Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER LV - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10
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CHAPTER LV - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 10 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 10.
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The Bulgarians — Origin, Migrations, and Settlement of the Hungarians — Their inroads in the East and West — The monarchy of Russia — Geography and Trade — Wars of the Russians against the Greek Empire — Conversion of the Barbarians
Under the reign of Constantine the grandson of Heraclius, the ancient barrier of the Danube, so often violated and so often restored, was irretrievably swept away by a new deluge of Barbarians. Their progress was favoured by the caliphs, their unknown and accidental auxiliaries: the Roman legions were occupied in Asia; and, after the loss of Syria, Egypt, and Africa, the Cæsars were twice reduced to the danger and disgrace of defending their capital against the Saracens. If, in the account of this interesting people, I have deviated from the strict and original line of my undertaking, the merit of the subject will hide my transgression or solicit my excuse. In the East, in the West, in war, in religion, in science, in their prosperity, and in their decay, the Arabians press themselves on our curiosity: the first overthrow of the church and empire of the Greeks may be imputed to their arms; and the disciples of Mahomet still hold the civil and religious sceptre of the Oriental world. But the same labour would be unworthily bestowed on the swarms of savages who, between the seventh and the twelfth century, descended from the plains of Scythia, in transient inroad or perpetual emigration.1 Their names are uncouth, their origins doubtful, their actions obscure, their superstition was blind, their valour brutal, and the uniformity of their public and private lives was neither softened by innocence nor refined by policy. The majesty of the Byzantine throne repelled and survived their disorderly attacks; the greater part of these Barbarians has disappeared without leaving any memorial of their existence, and the despicable remnant continues, and may long continue, to groan under the dominion of a foreign tyrant. From the antiquities of, I. Bulgarians, II. Hungarians, and III. Russians, I shall content myself with selecting such facts as yet deserve to be remembered. The conquests of the, IV., Normans, and the monarchy of the, V., Turks, will naturally terminate in the memorable Crusades to the Holy Land, and the double fall of the city and empire of Constantine.
I. In his march to Italy, Theodoric2 the Ostrogoth had trampled on the arms of the Bulgarians. After this defeat, the name and the nation are lost during a century and a half;3 and it may be suspected that the same or a similar appellation was revived by strange colonies from the Borysthenes, the Tanais, or the Volga. A king of the ancient Bulgaria4 bequeathed to his five sons a last lesson of moderation and concord. It was received as youth has ever received the counsels of age and experience: the five princes buried their father; divided his subjects and cattle; forgot his advice; separated from each other; and wandered in quest of fortune, till we find the most adventurous in the heart of Italy, under the protection of the exarch of Ravenna.5 But the stream of emigration was directed or impelled towards the capital. The modern Bulgaria, along the southern banks of the Danube, was stamped with the name and image which it has retained to the present hour; the new conquerors successively acquired, by war or treaty, the Roman provinces of Dardania, Thessaly, and the two Epirus’;6 the ecclesiastical supremacy was translated from the native city of Justinian; and, in their prosperous age, the obscure town of Lychnidus, or Achrida, was honoured with the throne of a king and a patriarch.7 The unquestionable evidence of language attests the descent of the Bulgarians from the original stock of the Sclavonian, or more properly Slavonian, race;8 and the kindred bands of Servians, Bosnians, Rascians, Croatians, Walachians,9 &c. followed either the standard or the example of the leading tribe. From the Euxine to the Adriatic, in the state of captives or subjects, or allies or enemies, of the Greek empire, they overspread the land; and the national appellation of the slaves10 has been degraded by chance or malice from the signification of glory to that of servitude.11 Among these colonies, the Chrobatians,12 or Croats, who now attend the motions of an Austrian army, are the descendants of a mighty people, the conquerors and sovereigns of Dalmatia. The maritime cities, and of these the infant republic of Ragusa, implored the aid and instructions of the Byzantine court: they were advised by the magnanimous Basil to reserve a small acknowledgment of their fidelity to the Roman empire, and to appease, by an annual tribute, the wrath of these irresistible Barbarians. The kingdom of Croatia was shared by eleven Zoupans, or feudatory lords; and their united forces were numbered at sixty thousand horse and one hundred thousand foot. A long sea-coast, indented with capacious harbours, covered with a string of islands, and almost in sight of the Italian shores, disposed both the natives and strangers to the practice of navigation. The boats or brigantines of the Croats were constructed after the fashion of the old Liburnians; one hundred and eighty vessels may excite the idea of a respectable navy; but our seamen will smile at the allowance of ten, or twenty, or forty men for each of these ships of war. They were gradually converted to the more honourable service of commerce; yet the Sclavonian pirates were still frequent and dangerous; and it was not before the close of the tenth century that the freedom and sovereignty of the Gulf were effectually vindicated by the Venetian republic.13 The ancestors of these Dalmatian kings were equally removed from the use and abuse of navigation; they dwelt in the White Croatia, in the inland regions of Silesia and Little Poland, thirty days’ journey, according to the Greek computation, from the sea of darkness.
