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Death at Court

Edited by Karl-Heinz Spieß and Immo Warntjes

2012

Harrassowitz Verlag · Wiesbaden

Contents

Foreword

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IX

Karl-Heinz Spieß Introduction Section 1: Medieval West

 

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Patrick Geary Death and Funeral of the Carolingians

 

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Gert Melville Death and Apotheosis at the Burgundian Court. Some Observations on Philip the Good and Molinet’s Trosne

 

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Werner Paravicini

 

Theatre of Death. The Transfer of the Remnants of Philip the Good

 

and Isabel of Portugal to Dijon, November 1473–February 1474

 

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Scott Waugh Royal Deathbed Scenes in Medieval England

 

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117

Rita Costa-Gomes Alfarrobeira: The Death of the Tyrant?

 

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Hermínia Vasconcelos Vilar Lineage and Territory: Royal Burial Sites in the Early Portuguese Kingdom

 

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Klaus Oschema The Cruel End of the Favourite. Clandestine Death and Public Retaliation at Late Medieval Courts in England and

 

171

Immo Warntjes

 

Programmatic Double Burial (Body and Heart) of the European High Nobility,

 

c.1200–1400. Its Origin, Geography, and Functions

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Pauline Yu Introduction Section 2: Medieval

 

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Claudia Rapp Death at the Byzantine Court: The Emperor and his

 

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viii

CONTENTS

Joe Cutter Threnodic Writings for Royal Women in Early Medieval China:

Honored Consort Xuan of the Liu Song

 

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Ruby Lal Recording Death. Invocations from the Early Mughal World

 

301

Bernhard Scheid “May the Leaves and Twigs of my Descendants Bloom Forever”. Posthumous Deification among Political Rulers in Pre-Modern Japan

 

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Obituary—Eugene Vance by Stephen G. Nichols

 

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Index by Daniel Frisch

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343

Death at the Byzantine Court: The Emperor and his Family

Claudia Rapp

Introduction The Byzantine Empire stood and fell with the capital city of Constantinople, from its foun- dation in 330 to its capture in 1453—making it one of the few millennial empires in world history. During this time, the Empire was ruled by a succession of 94 emperors (and very rarely, empresses), who held the throne for an average of 12 years. 36 of those lost their throne in an insurrection, six died on the battlefield. This leaves us with only 52 emperors (or a little over 44%) who ended their lives peacefully and in full possession of their impe- rial powers. Many of them died in the imperial palace, a few (especially near the end of the Empire) in a monastery, and were buried in Constantinople. 1 Death was and remains the ultimate boundary, but for the Christian men and women of Byzantium, it was also the transition from this life to the next. The death of an emperor offers the opportunity to bring into focus two further sets of boundaries: the boundary be- tween the private and the public in the rituals surrounding the emperor’s death and burial; and the boundary between the secular and the sacral in the approach to the emperor in death. In order to address these issues, it is helpful to ask who was involved in the emper- or’s burial and who was expected to perpetuate his memory in prayer. Was it his family, members of the court or people representing the state, such as the general populace or sol- diers who played a role at his death and funeral? And was his memoria preserved by lay people, or rather by monks or clergy? This paper seeks to address these questions for the early and middle Byzantine periods, i.e. from the death of the Emperor Constantine in 337 to the capture of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The city of Constantinople was the center of government and of the church and served as the backdrop for the enactment of imperial and ecclesiastical rituals. The imperial palace was located at the very tip of the peninsula on the Bosphorus, at the end point of the central thoroughfare of the city, the Mese. The palace was an agglomeration of buildings for vari- ous functions, built and re-built at different times, including reception rooms for diplomats and visitors and banqueting halls, such as the Hall of the Nineteen Couches which was also used during imperial burials. The palace remained the official residence of the emperors until 1453, although from the twelfth century it was gradually abandoned in favor of the Blachernae Palace to the northwest of the city center. The Great Palace, as it is generally known, was closely integrated into the urban fabric: There was no wall to delineate the palace territory, and the palace area intersected with the public urban space in several key

1 For these statistics, see Ralph-Johannes Lilie, ‘Der Kaiser in der Statistik. Subversive Gedanken zur angeblichen Allmacht der byzantinischen Kaiser’, in Christos Stavrakos (ed.), Hypermachos. Studien zu Byzantinistik, Armenologie und Georgistik. Festschrift für Werner Seibt zum 65. Geburtstag (Wiesbaden 2008), 211–33.

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locations: the hippodrome where the emperor joined up to 100.000 spectators to watch the horse races or to participate in imperial ceremonies; the church of Hagia Sophia, seat of ecclesiastical power and location of the Patriarchate, where many imperial ceremonies, including the coronation, took place; and the Chalke Gate, the official entrance hall to the palace area that connected to the main street, the mese. 2 This structure, too, played a role in the burial of emperors. At its height in the tenth century, the palace was served by 1.000 to 2.000 courtiers, including the imperial troops. These men (and very rarely, women) re- ceived their titles, salaries, and official garments directly from the emperor in carefully scripted ceremonies, such as the one observed by the Italian bishop and ambassador Luitprand of Cremona during his visit in 968. The courtiers were in attendance before the emperor at different times of the day, and present at various imperial functions, but at the end of each day—with the exception of the imperial body guard—they returned to their residences in the city. 3 The city of Constantinople was thus a microcosm of the Empire in several ways: not only was it a cosmopolitan city that attracted people from all the regions of the Empire and from abroad who conducted their business or sought their fortune, it was also the place where imperial power radiated beyond the walls of the palace buildings. The entire city served as a stage for the universalizing assertion of imperial rule through the enactment of ceremonies, including burials. On these occasions, the inhabitants of Constan- tinople were understood to represent the population of the Empire in its entirety.

Death and burial of Constantine the Great The foundation for all this was laid by the Emperor Constantine, who inaugurated the city that was to bear his name, Constantinople, on 11 May 330. He built what would later be- come known as his ‘New Rome’ for growth, on the foundations of the existing city of Byzantion that had occupied the promontory since the seventh century BCE: He delineated the urban territory with a wall, created open spaces along the major streets, adorned the city center with a new church and built a new imperial residence. Like many Roman emperors before him, Constantine also made provisions for his death and built a mausoleum. But he broke with tradition in two important ways: instead of burial in Rome, he preferred to be buried in his own city; and instead of seeking an association with the pagan gods, he aligned himself with the new religion of Christianity, even and especially in death. Our only contemporary source for the emperor’s death and burial in 337 is Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, the administrative capital of Palestine. He was a man of the church and a theologian long before he wrote the Church History that made him famous among con- temporaries and the Life of Constantine whose Christian interpretation of Roman imperial rulership still poses many riddles to modern scholars. This comes into focus in Eusebius’ description of Constantine’s death and burial, where the author tiptoes around the issue of the divinity of the emperor. 4 In the Roman tradition, the emperor’s divinity would be articu-

2 Cyril A. Mango, The Brazen House. A study of the vestibule of the Imperial Palace of Constantinople (Copenhagen 1959), does not discuss imperial funerals.

3 Alexander P. Kazhdan and Michael McCormick, ‘The social world of the Byzantine court’, in Henry Maguire (ed.), Byzantine court culture from 829 to 1204 (Washington 1997), 167–98.

