Slike stranica



hour of one and then lit his beacon; and the watchers in the Palace, seeing the light on Mount Auxentios, knew at what hour the first fire was kindled and therefore what the signal meant. A signal made at two o'clock announced that hostilities had begun, and a three o'clock despatch signified a conflagration.

In expeditions to Commagene and Mesopotamia, the Imperial armies generally followed the road from Arabissos (Yarpuz) which, crossing the Taurus, descends to Germanicia. The troops of the Eastern Asiatic Themes met those which came from the west at Caesarea, and a road crossing the Antitaurus range by the Kuru-Chai pass? took them to Sirica and Arabissos. But at Sirica (perhaps Kemer) they had an alternative route which was sometimes adopted. They could proceed southward by Kokusos (Geuksun) and reach Germanicia by the Ayer-Bel pass.

At the beginning of the ninth century, a great part of Cappadocia east and south-east of the upper Halys had become a frontier land, in which the Saracens, although they did not occupy the country, had won possession of important strongholds, almost to the very gates of Caesarea. If they did not hold already, they were soon to gain the forts in the Antitaurus region which commanded the roads to Sis, and Kokusos which lay on one of the routes to Germanicia. To the north, they seem to have dominated the country as far west as the road from Sebastea to Arabissos. And, south of the Antitaurus range, Arabissos was the only important place of which the Empire retained possession. The fact that the

1 Pseudo - Simeon 681 sq. is the the Paulicians, is another indication. authority for the ωρολόγια δύο εξ ίσου It seems probable that they had κάμνοντα.

achieved this position in Eastern Asia Ramsay, Asia Minor, 271; for Minor before the end of the 8th Sirica, 274.

century. Ramsay (Asia Minor, 278) 3 Anderson, Road System (28), where exaggerates when he says that after all the routes over the Taurus are 780 (the Greek arms were probably described. There were two ways from never seen again in Eastern CappaCaesarea southward to Sis and Ana- docia till Basil's expedition in 880 zarbos, ib. 29.

at least, the frequent Roman expedi4 The penetration of Cappadocia by tions to Commagene passed through the Arabs before 873 can be partly south-eastern Cappadocia. inferred from the details of the cam- Ramsay (ib. 276) infers from paigns of Basil I., who undertook to Basil's campaign in 877 that Arabissos drive them out of the country. Cp. was then in the hands of the Saracens. Anderson, Campaign of Basil I. (cit. I doubt whether the inference is supra) and Road System, 34 sq. The justified ; Basil's march to Germanicia position of Amara, where they settled by the western pass seems to have




Charsian province was designated as a Kleisurarchy is a significant indication of the line of the eastern frontier. It was the business of the Charsian commander to defend the kleisurai or passes of the Antitaurus hills.

§ 4. The Warfare in the Reigns of Harun and Mamun

(A.D. 802-833) Till the middle of the tenth century when the Emperor Nicephorus Phocas made a serious effort to drive the Moslems from Syria, the wars between the Empire and Caliphate are little more than a chronicle of reciprocal incursions which seldom penetrated very far into the enemy's country. The chief events were the capture and recapture of the fortresses in the Taurus and Antitaurus highlands; occasionally an expedition on a larger scale succeeded in destroying some important town. The record of this monotonous warfare is preserved more fully in the Arabic than in the Greek chronicles. It would be as useless as it were tedious to reproduce here the details of these annual campaigns. It will be enough to notice the chief vicissitudes, and the more important incidents, in a struggle whose results, when the Amorian dynasty fell, showed a balance in favour of the Saracens.

During the last few years of the reign of Irene, the warfare slumbered ; it would seem that she purchased immunity from invasion by paying a yearly sum to the Caliph. One of the first decisions of Nicephorus was to refuse to continue this humiliating tribute, and the Arab historians quote letters which they allege to have passed between the Emperor and the Caliph on this occasion.? Nicephorus demanded back the money which had been paid through “ female weakness.” The epistle, if it is authentic, was


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been dictated by other considerations.
In any case, Arabissos must have been
Imperial during most of the Amorian

1 According to Michael Syr. 12, however, there were two Saracen invasions after the deposition of Constantine VI.: in the first, Aetius gained a victory, in the second the Romans were defeated.

