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Christendom,' and a Greek contemporary writer ranks it next to the capital.
Mutasim left his palace at Samarra in April (A.D. 838), and the banners of his immense army were inscribed with the name of Amorion. The Caliph was a warrior of indisputable bravery, but we know not whether it was he or his generals who designed the strategical plan of the invasion. The two most eminent generals who served in this campaign were Ashnas and Afshin. The former was a Turk, and his prominence is significant of the confidence which Mutasim reposed in his new corps of Turkish guards. Afshin had distinguished himself by suppressing rebellion in Egypt, and he had done much to terminate the war against Babek which had been so long drawn out.
The city of Ancyra was fixed upon as the first objective of the invasion. An army of the east, under the command of Afshin, advanced by way of Germanicia, and crossed the frontier by the Pass of Hadath on a day which was so fixed as to allow him time to meet the army of the west in the plains of Ancyra.
The purposes of the Caliph were not kept secret. The dispositions of the Emperor show that he was aware of the designs on Ancyra and Amorion. He left Constantinople probably in May; and from Dorylaion, the first great military station on the road to the Saracen frontier, he made provisions for the strengthening of the walls and the garrison of Amorion. The duty of defending the city naturally devolved upon Aetius, the stratégos of the Anatolic Theme, for Amorion was his official residence. The plan of the Emperor was to attack the forces of the enemy on their northward march to Ancyra. Knowing nothing of the eastern army under Afshin, he crossed the Halys and encamped with his army not far from the river's bank in the extreme south of the Charsian district, 1 “And more valued by the Greeks negroes.
Masudi (68) says that the than Constantinople” (Tabari, 30); numbers were exaggerated by some to cp. Masudi, 74.
500,000 and reduced by others to 2 Acta citt. 425 (cp. 1113).
200,000. Tabari (30) says that no 3 According to Michael Syr. 95, Caliph had ever made preparations for Mutasim's army numbered 50,000, war on such a gigantic scale. These Afshin's 30,000. He mentions also statements illustrate the value of 30,000 merchants
and providers, numbers in medieval writers. We 50,000 camels, 20,000 mules. Bar- can only trust intelligent contemHebraeus (159) says that Mutasim led poraries. Here the numbers of the 220,000 men.
The Armenian version combatants given by Michael, i.e. of Michael (274) mentions 30,000 Dionysios, are moderate and credible. i For details of the march of is Thursday, Shaban 25.” But Mutasim and Ashnas, see Bury, Shaban 25=July 22 fell on Monday. Mutasim's March. Tabari's account 4 For the plain of Dazimon, which of the campaign is fuller than any seems to have been once part of an other.
probably near Zoropassos, where there was a bridge. He calculated that the enemy would march from the Cilician Gates to Ancyra by the most direct road, which from Soandos to Parnassos followed the course of the river, and he hoped to attack them on the flank. The Caliph's western army advanced northward from Tyana in two divisions, and Ashnas, who was in front, was already near the Halys before the Emperor's proximity was suspected. The Caliph ordered a halt till the position and movements of the Romans should be discovered But in the meantime Theophilus had been informed of the advance of the eastern army, and the news disconcerted his plans. He was now obliged to divide his forces. Taking, probably, the greater portion with him, he marched himself to oppose Afshin, and left the rest, under the command of a kinsman, to check or harass the progress of the Caliph. Afshin had already passed Sebastea (Sivas), and was in the district of Dazimon, when he was forced to give battle to the Emperor. Dazimon, the modern Tokat, commands the great eastern road from Constantinople to Sebastea, at the point where another road runs northward to Neo-Caesarea. The town lies at the foot of a hill, at one extremity of which the ruins of the ancient fortress are still to be seen. Situated near the southern bank of the Iris, it marks the eastern end of a fertile plain stretching to Gaziura (now Turkhal), which in the ancient and middle ages was known as Dazimonitis; the Turks call it Kaz-Ova. It was probably in this plain that the Saracens encamped. The Emperor, who may have
Imperial estate, see Anderson, Stud. 2 30,000 (Michael Syr. 95, who Pont. i. 68 ; for Tokat itself and the gives no topographical indications). fortress, Cumont, ib. ii. 240-243. Afshin is evidently meant by Simeon's 5 Afshin had been reinforced by the curious Sudeê (Sundei, vers. Slav. 97 ; forces of Armenia led by Bagarat, Eovden, Add. Georg. ed. Mur. 712; lord (ishkhan) of Vaspurakan, the Zoudél, Leo Gr. 224).
