Slike stranica

the suburbs, the barbarians prepared to attack the city. At this crisis it was perhaps not the Prefect and the ministers entrusted with the guardianship of the city in the Emperor's absence who did most to meet the emergency. The learned Patriarch, Photius, rose to the occasion; he undertook the task of restoring the moral courage of his fellow-citizens. If the sermons which he preached in St. Sophia were delivered as they were written, we may suspect that they can only have been appreciated by the most educated of his congregation. His copious rhetoric touches all sides of the situation, and no priest could have made better use of the opportunity to inculcate the obvious lesson that this peril was a punishment for sin, and to urge repentance. He expressed the general feeling when he dwelt on the incongruity that the Imperial city, "queen of almost all the world," should be mocked by a band of slaves, a mean and barbarous crowd.2 But the populace was perhaps more impressed and consoled when he resorted to the ecclesiastical magic which had been used efficaciously at previous sieges. The precious garment of the Virgin Mother was borne in procession round the walls of the city; and it was believed that it was dipped in the waters of the sea for the purpose of raising a storm of wind.* No storm arose, but soon afterwards the Russians began to retreat, and perhaps there were not many among the joyful citizens who did not impute their relief to the direct intervention of the queen of heaven. Photius preached a sermon of thanksgiving as the enemy were departing; the miraculous deliverance was an inspiring motive for his eloquence.



It would be interesting to know whether Photius re

1 In his first sermon (Hom. 51). Gerland (in a review of the ed. of the Homilies by Aristarchos), in Neue Jahrbb. f. das klassische Altertum, xi., 1903, p. 719) suggests that this address may have been delivered on June 23.

2 Hom. 51, p. 20 (Baрßaрikǹ Kal TаTEIN XEip). The absence of troops is referred to, p. 17: "Where is the Basileus? where are the armies? the arms, machines, counsels, and preparations of a general? Are not all these withdrawn to meet the attack of other barbarians"? It is to be observed (cp. de Boor, op. cit. 462) that in this sermon there is no reference to the

relic of the Virgin; the preacher insists exclusively on human efforts.

3 Hom. 52, p. 42. Simeon erroneously represents the Emperor as present at the ceremony.

4 Simeon, loc. cit., according to which the wind immediately rose in a dead calm. But in his second sermon Photius represents the Russians as retreating unaffected by a storm. Joann. Ven. 117 lets them return home in triumph.

5 Hom. 52. The Emperor was not yet in the city (p. 42; cp. de Boor, 460).

garded the ceremony which he had conducted as a powerful means of propitiation, or rather valued it as an efficacious sedative of the public excitement. He and all who were not blinded by superstition knew well that the cause which led to the sudden retreat of the enemy was simple, and would have sufficed without any supernatural intervention. It is evident that the Russians became aware that the Emperor and his army were at hand, and that their only safety lay in flight.1 But they had delayed too long. Michael and Bardas had hurried to the scene, doubtless by forced marches, and they must have intercepted the barbarians and their spoils in the Bosphorus. There was a battle and a rout; it is possible that high winds aided in the work of destruction.3


The Russians had chosen the moment for their surprise astutely. They must have known beforehand that that the Emperor had made preparations for a campaign in full force against the Saracens. But what about the fleet? Modern historians have made this episode a text for the reproach that the navy had been allowed to fall into utter decay. We have seen, on the contrary, that the Amorians had revived the navy, and the impunity which the barbarians enjoyed until the arrival of the Emperor must be explained by the absence of the Imperial fleet. And, as a matter of fact, it was absent in the west. The Sicilian fortress of Castrogiovanni had been captured by the Moslems in the previous year, and a fleet of 300 ships had been sent to Sicily. The possibility of an attack from the north did not enter into the calculations of the government. It is clear that the Russians must have been informed of the absence of the fleet, for otherwise they would never have ventured in their small boats into the jaws of certain death.

1 This is obviously the true explananation of the sudden retreat, which began spontaneously, before the battle. It is impossible to accept Gerland's view that the battle was fought during the procession, perhaps in sight of the praying people.

