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GENESIOS AND THE CONTINUATION OF THEOPHANES
THE Basileiai of Genesios (written. 944-948 A.D.) and the Chronography (Books 1-4, written, under the auspices of Constantine VII., 949-950 A.D.) known as the Continuation of Theophanes, which along with George and Simeon are the chief sources for the continuous history of our period, have been analysed in detail by Hirsch in his Byzantinische Studien. He has determined some of their sources, and he has made it quite clear that, as we should expect, the author or authors of Cont. Th. used the work of Genesios. Some of his particular results admit of reconsideration, but for the most part they are sufficient as a guide to the historical student. There are two things, however, which may be pointed out.
(1) Joseph Genesios was a kinsman of Constantine the Armenian, for whom he evinces a particular interest in his history. Constantine was Drungarios of the Watch under Michael III. (see above, pp. 147, 157, etc.), and from Simeon (Leo Gr. 249 Theod. Mel. 174) we learn that he was ὁ πατὴρ Θωμᾶ πατρικίου καὶ Γενεσίου. Hirsch concluded that Genesios the historian was his son. But de Boor (B.Z. x. 62 sqq.) has shown that Simeon refers to another Genesios who was a magister in the reign of Leo VI., while Joseph Genesios the historian was Chartulary of the Ink (ó ènì Toĉ karıkdcíor) under Constantine VII. The relationship is
Constantine, δρουγγ. τ. βίγλας.
(λογ. το δρόμου).
(2) It can be proved, I think, from a number of comparisons
Cp. Bury, Treatise De adm. imp. 570 sqq.
that the Continuators of Theophanes used, along with Genesios, the source of Genesios. There are passages in Cont. Th. in which the relationship to Gen. is plain, but there are additions which cannot be explained either as amplifications invented by the author or as derived from oral tradition, and which, therefore, probably come from the source used by Gen. and were omitted by him. It will be sufficient here to mention two examples. In the account of the campaign of Theophilus in A.D. 837, the close interdependence of Cont. Th. 124 and Gen. 63-64 is obvious in the similar phraseology; but while Gen. particularises only the capture of Zapetra, Cont. Th. records that two other cities were also taken. There is no probability that this record came from any other source than that which Gen. used. Again, the two relations of the rescue of Theophilus by Manuel, and Manuel's subsequent flight (Gen. 61-62; Cont. Th. 117 sq.), are manifestly interdependent. But Cont. Th. designates the person who accused Manuel of treasonable designs, while Gen. confines himself to a generality. Here, too, this addition probably comes from the source which Gen. used; and I suspect that the further particulars of Manuel's services to the Saracens should be referred to the same origin. For other additions in Cont. Th. which may be derived from the common source, cp. above, pp. 46, 54, 87, 88, 93, 95, 97, 99, 106, 290.
CHRONOLOGY OF THE WAR BETWEEN MICHAEL II. AND
OUR authorities supply singularly few landmarks for the chronology of the Civil War. It will be well to set down in a list exactly what determinations of time they furnish, before we consider what inferences may or must be drawn.
(1) The whole revolt lasted three years. We have this on early authority: George, p. 797 τὸν ἐν τρισὶν ἔτεσι . . . πόλεμον. It is repeated by Genesios, 34 (cf. Cont. Th. 67). It might almost be inferred also from the Letter of Michael to Lewis, which describes the whole course of the rebellion, and was written in April 824.
(2) The siege of Constantinople lasted a year. For this we have the authority of the besieged Emperor himself in his Letter (p. 418), and also that of George (797) ¿d ëra xpórov éktop¤ýras.
(3) The siege began in December of the 15th Indiction, that is December 821 A.D. We get this date from Michael's Letter (il.). Cp. Cet. Th. 61 ἅτε δὴ καὶ χειμῶνος ἐπιγενομένου.
(4) Having wintered elsewhere, Thomas returned to the siege of the city in the spring following (i.e. spring of 822). Cont. Th., ib. ἤδη δὲ τοῦ ἔαρος ἥμερον· ἐπιλάμποντος.
