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traitor must be crushed immediately, for it would be a serious disadvantage to have an enemy in his rear. Accordingly, he marched against him with a band of chosen soldiers; his army being so large that he could easily divert a portion without raising the blockade. The followers of Gregory were defeated, we know not where nor how; and Gregory himself, a fugitive from the field, was pursued and slain. There is a certain propriety in the part which this soldier plays in the last act of the drama, in which Leo, Michael, and Thomas were the chief performers. Leo had passed away before that last act; but his nephew, as it were, takes his place, and oscillates between his rivals, is banished by Michael and slain by Thomas.
3. Summer and Autumn A.D. 822.-The false Constantine, if he still sustained that pretence, made the most of his easy victory over the renegade. He proclaimed that he had conquered by land and sea, and sent letters to Greece and the islands of the Aegean, bearing this false news. His purpose was to reinforce his navy, which hitherto had accomplished nothing worthy of its size, by fresh ships from these regions. Nor was he disappointed. It was clearly thought in Greece, where the population was devoted to image-worship, that the pretender was carrying all before him, that the capture or surrender of the city was merely a matter of days, or at most months, and that Michael's days were numbered. A large fleet was sent, with all good-will, to hasten the success of one who professed to be an image-worshipper. No less than three hundred and fifty ships (it is alleged) arrived in the Propontis. Under given topographical conditions, when the same object is in view, history is apt to repeat itself, and we find Thomas mooring these reinforcements in the harbour of Hebdomon and on the adjacent beach, exactly as the Saracens 1 γράμμασι πεπλασμένος, Cien. 41.
2 Hopf (126) sees here "the old opposition of the oppressed provinces against the despotic centralisation in the capital."
3 τῇ τῶν καλουμένων Βυρίδων ἀκτῇ, ihil, τῷ τῶν Β. λιμένι, Cont. Th. 64. From a passage in John of Antioch it is clear that Byrides was a place on the coast between Hebdomon (Makrikeui) and the Golden Gate.
harbour of Hebdomon was cast of the palace (and just to the east of the harbour was the Kyklobion). It is clear, therefore, that B. Aun the harbour of Hebdomon; but it could not have held all the ships, and so some of them were moored to the east along the shore. Hopf (119) curiously says that Thomas took "Berida by storm. On the rival of the Hell. Syllogos (see Bibliography) Byrides is marked near Selymbria.
had disposed their fleet on the two occasions on which they had attempted to capture the city.'
He had formed the project of a twofold attack by sea. On the northern side the city was to be assailed by his original fleet, which lay in the Golden Horn; while the new forces were to operate against the southern walls and harbours, on the side of the Propontis. But Michael foiled this plan by prompt action. Sending his fire-propelling vessels against the squadron at Hebdomon, he destroyed it, before it had effected anything. Some of the ships were entirely burnt, others scattered, but most were captured, and towed into the city harbours, which the Imperial navy held. Such was the fate of the navy which the Themes of Hellas and Peloponnesus had sent so gladly to the discomfiture of the Phrygian Emperor.
On the seaside the danger was diminished; but by land the siege was protracted with varying success until the end of the year. Frequent excursions were made from the city, and sometimes prospered, whether under the leadership of the elder Emperor or of his son Theophilus, with the General Olbianos or the Count Katakylas. But on the whole the besieged were no match in the field for their foes, who far outnumbered them. Both parties must have been weary enough as the blockade wore on through the winter. at length broken by the intervention of a foreign power.
3 Ι. τὰς πλείους δὲ αὐτῶν . . . τῷ Bariλei pooáryovaw. George Mon. (795) mentions the destruction of the fleet ዜs a critical event in the siege. Finlay, whose account of this rebellion is not very satisfactory, makes a strange mistake hero (ii. 131): "The partisans of Michael collected a fleet of 350 ships in the islands of the Archipelago and Greece, and this fleet, having gained a complete victory over the fleet of Thomas, cut off the communications of the besiegers with Asia." He has thus reversed the facts. The Greek of the historical Commission of Constantine Porphy
rogennetes seems to have been too much for Finlay here, but the story is told simply enough by Genesios.
Here, again, Cont. Th. 64 has information not vouchsafed by Genesios : νῦν μὲν τοῦ Μιχαήλ, νῦν δὲ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Θεοφίλου αὐτοῖς ἐπεξιόντος μετὰ Ολβιανοῦ καὶ Κατακύλα. This suggests that Olbianos and Katakylas were in the city during the siege. Finlay knows that the troops of the Armeniac and Opsikian Themes interrupted the communications of Thomas with the centre of Asia Minor: "These troops maintained a constant communication with the garrison of Constantinople from the coast of Bithynia" (loc. cit.). There is no authority for this, though it is what we should expect. We only know that before the blockade began in spring Michael imported many troops. into the city, doubtless regiments of
4. Intervention of the Bulgarians, Spring, A.D. 823.—It was from the kingdom beyond Mount Haemus that Michael received an opportune aid which proved the turning-point in the civil war. The Bulgarians had been at peace with the Empire, since Leo and king Omurtag, not long after the death of Krum, had concluded a treaty for thirty years.1 Communications now passed between Constantinople and Pliska, but it is uncertain who took the first step, and what was the nature of the negotiations. The simplest and earliest chronicle of the siege represents Michael as requesting Omurtag to take the field against Thomas, and Omurtag readily responding to the request. But an entirely different version is adopted in records which are otherwise unfavourable to Michael.3 According to this account, the proposal of alliance came from the Bulgarian king, and the Emperor declined the offer because he was reluctant to permit Christian blood to be shed by the swords of the heathen. He tendered his sincere thanks to Omurtag, but alleged that the presence of a Bulgarian army in Thrace, even though acting in his own cause, would be a virtual violation of the Thirty Years' Peace. Omurtag, however, took the matter into his own hands, and, unable to resist the opportunity of plunder and pillage, assisted Michael in Michael's own despite. It was obviously to the interest of the Emperor that this version should obtain credit, as it relieved him from the odium of inviting pagans to destroy Christians and exposing Roman territory to the devastation of barbarians. We must leave it undecided whether it was Michael who requested, or Omurtag who offered help, but we cannot seriously doubt that the help was accorded with the full knowledge and at the desire of the besieged Emperor. It may well be that he declined to conclude any formal alliance with the Bulgarians, but merely gave them assurances that, if they marched against Thomas and paid themselves by booty, he would hold them innocent of violating the peace. The negotiations must have been