The glory of the Bulgarians14 was confined to a narrow scope both of time and place. In the ninth and tenth centuries they reigned to the south of the Danube; but the more powerful nations that had followed their emigration repelled all return to the north and all progress to the west. Yet, in the obscure catalogue of their exploits, they might boast an honour which had hitherto been appropriated to the Goths: that of slaying in battle one of the successors of Augustus and Constantine. The emperor Nicephorus had lost his fame in the Arabian, he lost his life in the Sclavonian, war. In his first operations he advanced with boldness and success into the centre of Bulgaria, and burnt the royal court, which was probably no more than an edifice and village of timber. But, while he searched the spoil and refused all offers of treaty, his enemies collected their spirits and their forces; the passes of retreat were insuperably barred; and the trembling Nicephorus was heard to exclaim: “Alas, alas! unless we could assume the wings of birds, we cannot hope to escape.” Two days he waited his fate in the inactivity of despair; but, on the morning of the third, the Bulgarians surprised the camp; and the Roman prince, with the great officers of the empire, were slaughtered in their tents. The body of Valens had been saved from insult; but the head of Nicephorus was exposed on a spear, and his skull, enchased with gold, was often replenished in the feasts of victory. The Greeks bewailed the dishonour of the throne; but they acknowledged the just punishment of avarice and cruelty. This savage cup was deeply tinctured with the manners of the Scythian wilderness; but they were softened before the end of the same century by a peaceful intercourse with the Greeks, the possession of a cultivated region, and the introduction of the Christian worship.15 The nobles of Bulgaria were educated in the schools and palace of Constantinople; and Simeon,16 a youth of the royal line, was instructed in the rhetoric of Demosthenes and the logic of Aristotle. He relinquished the profession of a monk for that of a king and warrior; and in his reign, of more than forty years,17 Bulgaria assumed a rank among the civilised powers of the earth. The Greeks, whom he repeatedly attacked, derived a faint consolation from indulging themselves in the reproaches of perfidy and sacrilege. They purchased the aid of the Pagan Turks; but Simeon, in a second battle, redeemed the loss of the first, at a time when it was esteemed a victory to elude the arms of that formidable nation. The Servians18 were overthrown, made captive, and dispersed; and those who visited the country before their restoration could discover no more than fifty vagrants, without women or children, who extorted a precarious subsistence from the chase. On classic ground, on the banks of the Achelöus, the Greeks were defeated; their horn was broken by the strength of the barbaric Hercules.19 He formed the siege of Constantinople; and, in a personal conference with the emperor, Simeon imposed the conditions of peace. They met with the most jealous precautions; the royal gallery was drawn close to an artificial and well-fortified platform; and the majesty of the purple was emulated by the pomp of the Bulgarian. “Are you a Christian?” said the humble Romanus. “It is your duty to abstain from the blood of your fellow-Christians. Has the thirst of riches seduced you from the blessings of peace? Sheathe your sword, open your hand, and I will satiate the utmost measure of your desires.” The reconciliation was sealed by a domestic alliance;20 the freedom of trade was granted or restored; the first honours of the court were secured to the friends of Bulgaria, above the ambassadors of enemies or strangers;21 and her princes were dignified with the high and invidious title of basileus, or emperor. But this friendship was soon disturbed: after the death of Simeon, the nations were again in arms; his feeble successors were divided22 and extinguished; and, in the beginning of the eleventh century, the second Basil, who was born in the purple, deserved the appellation of conqueror of the Bulgarians.23 His avarice was in some measure gratified by a treasure of four hundred thousand pounds