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this time directed to destroying the independence of the Slavonic kingdom of Great Moravia, north of the Carpathians.
? Prince Rostislav was making a successful stand against the encroachments of his Teutonic neighbours, but he wanted allies sorely and he turned to Bulgariam. He succeeded in engaging the co-operation of Boris, who, though he sent an embassy to Lewis just after his accession, formed an offensive alliance with Rostislay in the following year (A.D. 853). The allies conducted a joint_campaign and were defeated." The considerations which impelled Boris to this change of policy are unknown; but it was only temporary. Nine years later he changed front. When Karlmann, who had become governor of the East Mark, revolted against his father Lewis, he was supported by Rostislav, but Boris sided with Lewis, and a new treaty of alliance was negotiated between the German and Bulgarian kings (A.D. 862).? Moravia
had need of help against the combination of Bulgaria with her German foe, and Rostislav sent an embassy to the court of Byzantium. It must have been the purpose of the ambassadors to convince the Emperor of the dangers with which the whole Illyrian peninsula was menaced by the Bulgaro-German alliance, and to induce him to attack Bulgaria.
The Byzantine government must have known much more than we of the nature of the negotiations between Boris and Lewis. In particular, we have no information as to the price which the German offered the Bulgarian for his active assistance in suppressing the rebellion. But we have clear evidence that the question of the conversion of Bulgaria to Christianity was touched upon in the negotiations. As a means of increasing his political influence at the Bulgarian court, this matter was of great importance to Lewis, and Boris did not decline to entertain the proposition. The interests of the Eastern Empire were directly involved. Bulgaria was a standing danger ; but that danger would be seriously enhanced if she passed under the ecclesiastical supremacy of Rome and threw in her lot with Latin Christianity. It was a matter of supreme urgency to detach Boris from his connexion with Lewis, and the representatives
1 Ann. Bert., s.a.
Cp. Zlatarski, 59.
of Rostislav may have helped Michael and his advisers to realize the full gravity of the situation. It was decided to coercethe Bulgarians, and in the summer of A.D. 863 Michael marched into their territory at the head of his army, while his fleet appeared off their coast on the Black Sea. The moment was favourable. Bulgarian forces were absent, taking part in the campaign against Karlmann, and the country was suffering from a cruel famine. In these circumstances, the Emperor_accomplished his purpose without striking a blow; the demonstration of his power sufficed to induce Boris to submit to his conditions. It was arranged that Bulgaria should receive Christianity from the Greeks and become ecclesiastically dependent on Constantinople;? that Boris should withdraw from the offensive alliance with Lewis and only conclude à treaty of peace. In return for this alteration of his policy, the Emperor agreed to some territorial concessions. He surrendered to Bulgaria a district which was uninhabited and formed a march between the two realms, extending from the Iron Gate, a pass in the StranjaDagh, northward to Develtos. 4 It has been supposed that at the same time the frontier in the far west was also regulated, and that the results of the Bulgarian advance towards the Hadriatic were formally recognized.”
The brilliant victory which was gained over the Saracens 1 The meaning of this expedition the southern point of the region in has been first satisfactorily explained question, and identifies it with a pass by Zlatarski, 62 sqq. The source is called Demir Kapu, “Iron Gate,” in Simeon (Cont. Georg. 824).
the north-western hills of the Stranja2 The consent to accept Christianity Planina, north of Losen-grad, which is was perhaps unexpected. Photius, near Kovchat. He places the western Ep. 4. p. 168 εις την των χριστιανών point of the surrendered district παραδόξως μετενεκεντρίσθησαν πίστιν. at the Sakar Planina. The other
This treaty was maintained for region, between the Eastern Balkans many years to come.
