Slike stranica

arrived on the scene by way of Zela and Gaziura, halted near Anzên, a high hill, from whose summit the position of the enemy could be seen. This hill has not been identified; we may perhaps guess, provisionally, that it will be discovered to the south of the plain of Dazimonitis.1 The fortune of the ensuing battle at first went well for the Greeks, who defeated the enemy, on one wing at least, with great loss; but a heavy shower of rain descended, and the sudden disappearance of the Emperor, who at the head of 2000 men had ridden round to reinforce the other wing of his army, gave rise, in the overhanging gloom, to the rumour that he was slain. The Romans, in consternation, turned and fled, and, when the sun emerged from the darkness, the Emperor with his band was surrounded by the troops of Afshin. They held the enemy at bay, until the Saracen general brought up siege-catapults to bombard them with stones; then they fought their way, desperately but successfully, through the hostile ring.2

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The Emperor, with his handful of followers, fled northwestward to Chiliokomon, "the plain of a thousand villages (now Sulu-Ova), and then, returning to his camp on the Halys, found to his dismay that his kinsman had allowed, or been unable to forbid, many of the troops to disperse to their

Ashot (ob. 826), on whom the Caliph had conferred the government of Iberia. Leo V. bestowed on him the title curopalates (frequently conferred on the Iberian princes), and in A.D. 820 he besought Leo's help against a rebel. (Cp. Marquart, ib. 404.) Bagarat was also lord of Taron (the district west of Lake Van and north of Arzanene, from which it is separated by the Antitaurus. Vaspurakan is east and north-east of Lake Van).

1 Anzên recurs in a later battle in the same region; see below, p. 282, for the topographical data.

2 I have followed the account of Michael Syr. 95. Genesios (68) agrees as to the first success of the Romans, but attributes their flight to the archery of the Turks. He describes the surrounding of Theophilus, with whom were Manuel, the Persians, and the commanders of the Tagmatic troops. He also mentions the rain and explains that the Turkish archers could not shoot at Theophilus and his

companions because their bow-strings were wet; this, in turn, explains the employment of stone-hurling machines mentioned by Michael. According to Tabari (135), who professes to give the evidence of a Christian captive present at the battle, the fortune of the day was retrieved by the Saracen cavalry. It may be suspected that the discomfiture of the Romans, whether by archers or cavalry or both, occurred on that wing which the Emperor with his 2000 rode round to reinforce. Gen. 68-69 (Cont. Th. 128) relates that Theophilus was rescued by Manuel from the contemplated treachery of his Persian regiments. The story is highly suspicious (cp. Hirsch, 145), as it was also told, with little variation, of a battle in A.D. 830 (above, p. 257). But the life of Theophilus was certainly in danger, as we know from Michael. According to Masudi (68), having lost many of his officers, he owed his life to the protection of Nasr.

3 See Cumont, op. cit. 144.



various stations. Having punished the commander for his weakness, and sent orders that the soldiers who had left the camp should be beaten with stripes, he dispatched a eunuch to Ancyra, to provide, if there were still time, for the defence of that city. But it was too late; for the western army of the invaders was already there.2 Ancyra ought to have offered resistance to a foe. Its fortifications were probably strengthened by Nicephorus I.3 But the inhabitants, thoroughly alarmed by the tidings of the victory of Afshin, deserted the city and fled into the mountains, where they were sought out by Ashnas and easily defeated. Thus the town fell without a blow into the hands of the destroyer. The Emperor, at this crisis, did not disdain to humble himself before the Caliph. He sent an embassy, imploring peace, and offering to rebuild the fortress of Zapetra, to release all the captives who were in his hands, and to surrender those men who had committed cruel outrages in the Zapetra campaign. The overtures were rejected, with contempt and taunts, by the Caliph,5 and Theophilus betook himself to Dorylaion to await the fate of [I read πένθει, Boeckh πενθεῖ. He reads expŵv Taîs in line 2, but the traces do not point to this.] Now, as no destruction of Ancyra is recorded between A.D. 805 (the restoration of Nicephorus) and A.D. 829, Michael II. cannot be meant. The storm must refer to the event of 838, and the restoration must belong to the reign of Michael III. Moreover, in the case of Michael II. (except in the first five months of his reign), Theophilus would have been associated with him in such an inscription. The fact that Michael III. is named alone, without Theodora, points to a date after A.D. 856, and this is confirmed by ráλai. The other inscription (ten iambic trimeters), though it does not mention the disaster, is evidently of the same date, and, as Boeckh thinks, probably by the same (local) "poet."

