This is the first book-length study in English of the Byzantine emperor Basil II. Basil II, later known as 'Bulgar-slayer', is famous for his military conquests and his brutal intimidation of domestic foes. Catherine Holmes considers the problems Basil faced in governing a large, multi-ethnicempire, which stretched from southern Italy to Mesopotamia. Her close focus on the surviving historical narratives, above all the Synopsis Historion of John Skylitzes, reveals a Byzantium governed as much by persuasion as coercion. This book will appeal to those interested in Byzantium before theCrusades, the governance of pre-modern empires, and the methodology of writing early medieval political history.