“prince of princes." This title was 3 Gen. 67 oỉ (the Saracen com- rendered in Greek by άρχων των αρχόνmanders) κατά τον Δαξιμώνα συνήχθησαν TWv (Constantine, Cer. 687). Genesios otpatotedevo á devol. Tabari's date (45) has split him into two persons (67) for the battle, July 22, can rdly αυτού του αρχ. αρχ. και του Βεσπαραbe right. A longer time must surely κανίτου (I am not quite sure whether have elapsed before the beginning of Marquart follows him, op. cit. 463). the siege of Amorion (Aug. 1). More- Cont. Th. 127 rightly mentions only over, Tabari refutes himself. His date one person. Bagarat was a son of
arrived on the scene by way of Zela and Gaziura, halted near Anzên, a high hill, from whose summit the position of the enemy could be seen. This hill has not been identified; we may perhaps guess, provisionally, that it will be discovered to the south of the plain of Dazimonitis. The fortune of the ensuing battle at first went well for the Greeks, who defeated the enemy, on one wing at least, with great loss; but a heavy shower of rain descended, and the sudden disappearance of the Emperor, who at the head of 2000 men had ridden round to reinforce the other wing of his army, gave rise, in the overhanging gloom, to the rumour that he was slain. The Romans, in consternation, turned and fled, and, when the sun emerged from the darkness, the Emperor with his band was surrounded by the troops of Afshin. They held the enemy at bay, until
, the Saracen general brought up siege-catapults to bombard them with stones; then they fought their way, desperately but successfully, through the hostile ring?
The Emperor, with his handful of followers, fled northwestward to Chiliokomon, “the plain of a thousand villages (now Sulu-Ova), and then, returning to his camp on the Halys, found to his dismay that his kinsman had allowed, or been unable to forbid, many of the troops to disperse to their Ashot (ob. 826), on whom the Caliph companions because their bow-strings had conferred the government of were wet; this, in turn, explains the Iberia. Leo V. bestowed on him the employment of stone-hurling machines title curopalates (frequently conferred mentioned by Michael. According to on the Iberian princes), and in A.D. Tabari (135), who professes to give 820 he besought Leo's help against a the evidence of a Christian captive rebel. (Cp. Marquart, ib. 404.) present at the battle, the fortune of Bagarat was also lord of Taron (the the day was retrieved by the Saracen district west of Lake Van and north cavalry. It may be suspected that of Arzanene, from which it is separ- the discomfiture of the Romans, ated by the Antitaurus. Vaspura- whether by archers or cavalry or both, kan is east and north-east of Lake occurred on that wing which the Van).
Emperor with his 2000 rode round to 1 Anzên recurs in a later battle in reinforce. Gen. 68-69 (Cont. Th. 128) the same region; see below, p. 282, relates that Theophilus was rescued for the topographical data.
by Manuel from the contemplated 2 I have followed the account of treachery of his Persian regiments. Michael Syr. 95. Genesios (68) agrees The story is highly suspicious (cp. as to the first success of the Romans, Hirsch, 145), as it was also told, with but attributes their flight to the little variation, of a battle in A.D. 830 archery of the Turks. He describes (above, p. 257). But the life of the surrounding of Theophilus, with Theophilus was certainly in danger, whom were Manuel, the Persians, and as we know from Michael. According the commanders of the Tagmatic to Masudi (68), having lost many of troops. He also mentions the rain his officers, he owed his life to the and explains that the Turkish archers protection of Nasr. could not shoot at Theophilus and his 3 See Cumont, op. cit. 144.
various stations. Having punished the commander for his weakness, and sent orders that the soldiers who had left the camp should be beaten with stripes, he dispatched a eunuch? to Ancyra, to provide, if there were still time, for the defence of that city. But it was too late ; for the western army of the invaders was already there.? Ancyra ought to have offered resistance to a foe. Its fortifications were probably strengthened by Nicephorus 1.3 But the inhabitants, thoroughly alarmed by the tidings of the victory of Afshin, deserted the city and fled into the mountains, where they were sought out by Ashnas and easily defeated. Thus the town fell without a blow into the hands of the destroyer. The Emperor, at this crisis, did not disdain to humble himself before the Caliph. He sent an embassy, imploring peace, and offering to rebuild the fortress of Zapetra, to release all the captives who were in his hands, and to surrender those men who had committed cruel outrages in the Zapetra campaign. The overtures were rejected, with contempt and taunts, by the Caliph, and Theophilus betook himself to Dorylaion to await the fate of
1 Doubtless Theodoros Krateros, one [I read πένθει, Boeckh πενθεί. He of the Amorian martyrs, who, as reads éxopwv rais in line 2, but the Nikitin conjectures, may have been traces do not point to this.] Now, as stratêgos of the Bukellarian Theme no destruction of Ancyra is recorded (Acta 42 Mart. Amor. 205).
between A.D. 805 (the restoration of 2 It had marched northward by the Nicephorus) and A.D. 829, Michael II. route west of the Halys (see above, cannot be meant. The storm must p. 264). Michael Syr. 95 records that refer to the event of 838, and the Mutasim found Nyssa, which lay on restoration must belong to the reign his road, deserted, and destroyed its of Michael III. Moreover, in the case walls.