1 Doubtless Theodoros Krateros, one of the Amorian martyrs, who, as Nikitin conjectures, may have been stratêgos of the Bukellarian Theme (Acta 42 Mart. Amor. 205).

2 It had marched northward by the route west of the Halys (see above, p. 264). Michael Syr. 95 records that Mutasim found Nyssa, which lay on his road, deserted, and destroyed its walls.

3 Theoph. 481. In 806 Harun marched within sight of the city (ib. 482). It is generally said that the walls were restored by Michael II. (so Vasil'ev, 124). But the inscriptions on which this statement is based (C.I.G. iv. 8794, 8795, pp. 365-366) have, I think, been wrongly interpreted. The second (consisting of fifteen iambic trimeters) tells how Michael

Μιχαὴλ ὁ δεσπότης

μέγας βασιλεὺς ν[ικητ]ὴς στεφηφόρος has raised Ancyra from her ruins. The document begins:

πένθει φθαρεῖσα καὶ <κλι>θεῖσα πρ[ὸς πέδῳ

χ]ερσὶν ὑπ ἐ[ ] μιαιφόνοις, [ἐκ] πάλαι,

νῦν [ἀνεγ]είρου τῶν κακῶν ἀνειμένη.


A poet, Husain, sang in honour of Mutasim: "Of Ancyra thou didst spare nought, and thou didst demolish the great Amorion." Ibn Khurdadhbah, 101, 74; Vasil'ev, 129, n. 2. 5 Yakubi, 9; Gen. 64.

6 Michael Syr. 95 relates that a report was spread in Constantinople that the Emperor was slain in the battle with Afshin, that a plot was

Amorion, for the safety of which he believed that he had done all that could be done.

The army of the Saracens advanced westwards from Ancyra in three columns, Ashnas in front, the Caliph in the centre, and Afshin behind, at distances of two parasangs. Ravaging and burning as they went, they reached Amorion in seven days. The siege began on the first of August.1 The city was strong; its high wall was fortified by forty-four bastions and surrounded by a wide moat; its defence had been entrusted by Theophilus to Aetius, stratêgos of the Anatolic Theme; and reinforcements had been added to its garrison, under Constantine Babutzikos, who had married a sister of the Empress Theodora and was Drungary of the Watch, and the eunuch Theodore Krateros 3 and others. But there was a weak spot in the fortification. Some time

formed to elect a new Emperor, and that Theophilus, informed of the matter by a message from his mother (? stepmother), hastened thither from Amorion and punished the conspirators. Genesios (69) mentions his being at Nicaea, and Vasil'ev suggests that this may confirm the Syriac record.

1 Tabari, 45; Acta 42 Mart. 42 (εἰσιόντος τοῦ Αὐγούστου μηνός). The city was taken on Tuesday in Ramadhan, .e. August 13, according to Yakubi, 10. This accords with Michael Syr. 100, who says that the city was taken in 12 days, and can be reconIciled with the statement of Euodios (Acta citt. 65) that the siege lasted 13 days. For Ashnas arrived at Amorion on Thursday, August 1, the Caliph was there on Friday, August 2, and Afshin came on Saturday (Tabari, 37). Thus the duration might be described as either of 12 or of 13 days (or of 11, since active operations did not begin till August 3). See Nikitin (ad Acta citt. 243), who wrongly equates the Thursday with July 31. Tabari's equation (45) of Friday with the 6th of Ramadhan is false; Thursday Ramadhan 7 (see Mas Latrie, Trésor, p. 566). The same scholar rightly points out that a wrong deduction has been drawn by Weil and Vasil'ev from Tabari's statement (45) that Mutasim returned 55 days after the beginning of the siege. They


