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unstable and wavering. The Slavonic župans acknowledged no lord in the reign of Michael III. or perhaps at an earlier date.1 The Roman communities of the coast, which were under their own magistrates, subject to an Imperial governor or archon, are said to have asserted their autonomy in the time of Michael II.—and this may well have happened when he was engaged in the struggle with Thomas.2 But the control of Constantinople was soon reimposed, and Dalmatia continued to be a province or Theme, under an archon, though the cities enjoyed, as before, a measure of self-government, which resembled that of Cherson.3
The settlement of another question in the reign of Michael II. tended to pacify the relations between the two empires. The Istrian bishops who were subjects of the Western Emperor had been permitted by the Peace of A.D. 812 to remain under the Patriarch of Grado, who was a subject of the Eastern Emperor. This was an awkward arrangement, which probably would not have been allowed to continue if the Patriarch Fortunatus had not proved himself a good friend of the Franks.4 But it was satisfactory to both Emperors to transfer the Istrian churches from the See of Grado to that of Aquileia, so that the ecclesiastical jurisdictions were coincident with the boundaries between the two realms. This settlement was effected in A.D. 827 by a synod held at Mantua.5
1 Cont. Th. (Vita Basilii), 288; Constantine, De adm. imp. 128. Note that in the former passage only the revolt of the Slavs is mentioned, while in the latter the emphasis is on the Dalmatian provincials, who are said to have become autonomous in the
reign of Michael II. See next note.
2 This date is accepted by Hopf (Griechische Geschichte, 119), and Muralt (410); and is defended by Harnack, 70, against Hirsch, who (198) argues that in De adm. imp. (and Cont. Th. 84) Michael II. is confounded with Michael III. The passage in Cont. Th. 288, is not really inconsistent with the assertion of autonomy by the Slavs before the reign of Michael III. 3 See above, p. 223.
4 Fortunatus seems to have been a born intriguer. He was accused of rendering secret support to Liudewit,
when that leader raised the Croatians of Pannonia in rebellion against the Franks; and when Lewis summoned him to answer the charge, he fled to Zara and thence to Constantinople (A.D. 821). He accompanied Michael's embassy to Lewis in 824, and was sent on to the Pope, but died on the way. See Ann. r. F., s. 821 and 824 ; Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 419; Joann. Ven. 108.
5 Mansi, xiv. 493 sqq. Cp. Harnack, 67-69. The question was probably one of the objects of the embassies which passed between Michael II. and Lewis in A.D. 827, 828. The Oekonomos of St. Sophia was the head of the Greek embassy, which presented to the Western Emperor a Greek text of the works of Dionysios the Areopagite. The Frank envoys, who were honourably received, brought back from
The letter which the Emperor, Michael II., addressed to Lewis the Pious has already demanded our attention, in connexion with the iconoclastic controversy. Although his recognition of the Imperial title of Lewis was grudging and ambiguous, Lewis, who consistently pursued the policy of keeping on good terms with Constantinople, did not take offence.1 Under Theophilus the relations between the two great powers continued to be friendly. The situation in the Mediterranean demanded an active co-operation against the Saracens, who were a common enemy; Theophilus pressed for the assistance of the Franks; but the Western Empire was distracted by the conflicts between Lewis and his sons.2 In the last year of his life, Theophilus proposed a marriage between Lewis, the eldest son of Lothar, and one of his own daughters (perhaps Thecla), and Lothar agreed. But after the Emperor's death the project was allowed to drop, nor can we say whether Theodora had any reason to feel resentment that the bridegroom designate never came came to claim her daughter. There seems to have ensued a complete cessation of diplomatic intercourse during the reign of Michael III., and it is probable that there may have been some friction in Italy.* But, as we have already seen, the struggle between Photius and the Pope led to an approximation between the Byzantine court and the recreant bridegroom, who was proclaimed Basileus in Constantinople (A.D. 867). During the following years, the co-operation against the Saracens, for which Theophilus had hoped, was to be brought about; the Emperor Lewis was to work hand in hand with the generals of Basil in southern Italy.
Constantinople valuable relics, which
1 He showed his goodwill in a small matter which arose in southern Italy, between Naples and Beneventum : Erchempert, c. 10, and Ann. r. F., s.a. 826; Harnack, 67.
2 Three embassies from Theophilus to the Franks are recorded: (1) in A.D. 833; the object is not stated, but we know that the envoys bore gifts for Lothar, which they delivered, and for Lewis, which they could not deliver, as he was his son's captive.
§ 1. The Bulgarian Kingdom
THE hill-ridge of Shumla, which stretches from north-west to south-east, divides the plain of Aboba from the plain of Preslav, and these two plains are intimately associated with the early period of Bulgarian history. It must have been soon after the invaders established their dominion over Moesia, from the Danube to the Balkans, that they transferred their capital and the seat of their princes from a marshy fortress in the Dobrudzha to a more central place. Their choice fell upon Pliska. It is situated north-east of Shumla, in the plain of Aboba, and near the modern village of that name.1 Travellers had long since recognized the site as an ancient settlement, but it was taken for granted that the antiquities which the ground evidently concealed were of Roman origin, and it has only recently been discovered by excavation that here were the great entrenched camp and the royal palace of the early khans of Bulgaria.
