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Basil II

Basil II, c.958–1025, Byzantine emperor (976–1025), surnamed Bulgaroktonos [Bulgar slayer]. With his brother, Constantine VIII, he nominally succeeded his father, Romanus II, in 963, but had no share in the government during the rule of the usurping generals Nicephorus II (963–69) and John I (969–76). Primarily a soldier, Basil exercised virtually sole rule from 976, while his debauched brother was emperor only in name. Basil suppressed (976–89) a series of revolts of the great landowners led by Bardus Sclerus and revived and strengthened the laws directed against them by Romanus I. He annexed (1018) Bulgaria, although leaving it some measure of autonomy, and later extended the eastern frontier of his empire to the Caucasus. During his reign the schism between the Roman and the Eastern churches widened. Basil was succeeded by Constantine VIII (reigned 1025–28) and by Constantine's daughter Zoë.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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