« PrethodnaNastavi »
Macedonia, and Bithynia. The question of their numbers is perplexing. We are variously told that in the ninth century they were each 6000 or 4000 strong, but in the tenth the numbers seem to have been considerably less, the strength of the principal Tagma, the Scholarians, amounting to no more than 1500 men. If we accept one of the larger figures for the reign of Theophilus, we must suppose that under one of his successors these troops were reduced in number.1
The Domestic of the Schools preceded in rank all other military commanders except the stratêgos of the Anatolic Theme, and the importance of the post is shown by the circumstance that it was filled by such men as Manuel and Bardas. In later times it became still more important; in the tenth century, when a military expedition against the Saracens was not led by the Emperor in person, the Domestic of the Schools was ex officio the Commander-in-Chief.2 The Drungary of the Watch and his troops were distinguished from the other Tagmata by the duties they performed as sentinels in campaigns which were led by the Emperor in person. The Drungary was responsible for the safety of the camp, and carried the orders of the Emperor to the generals.
Besides the Thematic and the Tagmatic troops, there were the Numeri, a regiment of infantry commanded by a Domestic; and the forces which were under the charge of the Count or Domestic of the Walls, whose duty seems to have been the defence of the Long Wall of Anastasius.* These troops played little part in history. More important was the / Imperial Guard or Hetaireia, which, recruited from barbarians, formed the garrison of the Palace, and attended the Emperor on campaigns.
1 See Constantine, Cer. 666. Cp. Bury, op. cit. 54, where, however, the reduction of the Excubitors and Hikanatoi is probably exaggerated, as the numbers given in Cer. seem to refer to the contingents stationed in Asia, and not to include those in Thrace and Macedonia.
2 Hence the Domestic of the Schools developed into the Domestic of the East.
3 They numbered 4000, according to Kudama. Cp. Bury, op. cit. 65. 4 See above, p. 224.
5 Probably organized in the course of the ninth century, cp. Bury, op. cit. 107. They were under the command of Hetaeriarchs, and associated with them were small corps of Khazars and Pharganoi. These guards were so well remunerated that they had to purchase their posts for considerable sums, on which their salaries represented an annuity varying from about 2% to 4 per cent (Constantine, Cer. 692-693). For example, a Khazar who received £7:4s. had paid for enrolment £302: 8s. This system applied to most of the Palace offices.
The care which was spent on providing for the health and comfort of the soldiers is illustrated by the baths at Dorylaion, the first of the great military stations in Asia Minor. This bathing establishment impressed the imagination of oriental visitors, and it is thus described by an Arabic writer:1
Dorylaion possesses warm springs of fresh water, over which the Emperors have constructed vaulted buildings for bathing. seven basins, each of which can accommodate a thousand men. reaches the breast of a man of average height, and the discharged into a small lake.
In military campaigns, careful provision was made for the wounded. There was a special corps of officers called deputatoi,2 ) whose duty was to rescue wounded soldiers and take them to the rear, to be tended by the medical staff. They carried flasks of water, and had two ladders attached to the saddles of their horses on the left side, so that, having mounted a fallen soldier with the help of one ladder, the deputatos could himself mount instantly by the other and ride off.
It is interesting to observe that not only did the generals and superior officers make speeches to the soldiers, in old Hellenic fashion, before a battle, but there was a band of professional orators, called cantatores, whose duty was to stimulate the men by their eloquence during the action. Some of the combatants themselves, if they had the capacity, might be chosen for this purpose. A writer on the art of war suggests the appropriate chords which the cantatores might touch, and if we may infer their actual practice, the leading note was religious. We are fighting in God's cause; the issue lies with him, and he will not favour the enemy because of their unbelief."