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lated at the moment of his funeral. Ever since the death of Augustus, when an eagle—the bird of Jupiter—was seen emerging from the funerary pyre, most Roman emperors were honored posthumously by apotheosis, deification. The deceased emperors joined the im- mortal gods, were referred to as divus, and received divine honors at altars and temples set up in their name. The last emperor to be deified, although he was a Christian, was Jovian in the year 364. 5 Eusebius uses characteristically effusive and florid language to convey the impression that Constantine gained immortality. He achieves this in a careful balancing act that avoids bowing to the Greco-Roman concept of apotheosis, while at the same time stretching to their limit concepts and expressions acceptable within a Christian framework. 6 Constantine, we are told, experienced his final illness while leading a campaign against the Sasanian Persians. He had to abandon his plan to seek baptism, like Jesus had done, in the River Jordan, and instead received it in a church in Nicomedia, 100 km east of Constantinople. Like all neophytes, he then donned white linen garments—the same clothing as was cus- tomary for burial. He received a last visit from his highest military officials, then made testamentary arrangements, granting an annual donation to the inhabitants of Constantino- ple, and parceling out the empire among his three surviving sons. Constantine died mid-day on the feast of Pentecost, which is given significance by Eusebius’ interpretive comment as the celebration of “the ascension into Heaven of the universal Saviour and the descent of the Holy Spirit upon mankind”. In typically obtuse language, he adds: “about the time of the midday sun the Emperor was taken up to his God; he bequeathed to mortals what was akin to them, but he himself, with that part of him which is the soul’s intelligence and love of God, was united to his God.” 7 No last words here, no final prayer, but the immediate ascent of Constantine’s immortal soul. This may have been a quiet death, but it was not an entirely private one. Eusebius re- ports that even in his last moments, Constantine was attended by spearmen and his body- guard who now began with the lament: tearing their garments, falling to the ground, hitting their heads, and uttering cries of sorrow and grief. But beyond this immediate circle, disci- pline was observed around the deceased emperor, as “the rest of the soldiery came in re- spectful order” to pay their last respects. This is in stark contrast to the people in the city, who were “running wildly”, each expressing his grief and sorrow as a personal loss. We see here the soldiers in Constantine’s immediate entourage acting as if they were part of the emperor’s household. They took the role usually assigned to women: they were present at his deathbed and performed the ritual lament. The citizens of Constantinople are also accorded an important role. It is they, and not Constantine’s family, nor any repre- sentatives of Christianity, who are expected to retain the departed emperor in good

5 Eutropius 10.18.2 (ed. by Karl Santini, Eutropii Breviarium ab urbe condita (Leipzig 1979), 71):

inter Divos relatus est. On the funeral of Christian emperors in the fourth century, see Stefan Rebenich, ‘Vom dreizehnten Gott zum dreizehnten Apostel? Der tote Kaiser in der Spätantike’, in Heinrich Schlange-Schöningen (ed.), Konstantin und das Christentum (Darmstadt 2007), 216–44.

6 Dagron, Emperor and priest, 138 characterizes this as an “imperial Christian apotheosis”.

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memory. For this reason, Constantine made provisions for the distribution of donations of coins every year on the anniversary of his death. Eusebius’ narration continues with the laying out of Constantine’s body in a golden cof- fin draped in purple, which was taken to Constantinople. There, the coffin was placed on a podium in the largest chamber of the imperial palace, adorned with the diadem and purple robe to denote his imperial status. Candles in golden candlesticks threw a warm glowing light, while an honor guard kept watch day and night. There was no crisis of transition, Eusebius insists. Even in death, the emperor was able to maintain strict order and to retain the loyal service of his officers. He was mourned by an ever-widening circle of people.

“The commanders of the whole army, the comites and all the ruling class, who were bound by law to pay homage to the Emperor first, making no change in their usual routine, filed past at the required times and saluted the Emperor on the bier with genuflections after his death in the same way as when he was alive. After these chief persons the members of the Senate and all those of official rank came and did the same, and after them crowds of people of all classes with their wives and children came to look.” 8

Beyond the imperial staff and office holders, we cannot observe any personal ties of grati- tude and obligation, the people who pay their last respects exhibit merely curiosity and gawking. This curious daily ritual of homage before the coffin may have gone on for quite a long time. Constantine died on 22 May. On 2 August, a law was issued in his name, and only on September 9, his sons were announced as his successors. 9 Some time within these months (the exact date is unknown), Constantine was buried by his middle son Constantius II, who would soon outpace his two surviving brothers to claim the throne for himself alone. He had rushed to Constantinople from campaigning in the East so that he could lead the funer- ary procession from the imperial palace to the mausoleum that Constantine had built. The cortège was a heavily protected military affair, preceded by detachments of the army in military gear while the coffin was surrounded by spearmen and heavily armed infantry. As the closest relative, Constantius then presumably assisted with the deposition of the coffin in its final resting place. No further family members are mentioned by Eusebius. It seems that even in this ceremonial public aspect of the emperor’s final departure, Constantine’s closest personal associates were the military, just as they had been in the privacy of his residence at the time of his death. It was only at this moment that the Christian element took over, as the priests entered the building, followed by a huge crowd of believers, to perform the usual prayers. Constantius, who was not yet baptized, was not among them. He had left the mausoleum along with the military train, after the deposition of his father’s body. Eusebius’ much- quoted passage about the architectural layout of Constantine’s burial place offers clues to

8 Eusebius, Vita Constantini IV 67.1 (Winkelmann, Über das Leben des Kaisers Konstantin, 148; Cameron and Hall, Life of Constantine, 179–80).

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the perception of the imperial role. He explains that Constantine was favored by God since he was able to share the monument of the apostles and to participate in the prayers of the saints.

“God showed his favour towards his servant also in this […] that he was accorded the place he earnestly desired alongside the monument to the Apostles and is num- bered among the people of God, having divine rights and mystic liturgies bestowed upon it, and enjoying participation in sacred prayers, he himself even after death holding on to imperial power.” 10

As Averil Cameron and Stuart Hall observe in their commentary on this passage: “the dead Emperor’s apotheosis comes near to becoming a Christian resurrection”. 11 The location of Constantine’s mausoleum was well chosen: on one of the hills of Con- stantinople, at the site now occupied by the Fatih Camii, alongside the northern branch of the Mese street that leads out of the city. 12 This was an ideal setup for a processional route that connected the periphery with the center of the capital and traversed the whole city along major public places. Again, Eusebius is our best source. Like everything Constantine built in Constantinople, the site was created with a view to future expansion. A huge pre- cinct was enclosed with porticoes, and next to them were “imperial houses, baths, and lamp stores and a great many other buildings suitably furnished for the custodians of the place”. 13 In the reconstruction by Cyril Mango, Constantine created his mausoleum as an octagonal structure that would have housed his sarcophagus at the east end, opposite from the en- trance, while each of the six niches on either side held two sarcophagi (which were ceno- taphs) for a total of thirteen tombs. As Eusebius’ passage suggests, Constantine designed this arrangement with a very clear expectation in mind: He wanted to profit from the pray- ers that were said on behalf of the apostles. In other words, he charged the Christian clergy with continuing his memoria, although they had played only a minor supporting role during his funeral. In equal measure, he expected the citizens of Constantinople to celebrate the anniversary of his death, by instituting an annual feast, including financial donations. Whether the image that the recently baptized emperor wished to project in the concep- tion of his burial site was as an equal to the apostles (isapostolos) or equal to Christ (isochristos) remains a much-debated topic among scholars. Even Constantine’s descend- ants may have considered the implicit message in this arrangement as going too far:

Constantius II, his son and successor and the orchestrator of his burial, built a cruciform church next to it, where the cenotaphs of the Apostles where transferred and gradually filled

10 Eusebius, Vita Constantini IV 71.2 (Winkelmann, Über das Leben des Kaisers Konstantin, 149–50; Cameron and Hall, Life of Constantine, 181, slightly altered).

11 Cameron and Hall, Life of Constantine, 348. See also the perceptive comments by Sabine G. MacComick, Art and ceremony in Late Antiquity (Berkeley 1981), 115–21, on the nexus between Constantine’s continued reign in death and the legitimacy of the succession to his rule.

12 On the building and its history, see Wolfgang Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon zur Topographie Istanbuls (Tübingen 1977), 405–11; Raymond Janin, La géographie ecclésiastique de l'Empire byzantin, I: Le siège de Constantinople et le patriarchat oecuménique, tom. 3: Les églises et les monastères (2 nd ed. Paris 1969), 41–50.

