Slike stranica


thousands of Michael were swallowed up by the tens of thousands of Thomas. As no formidable resistance was offered to the tyrant's progress in Asia Minor, he prepared to attack the city itself. For this enterprise, in which so many had failed before him, it was judged indispensable to possess a fleet. The City of the Bosphorus had over and over again defied a joint attack by land and sea; it was naturally inferred that an attack by land alone would have no chances of success.? The pretender therefore set himself to gather a fleet, and it would seem that he had no difficulty in seizing the fleets of the Aegean and the Kibyrrhaeot Themes, which together formed the Thematic or provincial navy. Thus all the warships stationed in the eastern parts of the Empire were in his hands, except the Imperial fleet itself, which lay at the Imperial city. In addition to these, he built new warships and new ships of transport. When all was ready, he caused his naval forces to assemble at Lesbos and await his orders, while he himself advanced to the Hellespont and secured Abydos. And now he met his first reverse. All had yielded to him as he swept on through the Asiatic Themes, except one place, whose name our historians do not mention. He did not think it worth while to delay himself, but he left a considerable part of his army under the command of Constantius, to reduce this stubborn fortress. It seems probable too that this dividing of his forces formed part of a further design. We may guess that while Constantine was to cross by the western gate of the Propontis and advance on the city from the west, Constantius was to approach the eastern strait and attack the city on the south. But if this was the plan of operations, Constantius was not destined to fulfil his part of it. Olbianos, the general of the Armeniac Theme, was biding his time and watching for an opportunity. His army

| This engagement is recorded only "the feeble spirit” of the defenders. by the Continuer, who uses the ex- He remarks that currents of the Marpressive metaphor ώσπερ τι ποτόν διψών mora, and “the violent storms to åveppoonoer (55). Part of Michael's which the waters around the city are army, however, escaped.

liable,” were natural allies of the 2 It is, however, well remarked by besieged. van Millingen (Walls, 179) that in 3 εντεύθεν και του θεματικού στόλου Byzantine history "there is only one γίνεται εγκρατής (i5.); ήδη το ναυτικόν instance of a successful naval assault άπαν το υπό Ρωμαίους όν, πλήν του upon Constantinople, the gallant cap- βασιλικού κληθέντος υποποιείται (Gen. ture of the city in 1204 by the Vene- 37). tians,” and that was largely due to


was not large enough to try an issue with the united forces of the enemy, but his chance came when those forces were divided. He set an ambush to waylay the younger tyrant, who, as he advanced securely, supposing that the way was clear, allowed his men to march in disorder. Constantius was slain and his head was sent to Constantine. This was the first check in the triumphant course of the war, though the death of the son may have caused little grief to the “father.”

The scene of operations now shifts from Asia to Europe. The Emperor, seeing that his adversary was preparing to cross the straits, had gone forth at the head of a small army and visited some of the cities of Thrace in order to confirm them against the violence or seductions of the tyrant and assure himself of their stedfast faith. But his care availed little. On a dark moonless night Thomas transported his troops to various spots on the Thracian shore, starting from an obscure haven named Horkosion. About the same time the fleet arrived from Lesbos and sailed into the waters of the Propontis. No resistance was offered by the inhabitants of Thrace when they saw the immense numbers of the invading host. Michael seems to have lingered, perhaps somewhere on the shores of the Propontis, to observe what effect the appearance of his foe would produce on the cities which had yesterday pledged themselves to stand true, and when he learned that they were cowed into yielding, he returned to the city and set about making it ready to withstand a siege. The garrison was recruited by loyal soldiers from the Asiatic Themes, now free from the presence of the pretender. The Imperial fleet, supplied with "Marine Fire," was stationed not in the Golden Horn, but in the three artificial harbours on the southern shore of the city,—the port of Hormisdas, which was probably already known by its later name of Bucoleon ;2 the Sophian

