Slike stranica



brought from the Caliph—-silk robes, about a thousand bottles of musk, saffron, and jewels—were presented. Three interpreters came forward, and Nasr charged them to add nothing to what he said. The Emperor accepted the gifts, and Nasr noticed that he did not bestow any of them on the interpreters. Then he desired that the envoy should approach, graciously caressed him, and gave orders that a lodging should be found for him in or near the Palace.2 But the business on which Nasr had come did not progress rapidly. He mentions that a message arrived from the garrison of Lulon, which consisted of Mohammadan Slavs, signifying their desire to embrace Christianity and sending two hostages. It will be remembered that this important fortress had been captured by Mamun in A.D. 832,3 and the opportunity for recovering it was welcome. For four months Nasr was detained at Constantinople. Then new tidings arrived from Lulon, which prompted Michael to

to settle the question of the captives without delay. He had sent a patrician, who promised the garrison a handsome largess; 6 but they repented of their treachery, and handed over both the place and the patrician to a Saracen captain. The patrician was carried into captivity and threatened with death if he did not renounce his religion. It would seem that the Emperor was seriously concerned for his fate, for, as soon as the news came, the exchange of captives was promptly arranged with Nasr. It was agreed that both sides should surrender all the prisoners who were in their hands. Nasr and Michael's uncle? confirmed the agreement by oath in the Imperial presence. Then Nasr said : “O Emperor, your uncle has sworn. Is the oath binding for you?” He inclined his head in token of assent. And, adds the envoy, "I did not hear a single word from his lips from the time of my arrival till my departure. The interpreter alone spoke, and the Emperor listened and expressed his assent or dissent by motions of his 1 Cp. Bar-Hebr. 169.

5 Tabari, 56, says he was a logothete 2 " Not far from himself.” It is (perhaps Logothete of the Course). not clear whether this means in the

6 A thousand dinars each, according Palace, not far from the Chrysotriklinos,

to Tabari. This can hardly be true. or not far from the Palace.

A thousand nomismata for all seems 3 There is no reason for supposing (with Vasil'ev, 186), that it was in the

more probable, but we do not know

the number of the garrison. hands of the Greeks in A.D. 857. 4 December 859 to March 860.

7 Evidently Bardas.



But even,

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head. His, uncle managed all his affairs." The Emperor received 1000 Greek captives in return for 2000 subjects of the Caliph, but the balance was redressed by the release of the patrician whom he was so anxious to recover,

Not many weeks later, committing the charge and defence of his capital to Ooryphas, the Prefect, Michael again set forth to invade the Caliph's dominions. as it would seem, before he reached the frontier, he was recalled in June) by the alarming news that the Russians had attacked Constantinople. When the danger had passed, he started again for the East, to encounter Omar, the Emir of Melitene, who had in the meantime taken the field. Michael marched along the great high-road which leads to the Upper Euphrates by Ancyra and Sebastea. Having passed Gaziura, he encamped in the plain of Dazimon, where Afshin had inflicted on his father an overwhelming defeat.® Here he awaited the approach of the Emir, who was near at hand, advancing, as we may with certainty assume, from Sebastea.

An enemy marching by this road, against Amasea, had the choice of two ways.

He might proceed northward to Dazimon 1 This is not explained in the B. 826=Leo Gr. 240=Th. Mel. 168); narrative of Nasr, but follows from the must correct to yeyevnuévov. statement of Tabari elsewhere (56), Pseudo-Simeon (674 Tov Baoiléa Hon that the Emperor wrote offering 1000 το Μ. καταλαβόντα) had a good text of Moslems as a ransom.

the original before him. Mauropotamon 2 The exchange was effected on the

is the unknown place on some road to banks of the Lamos in April to May.

the region of Melitene where TheoMichael must have left Constantinople

ktistos was defeated (see above, p. 274). about the beginning of June.

The true date of the campaign is


determined by that of the Russian 3 Simeon (Add. Georg.) 826. episode (see de Boor, op. cit. 458). above, p. 144. At the time of Michael's

Genesios wrongly implies the date 861 death Doryphas seems to have been (91, two years after the campaign of drungarios of the Imperial fleet (see 859). Tabari records that in A.D. 860 the addition to Simeon's text in the Omar made a summer raid and took Vatican MS. of Cont. Georg. ed. 7000 captives (56), and does not Muralt, 752=Pseudo-Simeon, 687), mention a raid of Omar in the followbut it does not follow that, as de

ing year. According to Genesios, the Boor (Der Angriff der Rhos, 456) as- Imperial army numbered 40,000 insumes, he held this post in 860. Had

cluding Macedonian and Thracian he been drungarios he would have been troops, and that of the Emir 30,000. absent with the fleet in the west.