sterling (ten thousand pounds weight of gold) which he found in the palace of Lychnidus. His cruelty inflicted a cool and exquisite vengeance on fifteen thousand captives who had been guilty of the defence of their country: they were deprived of sight; but to one of each hundred a single eye was left, that he might conduct his blind century to the presence of their king. Their king is said to have expired of grief and horror; the nation was awed by this terrible example; the Bulgarians were swept away from their settlements, and circumscribed within a narrow province; the surviving chiefs bequeathed to their children the advice of patience and the duty of revenge.
II. When the black swarm of Hungarians first hung over Europe, about nine hundred years after the Christian era, they were mistaken by fear and superstition for the Gog and Magog of the Scriptures, the signs and forerunners of the end of the world.24 Since the introduction of letters, they have explored their own antiquities with a strong and laudable impulse of patriotic curiosity.25 Their rational criticism can no longer be amused with a vain pedigree of Attila and the Huns; but they complain that their primitive records have perished in the Tartar war; that the truth or fiction of their rustic songs is long since forgotten; and that the fragments of a rude chronicle26 must be painfully reconciled with the contemporary though foreign intelligence of the Imperial geographer.27Magiar is the national and Oriental denomination of the Hungarians; but, among the tribes of Scythia, they are distinguished by the Greeks under the proper and peculiar name of Turks, as the descendants of that mighty people who had conquered and reigned from China to the Volga. The Pannonian colony preserved a correspondence of trade and amity with the eastern Turks on the confines of Persia; and, after a separation of three hundred and fifty years, the missionaries of the king of Hungary discovered and visited their ancient country near the banks of the Volga. They were hospitably entertained by a people of pagans and savages, who still bore the name of Hungarians; conversed in their native tongue, recollected a tradition of their long-lost brethren, and listened with amazement to the marvellous tale of their new kingdom and religion. The zeal of conversion was animated by the interest of consanguinity; and one of the greatest of their princes had formed the generous, though fruitless, design of replenishing the solitude of Pannonia by this domestic colony from the heart of Tartary.28 From this primitive country they were driven to the West by the tide of war and emigration, by the weight of the more distant tribes, who at the same time were fugitives and conquerors. Reason or fortune directed their course towards the frontiers of the Roman empire; they halted in the usual stations along the banks of the great rivers; and in the territories of Moscow, Kiow, and Moldavia some vestiges have been discovered of their temporary residence. In this long and various peregrination, they could not always escape the dominion of the stronger; and the purity of their blood was improved or sullied by the mixture of a foreign race; from a motive of compulsion or choice, several tribes of the Chazars were associated to the standard of their ancient vassals; introduced the use of a second language;29 and obtained by their superior renown the most honourable place in the front of battle. The military force of the Turks and their allies marched in seven equal and artificial divisions; each division was formed of thirty thousand eight hundred and fifty-seven warriors, and the proportion of women, children, and servants supposes and requires at least a million of emigrants. Their public counsels were directed by seven vayvods,30 or hereditary chiefs; but the experience of discord and weakness recommended the more simple and vigorous administration of a single person. The sceptre which had been declined by the modest Lebedias, was granted to the birth or merit of Almus and his son Arpad, and the authority of the supreme khan of the Chazars confirmed the engagement of the prince and people: of the people to obey his commands, of the prince to consult their happiness and glory.
