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Pope Nicolas (Mansi, xvi. 296): "When the sovran, persuaded by Bardas, wished to ostracize his mother and sisters from the Palace, he ordered me to tonsure them, but I would not obey, because they were unwilling; for this reason too I was driven from the Church." In accordance with this statement of the Patriarch is his biographer's intimation that there was not a long interval (uerà μikpóv) between the two events (Vita Ignatii, 225).
According to the older view which was still held by Hirsch, Ignatius was deposed in November 857, so that if these statements are true, the tonsuring of the Imperial ladies cannot be placed before 857. Hirsch therefore (loc. cit.) rejects them as inaccurate. But it is quite impossible to set them aside.
We know now that the deposition of Ignatius falls in November 858 (not 857), and this seems to make the difficulty still greater. The Patriarch could never speak as he does of a refusal to comply with the Emperor's wishes early in 856 as the cause of his deposition near the close of 858.
The key to the solution of the difficulty is simple enough. Both the chronological statement of George the Monk (who was writing some ten years later) and the evidence of the Patriarch are perfectly correct. The fall of Theodora from power is a distinct event, chronologically divided by an interval, from her expulsion from the Palace. The end of the joint reign fell in the beginning (perhaps March) of 856, and was marked by the meeting of the Senate recorded in Cont. Georg. 823. But Theodora continued to live in the Palace and was expelled at a much later period. This seems to be the obvious inference from the data.
It is true that any one reading the chronicles of Genesios and Simeon would infer that the expulsion of Theodora from the Palace ensued almost immediately upon the fall of Theoktistos. Gen. 90 kаì μετὰ βραχὺ τὰ κατὰ τὴν δέσποιναν ἐκταράττεται· διδ τοῦ παλατίου
ἐξοστρακίζεται κτλ. But the chronology of these writers is extremely vague; they furnish very few absolute dates, and they had no precise information as to the intervals between events. Such phrases as μετὰ βραχύ and μετά μικρόν generally conceal their ignorance. Moreover, if we look more closely at the statements of Simeon (Cont. Georg. 823), we find that they assume an interval (which may be either short or long) between the murder of Theoktistos and the expulsion of Theodora. (1) Michael tried to pacify his mother, who was irreconcilable; then (2) he endeavoured to distress her he expelled three of his sisters to Karianos, and the youngest, Pulcheria, to the monastery of Gastria; afterwards he tonsured them all and confined them in Gastria. (3) He was recognized by the Senate as sole ruler, and created Bardas Domestic of the Schools. (4) He sent Theodora also to Gastria. Although this account is confused and cannot be right in detail, yet it assumes
a distinct interval during which Theodora lived in the Palace after her fall from power. And we may accept the statement, which was not likely to be invented, that the removal of her daughters to Karianos preceded her own expulsion. Against this we need not press the actual words of Theognostos (quoted above), which are accurate enough for his purpose if we suppose that all the ladies were tonsured at the same time.
As this last event was connected with the deposition of Ignatius, it can hardly have been prior to 858. It is, however, worth noticing that the author of the Vita Ignatii (258) assigns fifteen years and eight months to the joint reign of Michael and Theodora. The period is one year, seven months, too long. But it is a possible hypothesis that he reckoned not to her fall from power but to her expulsion. In that case the date of her expulsion would be about August or September 857. This would mean that Ignatius remained Patriarch for some fourteen months after his refusal to obey the Emperor's command. And it may be thought that this is quite possible, since that refusal was certainly only one of the offences which Ignatius committed in the eyes of Michael and Bardas, and we might suppose that it simply began a breach between the Patriarch and the Court. But this is not probable, and does not do justice to the drift of the passage in the Libellus.
If we look more closely at the chronological text in the Vita Ignatii, we observe that there is an error. Nine years are assigned to Michael alone, which, with the fifteen years, eight months, of the joint reign, makes twenty-four years, eight months, just a year too little. My conjecture is that the author intended to count the joint reign as extending to the expulsion of the Empress from the Palace, but that he miscalculated by a year. He ought to have written sixteen years, eight months. This would bring us to August or September 858 for the expulsion-a date which precedes the fall of Ignatius by just about the interval we might expect...