5 This might be reached from 4 He had reached Mauropotamon Ancyra by (northern route) Euchaita(Simeon, vers. Slav. 106, and Cont. Amasea,

or (southern) by Tavion, Georg. ed. Mur. 736). The other pub- Verinopolis, and Zela. (Euchaita is lished Greek texts have a corrupt Elwan-Chelebi: Anderson, Stud. Pont. reading which implies that the Russians

i. 9.) were at Mauropotamon : τήν τών αθέων 6 He reached Dazimon (Tokat) and Ρώς εμήνυσεν άφιξιν γεγενημένους ήδη encamped in the meadow of Kellarion kard tov [leg. To] M. (Cont. Georg. ed. (Gen. 92).



and then westward by Gaziura ; or he might turn westward at Verisa (Bolous) ' and reach Amasea by Sebastopolis (Sulu-serai) and Zela. On this occasion the first route was barred by the Roman army, which lay near the strong fortress of Dazimon, and could not be advantageously attacked on this side. It would have been possible for Omar, following the second route, to have reached Gaziura from Zela, and entered the plain of Dazimon from the west. But he preferred a bolder course, which surprised the Greeks, who acknowledged his strategic ability. Leaving the Zela road, a little to the west of Verisa, he led his forces northward across the hills (AkDagh), and descending into the Dazimon plain occupied a favourable position at Chonarion, not far from the Greek camp. The battle which ensued resulted in a rout of the Imperial army, and Michael sought a refuge on the summit of the same steep hill of Anzên which marked the scene of his father's defeat. Here he was besieged for some hours, but want of water and pasture induced the Emir to withdraw his forces.

It is possible that the victorious general followed up his success by advancing as far as Sinope. But three years

1 For Verisa = Bolous, see Anderson, Anzên, and is probably on the south ib. 37-38.

side of the Dazimonitis. Hamilton's ? If we could identify Kellarin and identification of Καινόν Χωρίον with Chonarion, there would be no difficulty Yildiz Dagh (Researches in Asia Minor, in understanding the brief description i. 348), which is east of Verisa, southin Gen. and Cont. Th. of the strategic east of Tokat, cannot be maintained ; movement of Omar. But I submit see Cumont, Stud. Pont. ii. 231-223. that the logical interpretation of their 4 The notice of Omar reaching Sinope words is that on which I have ventured. is in Simeon (Cont. Georg.) 824, Gen. 92 ο δε "Αμερ στρατηγικώς Ramsay connected it with the expedi. παρεκβατικώτερον διελθών της απαγούσης tion of 863 ; but it is noted by Simeon οδου προς την Ζέλισαν (which un - as a distinct expedition. The difficulty questionably means Zela) ; Cont. Th. in connecting it with the expedition 177-178 άρτι δή "Αμερ αυτή κατα- of 860 lies (1) in the words ÉTÉOTPEYE στρατηγών πορρωτέρω της τετριμμένης μη καταληφθείς υπό του Ρωμαικου šel odol; i.e. Omar left the high-road otpatoll (words which forbid its conto Zela in order to reach a position nection with 863), and (2) in the fact close to the Roman army which was that the writer relates subsequently (out near Dazimon. The map seems to of chronological order) Michael's march leave no alternative to the general to Mauropotamon and the Russian course which I have indicated.

peril (826). Perhaps it is best to Cp. above, p. 265.

The hill was assign it to 861 or 862. In any case six miles from the scene of the battle. Amisus or Sinope was probably the Vasil'ev has the strange notion (194, goal of Omar in 860. This year was n. 2) that Xwváplov may be a shortened also marked by incursions of Karbeas form of Strabo’s Καινόν Χωρίον (781, and of Ali ibn Yahya, and by the ed. Teubner), which he thinks suits capture of a maritime stronghold (the the description of Anzên. On etymolo- MŠ. text of Tabari has Antiochia, but gical grounds alone this is unaccept- probably Attalia is meant). Tabari, able ; but in any case Chonarion is not 56. Seo Vasil'ev, 195, n. 4.


later, Omar revisited the same regions, devastated the Armeniac Theme, and reached the coast of the Euxine (A.D. 863). His plan seems to have been to march right across the centre of Asia Minor and return to Saracen territory by the Pass of the Cilician Gates.1 He took and sacked the city of Amisus (Samsun), and the impression which the unaccustomed appearance of an enemy on that coast made upon the inhabitants was reflected in the resuscitation of an ancient legend. Omar, furious that the sea set a bound to his northern advance, was said, like Xerxes, to have scourged the waves.

