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were unequal to his task, and at his request Damianos, Count of the Stable, was sent with reinforcements. The Saracens routed the Greek army, Damianos was wounded, and Photeinos escaped to the little island of Dios which faces Candia. A second expedition was sent soon afterwards, under Krateros, in command of a fleet of seventy ships. A battle was fought
" where the troops landed, and the Greeks were victorious, but] instead of following up their success they celebrated it by a night of carousal, and in their sleep they were attacked and almost annihilated by the enemy. Krateros escaped and was pursued by the Arabs to Cos, where they caught him and hanged him on a cross.
It was not only for the recovery of Crete, but also for the protection of the islands of the Aegean that the Imperial government was concerned. A third armament which Michael despatched under the command of Ooryphas cleared the enemy out of a number of small islands which they had occupied, but it is not recorded that he renewed the attempt to recover Crete. The Arabs did not confine their attacks to the islands in the immediate vicinity of Crete; they extended far and wide, on both sides of the Aegean, depredations of which only stray notices have been preserved by chance. We know that Aegina was cruelly and repeatedly devastated ;
we know that, some two generations later, Parog was a waste country, which attracted only the hunter of the wildgont.: Just after the death of the Emperor Michnel, an expedition from Crete pillnged the coasts of Caria and Ionia, and despoiled tho monastery of Mt. Lutros,
Constantine Kontomytes, the
Consisting partly of the Kilyrr. Coryphas, because it is recorded in hacot fleet (for Krateros was stratégos Cont. Th. before the Sicilian affair. of the Kibyrrhacot Theme) and partly The writer finishes what he has to say of ships from the other naval themes of Crete before he goes on to Sicily. (the Aegean and Hellas ?).
We can only date the cxpedition of learn from Cont. Th. (79), whose Ooryphas to the three years 827-82!. narrative otherwise_ coincides with For Ooryphas soe abovo, Chap. IV. that of Genesios. The date of the expolition may be 826 (so Muralt and ? Vit. Theodorae Thess. 2, cp. 26. Vasil'ev) or 827. Froni Cont. Th. we Vit. Lucnc Jun. (Migne, 111, 441), can only infer that it was “about the
τας συνεχείς εφόδους των εκ της "Αγαρ. same time" as the revolt of Euphemios, but κατά τον αυτόν καιρόν (816) is too
3 Nicetas, Vit. Thcoctistae Lesb. 8.9. vague to fix the date more precisely.
I owe the reference to Vasil'ev. It seems to me that Vasil'ev goes too • On the monasteries of Latros cp. far in postulating 827 or end of 826 Delehaye, Analecta Bollandiana, xi. for the subsequent enterprise of 14 879. (1892).
stratègos of the Thrakesian Theme, surrounded the depredators with a superior force and cut them to pieces. But about the same time a Roman fleet was coinpletely destroyed in a battle at Thasos,' and the Cretans for some years seein to have worked their will unhindered in the Aegean Sea. Their attacks on Mt. Athos compelled the monks to abandon their cells.8
If the story is true that the original fleet of the Cretan Arabs was burnt, it is clear that they had, however, speedily furnished themselves with a considerable naval establishment At the same time, Sicily was in great danger. The Moslems of Spain had hardly conquered Crete before the Moslems of Africa descended upon the western island and set themselves to accomplish a conquest which would give them a unique position for winning the inaritime lordship of the Mediter
To rescue Sicily, to recover. Crete, and to defend the islands and coast which were exposed to the depredations of a piratical enemy to the very precincts of the capital itself, a far stronger naval equipment was necessary than that which the Empire possessed. The navy which had saved Asia Minor and the Aegean under the successors of Heraclius from the Saracens in the first tide of their conquests, had been allowed to decline, and the Amorian Emperors reaped the fruits of this neglect. The naval question suddenly became the most pressing interest of Imperial policy; and, as we have seen, the ruvival of the navy was begun by the efforts of the Amorinn dynnsty. No further attempt, however, to recover Crete sceins to have been inade in the reign of Theophilus, who may have thought, perhaps justly, that it would be better to employ all his available strength upon curbing the advance of the Arabs in the island of Sicily. But after his death, Theoktistos organized a great Cretan expedition which sailed in March (A.D. 843) under his own command. It seems to have been fir more powerful than those which had been despatched by Michael II., and when it appeared the Saracens were in consternation. But they found a means of playing upon the 1 Cont. Th. 137, October 829.