and the Erkesiia, was also called + Cont. Theoph. 165 dédwkev èpņuny Zagora (=“ behind the mountains”). ούσαν τηνικαύτα την από Σιδηράς, ταύτης 5 Zlatarski, 70 sqq. Ochrida and δε τότε όριον τυγχανούσης “Ρωμαίων τε Glavinitsa were Bulgarian in the reign και αυτών άχρι της Δεβέλτου, ήτις ούτω of Boris (Vita Clementis, c. 17. p. 24, ed. καλείται Ζάγορα παρ' αυτούς (ερήμη is Miklosich : Kephalenia =Glavinitsa). the antecedent of ýtus). The credit Zlatarski carefully discusses the of having explained this passage whereabouts of this place and conbelongs to Zlatarski, op. cit. 65 sqq. cludes that (distinct from the region Hitherto Eionpâ had been explained of of Cape Glossa, on the bay of Avlonia, the so-named"Balkan pass (Veregava, which was called Glavinitsa) there see above, p. 339, n. 2), but the an inland fortress Glavinitsa, district stretching from the Balkans between the rivers Voiusa (ancient to Develtos was already Bulgarian. Aous) and Ozum (ancient Apsus), Zlatarski has seen that Econpâ marks near Mount Tomor; and he would
in the autumn of the same year at Poson was calculated to confirm the Bulgarians in their change of policy, and in the course of the winter the details of the treaty were arranged. The envoys whom Boris sent to Constantinople were baptized there; this was a pledge of the loyal intentions of their master. When the peace was finally concluded (A.D. 864-5), the king himself received
baptism. The Emperor acted as his sponsor, and the royal proselyte adopted the name of Michael. The infant Church of Bulgaria was included in the see of Constantinople.
Popular and ecclesiastical interest turned rather to the personal side of the conversion of the Bulgarian monarch than to its political aspects, and the opportunity was not lost of inventing edifying tales. According to one story, Boris became acquainted with the elements of Christian doctrine by conversations with a captive monk, Theodore Kupharas. The Empress Theodora offered him a ransom for this monk, and then restored to him his sister who had been led captive by the Greeks and honourably detained in the Imperial palace at Constantinople, where she had embraced the Christian faith. When she returned to her country she laboured incessantly to convert her brother. He remained loyal to his own religion until Bulgaria was visited by a terrible famine, and then he was moved to appeal to the God whom Theodore Kupharas and his own sister had urged him to worship. There are
define the western frontier of Bulgaria, in the reign of Boris, as drawn from Lake Ostrovo south-west by Kastoria, taking in Mount Grammos, reaching the middle course of the Voiusa, then turning north, reaching the Ozum and following its tributary the Devol, crossing the Skumbi west of Elbasam, thence northward to the Black Drin, which it followed to the Servian frontier. The reader will find these places on any good modern map of the Balkan peninsula (e.g. in the Times Atlas, Maps 69-70).
1 Cp. Gen. 97. 2 Zlatarski, 80 sq. 3 In Bulgaria (ib.). Cp. Gen. ib., Cont. Th. 163.
4 The narrative fixes 864 as the earliest date for the baptism of Boris. There is Other evidence. Photius, writing in A.D. 867 (Ep. 4. p. 168) and
speaking of the Latin priests sent from Rome towards the end of A.D. 866, remarks that the Bulgarians at that time had been Christians for less than two years (ουδ' εις δύο ενιαυτούς). This gives the date as A. D. 864-865. For A.D. 865 see my Chronological Cycle, p. 142, where I point out that the Bulgarian date for the baptism, given in the Poslieslovie of Tudor (apud Kalaidovich, Ioannes Escarkh, p. 98), is to be explained as tokh vechem, which, on my interpretation of the chronological system, = A. D. 865. The date A.M. 6377 = A.D. 869 is given in Vita S. Clementis, c. 4. p. 7, for the "call” (klñois) of the Bulgarians.