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with real relics, beginning with those of Timothy, Andrew, and Luke in the late 350s. Con- stantine’s mausoleum—now deprived of its original complete identification with the apos- tles, although still in proximity to their relics in their new resting place in the adjacent church—became the burial chapel for his family. The tomb of his mother Helena was there, and so were those of Theodosius I and later emperors up to Anastasius I in 518. 14

Constatine’s successors Eventually, Constantine’s mausoleum could not accommodate any further burials so that in the early sixth century, Justinian built a mausoleum in the same complex that was to be associated with his name. At his burial in 565, Sophia, the wife of his nephew and succes- sor Justin II, gave the order to decorate the catafalque on the bier with a purple cloak em- broidered in gold and encrusted with gemstones. It showed Justinian triumphant over bar- barians, Vandals and Italy. Considering the workmanship required for the creation of an object of this magnitude, this must have been a premeditated move, intended to display female family loyalty in conjunction with imperial victoriousness. Corippus, who reports this detail in his poem in praise of Justin II, further notes:“The energetic Sophia ordered this to be made so that the time of death might take to the imperial tomb a royal funeral procession adorned with his own triumphs.” 15 This is one of the few instances where a woman of the imperial household is recorded as active at an emperor’s death and funeral outside the confines of the imperial bedchamber. The entire site of the Holy Apostles re- mained the burial place of most of the emperors and their wives, sometimes also their sons and daughters, from the time of Constantine until 1028. 16 Constantine’s death and burial shows a pattern that would repeat itself under his succes- sors: 17 1) the rituals surrounding imperial death retain a strongly familial character, yet also acknowledge the public aspect of his rule; 2) burial occurs at a distance from the palace and it is in this spatial interstice that we can observe the public aspects of the emperor’s final departure. Constantine’s true innovation, inspired by his newly adopted Christian faith, however, was not carried on by his successors: the idea that the emperor would enjoy im- mortality through his association with the apostles. The sacrality of the emperor was limited by his mortality. It was, in the final analysis, only borrowed on God’s time, not attached to his person in life, let alone to his body in death. In later centuries, there is some scattered evidence for rituals that function as a me-

14 On the history of the sarcophagi made of porphyry, a red granite stone from Egypt, and on the possi- ble identification of some of the imperial sarcophagi in Constantinople, including that of Constantine, see now Neslihan Asutay-Effenberger and Arne Effenberger, Die Porphyrsarkophage der oströmischen Kaiser. Versuch einer Bestandserfassung, Zeitbestimmung und Zuordnung (Wiesbaden 2006), esp. 52–9.

15 Corippus, In laudem Iustini Augusti minoris libri IV I 290 (ed. and trans. by Averil Cameron, Flavius Cresconius Corippus, In laudem Iustini Augusti minoris libri IV (London 1976), 93).

16 Philip Grierson, ‘The tombs and obits of the Byzantine emperors (337–1042)’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 16 (1962), 3–63: 3–4.

17 On the death of emperors, see Phaidon Koukoules, ‘Ta kata ten taphen ton Byzantinon basileon’, Epeteris Hetaireias Byzantinon Spoudon 16 (1939), 52–78; Franz Tinnefeld, ‘Rituelle und politische Aspekte des Herrschertodes im späten Byzanz’, in Lothar Kolmer (ed.), Der Tod des Mächtigen. Kult und Kultur des Todes spätmittelalterlicher Herrscher (Paderborn 1997), 217–28; Patricia Karlin- Hayter, ‘L’adieu à l’empereur’, Byzantion 61 (1991), 112–55.

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mento mori, in the same way that victorious Roman generals are reputed to have had such sobering reminders whispered in their ear during triumphal processions to celebrate a major military victory. According to the 7 th -century Life of John the Almsgiver, the emperor was asked during the coronation ceremonies to select the marble for his tomb. 18 In the tenth century, a Muslim traveler to Constantinople, Harun ibn-Yahya, observed a ritual with similar meaning during the imperial procession on Ash Wednesday, when the emperor walked on foot, holding a golden box. Every few steps, an official shouted: “Be mindful of death, and the emperor opened the box, looked at the dust it contained, kissed it and shed tears.” 19 The fact that in his death the emperor had finally met his maker was made poign- antly clear during the funerary ritual recorded in the tenth century (which I will mention again below), when he is told: “Go forth, emperor. The emperor of emperors and the lord of lords calls you.” And in the fifteenth century, Archbishop Symeon of Thessalonike explains in his short treatise On Burial that emperors may not be buried in the sanctuary of a church, as this is the space reserved for the priests who serve at the altar. The three appropriate places for imperial burials in churches, he remarks, would be either in the narthex, or along the sides, or just in front of the chancel screen. “Because even they are laypeople, although they have been anointed as emperors. They have only been entrusted with rulership in this worldly realm.” 20

The Dqqm"qh"Egtgoqpkgu The richest documentation for the Byzantine court, including imperial deaths, stems from the middle Byzantine period, during the nearly five centuries of recovery that followed the severe losses of territory that the Empire had incurred as a result of the Arab conquests of the 640s. One document that greatly enriches our understanding of imperial rituals in By- zantium is the Book of Ceremonies. It was compiled at the behest of the Emperor Constan- tine VII Porphyrogennetos (905–959), as part of his encyclopedic effort to cherry-pick and condense various kinds of knowledge with the aim of bottling it into authoritative texts. 21 The Book of Ceremonies contains protocols of actual ceremonies that had been performed at various moments since the fifth century. It was to be of use to the Master of Ceremonies who was expected to adapt these ceremonies in his own planning of imperial occasions. 22 Imperial ceremonies are much more than celebrations of specific occasions, such as births, marriages, coronations, or funerals. Each time they are performed, they enact the elevated nature of imperial rule that transcends historical circumstance. In the perceptive

18 Leontios of Neapolis, Life of John the Almsgiver 19 (ed. by Heinrich Gelzer, Leontios von Neapolis Leben des heiligen Johannes des Barmherzigen, Erzbischofs von Alexandrien (Freiburg 1893), 36–7). See Otto Treitinger, Die oströmische Kaiser- und Reichsidee nach ihrer Gestaltung im höfischen Ze- remoniell (Jena 1938, repr. Darmstadt 1956), 147–9, on Vergänglichkeitssymbolik.

19 Harun ibn-Yahya, quoted in Treitinger, Oströmische Kaiser- und Reichsidee, 148.

20 Symeon of Thessalonike, De ordine sepulturae (PG 155, 677).

21 On the challenges of interpreting the evidence of Byzantine rituals, see Michael McCormick, ‘Ana- lyzing imperial ceremonies’, Jahrbuch der Österreichischen Byzantinistik 35 (1985), 1–20.

22 Appended to the Book of Ceremonies in some manuscripts was a list of imperial burials in the Church of the Holy Apostles; Grierson, ‘Tombs and obits’, 7–8. On the literary patronage of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos, see Ihor Sevcenko, ‘Re-reading Constantine Porphyrogenitus’, in Jonathan Shep- ard and Simon Franklin (eds.), Byzantine diplomacy. Papers from the twenty-fourth spring symposi- um of Byzantine studies, Cambridge, March 1990 (Aldershot 1992), 167–95.