With this narrative we might be reasonably content, if the penetration of modern learning had not opened a new and larger prospect of the antiquities of nations. The Hungarian language stands alone, and as it were insulated, among the Sclavonian dialects; but it bears a close and clear affinity to the idioms of the Fennic race,31 of an obsolete and savage race, which formerly occupied the northern regions of Asia and Europe. The genuine appellation of Ugri or Igours is found on the western confines of China,32 their migration to the banks of the Irtish is attested by Tartar evidence,33 a similar name and language are detected in the southern parts of Siberia,34 and the remains of the Fennic tribes are widely, though thinly, scattered from the sources of the Oby to the shores of Lapland.35 The consanguinity of the Hungarians and Laplanders would display the powerful energy of climate on the children of a common parent; the lively contrast between the bold adventurers who are intoxicated with the wines of the Danube, and the wretched fugitives who are immersed beneath the snows of the polar circle. Arms and freedom have ever been the ruling, though too often the unsuccessful, passion of the Hungarians, who are endowed by nature with a vigorous constitution of soul and body.36 extreme cold has diminished the stature and congealed the faculties of the Laplanders; and the Arctic tribes, alone among the sons of men, are ignorant of war and unconscious of human blood: an happy ignorance, if reason and virtue were the guardians of their peace!37
It is the observation of the Imperial author of the Tactics38 that all the Scythian hordes resembled each other in their pastoral and military life, that they all practised the same means of subsistence, and employed the same instruments of destruction. But he adds that the two nations of Bulgarians and Hungarians were superior to their brethren, and similar to each other, in the improvements, however rude, of their discipline and government; their visible likeness determines Leo to confound his friends and enemies in one common description; and the picture may be heightened by some strokes from their contemporaries of the tenth century. Except the merit and fame of military prowess, all that is valued by mankind appeared vile and contemptible to these Barbarians, whose native fierceness was stimulated by the consciousness of numbers and freedom. The tents of the Hungarians were of leather, their garments of fur; they shaved their hair and scarified their faces; in speech they were slow, in action prompt, in treaty perfidious; and they shared the common reproach of Barbarians, too ignorant to conceive the importance of truth, too proud to deny or palliate the breach of their most solemn engagements. Their simplicity has been praised; yet they abstained only from the luxury they had never known; whatever they saw, they coveted; their desires were insatiate, and their sole industry was the hand of violence and rapine. By the definition of a pastoral nation, I have recalled a long description of the economy, the warfare, and the government that prevail in that stage of society; I may add that to fishing as well as to the chase the Hungarians were indebted for a part of their subsistence; and, since they seldom cultivated the ground, they must, at least in their new settlements, have sometimes practised a slight and unskilful husbandry. In their emigrations, perhaps in their expeditions, the host was accompanied by thousands of sheep and oxen, which increased the cloud of formidable dust, and afforded a constant and wholesome supply of milk and animal food. A plentiful command of forage was the first care of the general, and, if the flocks and herds were secure of their pastures, the hardy warrior was alike insensible of danger and fatigue. The confusion of men and cattle that overspread the country exposed their camp to a nocturnal surprise, had not a still wider circuit been occupied by their light cavalry, perpetually in motion to discover and delay the approach of the enemy. After some experience of the Roman tactics, they adopted the use of the sword and spear, the helmet of the soldier, and the iron breast-plate of his steed; but their native and deadly weapon was the Tartar bow; from the earliest infancy, their children and servants were exercised in the double science of archery and horsemanship; their arm was strong; their aim was sure; and, in the most rapid career, they were taught to throw themselves backwards, and to shoot a volley of arrows into the air. In open combat, in secret ambush, in flight or pursuit, they were equally formidable; an appearance of order was maintained in the foremost ranks, but their charge was driven forwards by the impatient pressure of succeeding crowds. They pursued, headlong and rash, with loosened reins and horrific outcries; but if they fled, with real or dissembled fear, the ardour of a pursuing foe was checked and chastised by the same habits of irregular speed and sudden evolution. In the abuse of victory, they astonished Europe, yet smarting from the wounds of the Saracen and the Dane; mercy they rarely asked, and more rarely bestowed; both sexes were accused as equally inaccessible to pity, and their appetite for raw flesh might countenance the popular tale that they drank the blood and feasted on the hearts of the slain. Yet the Hungarians were not devoid of those principles of justice and humanity which nature has implanted in every bosom. The licence of public and private injuries was restrained by laws and punishments; and in the security of an open camp theft is the most tempting and most dangerous offence. Among the Barbarians, there were many whose spontaneous virtue supplied their laws and corrected their manners, who performed the duties, and sympathised with the affections, of social life.
