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thousands of Michael were swallowed up by the tens of thousands of Thomas.1 As no formidable resistance was offered to the tyrant's progress in Asia Minor, he prepared to attack the city itself. For this enterprise, in which so many had failed before him, it was judged indispensable to possess a fleet. The City of the Bosphorus had over and over again defied a joint attack by land and sea; it was naturally inferred that an attack by land alone would have no chances of success.2 The pretender therefore set himself to gather a fleet, and it would seem that he had no difficulty in seizing the fleets of the Aegean and the Kibyrrhaeot Themes, which together formed the Thematic or provincial navy. Thus all the warships stationed in the eastern parts of the Empire were in his hands, except the Imperial fleet itself, which lay at the Imperial city. In addition to these, he built new warships and new ships of transport. When all was ready, he caused his naval forces to assemble at Lesbos and await his orders, while he himself advanced to the Hellespont and secured Abydos. And now he met his first reverse. All had yielded to him as he swept on through the Asiatic Themes, except one place, whose name our historians do not mention. He did not think it worth while to delay himself, but he left a considerable part of his army under the command of Constantius, to reduce this stubborn fortress. It seems probable too that this dividing of his forces formed part of a further design. We may guess that while Constantine was to cross by the western gate of the Propontis and advance on the city from the west, Constantius was to approach the eastern strait and attack the city on the south. But if this was the plan of operations, Constantius was not destined to fulfil his part of it. Olbianos, the general of the Armeniac Theme, was biding his time and watching for an opportunity. His army
1 This engagement is recorded only by the Continuer, who uses the expressive metaphor ὥσπερ τι ποτὸν διψῶν ἀνεῤῥόφησεν (55). Part of Michael's army, however, escaped.
2 It is, however, well remarked by van Millingen (Walls, 179) that in Byzantine history "there is only one instance of a successful naval assault upon Constantinople, the gallant capture of the city in 1204 by the Venetians," and that was largely due to
"the feeble spirit" of the defenders. He remarks that currents of the Marmora, and "the violent storms to which the waters around the city are liable," were natural allies of the besieged.
3 ἐντεῦθεν καὶ τοῦ θεματικοῦ στόλου γίνεται ἐγκρατής (ib.); ἤδη τὸ ναυτικὸν ἅπαν τὸ ὑπὸ Ρωμαίους ὄν, πλὴν τοῦ βασιλικοῦ κληθέντος ὑποποιεῖται (Gen. 37).
was not large enough to try an issue with the united forces of the enemy, but his chance came when those forces were divided. He set an ambush to waylay the younger tyrant, who, as he advanced securely, supposing that the way was clear, allowed his men to march in disorder. Constantius was slain and his This was the first check in
head was sent to Constantine. the triumphant course of the war, though the death of the "son" may have caused little grief to the "father."
The scene of operations now shifts from Asia to Europe. The Emperor, seeing that his adversary was preparing to cross the straits, had gone forth at the head of a small army and visited some of the cities of Thrace in order to confirm them against the violence or seductions of the tyrant and assure himself of their stedfast faith. But his care availed little. On a dark moonless night Thomas transported his troops to various spots on the Thracian shore, starting from an obscure haven named Horkosion.1 About the same time the fleet arrived from Lesbos and sailed into the waters of the Propontis. No resistance was offered by the inhabitants of Thrace when they saw the immense numbers of the invading host. Michael seems to have lingered, perhaps somewhere on the shores of the Propontis, to observe what effect the appearance of his foe would produce on the cities which had yesterday pledged themselves to stand true, and when he learned that they were cowed into yielding, he returned to the city and set about making it ready to withstand a siege. The garrison was recruited by loyal soldiers from the Asiatic Themes, now free from the presence of the pretender. The Imperial fleet, supplied with "Marine Fire," was stationed not in the Golden Horn, but in the three artificial harbours on the southern shore of the city, the port of Hormisdas, which was probably already known by its later name of Bucoleon; 2 the Sophian
1 Gen. 37 implies that Horkosion was on the Hellespontine coast, not necessarily that it was close to Abydos. We may therefore identify it with 'Opкós, which lay between Parion and Lampsacus (Theod. Stud. Epp. i. 3, p. 917), which is doubtless the Lorco of later times, placed with probability by Tomaschek in the crescent bay a little N.E. of Lampsacus (Top. v. Kleinasien, 15).