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words of Otto Treitinger, ceremonies represent the “vollzogene and vollziehende Transzendierung” of imperial power. 23 This extended symbolic importance also applies to those who participate in the ceremonies. They are much more than individuals who hold a specific office or rank, or the delegates of the demes, i.e. the Blues or the Greens, citizen bodies named after the horse-racing support teams that were their origin. Their participation signals and affirms the importance that is accorded to the group they represent. In other words, they were recognized as an integral and essential component in the dialogic relation between affirmation and acceptance of imperial power. 24 In the context of imperial deaths, it is therefore of great importance to investigate which groups or institutions were permitted to participate in the rituals of final departure from the world and who were the people ex- pected to carry on the deceased emperor’s commemoration. A large section of Book I of the Book of Ceremonies is dedicated to rituals involving the imperial family, such as the coronation of emperor and empress, the celebration of the birth of a successor in the purple room (the porphyra, where Constantine himself had been born), and the promotion of courtiers to various ranks. 25 It is in this context that imperial funerals are also treated, and the assumption has been made that these ritual prescriptions have been observed, more or less unchanged, since at least the sixth century. 26 In keeping with the character of this text as a handbook for court officials, the description of the imperial funer- ary rites begins as the body of the deceased emperor leaves the domestic space of the pal- ace. Until then, his death would have been much like that of any other layman: attended by his wife and children, perhaps also physicians, with the obvious assistance of domestic servants. 27 Like laypeople, emperors may have benefited from the visit of a priest who would have said prayers and perhaps administered the eucharist, but the practice of last unction was unknown in Byzantium. Immediately after death, the closest relative had the duty and honor to close the eyes and mouth. Then the quiet would be broken by the lament. This was a terrifying moment, when the women loosed or even cut their hair, tore open their garments to beat their bare breasts and made loud, shrieking noises to express their grief. Eventually, the body would be washed and then wrapped in a light linen cloth and placed on a bier. At this moment, the public part of death began. In a private household,

23 Treitinger, Oströmische Kaiser- und Reichsidee, 153.

24 On this complex issue, see Hans-Georg Beck, Senat und Volk von Konstantinopel. Probleme der byzantinischen Verfassungsgeschichte (Munich 1966).

25 De ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae I 60 (ed. by Johann J. Reiske, Constantini Porphyrogeniti imperatoris de cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae libri duo Graece et Latine, 2 vols. (Bonn 1829–1830), i 275–6). See also the insightful interpretation of this ritual by Treitinger, Oströmische Kaiser- und Reichsidee, 155–7.

26 See Averil Cameron’s discussion of the funeral of the Emperor Justinian, as recorded in the Latin panegyric by Corippus on his successor, Justin II. Here, too, the movement begins with a private moment of the nephew in the presence of his deceased predecessor before the funerary cortège be- gins; Cameron, Flavius Cresconius Corippus, 179–82.

27 For a good overview of the rituals surrounding death, see Nicholas Constas, ‘Death and dying in Byzantium’, in Derek Krueger (ed.), Byzantine Christianity (Minneapolis 2006), 124–45; Phaidon Koukoules, ‘Byzantinon nekrika ethima’, Epeteris Hetaireias Byzantinon Spoudon 16 (1940), 3–80; more general is George T. Dennis, ‘Death in Byzantium’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 55 (2001), 1–7.

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neighbors and visitors would come to pay their final respects, before the body was carried to its burial. The passage in the Book of Ceremonies begins at just this moment of transition from a small private setting to ever-widening public view when the dead emperor was carried out on a golden litter in full imperial regalia, dressed in a golden tunic and wearing a crown. 28 The litter was then placed in the Hall of the Nineteen Couches, the imperial banqueting hall which was large enough to accommodate up to 228 guests. 29 This was one of the larger halls within the palace area and designed to allow for the easy movement of throngs of people. Now the clergy of the patriarchal church of Hagia Sophia, as well as all the men of senatorial rank came in, festively dressed, while chanting. Two men were in charge of or- chestrating the ceremony, the praepositus sacri cubiculi or Grand Chamberlain, and the Master of Ceremonies. At a signal of the Chamberlain, the latter intoned three times: “Go forth, Emperor. The Emperor of Emperors and Lord of Lords calls you.” It was a poignant moment, as if the emperor was resisting his fate and needed prodding. This formula, which appeals to the Byzantine taste for word play and paradox, allowed the imperial officials to maintain the fiction that it was the emperor who moved on out of his own volition, rather than being carried by others. From the Hall of the Nineteen Couches, the body of the emperor was carried to the Chalke where, we are told, “the customary rites are performed”. The Chalke has already been mentioned as the large entrance that served as a ceremonial axis between the city and the palace area. Again, the “Go forth” was repeated three times. Then the body was carried out by the imperial senior sword bearers to the site of the funeral, where psalms were chanted. The “Go forth” was chanted as before, followed by the command “Take down the crown from your head”. Again, the emperor was addressed directly, as if he were still alive. It would have been presumptuous for any one of his subjects to approach him without per- mission. After this command, the praepositus removed the crown and replaced it with a different head-covering that was composed of individual pieces and purple silk, before placing the body in the tomb. 30

Death and burial of Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos So much for the official instructions in the Book of Ceremonies. In keeping with its purpose as providing stage instructions for the Master of Ceremonies, it is focused on the imperial courtiers and their movements. We are in the fortunate position to be able to compare these instructions with the narration of the death in 959 of none other than the instigator of the Book of Ceremonies, Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos. It is preserved in the so-called chronicle of Theophanes Continuatus of the tenth century, which has been shown to be based on a patchwork of different sources subjected to more or less thorough revision. 31 Although not entirely identical, these two accounts, one prescriptive, the other descriptive,

28 Byzantium did not possess anything analogous to Reichsinsignien. Various crowns were available for ritual use at any given moment. In rare instances, they could also be given away as diplomatic gifts.

29 Kazhdan and McCormick, ‘The social world of the Byzantine court’, 167–97, 176.

30 The Greek word is sementeinon, which Reiske reads as a borrowing from the Latin segmentium.

31 Theophanes Continuatus VI 51–3 (ed. by Immanuel Bekker, Theophanes Continuatus, Ioannes Cameniata, Symeon Magister, Georgius Monachus (Bonn 1838), 466–8).

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are remarkably similar. For this reason, it has been suggested that they should be attributed to the same redactor, Basil Lekapenos, who appears in the chronicle as the intimate associ- ate of the emperor. 32 In the chronicler’s account, the focus shifts to the inside of the palace and we see the imperial family in action. At the beginning of this narration, the emperor was very much the driving force. As he felt his end approaching, he undertook a journey to Mount Olympus in Bithynia, a famous settlement of monks 300 km east of the capital, in order to profit from their prayers. His illness deteriorated on his return, and as soon as he reached Constantinople, he called his son Romanos II, who had been co-emperor for the last 14 years, and designated him as his successor. Next we see the Empress Helen spring into action as she directed the entire imperial household. Together with her children, Basil the parakoimomenos (the emperor’s personal butler, literally ‘the one who sleeps next to him’) and the male domestic servants (cubicularii), they “pour out” around the emperor’s bed where he lay struggling and in pain. They intoned a loud lament and drenched his bed with their tears. The narrator calls these tears “vain and useless”, unable to prevent his death. At the very end, there was the appearance of choirs of monks, martyrs, and hierarchs (i.e. clergy), who “entrusted his all-holy spirit to the hands of angels”. It is not clear wheth- er these are actual clergy who were summoned to the palace or whether we are meant to imagine, along with the delirious emperor, a heavenly host coming to assist him, which is more likely. Now the body was moved from the familial sphere of the imperial bedchamber to the more visible area of the imperial palace. It is from this point onwards that the narra- tion in Theophanes Continuatus closely parallels the instructions in the Book of Ceremo- nies. The body was brought to the Hall of the Nineteen Couches, which Constantine him- self had restored, 33 then to the Chalke. There, we are told, he received the last kiss by the patriarch and priests, and also by magistri, patricii, and all the men of senatorial rank—a detail that is absent from the Book of Ceremonies. This is the only time that the chronicler unambiguously reports the involvement of representatives of the church. From here, in Theophanes Continuatus’ description, the dead emperor crossed the next boundary, from the palace into the public eye of the city. The narrator underlines the signif- icance of this transition by his choice of words, explaining that Constantine VII’s body was removed “from the imperial house”, as if the palace were no different from a private resi- dence. Once the ceremoniarius had intoned “Go forth”, the emperor was carried on a gold- en bier, surrounded by spear-bearers, onto the main street and all the way to the Church of the Holy Apostles, preceded by all the senators who were intoning the appropriate chants. This procession was a great public spectacle, accompanied by large crowds and watched by bystanders. In Theophanes Continuatus’ description as well as in the Book of Ceremonies, Constan- tine VII’s actual burial at the Church of the Holy Apostles did not involve any clergy. 34 It remained a family affair and a matter of the imperial household. At the burial site, it was

32 Basil was also the bastard son of Romanos I Lekapenos, who had acted as a regent during the infancy of Constantine VII; Jeffrey M. Featherstone, ‘Theophanes Continuatus VI and De Ceremoniis I. 96’, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 104 (2011), 115–23.

