Slike stranica
PDF
ePub

4. Intervention of the Bulgarians, Spring, A.D. 823.-It was froin the kingdom beyond Mount Haemus that Michael received an opportune aid which proved the turning-point in the civil war. The Bulgarians had been at peace with the Empire, since Leo and king Omurtay, not long after the death of Krum, had couclucle a treaty for thirty years. Communi. . cations now passed between Constiintinople and Pliskil, but it is uncertain who took the first step, and what was the nature of the negotiations. The simplest and earliest chronicle of the siege represents Michael as requestiny Omurtay to take the field against Thomas, and Omurtay readily responding to the request." But an entirely different version is avlopted in records which are otherwise unfavourable to Michael. Accoriling to this account, the proposal of allianice came from the Bulgarian king, and the Emperor declince the offer because he was reluctant to permit Christian blood to be sheel lay the sworils of the heathen. He tenderci his sincero thanks to Omurtay, but alleged that the presence of it Bulgarian army in Thrace, even though acting in his own cause, would be a virtual violation of the Thirty Years' Peace. Omurtag, however, took the matter into his own hands, and, unable to resist the opportunity of plunder and pilla e, assisted Michael in Michael's own despite. obviously to the interest of the Emperor that this version should obtain credit, as it relieved him from the odium of inviting pagans to destroy Christians and exposing Roman territory to the devastation of barbarians. We must leave it undeciiled whether it was Michael who requested, or Omurtay who offered help, but we cannot seriously doubt that the help was accorded with the full knowledge and at the desire of the besiegel Emperor. It may well be that he declined to conclude any formal alliance with the Bulgarians," but merely gave them assurances that, if they marched against Thomas and paid themselves by booty, he would hold them innocent of violating the perce. The negotiations must have been " See below p. 360.

Sec Gen. 15. απολογείται μη ? George Mon. pl. 796 wadwr is ó

χρήναι τους επί τοσούτον xpivov βασιλειος Μιχαήλ τους Βουλγάρους εις

ώμολογηκότας Χριστιανικών αιμάτων συμμα, κατ' αυτού προσεκασατο.

αφέξεσθαι επί τω των στασιωτών πολέμω This is accepted by Ilirsch, 131.

τα καλώς δόξαντα καταλύειν.

5 Gen. 41 διαπρεσβεύεται προς βασιλέα 3 Gen. 41-42; Cont. Th. 63.

και συμμαχεϊν αιτείται αιτώ.

It was

conducted with great secrecy, and the account which represented Michael as unreserveelly rejecting the proffered succour gaineil wide credence, though his enemies assigned to his refusal a less honourable motive than the desire of sparing Christian blood, and suggested that his avarice withheld him from paying the Bulgarians the money which they demanded for their services,

Omurtag then descended from Mount Haemus and marched by the great high road, by Hadrianople and Arcadiopolis, to deliver Constantinople from the Roman leaguer, even as another Bulgarian monarch had come down, more than a hundred years before, in the days of Leo III., to deliver it froin the Saracens. When Thomas learned that the weight of Bulgaria was thrown into the balance and that a formidable host was advancing against him, he decided to abandon the siege and confront the new fue.' joyful day for the siege-worn citizens and soldiers, when they saw the camp of the besiegers broken up and the great army marching away from their gates. Only the remnant of the rebel navy still lay in the Golden Horn, as Thomas did not require it for his immediate work. The Bulgarians had already passed Arcadiopolis and reached the plain of Keduktos, near the coast between Heraclea and Selymbria. Here they awaited the approach of Thomas, and in the battle which ensued defeated him utterly. The victors soon retired, laden with booty; having thus worked much profit both to themselves and to their ally, for whom the way was now smoothed to the goal of final victory. They had destroyed the greater part of the rebel army on the field of Keduktos, and Michael was equal to dealing with the remnant himself.

