«Подделка письма» в политической интриге патрикия Самоны и проблемы идентификации почерков в первой половине X века

Marina Aleksandrovna Kurysheva


The paper produces the analyses of historical data about the applying the faked letters, falsification and identifying of individual handwritings and seals in Byzantium and Caliphate in the 10th century. In our paper we tried to analyze specific records of sources (Theophanes Continuatus, John Skylitzes, The Life of Euthymius, al-Masʻūdī & etc.) about handwritings and its identifications. 10th century was the epoch of so-called «First Humanism», when a significant number of byzantine politicians and representatives of the byzantine upper classes gained access to the intellectual activities and became like professional literati. The same processes took place in Islamic world of Caliphate. Attainments connected with the identification of handwritings have become a part of everyday practice in high cultured society. Educated courtiers and other noble Byzantines and Arabs paid attention to the form and style of writings and seemed to understand, who had written this or that text. Clear evidence of this is found in a small episode during the reign of Leo VI the Wise: in the description of the intrigue of eunuch parakoimomenos Samonas, who had a great influence on Emperor Leo VI, against another favorite of the Emperor and Augustus patrician Constantine. Samonas with trusted people composed a letter-pamphlet filled with insults against the Emperor, designed to discredit the patrician Constantine. Samonas attracted to his goals a professional scriber: the letter was composed by Constantine of Rhodes. The plotters turned to a professional scriber, who had special skills and knew all the nuances of design of such letters, as well as, apparently, Constantine of Rhodes was the holder of a handwriting-like eunuch Constantine’s or his secretary’s handwriting. Samonas had quite reasonable grounds to use a false letter to discredit his opponent in the eyes of the Emperor. Leo VI the Wise sorted out in the handwriting of people from his surroundings: once, exactly in the same situation with a forged letter, Leo VI at a first glance identified the writing of his classmate Patriarch Nicholas I Mysticos. Another explanation of a strong Samonas’s preference for intrigue with letters may be due to his origin – Samonas was an Arab. Samonas’s intrigue refers to the number of typical: fake letters were constantly used in oriental despotic states, primarily as a means of slander – the political system and the subculture of court society of Byzantium and the Caliphate disposal to such methods. In the Arab world forged letters were extremely common tool of political intrigue, there appeared special instructions on how to use them in the political struggle. In the Arabic courts it was the whole problem, which required control measures verifying the authenticity of the documents.

Ключевые слова

Византия, македонская династия, палеография, эпистолография.

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