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fact, Michael seized the occasion to show the Bulgarians that he regarded Arcadiopolis as too strong to be taken by assault.
In following these two principles of policy, Michael placed himself in the light of a patriot, in conspicuous contrast to his beaten rival, who had been the author of the Civil War, and had used all his efforts to teach barbarians how the Imperial city itself might be taken by an enemy.
The garrison of Arcadiopolis held out for five months, but Thomas was obliged to send out of the town all the women and children, and the men who were incapable of bearing arms, in order to save his supplies. By the month of October, the garrison was reduced to such straits that they were obliged to feed on the putrid corpses of their horses which had perished of hunger. Part of the garrison now left the town, some with the knowledge of Thomas, others as deserters to Michael. The latter, desperate with hunger, let themselves down by ropes, or threw themselves from the walls at the risk of breaking their limbs. The messengers of Thomas stole out of the gates and escaped to Bizye, where the younger tyrant Anastasius had shut himself up, in order to concert with the
some plan for the rescue of the father.” Then Michael held a colloquy with the garrison that was left in Arcadiopolis, and promised to all a free pardon, if they would surrender their master into his hands. The followers who had been so long faithful to their leader thought that the time had come when they might set their lives before loyalty to a desperate cause. They accepted the Imperial clemency and delivered Thomas to the triumphant Emperor.
The punishment that awaited the great tyrant who was so near to winning the throne was not less terrible than that to which Michael himself had been sentenced by Leo, the Armenian. All the distress which the Emperor had undergone for the space of three years was now to be visited on his head. The pretender, who had reduced his conqueror to dire extremities and had wasted three years of his reign, could hope for no easy death. The quarrel between Michael and Thomas was an old one; it dated from the days when they had both been officers under the general Bardanes. The time had now come for settling accounts, and the reckoning 1 Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 419.
2 Gen. 44.
against the debtor was heavy indeed. The long war had
. inflicted immeasurable injury on the lands of the Empire, and it would be hard to estimate how much Thrace alone had suffered. The private ambition of the old Slav of Gaziura, the impostor who had deceived his followers, for a time at least, that he was a legitimate Emperor, was answerable for all this ruin and misery. When he was led in chains to the presence of his hated rival, Michael, not disguising his joy, set his foot upon the neck of the prostrate foe, and pronounced his doom. His hands and feet were to be cut off, and his body was to be pierced on a stake. The miserable
. man when he was led to punishment, cried aloud for mercy : “Pity me, 0 thou who art the true Emperor !”? Hope may have been awakened in his heart for a moment, hope at least of some alleviation of the doom, when his judge deigned to ask him a question. It was one of those dangerous questions which tempt a man in the desperate position of Thomas to bear false witness if he has no true facts to reveal. Michael asked whether any of his own officers or ministers had held treacherous dealings with the rebel. But if the rebel had any true or false revelations to make, he was not destined to utter them, and if he conceived hopes of life or of a milder death, they were speedily extinguished. At this juncture John Hexabulios, the Logothete of the Course, intervened and gave the Emperor wise counsel. The part played in history by this Patrician was that of a monitor.
We saw him warning Michael Rangabé against Leo; we saw him taking counsel with Leo touching the designs of Michael the Lisper; and now we see him giving advice to Michael. His counsel was, not to hear Thomas, inasmuch as it was improper and absurd to believe the evidence of foes against friends.
The sentence was carried out, probably before the walls of Arcadiopolis, and doubtless in the Emperor's presence; and the great rebel perished in tortures, “ like a beast." 4 A like
i George Mon. 797 katã thu åpxalav ouvo elav. We remember how Justinian II. set his feet on the necks of Leontius and Tiberius.
2 In Cont. Th. (69), it is said that he was exhibited on an ass : επί όνου τε θεατρίζει πάσι, τούτο μόνον επιτραγωδούντα, ελέησόν με ο αληθώς βασιλεύ.
Genesios does not notice the ass, which often played a part in such scenes.
3 The punishment is described by Michael himself in his letter to Lewis (419).
ώσπερ τε ζώον δυσθανατούν, Comt. Th. 70.
doom was in store for his adopted son. But Bizye caused the Emperor less trouble than Arcadiopolis, for when the followers of Anastasius heard the news of the fate of Thomas, they resolved to save their own lives by surrendering him to Michael. The monk, who in an evil hour had exchanged the cloister for the world, perished by the same death as Thomas. But even after the extinction of the two tyrants, there was still resistance offered to the rule of Michael. The inland cities, Bizye and Arcadiopolis, had surrendered; but the maritime cities, Heraclea and Panion, still held out. In these neighbouring places there was a strong enthusiasm for image-worship, and Michael had given clear proofs that he did not purpose to permit the restoration of images. But the resistance of these cities was soon overcome. The wall of Panion was opportunely shattered by an earthquake, and thus the city was disabled from withstanding the Imperial army. Heraclea, though it was visited by the same disaster, suffered less, and did not yield at once; but an assault on the seaside was successful, and here, too, Michael had a bloodless victory.
