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on the mainland due north of Rialto, a basilica with three apses, of which the ground plan was excavated not long ago.1
A conspiracy (A.D. 836) terminated the rule of the Parteciaci. The last duke was relegated to a monastery at Grado, and he was succeeded by Peter Trandenicus, an illiterate, energetic man, under whose memorable government Venice made a long leap in her upward progress. For she now practically asserted, though she did not ostentatiously proclaim, a virtual independence. There was no revolution; there was no open renunciation of the authority of the Eastern Empire ; the Venetians still remained for generations nominally Imperial subjects. But the bonds were weakened, the reins were relaxed, and Venice actually conducted herself as a sovran state. Her independence was promoted by the duty which fell upon her of struggling against the Croatian pirates; the fleet of the Empire, occupied with the war in Sicily, could not police the upper waters of the Hadriatic. Hitherto Venice had used the same craft for war and trade; Peter Trandenicus built her first warships-chelandia of the Greek type. Theophilus created him a spathar; he styled himself "Duke and Spathar," but he did not, like his predecessors, describe himself as "submissive" (humilis); presently he assumed the epithet of glorious." It is [significant that in the dates of public documents anni Domini begin to replace the regnal years of the Emperor.2 But the most important mark of the new era is that Venice takes upon herself to conclude, on her own account, agreements with foreign powers. The earliest of these is the contract with the Emperor Lothar (Feb. 22, 840), which among other provisions ensured reciprocal freedom of commerce by land and sea, and bound the Venetians to render help in protecting the eastern coasts of Frankish Italy against the Croatian pirates. This, the oldest monument, as it has been called, of independent Venetian diplomacy, may be said to mark the inauguration of the independence of Venice.*
If Venice was thus allowed to slide from under the con
1 See Cattaneo, op. cit. 235 sqq.
2 Capitularia, n. 233, p. 130 sqq. (cp. Lentz, ii. 112 sqq.).
3 Along with the Praeceptum of Lothar, A.D. 841 (Capitularia, n. 234),
For the change in the position of Venice summarised in this paragraph, and the dukedom of Peter, see Lentz, ii. 64 sqq.; Kretschmayr, 92 sqq.
trolling hand of the Emperors, without scandal or ill-feeling, she retained her supreme importance for Byzantine commerce, and for the next two centuries she was probably as valuable to the Empire, of which she was still nominally a part, as if she had remained in her earlier state of strict subordination.
The conquest of Istria by the Franks affected not only the history of Venetia, but also that of Dalmatia. The realm of Charles the Great was now adjacent to the province of Dalmatia, which included the Roman cities and islands of the coast, from Tarsatica in Liburnia to Cattaro, and also to the Slavs of the "hinterland" who were in a loose subjection to the government of Constantinople. In the treaty of A.D. 798, the Franks acknowledged the Imperial rights over the Slavs;1 but in the following years both the heads or župans of these Slavs, and even the Roman communities of the coast, seem to have discerned, like the Venetians, in the rivalry between the two Imperial powers an opportunity for winning independence. The duke and the bishop of Zara 2 went to the court of Charles, along with the duke of Venice, in A.D. 806, and paid him homage. About the same time some of the more northern Slavonic tribes submitted to him, a submission which was nominal and involved no obligations. But this, like the corresponding political change in Venice, was only transient. By the treaty of A.D. 812 the old order was formally restored and the Franks undertook not to molest or invade the Dalmatian communities. Some particular questions concerning the boundaries in the north were settled in the reign of Leo V.,4 and no further attempts were made by the Western Empire to seduce Dalmatia from its allegiance. But this allegiance was
1 Just after this, in A.D. 799, the Margrave of Friuli was slain near Tarsatica (Tersatto, Trsat), "insidiis oppidanorum," Ann. r. F. p. 108, and three years later there was a revolt in this region against Nicephorus (on his accession) led by one Turcis. The Emperor destroyed (?) Tarsatica ("tantumodo solum Tarsaticum destruere potuit "); the rebel submitted and was pardoned. Joann. Ven. 100. On Tersatto, cp. Jackson, Dalmatia, iii. 166 sqq.
2 The circular church of San Donato at Zara is a memorial of this bishop, Donatus. Rivoira (Lombardic Archi
tecture, i. 152) agrees that it dates from his time, and points out that it was "inspired directly by San Vitale at Ravenna."
3 Especially the Slavs of Liburnia (Einhard, Vit. Kar. 15), cp. Harnack, 48.
4 Leo sent an envoy, Nicephorus, to Lewis in A.D. 817, "de finibus Dalmatorum Romanorum et Sclavorum (Ann. r. F., s.a.), and another embassy in A.D. 818. See Simson, Ludwig, 78 and 110; Harnack, 60. Nicephorus and Cadolah, the Margrave of Friuli, were sent to arrange a settlement on the spot.
unstable and wavering. The Slavonic župans acknowledged no lord in the reign of Michael III. or perhaps at an earlier date.1 The Roman communities of the coast, which were under their own magistrates, subject to an Imperial governor or archon, are said to have asserted their autonomy in the time of Michael II.—and this may well have happened when he was engaged in the struggle with Thomas.2 But the control of Constantinople was soon reimposed, and Dalmatia continued to be a province or Theme, under an archon, though the cities enjoyed, as before, a measure of self-government, which resembled that of Cherson.8
The settlement of another question in the reign of Michael II. tended to pacify the relations between the two empires. The Istrian bishops who were subjects of the Western Emperor had been permitted by the Peace of A.D. 812 to remain under the Patriarch of Grado, who was a subject of the Eastern Emperor. This was an awkward arrangement, which probably would not have been allowed to continue if the Patriarch Fortunatus had not proved himself a good friend of the Franks.4 But it was satisfactory to both Emperors to transfer the Istrian churches from the See of Grado to that of Aquileia, so that the ecclesiastical jurisdictions were coincident with the boundaries between the two realms. This settlement was effected in A.D. 827 by a synod held at Mantua.5
1 Cont. Th. (Vita Basilii), 288; Constantine, De adm. imp. 128. Note that in the former passage only the revolt of the Slavs is mentioned, while in the latter the emphasis is on the Dalmatian provincials, who are said to have become autonomous in the reign of Michael II. See next note.
