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when they lightly enlisted under the flag of the pretender; their ardour for the cause of an ambitious leader had cooled ; they were sick of shedding Christian blood; they longed to return to their wives and children. This spirit in the army of the rebels decided the battle of Diabasis. They advanced against their enemies as they were commanded; when the word was given they simulated flight; but, when they saw that the troops of the Emperor did not pursue in disorder, as Thomas had expected, but advanced in close array, they lost all heart for the work, and surrendered themselves to Michael's clemency.
The cause of Thomas was lost on the field of Diabasis. The throne of the Amorian Emperor was no longer in jeopardy. But there was still more work to be done and the civil war was not completely over until the end of the year. The tyrant himself was not yet captured, nor his adopted son, Anastasius. Thomas, with a few followers, fled to Arcadiopolis and closed the gates against his conqueror. The parts of the tyrant and the Emperor were now changed. It was now Michael's turn to besiege Thomas in the city of Arcadius, as Thomas had besieged Michael in the city of Constantine. But the second siege was of briefer duration. Arcadiopolis was not as Constantinople; and the garrison of Thomas was not as the garrison of Michael. Yet it lasted much longer than might have been expected; for it began in the middle of May, and the place held out till the middle of October.2
Arcadiopolis was not the only Thracian town that sheltered followers of Thomas. The younger tyrant, Anastasius, had found refuge not far off, in Bizye.” Another band of rebels seized Panion, and Heraclea on the Propontis remained devoted to the cause of the Pretender. These four towns, Heraclea, Panion, Arcadiopolis and Bizye formed a sort of
1 The united authority of the con. temporary George Mon. (797) and Genesios (43) would be decisive for the city of Arcadius, as against Cont. Th. in which the city of Hadrian is mentioned. ’Adplavoúrow there (68) is probably a slip; in any case it is an
All doubt on the matter is removed by Michael's own statement (Ep. ad Lud. 418) from which we learn the duration of the siege. Arcadiopolis,
the ancient Bergyle, corresponds to the modern Lüle Burgas, and was a station on the main road from Hadrianople to Constantinople. Cf. Jireček, Heerstrasse, 49.
2 See Appendix V. 3 Bizye lay nearly due east of Hadrianople, and N.E. of Arcadiopolis.
4 On the Propontis coast, not far from Heraclea (Suidas, s.v.).
line, cutting off Constantinople from Western Thrace. But the subjugation of the last refuges of the lost cause was merely a matter of months. It would not have been more than a matter of days, if certain considerations had not hindered the Emperor from using engines of siege against the towns which still defied him. But two lines of policy concurred in deciding him to choose the slower method of blockade.
In the first place he wished to spare, so far as possible, the lives of Christians, and, if the towns were taken by violence, bloodshed would be unavoidable. That this consideration really influenced Michael is owned by historians who were not well disposed towards him, but who in this respect bear out a statement which he made himself in his letter to Lewis the Pious.1 He informed that monarch that he retreated after the victory of Diabasis, “ in order to spare Christian blood." ” Such a motive does not imply that he was personally a humane man; other acts show that he could be stark and ruthless. His humanity in this case rather illustrates the general feeling that prevailed against the horrors of civil war. It was Michael's policy to affect a tender regard for the lives of his Christian subjects, and to contrast his own conduct with that of his rival, who had brought so. many miseries on the Christian Empire. We have already seen how important this consideration was for the purpose of conciliating public opinion, in the pains which were taken to represent the Bulgarian intervention as a spontaneous act of Omurtag, undesired and deprecated by Michael.
But there was likewise another reason which conspired to decide Michael that it was wiser not to storm a city of Thrace. It was the interest and policy of a Roman Emperor to cherish in the minds of neighbouring peoples, especially of Bulgarians and Slavs, the wholesome idea that fortified Roman cities were impregnable.? The failure of Krum's attack on Constantinople, the more recent failure of the vast force of Thomas, were calculated to do much to confirm such a belief. And Michael had no mind to weaken this impression by showing the barbarians that Roman cities might yield to the force of skilfully directed engines. In
1 άμα μεν τον εμφύλιον αποδιδράσκων πόλεμον, Cont. Τh. 68. ad Lud. 418.
2 Cont. Th. 68.
fact, Michael seized the occasion to show the Bulgarians that he regarded Arcadiopolis as too strong to be taken by assault.
In following these two principles of policy, Michael placed himself in the light of a patriot, in conspicuous contrast to his beaten rival, who had been the author of the Civil War, and had used all his efforts to teach barbarians how the Imperial city itself might be taken by an enemy. The garrison of Arcadiopolis held out for five months, but Thomas was obliged to send out of the town all the women and children, and the men who were incapable of bearing arms, in order to save his supplies. By the month of October, the garrison was reduced to such straits that they were obliged to feed on the putrid corpses of their horses which had perished of hunger. Part of the garriso
Part of the garrison now left the town, some with the knowledge of Thomas, others as deserters to Michael. The latter, desperate with hunger, let themselves down by ropes, or threw themselves from the walls at the risk of breaking their limbs. The messengers of Thomas stole out of the gates and escaped to Bizye, where the younger tyrant Anastasius had shut himself up, in order to concert with the some plan for the rescue of the
of the “father." Then Michael held a colloquy with the garrison that was left in Arcadiopolis, and promised to all a free pardon, if they would surrender their master into his hands. The followers who had been so long faithful to their leader thought that the time had come when they might set their lives before loyalty to a desperate cause. They accepted the Imperial clemency and delivered Thomas to the triumphant Emperor.
