Beser 2

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire
FloruitE VIII
Dates738 (taq) / 738 (ob.)
PmbZ No.8491
Variant NamesBashir;
LocationsHarran (Carrhae);
Pergamon (Asia);
Edessa (Syria);
Pergamon (Asia) (birthplace)
Textual SourcesBar Hebraeus, Chronographia, tr. E. A. W. Budge, The Chronography of Abu 'l-Faraj (London, 1932; repr. Amsterdam, 1976) (history);
Chronicon Anonymi ad annum 1234 pertinens, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot, I = CSCO 81-82 (Paris, 1916-20), II = CSCO 109 (Louvain, 1937) (chronicle);
Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot, La chronique de Michel le Syrien (Paris, 1899-1904) (chronicle);
Theophanes Confessor, Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1883-85, repr. Hildesheim/NewYork, 1980); tr. and comm. C. Mango and R. Scott, The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Oxford 1997 (chronicle)

Beser 2 was a native of Pergamon, he was taken captive with many others by the Arabs; his name is given in Michael the Syrian, Bar Hebraeus and in Chronicon Anonymi ad annum 1234 as Bashir (Bsyr), possibly Beser (he is unnamed in Theophanes); he claimed to be Tiberios, the son of the emperor Justinian II (Ioustinianos 1 and Tiberios 4), and prevailed upon both Sulayman 2, the son of the caliph Hisham 1 and the caliph himself to treat him as genuine; Beser 2 was dressed in imperial robes and paraded through Edessa and other cities but was eventually unmasked and was executed by crucifixion in Edessa by Sulayman 2; the story is given in Theophanes under the year 738, in Michael the Syrian and Chronicon 1234 under the year 1048 Sel. (i.e. 736): Theoph. AM 6229, Mich. Syr. XI 21 (II 503), Chron. 1234, ยง165 (pp. 311-312), and cf. Cedr. I 800-801 and Agapius AH 119 (737).

Beser 2 was allegedly helped with his deception by a Roman (?= soldier) living at Harran (Carrhae), called Theophantos 1, who claimed to have recognised him as Tiberios and delivered him to Sulayman 2: Mich. Syr., loc. cit., Chron. 1234, loc. cit. A Roman by descent, Bashir (Beser 2) pretended to be a Muslim; at Harran Beser 2 visited Theopitos (Theophantos 1) and revealed that he was really Tiberios 4, son of the Roman emperor Konstantios (sic); Beser 2 was delivered to Sulayman 2, who informed his father, the caliph Hisham 1, and Hisham 1 ordered Bashir (Beser 2) to be treated with imperial honours and brought before him; finally Bashir (Beser 2) was exposed and killed: Bar Hebr., p. 110. Beser 2 cannot possibly be identified with Beser 1. According to Michael the Syrian and Bar Hebraeus he was a Roman by origin but became a Muslim; this probably represents a contamination from the story of Beser 1. See further on the sources, Rochow, Theophanes, p.134.

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