The rumor of this domestic revolution excited a tumult in the city; but Porphyrogenitus alone, the true and lawful emperor, was the object of the public care; and the sons of Lecapenus were taught, by tardy experience, that they had achieved a guilty and perilous enterprise for the benefit of their rival.
The examples of ancient and modern history would have excused the ambition of Romanus: the powers and the laws of the empire were in his hand; the spurious birth of Constantine would have justified his exclusion; and the grave or the monastery was open to receive the son of the concubine. But Lecapenus does not appear to have possessed either the virtues or the vices of a tyrant.
There were two emperors in the city then, in succession to Leo the Philosopher Romanus Lecapenus and Constantine Porphyrogenitus. For all the grandeur of their names they rivalled one another in incompetency and timidity.
The emperor Romanus Lecapenus was once informed by an astronomer that the life of Simeon, prince of Bulgaria, was bound up with a certain column in Constantinople, so that if the capital of the column were removed, Simeon would immediately die. The emperor took the hint and removed the capital, and at the same hour, as the emperor learned by enquiry, Simeon died of heart disease in Bulgaria.
Czar Peter turned to the Greek Empire for help, and sought to strengthen his position at home by a marriage with the grand-daughter of the Emperor Romanus Lecapenus. That policy served until a vigorous Greek Emperor came to the throne at Constantinople and set himself to avenge the victories of Simeon.
From an obscure origin, Romanus Lecapenus had raised himself to the command of the naval armies; and in the anarchy of the times, had deserved, or at least had obtained, the national esteem. With a victorious and affectionate fleet, he sailed from the mouth of the Danube into the harbor of Constantinople, and was hailed as the deliverer of the people, and the guardian of the prince.