Slike stranica
PDF
ePub

agreed not only to surrender certain border territories which are not specified, but to become a tributary of the Caliph.1

After the conclusion of this treaty, which turned a foe into a friend, we expect to find the Emperor Constantine hastening back to recover the throne of the Isaurians. But before he left Syria he took a strange step. With the consent or at the instance of his new allies he proceeded to Antioch, in order to be crowned by the Patriarch Job as Basileus of the Romans. The coronation of a Roman Emperor in Antioch in the ninth century was a singular event. We cannot imagine that Thomas was accompanied thither by his army; but doubtless the Greek Christians of the place flocked to see the unaccustomed sight, and when the Patriarch Job placed the crown on the head of the Basileus they may have joined his attendants in acclaiming him. We have to go back to the fifth century for a like scene. It was in Syrian Antioch that Leontius, the tyrant who rose against Zeno, was crowned and proclaimed Augustus. The scale and gravity of the rebellion of the Isaurian Leontius render it not unfit to be compared with the rebellion of the later pretender, who also professed to be of Isaurian stock.

But when we consider the circumstances more closely the coronation assumes a puzzling aspect. If Thomas had been simply Thomas, we can understand that he might have grasped at a chance, which was rare for a rebel in his day, to be crowned by a Patriarch out of Constantinople, even though that Patriarch was not a Roman subject. But Thomas, according to the story, gave out that he was an Emperor already. He had borrowed the name and identity of the Emperor Constantine VI.; he had therefore, according to his own claim, been crowned Augustus by the Patriarch of Constantinople forty years before. What then is the meaning of his coronation at Antioch? One would think that such a ceremony would weaken rather than strengthen his position. It might be interpreted as a tacit confession that there was some flaw in the title of the re-arisen Con

1 Cont. Th. 54 ὑπισχνούμενος τὰ Ῥωμαίων τε προδοῦναι ὅρια καὶ τὴν αὐτῶν αὐτοῖς ὑπὸ χεῖρας ποιῆσαι ἀρχήν. The last clause must be interpreted to mean that Thomas undertook to pay a tribute to the Caliph. Genesios does

not mention this, but it may explain (see below) the coronation at Antioch. The author of the Acta Davidis says (232) that Thomas promised to subject the Empire to the Saracens. This doubtless was generally believed.

stantine. It would have been requisite for an Emperor who had been first crowned at Antioch to repeat the ceremony when he had established himself on the Bosphorus; but it is strange that one who had declared that he had been formally consecrated at Constantinople by the chief Patriarch should come to Antioch to receive an irregular consecration from a lesser prelate. It does not appear that the tyrant had abandoned his claim to be another than himself, and, having won his first followers by an imposture, now threw off the cloak and came forward as Thomas of Gaziura. It may be suggested that the coronation was not contrived by the wish of the pretender, but by the policy of Mamun. The reception of the emblem of sovranty at the hands of a Patriarch, who was the subject of the Caliph, may have been intended as a symbolical acknowledgment of the Caliph's overlordship and a pledge of his future submission as a tributary.1

The prospect of the tyrants looked brighter than ever when they returned to the lands of the Empire. Men of all sorts and races and regions had flocked to their standardsSlavs, Persians, Armenians, Iberians, and many from the regions of the Caucasus and the eastern shores of the Euxine.2 The total number of the forces is estimated at eighty thousand. Reports meanwhile reached Constantinople of the gathering of this large host. But Michael took it for granted that rumour outran the truth, and deemed it enough to send into the field a small army, totally insufficient to cope with the foe. The

1 The difficulty about the coronation at Antioch has not been noticed, so far as I know, by any historian. If Thomas had pretended to be a son of Constantine (as Michael Syr. alleges, see above, p. 86, n. 1), all would be clear. It is curious that Michael Syr. (75) states that in A.D. 831-832 a Roman, pretending to be of Imperial lineage, came to Mamun in Cilicia and asked him to help him to the throne; Mamun caused him to be crowned by the Patriarch Job; the impostor afterwards became a Mohammadan. When the news reached Constantinople, the bishops met and excommunicated Job. The Greek sources give no support to this story.