2 This date is accepted by Hopf (Griechische Geschichte, 119), and Muralt (410); and is defended by Harnack, 70, against Hirsch, who (198) argues that in De adm. imp."(and Cont. Th. 84) Michael II. is confounded with Michael III. The passage in Cont. Th. 288, is not really inconsistent with the assertion of autonomy by the Slavs before the reign of Michael III.
3 See above, p. 223.
4 Fortunatus seems to have been a born intriguer. He was accused of rendering secret support to Liudewit,
when that leader raised the Croatians of Pannonia in rebellion against the Franks; and when Lewis summoned him to answer the charge, he fled to Zara and thence to Constantinople (A.D. 821). He accompanied Michael's embassy to Lewis in 824, and was sent on to the Pope, but died on the way. See Ann. r. F., s. 821 and 824; Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 419; Joann. Ven. 108.
5 Mansi, xiv. 493 sqq. Cp. Harnack, 67-69. The question was probably one of the objects of the embassies which passed between Michael II. and Lewis in A.D. 827, 828. The Oekonomos of St. Sophia was the head of the Greek embassy, which presented to the Western Emperor a Greek text of the works of Dionysios the Areopagite. The Frank envoys, who were honourably received, brought back from
The letter which the Emperor, Michael II., addressed to Lewis the Pious has already demanded our attention, in connexion with the iconoclastic controversy. Although his recognition of the Imperial title of Lewis was grudging and ambiguous, Lewis, who consistently pursued the policy of keeping on good terms with Constantinople, did not take offence.1 Under Theophilus the relations between the two great powers continued to be friendly. The situation in the Mediterranean demanded an active co-operation against the Saracens, who were a common enemy; Theophilus pressed for the assistance of the Franks; but the Western Empire was distracted by the conflicts between Lewis and his sons.2 In the last year of his life, Theophilus proposed a marriage between Lewis, the eldest son of Lothar, and one of his own daughters (perhaps Thecla), and Lothar agreed. But after the Emperor's death the project was allowed to drop, nor can we say whether Theodora had any reason to feel resentment that the bridegroom designate never came to claim her daughter. There seems to have ensued a complete cessation of diplomatic intercourse during the reign of Michael III., and it is probable that there may have been some friction in Italy.* But, as we have already seen, the struggle between Photius and the Pope led to an approximation between the Byzantine court and the recreant bridegroom, who was proclaimed Basileus in Constantinople (A.D. 867). During the following years, the co-operation against the Saracens, for which Theophilus had hoped, was to be brought about; the Emperor Lewis was to work hand in hand with the generals of Basil in southern Italy.
Constantinople valuable relics, which
1 He showed his goodwill in a small matter which arose in southern Italy, between Naples and Beneventum : Erchempert, c. 10, and Ann. r. F., s.a. 826; Harnack, 67.
2 Three embassies from Theophilus to the Franks are recorded: (1) in A.D. 833; the object is not stated, but we know that the envoys bore gifts for Lothar, which they delivered, and for Lewis, which they could not deliver, as he was his son's captive.
This was the " tragedy" which the envoys witnessed, according to Vit. Hludov. (M.G. H., Scr. ii.) 49, p. 636 -a passage which Hirsch (148) has misunderstood; cp. Harnack, 69. (2) A.D. 839, Ann. Bert., s.a. See above, p. 273, and below, p. 418. (3) A.D. 842, see next note.
3 Ann. Bert., s. 842 and 853: "Graeci contra Hludovicum . concitantur propter filiam imp. Cplitani ab eo desponsatam sed ad eius nuptias venire differentem" (i.e. Hludovicum); Gen. 71, Cont. Th. 135. Also Dandulus, Chron. 176.
4 Ann. Bert., s. 853, loc. cit.
§ 1. The Bulgarian Kingdom
THE hill-ridge of Shumla, which stretches from north-west to south-east, divides the plain of Aboba from the plain of Preslav, and these two plains are intimately associated with the early period of Bulgarian history. It must have been soon after the invaders established their dominion over Moesia, from the Danube to the Balkans, that they transferred their capital and the seat of their princes from a marshy fortress in the Dobrudzha to a more central place. Their choice fell upon Pliska. It is situated north-east of Shumla, in the plain of Aboba, and near the modern village of that name.1 Travellers had long since recognized the site as an ancient settlement, but it was taken for granted that the antiquities which the ground evidently concealed were of Roman origin, and it has only recently been discovered by excavation that here were the great entrenched camp and the royal palace of the early khans of Bulgaria.
The camp or town formed a large irregular quadrilateral, and some idea of its size may be conveyed, if it is said that its greatest length from north to south was four miles, and that its width varied from two miles and a half to about one mile and three-quarters. It was enclosed by a fortification, consisting of a ditch outside a rampart of earth, the crown of which appears to have been surmounted by a wooden fence. Although early destruction and later cultivation have done
1 This account of Pliska is based on the publication of the excavations of the Russian Archaeological Institute of
Constantinople, cited as Aboba (see