Basil II - Birth and Childhood

Birth and Childhood

Basil was the son of Emperor Romanos II and Empress Theophano, whose maternal family was of Laconian Greek origin originating in the Peloponnesian region of Laconia, possibly from the city of Sparta. His paternal ancestry is of uncertain origins, his putative ancestor Basil I, the founder of the dynasty, being variously attributed Armenian, Slavic or Greek ancestry. Indeed the biological father of Leo VI the Wise (Basil IIs great-grandfather) was possibly not Basil I, but Michael III. The family of Michael III were Anatolians from Phrygia and of Greek speech and culture, though originally of the Melchisedechian heretical faith. In 960, Basil was associated on the throne by his father, but the latter died in 963, when Basil was only five years old. Because he and his brother, the future Emperor Constantine VIII (ruled 1025–1028), were too young to reign in their own right, Basil's mother Theophano married one of Romanos' leading generals, who took the throne as the Emperor Nikephoros II Phokas several months later in 963. Nikephoros was murdered in 969 by his nephew John I Tzimisces, who then became emperor and reigned for seven years. Finally, when John died on 10 January 976, Basil II took the throne as senior emperor.

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Famous quotes containing the words childhood and/or birth:

    The fact remains that the human being in early childhood learns to consider one or the other aspect of bodily function as evil, shameful, or unsafe. There is not a culture which does not use a combination of these devils to develop, by way of counterpoint, its own style of faith, pride, certainty, and initiative.
    Erik H. Erikson (1904–1994)

    But whoever gives birth to useless children, what would you say of him except that he has bred sorrows for himself, and furnishes laughter for his enemies.
    Sophocles (497–406/5 B.C.)