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Basil II

By JFoliveras
489 Favourites
Basil II the “Bulgar Slayer” was a Byzantine emperor from 976 to 1025, and he is known for having offered the hand of his young sister, Anna Porphyrogenita, to the Rus Viking prince of Kiev, Vladimir "the Great", in exchange for Rus military reinforcements. At first, when Vladimir demanded to be married with the emperor’s sister, both Basil and Anna hesitated, as a Greek princess would never marry a "barbarian", but then, Vladimir promised to convert himself and his pagan people to Orthodox Christianity, which made Anna and Basil change their mind. Vladimir and Anna got married, and with their union, Orthodox Christianity and Byzantine influences were introduced in what today is Russia and Ukraine. And the Viking warriors that Vladimir sent to Basil in exchange for Anna became the Byzantine emperor’s personal bodyguard for centuries. They were known as the Varangian Guard. Notable Viking warlords and kings temporally offered their service to Byzantium as Varangians, for example Harald Hardrada (reigned from 1046 to 1066), the last Viking king of Norway who died in the battle of Stamford Bridge.

Go to this link to see my previous painting of Basil's sister, Anna: jfoliveras.deviantart.com/art/…

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Image size
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© 2018 - 2020 JFoliveras
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CarlosRSL's avatar

Is his armor made of Bronze?

ariya-sacca's avatar

Very beautiful! I love the mosaic pattern behind him!

YoritomoDaishogun's avatar
I showed this drawing to my bulgar friend, but suddenly he had no eyes!
Gustavhistory's avatar
Uno de sus mejores emperadores.
chris-the-sword's avatar
incredible work!
i love how you've drawn his face, with a calm (stoic) and thoughful face expression, while all of the features of his armour, of his crown and of his general pose and anatomy look very realistic...

another fine detail is how this picture has many smaller squares in the background and it looks like a mosaic, as many of the greek works of byzantium where formed.
also the halo around his head is another cool detail.

all in all, amazing work.
keep it up!
JFoliveras's avatar
AmongTheFirst's avatar
I was looking at your portrayals of other historical figures and they're astounding. I'm giving you a watch.
I read about this guy in Volume 5 of The Christians: Their first two thousand years
Medjugore's avatar
Wonderful painting
JERAF's avatar
Can you draw some Bulgarian emperors
C05M0NAUT's avatar
That is some absolutely insane work on both the portrait itself, and that mosaic background.
spacerboy64's avatar
I LOVE this portrait of one of my favorite medieval Roman Emperors, very good work! <3
Severusiana's avatar
Magnifique portrait. I love that golden.
Lormet-Images's avatar
Hjarrand's avatar
the combination of realism with iconography elements <3
Shabazik's avatar
Really love how while taking a very realistic approach to the illustration of the character, you used a mosaic of the background to give the typical aureola's with which Byzantine emperors where represented!
Uranus-seventhsun's avatar
What fascinating history, and the portrait is magnificent with all this splendor. Love his pensive expression.  What reference did you use?
JFoliveras's avatar
It was inspired by a Byzantine miniature of Basil II. Thanks
Dimension3500's avatar
This site needs more art of the Eastern Roman Empire! Amazing work as always!
JFoliveras's avatar
Well, I have a few more paintings of this subject. Thanks!
BrowncoatMando's avatar
Think you should link the image of his sister in here. 
Otherwise- impressive work as always
JFoliveras's avatar
I's done!

jonwassing's avatar
Amazing work, I love the details you put into it. Those pearls look absolutely legit.
JFoliveras's avatar
BillyAustria's avatar
What a splendid portrait! You really great use of the many different textures
anonymous's avatar
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