took this to mean that the siege lasted 55 days, and so placed the capture on September 23 or 24. But Tabari obviously means his return to Tarsus, and the 55 days include his march from Amorion, which was slow and interrupted. According to George Mon. 797, the siege lasted 15 days in August; this is nearly right.

2 Ibn Khurdadhbah.

3 The names in Simeon (Add. Georg. 805; vers. Slav. 98) and Cont. Th. 126 must be controlled by the Acta of the 42 Martyrs. The identity of the officers has been examined by Nikitin (Acta, 202-219), who has proved, in my opinion, that Constantine the Patrician is Constantine Babutzikos. In one document he is described as ἄρχων τῶν ταγμάτων (Synaxar. ecc. Const. 516), whence Nikitin infers that he was commander of one of the "guard regiments.' But Simeon's δρουγγάριος shows at once that he commanded the Arithmos (Vigla), the only one of the four Tagmata whose commander was so named. The other officers were Theophilus, stratêgos, and Bassoes, o Spoμe's the runner. Nikitin (208 sqq.) has shown that this does not mean a courier here, but a victor in the foot-race (πεŠоdρóμov). Constantine, Cer. 358, mentions Bambaludes, ὁ τῶν Πρασίνων Spoμeús, champion of the Greeks, in the reign of Michael III.


before, the Emperor, riding round the city, had observed that in one place the wall was dilapidated, and had ordered the commander 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 breach was made. Aetius immediately 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 of cavalry 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 difficult 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

1 There were two acts of treachery during the siege. This first act (not mentioned by Michael Syr.) is related by Tabari (37), who is supported in one of the Acta 42 Mart. (12 vπó τινων — προδεδωκότων), by Cont. Th. 130, and Simeon, who speaks of two traitors, Boiditzes and Manikophagos (Add. Georg. 805). As Boiditzes perpetrated the later and decisive act of

treachery, Nikitin (Acta citt. 194) infers that Manikophagos was the name of the first traitor. Cont. Th. ascribes both acts to Boiditzes.

2 Michael Syr. 98. There had already been fighting for three days (ib.), and before this some days must have been occupied by the construction of the Saracen entrenchment (ib. 97).

His name

widening, 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 almost 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 that 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. was Boiditzes,1 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 a signal from one of Mutasim's officers, the Saracens rushed into Amorion. The Greek traitor, dismayed at this perfidious practice, clutching his beard, upbraided the Caliph for his breach of faith, but the Caliph reassured him that all he wished would be his.2

A part of the unfortunate 1 Bodirns, Simeon and Cont. Th., locc. citt.; Bowôns, Euodios (Acta citt.), 71; Vendu, Tabari, 41, who explains the name as meaning a steer; Bôdîn, Michael Syr. 98. Genesios, 65, does not give the name, but says that he derived a nickname from an ox, on account of some quarrel between the Jews and Christians.

2 The Greek sources do not explain how the traitor communicated with the enemy; in Tabari he goes alone to Mutasim. Michael Syr. 98 gives what is evidently the true account as to the embassy, but he implies that

population sought refuge in Boiditzes returned to the city by himself and signalled from the walls to the besiegers that he had withdrawn the defenders. This is incomprehensible, for it was clear to his fellow envoys that he meant treachery, and if he had returned to the city he would have been arrested, unless Aetius was in the plot (which there is no good ground for suspecting). I have therefore here followed the narrative of Tabari. But the details are very uncertain. Mutasim gave the traitor 10,000 darics (Michael, 99).

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