Theophilis' grand palace and the sources for the money spent on it.

Mar 2018
Almaty, Kazakhstan
I got one question...

Where the hell did Theophilos get the money to construct such impressive, complicated and most likely expensive machines for his palace?

It is said that he had golden lions at his feet roaring on command, a golden tree with diamond birds sitting on it, singing at the push of a lever.

Michael II didnt leave a full coffee of gold, so where did Theophilus gain the funds to, well fund these kinds of engeneerings?

He may have gained it from his battles against the arabs. Another option could be the opening of gold mines in Armenia that helped fund these machines.

We dont really know how he managed to get the money, so if anyone knows how, please share it with me.
Jan 2016
Victoria, Canada
Theophilos sat at the head of an incredibly sophisticated fiscal state, unrivaled in his time and for 700 years after, which encompassed a population of some 7-8 million people who identified with Roman authority and payed their taxes in coin -- whether someone in his position could have had hydraulic telegraphs, gilded automata, and great palaces built was a matter of priorities, not means. For comparison, the Pyramids at Giza were built by kings collecting taxes in kind from a base of some 1-2 million people; the pharaohs just didn't have nearly as many soldiers to pay or castles to build. The reason we see so many grand projects pop up under Theophilos is because he decided they were worth undertaking, and allocated the financial, intellectual, and administrative resources necessary to make that happen. In this the emperor certainly fell more on the 'prestige' vs 'military' side of things compared to most of his successors, for better or for worse, but hey, we're still talking about those achievements aren't we?


Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
While such machine marvels might seem expensive or even be expensive relative to income of even the average merchant or ducal families relative to the costs of thousands of soldiers, castles, fleets, and the entire bureaucratic system of government they were relatively minor. The construction program of single-use devices would have required some specialists and probably a few numbers of prototypes but the REAL expenses that Theophilos could not have managed without the new mines were the redoing of the naval harbor and the construction of new walls and fortresses in several places, Cherson, Sarkel, as well Theophilos founded numerous schools with state paid wages for the teachers and attempted to re-introduce official copper coinage. All these were far more expensive than some mechanical toys in the main palace.

Similar History Discussions