THE WARFARE WITH THE SARACENS IN A.D. 830-832
THE events and chronology of these years have been carefully studied by Vasil'ev, from the Greek and Arabic writers; but he was not acquainted with the original Syriac Chronicle of Michael Syrus, knowing it only through the Armenian abbreviation and the compilation of Bar-Hebraeus, nor does he seem to have realised its importance for the reign of Theophilus, and especially for the last years of Mamun. Michael's source was the lost Chronicle of Dionysios of Tell-Mahre, the Monophysite Patriarch of Antioch (A.D. 818-845), who was not only a contemporary but was a friend of Mamun and was with him at times during these years. He visited the Caliph in his camp at Kasin in the autumn of A.D. 831 (Michael Syr. 74), and accompanied him in the following February to Egypt (ib. 76). The evidence of Michael is therefore of the highest importance.
It appears that in the spring of A.D. 830, Theophilus-with Theophobos and his new Persamenian allies-crossed the mountains and captured and burned the town of Zapetra, perhaps massacring many of the inhabitants.1 Mamun lost no time in retaliating. In the same year, marching by Mosul, Zeugma, Membij, and
1 This capture of Zapetra, not mentioned by the Greek writers, is recorded by Michael Syr. 74, and must be accepted. There is, however, some chronological confusion in this chapter of Michael. Immediately after his notice of the accession of Theophilus he records: (1) without date, the capture of Zapetra; (2) "in the following year" the revolt of Manuel, and Mamun's capture, in or after June, of four forts; (3) in May 1142=831, the siege of Lulon; (4) in 1143 = October 831 to October 832, Mamun's departure for Damascus, on hearing that Egypt had revolted; the capture of Lulon; "at this period" the return of Manuel to Theophilus; the embassy of Theophilus ;
Mamun in Cilicia; further successes in Romania. This brings us to the beginning of Ann. Sel. 1144 October 832. It is clear that the capture of the four forts is here dated to the summer of 1141 and Manuel's flight to the same year
October 829 to October 830. It would follow that the capture of Zapetra fell in 1140, i.e. before October 829, i.e. before the accession of Theophilus. Michael has introduced a superfluous year. The true dates are: 1141-830, capture of Zapetra, and Mamun's capture of the forts; 1142 (after October 1, 830), May, siege of Lulon, etc. (Michael dates by Seleucid years, which began on October 1).
Antioch to Tarsus, he passed through the Cilician gates in July, while his son Abbas, at the head of another force, advanced at the same time from Melitene to cross the eastern frontier. Theophilus himself had again taken the field with Manuel, the most eminent of his generals, and Theophobos, but we have no intelligible account of the military operations, which seem to have been chiefly in Cappadocia. Several Greek fortresses were captured,1 including Koron,2 from which Manuel was expelled, and a battle was subsequently fought, in which Theophilus was defeated and barely escaped with his life.3
In the spring of the following year (A.D. 831), Theophilus anticipated his enemies by invading Cilicia, where he gained a victory over an army of frontier troops, collected from the fortresses of Tarsus, Adana, Mopsuestia, and Anazarbus. This success he celebrated by a triumph.
If Theophilus was flushed with triumph at the success of his raid, he may have desired that his own victory should terminate the military operations of the year; it is said that he sent an envoy with five hundred captives as a peace-offering to the Caliph. Mamun was already at Adana, preparing to retaliate, and the embassy did not check his advance.5 The ensuing campaign (from the beginning of July till end of September), like that of the year before, seems to have been chiefly confined to Cappadocia. Heraclea-Cybistra surrendered to the invaders without resistance, and then the Caliph divided his army. His son Abbas, commanding one of the divisions, captured some important forts, and won a
1 These are named only in the Arabic sources (Vasil'ev, 85-86): Majid (perhaps near Lulon; ib. 85, n. 2), Kurru (see next note), Sundus, and Sinan. Vasil'ev would identify Sundus with Soandos (Nev Sheher). These may be the "four fortresses" mentioned by Michael Syr. ib. But Ibn-Kutaiba (2) mentions two others, Harshan and Shemal, evidently Charsianon and Semalouos. Yakubi (7) also mentions Shemal. Semalouos was taken by Harun after a long siege in A.D. 780; it was in the Armeniac Theme -a vague indication. The fort of Charsianon is placed by Ramsay at Alaja on the road between Euchaita and Tavion. It was taken by the Saracens in 730. We see that the Romans had been successful in recovering positions east of the Halys which they had lost in the eighth century.