The Emperor appointed his uncle Petronas, who was still stratégos of the Thrakesian Theme, to the supreme command of the army; and not only all the troops of Asia, but the armies of Thrace and Macedonia, and the Tagmatic regiments, were placed at his disposal. When Omar heard at Amisus of the preparations which were afoot, he was advised by his officers to retire by the way he had come. But he determined to carry out his original plan, and setting out from Amisus in August, he chose a route which would lead him by the west bank of the Halys to Tyana and Podandos. The object of Petronas was now to intercept him. Though the obscure localities named in the chronicles have not been identified, the general data suggest the conclusion that it was between Lake Tatta and the Halys that he decided to surround the foe. The troops of the Armeniac, Bukellarian, Paphlagonian, and Kolonean Themes converged upon the north, after Omar had passed Ancyra. The Anatolic, Opsikian, and Cappadocian armies, reinforced by the troops of Seleucia and Charsianon, gathered on the south and south-east; while Petronas himself, with the Tagmata, the Thracians, and Macedonians, as well as his own Thrakesians, appeared on the west of the enemy's line of march. A hill separated Petronas from the Saracen camp, and he was successful in a struggle to occupy the height. Omar was caught in a trap. Finding it impossible to escape to the north or to the south, he

1 For this campaign, see Bury, 2 Nasar was stratégos of the BukelMutasim's March, 124 sqq. Tabari, 61- larians (George, Boun, 825). He dis62, says that, before starting, Omar tinguished himself subsequently in communicated with Jafar ibn Dinar, the reign of Basil. Simeon (Cont. who seems to have been governor of Georg., ib.) inaccurately or proleptically Tarsus. The date, A.D. 863, is fixed describes Petronas aς στρατηλάτης της by Tabari.


His son


attacked Petronas, who held his ground. Then the generals of the northern and southern armies closed in, and the Saracen forces were almost annihilated. Omar himself fell. escaped across the Halys, but was caught by the turmarch of Charsianon. The victory of Poson (such was the name of the place)," and the death of one of the ablest Moslem generals were a compensation for the defeat of Chonarion. Petronas was rewarded by receiving the high post of the Domestic of the Schools, and the order of magisters Strains of triumph at a victory so signal resounded in the Hippodrome, and a special chant 4 celebrated the death of the Emir on the field of battle, a rare occurrence in the annals of the warfare with the Moslems. It would appear that this

was immediately followed up by an invasion of Northern Mesopotamia. We know not whether the Greek army was led by Petronas, but another victory was won, somewhere in the neighbourhood of Martyropolis, and this battlefield was likewise marked by the fall of a Saracen commander who, year after year, had raided Roman territory-Ali ibn Yahya.”

These victories are the last events worthy of record in the Eastern war during the reign of Michael III. While the young Emperor was sole Augustus, and Bardas was the virtual ruler, the defence of the Empire in the east was


The place, which has not been showed, Ceremonial Book, p. 434) in the identified, was also marked by the άκτα επί μεγιστάνω άμειρά εν πολέμω stream of Lalakaon and the meadow ÝTTNOÉvti kai ávalped évti (Const. Cer. i. of Gyrin. Tabari gives the name of 69, p. 332). It runs : "Glory to God the place as “—rz (the first letter is who shatters our enemies ! Glory to aleph), in Marj-Uskuf.” In the article God who has destroyed the godless ! cited above I have attempted to show Glory to God the author of victory! that the region indicated lay north of Glory to God who crowned thee, O lord Nazianzus and Soandos. The date of of the earth! Hail, Lord, felicity of the the battle was September 3. Tabari, Romans ! Hail, Lord, valour of thy 62.

army! Hail, Lord, by whom (Omar) 2 Petronas had represented (ěk was laid low! Hail, Lord (Michael), TT POOÁTOV) his nephew Antigonus, who destroyer! God will keep thee in the was a boy (see above, p. 161). Cont. Th. purple, for the honour and raising up 1803, 18316. According to Genesios, of the Romans, along with the honourhe was made Domestic before the able Augustae [Eudocia, Theodora, victory (957).

Thecla] in the purple. God will 3 Gen. 97. The statement of “some" hearken to your people !! (ώς δέ τινες) that Bardas took part in 5 Yakubi, 11 ; Tabari, 62: in the the battle, and was rewarded by being month of Ramadan October 18 to created Caesar at Easter 862, is incon- November 16, 863. Cp. Bar-Hebr. 171. sistent with chronology.

6 Saracen raids are noted by Tabari 4 This has been preserved (as I in 864 and 865.


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