It was a

5 Gen.

! We must suppose that Michael that he did enlist them in his forces deliberately circulatoil it. It is char. duiring the siegc. ilcteristic thit lie does not mention

42 κατα τον Κηδούστου or even hint at the Bulgarian episode καλούμενον χώρον. (For the date of in his letter to the Emperor Lewis. the battle of keduktos see Appendix llc wished the Franks to suppose that V.). For the location of keduktos the subjugation of Thomas Wils ilue to (A-quacil inclus), the important passage This unaided ellorts, and it would have is Nicephorus Bryenn. 135 (eil. Bonn) been luniiliating to confess to the = Anna Comnena I. 18-19 (eil. Reiller. rival Emperor that the Bulgarians had scheid) describing the battle between invaded the Empire cven in his own Alexius Comnenus and Bryennios és callse.

τους κατά του Κηδούκτου πεδίοις, near : Curt. Th. 6:12.

the fort of Kalavrye and the river :: Tervel (1,1). 717).

Halmyros. The Halmyros seems to • Michael Syr. (37) says that Michael be the stream to the west of Erekli employed Saracen captives who were (Heraclea), and the name of Kalavrye in the city to fight for him, promising' (l'alaßpla in Attalciates, 289 edd. Bonn) them freedom (at promise which he is preserved in (elivré near Selynıbria dill not keep), and with their help (Tomaschek, Zur Kunde der H.-h. routed Thomis. It is quite possibile :3:31). Cp. Jireček, Hoerstrasse, 101.

5. Siege of Arradiopolis and end of the Civil War, 893 A.D.—When the Bulgarians retreated, Thomas, still hopeful, collected the scattered troops who had been routed on the day of Keduktos, and marching north-custward pitchel his camp in the marshy plain of Diabasis, watered by the streams of the Jelas and Athyras which discharge into the lagoon of Buyak Chekmejè, about twenty miles west of Constantinople. This district was well provided with pasturage for horses, and well situated for obtaining supplies; moreover, it was within such distince from the cipital that Thomas could harry the neighbouring villages.' The month of May, if it had not already begun, was near at hand, when Michael went forth to deciile the issue of the long struggle. He was accompanied by his faithful generals Katilkylas and Olbianos, each at the head of troops of his own Theme. It is not recorded whether the younger Emperor marched with his father or was left behind to guard the city. But the city might justly feel secure now; for the marines whom Thomas had left in the Golden Horn espoused the cause of Michael, ils soon as they learned the news of Kêduktos.”

Thomas, who felt confident of success, decided to entrap his foes by the stratagem of a feigned tlight. But his followers did not share his spirit.' They were cast down by the recent defeat; they were thoroughly weary of an enterprise which had lasted so much longer than they had dreamt when they lightly enlisted under the flag of the pretender ; their ardour for the cause of an ambitious leader had cooled; they were sick of shedding Christian blood; they longed to return to their wives and children. This spirit in the army of the rebels decided the battle of Diabasis. They advanced against their enemies as they were commanded; when the word was given they simulated flight; but, when they saw that the troops of the Emperor did not pursue iu disorder, as Thomas had expected, but advanced in close array, they lost all heart for the work, and surrendered themselves to Michael's clemency.

1 Gen. (1:2) indicates the character of the placı. Its distance from Constantinople is vaguely suggested in Cut. Τh. 60. σταδίους απέχον της τόλεως ικανούς, and κακείθεν τας τρονομές τοιων τωτα μεν προ της rólews (neipe ndo uor, but Thomas did not come within sight of the city. Diabasis has luan identitieel by Jirecek (ib. 3, 102) with the plains of Choiro. bakchivi, described by himamos (73. öt ed. Bonn) and Vicetits (83-86 el. Bonn). The Molas (hara-su) and Athyras flow from the hill of Kush. kaya near the Anastasian Wall; anıl near fuese Tomaschek (op. vil. 301)

woulil place the fortress lórgol, which commanıled the plain (according to kimnamos), identilying it with Can. tacuzene's ń lóyovs, i. 297 cd. Bonn. (1. luglius in Irisi's geography). Xorth of the lagoon there is an ox. tensive marshi, through which there is a soliid stone olyke of Roman work ; this was doubtless called the Crossing, Dimbursis.

