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Headword: Θεόφιλος
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:
Θεόφιλος, βασιλεὺς Ῥωμαίων, υἱὸς Μιχαὴλ τοῦ Ἀμοραίου, πατὴρ Μιχαήλ, ὃς ἐς τοσαύτην ἀφιλοθεί̈αν καὶ ἀπόνοιαν ἐξώκειλεν καὶ τὴν τοῦ Κοπρωνύμου χαλεπὴν καὶ μυσαρωτάτην αἵρεσιν διαδεξάμενος καὶ ἀνακαινίσας, ὡς μηδενὶ ἥττων ὀφθῆναι τῆς ἐκείνου δυσσεβείας καὶ παροινίας τυραννίδος τε καὶ ἐμβροντησίας ὁ πεφενακισμένος καὶ ματαιόφρων. ἐπεὶ οὖν τῇ αὐτῇ συσχεθεὶς τῶν ἀσεβῶν ἐκείνων καὶ παλαμναίων ἀπάτῃ καὶ παραπληξίᾳ, τῶν ἐκ Μανιχαϊκῆς μανίας καὶ Ἀρειανικῆς λύσσης ὁρμωμένων πάλαι, διωγμὸν καὶ αὐτὸς κατὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ὡσαύτως ἐπανετείνετο, συμμύστην καὶ σύμμαχον καὶ συνίστορα τῆς αἱρέσεως ἔχων ὁ δεύτερος Νεκταναβὼ τὸν φατριάρχην Ἰαννῆν, μᾶλλον δὲ μαντιάρχην ἢ δαιμονιάρχην, τὸν νέον ὄντως Ἀπολλώνιον ἢ Βαλαάμ, ἐν τοῖς καθ' ἡμᾶς χρόνοις ἀναφανέντα, λεκανομάντιν καὶ πάσης θεοστυγοῦς πράξεως καὶ τερατείας δεινὸν ὑπο- φήτην. ὑφ' οὗ καὶ τὰ γράμματα παιδευθεὶς ὁ εὐρίπιστος καὶ δείλαιος ὑπηρέτης δόκιμος ἐχθίστων πραγμάτων καὶ τοῦ διαβόλου ἐπιτήδειον ὄργανον γέγονεν: οὓς ἂν ἐνδίκως ὁ θεῖος λόγος ἐπαράσαιτο σχετλιαστικῶς φάσκων: οὐαὶ αὐτοῖς, ὅτι τῇ ὁδῷ τοῦ Κάϊν ἐπορεύθησαν καὶ τῇ πλάνῃ τοῦ Βαλαὰμ μισθοῦ ἐξεχύθησαν καὶ τῇ ἀντιλογίᾳ τοῦ Κορὲ ἀπώλοντο. καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς.
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] Τερατείας ('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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