2 Of the battle we know no more than the notice in Anon. Cumont. Simeon ascribes the destruction entirely to the miraculous storm. How the land forces of the Emperor operated against the boats of the enemies we can only con

jecture; but possibly on receiving the
news he had ordered ships to sail from
Amastris to the Bosphorus. Two
iambic poems
on the Church of
Blachernae, Anthol. Pal. i. 120, 121,
most probably refer to the rout of the
Russians. Cp. 121, vv. 10, 11:
ἐνταῦθα νικήσασα τοὺς ἐναντίους
ἀνεῖλεν αὐτοὺς ἀντὶ λόγχης εἰς ὕδωρ.
where Stadtmüller ad loc. misses the
point by proposing εἰσόδῳ.

3 Cp. Gerland, op. cit. 720.
4 See above, p. 307.

The episode was followed by an unexpected triumph for Byzantium, less important in its immediate results than as an augury for the future. The Northmen sent ambassadors to Constantinople, and this is the Byzantine way of putting it-besought the Emperor for Christian baptism. We cannot say which, or how many, of the Russian settlements were represented by this embassy, but the object must have been to offer amends for the recent raid, perhaps to procure the deliverance of prisoners. It is certain that some of the Russians agreed to adopt Christianity, and the Patriarch Photius could boast (in A.D. 866) that a bishop had been sent to teach the race which in cruelty and deeds of blood left all other peoples far behind.1 But the seed did not fall on very fertile ground. For upwards of a hundred years we hear no more of the Christianity of the Russians. The treaty, however, which was concluded between A.D. 860 and 866, led probably to other consequences. We may surmise that it led to the admission of Norse mercenaries into the Imperial fleet 2-a notable event, because it was the beginning of the famous Varangian service at Constantinople, which was ultimately to include the Norsemen of Scandinavia as well as of Russia, and even Englishmen.


It has been already observed that the attack upon Constantinople happened just before the traditional date of a far more important event in the history of Russia-the foundation of the principality of Kiev. According to the old Russian chronicle, Rurik was at this time the ruler of all the Scandinavian settlements, and exercised sway over the northern Slavs and some of the Finns. Two of his men, Oskold and Dir,5 set out with their families for Constantinople, and, coming to the Dnieper, they saw a castle on a mountain. On enquiry they learned that it was Kiev, and that its inhabitants paid tribute to the Khazars. They settled in the

place, gathered many Norsemen to them, and ruled over the

1 Photius, Ep. 4, p. 178. The Russians are said to have placed themselves ἐν ὑπηκόων καὶ προξένων τάξει. VT. refers to ecclesiastical dependence, Tρoc. to political friendship. The other source is Cont. Th. 196.

2 Under Leo VI. (A.D. 902) there were 700 Pús in the fleet (Constantine, Cer. 651).

3 The connotation of Varangian is equivalent to Norse or Scandinavian. Arabic geographers and Pseudo-Nestor call the Baltic "the Varangian Sea.' In Kekaumenos (ed. Vasilievski and Jernstedt) 97 Harald Hardrada is " son of the Emperor of Varangia."

4 Pseudo-Nestor, xv. p. 10.
5 Scandinavian names.

neighbouring Slavs, even as Rurik ruled at Novgorod. Some twenty years later Rurik's son Oleg came down and put Oskold and Dir to death, and annexed Kiev to his sway. It soon overshadowed Novgorod in importance, and became the capital of the Russian state. It has been doubted whether this story of the founding of Kiev is historical, but the date of the foundation, in chronological proximity to A.D. 860, is probably correct.1

§ 5. The Magyars

The Russian peril had proved a new bond of common interest between the Empire and the Khazars, and during the reign of Michael (before A.D. 862), as we have seen, a Greek missionary, Constantine the Philosopher, made a vain attempt to convert them to Christianity.3

About this time a displacement occurred in the Khazar Empire which was destined to lead to grave consequences not only for the countries of the Euxine but for the history of Europe. At the time of Constantine's visit to the Khazars, the home of the Magyars was still in the country between the Dnieper and the Don, for either in the Crimea itself or on his journey to Itil, which was probably by way of the Don, his party was attacked by a band of Magyars.* A year or two later the Magyar people crossed the Dnieper.

1 Pseudo-Nestor's date is A. M. 6370 =A.D. 862 (but events extending over a considerable time are crowded into his narrative here). The chronicler attributes to Oskold and Dir the attack on Constantinople, which he found in the Chronicle of Simeon and dates to A.D. 866. I am inclined to think that there is a certain measure of historical truth in the Pseudo-Nestor tradition, if we do not press the exact date. If Kiev was founded shortly before A.D. 860 as a settlement independent of Novgorod, and if the Kiev Russians attacked Cple., we can understand the circumstances of the conversion. It was the rulers of Kiev only who accepted baptism, and when the pagans of Novgorod came and slew them a few years later, Christianity, though we may conjecture that it was not wiped out, ceased to enjoy official recognition.

