Slike stranica


he would attack Mesembria ithis proposals were not immediately accepted. The treaty in question (1) had defined the frontier by the hills of Meleona ; (2) had secured for the Bulgarian monarch a gift of apparel and red dyed skins to the value of £1350; (3) had arranged that deserters should be sent back; and (4) stipulated for the free intercourse of merchants between the two states in case they were provided with seuls und pissports;' the property of those who had no passport was to be forfeited to the treasury."

After some discussion the proposal for the renewal of this treaty was rejected, chiefly on account of the clause relating to refugees. True to his threat, Krum immediately set his

. forces in motion against Mesembrin and laid siege to it about the middle of October (812). Further out on the bay of Anchialus than Anchialus itself, where the coast resiunes its northward direction, stood this important city, on it peninsula linnging to the mainland by it low and arrow isthmus, about five hundred yarıls in length, which is often overflowed by tempestuous seas." It was famous for its salubrious waters; it was also famous for its massive fortifications. Here had lived the parents of the great leo, the founder of the Isaurian Dynasty. Wither hud led for refuge it Bulgarian king, driven from his country by it sedition, in the days of Coustantine V. Krum was aidel ly the skill of an Arab engineer, who, formerly in the service of Nicephorus, had been dissatisfied with that Einperor's parsimony and had lled to Bulgaria." No relief came, and Mesembrin fell in a fortnight or three weeks. Meanwhile the promptness of Krum in attacking had induced Michael to reconsider his decision. The Patriarch was strongly in favour of the proposed pucice; but he was opposed by Thcoclore, the abbot of Sturlion, who was intimate with Theoktistos, the Emperor's chief adviser. The discussion which was held on this occasion (November 1) illustrates how the theological atmosphere of

1 διά σιγίλλίων και σφραγίδων. (according to Theophanes). He in

? This clause is not in our extant structed ilie Bulgarians in every poli. MSS. but is preserved in the Latin orcotic contrivaner (Tagar maygavernu translation of Anastasius.

Tixunv)Theophanes milions also Cp. Jireček, fürstenthum, 526. the desertion of it certain spathar " Nicephorus settled himin Hadriani- named Eumathius, who was unyarikas ople, and when lie grumbled at not d'unelpos, in the year 809 ; but there is reeriving an adequate remuneration no reason for supposing that these two for his services, siruck him violently were the same persoll.



the time was not excluded from such debates.

The war party said, “We must not accept peace at the risk of subverting the divine command; for the Lord said, Him who cometh uuto me I will in no wise cast out,” referring to the clause concerning the surrender of refugees. The peace party, on their side, submitted that in the first place there were, as it mutter of fact, no refugees, and secondly, even if there were, the safety of a large number was more acceptable to God than the sifety of a few; they suggested, moreover, that the real motive of those who rejected the peace was a short-sighted parsimony,' and that they were more desirous of saving the 30 lbs. worth of skins than concerned for the safety of deserters; these disputants were also able to retort upon their opponents passages of Scripture in favour of peace. The war party prevailed.

Four dilys later the news came that Mesembria was taken. The barbarians has found it well stocked with the comforts of life, full of gold and silver; and among other things they discovered il considerable quantity of “ Roman Fire," and thirty-six engines (diurge tubes) for hurling that deadly substanice, But they did not occupy the place; they left it, like Sardica, disinantled and ruined. It would seem that not possessing it navy, they judged that Mesembrin would prove an embarrassing rather than a valuable acquisition.