5 Simeon (Cont. Gcorg., 814), who is 2 16.; cp. V'it. Theodorac Imp. 9. the source, states that Theodora sent 3 Vasil'ev, 77.
the expedition on the Sunday after Probably many of the ships of the Proclamation of Orthodoxy, i.c. Photeinos and Krateros fell into their on March 18, 843. haud's.
general's fears for his own influence at the court of Theodora. They bribed some of his officers to spread the rumour, or to insinuate to Theoktistos, that the Empress had raised one of his rivals to be the colleague of herself and her son. The general, deeply alarmed, hastened to Constantinople, leaving his army to do nothing, if not to meet with disaster.
Abu Hafs and his successors were virtually independent, but they may have found it expedient to acknowledge the overlordship of the Caliph, and to consider Crete as in some sense afiliated to the province of Egypt. In any case they continued to maintuin relations with Egypt and to roccivo supplies from Alexandrin. It was probably in view of this ( connexion that the government of Theodora decided on an expedition beyond the usual range of the warfare of this period.? Three fleets, numbering in all nearly three hundred ships, were equipped. The destination of two of these armaments is unknown; perhaps they were to operate in the Aegean or off the coast of Syria But the third, consisting of eightyfive vessels and carrying 5000 men, under an admiral whose true name is concealed under “ Ibu Katuna,” the corruption of an Arabic chronicler, sailed to the coast of Egypt and appeared before Damietta (May 22, 853).
In the ninth century Damietta was closer to the sea than the later town which the Sultan Bibars founded in the thirteenth. The city lies on the eastern channel of the Nile about seven iniles from the mouth; and less than a mile to the east is Lake Menzale, which a narrow belt of sand severs from the sea. When the Greek fleet arrived, the garrison was absent at Fustat, attending a feast to which it had been summoned by the governor Anbas, the last ruler of Arabic descent. The inhabitants hastily deserted the undefended
1 καταλιπεν τον στρατον μαχαίρας 85 ships. The two accounts are in. &pyou, loc. cil. · If it had been actually dependent. We may take it that 300 destroyel, probably more would have is a round number, been said. 9 Tho sources aro Tabari (51-52).and
3 Vasil'ev guesses they went to Yakubi (10). It is significant for tho
Sicily (173); but the natural in. character of the Greek chronicles that
ferenco from Tabari is that they they utterly ignore the opisode of
Operated in the cast. One of them Damietta. Tabari says that there
was commanded by Ooryphas, the were 300 ships, 100 under cach com.
other by M-~ (Tabari, 51). For mander. But Yakubi, who only
Ooryphas cp. above, Chap. IV. p. mentions the fleet which attacked
144. Damietta, says that it consisted of Cp. Vasil'ev, 171.
city, which the Greeks plundered and burned. They captured six hundred Arab and Coptic women,' and discovered a store of arms which was destined for the ruler of Crete. The spoiling of Damietta detained themı only two days, and they sailed eastward to the island of Tinnis; but fearing sandbanks, they did not pass farther, and proceeded to the fortress of Ushtum, a strongly walled place with iron gates. Burning the war-engines which he found there, “ Ibn Katuna" returned home from an expedition which fortune had singularly favoured."