They are given by Tabari (as well as later writers). Translations in Gibbon, chap. 52, and Weil, ii. 159. Brooks regards them as spurious, and thinks that the story of the peace with Irene (Rina), which is not mentioned by Theophanes, was an Arab invention. It is not mentioned by Michael Syr., who, however, states that Nicephorus sent a letter to Harun (16).

simply a declaration of war. Harun was so incensed with fury that no one could look at him; he called for an inkpot and wrote his answer on the back of the Imperial letter.

Harun, Commander of the Faithful, to the Greek dog. I have read thy letter, son of an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not only hear my answer but see it with thine eyes.

We may

The Caliph marched immediately to chastise the insolent Roman, but Nicephorus, who, occupied with the revolt of Bardanes, was not prepared to meet him, offered to pay tribute, if the army, which had advanced from the Cilician Gates to Heraclea, would retire. Harun, satisfied with the booty he had collected and the damage he had inflicted, agreed to the proposal; but when he had reached the Euphrates, the news arrived that the Emperor had broken the compact, and notwithstanding the severe cold, for it was already winter, he retraced his steps and raided the lands of his enemy again.

Each succeeding year during the reign of Harun, and under his successor till A.D. 813, witnessed the regular incursions of the Moslem commanders of the frontier. notice particularly an expedition led by the Caliph himself, who wore a pointed cap inscribed“ Raider and pilgrim,” in

, the summer of A.D. 806. His army numbered 135,000 regular soldiers, with many volunteers, and besides capturing a number of important forts he took Heraclea and its subterranean grain stores. He seized Tyana, which lies north of Lulon on the road to Caesarea, and converted it into a permanent post of occupation, building a mosque, which the Greek chronicler designates as “ the house of his blasphemy.” The Emperor, who seems to have been unable to send a sufficient force to take the field against the invader, at length induced him to withdraw for the sum of 50,000 dinars.?

i In A.D. 804 Nicephorus in person Saracen period, showed himself so opposed the invaders and was wounded brave and brilliant in war. In 807 (Tabari, S.a. 188). According to Nicephorus fought a pitched battle Michael Syr. (16), the Romans in with the Saracens and was routed this year entered Cilicia, pillaged the (Kitab al-'Uyun, Brooks, 747). regions of Mopsuestia, Anazarbos, and 2 For this campaign we have both Tarsus ; see also next note. This Theophanes and Tabari. They agree writer (who becomes more valuable in saying that the tribute was a sort for chronology in the reign of Theo- of ransom for Nicephorus, his son, his philus) has a curious estimate of patricians, and the other Romans. the military talent of Nicephorus: Tabari says that four dinars were “No Roman Emperor, throughout the for Nicephorus, two for Stauracius year of Theophilus. See below.

During the last two years of Harun's reign (A.D. 808-9) insurrections in his eastern dominions prevented him from prosecuting the war against Romania with the same energy, and after his death the struggle of his sons for the throne was the signal for new rebellions, and secured the Empire for some years against any dangerous attack.2 Harun had obliged his three sons to sign a document, by which the government of the realm was divided among them, but Amin succeeded to the supreme position of Caliph and Mamun was designated as next in succession. Amin was younger than Mamun, but he was the son of the Princess Zubaidah who had Mansur's blood in her veins, while Mamun's mother was a slave. Civil war broke out when Amin attempted to violate the paternal will by designating his own son as heir apparent to the throne. It was decided by the long siege of Baghdad and the execution of Amin (A.D. 813).

