Theophano - Encyclopedia

GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

THEOPHANO (c. 95 6 -99 1), wife of the Roman emperor Otto II., was a daughter of the Eastern emperor Romanus II., and passed her early years amid the tragic and changing fortunes which beset the court of Constantinople. Otto the Great having procured her betrothal to his son Otto II., she was married to him and crowned empress at Rome by Pope John XIII. on the 14th of April 972. In return for costly gifts brought by her to her husband, she was granted extensive estates in all parts of the empire. She appears to have been a woman of great beauty and considerable intelligence, and after the death of Otto the Great in 973 gradually superseded his widow Adelaide as the chief adviser of the new emperor, whom she accompanied on several military expeditions. She introduced many Byzantine customs into the German court. After the death of Otto in December 983 she returned to Germany, which she governed with conspicuous success in the name of her son, Otto III. In 989 she visited Rome, where she exercised as imperatrix the imperial prerogatives, and probably compelled the Romans to swear to acknowledge her son. Theophano died at Nimwegen on the 15th of June 991, and was buried in the church of St Pantaloon at Cologne.

See J. Moltmann, Theophano, die Gemahlin Ottos II. in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die Politik Ottos I. and Ottos II. (Göttingen, 1878).

Theophile, the name by which Theophile de Viau ' (or Viaud), French poet (1591-1626), is more commonly called. He was born in 1591, at Clairac, near Agen, and spent his early years at Bousseres de Mazeres, his father's property. He was educated at the Protestant college of Saumur, and he went to Paris in his twentieth year. In 1612 he met Balzac, with whom he made an expedition to the Netherlands, which ended in a serious quarrel. On his return he seems to have been for two years a regular playwright to the actors at the Hotel de Bourgogne. In 1615 he attached himself to the ill-fated Henry, duke of Montmorency (1595-1632), under whose protection he produced with success the tragedy of Pyrame et Thisbe, acted probably about 1617 and printed in 1623, although placed later by some critics. This piece, written in the extravagant SpanishItalian manner, which was fashionable in the interval between the Pleiade model and the innovations of Corneille, was ridiculed by Boileau (Preface to his Ouvres, 1701). Theophile was the acknowledged leader of a set of Parisian libertines, whose excesses seem to have been chiefly dictated by a general hatred of restraint. He himself was not only a Huguenot, but a freethinker, and had made unsparing use of his sharp wit in epigrams on the Church and on the government. In 1619 he was accused of blasphemous and indecent writings, and was banished from Paris. He took refuge in the south of France, where he found protection with many friends. He was allowed to return in the next year, and effected a partial reconciliation with one of his most powerful enemies, the duc de Luynes. He served in that year in the campaign against the Huguenots, but in the autumn was again in exile, this time in England. He was recalled in 1621, and began to be instructed in the Roman Catholic religion, though his abjuration of Protestantism was deferred until the end of 1622. There is nothing to show that this conversion was purely political; in any case it did little to mollify his enemies. In 1622 he had contributed four pieces to the Nouveau Parnasse Satirique, a miscellany of verse by many hands. In the next year a new edition appeared, with the addition of some licentious verse, and the inscription par le sieur Theophile on the title-page. Contemporary opinion justified Theophile's denial of this ascription, but the Jesuit father, Francois Garasse, published a tract against him entitled La Doctrine curieuse (1623). Theophile was again prosecuted. This time he fled from Paris, to the court of Montmorency, and was condemned in his absence (19th of August 1623) to death.

On his flight to the border he was arrested, and imprisoned in the Conciergerie in Paris. He defended himself in an Apologie au roi (1625), and was liberated in September, his sentence being commuted to banishment for life. Under Montmorency's protection he was able to hide in Paris for some time, and he subsequently accompanied his friend and patron to the south. He died in Paris on the 25th of September 1626.

The great interest aroused by the prosecution and defence of Theophile is shown by the number of pamphlets on the subject, forty-two of which, written between the dates 1622 and 1626, are preserved in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Les Ouvres du Sieur Theophile were printed in Paris in 1621, and other collections followed during his lifetime. Six years after his death Georges de Scudery edited his work with a Tombeau (copy of obituary verses), and a challenge in the preface to any one who might be offended by the editor's eulogy of the poet. A tragedy entitled Pasiphae, published in 1631, is probably not Theophiles, and is not included in his works, the standard modern edition of which is that of Alleaume in the Bibliotheque Elzevirienne (2 vols. 1856). Besides Pyrame et Thisbe, his works include a paraphrase, half verse, half prose, of the Phaedo. There are numerous French and Latin letters, his Apologie, a promising fragment of comic prose narrative, and a large collection of occasional verses, odes, elegies, stanzas, &c.

In addition to Alleaume's edition, a delightful article in Theophile Gautier's Grotesques should be consulted respecting him. A full account of the extensive literature dealing with Theophile is given by Dr K. Schirmacher in a study on Theophile de Viau (Leipzig and Paris, 1897). In the Page disgracie of Tristan l'Hermite, the page makes the acquaintance of a dramatic author, and his description may be accepted as a contemporary portrait of Theophile's vigorous personality.

Custom Search

Encyclopedia Alphabetically

A * B * C * D * E * F * G * H * I * J * K * L * M * N * O * P * Q * R * S * T * U * V * W * X * Y * Z

Advertise Here


- Please bookmark this page (add it to your favorites)
- If you wish to link to this page, you can do so by referring to the URL address below.

This page was last modified 29-SEP-18
Copyright © 2018 ITA all rights reserved.