Basil Lekapenos


Basil Lekapenos

Basil Lekapenos (died c. 985) was the chief administator of the Byzantine Empire from 945 until 985.

An illegitimate son of the emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, he was castrated when young.

In about 945, around the time his father was deposed, Basil was appointed "parakoimomenos" by Emperor Constantine VII, his brother-in-law. [John Julius Norwich, "Byzantine: The Apogee", New York, Alfred P. Knopf, 1992, p. 167.] He retained this position under emperors Romanos II, Nikephoros II, John Tzimisces.

As head of the Imperial administration, he amassed a large personal fortune. Reportedly, this led to tension with John Tzimisces shortly before the Emperor's death in 976. According to some sources, Basil poisoned the Emperor.

He continued in office in the early reign of Basil II but in 985 the young Emperor - wishing to assume the government himself after being dominated by regents and caretaker emperors for thirty years - accused him of sympathizing with the rebel Bardas Phokas and removed the Eunuch from power. All his lands and possessions were confiscated and all laws issued under his administration were declared null and void. The Eunich himself was exiled and died shortly afterwards.

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