1 Gen. 37 implies that Horkosion the Marniora appears in the sequel. was on the Hellespontine coast, not Of the harbours along this shore the necessarily that it was close to Abydos. best account is in van Millingen, We may therefore identify it with Walls, 268 sqq. There were two other 'Opkós, which lay between Parion and harbours besides the three aboveLampsacus (Theod. Stud. Epp. i. 3, p. mentioned ; but there is no evidence 917), which is doubtless the Lorco of that the Kontoskalion (between the later times, placed with probability Sophian and the Kaisarian) existed by Tomaschek in the crescent bay a in the ninth century, while that of little N.E. of Lampsacus (Top. v. Eleutherios or Theodosius, the most Kleinasien, 15).

westerly of all, had probably been filled 2 The position of Michael's fleet on up before this period (the author of 2 Van Millingen has shown that it is almost certainly identical with the Neorion of Heptaskalon, and there is archaeological evidence for placing it between Kum Kapussi and Yeni Kapu (310 sqq.).




harbour, further to the west;? and beyond it the harbour of Kaisarios. The entrance to the Golden Horn was blocked by the Iron Chain, which was stretched across the water from a point near the Gate of Eugenios to the Castle of Galata. In making these dispositions Michael was perhaps availing himself of the experience of previous sieges. When the Saracens attacked the city in the seventh century, Constantine IV. had disposed a portion of his naval forces in the harbour of Kaisarios. In the second attack of the same foe in the eighth century, Leo III, had stretched the Iron Chain, but he seems to have stationed his own ships outside the Horn.

The host of Thomas had been increased by new adherents from the European provinces, and Slavs from Macedonia flocked to the standard of the Slavonian pretender. But he needed a new general and a new son. To succeed the unlucky leader, whom he had destined to be Constantius the Fourth, he chose a monk, already bearing an Imperial name, and worthy in the opinion of the tyrant to be Anastasius the Third ; not worthy, however, of such an exalted place, in the opinion of our historians, who describe him as an ugly man, with a face like an Ethiopian's from excessive wine-drinking, and of insane mind.” But the monk was not fitted to lead troops to battle, and for this office Thomas won the services of a banished general named Gregory, who had perhaps better cause than himself to hate the name of Michael. Gregory Pterotos was a nephew of Leo the Armenian, and, on the death of his uncle, whom he loved, fear had not held him back from entering the presence of his successor, where, instead of falling among those

the IIárpia, 184, 248, says this happened in the reign of Theodosius I.; but the alternative name suggests rather that he repaired it). It may be noticed that the harbours in which Phocas expected Heraclius (A.D. 610) to land were those of Kaisarios, Sophia, and Hormisdas (John Ant., in Müller, F.H.G. v. 1. 38).

1 Also called Harbour of Julian and New Harbour.

3 From Theoph. 396 we know that in A.D. 717 it was attached to the καστέλλιον των Γαλάτου (as in later times). The southern end was fastened, in later times, to the Kentenarion tower close to the Porta Eugenii, and we know that this existed in the ninth century (IIárpia 264, where Constantine I. is said to have built the tower). Cp. van Millingen, 228.

• Theoph. 353.
5 Ib. 396.

6 Michael, Ep. ad Lud. 418: Thrace, Macedonia, Thessalonia, et circumiacentibus Sclaviniis.

7 Gen. 39.




who grovelled at the Imperial feet, he overwhelmed him with reproaches for the murderous deed. The Emperor merely said, “I know the greatness of your sorrow and the ocean of your distress,” but two days later he banished this fearless kinsman of his predecessor to the island of Skyros. Gregory was not unwilling to attach himself to the rival of him who had banished himself and dethroned his uncle, and he was speedily entrusted with the command of ten thousand men and sent on to open the assault on the Imperial city.