33 Theophanes Continuatus VI 20 (Bekker, Theophanes Continuatus, 449–50).

34 He was buried in the Holy Apostles complex, in the mausoleum of Constantine, which had been re- activated as an imperial burial chapel by his grandfather Basil I, the founder of the Macedonian dyn- asty; Grierson, ‘Tombs and obits’, 27.

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the emperor’s personal attendant, Basil the Parakoimomenos, who took over. “With his own hands—as is customary for the dead—he takes his all-holy body and winds him in a burial shroud in the manner of Lazarus.” Encapsulated in this sentence are the two aspects present in the emperor’s death: Although his body may be “all-holy”, death is the great equalizer and his single hope is that of any Christian: to participate in the resurrection of all mankind that Jesus had demonstrated by raising Lazarus from the dead. Constantine VII was then deposited into the prepared sarcophagus and tomb, and buried next to his father Leo VI, as a sign of his “unity and love” for his father even beyond death. 35 The Holy Apostles site that had originally been founded by Constantine the Great re- mained an important place for imperial burials, both in reality and in the pious imagination of posterity. In retrospect, the 12 th -century Byzantine historian Zonaras ‘christianized’ the funeral of Jovian, the successor of Julian Apostate. According to the 4 th -century author Eutropios, Jovian “had been received among the gods”, in apotheosis, like his staunchly pagan predecessor, yet Zonaras claimed that he had been buried together with his wife in the Holy Apostles. 36 The Macedonian dynasty to which Constantine VII belonged strengthened their associa- tions with the Holy Apostles site as a way to underline their legitimacy. This was necessary because Constantine’s grandfather and founder of the dynasty, Basil I, had come to the throne by irregular means in 867, after the murder of his erstwhile benefactor and predeces- sor, Michael III. Leo VI (887–912), Basil’s son and Constantine’s father, had instituted the custom of prayers to be held at the tomb of Constantine the Great on the second day of Easter by the emperor and the patriarch. 37 Constantine VII himself celebrated the annual feast in commemoration of Constantine the Great and his construction of the Holy Apostles by praying at the tombs of his ancestors, those of his grandfather Basil I, his father Leo, and Leo’s first wife Theophano (who was not Constantine’s mother: he was the offspring of Leo’s fourth liaison, with Zoe Karbonopsina, born in the porphyry bedchamber of the pal- ace before his parents were married), as well as that of Constantine the Great. 38 The first Christian emperor may have wished to benefit from the commemoration of the apostles when he built his mausoleum. Six centuries later, Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos in his turn would have expected to profit from his association with his illustrious namesake and distant predecessor in office when he anticipated his burial in the same location. Dynastic considerations dictated that the preservation of pious memory of predecessors in the impe- rial office became the same as that of ancestors: a family affair, although distinguished by the participation of the patriarch.

35 For the use of the color purple by the emperor in rituals of coronation, promotions, and in imperial funerals, see Elisabeth Pilz, ‘Middle Byzantine court costume’, in Maguire, Byzantine court culture, 39–51: 50.

36 For Eutropius, see n. 5 above; Ioannes Zonaras, Epitomae Historiarum XIII 14 (ed. by Moritz Pinder and Theodor Büttner-Wobst, Ioannis Zonarae Epitomae Historiarum, 3 vols. (Bonn 1841–1897), iii

72.15–7).

37 De ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae I 10 (Reiske, Constantini Porphyrogeniti imperatoris de cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae, i 76–7).

38 De ceremoniis aulae Byzantinae II 6 (Reiske, Constantini Porphyrogeniti imperatoris de cerimoniis aulae Byzantinae, i 532–5).

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The family model was strong. Already in the ninth century, as Judith Herrin has shown, imperial women such as Irene or Theodora took great care to bring together the remains of deceased family members at the same funerary site that was also designated for future gen- erations, so that the celebration of the memoria of each individual at the same time served as an affirmation of dynastic claims. 39 It was with the same intentions that the regent for Constantine VII, Romanos I Lekapenos (920–944), transformed the Myrelaion palace by adding a monastery where first his wife and later he himself, as well as many other family members, were buried, although we are not informed what provisions he made for their commemoration. 40

Death and burial of Basil II Constantine VII’s grandson, Basil II (ob. 1025), made a very conscious break with tradi- tion. He had achieved a spectacular victory against the Bulgarian Kingdom under Tsar Samuel, which earned him the later epithet of ‘Bulgar-Slayer’. In this spirit, he composed his own epitaph in verse:

“Other past emperors previously designated for themselves other burial places. But I Basil, born in the purple chamber, place my tomb on the site of the Hebdomon [Palace]

and take sabbath’s rest from the endless toils which I fulfilled in wars and which I endured. For nobody saw my spear at rest, from when the Emperor of Heaven called me to the rulership of this great empire on earth, but I kept vigilant through the whole span of my life guarding the children of New Rome marching bravely to the West, and as far as the very frontiers of the East. The Persians and Scythians bear witness to this and along with them Abasgos, Ismael, Araps, Iber. And now, good man, looking upon this tomb reward it with prayers in return for my campaigns.” 41

Basil II did not marry, nor did he produce any offspring. All his efforts were directed to being a soldier and to protecting the empire. This inscription evokes the restlessness of the deceased emperor’s toil on behalf of the Empire on several levels: first, and most obvious-

39 Judith Herrin, ‘Moving bones: Evidence for political burials from medieval Constantinople’, in Vin- cent Déroche (ed.), Mélanges Gilbert Dagron (Paris 2002), 287–94.

40 Theophanes Continuatus VI 9, ll. 8–11 (Bekker, Theophanes Continuatus, 408); cf. VI 10, ll. 2–3 (Bekker, Theophanes Continuatus, 404). Janin, Églises et monastères, 351–4.

41 Paul Stephenson, The legend of Basil the Bulgar-Slayer (Cambridge 2003), 49 and 126–7, for the marble sarcophagus (now lost) that may have served as his tomb; idem, ‘The tomb of Basil II’, in Lars M. Hoffmann and Anuscha Monchizadeh (eds.), Zwischen Polis, Provinz und Peripherie. Beiträge zur byzantinischen Geschichte und Kultur (Wiesbaden 2005), 227–37: 230–1.