All thoughts of peace were now put away, and the Emperor made preparations to lead another expedition gainst Bulgaria in the following year. In February (813) two Christians who had escaped from the hands of Krum amounced that he was preparing to harry Thrace. The Emperor immediately set out and Krum was obliged to retreat, not without some losses. In May all the preparations were ready. The Asiatic forces had been assembled in Thrace, inden the garrisons which proterteil the kleisurni leading into Syria hul been withdrawn to fight against a foe who was int this moment more formidable than the Caliph. Iyononians,


! Sol interpret Theophanes, ir lotiiv and din pdv képãos (198). The majority itt least of the Senate were opposed to tlie: μι

:, άτοπον εφάνη το των προσ. prigar Tois tiis own NÝTOV BovAñs (Cont. Theoph. 13); the opinion of Theo. htistos probably weighed leavily. Michael himself was in favour of

peace, and this is an instructive case of the autocrat being overruled big the opinion of the Senate, Bury. l'unstitution of l..R.E., 31. The coll. tinuator of Theopilanes remarks that the Bulgarian kings frared lest all the population should by degrees migrate to Roman territory (ib.).


Isiturians, Cilicians, Cappadocians, and Galatians were compelled to march northwards, much against their will, and the Armeniacs and Cappadocians were noticed as louder than the others in their murmurs. As Michael and his generals issued from the city they were accompanied by all the inhabitants, as far as the Aqueduct.'' Gifts and keepsukes showered upon the officers, and the Empress Procopia herself

there, exhorting the Imperial staff to titke good care of Michael and " to fight bravely for the Christians.”

Michael, if he had some experience of wartiure, had no iability as it general, and he was more ready to listen to the idvice of the ministers who had gained intluence over him in the palace than to consult the opinion of two really competent military, men who accompanied the expedition. These were Leo, general of the Anatolies, whom, as we have already seen, he had recalled from exile, and John Aplakes, the general of Macedonia. During the month of May the army moved about Thrace, and was little less burdensome to the inhabitants than the presence of an enemy. It was specially remarked by contemporaries that no attempt was mule to recover Mesembria. Early in June Krum entered Roman territory and both armies encamped near Versinicia," it place not far from Hadrianople. At Versinicia, nearly twenty years before, another Emperor had met another Khan. Then Kardlam had skulked in a wood, and had not ventured to face Constantine. Krum, however, was boliler than his prevlecessor, and, contrary to Bulgarian habit, did not shrink from a pitched battle. For fifteen days they stood over against one another, neither side venturing to attack, and the heat of summer rendered this incessant watching it trying ordeal both for men and for horses. At last John Aplakes, who commanded one wing, composed of the Macedonian and Thracian troops, lost his patience and sent a decisive message to the Emperor : How long are we to stand here and perish? I will strike first in the name of God, and then do ye follow up bravely, and we can conquer.' We are ten times more numerous than

' for the position of Késlukios see above, pl. 101.

: Tocopile. 500, of this siir we have two independent accommts, one by Theophanes, the other in the Fray.

ment of Scriptor Incertus. The latter is the fuller, and from it we learn theo details of the courage of John Aplakes (337 8119.) Jireček (lirschichte, 115) wrongly places the battle in July,

they." The Bulgarians, who stood on lower ground in the valley, fell before the charge of Aplakes and his soldiers who descended on them from a slight elevation; but the brave stratêgos of Macedonia was not supported by the centre and the other wing. There was a general flight without any apparent cause, and the Anatolics were conspicuous among the fugitives. Aplakes, left with his own men, far too few to hold their ground, fell fighting. The enemy were surprised and alarmed at this inexplicable behaviour of an army so far superior in numbers, so famous for its discipline. Suspecting some ambushı or stratagem the Bulgarians hesitated to move. But they soon found out that the flight was genuine, and they followed in pursuit. The Romans threw away their weapons, and did not arrest their tlight until they reached the gates of the capital.