After a long pilgrimage of flight or victory, the Turkish hordes approached the common limits of the French and Byzantine empires. Their first conquests and final settlements extended on either side of the Danube above Vienna, below Belgrade, and beyond the measure of the Roman province of Pannonia, or the modern kingdom of Hungary.39 That ample and fertile land was loosely occupied by the Moravians, a Sclavonian name and tribe, which were driven by the invaders into the compass of a narrow province. Charlemagne had stretched a vague and nominal empire as far as the edge of Transylvania; but, after the failure of his legitimate line, the dukes of Moravia forgot their obedience and tribute to the monarchs of Oriental France.40 The bastard Arnulph was provoked to invite the arms of the Turks; they rushed through the real or figurative wall which his indiscretion had thrown open; and the king of Germany has been justly reproached as a traitor to the civil and ecclesiastical society of the Christians. During the life of Arnulph, the Hungarians were checked by gratitude or fear; but in the infancy of his son Lewis they discovered and invaded Bavaria; and such was their Scythian speed that, in a single day, a circuit of fifty miles was stripped and consumed. In the battle of Augsburg, the Christians maintained their advantage till the seventh hour of the day; they were deceived and vanquished by the flying stratagems of the Turkish cavalry. The conflagration spread over the provinces of Bavaria, Swabia, and Franconia; and the Hungarians41 promoted the reign of anarchy by forcing the stoutest barons to discipline their vassals and fortify their castles. The origin of walled towns is ascribed to this calamitous period; nor could any distance be secure against an enemy who, almost at the same instant, laid in ashes the Helvetian monastery of St. Gall, and the city of Bremen on the shores of the Northern ocean. Above thirty years the Germanic empire, or kingdom, was subject to the ignominy of tribute; and resistance was disarmed by the menace, the serious and effectual menace, of dragging the women and children into captivity and of slaughtering the males above the age of ten years. I have neither power nor inclination to follow the Hungarians beyond the Rhine; but I must observe with surprise that the southern provinces of France were blasted by the tempest, and that Spain, behind her Pyrenees, was astonished at the approach of these formidable strangers.42 The vicinity of Italy had tempted their early inroads; but, from their camp on the Brenta, they beheld with some terror the apparent strength and populousness of the new-discovered country. They requested leave to retire; their request was proudly rejected by the Italian king; and the lives of twenty thousand Christians paid the forfeit of his obstinacy and rashness. Among the cities of the West, the royal Pavia was conspicuous in fame and splendour; and the pre-eminence of Rome itself was only derived from the relics of the apostles. The Hungarians appeared; Pavia was in flames; forty-three churches were consumed; and, after the massacre of the people, they spared about two hundred wretches who had gathered some bushels of gold and silver (a vague exaggeration) from the smoking ruins of their country. In these annual excursions from the Alps to the neighbourhood of Rome and Capua, the churches, that yet escaped, resounded with a fearful litany: “Oh! save and deliver us from the arrows of the Hungarians!” But the saints were deaf or inexorable; and the torrent rolled forwards, till it was stopped by the extreme land of Calabria.43 A composition was offered and accepted for the head of each Italian subject; and ten bushels of silver were poured forth in the Turkish camp. But falsehood is the natural antagonist of violence; and the robbers were defrauded both in the numbers of the assessment and the standard of the metal. On the side of the East the Hungarians were opposed in doubtful conflict by the equal arms of the Bulgarians, whose faith forbade an alliance with the Pagans, and whose situation formed the barrier of the Byzantine empire. The barrier was overturned; the emperor of Constantinople beheld the waving banners of the Turks; and one of their boldest warriors presumed to strike a battle-axe into the golden gate. The arts and treasures of the Greeks diverted the assault; but the Hungarians might boast, on their retreat, that they had imposed a tribute on the spirit of Bulgaria and the majesty of the Cæsars.44 The remote and rapid operations of the same campaign appear to magnify the powers and numbers of the Turks; but their courage is most deserving of praise, since a light troop of three or four hundred horse would often attempt and execute the most daring inroads to the gates of Thessalonica and Constantinople. At this disastrous era of the ninth and tenth centuries, Europe was afflicted by a triple scourge from the North, the East, and the South; the Norman, the Hungarian, and the Saracen sometimes trod the same ground of desolation; and these savage foes might have been compared by Homer to the two lions growling over the carcase of a mangled stag.45
