Talk:Basil II

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Comments[edit]

The page for Battle of Kleidion says that the blinding of 14,000 soldiers is probably an exageration. What is the consensus of historians?

It's probably exaggerated, I reworded that bit so hopefully it reflects that now. I'll see if I can find where that claim originally comes from. Adam Bishop 04:45, 8 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Probably is not definitely, all contemporary sources state he blinded 14,000 soldiers so until you can find some soures which can prove otherwise your statements are just POV and will be removed Struscle 13:27, 19 February 2006 (UTC)

Can you state names of all those "contemporary sources"?Ive never encountered with even a single one really contemporary work who would mention such mass blinding of captured Bulgarians.All sources who mentions it are of much later date(or you wold consider queen Victoria to be you contemporary?),as well as is most probably Basil's II.famous nickname.So when he state that it is probably exaggerated,he is right.Moreover,great possibility exists that it is only a legend.Maybe a legend that have its origin in actually much smaller episode,exaggerated in later tales .--94.113.101.25 (talk) 13:50, 25 June 2013 (UTC)

Sources for bliding actions[edit]

  1. One source is Chronicle of Manasses which dates 4 centuries after the event.
  2. Cited sources:

John Skylitzes http://www.popovashapka.com/macedoniainfo/history/middle_early_samoil.htm#5 I don't know how reliable the above sources are, regarding the illuminated Chronicle of Manasses very few references can be found. The best link collection is probably this one : http://makedonija.150m.com/makedonija/medievalsourcesmacedonianhistory.htmCristianChirita 14:13, 23 February 2006 (UTC)

That is what I was refering.I know there are some mentions of this blinding,but as far as I know no really contemporary exists so we could be more sure that such mass-blinding really did occuered.--94.113.101.25 (talk) 15:55, 3 July 2013 (UTC)

Literary References[edit]

I'm thinking the very interesting section summarizing Basil Bulgaroktonus belongs in a literary article of its own, with a citation and link in this one.

Cranston Lamont 04:20, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Why? Adam Bishop 04:33, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

My thinking was that the book discussion concerned, not Basil's life, but a novel based on his life. But that's as far as I care to push my personal opinion.

Cranston Lamont 16:13, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

Oh, I see...yeah, that could probably be moved to a separate article on the book itself, if the book is at all notable. If it isn't, we should probably just cut out all the irrelevant info here. Adam Bishop 16:31, 7 April 2006 (UTC)

rm ugly pics of unexplained events; copyright status needs to be verified, too[edit]

Please verify, and feel free to find some better pics.CristianChirita 15:20, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

Bulgar-slayer[edit]

I changed the title of "Bulgar - slayer" to "Bulgar - Killer", since the exact translation of Βουλγαροκτόνος is this one, from the word "κτήνω" (Ktino) = kill, and NOT the word "σφάζω" (sfazo)= slay. The translation Bulgar-slayer would have been right if the word was "Βουλγαροσφάχτης". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.254.0.168 (talkcontribs)

That may be true, but we call him Bulgar-slayer, so don't change it. Adam Bishop 16:41, 21 August 2006 (UTC)

Campaigns[edit]

I am proposing that the in the section about the campaigns against the Arabs that all of the instances of the word Arab be changed to Fatimids. My reason being that the campaigns were against a dynasty originating in Egypt called the Fatimid dynasty and not was no truly even the Arab dynasties that had started in the Arabian peninsula.

"Sister" Anna[edit]

A point has been raised on Gen-Med recently that no primary source calls Anna his "sister" exactly, but rather his "kinswoman". Can anyone provide a reliable source that calls her his sister? Wjhonson (talk) 00:24, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

I don't think that is in dispute but in any case see, Catherine Holmes. Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976-1025) (Oxford, 2005), p. 4. That should pretty much settle it.--Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 05:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

Question of sources[edit]

It's somewhat disconcerting to see that sources dating back to 1851 are being used extensively to sources material in this article. While they might not necessarily conflict with some well-known details of Basil's life, might it not be wiser to direct readers to more updated – and thus more accessible – literature? Though I have yet to read it, Catherine Holmes' recent work, Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976-1025), concerns the life of Basil and might prove a better source. Mark Whittow's Making of [Orthodox] Byzantium would also make another reliable source for Basil's reign as well. A clarification of the publication details of sources (case in point, the use of the Russian Primary Chronicle – which edition? which translation?) would also be most welcome. Some food for thought. Regards, --Marshal Bagramyan (talk) 05:11, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

