A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology

Smith, William

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology. William Smith, LLD, ed. 1890

(Ἀλέξανδρος), emperor of CONSTANTINOPLE, was the third son of the emperor Basilius and Eudocia. He was born about A. D. 870, and, after his father's death, he and his brother Leo, the philosopher, bore the title of imperator in common. Leo died on the 11th of May, 911, and Alexander received the imperial crown, together with the guardianship of his brother's son, Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, whom he would have mutilated so as to render him unfit to govern, had he not been prevented. The reign of Alexander, which lasted only for one year and some days, was one uninterrupted series of acts of cruelty, debauchery, and licentiousness; for the restraints which he had been obliged to put on himself during the lifetime of his brother, were thrown off immediately after his accession, and the worthiest persons were removed from the court while the ministers to his lusts and passions were raised to the highest honours. He involved his empire in a war with Simeon, king of the Bulgarians, but he did not live to see its outbreak. He died on the 7th of June, 912, in consequence of a debauch, after which he took violent exercise on horseback. (Constant. in Basil. 26; Scylitz. pp. 569, 608; Zonaras, 16.15, §c.)