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hour of one and then lit his beacon; and the watchers in the Palace, seeing the light on Mount Auxentios, knew at what hour the first fire was kindled and therefore what the signal meant. A signal made at two o'clock announced that hostilities had begun, and a three o'clock despatch signified a conflagration.'
In expeditions to Commagene and Mesopotamia, the Imperial armies generally followed the road from Arabissos (Yarpuz) which, crossing the Taurus, descends to Germanicia. The troops of the Eastern Asiatic Themes met those which came from the west at Caesarea, and a road crossing the Antitaurus range by the Kuru-Chai pass took them to Sirica and Arabissos. But at Sirica (perhaps Kemer) they had an alternative route which was sometimes adopted. They could proceed southward by Kokusos (Geuksun) and reach Germanicia by the Ayer-Bel pass.3
At the beginning of the ninth century, a great part of Cappadocia east and south-east of the upper Halys had become a frontier land, in which the Saracens, although they did not occupy the country, had won possession of important strongholds, almost to the very gates of Caesarea. If they did not hold already, they were soon to gain the forts in the Antitaurus region which commanded the roads to Sis, and Kokusos which lay on one of the routes to Germanicia. the north, they seem to have dominated the west as the road from Sebastea to Arabissos. the Antitaurus range, Arabissos was the only important place of which the Empire retained possession. The fact that the
1 Pseudo- Simeon 681 sq. is the authority for the ὡρολόγια δύο ἐξ ἴσου κάμνοντα.
25 Ramsay, Asia Minor, 271; for Sirica, 274.
3 Anderson, Roal System (28), where all the routes over the Taurus are described. There were two ways from Caesarea southward to Sis and Anazarbos, ib. 29.
The penetration of Cappadocia by the Arabs before 873 can be partly inferred from the details of the campaigns of Basil I., who undertook to drive them out of the country. Cp. Anderson, Campaign of Basil I. (cit. supra) and Road System, 34 sq. The position of Amara, where they settled
country as far
And, south of
Charsian province was designated as a Kleisurarchy is a significant indication of the line of the eastern frontier. It was the business of the Charsian commander to defend the kleisurai or passes of the Antitaurus hills.
§ 4. The Warfare in the Reigns of Harun and Mamun
Till the middle of the tenth century when the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas made a serious effort to drive the Moslems from Syria, the wars between the Empire and Caliphate are little more than a chronicle of reciprocal incursions which seldom penetrated very far into the enemy's country. The chief events were the capture and recapture of the fortresses in the Taurus and Antitaurus highlands; occasionally an expedition on a larger scale succeeded in destroying some important town. The record of this monotonous warfare is preserved more fully in the Arabic than in the Greek chronicles. It would be as useless as it were tedious to reproduce here the details of these annual campaigns. It will be enough to notice the chief vicissitudes, and the more important incidents, in a struggle whose results, when the Amorian dynasty fell, showed a balance in favour of the Saracens.
During the last few years of the reign of Irene, the warfare slumbered;" it would seem that she purchased immunity from invasion by paying a yearly sum to the Caliph. One of the first decisions of Nicephorus was to refuse to continue this humiliating tribute, and the Arab historians quote letters which they allege to have passed between the Emperor and the Caliph on this occasion." Nicephorus demanded back the money which had been paid through "female weakness." The epistle, if it is authentic, was
been dictated by other considerations. In any case, Arabissos must have been Imperial during most of the Amorian period.
1 According to Michael Syr. 12, however, there were two Saracen invasions after the deposition of Constantine VI.: in the first, Actius gained a victory, in the second the Romans were defeated.
They are given by Tabari (as well as later writers). Translations in Gibbon, chap. 52, and Weil, ii. 159. Brooks regards them as spurious, and thinks that the story of the peace with Irene (Rina), which is not mentioned by Theophanes, was an Arab invention. It is not mentioned by Michael Syr., who, however, states that Nicephorus sent a letter to Harun (16).
simply a declaration of war. Harun was so incensed with fury that no one could look at him; he called for an inkpot and wrote his answer on the back of the Imperial letter.
Harun, Commander of the Faithful, to the Greek dog. I have read thy letter, son of an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not only hear my answer but see it with thine eyes.
The Caliph marched immediately to chastise the insolent Roman, but Nicephorus, who, occupied with the revolt of Bardanes, was not prepared to meet him, offered to pay tribute, if the army, which had advanced from the Cilician Gates to Heraclea, would retire. Harun, satisfied with the booty he had collected and the damage he had inflicted, agreed to the proposal; but when he had reached the Euphrates, the news arrived that the Emperor had broken the compact, and notwithstanding the severe cold, for it was already winter, he retraced his steps and raided the lands of his enemy again.
Each succeeding year during the reign of Harun, and under his successor till A.D. 813, witnessed the regular incursions of the Moslem commanders of the frontier.' We may notice particularly an expedition led by the Caliph himself, who wore a pointed cap inscribed "Raider and pilgrim," in the summer of A.D. 806. His army numbered 135,000 regular soldiers, with many volunteers, and besides capturing a number of important forts he took Heraclea and its subterranean grain stores. He seized Tyana, which lies north of Lulon on the road to Caesarea, and converted it into a permanent post of occupation, building a mosque, which the Greek chronicler designates as "the house of his blasphemy." The Emperor, who seems to have been unable to send a sufficient force to take the field against the invader, at length induced him to withdraw for the sum of 50,000 dinars.2
1 In A.D. 804 Nicephorus in person opposed the invaders and was wounded (Tabari, 8.a. 188). According to Michael Syr. (16), the Romans in this year entered Cilicia, pillaged the regions of Mopsuestia, Anazarbos, and Tarsus; see also next note. This writer (who becomes more valuable for chronology in the reign of Theophilus) has a curious estimate of the military talent of Nicephorus: "No Roman Emperor, throughout the
Saracen period, showed himself so brave and brilliant in war." In 807 Nicephorus fought a pitched battle with the Saracens and was routed (Kitab al-'Uyun, Brooks, 747).