A few points. Any reference is better than no reference at all, which was essentially the case before I began editing this article. Very little narrative history is written these days. Narrative history does not date in the way that interpretative history does so that the use of old narrative history (if contemporary interpretation is eschewed) is academically valid, as long as no important new primary sources have been discovered since it was written. Most importantly Finlay is the only source available online which goes into any useful detail concerning the conquest of Bulgaria. History isn't nuclear physics, things written in 1850 or 1900 about a historical subject can still be valid; indeed in these days of competitive academics looking for tenure and high book sales there is a pressure to come up with "novel" approaches to subjects, which may prove to be extreme and biased, that did not influence the historians of old.
The Primary Chronicle reference (in the bibliography section at the foot of the page) gives the publisher, editors/translators and date, surely enough information for any interested person to track it down with.Urselius (talk) 14:44, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
Although I agree with Urselius' remarks, Bagramyan does make a good point: aside from the historical narrative itself, our perceptions of what Basil did, how and why he did it have changed a lot since Finlay. It has been demonstrated that he actually promoted the military aristocracy to high office during his reign, for instance, while in the 19th century he was still regarded as the champion of the poor soldier-farmers and all that. Also, Paul Stephenson does raise some interesting points on the traditional interpretation of the historical narrative itself, re the war with Bulgaria (a potential truce between Spercheios and Kleidion). In short, the article does need more input from recent sources, especially if we want a deeper analysis of his reign. Constantine 15:34, 29 September 2009 (UTC)
I intended introducing some more modern references, but there are huge gaps in all the modern works I've seen concerning the campaigns against Bulgaria. Most mention Spercheios and Kleidion and often very little else. If you have a full list of all the actions it becomes clear that there was a definite plan to Basil's war - make inroads into Moesia, then clear the area around Thessalonica, push from Philippopolis to the Danube at Vidin to cut off Moesia from Macedonia, absorb the remainder of Moesia, isolate highland Macedonia from all sides then grind down all futher resistance from the Bulgaro-Macedonian aristocracy by continued military pressure, bribery and threats. This is shown in greatest detail by Finlay, from modern sources Haldon, Fine and others have to be stitched together to form anything as useful. This is something I wanted to do but I have had little time to do so recently.Urselius (talk) 10:57, 30 September 2009 (UTC)

Contradiction[edit]

Basil the Porphyrogenitus and Basil the Young to distinguish him from his ancestor Basil I the Macedonian, was a Byzantine emperor from the Macedonian dynasty who reigned from 10 January 976 to 15 December 1025.

This article has taken out Basil II's Armenian roots. Basil I was Armenian, so if he is Basil II's ancestor then Basil is Armenian too. Tracing Basil II's lineage shows this as well. If no objections in the next few days, I will edit the article to reflect his Armenian heretage.--Moosh88 (talk) 09:49, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Sources are unclear as to the origins of the Macedonian dynasty. Basil I was the protege of a wealthy woman from southern Greece who is usually described as being Slavic in origin, the same has also been claimed for Basil himself. Some Byzantine families had well attested Armenian origins - Kourkuas - Tszimiskes - Taronites etc. but the Macedonians do not have the same undisputed Armenian heritage. Besides Basil IIs mother Theophano was Laconian and his gt. grandmother Zoe was Athenian so he was definitely genetically more Greek than Armenian or Slavic, whatever were the origins of Basil I.[User:Urselius|Urselius]] (talk) 10:23, 15 April 2011 (UTC)

Basil's Epithet[edit]

The Byzantine chronicler Ephraim was the first who named Basil II - “Bulgar-slayer” about 400 years after the emperor’s reign (Ephraim: Aenii Historia Chronica, Athens, 1990, pg. 109). By then (400 years latter), when the reference “Bulgar-slayer” was used for the first time, the term “Bulgarians” (Vulgaroi) was completely adopted by the Byzantines, as a designating exonym for the peoples also called “South Slavs” that they had fought against (Stilpon Kyriakides: The Northern Ethnological Boundaries of Hellenism, Tessalonica, 1955, pg. 37 ; Krste P. Misirkov: „За македонцките работи“ (On the Macedonian matters), Sofia, 1903, pg. 117, 122). If someone says I’m wrong, I need sources. Bobi987 Ivanov (talk) 21:21, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

The first recorded coupling of the term Boulgaroktonos with Basil II dates from a number of generations after his death, when it is used in a poem from the reign of Manuel I Komnenos, dating to around 1166.Stephenson, p. 89 - Stephenson, Paul (2003). The Legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81530-4
Stephenson says "Basil is not called Voulgaroktonos in the body of the poem, but this epithet does appear in the introductory lemma. The lemma was added to explain the original location and context of the poem..." Do we know when was the lemma added? Bobi987 Ivanov (talk) 22:41, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
In fact, what do we know about this poem? What's the title? Who wrote it? Where's it written? Stephenson doesn't give us much information. Bobi987 Ivanov (talk) 20:22, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
Have you read Stephenson's book? The reference is there, the poem is approximately dated and is a perfectly fine primary source. Constantine 08:20, 31 March 2014 (UTC)
Anyhow, seeing as the lemma of the poem in question is quite likely a later (13th century) addition, I am removing it from the article. The gist of Stephenson's argument about the epithet coming into widespread use in the later 12th century remains unaltered, as Choniates, Mesarites and Kaloyan attest to it. Constantine 08:37, 31 March 2014 (UTC)