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ly, in its emphasis on Basil’s military campaigns and their geographical extent; second, by drawing attention to Basil’s very conscious break with tradition in choosing his burial site (a sarcophagus had already been made for him at the Holy Apostles site, which was later used by his brother and successor, Constantine VIII); and third, by invoking the prayers not of family or kin, but of passers-by, including members of the military, who would chance upon his tomb. This is entirely in line with Basil’s personal preferences. He was more in touch with the soldier and the common man than with the niceties of court life. The location Basil II chose for his burial is significant. The Hebdomon was, as its name suggests, seven miles distant from the city center, just outside the walls. Located in this area were the assembly ground for the imperial troops as well as churches of John the Evangelist and John the Baptist. 42 The site offered suitable resonances for an emperor who prided himself on his military achievements, situated as it was on the main southern thor- oughfare out of Constantinople and connected to the Via Egnatia that was built for long- distance movement of the army all the way across the Balkans and on to Rome. Beginning with the accession of Valens in 364, it was the location for the proclamation of many em- perors before their entry into Constantinople. It was also the place where the emperor would assemble with his troops after a victorious campaign to lead them in triumphal pro- cession through the Golden Gate and into the city. Basil himself had led such a triumph in 1019, after his victory over the Bulgarian kingdom. Unlike his grandfather Constantine VII, Basil II did not put any stake in the prestigious and tradition-soaked site of the Holy Apos- tles. His funerary arrangement suggests that he depended on casual visitors and the military men who would regularly stop in this location, as well as the clergy of the Church of St John the Evangelist to commemorate him in their prayers. 43

The commemoration of the dead under the Komnenian dynasty Towards the end of the middle Byzantine period there is a surprisingly nonchalant attitude to the memoria of deceased emperors in church circles. In the Synaxarion of the Church of Constantinople, a tenth-century compilation that notes the feast days of saints and im- portant anniversaries for the city’s history, such as sieges and earthquakes, “liturgical commemorations of emperors and princes play a very minor role”, as Philip Grierson has noted. 44 Basil II’s younger brother and successor Constantine VIII (1025–1028) was the last emperor to be buried in the Holy Apostles. Interestingly, this was also the time when the emperors abandoned the Great Palace as a residence in favor of the Blachernae palace on the northwestern edge of the city. The old palace buildings in the former city center were

42 For the early history of the site, see Robert Demangel, Contribution à la topographie de l'Hebdomon (Paris 1945).

43 That ‘strangers’ should visit the tomb of a deceased emperor is also anticipated in the verse inscrip- tion associated with the stone slab that covered the tomb of Manuel I Komnenos (ob. 1180) in the Pantokrator monastery. It was believed to be the stone on which the body of Christ had lain as it was being readied for burial. When it was brought from Ephesus to Constantinople 11 years earlier, the Emperor himself had carried it on his shoulders. See Cyril A. Mango, ‘Notes on Byzantine monu- ments’, Dumbarton Oaks Papers 23–24 (1969–1970), 369–75: 372–5. The poem begins: “Admire these things as thou seest them, O stranger”.

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henceforth only used for some ceremonial functions. 45 In the twelfth century, Nikolaos Mesarites recorded a summary list of 18 tombs at the Holy Apostles complex, clearly based on sketchy information. Rather than lamenting the paucity of his sources, he stated dis- missively: “concerning the others, why should we care, since their memories are buried with them in their tombs.” 46 Those who did care were the family members of emperors, similar to the tendency we have already observed under the Macedonian emperors and some of their predecessors. With the Komnenian dynasty in late eleventh century, the dynastic interest in imperial commemoration becomes firmly associated with monastic foundations. 47 The same tenden- cy of a fusion of dynastic interests with the patronage of monasteries, promoted through the agency of women, has been observed for the German kingdom in the tenth and eleventh century by Patrick Geary. 48 Our information for this period in Byzantine history is greatly enriched by the monastic foundation charters (typika). Each founder generates her or his own typikon to define the financial setup and guiding rules for the organization of the new monastery. They often also explain their motivation for this pious act. The founder of the dynasty, Alexios I Komnenos (1081–1118), built the monastery of Christ Philanthropos, which eventually served as his burial chapel, although it is not clear whether that purpose was part of the founder’s intention. 49 Alexios himself was known as a great supporter of the monks as well as for his piety and penitential stance. 50 Adjacent to this monastery his wife, Irene Doukaina Komnena, founded the Convent of the Mother of God Kecharitomene (‘full of grace’) some time in the first two decades of the twelfth century. Her typikon 51 stipulates that at every celebration of the eucharist, prayers should be said for the remission of the sins of the emperor, the empress, and members of their family. 52 An entire chapter “Concerning different commemorations that must be confirmed annually” 53 lists the members of her family, male and female, blood-relations and in-laws, her parents and her offspring who

45 Grierson, ‘Tombs and obits’, 29.

46 Nikolaos Mesarites, Description of the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople XL 10 (ed. and trans. by Glanville Downey, Nikolaos Mesarites: Description of the Church of the Holy Apostles at Constantinople (Philadelphia 1957), 892–3).

47 See the useful summary by Lyn Rodley, ‘The art and architecture of Alexios I Komnenos’, in Marga- ret Mullett and Dion Smythe (eds.), Alexios I Komnenos (Belfast 1996), 339–58: 340–3.

48 Patrick J. Geary, Phantoms of remembrance. Memory and oblivion at the end of the first millennium (Princeton 1994), 48–80.

49 Janin, Églises et monastères, 525–7. His mother, Anna Dalassena, had founded the Monastery of Christ Pantepoptes (‘who sees all’), which served as her place of retirement; Janin, Églises et monastères, 513–5.

50 Michael Angold, ‘Alexios I Komnenos: an afterword’, in Mullett and Smythe, Alexios I Komnenos,

408–16.

51 Janin, Églises et monastères, 188–91.

52 Typikon of Kecharitomene 34 (ed. by Paul Gaultier, ‘Le typikon de la Théotokos Kécharitôménè’, Revue des études byzantines 43 (1985), 5–165: 83–5; trans. by Robert Jordan in John Thomas and Angela Constantinides Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents: A complete translation of the surviving founders’ typika and testaments, 5 vols. (Washington 2000), ii 687–8, online at:

http://www.doaks.org/publications/doaks_online_publications/typ000.html).

53 Typikon of Kecharitomene 71 (Gaultier, ‘Le typikon de la Théotokos Kécharitôménè’, 119–25; trans. by Robert Jordan in Thomas and Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents, ii 700–2: quotation on 700).

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were to benefit from such prayers. These celebrations always involved expensive lighting of the church, the blessing of additional loaves of bread during the liturgy to be distributed as charity, and special fare at the table of the monks or nuns. The emperor’s anniversary even trumped regular dietary prescriptions for fasting. “For it is necessary that the person who is special among mankind should gain a special commemoration.” With her convent, Irene Doukaina Komnena established a powerful tradition that would be echoed by her son, John II Komnenos (ruled 1118–1143), and her daughter, Anna Komnena (lived 1083–1153). Together with his wife Eirene-Piroska, the daughter of King Ladislas of Hungary, John was the founder of the monastery of Christ Pantokrator (‘the All- Ruler’). 54 The monastery included a hospital famous for its medical training, a home for old people, and, at some distance, a sanatorium for lepers. Six further monasteries were admin- istratively dependent on it and contributed to its income. It was later converted into a mosque (Zeyrek Kilise Camii) and still now represents the most important remaining archi- tectural monument of the middle Byzantine period. 55 The monastery boasted of an ensem- ble of three churches. One of them, the church of the Archangel Michael, served as a mor- tuary chapel for the imperial family. Many members of the Komnenian dynasty and of the Palaiologan dynasty that succeeded it in the thirteenth century were buried here, including John’s wife Eirene (ob. 1134). When John died in 1143 in a hunting accident in Cilicia, the monastery served as a place of confinement for his older son Isaak, until the emperor’s younger son and designated successor Manuel had brought the body of his father back to Constantinople, buried it in his parents’ foundation and secured the throne for himself. 56 John was even more articulate than his mother about the motivations for his foundation. John’s typikon, dated 1136, requires that during each celebration of the liturgy, “our tombs” be censed while the monks sing the trisagion—once while he was still alive, twice after his death. In addition, he made future provision that a special prayer should be recited for the deceased emperors:

“Remember, Lord, our orthodox rulers and founders who are at rest and pardon for them every voluntary and involuntary sin committed by them in word or deed or thought and make them dwell in the places of light, in green places where all pain, grief, and sorrow have fled away, where the sight of thy face gladdens all thy saints

54 Vassiliki Dimitropoulou, ‘Imperial women founders and refounders in Komnenian Constantinople’, in Margaret Mullett (ed.), Founders and refounders of Byzantine monasteries (Belfast 2007), 87–106:

89–90.

