« PrethodnaNastavi »
a large church, in which after an obstinate resistance they perished by fire.1 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.2 The fate 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.3
The siege of Amorion had lasted for nearly two weeks.1 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 defied 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 (boïdion) 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; cp. Acta 42 Mart. 44; Skylitzes (Cedr.) ii. 136.
2 Masudi, 68, says that 30,000 were killed in Amorion. If there is any foundation for the number it may represent the total of the inhabitants, military and civil. Euodios (Acta citt. 67) gives the ridiculous figure of more than 70,000 for the soldiers alone; this would represent nearly the whole Asiatic army. But the number was large, for after the massacres the captives were so numerous that at the distribution of the spoil Mutasim slew 4000. See Michael Syr. 100. This writer relates (99)
that more than a 1000 nuns who survived the massacre were delivered to the outrages of the Turkish and Moorish slaves, and curiously adds: "glory to the incomprehensible
judgments of God." Many captives were sold to slave - dealers, but the parents were not separated from their children (100).
3 Tabari, 44-45, mentions Badi-'lJaur as the region where the captives were slain. It evidently means the plain of Pankaleia, the wide desert plain to the east of Amorion (Ramsay, Asia Minor, 231); for in one of the older Acta 42 Mart. (44) "Pankallia " is named as the scene of these events. 4 See above, p. 267, n. 1.
Cp. Michael Syr. 100.
6 Cont. Th. 130 βοΐδιον ἄνωθεν λίθινον ἔξωθεν δὲ λέων ἐκ μαρμάρου ἐφloraTal. Vasil'ev has an appendix on the name of the traitor (150 sqq.), but does not observe the significance of this passage.
myth. Boiditzes was said to be a pupil of Leo the Philosopher,1 and an Arabic writer calls him Leo.2
A sequel of the siege of Amorion 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 beheaded. 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 he 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 sank 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 deacon Ignatius, who wrote the life of the Patriarch Nicephorus, celebrated it in a canon, and the Forty-two Martyrs of
1 Pseudo-Simeon, 638. In his text, the second traitor, named Mανικοφάγος by Simeon (Add. Georg. 805, vers. Slav. 98), appears as Maviкopávηs. We may suspect that this name implies some connexion with the Manichaean (i.e. Paulician) heresy. 2 Masudi, 68, 3 Wathik, who succeeded Mutasim in 842. Of the forty-two, six_are mentioned by name in the Acta. Five of them are the officers named above, p. 267 (Aetius, Constantine, Theodore, Theophilus, and Bassoes). The sixth was not properly an Amorian martyr, for he was not at the siege. He was Kallistos Melissenos, described as duke of Koloneia (Simeon, Add. Georg. 805 has divided him into two persons). His career is related in one of the Acts (T, see next note), from which we learn that he was captured in his own
the Patrician Leo."
province, and imprisoned along with the Amorian captives. For the government of Koloneia cp. above, p. 223.
4 The material will be found in the Acta edited by Vasilievski and Nikitin. As to the dates of these documents Nikitin's conclusions (cp. 272 sqq.) are as follows: The Canon of the Deacon Ignatius (texts H and ) was composed before or about the middle of A.D. 847; it was subsequent to text I, the author of which (who is specially interested in Kallistos) mentions that the Martyrs had been already celebrated in writing. To these earlier works B and A belong, and A is probably earlier than B. Euodios (text Z, of which A is an abridgment) perhaps wrote his version in the reign of Basil I., certainly after 867. In my references to the Acta I have not distinguished the earlier texts, which belong to A.D. 845-847, but I have always indicated Euodios.
Amorion, established as "stars in the holy firmament of the Church,"1 inspired some of the latest efforts of declining Greek hymnography.2
The fact that a number of distinguished captives, who had been 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 sum for the release of the Amorian officers, 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, had indeed made an attempt to redeem the prisoners. He 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 Zapetra, 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. Mutasim, 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 flung back the gifts.5
1 Ib. 79:
ἐν τῷ σεπτῷ στερεώματι
2 Krumbacher, Die Erzählungen, 944-952.
3 In support of this view, it may be urged that they were detained seven years before they were put to death. Compare the case of the patrician for whom Michael III. paid a ransom of 1000 captives in A.D. 860. See below, p. 281.
Michael Syr. 96 calls Basil the patrician of Karshena. But Charsianon at this time was only a kleisurarchy (see above, p. 222), and Basil could not have had patrician rank.
5 So Michael, ib. (Bar-Hebraeus, 161).
Genesios, 66, knows nothing of the letters (which, as Vasil'ev suggests, may be an anecdote), but says that Theophilus offered him 20,000 lbs. of gold (£864,000). The Caliph disdained this large sum, remarking that the expedition had cost him 100,000; but in Cont. Th. 131 his reply is different, and again in Pseudo-Simeon, 639. The figures for the offer of Theophilus differ in different texts. Cont. Th. and Pseudo-Simeon agree with Genesios; Skylitzes (Cedrenus, ii. 137; vers. Gabii 22 verso; cp. Zonaras, xv. 29, 19) says only 2400. This discrepancy is noteworthy (not remarked by Hirsch); and the small sum, derived by Skylitzes from some unknown source, looks as if it might be right. The words of Gen. oùv a' ἑκατοντάδων are not clear.