The deliverance of Germany and Christendom was achieved by the Saxon princes, Henry the Fowler and Otho the Great, who, in two memorable battles, for ever broke the power of the Hungarians.46 The valiant Henry was roused from a bed of sickness by the invasion of his country; but his mind was vigorous and his prudence successful. “My companions,” said he on the morning of the combat, “maintain your ranks, receive on your bucklers the first arrows of the Pagans, and prevent their second discharge by the equal and rapid career of your lances.” They obeyed, and conquered; and the historical picture of the castle of Merseburg expressed the features, or at least the character, of Henry, who, in an age of ignorance, entrusted to the finer arts the perpetuity of his name.47 At the end of twenty years, the children of the Turks who had fallen by his sword invaded the empire of his son; and their force is defined, in the lowest estimate, at one hundred thousand horse. They were invited by domestic faction; the gates of Germany were treacherously unlocked; and they spread, far beyond the Rhine and the Meuse, into the heart of Flanders. But the vigour and prudence of Otho dispelled the conspiracy; the princes were made sensible that, unless they were true to each other, their religion and country were irrecoverably lost; and the national powers were reviewed in the plains of Augsburg. They marched and fought in eight legions,48 according to the division of provinces and tribes; the first, second, and third were composed of Bavarians; the fourth of Franconians; the fifth of Saxons, under the immediate command of the monarch; the sixth and seventh consisted of Swabians; and the eighth legion, of a thousand Bohemians, closed the rear of the host. The resources of discipline and valour were fortified by the arts of superstition, which, on this occasion, may deserve the epithets of generous and salutary. The soldiers were purified with a fast; the camp was blessed with the relics of saints and martyrs; and the Christian hero girded on his side the sword of Constantine, grasped the invincible spear of Charlemagne, and waved the banner of St. Maurice, the prefect of the Thebæan legion. But his firmest confidence was placed in the holy lance,49 whose point was fashioned of the nails of the cross, and which his father had extorted from the king of Burgundy by the threats of war and the gift of a province. The Hungarians were expected in the front;50 they secretly passed the Lech, a river of Bavaria that falls into the Danube; turned the rear of the Christian army; plundered the baggage and disordered the legions of Bohemia and Swabia. The battle was restored by the Franconians, whose duke, the valiant Conrad, was pierced with an arrow as he rested from his fatigues; the Saxons fought under the eyes of their king; and his victory surpassed, in merit and importance, the triumphs of the last two hundred years. The loss of the Hungarians was still greater in the flight than in the action; they were encompassed by the rivers of Bavaria; and their past cruelties excluded them from the hope of mercy. Three captive princes were hanged at Ratisbon, the multitude of prisoners was slain or mutilated, and the fugitives, who presumed to appear in the face of their country, were condemned to everlasting poverty and disgrace.51 Yet the spirit of the nation was humbled, and the most accessible passes of Hungary were fortified with a ditch and rampart. Adversity suggested the counsels of moderation and peace; the robbers of the West acquiesced in a sedentary life; and the next generation was taught, by a discerning prince, that far more might be gained by multiplying and exchanging the produce of a fruitful soil. The native race, the Turkish or Fennic blood, was mingled with new colonies of Scythian or Sclavonian origin;52 many thousands of robust and industrious captives had been imported from all the countries of Europe;53 and, after the marriage of Geisa with a Bavarian princess, he bestowed honours and estates on the nobles of Germany.54 The son of Geisa was invested with the regal title, and the house of Arpad reigned three hundred years in the kingdom of Hungary. But the freeborn Barbarians were not dazzled by the lustre of the diadem, and the people asserted their indefeasible right of choosing, deposing, and punishing the hereditary servant of the state.