2 Kurru in the Arab sources. Vasil'ev's identification with τὸ Κόρον ἐν τῇ Καππαdokią mentioned in Simeon (Cont. Georg.) is acceptable. Cp. Constantine, Them. 21. It is supposed to be Viran Sheher, ruins south-east of Ak-serai (Colonia
Archelais), on the outskirts of Hassan Dagh (Mt. Argaios, the beacon station): Ramsay, Asia Minor, 355. Kurru was taken on July 21 (Yakubi, whose text gives Ancyra, but must be corrected from Ibn Kutaiba 2 and Tabari 23).
3 Vasil'ev (Pril. ii. 133) places this in the early part of the year.
4 The Saracen army was 20,000 strong; the men of Irenopolis are also mentioned. See Constantine, IIepì rač. 503. About 1600 Moslems were slain according to Tabari; 2000 according to the anonymous author of the Kitab al-Uyun (Vasil'ev, Pril. 108). This Moslem defeat is ignored by Michael.
Tabari, 24 (but he does not relate the story with confidence), and Kitab alUyun, 108.
6 Kitab al-Uyun, ib. Cp. Vasil'ev, 93. Among the forts mentioned was Antigûs, which Ramsay identifies with Tyriaion (Asia Minor, 141), south-west of Caesarea. It was called by the Greeks To Tŵv тνρávνwν κάσтpov (Leo. Diac. 122), and Vasil'ev suggests that Antigûs may be an
battle in which Theophilus himself was at the head of the Roman forces.
Mamun was at Kasin in September, where the Patriarch Dionysios met him, and he retired for the winter to Damascus. Early in A.D. 832 he proceeded to Egypt to quell an insurrection, and was there from February 16 to April 4.1 He returned rapidly to renew the warfare in Asia Minor, and must have reached Adana early in May. The important event of this campaign was the capture of Lulon. Mamun besieged it in vain for one hundred days; then he instituted a blockade, and entrusted the conduct of the operations to Ujaif ibn Anbas. The Romans had the luck to capture this general, but Theophilus, who came to relieve the fortress, was compelled to retire, without a battle, by a Saracen force, and the commander of Lulon negotiated its surrender with the captive Ujaif.2
The capture of Lulon is placed both by the Arabic historians and by Michael (who does not give the details) in A.D. 832. But Michael also says that Mamun laid siege to Lulon in May, Ann. Sel. 1142 = A.D. 831. From his narrative we might infer that the siege lasted a year. This is out of the question, in view of the other evidence. We must therefore infer that in 831 Mamun, who was in the neighbourhood of Lulon, since he took HeracleaCybistra, attacked Lulon unsuccessfully.3
The dates of the flight and return of Manuel and of the Emperor's overtures for peace remain to be considered. The references of the Arabic authorities to Manuel are as follows :
1. Yakubi, 7, says that in A.D. 830 Mamun took "Ancyra (error for Kurru Koron) and "the patrician Manuel escaped
2. Tabari, 24, says that in A.D. 830 Manuel and Mamun's son Abbas met Mamun at Resaina, before the campaign. There seems to be an error here, for, as Brooks has pointed out, Mamun did not go near Resaina (B.Z. x. 297).
If we are to reconcile the statement of Yakubi with the Greek sources, Manuel must have fled after the capture of Koron (July 830 Tabari, 23).
Arabic translation (thaghiye, 'tyrant'). Another of the forts taken by Abbas was Kasin, an underground stronghold, in the plain which stretches south of Soandos to Sasima. The road through this plain passes Malakopaia. Underground habitations are a feature of the district. See Ramsay, ib. 356; he has pointed out that Kasin is the same name as Kases, a Turma in the Cappadocian Theme.
Yakubi (p. 7) says that twelve strong places and many subterranean abodes (podzemnie-metamir) were taken. Tyana
was taken in A.D. 831 (Tabari, 24). It was fortified by Abbas in 833 (ib. 27; cp. Michael, 76). For the embassy to Adana see Tabari, 24, and Kitab alUyun, 108.
1 Yakubi, 7.
2 Ib. 8; Tabari, 25; Kitab al-Uyun, 108.
3 Michael, 74. The Kitab al-Uyun describes the capture of Lulon before the expedition to Egypt, misdating the latter by a year.