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§ 1. The Slavs in Greece The ninth century was a critical period in the history of the Slavonic world. If in the year A.D. 800 a political prophet had possessed a map of Europe, such as we can now construct, he might have been tempted to predict that the whole eastern half of the continent, from the Danish peninsula to the Peloponnesus, was destined to form a Slavonic empire, or at least a solid group of Slavonic kingdoms. From the mouth of the Elbe to the Ionian Sea there was a continuous line of Slavonic peoples--the Abodrites, the Wilzi, the Sorbs, the Lusatians, the Bohemians, the Slovenes, the Croatians, and the Slavonic settlements in Macedonia and Greece. Behind them were the Lechs of Poland, the kingdom of Great Moravia, Servia, and the strongly organized kingdom of Bulgaria; while farther in the background were all the tribes which were to form the nucleus of unborn Russia. Thus a vertical line from Denmark to the Hadriatic seemed to mark the limit of the Teutonic world, beyond which it might have been deemed impossible that German arms would make any permanent impression on the serried array of Slavs; while in the Balkan peninsula it might have appeared not improbable that the Bulgarian power, which had hitherto proved a formidable antagonist to Byzantium, would expand over Illyricum and Greece, and ultimately drive the Greeks from Constantinople. Such was the horoscope of nations which might plausibly have been drawn from a European chart, and which the history of the next two hundred years was destined to falsify. At


the beginning of the eleventh century the Western Empire of the Germans had extended its power far and irretrievably beyond the Elbe, while the Eastern Empire of the Greeks had trampled the Bulgarian power under foot. And in the meantime the Hungarians had inserted themselves like a wedge between the Slavs of the north and the Slavs of the south. On the other hand, two things had happened which were of great moment for the future of the Slavonic race: the religion of the Greeks and the Teutons had spread among the Slavs, and the kingdom of Russia had been created. The beginnings of both these movements, which were slow and gradual, fall in the period when the Amorian dynasty reigned at New Rome.

It was under the auspices of Michael III. that the unruly Slavonic tribes in the Peloponnesus were finally brought under the control of the government, and the credit of their subjugation is probably to be imputed to Theodora and her fellowregents. The Slavs were diffused all over the peninsula, but the evidence of place-names indicates that their settlements were thickest in Arcadia and Elis, Messenia, Laconia, and Achaia.? In the plains of Elis, on the slopes of Taygetos, and in the great marshlands of the lower Eurotas, they seem almost entirely to have replaced the ancient inhabitants. Somewhere between Sparta and Megalopolis was the great Slavonic town Veligosti, of which no traces remain. Of the tribes we know only the names of the Milings and the Ezerites.

The Milings had settled in the secure fastnesses of Taygetos; the Ezerites, or Lake-men, abode in the neighbouring Helos or marshland, from which they took their name. Living independently under their own župans, they seized every favourable opportunity of robbery and plunder. In the reign of Nicephorus (A.D. 807) they formed a conspiracy with the Saracens of Africa 4 to


1 The introduction of Christianity among the Croatians and Servians was of older date.

? See Philippson, i. 3-4 ; Gregorovius, Athen, i. 113 sqq. ; G. Meyer, Aufsätze und Studien (1885), 140. The place-names still require a thoroughgoing investigation. Not a few, which have been taken for Slavonic, may be Greek or Albanian. E.g. Malevo-the name of Parnon and other mountains -was explained as Slavonic by Fallmerayer and Gregorovius, but it is

undoubtedly Albanian, from ually, “mountain," as Philippson points out (ib. 8). Goritsa is often enumerated among the Slavonic names, but it may come from A-goritsa (åyopá). But there are plenty about which there can be no doubt (such as Krivitsa, Garditsa, Kamenitsa).