The punishment that awaited the great tyrant who was so near to winning the throne was not less terrible than that to which Michael himself had been sentenced by Leo, the Armenian. All the distress which the Emperor had undergone for the space of three years was now to be visited on his head. The pretender, who had reduced his conqueror to dire extremities and had wasted three years of his reign, could hope for no easy death. The quarrel between Michael and Thomas was an old one; it dated from the days when they had both been officers under the general Bardanes. The time had now come for settling accounts, and the reckoning i Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 419.
2 Gen. 44.
against the debtor was heavy indeed. The long war had inflicted immeasurable injury on the lands of the Empire, and it would be hard to estimate how much Thrace alone had suffered. The private ambition of the old Slav of Gaziura, the impostor who had deceived his followers, for a time at least, that he was a legitimate Emperor, was answerable for all this ruin and misery. When he was led in chains to the presence of his hated rival, Michael, not disguising his joy, set his foot upon the neck of the prostrate foe, and pronounced his doom. His hands and feet were to be cut off, and his body was to be pierced on a stake. The miserable man when he was led to punishment, cried aloud for mercy: “Pity me, O thou who art the true Emperor !”? Hope may have been awakened in his heart for a moment, hope at least of some alleviation of the doom, when his judge deigned to ask him a question. It was one of those dangerous questions which tempt a man in the desperate position of Thomas to bear false witness if he has no true facts to reveal. Michael asked whether any of his own officers or ministers had held treacherous dealings with the rebel. But if the rebel had any true or false revelations to make, he was not destined to utter them, and if he conceived hopes of life or of a milder death, they were speedily extinguished. At this juncture John Hexabulios, the Logothete of the Course, intervened and gave the Emperor wise counsel. The part played in history by this Patrician was that of a monitor.
We saw him warning Michael Rangabé against Leo; we saw him taking counsel with Leo touching the designs of Michael the Lisper; and now we see him giving advice to Michael. His counsel was, not to hear Thomas, inasmuch as it was improper and absurd to believe the evidence of foes against friends.
The sentence was carried out, probably before the walls of Arcadiopolis, and doubtless in the Emperor's presence ; and the great rebel perished in tortures, " like a beast.” 4 A like
George Μon. 797 κατά την αρχαίαν ouvo elav. We remember how Justinian II. set his feet on the necks of Leontius and Tiberius.
2 In Cont. Th. (69), it is said that he was exhibited on an ass : επί όνου τε θεατρίζει πάσι, τούτο μόνον επιτραγωδούντα, ελέησόν με ο αληθώς βασιλεύ.
Genesios does not notice the ass, which often played a part in such scenes.
3 The punishment is described by Michael himself in his letter to Lewis (419).
ώσπερ τε ζώον δυσθανατουν, Cont. Th. 70.
doom was in store for his adopted son. But Bizye caused the Emperor less trouble than Arcadiopolis, for when the followers of Anastasius heard the news of the fate of Thomas, they resolved to save their own lives by surrendering him to Michael. The monk, who in an evil hour had exchanged the cloister for the world, perished by the same death as Thomas. But even after the extinction of the two tyrants, there was still resistance offered to the rule of Michael. The inland cities, Bizye and Arcadiopolis, had surrendered; but the maritime cities, Heraclea and Panion, still held out. In these neighbouring places there was a strong enthusiasm for image-worship, and Michael had given clear proofs that he did not purpose to permit the restoration of images. But the resistance of these cities was soon overcome. The wall of Panion was opportunely shattered by an earthquake, and thus the city was disabled from withstanding the Imperial army. Heraclea, though it was visited by the same disaster, suffered less, and did not yield at once; but an assault on the seaside was successful, and here, too, Michael had a bloodless victory.
The Emperor, having completely established his power in Thrace, returned to the city with his prisoners. If his dealing with the arch-rebels Thomas and Anastasius had been cruel, his dealing with all their followers was merciful and mild. Those who were most deeply implicated he punished by banishment. On the rest he inflicted only the light ignominy of being exhibited at a spectacle in the Hippodrome with their hands bound behind their backs.
But there was still some work to be done in Asia, before it could be said that the last traces of the rebellion of Thomas had been blotted out. Two adherents of the rebel still held two strong posts in Asia Minor, and plundered the surrounding country as brigands. Kaballa, in the Anatolic Theme, to the north-west of Iconium, was in the hands of Choereas, while
1 Michael, ib.,
calls Panidus. 2 There were two places of this name (in one of which Constantine V. Kaballinos was probably born), one in Phrygia, south of Trajanopolis, the other on the borders of Pisidia and Lycaonia and not far from Laodicea Kekaumene (Ramsay, Lycaonia, 69).
The latter, which is doubtless the
in Lycaonia ;