The twenty years of Mamun's reign were marked by internal rebellions and disaffection so grave that all the military forces which he commanded were required to cope with these domestic dangers. The governors of Egypt were already aspiring to an independence which they were afterwards to achieve, and Babek, an unconquerable leader, who belonged to the communistic sect of the Hurramites, defied the Caliph's power in Adarbiyan and Armenia. The army of Mamun was annihilated by this rebel in A.D. 829-30, and the task of subduing him was bequeathed to the Caliph's successor. These circumstances explain the virtual cessation of war between the Empire and the Caliphate for a space of sixteen years (A.D. 814-829). There was no truce or treaty; the two powers remained at war; there were some hostilities; (Brooks, Byzantines and Arabs, i. that a Roman embassy came to Mamun 746); Theophanes says three for him- in A.H. 210= April 825-April 826, to self, three for his son. Michael Syr.

negotiate a peace, that Mamun deplaces the capture of Heraclea in A.D. clined and ordered the commanders on 704 (16).

the frontiers to invade the Empire,

and that 1 Weil, ii. 163.



Vasil'ev, Viz. ¿ Ar. 36, accepts the 2 Perfunctory raids are recorded by

statement that Zapetra was taken in Ibn Wadhih each year till A.H. 197 Michael's reign, on the ground that (=September 12, 812-August 31, 813). Baladhuri was a contemporary:

He Brooks, op. cit. 747.

died in 892-3, and may have been a Notably on the occasion of the child in Michael's reign ; but I think revolt of Thomas. Baladhuri (4), we may take it that he has misplaced however, records that the Romans de- an event which belongs to the first stroyed Zapetra, Mamun restored it,






but the Saracens seem to have desisted from their yearly invasions, and the Emperors Leo and Michael were less eager to take advantage of Mamun's difficulties by aggressions on their side than glad to enjoy a respite from the eastern war. This long suspension of the Holy War was chequered, indeed, by Mamun's actions during the rebellion of Thomas, which showed that he cherished designs upon the Empire which only necessity held in abeyance. We saw how the Saracens took advantage of that crisis, first invading the Empire, and then supporting Thomas the Slavonian. The Caliph, whether he had made secret conditions with the pretender or not, undoubtedly hoped to augment his territory in Asia Minor.

If the Caliph had espoused the cause of Thomas, the Emperor had an opportunity of retaliating by supporting the rebel Babek. And as a matter of fact, the renewal of the war seems to have been caused by the opening of negotiations between Babek and the Emperor Theophilus. It must have been immediately after Theophilus ascended the throne that a considerable number of Hurramite insurgents passed into Roman territory and offered to serve in the Roman armies.? It is probable that the negotiations with Babek were arranged with the help of a notable officer, of Persian origin, who had been brought up at Constantinople and bore a Greek nameTheophobos. Theophilus appointed him commander of the

1 The silence of the Greek and that the fugitives were Christians Arabic chroniclers proves at least who feared Mamun and Babek alike. that the war was very languidly It should be borne in mind that these prosecuted in the reign of Leo. But so-called IIépoal must have been mainly there seem to have been hostilities, Persarmenians. for we have a record of an eastern 3 The difficulties connected with campaign of that Emperor. See Theo- Theophobos have not been fully dore Stud. Ep. 213 (Cozza-L.), pp. cleared up, or even realised, by 180-1 μετά το εκστρατεύσαι τον βασιλέα, modern historians. He is mentioned referring to A.D. 817. Moreover, in only in the Greek sources: Gen. 52-57; A.D. 816 a campaign was contem- Cont. Th. 110-112 ; Simeon (Add. plated: see Anon. A. Vita Theophanis, Georg. 793). While it is admitted 2916

; Anon. B. Vita Theophanis, 396. that the stories told of his descent Cp. Pargoire, St. Théophane, 73-81. from the Persian kings, and of his

*2 See Michael Syr. 50 and 73 (who early life, are suspicious from their describes them as Khordanaye, i.e. general nature and the fact that there Hurramites), and Greek sources cited are conflicting versions—their legendin next note. Simeon gives the ary character is established by their number of the “Persian” refugees as inconsistency with chronology and 14,000 ; according to Cont. Th. they other errors (Hirsch, 139)—it has been had increased to 30,000 in A. D. 837. generally assumed that Theophobos That there was an influx in the inter- and his father were followers of Babek vening years is borne out by Tabari, 28 and came to Sinope with the other (sub A.D. 833). Finlay (ii. 153) thinks fugitives (so e.g. Finlay and Vasil'ev).


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