3 Ezero, Slavonic for lake.

• The source is Constantine, De adm. imp. c. 49. He says that the story

told orally (άγράφως) during their lifetime by contemporaries to


attack the rich city of Patrae. The stratégos of the province whose residence was at Corinth, delayed in sending troops to relieve the besieged town, and the citizens suffered from want of food and water. The story of their deliverance is inextricably bound up with a legend of supernatural aid, vouchsafed to them by their patron saint. A scout was sent to a hill, east of the town, anxiously to scan the coast road from Corinth, and if he saw the approach of the troops, to signal to the inhabitants, when he came within sight of the walls, by lowering a flag; while if he kept the flag erect, it would be known that there was no sign of the help which was so impatiently expected. He returned disappointed, with his flag erect, but his horse slipped and the flag was lowered in the rider's fall. The incident was afterwards imputed to the direct interposition of the Deity, who had been moved to resort to this artifice by the intercessions of St. Andrew, the guardian of Patrae. The citizens, meanwhile, seeing the flag fall, and supposing that succour was at hand, immediately opened the gates and fell upon the Saracens and the Slavs. Conspicuous in their ranks rode a great horseman, whose more than human appearance terrified the barbarians.

Aided by this champion, who was no other than St. Andrew himself, the Greeks routed the enemy and won great booty and many captives. Two days later the stratêgos arrived, and sent a full report of all the miraculous circumstances to the Emperor, who issued a charter for the Church of St. Andrew, ordaining that the defeated Slavs, their families, and all their belongings should become the property of the Church “inasmuch as the the younger generation. But the to infer that there was an Avar settlegenuine source was the objeklov (seal) ment in the Peloponnesus, that Avars or charter of Nicephorus, to which joined the Slavs in the attack, and he refers, and which was extant in were mentioned in the Chrysobull of the eleventh century. For it is cited Nicephorus? I drew this inference in in a Synodal Letter of the Patriarch a paper on Navarino (Hermathena, Nicolaus in the reign of Alexius I. ; xxxi. 430 sqq., 1905), connecting it see Leunclavius, Jus Graeco-Romanum, with the interpretation of Avarinosp. 278 (1596), or Migne, P.G. 119, 877. the original name of Navarino—as an Here the occurrence is briefly de- Avar settlement. See also Miller in scribed, and dated 218 years after the Eng. Hist. Review, 20, 307 sqq (1905). occupation of the Peloponnesus, which But another possible derivation is the Patriarch connected with the in- from the Slavonic javorů, maple,” so vasion of A.D. 589 (Evagri

that the name would mean "mapleHence we get the date A.). 807 for wood”; cp. 'Apapítoa in Epirus, the siege of Patrae (cp. Fallmerayer, "Aßopos in Phocis : G. Meyer, Analecta Morea, i. 185). But the Patriarch Graeciensia, 12 (1893). speaks of Avars, not of Slavs. Are we

vi. 10).

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triumph and the victory were the work of the apostle.” A particular duty was imposed upon these Slavs, a duty which hitherto had probably been a burden upon the town. They were obliged to provide and defray the board and entertainment of all Imperial officials who visited Patrae, and also of all foreign ambassadors who halted there on their way to and from Italy and Constantinople. For this purpose they had to maintain in the city a staff of servants and cooks.? The Emperor also made the bishopric of Patrae a Metropolis, and submitted to its control the sees of Methone, Lacedaemon, and Korone?

It is possible that he sent military colonists from other parts of the Empire to the Peloponnesus, as well as to the regions of the Strymon and other Slavonic territories, and if so, these may have been the Mardaites, whom we find at a later period of the ninth century playing an important part among the naval contingents of the Empire. We may also conjecture with some probability that this settlement was immediately followed by the separation of the Peloponnesus from Hellas as a separate Theme.”