2 The position of Michael's fleet on
the Marmora appears in the sequel. Of the harbours along this shore the best account is in van Millingen, Walls, 268 sqq. There were two other harbours besides the three abovementioned; but there is no evidence that the Kontoskalion (between the Sophian and the Kaisarian) existed in the ninth century, while that of Eleutherios or Theodosius, the most westerly of all, had probably been filled up before this period (the author of
harbour, further to the west; and beyond it the harbour of Kaisarios.2 The entrance to the Golden Horn was blocked by the Iron Chain, which was stretched across the water from a point near the Gate of Eugenios to the Castle of Galata.3 In making these dispositions Michael was perhaps availing himself of the experience of previous sieges. When the Saracens attacked the city in the seventh century, Constantine IV. had disposed a portion of his naval forces in the harbour of Kaisarios.* In the second attack of the same foe in the eighth century, Leo III. had stretched the Iron Chain, but he seems to have stationed his own ships outside the Horn.5
The host of Thomas had been increased by new adherents from the European provinces, and Slavs from Macedonia flocked to the standard of the Slavonian pretender. But he needed a new general and a new son. To succeed the unlucky leader, whom he had destined to be Constantius the Fourth, he chose a monk, already bearing an Imperial name, and worthy in the opinion of the tyrant to be Anastasius the Third; not worthy, however, of such an exalted place, in the opinion of our historians, who describe him as an ugly man, with a face like an Ethiopian's from excessive wine-drinking, and of insane mind.7 But the monk was not fitted to lead troops to battle, and for this office Thomas won the services of a banished general named Gregory, who had perhaps better cause than himself to hate the name of Michael. Gregory Pterôtos was a nephew of Leo the Armenian, and, on the death of his uncle, whom he loved, fear had not held him back from entering the presence of his successor, where, instead of falling among those
the IIárpia, 184, 248, says this happened in the reign of Theodosius I.; but the alternative name suggests rather that he repaired it). It may be noticed that the harbours in which Phocas expected Heraclius (A.D. 610) to land were those of Kaisarios, Sophia, and Hormisdas (John Ant., in Müller, F.H.G. v. 1. 38).
1 Also called Harbour of Julian and New Harbour.
2 Van Millingen has shown that it is almost certainly identical with the Neorion of Heptaskalon, and there is archaeological evidence for placing it between Kum Kapussi and Yeni Kapu (310 sqq.).
3 From Theoph. 396 we know that in A.D. 717 it was attached to the καστέλλιον τῶν Γαλάτου (as in later times). The southern end was fastened, in later times, to the Kentenarion tower close to the Porta Eugenii, and we know that this existed in the ninth century (IIárpia 264, where Constantine I. is said to have built the tower). Cp. van Millingen, 228. 4 Theoph. 353.
5 Ib. 396.
6 Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 418: Thrace, Macedonia, Thessalonia, et circumiacentibus Sclaviniis.
7 Gen. 39.
who grovelled at the Imperial feet, he overwhelmed him with reproaches for the murderous deed. The Emperor merely said, "I know the greatness of your sorrow and the ocean of your distress," but two days later he banished this fearless kinsman of his predecessor to the island of Skyros.1 Gregory was not unwilling to attach himself to the rival of him who had banished himself and dethroned his uncle, and he was speedily entrusted with the command of ten thousand men and sent on to open the assault on the Imperial city.
