37 Facts About Basiliscus


Basiliscus became in 464, under his brother-in-law, Emperor Leo.


Basiliscus commanded the army for an invasion of the Vandal Kingdom in 468, which was defeated at the Battle of Cape Bon.


When Basiliscus returned to Constantinople, he sought refuge in the Church of St Sophia.


Basiliscus quickly lost the support of the people after a combination of heavy taxes, heretical policies, and a natural disaster viewed as divine wrath for said heretical views.


Basiliscus quickly lost his allies, losing Verina almost immediately as a consequence of executing Patricius.


Basiliscus was born at an unknown date, likely in the Balkans.


Basiliscus married Aelia Zenonis, and with her produced a son, Marcus.


Basiliscus was related by marriage to Emperor Julius Nepos, as the uncle of Julius Nepos's wife.


Basiliscus permitted Armatus, inasmuch as he was a kinsman, to associate freely with the Empress Zenonis.


Basiliscus served as a military officer under Leo, and was made consul of the East for 465, with Flavius Hermenericus as consul of the West.


Basiliscus utilized the support of the Isaurians, marrying the Isaurian chieftain Zeno to his daughter Ariadne, in exchange for support.


Historian Peter Heather points out that, at this point, Basiliscus had just returned from considerable success on the Balkan frontier of the empire.


Basiliscus was to sail with the bulk of the forces directly to Carthage, and the Eastern Heraclius of Edessa, was to gather up Eastern forces in Egypt, disembark in Tripolitania, and then to approach Carthage by land; forcing the Vandals to fight in three areas.


Basiliscus's galleys scattered the Vandal fleet near Sicily, something said by Procopius to have caused Gaiseric to give all up for lost, fearing a decisive blow to capture Carthage.


However, Basiliscus did not press his advantage and rested his forces in Cape Bon, 60 kilometres from Carthage; a strategic location as it was near the port of Utica, which, unlike Carthage, was not blocked off with a chain and the winds would push opposing ships into the coast.


Basiliscus accepted, possibly in favor of Aspar who opposed the war, in order to achieve a compromise with the Vandals.


Heather notes that the Romans strongly intended to avoid a naval engagement, and archaeologist George Bass suggests this might be the reason that Basiliscus hesitated to strike the Vandals.


Basiliscus fled with the remainder of the fleet to Sicily, to consolidate with Marcellinus's forces; their morale and supply might have brought a victory, but Marcellinus was assassinated, possibly on Ricimers orders.


Heraclius, who had not yet reached Carthage, returned to the Eastern Roman Empire by the path he came, and Basiliscus returned to Constantinople.


Basiliscus was supported in this plot by Theoderic Strabo, angered by Zeno's coronation, and Basiliscus, who succeeded in recruiting Illus and Trocundes, Isaurian brothers, as well as her nephew Armatus.


Basiliscus convinced the senate to acclaim him emperor, instead of Patricius, and Basiliscus was crowned at the Hebdomon palace.


Illus and Trocundes were sent by Basiliscus to lay siege to Zeno's fortress, and capturing Longinus, whom Illus would not release until 485.


Basiliscus quickly lost support in Constantinople, through a combination of heavy taxes and heretical ecclesiastical policies, as well as a natural disaster.


Basiliscus was forced to levy heavy taxes by the near-bankruptcy of the empire, and to sell off public positions for money.


Basiliscus utilized the Epinicus, a former ally of Verina, to extort money from the church.


Basiliscus had Armatus made, allegedly at the insistence of Zenonis.


Leszka questions that Basiliscus would entrust military command to men he had lied to, and argues that they were motivated instead by fear that Basiliscus would be overthrown, or else religious opposition.


Basiliscus ordered Armatus to take command of all the troops in Thrace and Constantinople, as well as the palace guard, and lead them against the three.


Basiliscus rose to power during a time when the miaphysite faction was growing in power, and his attempts to ally them to himself backfired severely.


Basiliscus had Theoctistus, a miaphysite, made, and he received the miaphysite patriarch Timothy Ailuros, who returned from his exile in Crimea after the death of Leo.


Basiliscus had Timothy Ailuros restored as the Patriarch of Alexandria, and Peter the Fuller as Patriarch of Antioch.


Under his reign the Third Council of Ephesus was held in 475, presided over by Timothy Ailuros, which officially condemned the Council of Chalcedon, and a synodical letter was sent to Basiliscus requesting that Patriarch Acacius be stripped of his role.


The popular Daniel the Stylite, whom Basiliscus had been attempting to sway to his side, rejected his efforts after the publication of the eynciclal, and descended from his pillar to pray alongside Acacius, branding Basiliscus as a "second Diocletian" for his attacks on the church.


Philippe Blaudeau suggests that the one presented by Evagrius was a modified version presented to Acacius, as it would be more palatable to him; as well as that the language of the original would have made Eutychians believe that Timothy and Basiliscus agreed with them, and the subsequent document clarified their positions.


Some arguments have been made by Eduard Schwartz, Hanns Brennecke, and Rene Draguet that Basiliscus approved Evagrius' text, but that the more extreme version was written by Paul the Sophist.


Whatever the case, Basiliscus soon voided his encyclical, issuing a new letter dubbed the "anti-encyclical", revoking his previous encyclical, reaffirming condemnation of heresy, and restoring the rights of Canon 28 to Acacius, but did not explicitly mention the Council of Chalcedon.


Basiliscus is part of a 1669 play written by Sir William Killigrew, The Imperial Tragedy, where he appears as a ghost, during the second reign of Zeno.