2 The posterior limit is usually given as A.D. 863 (the latest date for


the embassy of Rostislav, see above, p. 393); but we can limit it further by the Magyar incident, cp. Appendix XII. The circumstance that in A.D. 854-855, Bugha, the governor of Armenia and Adarbiyan, settled Khazars, who were inclined to Islam, in Sham-kor (see above, p. 410, n. 6), may, as Marquart suggests (Streifzüge, 24), have some connexion with the religious wavering of the Chagan.

3 See above, p. 394 sq.

4 Vita Constantini, c. 8. The attack of the Hungarians is related before Constantine (c. 9) starts for the country of the Khazars, to which he is said to have sailed by the Maeotis. If this order of events is accurate, we must suppose that the Magyars made an incursion into the Crimea, and perhaps the incident occurred in the territory of the Goths. See Appendix XII.

The cause of this migration was the advance of the Patzinaks from the Volga. We may guess that they were pressed westward by their Eastern neighbours, the Uzes; we are told that they made war upon the Khazars and were defeated, and were therefore compelled to leave their own land and occupy that of the Magyars. The truth may be that they made an unsuccessful attempt to settle in Khazaria, and then turned their arms against the Magyar people, whom they drove beyond the Dnieper.2 The Patzinaks thus rose above the horizon of the Empire and introduced a new element into the political situation. They had no king; they were organized in eight tribes, with tribal chiefs, and each tribe was subdivided into five portions under subordinate leaders. When a chief died he was succeeded by a first cousin or a first cousin's son; brothers and sons were excluded, so that the chieftainship should be not confined to one branch of the family.3

The Magyars now took possession of the territory lying between the Dnieper and the lower reaches of the Pruth and the Sereta country which had hitherto belonged to the dominion of the Khans of Bulgaria. They were thus close to the Danube, but the first use they made of their new position was

1 Constantine, De adm. imp. 169. In the later movement of the Patzinaks to the west of the Dnieper (in the reign of Leo VI.), we are expressly told that they were driven from their land by the Uzes and Khazars, ib. 164.

2 Constantine says that a portion of the Magyars joined their kinsmen, the Sabartoi asphaloi in "Persia," i. e. the Sevordik in Armenia (see above p. 410).

3 Constantine, ib. 165. He gives the names of the eight γενεαί oι θέματα, in two forms, simple and compound, e.g. Tzur and Kuarti-tzur, Ertem and Iabdi-ertem.

4 This country was called (by the Hungarians or Patzinaks, or both) Atel-kuzu: Constantine, ib. 169 eis τόπους τοὺς ἐπονομαζομένους ̓Ατελκούζου. The name is explained, ib. 173, as κατὰ τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν τοῦ ἐκεῖσε διερχομένου ποταμοῦ Ἐτὲλ καὶ Κουζού (where there seems to be an error in the text, as 'E. κai K., two rivers, is inconsistent with Tоû жотаμоû) and p. 171

it is said to be called κατὰ τὴν ἐπωνυμίαν τῶν ἐκεῖσε ὄντων ποταμῶν, which are enumerated as the Βαρούχ (= Dnieper, cp. Var in Jordanes, Get. c. 52, and Bory-sthenes), the Kovẞoû (=Bug), the Tpoûλos (= Dniester : Turla, Tyras, cp. Roesler, 154), the Bpouros (Pruth), and the ZéрETOS. Atel or Etel means river (and was specially applied to the Volga-the

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Itil ""-cp. Constantine, ib. 1649). Zeuss (Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstämme, 751), Kuun (Relat. Hung. i. 189), Marquart (op. cit. 33), explain kuzu as between (cp. Hungarian köz, in geographical names like Szamosköz); so that Atelkuzu would mean Mesopotamia. But Westberg (Kanal. ii. 48) explains Kocho in the Geography of Pseudo-Moses as the Dnieper, and identifies the name with Kuzu. He supposes that in Constantine, p. 169, the true reading is (as on p. 173), 'ATèλ kai Kovšou, and that Atel and Kuzu were alternative names (kal="or") for the region of the lower Dnieper.

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