The camp or town formed a large irregular quadrilateral, and some idea of its size may be conveyed, if it is said that its greatest length from north to south was four miles, and that its width varied from two miles and a half to about one mile and three-quarters. It was enclosed by a fortification, consisting of a ditch outside a rampart of earth, the crown of which appears to have been surmounted by a wooden fence. Although early destruction and later cultivation have done
1 This account of Pliska is based on the publication of the excavations of the Russian Archaeological Institute of
Constantinople, cited as Aboba (see
what they could to level and obliterate the work, the lines can be clearly traced, and it has been shown that the town could be entered by eleven gates. Near the centre of the enclosure was an inner stronghold, and within this again was the palace of the Khans. The stronghold, shaped like a trapezium, was surrounded by thick walls, which were demolished at an ancient date, and now present the appearance of a rampart about ten feet high. Four circular bastions protected the four angles, and two double rectangular bastions guarded each of the four gates, one of which pierced each of the four walls. The walls were further strengthened by eight other pentagonal bastions. The main entrance was on the eastern side.
Within this fortress stood a group of buildings, which is undoubtedly to be identified as the palatial residence of the The principal edifice, which may be distinguished as the Throne-palace, was curiously constructed. A large room in the basement, to which there seems to have been no entrance from without, except perhaps a narrow issue underneath a staircase, points to the fact that the ground-floor was only a substructure for an upper storey. This storey consisted of a prodomos or entrance-hall on the south side, to which the chief staircase ascended, and a hall of audience. The hall was nearly square, and was divided by rows of columns into three parts, resembling the nave and aisles of a church. The throne stood in a round apse, in the centre of the northern wall. Not far from this building stood a rectangular temple, which in the days of Krum and Omurtag was devoted to the heathen cult of the Bulgarians, but was converted, after the adoption of Christianity, into a church.
The fortress and the palace, which seem to have been built much about the same time, certainly belong to no later period than the first half of the ninth century. The architecture of the Throne-palace bears the impress of Byzantine influence, and has a certain resemblance to the Trikonchos of Theophilus, as well as to the Magnaura.' It was doubtless constructed by Greek masons. The columns may have been imported from Constantinople; it is recorded that Krum,
1 It resembled the Triklinos of the Magnaura by its throne-apse and the rows of columns in the "nave"; it resembled the Trikonchos in being
an upper storey and in being entered through the prodomos, as the Trikonchos was entered through the Sigma, to which external stairs ascended.
when he attacked that city, carried off works of art from the suburban buildings.
The title of the rulers of Bulgaria was kanas uvegé, "sublime khan," 1 but even while they were still heathen, they did not scruple to have themselves described sometimes in their official monuments as "rulers by the will of God."2 Of the political constitution of the kingdom little can be ascertained. The social fabric of the ruling race was based on the clan system, and the head of each clan was perhaps known as a župan. From early ages the monarchy had been hereditary in the clan of Dulo, but in the middle of the eighth century, Kormisos, who belonged to another family, ascended the throne, and after his death Bulgaria was distracted for some years by struggles for the royal power. We may probably see in these. events a revolt of the clans against the hereditary principle and an attempt to make the monarchy elective. There were two ranks of nobility, the boilads and the bagains, and among the boilads there were six or perhaps twelve who had a conspicuous position at the court. When a Bulgarian ambassador arrived at Constantinople, etiquette required that the foreign minister should make particular inquiry first for "the six
1 κάνας ἐβηγή, preceding the name (frequent in the inscriptions). ißnyń has been satisfactorily equated__(by Tomaschek) with the Cuman - Turk öweghü="high, glorious"; cp. Marquart, Streifzüge, 495; Chron. 40.
2 Omurtag in the Chatalar inscription (A.D.821-822), èk Оeoû äрxwv, Aboba, 545; and Malamir, ò èк 0. ä., ib. 230 (=C.I.G. 8691). The use of the title by Omurtag disproves Uspenski's conjecture (ib. 197-198) that the Roman government conferred it on Malamir because Christianity had spread in Bulgaria in his reign. Marquart's view is (Chron. 41-42) that the title was meant as a translation of the Turkish Tängrida bolmyš gan, "heavencreated khan." It was the regular style of the Christian princes, cp. Constantine, Cer. 681.
3 So among the Magyars (exeɩ dè ἑκάστη γενεὰ ἄρχοντα, Const. De adm. imp. 174). Besides the clans of Dulo, Ukil, and Ugain, mentioned in the Regnal list, we have various yeveal recorded in ninth cent. inscriptions, e.g. Κυριγήρ, Κουβιάρης (Aboba, 190
192). Okhsun, of the family of Kuriger, is described as o fouráv (190); Okorses as ò KOTаvós (where seems to be an error for , ib.); and in another inscription (No. 7, p. 192) in honour of some one γενεᾶς Ἐρ . . . άρης, I would supply at the beginning Souravlos. As the title Zhupan was used by South Slavonic peoples for the head of a tribe, it is a reasonable conjecture that it designated a tribal prince among the Bulgarians. Uspenski, ib. 199. The word is supposed to occur in the form foаπav in the early inscription of Marosh in Hungary, which is believed to relate to the Gepids (ib.).
4 Cp. C.I.G. 86916, καὶ τοὺς βοιλάδας καὶ βαγαίνους ἔδωκεν μεγάλα ξένια. Cp. Uspenski, Aboba, 201-202. Borlas, in Mansi, xvi. 158, has been rightly corrected to boelas (Bonλâs, usual form in the inscriptions) by Marquart (Chron. 41). Vagantus or vaganlus, in the same passage, is doubtless vaganius (Bayáïvos), cp. Uspenski, op. cit. 204. Bonλâs passed into Slavonic as boliarin (the Russian boiar).