Slike stranica

attention of the Bulgarian king was at this time preoccupied by the political situation which had arisen in the regions adjacent to the Middle Danube by the advance of the Frank power and the overthrow of the Avars. On the other hand, Nicephorus who, soon after his accession, was embroiled in war with the Saracens, may have taken some pains to avoid hostilities on his northern frontier. It is at all events significant that he did not become involved in war with Bulgaria until the tide of the eastern war had abated. We do not know what cause of provocation was given, but so far as our record goes, it was the Roman Emperor who began hostilities. Kardam had in the meantime been succeeded by Krum, a strong, crafty, and ambitious barbarian, whose short reign is memorable in the annals of his country.

It was in A.D. 807 that Nicephorus set forth at the head of an army to invade Bulgaria.2 But when he reached Hadrianople a mutiny broke out, and he was compelled to abandon his expedition. The next hostile movement of which we hear—we cannot say which occurred-was the appearance of a Bulgarian army in Macedonia, in the regions of the Strymon, towards the close of the following year. Many regiments of the garrison of the province, with the stratêgos himself and the officers, were cut to pieces, and the treasury of the khan was enriched by the capture of 1100 lbs. of gold (£47,520) which had been destined to pay the soldiers. It would seem that the Romans had not expected an attack so

1 We are quite ignorant of the internal history of Bulgaria from 797 to 807, and know neither in what year Krum acceded nor whether he was the immediate successor of Kardam. Jireček places his accession in 802-807 (Geschichte, 143). For the various forms of Krum's name, in Greek, Latin, and Slavonic sources, cp. Loparev, Dvie Zamietki, 341, n. 1. That Krum is the right form is shown by the Shumla inscription (Kpoûμos: Aboba, 233; cp. Shkorpil, Arch.-ep. Mitth. xix. 243). On the alleged legislation of Krum (Suidas, s. v. Boulyapo) see G. Kazarow, B.Z. xvi. 254-257 (1907). 2 Theoph., A. M. 6299-806-807.

3 Theoph., A. M. 6301. This event is .placed by all historians in 809 (Jireček, Geschichte, 144). But it seems to me


that the statements of Theophanes more naturally point to the last months of 808 (A.M. 6301 September 608August 609). For after describing the affair of the Strymon the chronicler proceeds τῷ δ ̓ αὐτῷ ἔτει πρὸ τῆς ἑορτῆς τοῦ Πάσχα Κροῦμμος κτλ. Now if the Bulgarians had immediately proceeded against Sardica, Theophanes would hardly have written τῷ δ ̓ αὐτῷ ἔτει, which implies that two events are independent or separated in time; and it is clear that as the capture of Sardica took place before Easter 809, it must have been immediately preceded by the victory on the Strymon, in case that victory was won in the same spring. I therefore conclude that 808 is the right date; and it seems more natural that the soldiers should have been paid before winter.

late in the year; but the presence of a considerable force in the Strymon regions points to the fact that the Bulgarians had already betrayed their designs against Macedonia. In the ensuing spring (809) Krum followed up his success on the Strymon by an attack on the town of Sardica, which seems at this time to have been the most northerly outpost of the Empire towards the Danube. He captured it not by violence, but by wily words, and put to death a garrison of six thousand soldiers and (it is said) the population of the place. It does not appear that he had conceived the idea of annexing the plain of Sardica to his realm. He dismantled the fortifications and perhaps burned the town, which was one day to be the capital of the Bulgarian name. When the tidings of the calamity arrived, Nicephorus left Constantinople in haste on the Tuesday before Easter (April 3). Although the monk, who has related these events, says nothing of his route, we can have no doubt that he marched straight to the mountains by Meleona and Marcellae, and descended on Pliska from the Veregava Pass. For he dispatched to the city an Imperial letter in which he mentioned that he spent Easter day in the palace of the Bulgarian king. The plunder of Pliska was a reprisal for the sack of Sardica, to which Nicephorus then proceeded for the purpose of rebuilding it. We are not told what road he took, but he avoided meeting the victorious army of the enemy. It is said that some officers who had escaped the massacre asked Nicephorus in vain for a promise that he would not punish them, and were forced to desert to the Bulgarians.

The Emperor desired to rebuild Sardica as speedily and as cheaply as possible, and, fearing that the soldiers would be unwilling to submit to a labour which they might say was not a soldier's business, he prompted the generals and officers to induce the soldiers to address a spontaneous request to the Emperor that the city might be rebuilt. But the men saw through this stratagem, and were filled with indignation. They tore down the tents of their superiors, and, standing in front of the Emperor's pavilion, cried that they would endure

1 Theophanes malevolently insinuates a doubt of the truth of the Emperor's statement: σάκραις ἐνόρκοις

τὴν βασιλίδα πόλιν πείθειν ἐσπούδαζενὅτι κτλ. (48514).

his rapacity no more. was dining. He directed two patricians to attempt to tranquillise the army; the noise abated; the soldiers formed a company on a hillock hard by, "and, forgetting the matter in hand, kept crying, 'Lord, have mercy !'" This unorganized mutiny was soon quelled by Imperial promises, and the officers were all on the Emperor's side. Punishment, however, was afterwards inflicted on the ringleaders.

