Slike stranica
PDF
ePub

before, the Emperor, riding round the city, had observed that in one place the wall was dilapidated, and had ordered the coinmander of the garrison to see that it was repaired. The officer delayed the execution of the command, until, hearing that Theophilus was marching from Constantinople to take the field against the Saracens, he hastily filled up the breach with stones and made the place, to outward view, indistinguishable from the rest of the wall. This specious spot, well known to the inhabitants, was revealed to the enemy by a traitor who is said to have been a Mohammadan captive converted to Christianity. The Caliph directed his engines against the place, and after a bombardment of two days” the wall gave way and a breuch was made. Actius inmediately dispatched a letter to the Emperor, communicating to him what had befallen, explaining the hopelessness of further defence, and announcing that he intended to leave the city at night and attempt to escape through the enemy's lines. The letter was entrusted to two messengers, one of whom spoke Arabic fluently. When they crossed the ditch, they fell into the hands of some Saracen soldiers, and pretended to be in the Caliph's service. But as they did not know the names of the generals or the regiments they were suspected as spies, and sent to the Caliph's tent, where they were searched and the letter was discovered.

The Caliph took every precaution to frustrate the intentions of escape which the intercepted letter disclosed. Troops 1 of civalry sat all night in full armour on their horses

Watching the gates. But it was easier to hinder escape than to take the city. The breadth of the ditch and the height of the walls rendered it dillicult to operate effectively with siege - engines, and the usual devices of raising the ballistae on platforms and filling up the ditch were tried without success. But the breach in the wall was gradually widenins, and the Greek officer to whom that section of the defence was entrusted despaired of being able to hold out. The Arabic historian, to whom we owe our information concerning the details of the siege, states—what seems alınost incredible that Aetius refused to furnish additional forces for the defence of the dangerous spot, on the ground that it was the business of each captain and of no one else to provide for the safety of his own allotted section. But he saw thut there was little hope, and he sent an embassy to Mutasim, offering to capitulate on condition that the inhabitants should be allowed to depart in safety. The envoys were the bishop of Amorion and three officers, of whom one was the captain of the weak section of the walls.

1 There were two acts of treachery treachery, Nikitin (Acta cilt. 194) during the siege. This first act (not infors that Manikophagos was tho mentioncd by Michael Syr.) is related name of "he first traitor. Cont. Th. by Tabari (37), who is supported in ascribes both acts to Boiditzes. one of the Icta 42 Mart. (12 ÚT * Michael Syr. 98. There had τινων - προδεδωκότων), by Cost. Τh. already been fighting for three days 130, and Simeon, who speaks of two (ib.), and before this some days must traitors, Buiditzes and Manikophagos have been occupied by the construc(null. Georg. 805). As Boiditzes per- tion of the Saracen ontrenchment (ib. pretrated the later and decisivo act of

97).

llis nunc was Boiditzes,

The Caliph required unconditional surrender, and the ambassadors returned to the city. But Boiditzes went back to Mutasim's tent by himself and offered to betray the breach. The interview was protracted, and in the meantime the Saracens gradually advanced towards the wall, till they were close to the breach. The defenders, in obedience to the strict orders of their officer to abstain from hostilities till his return, did not shoot or attempt to oppose them, but only made signs that they should come no farther. At this juncture, Mutasim and Boiditzes issued from the pavilion, and at the same moment, at á signal from one of Mutasiin's officers, the Saracens rushed into Amorion. The Greek traitor, dismayed at this pertidious practice, clutching his beard, upbraided the Caliph for his breach of faith, but the Caliph reassured him that all he wished would be his.?

A part of the unfortunate population sought refuge in

Boudltsns, Simeon and Cont. T'h., Boiditzes returned to the city by him. locc, cilt.; Bowdns, Euodios (olcta cilt.), self and signalled from the walls 10 71; Vendu, Tabari, 41, who explaing the besiegers that he had withdrawn the name as meaning a steer ; Bodin, the defenders.