(5) The embassy of the Bulgarians is only indicated roughly by Genesios as taking place when the first decade of the Thirty Years' Peace with Leo was nearly coming to a close: p. 41 ai yùp ὑπὸ Λέοντος τοῦ βασιλέως πρὸς αὐτοὺς τριακοντούτεις σπουδαὶ ἤδη τὴν πρώτην δεκαετηρίδα συνεπλήρουν σχεδόν.
(6) The battle of Diabasis belongs to the third year of the war : Cont. Th. 67 Tpitos yàp (xpóros) ¿§riero (wrongly rendered in the Latin translation, cum-flurisset); the third year was current.
(7) The siege of Arcadiopolis lasted five months: Michael's Letter, p. 419.
(8) The tyrant This we learn from
and Cont. Th. 70.
Thomas was slain in the middle of October.
These are the dates with which we have to work. It is clear, of course, that the three years of the war correspond to 821, 822, and 823. The rebellion against Michael began with his accession and lasted till the end of 823.
The first year was occupied with the movements in Asia Minor, the visit to Syria, and the crossing to Thrace. In December 821 (3) the tyrant appeared at Constantinople and made the first grand assault. Then he retired until March or April-till spring was well advanced (4)—and made the second grand assault. Then came the revolt of Gregory Pterôtos, and later the arrival of the ships from Greece. During the later part of the year nothing striking seems to have occurred.
From reading the Letter of Michael, or putting (2) and (3) together, it would be natural to conclude that the siege was raised in December 822. In that case we must suppose that the negotiations with the Bulgarians belong to the end of 822, and that the battle of Keduktos was fought either in December 822 or January 823; for it is clear from the story that it followed hard upon the departure of Thomas from the city.
The vague date of Genesios does not help us here. Assuming that the treaty of Leo with the Bulgarians was concluded as early, as the middle of 815, the first decade had not elapsed until the middle of 825. If, then, the date of Genesios refers to December 822, the first decade had still two and a half years to run. His oyedór must be taken in a wide sense.
But such an early date as January 823 for the battle of Kêduktos involves us in some difficulties. Our next positive date is that of the death of Thomas in the middle of October 823. His death followed immediately on the surrender of Arcadiopolis. Therefore the siege of Arcadiopolis, which lasted five months (7), probably began in the first half of the month of May. The battle of Diabasis immediately preceded the siege-the interval cannot have been longer than a few days-and therefore took place in the first days of May or at the very end of April.
The question then is how long an interval may we assume between the battle of Kêduktos and the battle of Diabasis. If the first battle was fought in the first half of January and the second in the latter half of April, Thomas was allowed to ravage the neighbourhood of Constantinople for more than three months. This seems improbable, and is not suggested by the accounts of Genesios and the Continuer. We cannot believe that Michael would have been so impolitic as to leave a foe, who had been profligatus by the Bulgarians, to gather new strength in such close proximity to the city during such a long space of time. Promptitude was certainly Michael's policy in the circumstances.
I therefore believe that the battle of Kêduktos was fought in
April or at earliest in the last days of March. I hold that we should count the year of the siege from the spring of 822, and not from December 821. For it was in spring 822 that the continuous blockade really began. During the months which intervened between December 821 and spring 822 the city was not formally besieged. It is true that the Letter of Michael does not convey this impression; but, on the other hand, it does not really contradict my interpretation. Michael is only giving a rough outline of the events, and omits the details of the siege. It is quite intelligible that he should have formally mentioned the date of the first appearance of the tyrant before the walls; that he should have omitted to mention his second appearance and the beginning of the regular siege; and that then he should have stated the length of the siege as a year, without explaining that he counted from a later date than December.
This postponement of the Bulgarian episode lightens, though but slightly, the burden that has to be laid on eyedór in Genesios (see above, Chap. XI. p. 360).