He was born in Ctesifon in 994, and early on showed an aptitude for martial training. He began to accompany military expeditions in his teens. He participated in the battles against the rebel Cuzeian general Bēgisios in 1013-15, but after this he was posted to the eastern front against Munkhâsh, where he ultimately rose to be commander.
From all reports he was a bold and competent general, popular with his men; he was responsible for extending Caďinorian control along the Adel river.
When his father died in 1031, he inherited a crisis in Cuzei, which his father had taken over, first to put down the rebellion against Zeilisio IV, then to keep order, finally to attempt to integrate the decadent Cuzeians into Caďinas. Even before Besclaies's ascension the Cuzeian nobles were demanding that a new zîtenarrûos (emperor) be named and that the Caďinorians withdraw.
Besclaies had none of his father's sympathy for the Cuzeians. He was a military man and considered it the destiny of Caďinas to expand both eastward and westward; what had the Cuzeians done with their freedom but descend into civil war, corruption, and endless theological battles? They would be better off as citizens of Caďinas and the sooner they realized it the better. He rejected the demands and made a tour of the region with his army to reinforce the point. He then returned to the eastern front.
This damped down overt resistance, but the restiveness continued. The prophet Examnās was a focal point; he was calling for open defiance of the occupiers in the name of Iáinos. In 1038 Examnās was found murdered; the Caďinorians claimed to have nothing to do with it, but also strongly implied that he had it coming. In 1045 the Glade of Eleisa was burned down, this time as an open act of the authorities, on the grounds that the Knowers (priests of Eīledan) had been harboring rebels and criminals there.
Many urged caution and tolerance, till it was clear that this only exasperated the king. He favored advisors who suggested that Cuzeian theism was the root cause of the conflict. The Caďinorian instinct was always syncretistic; they couldn't understand the Cuzeian obsession with denying other gods. Didn't the increasing power of Caďinas show the power of Enäron? The official line indeed was that Eīledan was a form or pseudonym of Enäron. Besclaies ordered temples to Enäron built in the Cuzeian cities and encouraged priests to proselytize.
In 1050 an outright rebellion broke out, spearheaded by the Knowers but supported by many of the nobles and commoners. With annoyance Besclaies returned from the Adel and spent two years chasing down rebels. He replaced defeated nobles with Caďinorians and encouraged them to bring in Caďinorian settlers. In 1052, with the rebellion largely defeated, he banned the Glades entirely and required that the Knowers adopt non-religious professions and clothing. Enforcement of this edict varied, but was most thorough in the cities.
He died just two years later, succeeded by his son Kremueronos-- who immediately relaxed his prohibitions, only to reinstate and reinforce them later, as well as renaming Cuzei "Eärdur province".
We have no record of any direct disagreement between Nusisponos and Besclaies, but they embody the extremes in the complicated relationship between the Caďinorians and the late Cuzeians. The Caďinorians knew the story of the Cuzeian resistance to Munkhâsh; they admired their knowledge and the splendor of their cities. But they did not understand how they had become such weak creatures who could muster energy only for dissipation and civil war. Besclaies was in some ways the ideal martial Caďinorian king, an upright judge, sober in his tastes, and a fighter against the demons. He knew no Cuêzi, and the sophisticated theater, literature, and philosophy which would later be treasured by the Caďinorians seemed just as decadent to him as the Cuzeians' financial corruption, banditry, and hedonism. He would be enraged to learn that historians generally passed over his military exploits in order to shake their heads at his excessive repression of the Cuzeians.
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| Besclaies |
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