This is incompreMicheol Syr. 98. Genesios, 65, does hensible, for it was clear to his W not give the name, but says that he envoys that ho meant treachery, and durived a nickname from an ox, on if he had returned to the city he account of some quarrel between the would have been arrested, unless Actius Jews and Christians.

was in the plot (which there is no ? The Greek sources do not explain good ground for suspecting). I have how the traitor communicated with therefore here followed the narrative the enemy; in Tabari he goes alone of Tabari. But the details are very to Mutasim. Michael Syr. 98 gives uncertain. Mutasim gave the traitor what is evidently thu truo account 10,000 daries (Michael, 999). ay to the embassy, but ho implies that

.

a large church, in which after an obstinate resistance they perished by fire. The walls were rased to the ground and the place left desolate; and the Caliph, finding that the Emperor was not preparing to take the field, slowly returned to his own country, with thousands of captives. The fute of these Amorians was unhappy. The land was suffering from drought; the Saracens were unable to procure water, and some of the prisoners, exhausted by thirst, refused to go farther, These were at once dispatched by the sword; but as the army advanced, and the need grew more urgent, the Caliph gave orders that only the more distinguished captives should be retained; the rest were taken aside and slaughtered.»

The siege of Amorion had lasted for nearly two weeks." But for the culpable neglect of the officer responsible for the integrity of the walls and the treachery which revealed the weak spot to the besiegers, the city could probably have defieil all the skill and audacity of the enemy.

Its fall seems to have made a deep impression on both Moslems and Christians,' and popular imagination was soon busy with the treachery which had brought about the catastrophe. The name of the culprit, Boiditzes, is derived from boïdion, an ox; and, according to one story, he wrote a letter to the Saracens bidding them direct their attack close to the tower, where they saw a marble lion carved on the face and a stone ox (bordion) above. The ox and the lion may have been there ; but if the ox was a coincidence, the lion furnished a motive to

| Michael, 99 ; Tabari, 42; P: Actu judgments of God." Many captives 4. Mart. 41; Skylitzes (Codr.) ii. 136. were sold to sluve · dealors, but the

? Masudi, 68, says that 30,000 wero parents wero not separated from their killed in Amorion. If there is any children (100). foundation for the number it may 3 Tabari, 44-45, mentions Badi.'l. represent the total of the inhabitants,

Jaur as tho region where the captives military and civil. Evolios (Acta

weru slain. It ovidently means tho cill, 67) gives the ridiculous figure of

plain of Pankalcia, the wido desort inore than 70,000 for the soldiers

plain to the cast of Amorion (Kamsay, alone; this would represent nearly Asia Minor, 231); for in one of the tive whole Asiatic army. But the

older lcta 4. Mart. (44) “ lankallia" number was large, for after the

is named as the scene of these events. massacrey the captiyes were so numer.

• Sec above, p. 207, n. 1. ons that at the distribution of tho spoil Mutasim slew 4000. Seo Michael Cp. Michael Syr. 100. Syr. 100. This writer relates (99) 6 Coat. Τh. 130 βοΐδιον άνωθεν that more than a 1000 nuns who λίθινον έξωθεν δε λέων εκ μαρμάρου εφsurvived the massacre were delivered lotatal. Vasil'ev has an appendix on to the outrages of the Turkish and the name of the traitor (150 899.), but Moorislı slaves, and curiously adds : does not observo. the significance of "glory to the incomprehensiblo

6

this pissage.

2

[ocr errors]

myth. Boiditzes was said to be a pupil of Lco the Philosopher, and an Arabic writer calls him Leo.?

A sequel of the siege of Ainorion rendered it memorable in the annals of the Greek Church. Forty-two distinguished prisoners were carried off to Samarra and languished in captivity for seven years.

The Caliph ' attempted in vain to persuade them to embrace Islam, and finally the choice was offered to them of conversion or death. According to the story, Boiditzes, who had betrayed Amorion, became a Mohammadan, and was sent at the last moment to represent to his countrymen the folly of resisting. But they stood stedfast in their faith, and on the 6th March 845 they were led to the banks of the Tigris and behcaded. Their bodies were thrown into the river, and miraculously floated on the top of the water. The renegade traitor Boiditzes shared their fate—at least in the legendary tale ; for the Saracen magnates said to the Caliph: " It is not just that lie should live, for if he was not true to his own faith, neither will he be true to ours.” Accordingly

" he was beheaded, but his body sunk to the bottom. This was the last great martyrdom that the Greek Church has to record. Before two years passed, it was fashioned by the pens of Greek hagiographers into the shape of an edifying legend.' The dencou Ignatius, who wrote the life of the Patriarch Nicephorus, celebrated it in a canon, and the Forty-two Martyr's of

[ocr errors]

1 Pseudo-Simeon, 638. In his text, the second traitor, named Maviropayos by Simicon (Add, Geory. 805, vcrs. Slav. 98), appears as Marikopávns. We may suspect that this namo implics somo connexion with the Manichacan (i.e. l'aulician) heresy. ? Masudi, 68, “the Patrician Loo."