2 For this campaign we have both Theophanes and Tabari. They agree in saying that the tribute was a sort of ransom for Nicephorus, his son, his patricians, and the other Romans. Tabari says that four dinars were for Nicephorus, two for Stauracius
During the last two years of Harun's reign (A.D. 808-9) insurrections in his eastern dominions' prevented him from prosecuting the war against Romania with the same energy, and after his death the struggle of his sons for the throne was the signal for new rebellions, and secured the Empire for some years against any dangerous attack." Harun had obliged his three sons to sign a document, by which the government of the realm was divided among them, but Amin succeeded to the supreme position of Caliph and Mamun was designated as next in succession. Amin was younger than Mamun, but he was the son of the Princess Zubaidah who had Mansur's blood in her veins, while Mamun's mother was a slave. Civil war broke out when Amin attempted to violate the paternal will by designating his own son as heir apparent to the throne. It was decided by, the long siege of Baghdad and the execution of Amin (A.D. 813).
The twenty years of Mamun's reign were marked by internal rebellions and disaffection so grave that all the military forces which he commanded were required to cope with these domestic dangers. The governors of Egypt were already aspiring to an independence which they were afterwards to achieve, and Babek, an unconquerable leader, who belonged to the communistic sect of the Hurramites, defied the Caliph's power in Adarbiyan and Armenia. The army
of Mamun was annihilated by this rebel in A.D. 829-30, and the task of subduing him was bequeathed to the Caliph's successor. These circumstances explain the virtual cessation of war between the Empire and the Caliphate for a space of sixteen years (A.D. 814-829). There was no truce or treaty ;) the two powers remained at war; there were some hostilities; (Brooks, Byzantines and Arabs, i. 746); Theophanes says three for himself, three for his son. Michael Syr. places the capture of Heraclea in A.D. 804 (16).
that a Roman embassy came to Mamun
clined and ordered the commanders on
but the Saracens seem to have desisted from their yearly invasions, and the Emperors Leo and Michael were less eager to take advantage of Mamun's difficulties by aggressions on their side than glad to enjoy a respite from the eastern war.1 This long suspension of the Holy War was chequered, indeed, by Mamun's actions during the rebellion of Thomas, which showed that he cherished designs upon the Empire which only necessity held in abeyance. We saw how the Saracens took advantage of that crisis, first invading the Empire, and then supporting Thomas the Slavonian. The Caliph, whether he had made secret conditions with the pretender or not, undoubtedly hoped to augment his territory in Asia Minor.
If the Caliph had espoused the cause of Thomas, the Emperor had an opportunity of retaliating by supporting the rebel Babek. And as a matter of fact, the renewal of the war seems to have been caused by the opening of negotiations between Babek and the Emperor Theophilus. It must have been immediately after Theophilus ascended the throne that a considerable number of Hurramite insurgents passed into Roman territory and offered to serve in the Roman armies." It is probable that the negotiations with Babek were arranged with the help of a notable officer, of Persian origin, who had been brought up at Constantinople and bore a Greek name— Theophobos. Theophilus appointed him commander of the
The silence of the Greek and Arabic chroniclers proves at least that the war was very languidly prosecuted in the reign of Leo. But
there seem to have been hostilities, for we have a record of an eastern campaign of that Emperor. See Theodore Stud. Ep. 213 (Cozza-L.), pp. 150-1 μετὰ τὸ ἐκστρατεύσαι τὸν βασιλέα, referring to A.D. 817. Moreover, in A.D. 816 a campaign was contem. plated: see Anon. A. Vita Theophanis, 2918; Anon. B. Vita Theophanis, 396. Cp. Pargoire, St. Theophane, 73-81.
2 See Michael Syr. 50 and 73 (who describes them as Khordanaye, i.c. Hurramites), and Greek sources cited in next note. Simoon gives the number of the "Persian" refugees as 14,000; according to Cont. Th. they had increased to 30,000 in A. D. 837. That there was an influx in the intervening years is borne out by Tabari, 28 (sub A.D. 833). Finlay (ii. 153) thinks
that the fugitives were Christians who feared Mamun and Babek alike. It should be borne in mind that these so-called Héporal must have been mainly Persarmenians.
3 The difficulties connected with Theophobos have not been fully cleared up, or even realised, by
modern historians. He is mentioned only in the Greek sources: Gen. 52-57 ; Cont. Th. 110-112; Simeon (Add. Geory. 793). While it is admitted that the stories told of his descont from the Persian kings, and of his early life, are suspicious from their general nature and the fact that there are conflicting versions-their legendary character is established by their inconsistency with chronology and other errors (Hirsch, 139)—it has been generally assumed that Theophobos and his father were followers of Babek and came to Sinope with the other fugitives (so c.g. Finlay and Vasil'ev).