of Michael II. (except in the first five Theoph. 481. In 806 Harun months of his reign), Theophilus marched within sight of the city (ib. would have been associated with him 482). It is generally said that the in such an inscription. The fact that walls were restored by Michael II. Michael III. is named alone, without (so Vasil'ev, 124). But the inscrip- Theodora, points to a date after A.D. tions on which this statement is based 856, and this is confirmed by tálai. (C.I.G. iv. 8794, 8795, pp. 365-366) The other inscription (ten iambic trihave, I think, been wrongly inter- meters), though it does not mention preted. The second (consisting of the disaster, is evidently of the same fifteen iambic trimeters) tells how date, and, as Boeckh thinks, probably Michael
by the same (local) “poet.” Μιχαήλ ο δεσπότης
* A poet, Husain, sang in honour μέγας βασιλεύς νικητ]ής στεφηφόρος of Mutasim: “Of Ancyra thou didst has raised Ancyra from her ruins.
spare nought, and thou didst demolish The document begins :
the great Amorion.” Ibn Khur
dadhbah, 101, 74; Vasil'ev, 129, n. 2. πένθει φθαρείσα και (κλιθείσα πρ[ος 5 Yakubi, 9; Gen. 64. πέδω
6 Michael Syr. 95 relates that a χερσίν υπ ε[ 1 μιαιφόνοξιδs, [έκ] report was spread in Constantinople πάλαι,
that the Emperor was slain in the νύν [ανεγείρου των κακών ανειμένη. battle with Afshin, that a plot was Nikitin (208 sqq.) has shown that this does not mean a courier here, but a victor in the foot-race (Treço@pbucov). Constantine, Cer. 358, mentions Bambaludes, και των Πρασίνων Opoueús, champion of the Greeks, in the reign of Michael III.
Amorion, for the safety of which he believed that he had done all that could be done.
The army of the Saracens advanced westwards from Ancyra in three columns, Ashnas in front, the Caliph in the centre, and Afshin behind, at distances of two parasangs. Ravaging and burning as they went, they reached Amorion in seven days. The siege began on the first of August. The city was strong; its high wall was fortified by forty-four bastions and surrounded by a wide moat;? its defence had been entrusted by Theophilus to Aetius, stratêgos of the Anatolic Theme; and reinforcements had been added to its garrison, under Constantine Babutzikos, who had married a sister of the Empress Theodora and was Drungary of the Watch, and the eunuch Theodore Krateros 3 and others. But there was a weak spot in the fortification. Some time
formed to elect a new Emperor, and that Theophilus, informed of the matter by a message from his mother (? stepmother), hastened thither from Amorion and punished the conspirators. Genesios (69) mentions his being at Nicaea, and Vasil'ev suggests that this may confirm the Syriac record.
1 Tabari, 45; Acta 42 Mart. 42 (εισιόντος του Αυγούστου μηνός). The city was taken on Tuesday in Ramadhan, i.e. August 13, according to Yakubi, 10. This accords with Michael Syr. 100, who says that the city was taken in 12 days, and can be reconciled with the statement of Euodios (Acta citt. 65) that the siege lasted 13 days. For Ashnas arrived at Amorion on Thursday, August 1, th Caliph was there on Friday, August 2, and Afshin on Saturday (Tabari, 37). Thus the duration might be described as either of 12 or of 13 days (or of 11, since active operations did not begin till August 3). See Nikitin (ad Acta citt. 243), who wrongly equates the Thursday with July 31. Tabari's equation (45) of Friday with the 6th of Ramadhan is false ; Thursday=Ramadhan 7_(see Mas Latrie, Trésor, p. 566). The same scholar rightly points out that a wrong deduction has been drawn by Weil and Vasil'ev from Tabari's statement (45) that Mutasim returned 55 days after the beginning of the siege. They
took this to mean that the siege lasted 55 days, and so placed the capture on September 23 or 24. But Tabari obviously means his return to Tarsus, and the 55 days include his march from Amorion, which was slow and interrupted. According to George Mon. 797, the siege lasted 15 days in August; this is nearly right.
2 Ibn Khurdadhbah.
3 The names in Simeon (Add. Georg. 805 ; vers. Slav. 98) and Cont. Th. 126 must be controlled by the Acta of the 42 Martyrs. The identity of the officers has been examined by Nikitin (Acta, 202-219), who has proved, in my opinion, that Constantine the Patrician is Constantine Babutzikos.
locument he is described as άρχων των ταγμάτων (Synαααr. ecc. Const. 516), whence Nikitin infers that he was commander of one of the
‘guard regiments.' But Simeon's δρουγγάριος shows at once that he commanded the Arithmos (Vigla), the only one of the four Tagmata whose commander was so named. The other officers were Theophilus, a stratêgos, and Bassoes, ó opouets the