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Basil I, as depicted in the 12th century Madrid Skylitzes.
Basil I, as depicted in the 12th century Madrid Skylitzes.

The Macedonian dynasty (Greek: Μακεδονική Δυναστεία) ruled the Byzantine Empire from 867 to 1056, following the Amorian dynasty. During this period, the Byzantine state reached its greatest extent since the Muslim conquests, and the Macedonian Renaissance in letters and arts began. The dynasty was named after its founder, Basil I the Macedonian who came from the theme of Macedonia, which, at the time, was part of Thrace.


See also: Basil I § From peasant to emperor

The dynasty's ethnic origin is unknown, and has been a subject of debate. During Basil's reign, an elaborate genealogy was produced that purported that his ancestors were not mere peasants, as everyone believed, but descendants of the Arsacid (Arshakuni) kings of Armenia, and also of Constantine the Great.[1][2] Some Persian writers such as Hamza al-Isfahani[3] or Al-Tabari, called Basil a Saqlabi, an ethnogeographic term that usually denoted the Slavs, but it can be interpreted as a generic term encompassing the inhabitants of the region between Constantinople and Bulgaria.[4]

Thus, claims have been made for the dynasty's founder (Basil I) being of Armenian,[5][6] Slavonic,[7][8] or "Armeno-Slavonic"[9] descent from his paternal side. The name of his mother points to a Greek origin on the maternal side.[10]

The author of the only dedicated biography of Basil I in English has concluded that it is impossible to be certain what the ethnic origins of the emperor were, though Basil was definitely reliant on the support of Armenians in prominent positions within the Byzantine Empire.[11]

List of rulers


Family tree


Michael III
emperor of the Romans
Eudokia Ingerina
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Basil I
emperor of the Romans
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Romanos I Lekapenos
emperor of the Romans
1. Theophano Martinakia
2. Zoe Zaoutzaina
3. Eudokia Baïana
4. Zoe Karbonopsina
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Leo VI the Wise
emperor of the Romans
Stephen I
Patriarch of Constantinople
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

emperor of the Romans
Christopher Lekapenos
∞ Sophia
Romanos Argyros
Patriarch of Constantinople
Helena Lekapene
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

(4) Constantine VII
emperor of the Romans
(2) Anna
Louis III the Blind
king of Provence,
king of Lombardy
(Maria) Irene Lekapene
Peter I
king of Bulgaria
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Nikephoros II Phokas
emperor of the Romans
(Anastasia) Theophano
from Laconia
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Romanos II
emperor of the Romans
Theodora Porphyrogenita
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

John I Tzimiskes
emperor of the Romans
Charles Constantine
count of Vienne
Pothos (or Eustathios) Argyros
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Basil II
emperor of the Romans
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Constantine VIII
emperor of the Romans
Helena of Alypius
Anna Porphyrogenita
Vladimir I the Great
grand prince of Kiev
Rurik dynasty
Constance of Vienne
Boson II
count of Arles
Maria Argyre
Giovanni Orseolo
duke of Dalmatia
Basil Argyros
general of Samos
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

1.Romanos III Argyros
emperor of the Romans
Zoë Porphyrogenita
empress of the Romans
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

∞ 2.Michael IV the Paphlagonian
emperor of the Romans 1034–1041
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

3.Constantine IX Monomachos
emperor of the Romans
Helena SklerainaTheodora
empress of the Romans
Constantine Diogenes
Device of the Palaiologos Dynasty.svg

Michael V Kalaphates
emperor of the Romans
Anastasia Monomachaina
Vsevolod I of Kiev
Romanos IV Diogenes
emperor of Romans
Eudokia Makrembolitissa
Constantine X Doukas
emperor of the Romans
Vladimir II Monomakh
grand prince of Kiev

See also


  1. ^ Treadgold, Warren T. (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford University Press. p. 457. ISBN 978-0-8047-2630-6.
  2. ^ Leo VI. Imperium Byzantinum, Imperator 865-912 (1932). Oraison funèbre de Basile I. Pont. Inst. Orientalium Stud. OCLC 1073789498.
  3. ^ Tobias, Norman (2007). Basil I, founder of the Macedonian Dynasty : a study of the political and military history of the Byzantine Empire in the Ninth century. Lewiston, New York: Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0-7734-5405-7. OCLC 166873121.
  4. ^ "The Reign of Leo VI (886-912): Politics and People. Shaun Tougher". Speculum. 76 (1): 236–238. January 2001. doi:10.2307/2903773. ISSN 0038-7134. JSTOR 2903773.
  5. ^ Treadgold 1997, p. 455
  6. ^ Peter Charanis.Studies on the demography of the Byzantine empire: collected studies Variorum Reprints, 1972 p223(360):"Thus, every emperor who sat on the Byzantine throne the accession of Basil I to the death of Basil II (867—1025) was of Armenian or partially Armenian origin. But besides the emperors there were many others among the military and political leaders of Byzantine during this period who were Armenians or of Armenian descent"
  7. ^ Tobias 2007, p. 20. Tobias is referring to the writings of Hamza al-Isfahani, a 10th-century Persian scholar.
  8. ^ Finlay 1853, p. 213.
  9. ^ Vasiliev 1928–1935, p. 301
  10. ^ Kargakos, Sarantos I. (1999). Historia tou Hellēnikou kosmou kai tou meizonos chōrou : Eurōpē, Asia, Aphrikē, Amerikē (1. ekd ed.). Athēna: Gutenberg. ISBN 960-01-0822-6. OCLC 44045861.
  11. ^ Tobias 2007, p. 264
  12. ^ Chris Wickham, The Inheritance of Rome