It would be too much to infer from this narrative that the Slavonic communities of Achaia and Elis, which were doubtless concerned in the attack on Patrae, were permanently reduced to submission and orderly life on this occasion, and that the later devastations which vexed the peninsula in the

έχοντες ιδίους και τραπεζοποιούς και των κατά Πελοπόννησον στρατιωτών μαγείρους κτλ. The Slavs defrayed the και Μαρδαιτών, 311 των κατά Πελ. expense από διανομής και συνδοσίας της Μαρδαιτών και Ταξατών. As they ομάδος αυτών. The passage is interest- belonged to the marine establishment, ing, as it shows incidentally that, as they were probably settled in the we should expect, the ordinary route coast towns. See Bury, Naval Policy, of travel from Italy to Constantinople 29, where their settlement in Greece was by Patrae and Corinth.

is connected with the later subjugation 2 Nicolaus, Synodal Letter,cit.supra. by Theoktistos, and this seems to me

Theoph. 486 τα στρατεύματα πάντα rather more probable. ταπεινώσαι σκεψάμενος Χριστιανούς απ- 5 See above, p. 224. Michael I. apοικίσας εκ παντός θέματος επί τας pointed Leo Sklêros stratégos of PeloΣκλαυινίας γενέσθαι προσέταξεν (A.D. ponnesus, Scr. Inc. 336. 809-10) ; 496 οι τον Στρυμώνα οικούντες probably attribute to Leo V. the erecμέτοικοι προφάσεως δραξάμενοι εν τοις tion of a watch-tower somewhere in ιδίοις φεύγοντες επανήλθον. (Cp. Hopf, the Peloponnesus, to warn the city of 98, 126.) See next note.



the approach of enemies, doubtless the 4 The western Mardaites (oi M. Tas Saracens, recorded in the inscription dúoews) took part in the Cretan expedi- (Corp. Inscr. Gr. iv. No. 8620): tion of A.D. 902, and numbered with

άναξ Λέων έστησε πύργον ενθάδε their officers 4087 men (Const. Porph. Cer. ii. 44. p. 655). They had fought

λύχνω προφαίνειν τους λόγους των

βαρβάρων. against the Saracens in Sicily in the reign of Basil I. ; Cont. Th. 304 Cp. Hopf, 105.

We may

We may,

reigns of Theophilus and Michael III. were wrought by the Slavs of Laconia and Arcadia. It is more probable that the attack on Patrae was not confined to the inhabitants of a particular district; and that all the Slavs in the peninsula united in another effort to assert their independence before the death of Theophilus. Their rebellion, which meant the resumption of their predatory habits, was not put down till the reign of his son, and we do not know how soon. however, conjecture that it was the Empress Theodora 1 who appointed Theoktistos Bryennios—the first recorded member of a family which was long afterwards to play a notable part in history—to be stratêgos of the Peloponnesian Theme, and placed under his command large detachments from the Themes of Thrace and Macedonia, to put an end to the rapine and brigandage of the barbarians. Theoktistos performed efficiently the work which was entrusted to him. He thoroughly subjugated the Slavs throughout the length and breadth of the land, and reduced them to the condition of provincial subjects.? There were only two tribes with whom he deemed it convenient to make special and extraordinary terms. These were the Milings, perched in places difficult of access on the slopes of Mount Taygetos, and the Ezerites in the south of Laconia. On these he was content to impose a tribute, of 60 nomismata (about £35) on the Milings, and 300 (about £180) on the Ezerites. They paid these annual dues so long at least as Theoktistos was in charge of the province, but afterwards they defied the governors, and a hundred years later their independence was a public scandal.

The reduction of the Peloponnesian Slavs in the reign of Michael prepared the way for their conversion to Christianity and their hellenization.3

The process of civilization and


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i The sole source is Constantine, op. cit. 220-221. The narrative, not suggesting that the revolt lasted long, is in favour of supposing that the Slavs were reduced early in the reign of Theodora and Michael. We cannot go further than this. The date (c. 849) given by Muralt and Hopf (Geschichte, 127) rests on the false identification of Theoktistos Bryennios with Theoktistos the Logothete (cp. Hirsch, 220); but there is another consideration which renders the approximate

dating 847-850 plausible ; see above,

They retained their lands and customs, but their social organization under župans seems to have come to an end. (Cp. Hopf, 127.) The word župan survives in Modern Greek, TGoutávis, in the sense of “herd.”

3 The foundation of monasteries and churches was one of the principal means by which the change was effected. The christianization progressed rapidly under Basil I. and his successors.

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