Wathik, who succeeded Mutasim in 8.12. of the forty-two, six aro montioned by name in the Acta. Five of them are tho ollicors named above, P. 267 (Aetius, Constantino, Theodoru, Theophilus, and Bassocs). The sixth was not properly an Amorian martyr, for hu was not at the siego. He was Kallistos Melissenos, described as duko of Koloncia (Simeon, Add. Georg. 805 has divided him into two persons). His career is related in one of the Acis (l', see next note), from which wo learn that lio was captured in his own

province, and imprisoned along with the Amorian capitives. For the government of Koloncia cp, above, p. 223.

The material will be found in tho Acta edited by Vasilievski and Nikitin. As to the dates of these documents Nikitin's conclusions (ep. 272 524.) are as follows: The Canon of the Deacon Ignatius (texts II and O) was composed before or about the middle of A.1), 8-17; it was subsequent to text l', the author of which (who is specially interested in kullistos) mentions that the Martyrs had been already celebrated in writing. To these ourlier works Band A belong, aud is probably earlier than B. Euodios (text 2, of which A is an abridgment) perhaps wrote his version in the reign of Basil I., certainly after 867. In my references to the riche I havo not distinguished the earlier texts, which belong to A.ll. 8-15.8-17, but I have always indicated Euodios.

[ocr errors]

3

Amorion, established as "stars in the holy firinament of the Church,"' inspired some of the latest efforts of declining Greek hymnography."

The fact that a number of distingnished captives, who had buen carried from Amorion to the Tigris, were executed by Mutasim's successor admits of no doubt. But it would be rash to consider it merely an act of religious intolerance. We may rather suppose it to have been dictated by the motive of extorting large ransoms for prisoners of distinction. The Caliphs probably hoped to receive an immense gum for the release of the Amorian oflicers, and it was adroit policy to apply pressure by intimating that, unless they were ransomed, they could only purchase their lives by infidelity to their religion.' The Emperor, immediately after the catastrophe, hal indeed maile an attempt to redeem the prisoners. llo sent Basil, the governor of the Charsian frontier district, bearing gifts and an apologetic letter to the Caliph, in which the Emperor regretted the destruction of Zupetra, demanded the surrender of Aetius, and offered to liberate his Saracen captives. He also gave Basil a second letter of menacing tenor, to be delivered in case the terms were rejected. Mutasiin, when he had read the first, demanded the surrender of Manuel the patrician, whose desertion he had not forgiven, and Nasr the apostate. The envoy replied that this was impossible, and presented the second missive. Mutasim angrily flurg back the gifts." i Ib. 79:

Genesios, 60, know's nothing of the

letters (which, as Vasil'ov suggests, αστέρες άδυτοι εν τω σεπτη στερεώματι

may be an anecdote), but ways that της εκκλησίας.

Theophilus ollered him 20,000 lbs. of

gold (£864,000). Tho Caliph din ? Krumbaclier, Die Erzählungen, lained this largo num, romarking that 944-952.

the expedition al cost him 100,000; 3 In support of this view, it may

be

but in Cont. Th. 131 his reply is urged that they were detained seven

[ocr errors]

different, and again in l’seudo-Simcon,

6:39. The figures for the offer of years before they woro put to death. Compare the cast of the patrician for

Theophilus ciilor in different textu.

Cont.' Th. and Pseudo-Simeoni agreo whom Michael Ill. paid a ransoin of

with Genesios; Skylitzes (Celrenus, 1000 captives in A.D. 860. Sce below,

ii. 137 ; vers. Gabii 22 verso ; op

Zonaras, xv. 29, 19) says only 2400. • Michael Syr. 96 calls Basil the

This discrepancy is noteworthy (not patriciau of Karshena. But Charsianon at this time was only a kleisurarchy

remarked by Hirsch); and the small

sum, derived by Skylitzes from sonie (see above, p. 222), and Basil could

unknown source, looks as if it might not have had patrician rank.

be right. The words of Gen. our a' • So Michael, ib. (Bar-Ilabraeus, 161). εκατοντάδων are not clear".

p. 281.

« PrethodnaNastavi »