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Headword: Theophilos
Adler number: theta,196
Translated headword: Theophilus, Theophilos
Vetting Status: high
emperor of the Romans, son of Michael (II) the Amorian, father of Michael (III). Accepting and renewing the harsh and most abominable heresy of Copronymus,[1] he turned to such godlessness and madness that to no one did he seem to be anything but the deceived and naive follower of that man’s[2] impiety and drunken frenzy, as well as both his tyranny and his thunderstruck stupidity. While bound, then, by the same deceit and madness of those impious and murderous people,[3] who have been around ever since the Manichaean mania[4] and the Arian craze,[5] [influenced thus] he himself also brought a persecution against the church in the same manner. This latter-day Nectanabo[6] had for his heresy a fellow in plots, in arms, and in conspiracy, the patriarch John,[7] but he was more of a mantiarch[8] or demoniarch[9] —- being in actuality the new Apollonius[10] or Balaam[11] appearing in our times, a dish-diviner and an awful oracle of every god-hated action and wonder-working.[12] Having been taught by him the unstable and worthless man became a tried and true servant for the worst business and a ready instrument for the devil. Justly would the Divine Word lay a wretched curse upon these men, as it says: "woe to them, for they have traveled the road of Cain, and for profit they have rushed after the error of Balaam, and they have perished in the rebellion of Korah."[13]
Greek Original:
Theophilos, basileus Rhômaiôn, huios Michaêl tou Amoraiou, patêr Michaêl, hos es tosautên aphilotheïan kai aponoian exôkeilen kai tên tou Koprônumou chalepên kai musarôtatên hairesin diadexamenos kai anakainisas, hôs mêdeni hêttôn ophthênai tês ekeinou dussebeias kai paroinias turannidos te kai embrontêsias ho pephenakismenos kai mataiophrôn. epei oun têi autêi suschetheis tôn asebôn ekeinôn kai palamnaiôn apatêi kai paraplêxiai, tôn ek Manichaïkês manias kai Areianikês lussês hormômenôn palai, diôgmon kai autos kata tês ekklêsias hôsautôs epaneteineto, summustên kai summachon kai sunistora tês haireseôs echôn ho deuteros Nektanabô ton phatriarchên Iannên, mallon de mantiarchên ê daimoniarchên, ton neon ontôs Apollônion ê Balaam, en tois kath' hêmas chronois anaphanenta, lekanomantin kai pasês theostugous praxeôs kai terateias deinon hupo- phêtên. huph' hou kai ta grammata paideutheis ho euripistos kai deilaios hupêretês dokimos echthistôn pragmatôn kai tou diabolou epitêdeion organon gegonen: hous an endikôs ho theios logos eparasaito schetliastikôs phaskôn: ouai autois, hoti têi hodôi tou Kaïn eporeuthêsan kai têi planêi tou Balaam misthou exechuthêsan kai têi antilogiai tou Kore apôlonto. kai ta hexês.
On Theophilus (reigned 829-842) an iconoclast emperor, see web address 1 (Wikipedia), web address 2 ( For his father, Michael II (reigned 820-829), see mu 1140 and web address 3, and for his son, Michael III (reigned 842-867), see web address 4.
This entry is from the Chronicon of George the Monk (de Boor, vol. 2, pp. 798-9). Compare also the citation of the passage in Constantine VII, De Virtutibus et Vitiis (Büttner-Wobst & Roos, p. 156) and the adapted version in a continuator of George the Monk (Bekker, pp. 799-800).
[1] Copronymus ('Dung-name') is a polemical title for Constantine V (reigned 741-775). It seems to be a crude parody of a name such as Hieronymus (Jerome = "Holy-name") and has been explained through various stories, for which see the article at web address 5.
[2] i.e. Copronymus'.
[3] i.e. by Copronymus and his kind.
[4] See generally under mu 147.
[5] See generally under alpha 3834, alpha 3835.
[6] Nectanabo (or Nectanebo) II was the last Egyptian pharaoh before Alexander the Great, and according to legend he was a magician and the real father of Alexander. See Hogarth (1896) and/or web address 6.
[7] John VII Hylilas, usually known as John Grammaticus, Patriarch of Constantinople (Jan. 21, 837 - Mar. 4, 843; died before 867). See web address 7.
[8] i.e. leader of seers or sorcerers.
[9] i.e. leader of demons.
[10] Apollonius of Tyana (alpha 3420).
[11] Balaam (cf. pi 2923) as the prototypical wicked man. See web address 8.
[12] *teratei/as ('wonder-working') implies miraculous or magical activity, so it might also be translated as thaumaturgy, sorcery, or the like. The context confirms that it should have a negative connotation here.
[13] Quoting Jude 1:11. On Korah, who rebelled against Moses, see Numbers 16 (& 26:9).
Bekker, I. (1838) Theophanes Continuatus, Ioannes Cameniata, Symeon Magister, Georgius Monachus, Bonn: Weber
de Boor, C. (1904, repr. 1978 corr. by P. Wirth) Georgii monachi chronicon, Leipzig (repr. Stuttgart): Teubner
Büttner-Wobst, T. & Roos, A. G. (1906) Excerpta historica iussu imp. Constantini Porphyrogeniti confecta, vol. 2, excerpta de virtutibus et vitiis, pt. 1, Berlin: Weidmann
Hogarth, D.G. (1896) “Nectanebo, Pharaoh and Magician,” English Historical Review 11.41: 1-12
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2,
Web address 3,
Web address 4,
Web address 5,
Web address 6,
Web address 7,
Web address 8
Keywords: biography; Christianity; chronology; dialects, grammar, and etymology; ethics; historiography; history; politics; religion
Translated by: Abram Ring on 1 January 2013@21:40:14.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (tweaks and cosmetics) on 2 January 2013@03:39:37.
Catharine Roth (coding) on 6 January 2013@23:34:32.
Catharine Roth (re-ordered links) on 11 November 2014@17:06:44.
Catharine Roth (tweaked link 7) on 4 November 2018@01:38:51.


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