: MacMillan. p. 165). Then "The sole foundation of the Slavonic theory is that Arabic writers designate him as a Slav; this is explained by the Arabic view that all Macedonians were Slavs", referenced to (Bury. Eastern Roman Empire, p. 165) and "Basil's first language was Armenian" referenced to (Norwich, John Julius (1991). Byzantium: The Apogee. New York: Viking. p. 79. ISBN 0-3945-3779-3). So what have you got? Herostratus (talk) 14:42, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Ostrogorsky postdates Bury, and he didn't think the evidence for an Armenian origin was compelling, so the "such assumptions have been dismissed as fiction by the scholarly world" is demonstrably not the case. Finlay, who predates Bury, also was not convinced - saying that Armenian sources were just parroting the false genealogies of Byzantine court panegyrics. Please note I am not saying that Basil was not of Armenian extraction, just that there is no incontrovertable evidence that he was.Urselius (talk) 14:54, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Also: Basil I, founder of the Macedonian Dynasty:a study of the political and military history of the Byzantine Empire in the Ninth century, Norman Tobias, 2007. p. 264. “The origin of Basil the “Arsacid,” the Slav, the Macedonian, the Armenian – we shall never know; nor is the birth of this bold but isolated figure a serious matter. But he depended on Armenian support, and received a crown with gratitude from an Armenian sovereign.” History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453, Volume 1 Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Vasiliev. P. 301. "it might be correct to assume that Basil was of mixed Armeno-Slavonic origin."

I would tend to agree that it a better formulation would be something like "Basil was born in the 830s in the Byzantine theme of Macedonia; his ethnicity is disputed. Some sources say he was of Armenian ethnicity (ref ref ref), some say Slavic (ref ref ref), and others say it's not possible to determine his ethnicity (ref ref ref)". Would this be OK? I would support this along with with striking "of Armenian descent" from the lede. I'm not very up on the subject and don't have the refs handy, but this seems clearly to be the better path and I would support this. Herostratus (talk) 15:28, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
Yes, some formulation which highlights the uncertainty and the mixed messages from scholarly sources would be ideal.Urselius (talk) 15:47, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

I oppose any changes to the current wording. As clearly stated in the article, the Arsacid genealogy was a later attribution meant to glorify the imperial bloodline, that's not under dispute. Basil's Armenian ancestry was a known fact long before Photios' fabrication. We have a very reputable, modern source stating the following: "Basil's first language was Armenian, and he spoke Greek with a heavy accent." - Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: University of Stanford Press. p. 455. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2. Also of note is that Basil's brother was named Symbatios, can't get more Armenian than that. It's possible that he also had Slavic ancestry, there's no question that the Armenian colonists intermarried with Slavsof Thrace but more weight should be given to the Armenian lineage. -- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 15:52, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, what about Ostrogorsky though? (Ostrogorski, G., History of Byzantine State, Rutgers University Press, revised edition, 1969) George Ostrogorsky was a reasonably reputable academic, right? I'm not saying that Ostrogorsky is necessarily correct, but that this indicates that the issue is not settled, and we should say that instead of coming down firmly on side or another of the dispute. Herostratus (talk) 16:40, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
What about Ostrogorsky? Can you attach the quote in question please. Most secondary sources attest to his Armenian origin, others including Ostrogorsky say it's uncertain but probably still Armenian. We can't assign equal weight to both positions. -- Ευπάτωρ Talk!! 16:58, 14 November 2011 (UTC)
I think that there is a demonstrable uncertainty in the academic sources, some sources give an Armenian origin, others Slavic, yet others hedge their bets by saying Armeno-Slavonic or indeed say that it is impossible to be certain what Basil's origins were. A bald statement in an encyclopedic entry that "Basil was Armenian" is not therefore supported, and an element expressing uncertainty must be included.

It should be noted that the Tobias book is the only book referenced which has the life and reign of Basil I as its main theme and it is very recent - 2007 (2nd ed. )- its view on the uncertainty of Basil's origins should not be lightly dismissed. Urselius (talk) 21:17, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

"Basil came of a peasant family that had settled in Macedonia, perhaps of Armenian origin." Encyclopedia Britannica - an encyclopedic entry with an element of uncertainty.Urselius (talk) 21:44, 14 November 2011 (UTC)

Well, User:Eupator, looking at your user page, and your comments over the years above, I see that you have an agenda -- a plethora of agendae, actually. I have run up against this sort of thing over the years here on the Wikipedia -- Ukrainians vs. Russsians, Serbs vs. Croats -- and I have to say, I find it personally depressing to find people bringing these sterile millenia-long grudges into the 21st century.
I recognize that you truly believe that Basil I was Armenian, and I surmise there is no evidence that will shake your conviction in this matter. This leads me to take your arguments with a large grain of salt, and leaves me more convinced than ever that this person's ethnicity is, in fact, not likely discernable at this date with reasonable certainty.
I propose that I, or Urselius, or some other user correct the text of the article. Hopefully there won't be a fight over this, but if there is, we can then go through the required steps. Herostratus (talk) 04:08, 15 November 2011 (UTC)
I would be happy to do so, except my copy of Ostrogorsky and a number of other Byzantine history books are in storage at the moment. I should be able to scrape up a few references though.Urselius (talk) 08:20, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
Great. A couple questions I have are:
  • Is it so that, whatever he was, he almost certainly wasn't Greek? "...he spoke Greek with a heavy accent" (Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: University of Stanford Press. p. 455. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2). Is this reliable and accurate, and is there any source disputing that?
I would like to know what the primary source is for this. An Armenian accent for someone born in Thrace would be unusual, perhaps he merely had an uncouth rural accent.Urselius (talk) 20:55, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
  • Are there sources, some saying "Armenian", some "Slavic", and some "don't know", or are all the sources saying "Slavic" unreliable? If so we could reduce it to "Armenian or unknown" rather than "Armenian, Slavic, or unknown". Herostratus (talk) 17:16, 18 November 2011 (UTC)
The secondary sources fall into a number of categories - Armenian, Slavic, Armeno-Slavic and unknown/doesn't really matter.Urselius (talk) 20:55, 18 November 2011 (UTC)