§ 7. The Warfare of A.D. 839-867
The disastrous events of the invasion of Mutasim, along with the steady advance of the African Moslems in the island of Sicily, not to speak of the constant injuries which the Arabs of Crete inflicted on the Empire, convinced Theophilus that the Empire was unable to cope alone with the growing power of Islam in the Mediterranean, and he decided to seek the alliance and co-operation of other powers. He sent an embassy, which included a bishop and a patrician, to the Western Emperor, Lewis the Pious, asking him to send a powerful armament, perhaps to attack Syria or Egypt, in order to divert or divide the forces of the Caliph.1 The envoys were welcomed and honourably entertained at Ingelheim (June 17, 839), but the embassy led to no result. Equally fruitless was the attempt to induce the ruler of Spain, Abd arRahman II., to co-operate with the Empire against his rival the Eastern Caliph. Spain was in such a disturbed state at this time that it was impossible for him to undertake a distant expedition beyond the seas. His good-will was unreserved, and in reply to the Imperial Embassy he sent to Constantinople his friend the poet Yahya al-Ghazzal with promises to dispatch a fleet as soon as internal troubles permitted him.3 But those troubles continued, and the fleet never sailed.
Meanwhile the fall of Amorion had led to no new permanent encroachment on Roman territory. The Emir of Syria raided the Empire more than once with little success,* and in A.D. 841 the Imperial forces took Adata and Marash, and occupied part of the territory of Melitene.5 It was
1 Gen. 72 χώρων τε καὶ πόλεων τινὰς Σαρακηνικῶν τῶν μεταξὺ Λιβύης καὶ *Ασίας καταληίσασθαι. If 'Ασία means Asia Minor, this points to Syria. If Libya means the realm of the Fatimids and Idrisids, it may point to Egypt. The chief envoy was the patrician Theodosius Babutzikos, according to Genesios; but Prudentius (Ann. Bert. 19) states that the envoys were Theodosius, bishop of Chalcedon, and Theophanes, a spatharios. Theodosius the patrician had been sent at an earlier date to Venice, and seems to have proceeded direct from there to Ingelheim. Cp. Vasil'ev, 146.
2 Ann. Bert., ib.
3 Makkari (ii. 115) says that Yahya succeeded in forming an alliance between the two sovrans.
4 The first raid of Abu Said, governor of Syria and Mesopotamia, was perhaps in the last months of A.D. 838; he was opposed by Nasr, who lost his life. The next recorded were in A.D. 840-841 (Michael Syr. 96 102). In A.D. 838-839, Mamun's nephew Abbas entered into treasonable communication with Theophilus. The intrigue was discovered, and he perished by torture and hunger (ib. 101).
5 Ib. 102.
perhaps in the previous year that a Roman fleet appeared off the coast of Syria and pillaged the port of Antioch.1 These successes inclined Mutasim to be gracious, when Theophilus again proposed an exchange of captives, and he displayed insolent generosity. "We," he said, "cannot compare the values of Moslems and Christians, for God esteems those more than these. But if you restore me the Saracens without asking for anything in return, we can give you twice as many Romans and thus surpass you in everything." Aetius and his fellows were not included in the exchange, but a truce was concluded (A.D. 841).
It was only a truce, for Mutasim cherished the illusory hope of subjugating the Empire. He revived the ambitious designs of the Omayyad Caliphs, and resolved to attack Constantinople. The naval establishment had been suffered to decay under the Abbasids, and, as a powerful fleet was indispensable for any enterprise against the city of the Bosphorus, some years were required for preparation. The armament was not ready to sail till the year 842, when 400 dromonds sailed from the ports of Syria. Mutasim, who died in the same month as Theophilus, did not live to witness the disaster which befell his fleet. It was wrecked on the dangerous Chelidonian islets off the south-eastern cape of the coast; only seven vessels escaped destruction.3
Mutasim's unpopular successor, Wathik, was throughout his short reign (842-847) so embarrassed by domestic troubles -religious strife, risings in Damascus and Arabia, discontent in Baghdad—that he was unable to prosecute the Holy War.1
1 Michael Syr. 101. No precise date is given; we have only the limits, 838 and 841.
2 Ib. 102.
3 George Mon. 801 (copied in Vit. Theodorae, 11). Schlosser (556 n.) thinks that this was an expedition of the Moslems of Crete. But in that case it would not have been wrecked off Cape Hiera (Selidan-Burnu), which is far away from the course to Constantinople. The commander was Abu Dinar (’Αποδείναρ).
4 There seems to have been only one campaign, viz. in A.D. 843 or 844 (Simeon, Add. Georg. 815). The Saracens invaded Cappadocia and defeated Theoktistos, who was sent
against them, at Mauropotamon. Vasil'ev (155) supposes that the KaraSu, a tributary of the Halys, north of Mount Argaios, the Melas of Strabo, is the Mauropotamos here meant. The weight, however, of MS. authority is in favour of τὸ Μαυροπόταμον, a place (of course on a river), not o Maνρоróтaμos, a river. Cp. de Boor, ib. n. 1. Theoktistos was also unlucky in an expedition, by sea, against the Abasgians; the fleet was wrecked. Cont. Th. 203. From this passage it would appear that the date was prior to the Cretan expedition, which Simeon (Cont. Georg.) 814 puts in spring A.D. 843. Acc. to Cont. Th. there were two solar eclipses before the Abasgian