2 Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 417-418, men

tions Saracens, Persians, Iberians, Armenians, Abasgians (Avassis), and speaks as if all these had been in the rebel army at the very beginning of the revolt against Leo V. Besides these, Genesios (33) mentions Alans, Zichs, Colchians, Indians (that is, negroes), Kabeiroi, Slavs, Huns, Vandals, and Getae. The Kabeiroi are probably the Turkish Kabars of the Khazar Empire (see below, p. 426). For the Alans (Ossetians), see below, p. 408 sq. The Getae may be the Goths of the Crimea, the Huns may be Magyars or Inner Bulgarians, or something else. It is difficult to discover ninthcentury Vandals (Wends do not come into range).

3

thousands of Michael were swallowed up by the tens of thousands of Thomas.1 As no formidable resistance was offered to the tyrant's progress in Asia Minor, he prepared to attack the city itself. For this enterprise, in which so many had failed before him, it was judged indispensable to possess a fleet. The City of the Bosphorus had over and over again defied a joint attack by land and sea; it was naturally inferred that an attack by land alone would have no chances of success.2 The pretender therefore set himself to gather a fleet, and it would seem that he had no difficulty in seizing the fleets of the Aegean and the Kibyrrhaeot Themes, which together formed the Thematic or provincial navy. Thus all the warships stationed in the eastern parts of the Empire were in his hands, except the Imperial fleet itself, which lay at the Imperial city. In addition to these, he built new warships and new ships of transport. When all was ready, he caused his naval forces to assemble at Lesbos and await his orders, while he himself advanced to the Hellespont and secured Abydos. And now he met his first reverse. All had yielded to him as he swept on through the Asiatic Themes, except one place, whose name our historians do not mention. He did not think it worth while to delay himself, but he left a considerable part of his army under the command of Constantius, to reduce this stubborn fortress. It seems probable too that this dividing of his forces formed part of a further design. We may guess that while Constantine was to cross by the western gate of the Propontis and advance on the city from the west, Constantius was to approach the eastern strait and attack the city on the south. But if this was the plan of operations, Constantius was not destined to fulfil his part of it. Olbianos, the general of the Armeniac Theme, was biding his time and watching for an opportunity. His army

1 This engagement is recorded only by the Continuer, who uses the expressive metaphor ὥσπερ τι ποτὸν διψῶν ἀνεῤῥόφησεν (55). Part of Michael's army, however, escaped.

2 It is, however, well remarked by van Millingen (Walls, 179) that in Byzantine history "there is only one instance of a successful naval assault upon Constantinople, the gallant capture of the city in 1204 by the Venetians," and that was largely due to

"the feeble spirit" of the defenders. He remarks that currents of the Marmora, and "the violent storms to which the waters around the city are liable," were natural allies of the besieged.

3 ἐντεῦθεν καὶ τοῦ θεματικοῦ στόλου γίνεται ἐγκρατής (ib.); ἤδη τὸ ναυτικὸν ἅπαν τὸ ὑπὸ ̔Ρωμαίους ὄν, πλὴν τοῦ βασιλικοῦ κληθέντος ὑποποιεῖται (Gen. 37).

was not large enough to try an issue with the united forces of the enemy, but his chance came when those forces were divided. He set an ambush to waylay the younger tyrant, who, as he advanced securely, supposing that the way was clear, allowed his men to march in disorder. Constantius was slain and his head was sent to Constantine. This was the first check in the triumphant course of the war, though the death of the son" may have caused little grief to the "father.”