It was already winter, and the first year of Michael's reign was drawing to a close, when Gregory took up his station on the north-west of the city, in the suburbs outside Blachernae, while the fleet, under another unnamed commander, reached the same quarter by sailing up the inlet of the Golden Horn, having evidently unfastened the Iron Chain where it was attached to the Castle of Galata.? On the banks of the Barbyses, a stream which flows into the Horn, the leaders of the sea forces and the land forces could concert their plans together. No action, however, was taken until Constantius and Anastasius arrived with their mighty host. The leaders seem to have imagined that when this vast array spread out before the walls of the city, and their ships filled the Golden Horn and threatened the harbours on the Propontis, the inhabitants would be so utterly dismayed by the sight of the overwhelming numbers that they would throw open their gates in despair. But it soon became clear that the city and its masters were resolved to withstand even such a vast force; they trusted in their impregnable walls. It was the first business of Thomas, when he saw that a siege was inevitable, to reduce the suburbs and villages which lay north

1 The details about this Gregory Sweet Waters of Europe. It flows (his kinship with Leo, the cause of into the Horn close to the Cosmidion his exile, and his name Pterôtos) are (Church of SS. Cosmas and Damian, recorded in Cont. Th. 57, but not by now the Eyub mosque), which is not Genesios.

far to the west of Blachernae. See 2 This is an inference, but I think van Millingen, Walls, 175-176. There evident. Thomas controlled the was a bridge across the Barbyses northern shore of the Horn. In ex- (Niceph. Patr. ed. de Boor, 14 and actly the same way the Venetians, 26), which must have been quite having captured the Galata Tower, re- distinct from the bridge across the moved the chain in A.D. 1203 (Nicetas, Golden Horn, of which the southern ed. Bonn. 718-719).

point was in Aivan Serai ; though 3 Gen. 38. The Barbyses (or Bar- Ducange (Const. Christ. iv. (125) and byssos) is now called the Kiat-haneh van Millingen seem to connect the Su, one of the streams known as the two bridges.

[ocr errors]



of the city along the shores of the Bosphorus. These places could not resist. The inhabitants were doubtless glad to submit as speedily as possible to any one engaged in besieging the city, remembering too well how but a few years ago they had been harried by another and more terrible enemy, the Bulgarian Krum. The siege began in the month of December.3

The course of events from this point to the end of the war may be conveniently divided into five stages.

1. December 821 to February or March 822.—Thomas spent some days in disposing his forces and preparing his engines. He pitched his own tent in the suburbs beyond Blachernae, not far from the noble building which rose towards heaven like a palace, the church of St. Cosmas and St. Damian, the physicians who take no fee for their services to men. Until the reign of Heraclius the northwestern corner of the city between the Palace of Blachernae and the Golden Horn must have been defended by a fortification of which no traces survive. Heraclius, whether before or after the siege of the Avars (A.D. 626)," had connected the Palace with the seaward fortifications by a wall which is flanked by three admirably built hexagonal towers. But the assaults of the Bulgarians in A.D. 813 seem to have proved that this “Single Wall of Blachernae,” as it was called, was an insufficient defence, and Leo V., in expectation of a second Bulgarian siege, constructed a second outer wall, parallel to that of Heraclius, and forming with it a sort of citadel which was known as the Brachionion.! 1 Gen. 39.

the Cosmidion. Cp. Ducange, Const. 2 Above, p. 46.

Chr. 127. 3 The date comes from Michael, Ep. Extending, I conjecture, from the ad Lud. 418, where we also learn that north-east corner of the Palace to the the blockade lasted for the space of a sea-wall. Cp. van Millingen, Walls, year.

120. The outer walls of the Palace 4 There has been no full and critical itself formed the fortification as far as relation of the siege by modern his- the northern extremity of the Theotorians. See Lebeau, xiii. 50 sqq. ; dosian Walls. Schlosser, 440 sqq. ; Finlay, ii. 131 7 Pernice (L'Imperatore Eraclio, 141) (very brief). Much the best is that of

has given some reasons for thinking Vasil'ev, Viz. i. Ar. 33 sqq.

that the wall was built after the Avar 5 The suburb between Cosmidion attack in A.D. 619. Cp. my note in and Blachernae was known as Gibbon, v. 92. Παυλίνου (and is so designated here in 8 Van Millingen, Walls, 164 899. Cont. Th. 59), from Paulinus (famous 9 See below, p. 359. for his love-affair with Athenais, the 10 Van Millingen, Walls, 168: “The wife of Theodosius II.), who founded Wall of Leo stands 77 feet to the west




« PrethodnaNastavi »