Enemy of All Virtues: Once Again on the Image of Simeon the Great in the Oration “On the Treaty with the Bulgarians”

Kirił Marinow

University of Lodz , Poland

Abstract

This article focuses on the Bulgarian Tsar Simeon I the Great (893-927), who in the second half of his reign entered into a protracted military and ideological conflict with the Byzantine Empire. He wished not only to extend his dominions at the expense of his southern neighbour, but also to equal him in titular power, and it is possible - although scholars differ on this point - that his aspirations reached even further, namely Constantinople itself. Either way, Bulgaria under his reign posed a serious threat to Byzantium and its main antagonist. The death of the Tsar in 927 and the conclusion of peace with the Empire by his son, Peter I (927-969), finally put an end to the conflict between both the states. The celebrations marking the conclusion of the agreement provided an opportunity to take stock. In a rhetorical speech written for the occasion, Simeon's actions and aspirations were severely criticised – through comparisons to figures from ancient literature and biblical texts, the Byzantine speaker discredited the attitude of this ruler. Comparisons to those of them who aroused negative connotations in listeners and readers deprived Simeon of all the virtues belonging to a Christian ruler and, above all, of the cardinal ones by which he should, above all, legitimise himself.

Keywords:

cardinal virtues, Simeon I the Great (893–927), medieval Bulgaria, Byzantine-Bulgarian relations, Byzantine rhetoric, Byzantine ideology, the image of Bulgarians in Byzantine sources, the others in medieval sources, medieval biblical exegesis

Leonis Diaconi Caloënsis historiae libri decem, ed. C.B. Hase, Bonnae 1828.

The New Testament in Original Greek: Byzantine Textform, ed. M.A. Robinson – W.G. Pierpont, Southborough 2005.

Photii Patriarchae Constantinopolitani Epistulae et Amphilochia, v. I: Epistularum pars prima, ed. B. Laourdas – L.G. Westerink, Leipzig 1983.

Septuaginta. Id est Vetus Testamentum graece iuxta LXX interpretes edidit A. Rahlfs. Editio altera quam recognovit et emendavit R. Hanhart, v. 1-2, Stuttgart 2006.

Théodore Daphnopаtès, Correspondance, ed. and tr. J. Darrouzès – L.G. Westerink, Paris 1978.

Dionisius Phurnensis, Interpretatio ars pingendi, ed. A. Papadopoulou-Kerameos, Petroupoleos 1909.

De pace cum Bulgaris, in: I. Dujčev, On the Treaty of 927 with the Bulgarians, “Dumbarton Oaks Papers” 32 (1978) 217-295. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/1291425

A Greek-English Lexicon, ed. H.G. Liddell – R. Scott – H.S. Jones – R. McKenzie, Oxford 1996.

A Patristic Greek Lexicon, ed. G.W.H. Lampe, Oxford 1961.

Angelov P., Balgariya i balgarite v predstavite na vizantiytsite (VII-XIV vek), Sofia 1999.

Angelov P., Obrazat na tsar Simeon vav vizantiyskata knizhnina, in: Treti mezhdunaroden kongres po balgaristika, 23-26 may 2013 g. Kragla masa “Zlatniyat vek na tsar Simeon: politika, religiya i kultura”, ed. V. Stanev, Sofia 2014, p. 57-79.

Angelov P., Obrazat na tsar Simeon vav vizantiyskata knizhnina, in: Balgarskiyat Zlaten vek. Sbornik v chest na tsar Simeon Veliki (893-927), ed. V. Gyuzelev – I.G. Iliev – K. Nenov, Plovdiv 2015, p. 331-346.

Atsma A.J., Anemoi, in: Theoi: Greek Mythology, in: http://www.theoi.com/Titan/Anemoi.html (accessed: 13.07.2022).

Bandy A., The Hermeneutics of Symbolism: How to Interpret the Symbols of John’s Apocalypse, „The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology” 14/1 (2010) p. 46-58.

Bejczy I.P., The Cardinal Virtues in the Middle Ages: A Study in Moral Thought from the Fourth to the Fourteenth Century, Leiden – Boston 2011. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/ej.9789004210141.i-361

Bozhilov I., Tsar Simeon Veliki (893-927): Zlatniyat vek na srednovekovna Balgariya, Sofia 1983.

Diamantopoulos G., The Cardinal Virtues in the Works of Nicetas Stethatos, in: The Byzantine Platonists (284–1453), Theandrites: Byzantine Philosophy and Christian Neoplatonism, v. 1, ed. F. Lauritzen – S. Wear, Steubenville – Ohio 2021, p. 155-191.