It was already winter, and the first year of Michael's reign was drawing to a close, when Gregory took up his station on the north-west of the city, in the suburbs outside Blachernae, while the fleet, under another unnamed commander, reached the same quarter by sailing up the inlet of the Golden Horn, having evidently unfastened the Iron Chain where it was attached to the Castle of Galata.2 On the banks of the Barbyses,3 a stream which flows into the Horn, the leaders of the sea forces and the land forces could concert their plans together. No action, however, was taken until Constantius and Anastasius arrived with their mighty host. The leaders seem to have imagined that when this vast array spread out before the walls of the city, and their ships filled the Golden Horn and threatened the harbours on the Propontis, the inhabitants would be so utterly dismayed by the sight of the overwhelming numbers that they would throw open their gates in despair. But it soon became clear that the city and its masters were resolved to withstand even such a vast force; they trusted in their impregnable walls. It was the first business of Thomas, when he saw that a siege was inevitable, to reduce the suburbs and villages which lay north
1 The details about this Gregory (his kinship with Leo, the cause of his exile, and his name Pterôtos) are recorded in Cont. Th. 57, but not by Genesios.
2 This is an inference, but I think evident. Thomas controlled the northern shore of the Horn.
In exactly the same way the Venetians, having captured the Galata Tower, removed the chain in A.D. 1203 (Nicetas, ed. Bonn. 718-719).
3 Gen. 38. The Barbyses (or Barbyssos) is now called the Kiat-haneh Su, one of the streams known as the
Sweet Waters of Europe. It flows into the Horn close to the Cosmidion (Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian, now the Eyub mosque), which is not far to the west of Blachernae. See van Millingen, Walls, 175-176. There was a bridge across the Barbyses (Niceph. Patr. ed. de Boor, 14 and 26), which must have been quite distinct from the bridge across the Golden Horn, of which the southern point was in Aivan Serai; though Ducange (Const. Christ. iv. 125) and van Millingen seem to connect the two bridges.
of the city along the shores of the Bosphorus. These places could not resist. The inhabitants were doubtless glad to submit as speedily as possible to any one engaged in besieging the city, remembering too well how but a few years ago they had been harried by another and more terrible enemy, the Bulgarian Krum.2
The siege began in the month of December.3 of events from this point to the end of the war may be conveniently divided into five stages.*
1. December 821 to February or March 822.-Thomas spent some days in disposing his forces and preparing his engines. He pitched his own tent in the suburbs beyond Blachernae, not far from the noble building which rose towards heaven like a palace, the church of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, the physicians who take no fee for their services to men. Until the reign of Heraclius the northwestern corner of the city between the Palace of Blachernae and the Golden Horn must have been defended by a fortification of which no traces survive. Heraclius, whether before or after the siege of the Avars (A.D. 626), had connected the Palace with the seaward fortifications by a wall which is flanked by three admirably built hexagonal towers. But the assaults of the Bulgarians in A.D. 813 seem to have proved that this "Single Wall of Blachernae," as it was called, was an insufficient defence, and Leo V., in expectation of a second Bulgarian siege, constructed a second outer wall, parallel to that of Heraclius, and forming with it a sort of citadel which was known as the Brachionion.1
1 Gen. 39.
2 Above, p. 46.
3 The date comes from Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 418, where we also learn that the blockade lasted for the space of a year.
4 There has been no full and critical relation of the siege by modern historians. See Lebeau, xiii. 50 sqq.; Schlosser, 440 sqq.; Finlay, ii. 131 (very brief). Much the best is that of Vasil'ev, Viz. i. Ar. 33 sqq.
5 The suburb between Cosmidion and Blachernae was known as τὰ Παυλίνου (and is so designated here in Cont. Th. 59), from Paulinus (famous for his love-affair with Athenais, the wife of Theodosius II.), who founded
6 Extending, I conjecture, from the north-east corner of the Palace to the sea-wall. Cp. van Millingen, Walls, 120. The outer walls of the Palace itself formed the fortification as far as the northern extremity of the Theodosian Walls.
7 Pernice (L'Imperatore Eraclio, 141) has given some reasons for thinking that the wall was built after the Avar attack in A.D. 619. Cp. my note in Gibbon, v. 92.
8 Van Millingen, Walls, 164 sqq. 9 See below, p. 359.
10 Van Millingen, Walls, 168: "The Wall of Leo stands 77 feet to the west