1 See below p..360.
2 George Mon. p. 796 μadŵr is ó βασιλεὺς Μιχαὴλ τοὺς Βουλγάρους εἰς συμμαχίαν κατ' αὐτοῦ προσεκαλέσατο. This is accepted by Hirsch, 134.
3 Gen. 41-42; Cont. Th. 65.
+ See Gen. i. ἀπολογεῖται μὴ
χρῆναι τους ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον χρόνον ώμολογηκότας Χριστιανικῶν αἱμάτων ἀφέξεσθαι ἐπὶ τῷ τῶν στασιωτῶν πολέμῳ τὰ καλῶς δόξαντα καταλύειν.
5 Gen. 41 διαπρεσβεύεται πρὸς βασιλέα καὶ συμμαχεῖν αἰτεῖται αὐτῷ.
conducted with great secrecy, and the account which represented Michael as unreservedly rejecting the proffered succour gained wide credence,' though his enemies assigned to his refusal a less honourable motive than the desire of sparing Christian blood, and suggested that his avarice withheld him from paying the Bulgarians the money which they demanded. for their services.2
Omurtag then descended from Mount Haemus and marched by the great high road, by Hadrianople and Arcadiopolis, to deliver Constantinople from the Roman leaguer, even as another Bulgarian monarch had come down, more than a hundred years before, in the days of Leo III., to deliver it from the Saracens.3 When Thomas learned that the weight of Bulgaria was thrown into the balance and that a formidable host was advancing against him, he decided to abandon the siege and confront the new foe.* It was a joyful day for the siege-worn citizens and soldiers, when they saw the camp of the besiegers broken up and the great army marching away from their gates. Only the remnant of the rebel navy still lay in the Golden Horn, as Thomas did not require it for his immediate work. The Bulgarians had already passed Arcadiopolis and reached the plain of Kêduktos, near the coast between Heraclea and Selymbria. Here they awaited the approach of Thomas, and in the battle which ensued defeated him utterly. The victors soon retired, laden with booty; having thus worked much profit both to themselves
and to their ally, for whom the way was now smoothed to the goal of final victory. They had destroyed the greater part of the rebel army on the field of Kêduktos, and Michael was equal to dealing with the remnant himself.
5. Siege of Arcadiopolis and end of the Civil War, 823 A.D.—When the Bulgarians retreated, Thomas, still hopeful, collected the scattered troops who had been routed on the day of Kêduktos, and marching north-eastward pitched his camp in the marshy plain of Diabasis, watered by the streams of the Melas and Athyras which discharge into the lagoon of Buyak Chekmeje, about twenty miles west of Constantinople. This district was well provided with pasturage for horses, and well situated for obtaining supplies; moreover, it was within such distance from the capital that Thomas could harry the neighbouring villages.' The month of May, if it had not already begun, was near at hand, when Michael went forth to decide the issue of the long struggle. He was accompanied by his faithful generals Katakylas and Olbianos, each at the head of troops of his own Theme. It is not recorded whether the younger Emperor marched with his father or was left behind to guard the city. But the city might justly feel secure now; for the marines whom Thomas had left in the Golden Horn espoused the cause of Michael, as soon as they learned the news of Kêduktos."
Thomas, who felt confident of success, decided to entrap his foes by the stratagem of a feigned flight. But his followers did not share his spirit. They were cast down by the recent defeat; they were thoroughly weary of an enterprise which had lasted so much longer than they had dreamt
1 Gen. (42).indicates the character of the place. Its distance from Constantinople is vaguely suggested in Cont. Th. 6ύ σταδίους ἀπέχον τῆς πόλεως ικανούς, ad κακεῖθεν τὰς προνομὰς ποιῶν πάντα μὲν πρὸ τῆς πόλεως ἔχειρε κόσμον, but Thomas did not come within sight of the city. Diabasis has been identified by Jireček (b. 53, 102) with the plains of Choirobakchoi, described by Kinnamos (7374 ed. Bonn) and Nicetas (85-86 ed. Bonn). The Melas (Kara-su) and Athyras flow from the hill of Kushkaya near the Anastasian Wall; and near here Tomaschek (op. cit. 301)
would place the fortress Abyya, which commanded the plain (according to Kinnamos), identifying it with Cantacuzene's Aóyous, i. 297 ed. Bonn. (1-löghus in Idrisi's geography). North of the lagoon there is an extensive marsh, through which there is a solid stone dyke of Roman work; this was doubtless called the Crossing, Diabasis.
That the naval armament joined Michael after the Bulgarian victory is stated in Cont. Th. Genesios is less precise.
The spirit of the army is described in Cont. Th. 67.