"C

The scene of operations now shifts from Asia to Europe. The Emperor, seeing that his adversary was preparing to cross the straits, had gone forth at the head of a small army and visited some of the cities of Thrace in order to confirm them against the violence or seductions of the tyrant and assure himself of their stedfast faith. But his care availed little. On a dark moonless night Thomas transported his troops to various spots on the Thracian shore, starting from an obscure haven named Horkosion.1 About the same time the fleet arrived from Lesbos and sailed into the waters of the Propontis. No resistance was offered by the inhabitants of Thrace when they saw the immense numbers of the invading host. Michael seems to have lingered, perhaps somewhere on the shores of the Propontis, to observe what effect the appearance of his foe would produce on the cities which had yesterday pledged themselves to stand true, and when he learned that they were cowed into yielding, he returned to the city and set about making it ready to withstand a siege. The garrison was recruited by loyal soldiers from the Asiatic Themes, now free from the presence of the pretender. The Imperial fleet, supplied with "Marine Fire," was stationed not in the Golden Horn, but in the three artificial harbours on the southern shore of the city,—the port of Hormisdas, which was probably already known by its later name of Bucoleon; 2 the Sophian

1 Gen. 37 implies that Horkosion was on the Hellespontine coast, not necessarily that it was close to Abydos. We may therefore identify it with 'Oрkós, which lay between Parion and Lampsacus (Theod. Stud. Epp. i. 3, p. 917), which is doubtless the Lorco of later times, placed with probability by Tomaschek in the crescent bay a little N.E. of Lampsacus (Top. v. Kleinasien, 15).

2 The position of Michael's fleet on

the Marmora appears in the sequel. Of the harbours along this shore the best account is in van Millingen, Walls, 268 sqq. There were two other harbours besides the three abovementioned; but there is no evidence that the Kontoskalion (between the Sophian and the Kaisarian) existed in the ninth century, while that of Eleutherios or Theodosius, the most westerly of all, had probably been filled up before this period (the author of

harbour, further to the west; and beyond it the harbour of Kaisarios.2 The entrance to the Golden Horn was blocked by the Iron Chain, which was stretched across the water from a point near the Gate of Eugenios to the Castle of Galata.3 In making these dispositions Michael was perhaps availing himself of the experience of previous sieges. When the Saracens attacked the city in the seventh century, Constantine IV. had disposed a portion of his naval forces in the harbour of Kaisarios. In the second attack of the same foe in the eighth century, Leo III. had stretched the Iron Chain, but he seems to have stationed his own ships outside the Horn.5

The host of Thomas had been increased by new adherents from the European provinces, and Slavs from Macedonia flocked to the standard of the Slavonian pretender. But he needed a new general and a new son. To succeed the unlucky leader, whom he had destined to be Constantius the Fourth, he chose a monk, already bearing an Imperial name, and worthy in the opinion of the tyrant to be Anastasius the Third; not worthy, however, of such an exalted place, in the opinion of our historians, who describe him as an ugly man, with a face like an Ethiopian's from excessive wine-drinking, and of insane mind." But the monk was not fitted to lead troops to battle, and for this office Thomas won the services of a banished general named Gregory, who had perhaps better cause than himself to hate the name of Michael. Gregory Pterôtos was a nephew of Leo the Armenian, and, on the death of his uncle, whom he loved, fear had not held him back from entering the presence of his successor, where, instead of falling among those

1

the Пárpia, 184, 248, says this happened in the reign of Theodosius I.; but the alternative name suggests rather that he repaired it). It may be noticed that the harbours in which Phocas expected Heraclius (A.D. 610) to land were those of Kaisarios, Sophia, and Hormisdas (John Ant., in Müller, F.H.G. v. 1. 38).

1 Also called Harbour of Julian and New Harbour.

2 Van Millingen has shown that it is almost certainly identical with the Neorion of Heptaskalon, and there is archaeological evidence for placing it between Kum Kapussi and Yeni Kapu (310 sqq.).

3 From Theoph. 396 we know that in A.D. 717 it was attached to the καστέλλιον τῶν Γαλάτου (as in later times). The southern end was fastened, in later times, to the Kentenarion tower close to the Porta Eugenii, and we know that this existed in the ninth century (IIáтpia 264, where Constantine I. is said to have built the tower). Cp. van Millingen, 228. 4 Theoph. 353.

5 Ib. 396.

6 Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 418: Thrace, Macedonia, Thessalonia, et circumiacentibus Sclaviniis.

7 Gen. 39.

« PrethodnaNastavi »