Dickson J.P., The Genesis of Everything: An historical account of the Bible’s opening chapter, „ISCAST Online Journal: Christian Perspectives on Science and Technology” 4 (2008) p. 1-18.

Howard-Johnston J., A short piece of narrative history: war and diplomacy in the Balkans, winter 921/2 – spring 924, in: Byzantine Style, Religion and Civilization. In Honour of Sir Steven Runciman, ed. E. Jeffreys, Cambridge 2006, p. 340-360.

Laiou A.E., The foreigner and the stranger in 12th century Byzantium, in: Fremde der Gesellschaft. Historische und Sozialwissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zur Differenzierung von Normalität und Fremdheit, ed. M.Th. Fögen, Frankfurt am Main 1991, p. 71-97. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351219747-1

Leszka M.J., Symeon I Wielki a Bizancjum. Z dziejów stosunków bułgarsko-bizantyńskich w latach 893-927, Byzantina Lodziensia 15, Łódź 2013. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/7525-814-1

Leszka M.J., Wizerunek władców Pierwszego Państwa Bułgarskiego w bizantyńskich źródłach pisanych (VIII – pierwsza połowa XII wieku), Byzantina Lodziensia 7, Łódź 2003.

Marinow K, Vizantiyskata imperska ideya i pretentsiite na tsar Simeon spored slovoto „Za mira s balgarite”, in: Kirilo-Metodievski studii, v. 25, ed. S. Barlieva, Sofia 2016, p. 342-352.

Marinow K., In the Shackles of the Evil One: The Portrayal of Tsar Symeon I the Great (893–927) in the Oration ‘On the Treaty with the Bulgarians’, „Studia Ceranea” 1 (2011) p. 157-190. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18778/2084-140X.01.10

Saaty Th., Seven is the Magic Number in Nature, „Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society” 160/4 (2016) p. 335-360.

Słownik grecko-polski, t. 1-2, ed. O. Jurewicz, Warszawa 2000.

The Stranger in Medieval Society, ed. F.R.P. Akehurst – S.C. Van D’Elden, Medieval Cultures Series 12, University of Minnesota Press 1997.

Todorov T., „Slovo za mira s balgaite” i balgaro-vizantiyskite politicheski otnosheniya prez poslednite godini ot upravlenieto na tsar Simeon, in: Balgariya, balgarite i tehnite sasedi prez vekovete. Izsledvaniya i materiali ot nauchnata konferenciya v pamet na doc. d-r Hristo Kolarov, 30-31 oktomvri 1998 g., Veliko Tarnovo, ed. Y. Andreev, Veliko Tarnovo 2001, p. 141-150.

Trendafilov H., Tsar i vek. Vremeto na Simeona. Chetri instalacii, Shumen 2017.

Zografidis G., Ethics, Byzantine, in: Encyclopedia of Medieval Philosophy. Philosophy between 500 and 1500, ed. H. Lagerlund, London 2011, p. 323-328. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9729-4_160

Stavridou-Zaphraka A., Ho Anonymos logos „Epi te ton Boulgaron symbasei”, „Byzantina” 8 (1976) p. 343-408.

Download

Published
2022-12-15


Marinow, K. (2022). Enemy of All Virtues: Once Again on the Image of Simeon the Great in the Oration “On the Treaty with the Bulgarians”. Vox Patrum, 84, 105–122. https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.14058



License

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

  1. Pursuant to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights of February 4, 1994, the Author of the publication grants the Publisher of the journal "Vox Patrum" a non-exclusive and free license to use the Work submitted for publication for an indefinite period of time on an unlimited territory in the following fields of use:
    a) in the field of recording and reproducing the work - producing copies of the work using a specific technique, including printing, reprographic, magnetic recording and digital technology;
    b) within the scope of trading in the original or copies on which the work has been recorded - marketing, lending or renting the original or copies;
    c) in the scope of disseminating the work in a manner other than specified in point b - public performance, exhibition, display, reproduction, broadcasting and rebroadcasting, as well as making the work available to the public, so that everyone can have access to it at a place and time chosen by them.
  2. Moreover, the Author allows the Publisher free of charge to use and dispose of the compilations of the Works.
  3. The publisher may grant sub-licenses.
  4. Third parties may use the Works and other materials containing or based on the Works in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (also known as CC-BY-NC 4.0) license pattern.