It was the hour of noon and Nicephorus

Nicephorus viewed with anxiety the western provinces of his Empire in Macedonia and Thessaly. The Slavs, on whose fidelity no reliance could be placed, were predominant there, and it was the aim of the Bulgarians to bring the Macedonian Slavs under their dominion. To meet the dangers in this quarter the Emperor determined to translate a large number of his subjects from other parts of the Empire and establish them as Roman colonists in what was virtually a Slavonic land. They could keep the Slavs in check and help in repulsing Bulgarian aggression. The transmigration began in September 809 and continued until Easter 810. It seems to have been an unpopular measure. Men did not like to leave the homes to which they were attached, to sell their property, and say farewell to the tombs of their fathers. The poor cling far more to places than the rich and educated, and it was to the poor agriculturists that this measure exclusively applied. Some, we are told, were driven to desperation and committed suicide rather than go into a strange and distant land; and their richer brethren sympathized with them; in fact, the act was described as nothing short of "a captivity." But though it may have been hard on individuals, it was a measure of sound policy; and those who on other grounds were ill-disposed to the government exaggerated the odium which it aroused. Nicephorus, who, as we are told, prided himself greatly on this act, seems to have realised the danger that the Slavonic settlements in Macedonia and Greece might eventually be gathered into a Bulgarian empire; and these new colonies were designed to obviate such a possibility.

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Meanwhile the Emperor was preparing a formidable expedition against Bulgaria, to requite Krum for his cruelties and successes. In May 811 the preparations were complete, and Nicephorus marched through Thrace at the head of a large army. The troops of the Asiatic Themes had been transported from beyond the Bosphorus; Romanus, general of the Anatolics, and Leo, general of the Armeniacs, were summoned to attack the Bulgarians, as their presence was no longer required in Asia to repel the Saracen. When he reached Marcellae, at the foot of the mountains, where he united the various contingents of his host, ambassadors arrived from Krum, who was daunted by the numbers of the Romans.1 But the Augustus at the head of his legions had no thought of abandoning his enterprise, and he rejected all pleadings for peace. He knew well that a humiliating treaty would be violated by the enemy as soon as his own army had been disbanded; yet nothing less than a signal humiliation could atone for the massacres of Sardica and the Strymon. The march, difficult for a great army, through the pass of Veregava, occupied some time, and on the 20th of July the Romans approached the capital of Krum. Some temporary consternation was caused by the disappearance of a trusted servant of the Emperor, who deserted to the enemy with the Imperial apparel and 100 lbs. of gold.

No opposition was offered to the invaders, and the Roman swords did not spare the inhabitants. Arriving at Pliska, Nicephorus found that the king had fled; he set under lock and key, and sealed with the Imperial seal, the royal treasures, as his own spoil; and burned the palace. Then Krum said, "Lo, thou hast conquered; take all thou pleasest, and go in

1 It is supposed by Uspenski that the Kady-keui inscription (Aboba, 228) may relate to the war of Nicephorus with Krum, on account of the words καὶ εἰσῆλθεν ὁ Νικηφ[όρος (1. 3). In 1. 2 we have roÙS Tρikovs εἰς Μαρκέλλας and ll. 6-10 are concerned with the actions of a certain Ekusoos, whom "the Greeks met and who went to Hadrianople." It is impossible to restore a connected sense, without some external clew, and the supplements of Uspenski are quite in the air. It is

certainly more probable that Nicephorus is the Emperor, than, for instance, Nicephorus, an engineer, who took service under the Bulgarian king (see Theoph. 498). If the Emperor is meant, I conjecture that the events described may be connected with his abortive expedition in A.D. 807 and the military mutiny. This is suggested by 11. 5, 6, EK TIKρlas avтoû (apparently referring to Nicephorus-in his anger”) μὴ σωρεύ [σωσιν δυνάμεις ?] . . . οἱ Γραικοὶ καὶ πάλιν ἐσώρευ[σαν.

peace." But the victor disdained to listen. Perhaps it was his hope to recover Moesia and completely to subdue the Bulgarian power. But if this was his design it was not to be realised; Nicephorus was not to do the work which was reserved for Tzimiskes and Basil Bulgaroktonos. He allowed himself to be drawn back into the mountain where Krum and his army awaited him. It is generally supposed that an obvious precaution had been neglected and that the Romans had not taken care to guard their retreat by leaving soldiers to protect the mountain pass behind them. But it seems probable that the pass of Veregava was not the scene of the disaster which followed, and the imprudence of Nicephorus did not consist in neglecting to secure the road of return. So far as we can divine, he permitted the enemy to lure him into the contiguous pass of Verbits, where a narrow defile was blocked by wooden fortifications which small garrisons could defend against multitudes. Here, perhaps, in what is called to-day the Greek Hollow,' where tradition declares that many Greeks once met their death, the army found itself enclosed as in a trap, and the Emperor exclaimed, "Our destruction is certain; if we had wings, we could not escape." The Bulgarians could conceal themselves in the mountains and abide their time until their enemies were pressed by want of supplies; and as the numbers of the Roman army were so great, they would not have to wait long. But the catastrophe was accelerated by a successful night attack. The defiles had been fortified on Thursday and Friday, and on Sunday morning just before dawn the tent in which Nicephorus and the chief patricians were reposing was assailed by the heathen. The details of the attack are not recorded; perhaps they were never clearly known; but we must suppose that there was some extraordinary carelessness in the arrangements of the Roman camp. The Roman soldiers, taken unawares, seem to have been paralysed and to have allowed themselves to be massacred without resistance. Nicephorus himself was slain, and almost all the generals and great officers who were with him, among the rest the general of Thrace and the general of the Anatolics.2

1 Groshki-Dol, between the heights of Kys-tepe and Razboina: Shkorpil Aboba, 564, and 536), whose view

as to the scene of the battle I have adopted.

2 The others specially mentioned

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