• That the naval armament joincil Michael jler the Bulgarian victory is stated in Cont. Th. Genesios is less precise.

: The spirit of the army is described in Coni. Il. 67.

The cause of Thomas Wils lost on the field of Diabasis. The throne of the Ainorian Emperor was no longer in jeopardy. But there was still more work to be done and the civil war was not completely over until the end of the year. The tyrant himself was not yet captured, nor his adopted son, Anastasius, Thomas, with a few followers, fled to Arcadiopolis" and closed the gates against his conqueror. The parts of the tyrant and the Emperor were now changed. It was now Michael's turn to besiege Thomas in the city of Arcadius, as Thomas had besieged Michael in the city of Constantine. But the second siege was of briefer duration. Arcadiopolis · was not as Constantinople; and the garrison of Thomas was not as the garrison of Michael. Yet it lasted much longer than might have been expected; for it began in the middle of May, and the place held out till the middle of October.

Arcadiopolis was not the only Thracian town that sheltered followers of Thomas. The younger tyrant, Anastasius, had found refuge not far off, in Bizye. Another band of rebels seized l'anion, and Heraclea on the Propontis remained devoted to the cause of the Pretender. These four towns, Heraclea, Panion, Arcadiopolis and Bizye formed a sort of

1 The united authority of the con. temporary George Mon. (797) and Gonesios (43) would be decisive for the city of Arcadius, als against Cont. Th. in which the city of Iloirinn is mello tioned. 'Adplavomod. there (68) is probably a slip; in any case it is an

the ancient Bergyle, corresponds to the modern Lüle Burgas, anii was a station on the main road from Hadria. hope to Constantinople. Cf. Jireček, lleerstrasse, 49.

Sec Appendix V.

Bizye lay nearly due east of llailrianople, and N.E. of Arcadiopolis.

3

All doubt on the matter is removed by Michael's own statenient (Ep. aul Luc. 418) from which we learn the duration of the singga. Arcadiopolis,

+ On thic Propontis coast, not far from Heraclea (Suidas, s. r.).

error.

1

line, cutting of Constantinople from Western Thrace. But the subjugation of the last refuges of the lost cause was merely a matter of months. It would not have been more than a matter of days, if certain considerations had not hindered the Emperor from using engines of siege against the towns which still deficd him. But two lines of policy concurred in deciding him to choose the slower method of blockade.

In the first place he wished to spare, so far as possible, the lives of Christians, and, if the towns were taken by violence, bloodshed would be unavoidable. That this consideration really influenced Michael is owned by historians who were not well disposed towards him, but who in this respect bear out a statement which he made himself in his letter to Lewis the l'ious, le informed that monarch that he retreated after the victory of Diabasis, “in order to spare Christian bloodl.” Such a motive does not imply that he was personally a humane man; other acts show that he could be stark and ruthless. His humanity in this case rather illustrates the general feeling that prevailed against the horrors of civil war, It was Michael's policy to affect a tender ryurul for the lives of his Christian subjects, and to contrast his own conduct with that of his rival, who had brought so many miseries on the Christian Empire. We have already seen how important this consideration was for the purpose of conciliatiny public opinion, in the pains which were taken to represent the Bulgarian intervention as a spontaneous act of Omurtay, undesired and deprecated by Michael.

But there was likewise another reason which conspired to decide Michael that it was wiser not to storm a city of Thrace. It wils the interest and policy of a Roman Emperor to cherish in the minds of neighbouring peoples, especially of Bulgarians and Slavs, the wholesome idea that fortified Roman cities were impreunalle. The failure of Krun's attack on Constantinople, the more recent failure of the vist force of Thomas, were calculated to do much lo confirm such a belief. And Michael had no mind to weaken this impression by showing the barbarians that Roman cities might yield to the force of skilfully directeil engines. In

1 άμα μεν τον εμφύλιον αποδιδράσκων πόλεμον, nr. Τh. 68. Michael, Εν. ad l.red, +18.

: Coul. Th. 68.

« PrethodnaNastavi »