Basilios 54

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire
FloruitE/M IX
Dates820 (taq) / 847 (tpq)
PmbZ No.927
Variant NamesBasileios
LocationsProte (Princes' Islands) (exileplace);
Constantinople (residence);
Prote (Princes' Islands) (residence);
Chalke (Princes' Islands) (residence);
Prote (Princes' Islands) (topographical);
Chalke (Princes' Islands)
Textual SourcesGenesii, Josephi, Regum Libri Quattuor, eds. A. Lesmüller-Werner and I. Thurn, CFHB 14 (Berlin, 1978) (history);
Leo Grammaticus, Chronographia, ed. I. Bekker (Bonn, 1842) (chronicle);
Theodorus Studita, Epistulae, ed. G. Fatouros, CFHB 31.1-2 (Berlin/New York, 1992) (letters);
Theophanes Continuatus, ed. I. Bekker (Bonn, 1838) (history);
Vita Ignatii Patriarchae, by Nicetas (BHG 817), PG 105.488-574) (hagiography);
Zonaras = Ioannis Zonarae Epitome Historiarum, libri XIII-XVIII, ed. Th. Büttner-Wobst, (Bonn, 1897) (history)

Basilios 54's full name was Konstantinos Basilios: Theoph. Cont. II 7 (p. 47) (Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ μετονομασθεὶς Βασίλειος). Basilios 54 was the son of the emperor Leo V (Leo 15) and Theodosia 1; brother of Symbatios Konstantinos (Konstantinos 29), Gregorios 70 and Theodosios 39; after the murder of their father (25 December 820) the four boys were castrated and exiled to the island of Prote: Theoph. Cont. II 1 (p. 41), II 7 (pp. 46-47), Genesius I 21, Zon. XV 22.2 (τὴν δὲ τοῦ Λέοντος γαμετὴν καὶ τοὺς παῖδας ... Βασίλειός ... εἰς τὴν Πρώτην ... ἅπαντας τῆς ἀρρενωπίας ἐστέρησε), cf. Nicetas, Vita Ignatii 493B (the boys were castrated and tonsured - τούς τε αὐτοῦ υἱοὺς εὐνουχισθῆναι καὶ καρῆναι). After the operation Basilios 54 lost his voice for a time; he supposedly regained it after praying to St Gregory the Theologian and became thereafter a strong supporter of icons: Theoph. Cont. II 7 (p. 47), cf. Zon. XV 22. 3-6 (where the story is told of Konstantinos 29, not Basilios 54; there is evidently some confusion over the names). They were tonsured and became monks: Leo Gramm. 211. Possibly the godson of Michael 10. They and their mother were allowed to live on the revenues from some of their estates and were allowed to have attendants: Zon. XV 22.7.

During their exile Basilios 54 and his mother Theodosia 1 were joint-addressees of a letter from Theodoros 15 (Theodore the Stoudite), written between 821 and 824 (see Fatouros, pp. 477-8*); they had occupied a monastery on the island of Chalke, which the existing monks had been compelled to leave; both however now accepted the veneration of icons: Theod. Stud. Ep. 538, pp. 811-813 (addressed to Θεοδοσίᾳ αὐγούστῃ καὶ Βασιλείῳ υἱῷ αὐτῆς; he is alluded to as τόν κύριον καὶ δεσπότην, p. 812, line 45). Basilios 54 was the son of the emperor Leo V (Leo 15), brother of Gregorios 70; in spite of their father's heresy they were orthodox and they supported the choice of Ignatios 1 to succeed Methodios 1: Genesius IV 18. Basilios 54 was therefore still alive in 847.

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