55 Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon, 208–15; Janin, Églises et monastères, 515–23.

56 Ioannes Kinnamos, Epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Manuele Comnenis gestarum I 10–II 1 (ed. by Au- gust Meineke, Ioannis Cinnami Epitome rerum ab Ioanne et Alexio Comnenis gestarum ad fidem codicis Vaticani (Bonn 1836), 22–32; trans. by Charles M. Brand, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus (New York 1976), 27–34). Like that of Constantine the Great, this was a death far away from the capital. Unlike Constantine, John on his deathbed requested the prayers of a monastic holy man from Pamphylia (not a priest or bishop!), after announcing his choice of successor to the nobles and generals who were present. Niketas Choniates adds the further detail that the ailing emperor took communion as it happened to be Easter: Niketas Choniates, Historia 41 (ed. by Jan L. van Dieten, Nicetae Choniatae Historia (Berlin 1975), 41; trans. by Harry J. Magoulias, O City of Byzantium. Annals of Niketas Choniates (Detroit 1984), 24). On this emperor’s reign, see Paul Magdalino, The empire of Manuel I Komnenos, 1143–1180 (Cambridge 1993).

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for ever, and grant them thy kingdom and the favor of participating in indescribable and everlasting benefits and thine eternal and blessed life. For thou are the life and repose of those who are at rest and to thee be the glory.” 57

The founder made further demands for daily liturgical commemoration, the continuous lighting of lamps at his tomb, and the regular distribution of charity “for his soul”. He was willing to incur considerable expense: The total expenditure for his commemoration and that of his wife was to amount up to “a third of the revenues from his landed property”. 58 Annual commemorations of the death of his father, himself, his wife, and his son Alexios were to involve the patients and staff of the hospital, as well as the inhabitants of the old age home and the lepers. 59 The supplications of the destitute and needy, for whom John made generous provision, were considered to be especially efficacious in propitiating Christ on the emperor’s behalf, as he explains in the concluding prayer of his foundation charter:

“Bend thine ear with compassion to the anguished entreaties of our brothers and grant pardon to our transgressions. Accept those who are the living dead, half- separated from their bodies and half-dead, as supplicants of thy goodness begging for thy compassion on our behalf.” 60

Another set of boundaries is at work here: Desperate and destitute people, at the margins of society and on the threshold between life and death, are believed to be particularly effective intercessors with God. 61 The sick and needy are elevated to a staatstragende group and charged with a role in the liturgical commemoration of the deceased emperor that in other instances had been entrust- ed to family members, citizens who received donations, members of the military, or pass- ers-by. But there is more at play: by declaring his dependence on the prayers of the sick and destitute, John II Komnenos, the emperor and founder, assumed a penitential stance of self- abasement in perpetuity. As Eleanor Congdon observes:

“The extended discussions of the hospital, the leprosia, and the hospice for the aged must be understood in terms of the emperor’s desire for commemoration. Every ill-

57 Typikon of Pantokrator 2–3 (ed. by Paul Gaultier, ‘Le typikon du Christ Sauveur Pantocrator’, Revue des études byzantines 32 (1974), 1–145: 35; trans. by Robert Jordan in Thomas and Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents, ii 739–40, online at: http://www.doaks.org/publications/

doaks_online_publications/typ000.html).

58 Typikon of Pantokrator 8 (Gaultier, ‘Le typikon du Christ Sauveur Pantocrator’, 47; trans. by Jordan in Thomas and Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents, ii 743).

59 Typikon of Pantokrator 44, 59, 63 (Gaultier, ‘Le typikon du Christ Sauveur Pantocrator’, 89–91, 109, 111–3; trans. by Jordan in Thomas and Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents, ii 759, 766,

767–8).

60 Typikon of Pantokrator 71 (Gaultier, ‘Le typikon du Christ Sauveur Pantocrator’, 129; trans. by Jordan in Thomas and Hero, Byzantine monastic foundation documents, ii 773).

61 The nexus between charitable deeds and the commemoration of the dead had a long tradition in all areas of Christendom. Aristocrats in 7 th - and 8 th -centuries Francia granted liberty to certain people in their testaments with the stipulation that they would participate in the annual commemoration of their benefactor’s death: Ingrid Heidrich, ‘Freilassungen als Sicherung des Totengedächtnisses im frühen Frankenreich’, in Uwe Ludwig (ed.), Nomen et fraternitas. Festschrift für Dieter Geuenich zum 65. Geburtstag (Berlin 2008), 221–33.

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ness that was treated by the doctors of the foundation, every poor old person who filled out his last days better than he had lived his others, every leper who found comfort during his affliction, would be counted in heaven as a good deed done at the behest of John II. Further, these poor people could also add their own prayers for the founder to those prescribed in the typikon. The emperor could call upon no other more potent earthly deeds than their intervention to secure his salvation.” 62

In doing so, John II Komnenos was following in the footsteps of his father. Alexios had engaged in visible and public acts of penance on more than one occasion, after his violent takeover of the reins of government, and again after appropriating church property to fi- nance his wars. 63 Yet at the same time, his role as monastic founder and benefactor enabled him to generate healing and to undo the social ills that afflicted his beneficiaries, thereby creating in his monastery an anticipation of heaven. Alexios’ devoted daughter Anna elabo- rates on this notion in her comments on her father’s charitable foundation. With its many dwellings for adults and children who were handicapped or otherwise in need of assistance, it truly appeared as a city within a city, she claimed. Although Alexios was unable to offer a Feeding of the Five Thousand or a Raising of the Paralytic, Anna explains, the emperor’s charity is not merely a pious act of imitatio Christi, but also comes close to working a mira- cle. 64 The imperial family of the Komneni thus displayed a new form of piety which em- phasized sinfulness and the need for self-abasement. Like many aristocratic founders of monasteries of the time, they were driven by the anxious desire to secure from their benefi- ciaries the intercession for their sins while expressing their dependence on the memorializa- tion by the sick and destitute. 65 Anna Komnena, the daughter of Irene Doukaina Komnena and Alexios I Komnenos, re- tired to her mother’s convent of Kecharitomene around 1136, after the death of her husband Nikephoros Bryennios. It was here that, during the last five years of her life until her death in 1153/54, she composed the Alexiad, a mixture of narrative history, family memoir and eulogy of her beloved and admired father. The work is written from the perspective of the emperor’s oldest child, a woman proud of her erudition, who had on several occasions harbored hopes of gaining the throne for her spouse. Anna offers her readers a private viewing of the death of her father. She describes the desperate efforts of a team of three physicians to give him relief during the final two weeks of an illness that affected his respiratory tract. Mostly, he was attended by his wife and his daughters. Anna herself mashed up his food to make it easier for him to swallow, her moth- er twice gave orders to move his bed to a different part of the palace in the hope of facilitat- ing his breathing. There were also servants who took care of his body (his symptoms in-

62 Eleanor A. Congdon, ‘Imperial commemoration and ritual in the typikon of the Monastery of Christ Pantokrator’, Revue des études byzantines 54 (1999), 161–99: 169.

63 This is noted in conjunction with Alexios’ foundation of a huge complex for the care of orphans (orphanotropheion) by Paul Magdalino, ‘Innovations in government’, in Mullett and Smythe, Alexios I Komnenos, 146–66: 158.

64 Anna Komnena, Alexias XV 7 (ed. by Diether R. Reinsch and Athanasios Kambylis, Annae Comnenae Alexias, 2 vols. (Berlin 2001), i 481–5; trans. by Elisabeth A. Dawes, The Alexiad (Lon- don 1928), 410).