I have amended the article to reflect the uncertainty concerning Basil's ethic origins. I will try to flesh this out with more references concerning the competing claims. I note that his ethicity had about 4 references before my intervention whilst the rest of the text was and is almost entirely unreferenced.Urselius (talk) 09:39, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

This is fine work Urselius and is much appreciated. Herostratus (talk) 14:53, 21 November 2011 (UTC)

What about John?[edit]

How come this article makes no mention of the aforementioned person? Call yourself an encyclopedia? They lived in a same sex marriage too, that was endorsed by the Church! A reliable third-party source that is published is all that Wikipedia demands. But no mention of John here!! Why is that I wonder?? 109.156.28.156 (talk) 19:10, 11 May 2012 (UTC)

John who? contemporary Byzantine names included descriptive or patronymic elements. The reference you cite gives insufficient detail to make a useful source.Urselius (talk) 13:01, 13 May 2012 (UTC)
So let me get this straight, you have the temerity to suggest that a book by the University of Chicago does not, and I quote "make a useful source"? But wait a minute....a quick search and I find this about John. It's from Oxford University Press or is that another insufficiently detailed source? You "claim" to have a PhD, really? You're unguarded remarks regarding an esteemed publisher seems to reflect otherwise. John's relationship to Basil I reveals that Byzantine Christianity was quite happy to bless same-sex unions. But I was not going to add to the article before running it past the talk page first. I know "the game". Took me all of thirty seconds to find a second notable source mentioning "John". And why am I doing this? Because I just want to make a useful contribution. I am no self-styled expert with a PhD! 109.156.29.88 (talk) 14:35, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
Please re-read my message. I have nothing against the University of Chicago Press, What I said was "The reference you cite gives insufficient detail to make a useful source." Although the bona fides of the publisher is fine the amount of detail in the book about Basil I is insufficient - it mentions a man named John, there is no detail about him, there is no detail about his relationship to Basil I. There is no detail about the Church ceremony or the theology or usage behind whatever relationship between men that it refers to. Without another source it is too meagre an amount of information to be useful.Urselius (talk) 08:07, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I have investigated the matter and it appears that the "marriage" is an interpretation by a couple of scholars of an otherwise ambiguous Church ceremony (adelphopoiesis) open to other interpretations. Feel free to add whatever you like on the subject, BUT be awrare that I will add caveats if you present this particular interpretation as "hard fact." Wikipedia does not condone ad hominem attacks. I have a PhD, and also a BSc and MPhil, if I didn't I would not claim such. If you wish to be taken seriously it would be advantageous for you to open an account on wikipedia as contributions by unregistered users are generally treated with a degree of suspicion.Urselius (talk) 10:08, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
As a counter argument:
Robin Darling Young, after examining the texts adduced by Boswell to demonstrate that the Christian Church blessed same-sex unions during the Middle Ages, concludes that:
“neither Boswell’s reconstruction of them nor his methods of argumentation can possibly support the interpretation that he proposes: first, it is highly implausible that homosexual unions either in antiquity or in the Middle Ages would have been blessed by a religion that promoted ascetic devotion to the kingdom of God rather than that condition which contemporary Americans understand as a healthy expression of erotic drives... Furthermore, early Byzantine law codes [including the Basilica that Basil I promulgated] contain extremely harsh punishments for homosexual intercourse.”
The Truth About Homosexuality: The Cry of the Faithful By John Francis Harvey (1996), San Francisco, p. 243.Urselius (talk) 10:32, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Also: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2007/01/gay-marriage-reimagining-church-history-50

Any historical evidences older than 1853?[edit]

What kind of historical page is that? The older historical evidence cited is from 1853 book. Again - what kind of historical page is that? An alternative history? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 130.204.61.203 (talk) 15:44, 15 June 2012 (UTC)

Had to laugh at the illogicality of something old being invalid in history! Kyrie eleison!
Good historical scholarship does not have a shelf life. Unfortunately, the writing of narrative history has been out of fashion for many decades. If, as in the case of an encyclopaedic entry, the facts of historical events are more cogent than faddish interpretations of trends then older sources must be consulted, as, sadly, many modern works contain little in the way of narrative detail. The most recent work cited dates to 2007, but perhaps this is too recent for you?
BTW what particular axe are you grinding - Armenian nationalism or gay revisionism? Urselius (talk) 13:20, 16 June 2012 (UTC)

His native language was Armenian[edit]

According to the John Julius Norwich, the native language of Basil I was Armenian, whereas in Greek, he spoke with a strong accent. He wrote it in his book A Short History of Byzantium (page 214). However, I could not add the reference normally, but added the sentence in the article. Can someone help me in this situation. M.Karelin (talk) 22:54, 4 September 2014 (UTC)