The Emperor, having completely established his power in Thrace, returned to the city with his prisoners. If his dealing with the arch-rebels Thomas and Anastasius had been cruel, his dealing with all their followers was merciful and mild. Those who were most deeply implicated he punished by banishment. On the rest he inflicted only the light ignominy of being exhibited at a spectacle in the Hippodrome with their hands bound behind their backs.
But there was still some work to be done in Asia, before it could be said that the last traces of the rebellion of Thomas had been blotted out. Two adherents of the rebel still held two strong posts in Asia Minor, and plundered the surrounding country as brigands. Kaballa, in the Anatolic Theme, to the north-west of Iconium, was in the hands of Choereas, while
1 Michael, ib., calls it Panidus.
2 There were two places of this name (in one of which Constantine V. Kaballinos was probably born), one in Phrygia, south of Trajanopolis, the other on the borders of Pisidia and Lycaonia and not far from Laodicea Kekaumene (Ramsay, Lycaonia, 69).
The latter, which is doubtless the
in Lycaonia ;
Gazarenos of Kolonea held Saniana, an important fortress on the Halys. Michael sent a golden bull? to these chiefs, announcing the death of Thomas and offering to give them a free pardon and to confer on them the rank of Magister, if they submitted. But they were wild folk, and they preferred the rewards of brigandage to honours at the Imperial Court. The messenger of Michael, however, accomplished by guile what he failed to accomplish openly. He seduced some of the garrisons of both towns, and persuaded them to close the gates upon their captains while they were abroad on their lawless raids. The work of tampering with the men of Choereas and Gazarenos demanded subtlety and caution, but the imperial messenger was equal to the emergency. The manner in which he won the ear of an oekonomos or steward of a church or monastery in Saniana, without arousing suspicion, is recorded. He found a peasant, by name Gyberion, who had a talent for music and used to spend his leisure hours in practising rustic songs. The envoy from the Court cultivated the friendship of this man and composed a song for him, which ran thus :
Hearken, Sir Steward, to Gyberis !
When these lines had been repeatedly sung by the man within the hearing of the oekonomos or of his friends, the meaning of the words was grasped and the hint taken. Shut out of their “cloud-capped towns” 4 the two rebels, Choereas and Gazarenos
, took the road for Syria, hoping to find a refuge there, like their dead leader Thomas. But before they could reach the frontier they were captured and hanged.
i Saniana has been identified by Ramsay (Asia Minor, 218 sqq.) with Cheshnir Keupreu, on the east side of the Halys, south-east of Ancyra, a point at which the military road from Dorylaeum forked, one branch going eastward, the other south-eastward. If he is right, its military importance (implied, I think, in Cont. Them. 28) is clear.
χρυσoβoύλλιον, Cont. Τh. 72. 3 Krumbacher has restored the verses as follows, G.B.L. 793 ib. :
άκουσε, κύρι οικονόμε,
Νεοκαισάρειάν σου δώσω.
4 10. 73 υπερνεφών τούτων πολιχνίων.
The drama is now over; all the prophecies of the soothsayer of Philomelion have come true. The star of the Armenian and the star of the Slavonian have paled and vanished before the more puissant star of the man of Amorion ; both Leo and Thomas have been done to death by Michael. He now wears the Imperial crown, without a rival; he has no more to fear or hope from unfulfilled soothsay.
We may now turn from the personal interest in the story to the more general aspects of this great civil war, which caused abundant misery and mischief. The historians describe how “it filled the world with all manner of evils, and diminished the population ; fathers armed themselves against their sons, brothers against the sons of their mothers, friends against their dearest friends.” 1 It was as if the cataracts of the Nile had burst, deluging the land not with water but with blood.? The immediate author of these calamities was Thomas, and there is no doubt that his motive was simply personal ambition. The old man with the lame leg was not fighting for a principle, he was fighting for a diadem. But nevertheless he could not have done what he did if there had not been at work motives of a larger and more public scope, urging men to take up arms. It must not be forgotten that he originally revolted against Leo; and that his war with Michael was merely a continuation of that revolt. Now there were two classes of subjects in the Empire, who had good cause to be discontented with the policy of Leo, the image-worshippers and the Paulicians. The policy of Thomas, which he skilfully pursued, was to unite these discordant elements, orthodoxy and heresy, under a common standard. His pretence to be Constantine VI. may have won the confidence of some imageworshippers, but he was possibly more successful in conciliating Paulicians and other heretics.
It is more important to observe that the rebellion probably initiated or promoted considerable social changes in the 1 Cont. Th. 49.
won no sympathy from the image. 2 lb. 53.
worshippers of Constantinople, and 3 He seems to have professed image- his memory was execrated by such a worship himself (Michael, Vit. Theod. bigoted iconolater as George Mon. Stud. 320 ελέγετο ιεράς εικόνας άπο- (793). Cp. below, p. 116. Ignatius δέχεσθαι τε και προσκυνείν) and the .the deacon (biographer of the Patriarch precautions of Michael, lest Theodore Nicephorus) wrote iambic verses on Stud. and his party should embrace Thomas (tå katà Owuâv), Suidas s.v. his cause, bear this out. But Thomas Ιγνάτιος.