5 Cont. Th. 162-163. The captivity of a sister of Boris seems highly improbable, but it is of course quite possible that he had a sister who was a convert.
two points of interest in this tale. It reflects the element of feminine influence, which is said to have played a part in the conversions of many barbarian chiefs, and which, for all we know, may have co-operated in shaping the decision of Boris ; and it represents the famine, which prevailed in Bulgaria at the time of Michael's invasion, as a divine visitation designed to lead that country to the true religion. Another tale, which bears on the face of it a monkish origin, is of a more sensational kind. Boris was passionately addicted to hunting, and he desired to feast his eyes upon the scenes of the chase during those nocturnal hours of leisure in which he could not indulge in his favourite pursuit. He sent for a Greek monk, Methodius by name, who practised the art of painting, but instead of commanding him to execute pictures of hunting as he had intended, the king was suddenly moved by a divine impulse to give him different directions. “I do not want you to depict,” he said, “the slaughter of men in battle, or of animals in the hunting-field; paint anything you like that will strike terror into the hearts of those that gaze upon it.” Methodius could imagine nothing more terrible than the second coming of God, and he painted a scene of the Last Judgment, exhibiting the righteous receiving their rewards, and the wicked ignominiously dismissed to their everlasting punishment. In consequence of the terror produced by this spectacle, Boris received instruction in Christian doctrine and was secretly baptized at night.
In changing his superstition, Boris had to reckon with his people, and the situation tested his strength as king: He
. S forced his subjects to submit to the rite of baptism, and his policy led to a rebellion. a
The nobles, incensed at his apostasy, stirred up the people to slay him, and all the Bulgarians of the ten districts of the kingdom gathered round
1 Cont. Th. 163-164. Methodius the painter has sometimes been confounded with Methodius the apostle of the Slavs.
? It is probable enough that the famine also had its psychological influence. Cp. Ann. Bert. 85, “Deo ... signis atque afflictionibus in populo regni sui monente.
3 The sources for the rebellion are (1) Nicolaus, Responsa, 17; (2) Ann.
Bert. (i.e. Hincmar) A.D. 866, p. 85, which gives the details ; and (3) the brief notice in Cont. Th. 164. In the latter there is nothing miraculous, but in the words oύς και μετά τινών ολίγων καταπολεμήσας it agrees with the general drift of Hincmar.
4 Nicolaus, Responsa, ib. “postquam baptisati fuere.” In Cont. Th. the baptism seems to follow the suppression of the revolt.
his palace, perhaps at Pliska. We cannot tell how he succeeded in suppressing this formidable revolt, for the rest of the story, as it reached the ears of Bishop Hincmar of Reims, is of a miraculous nature. Boris had only fortyeight devoted followers, who like himself were Christians. Invoking the name of Christ, he issued from his palace against the menacing multitude, and as the gates opened seven clergy, each with a lighted taper in his hand, suddenly appeared and walked in front of the royal procession. Then the rebellious crowd was affected with a strange illusion. They fancied that the palace was on fire and was about to fall on their heads, and that the horses of the king and his followers were walking erect on their hind feet and kicking them with their fore feet. Subdued by mortal terror, they could neither flee nor prepare to strike; they fell prostrate on the ground. When we are told that the king put to death fiftytwo nobles, who were the active leaders of the insurrection, and spared all the rest, we are back in the region of sober facts. But Boris not only put to death the magnates who had conspired against his life; he also destroyed all their children.” This precaution against future conspiracies of sons thirsting to avenge their fathers has also a political significance as a blow struck at the dominant race, and must be taken in connexion with the gradual transformation of the Bulgarian into a Slavonic kingdom.'
Greek clergy now poured into Bulgaria to baptize and teach the people and to organize the Church. The Patriarch Photius indited a long letter to his “illustrious and wellbeloved son,” Michael, the Archon of Bulgaria, whom he calls the “fair jewel of his labours.” 4 In the polished style which could only be appreciated and perhaps understood by the welltrained ears of those who had enjoyed the privilege of higher education, the Patriarch sets forth the foundations of the Christian faith. Having cited the text of the creed of Nicaea
1 So Hincmar; according to Cont. Th. he carried a cross on his breast.
2 Nicolaus, Responsa, ib. omnes primates eorum atque maiores cum omni prole sua.
3 So Uspenski (Aboba, 105).
4 ώ καλόν άγαλμα των εμών πόνων, Ep. 9. p. 204. From this and other