If the conquests of Cruto and Sicily taught the Romans the necessity of a strong navy, the burning of Damietta was a lesson which was not lost upon the Saracens of Egypt. An Arabic writer observes that "from this time they began to show serious concern for the ficet, and this became an affair of the first importance in Egypt. Warships were built, and the pay of marines was equalized with that of soldiers who served on land. Only intelligent and experienced men were admitted to the service.” Thus, as has been remarked," the Greek descent on Damietta led to the establishment of the Egyptian navy, which, a century later, was so powerful under the dynasty of the Fatimids.
In the later years of Michael III. the Cretan Arabs pursued their quests of plunder and destruction in the Aegean. We learn that Lesbos was laid waste, and that mnonks were carried away from their cells in the hills of Athos." The last military effort of Michael and Bardas was to organize a great Cretun expedition, which was to sail from the shores of the Thrakesian Theme, a central gathering-place for the various provincial fleets, and for those regiments of the Asiatic themes which were to take part in the campaign. We saw how this enterprise was frustrated by the enemies of the Caesar, Another generation was to pass before the attempt to recover Crete and secure tranquillity for the Acgean was reneweil.
i Yakubi gives
much larger number.
Abu Hafs (Talari). Doubts have been felt if he was still alive. Gencsios gives the succession of Cretan rulers (17-48) as : Abu Hufs ; Snipes, his son; Babilel, son of S.; Zorkuries, brother of B.; tho successor of Zerkunes was Emir in the time of Gencsios. Ho also implies that Babdel was con. temporary of Lco VI., and we know otherwise (Cont. T'h. 299) that Saip was Einir in the reign of Michael. This evidence seems lavourable to Tabari's statement that Abu Hafs was alive in 853. For the Arabic forms of the names (Shuaib, Abu Abdallah, Shirkul) sce Hopf, Gr. Gesch. 123 ; Hirsch, 136, n. 2.
3 According to Dlakrizi, the Greeks again made a successful descent on Damietta with 200 ships in the follow. ing year. Vasil'ev, Pril. 124.
Sec V. R. Rozen, l'asilii Bolga. roboilsa, 273-274, and Vasil'ev, 173. 174, who quote the passage of Makrizi which I havo abbreviated.
o In A.D. · 860 they ravaged the Cyclades and sailed through the Hellespont as far as Proconnesus. They had 20 cumbaria, 7 galleys, and some satyrai. Cont. Th. 196.
Apparently c. A.D. 861-862. See Vit. Euthym. iun., 185 sq. Some years later they descended on the island of the Neoi, near Mt. Athos ; ib. 188 sqq. Cp. Vasil'ev, 204.
§ 2. The Inrasion of Sicily In the two great westward expansions of the Semite, in the two struggles between European and Semitic powers for the waters, islands, and coasts of the Mediterranean, Sicily played a conspicuous part, which was determined by her geographical position. The ancient history of the island, when Greeks and Phoenicians contended for the mastery, seems to be repeated' when, after a long age of peace under the mighty rule of Rome, it was the scene of a new armed debate between Greeks and Arabs. In both cases, the Asiatic. strangers were ultimately driven out, not by their Greek rivals, but by another. people descending from Italy. Tho Normans were to expel the Saracens, as the Romans had expelled the Phoenicians. The great difference was that the worshippers of Baal and Moloch had never won the whole island, while the sway of the servants of Allah was to be complete, extending from Panormos to Syracuse, from Messina to Lilybaeum.
A fruitful land and a desirable possession in itself, Sicily's central position between the two basins of the Mediterranean rendered it an object of supreme importance to any Eastern sea-power which was commercially. or politically aggressive; while for an ambitious ruler in Africa it was the steppingstone to Italy and the gates of the Hadriatic. As soon as the Saracens created a navy in the ports of Syria and Egypt, it was inevitable that Sicily should be exposed to their attacks, and the date of their first descent is only twenty years after the death of Mohammad. But no serious attempt to win a
· This was pointed out by Grote, and the motif was developed by Freeman in his characteristic manner,