The water overflow is
1 Ibn Khurdadhbah, 81.
2 Deputati. The word sometimes appears as δεσποτάτοι.
This is not a
III. Naval necessities imposed an increase of expenditure for the defence of the Empire in the ninth century. The navy, which had been efficiently organized under the Heraclian dynasty and had performed memorable services against the attacks of the Omayyad Caliphs, had been degraded in importance and suffered to decline by the policy of the Isaurian monarchs. We may criticize their neglect of the naval arm,
scribe's error but a popular corrup-
but we must remember that it was justified by immediate impunity, for it was correlated with the simultaneous decline in the naval power of the Saracens. The Abbasids who transferred the centre of the Caliphate from Syria to Mesopotamia undertook no serious maritime enterprises. The dangers of the future lay in the west and not in the east,-in the ambitions of the Mohammadan rulers of Africa and Spain, whose only way of aggression was by sea. Sicily was in peril throughout the eighth century, and Constantine V. was forced to reorganize her fleet;1 accidents and internal divisions among the Saracens helped to save her till the reign of Michael II. We shall see in another chapter how the Mohammadans then obtained a permanent footing in the island, the beginning of its complete conquest, and how they occupied Crete. These events necessitated a new maritime policy. To save Sicily, to recover Crete, were not the only problems. The Imperial possessions in South Italy were endangered; Dalmatia, the Ionian islands, and the coasts of Greece were exposed to the African fleets. It was a matter of the first importance to preserve the control of the Hadriatic. The reorganization of the marine establishment was begun by the Amorian dynasty, though its effects were not fully realized till a later period.
The naval forces of the Empire consisted of the Imperial fleet, which was stationed at Constantinople and commanded by the Drungary of the Navy, and the Provincial fleets of the Kibyrrhaeot Theme, the Aegean, Hellas, Peloponnesus, and Kephalonia. The Imperial fleet must now have been increased in strength, and the most prominent admiral of the age, Ooryphas, may have done much to reorganize it. An armament of three hundred warships was sent against Egypt in A.D. 853, and the size of this force may be held to mark the progress which had been made." Not long after the death of Michael III. four hundred vessels were operating off the coast of Apulia.
We have some figures which may give us a general idea
5 The naval Theme of Samos seems to have been of later date than the Amorian period.
Paphlagonia had also a small
1 Amari, Storia, i. 175 n.
2 τὸ βασιλικοπλόϊμον.
3 ὁ δρουγγάριος τοῦ πλοΐμου. him and his staff, see Bury, Adm. System, 108 sqq.
4 ὁ θεματικὸς στόλος.
7 See below, p. 292.
8 Bury, Naval Policy, 33.
Attempts were made
of the cost of these naval expeditions. to recover Crete from the Saracens in A.D. 902 and in A.D. 949, and the pay of officers and men for each of these expeditions, which were not on a large scale, amounted to over £140,000.1 This may enable us to form a rough estimate of the expenditure incurred in sending armaments oversea in the ninth century. We may surmise, for instance, that not less than a quarter of a million (pounds sterling), equivalent in present value to a million and a quarter, was spent on the Egyptian expedition in the reign of Michael III.
1 See official documents in Constantine, Cer. 651 sqq. and 667 sqq. The total in the first case seems to come to £143,483, in the second to £147,287. In A.D. 902, there were 177 ships, and the men numbered 47,127. For A.D.
949 we have (673 sqq.) interesting details of the prices of the articles required for the equipment (egóπMiσis) of the vessels, and I calculate that this expenditure came to more than £1000.
As to the surplus in the treasury on the death of Theophilus, mentioned on p. 219, a footnote was there accidentally omitted. When Michael III. assumed the government himself in A.D. 856, Theodora, by way of justifying her administration, proved to the Senate that the accumulated savings effected in the reign of Theophilus, and under her own régime, lay in the treasury, and amounted to 190 kentenaria in gold coin, and 300 pounds of silver (Gen. 90 Cont. Th. 172). The gold is equivalent to £4,708,800 (in purchasing value upwards of £20,000,000).
THE SARACEN WARS
1. The Empire of the Abbasids
IN the days of Nicephorus and Charles the Great, the Caliphate was at the height of its power and grandeur; a quarter of a century later the decline of Abbasid rule, a process which was eked out through several centuries, had already begun. An accomplished student of Mohammadan history 1 has found, even in the reigns of Harun and his son Mamun, the last great Caliphs, signs and premonitions of decay; in their characters and tempers he discovers traits of the degeneracy which was to be fully revealed in their weak and corrupt successors. Without presuming to decide whether Harun should be called a degenerate because to a nature unscrupulously cruel he united susceptibility so sensitive to music and so prone to melancholy that he burst into tears on hearing the strains of a boatman's song wafted over the waters of the Tigris, we can see in his reign and that of his son the immense difficulties of government which confronted the rulers of the Mohammadan world, the strength of the elements of division and disruption, and the need of sovrans of singular ability and strenuous life, if the fabric of the Empire was to be held together.
The realm of the Abbasids, in its early period, presents some interesting points of comparison with the contemporary Roman Empire. The victory of the Abbasids and their establishment on the throne of the Caliphs had been mainly due to Persian support; the change of dynasty marked the triumph of Persian over Arabian influence. We may fairly compare this change with that which attended the elevation of the
1 Von Kremer.