65 Michael Angold, Church and society in Byzantium under the Comneni, 1081–1261 (Cambridge 1995), 265–316.

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cluded severe diarrhea). But again, no clergy in the immediate presence of the household. Religion may have been of vital importance to these pious foundresses and founders, but the final moments of life were strictly a family matter. 66 Alexios’ wife Irene, we are told, “made still more fervent intercessions to God on his behalf, and had numbers of candles lighted in every sanctuary and continuous and endless hymns sung, and largess distributed to the dwellers in every land and on every sea. And all the monks who dwelt on mountains or in caves or led their solitary life elsewhere she stirred up to making lengthy supplica- tions. And all those who were sick or confined in prison and worn out with suffering she made very rich by donations and invited them to offer prayers for the Emperor”. Here, just like in John’s typikon, it was not only the clergy in individual churches, but especially the socially and economically, and indeed physically embattled whose prayers were called upon. Anna, who was visibly proud of her medical knowledge, presents herself as the last per- son to feel her father’s pulse fading. At that moment, the ritual lament began:

“The Empress understood what that meant and in absolute despair uttered a sudden loud, far-reaching shriek. How can I possibly picture the disaster which overtook the whole world? or how deplore my own condition? the Empress took off her royal veil and caught hold of a knife and cut off all her hair close to the skin and threw off the red shoes from her feet and demanded ordinary black sandals. And when she wanted to change her purple dress for a black garment, no dress could be found at hand. But the third of my sisters had garments suitable for the time and occasion, as she had al- ready experienced the ills of widowhood, so the Empress took them and dressed her- self and put on a plain dark veil on her head. And at this moment the Emperor re- signed his holy soul to God, and my sun went down. Persons who were addicted to emotion sang dirges, beat their breasts and raised their voices to heaven in shrill la- ments weeping for their benefactor who had provided all things for them.” 67

It is on this note of personal lament that Anna concludes her history of her father’s reign, and it is easy to imagine her in her old age as she was writing this in the convent her mother had founded, with her father’s death over 30 years ago still engraved in her memory. Anna’s account of the death of the founder of the Komnenian dynasty is focused on the emperor’s deathbed and the role of the women of the imperial household during his final departure. Two further contemporary authors, Ioannes Zonaras 68 and Niketas Choniates, 69

66 Other contemporary authors, although writing from a more distant vantage point in 1154, confirm that Alexios’ immediate family rallied around his deathbed in a display of familial unity at a precari- ous moment of dynastic succession. Their presence was such that it crowded out the servants of the bedchamber (cubicularii), the emperor’s immediate associates (hetairoi), and the guardsmen, who would all have been considered members of the imperial household: Demetrios Tornikes, Eulogy of Anna Komnena (ed. and trans. by Jean Darrouzès, Georges et Dèmètios Tronikès, Lettres et discours (Paris 1970), 267.18–269.18).

67 Anna Komnena, Alexias XV 11.19–20 (Reinsch and Kambylis, Annae Comnenae Alexias, i 503; Dawes, The Alexiad, 426, modified).

68 Ioannes Zonaras, Epitomae Historiarum XVIII 28–30 (ed. Pinder and Büttner-Wobst, Ioannis Zonarae Epitomae Historiarum, iii 759.1–768.33; German trans. Erich Trapp, Militärs und Höflinge im Ringen um das Kaisertum. Byzantinische Geschichte von 969 bis 1118 nach der Chronik des Jo- hannes Zonaras (Graz 1986), 178–84).

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tell a more complicated story centered on the same emperor’s death as a moment of transi- tion in power that was fraught with the potential danger of political unrest. 70 Ioannes Zonaras had been a loyal servant to Alexios I Komnenos, first as the head of the imperial chancery, later as the head of the imperial bodyguard. Like Anna, he spent the last years of his life in a monastic retreat where he wrote his world chronicle that ends with the year 1118. Zonaras’ account is written from the vantage point not of an eyewitness, but of someone with privileged information. He reports that during the early stage of his final illness, Alexios was attended by physicians in the eastern part of the Great Palace, but was later transferred to the Mangana Palace where the better air quality was hoped to ease his breathing. 71 It is there that he died, surrounded by physicians as well as his wife and daugh- ters. His son John, both Zonaras and Choniates continue, anxious to gain the throne for himself against other strong contenders, paid only the briefest of visits to convince himself that his father was truly on the threshold of death before springing into action to claim the succession to the throne. He first secured the support of relatives, military leaders, and senators, then had himself proclaimed emperor by the clergy of Hagia Sophia. Next he went to the Great Palace with his ever-increasing entourage of supporters and, through a combi- nation of force and persuasion, managed to gain access to the structure with its staff of servants and guardsmen. In the telling of these two historians, the private nature of this emperor’s death and especially of his burial was a matter of regret. Zonaras remarks that no servants were present to clean his catafalque, no imperial adornments were at hand to be placed on his body as it was laid out, and he received no proper burial. Choniates adds that the funeral procession brought the body for burial to the Monastery of Christ Philanthropos, which Alexios had built. The occasion was not even attended by his son John, who was so eager to maintain his new position in charge of the Great Palace that he held on to it, “like an octopus clinging to the rocks”. This may well have been one of the moments for which John II Komnenos later sought atonement by founding the monastery of Christ Pantokrator.

Conclusion An excellent study by Diether Reinsch examines how the literary depiction of imperial deaths developed since the Macedonian dynasty. 72 He notes, as has also been confirmed here, a tendency over time to emphasize the common humanity of the emperor, rather than his sacral character. This is evident especially in elaborate descriptions of the emperor’s final illness, which is no longer presented as divine reward or punishment, but simply re- ported with a detached clinical gaze. By the early ninth century, triumphant Christianity as championed by Constantine the Great faded. Instead, it was a private and penitential mode of Christianity that the emperors assumed for themselves. The streamlined administration of the Roman Empire, which the Byzantines continued to claim as their identity-forming historical heritage, was but the shadow of a memory. The court was no longer a domain of

69 Niketas Choniates, Historia 4–8 (van Dieten, Nicetae Choniatae Historia, 4–8; Magoulias, O City of Byzantium, 6–7).

70 This aspect is treated by Karlin-Hayter, ‘L’adieu à l’empereur’.

71 Müller-Wiener, Bildlexikon, 136–8; Robert Demangel and Ernest Mamboury, Le quartier des Man- ganes et la première région de Constantinople (Paris 1939), 40–1.

72 Diether Reinsch, ‘Der Tod des Kaisers. Beobachtungen zu literarischen Darstellungen des Sterbens byzantinischer Herrscher’, Rechtshistorisches Journal 13 (1994), 247–70.

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officials that were independently appointed for a specific task, but was increasingly orga- nized and conceptualized as a family affair, complete with a complex web of expectations and obligations. From the ninth century onwards, a proliferation of kinship designations were offered as courtly titles, carefully calibrated to indicate proximity to the emperor. 73 It was no longer the citizens of Constantinople who celebrated the commemoration of the deceased emperor, as the city’s eponymous founder had envisaged, but the family of the emperor who built monasteries that would allow them to continue to remain in close asso- ciation with their ancestors even in death. 74 Beginning with the Komnenian period in the eleventh century, the charitable mission of monastic foundations offered the further benefit of inviting the prayers of those on the margins, the sick and the destitute, believed to be of special efficacy. What remained throughout all these changes was a focus on Constantino- ple. What had changed was the nature of the emperor in death. Constantine had claimed to be equal to Christ or, at the very least, equal to the apostles. The emperors of later centuries were content to position themselves along with their families in the context of a monastic setting which offered the anticipation of heaven on earth. Since the time of Constantine, the distance between the empire on earth and the empire in heaven may have become larger, but the emperor was still in a position to claim privileged access.

73 A good introduction to these issues is Alexander P. Kazhdan and Ann W. Epstein, Change in Byzan- tine culture in the eleventh and twelfth centuries (Berkeley 1985).

74 This has also been noted by Karlin-Hayter, ‘L’adieu à l’empereur’.