Such was the strange battle which was fought between Halrianople and Vorsinicia on Jume 22, A.D. 813. It has ilni interest is one of the few engagements in which all army chiefly consisting of Slavs seems to have voluntarily opposed in Roman host on open ground. As it rule the Slavs and Bulgarians avoided pitched battles in the plain and only engaged in mountainous country, where their habits and their equipment secured them the advantage. But Krum seems to have been elated by his career of success, and to have conceived for his opponents il contempt which prompted him to desert the truditions of Bulgarian warfare. llis audacity was rewarded, but the victory was not due to any superiority on his side in strategy or tactics. Historians have failed to realise the dilliculties which beset the battle of Versinicia, or to explain the extraordinary spectacle of a Roman ariy, in all its force, routed in an open plain by a far smaller army of Slavs and Bulgarians. It was a commonplace that although the Bulgarians were nearly sure to have the upper hand in mountainous defiles they could not cope in the plain with a Roman ariny, even much smaller than their own. The soldiers knew this well themselves, and it is impossible to believe that the Anatolic troops, disciplined by warfare against the far more formidable Saracens, were afraid of the enemy whom they met in Thrace.

! Our sollrces lo ziot state the order ol' boutile, but we may conclude that Michael commander thie Centre, Aplankes illc leo the two wings. Leo's wing consisted of the Anatolies

and, perhaps, the Cappadocians ; the Opsikiaus, Armenines, ind others would hivo lice in the centre.

? Scr. lncert. 38, when od ini λάμπου νικήσαι αυτούς έχομεν.

The only reasonable explanation of the matter is treachery, and treachery was the cause assigned by contemporary report.' The Anatolic troops feigned cowardice and fled; their flight poroduced a panic and the rest fled too. Others may have been in the plot besides the Anatolies, but the soldiers of Leo, the Armenian, were certainly the prime movers. The political consequences of the battlo show the intention of the Asiatic troops in courting this defent. The Emperor Michael lost credit and was succeeded by Leo. This was what the Asiatic soldier's desired. The religious side of Michael's rule was highly unpopular in Phrygia and the districts of Mount Taurus, and Michael himself was, probably, a Thracian or Macedonian. The rivalry between the Asiatic and European nobles, which played an important part at a later period of history, was perhaps already beginning; and it is noteworthy that the Thracians and Macedonians under Aplakes were the only troops who did not tlec. Reviewing all the circumstances, so far as we know them, we cannot escape the conclusion that the account is right which represents the regiments of Leo, if not Ivo himself, as guilty of intentional cowardice on the field of Virsinicir. It was planned to discredit Michael and elevate co in his stead, and the plan completely succeeded.

· The question really is, how far Txo was himself privy in the conduct of liis troops., Ilirsch acquits Leo of We lokaria (1 125). The data are als follows: (1) Theophanes does not lint at intentional cowardice on the part of either general or soldiers. But we Millist romnimber thyt Theophanes wrote the end of his history just at the time of Leo's accession, and says nothing unfavourable to that monarchi. (2) The Scriptor lucertus accuses the θέμα των ανατολικών, without specially mentioning the commander...As the author is violently hostile to Leo, this silence is in Lo's favour. (3) Ignatius, l'ilu Vicephori, c. 31, ac: cold scos Leo as the author of the defeat (μ. 103): της ήττης Λέων πρωτεργάτης γενόμενος παντί τω στρατοπέδω την μετ' aio xiivns Quynu dualenvaro. (4) Genesios states that there were two reports

of Leo's conduct, one adverse and one favourable : (a) that Leo's retreat was treacherous ; (B) thitt he was posted

i distance from the army boy Michael and bidden not to take part in the combat at least this seenis to be the meaning. Hirsch thinks that (a) way clerived from somno pesquimale or Sprettgelicht. 15) In Core. Th. (14), there are likewise two account: : (a) Leo led the flight, tin Baouleiav del TWS Antwr. This the author professes to have got from a written source, (nypáows (from Ignatius ?). (B) Leo and his solliers stood their ground bravely; it was the soldiers commanded by the Emperor who lled. Mly conclusion from all this is that Leo was really in the plot, but played liis carils so cleverly that nobody could prove anything against liim, although there were the gravest suspicions.

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