III. The name of Russians55 was first divulged, in the ninth century, by an embassy from Theophilus, emperor of the East, to the emperor of the West, Lewis, the son of Charlemagne. The Greeks were accompanied by the envoys of the great duke, or chagan, or czar, of the Russians. In their journey to Constantinople, they had traversed many hostile nations; and they hoped to escape the dangers of their return by requesting the French monarch to transport them by sea to their native country. A closer examination detected their origin: they were the brethren of the Swedes and Normans, whose name was already odious and formidable in France; and it might justly be apprehended that these Russian strangers were not the messengers of peace but the emissaries of war. They were detained, while the Greeks were dismissed; and Lewis expected a more satisfactory account, that he might obey the laws of hospitality or prudence, according to the interest of both empires.56 The Scandinavian origin of the people, or at least the princes of Russia, may be confirmed and illustrated by the national annals57 and the general history of the North. The Normans, who had so long been concealed by a veil of impenetrable darkness, suddenly burst forth in the spirit of naval and military enterprise. The vast, and, as it is said, the populous, regions of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway were crowded with independent chieftains and desperate adventurers, who sighed in the laziness of peace, and smiled in the agonies of death. Piracy was the exercise, the trade, the glory, and the virtue of the Scandinavian youth. Impatient of a bleak climate and narrow limits, they started from the banquet, grasped their arms, sounded their horn, ascended their vessels, and explored every coast that promised either spoil or settlement. The Baltic was the first scene of their naval achievements; they visited the eastern shores, the silent residence of Fennic and Sclavonian tribes, and the primitive Russians of the lake Ladoga paid a tribute, the skins of white squirrels, to these strangers, whom they saluted with the title of Varangians,58 or Corsairs. Their superiority in arms, discipline, and renown commanded the fear and reverence of the natives. In their wars against the more inland savages, the Varangians condescended to serve as friends and auxiliaries, and gradually, by choice or conquest, obtained the dominion of a people whom they were qualified to protect. Their tyranny was expelled, their valour was again recalled, till at length Ruric,59 a Scandinavian chief, became the father of a dynasty which reigned above seven hundred years. His brothers extended his influence; the example of service and usurpation was imitated by his companions60 in the southern provinces of Russia; and their establishments, by the usual methods of war and assassination, were cemented into the fabric of a powerful monarchy.
As long as the descendants of Ruric were considered as aliens and conquerors, they ruled by the sword of the Varangians, distributed estates and subjects to their faithful captains, and supplied their numbers with fresh streams of adventurers from the Baltic coast.61 But, when the Scandinavian chiefs had struck a deep and permanent root into the soil, they mingled with the Russians in blood, religion, and language, and the first Waladimir had the merit of delivering his country from these foreign mercenaries. They had seated him on the throne; his riches were insufficient to satisfy their demands; but they listened to his pleasing advice that they should seek, not a more grateful, but a more wealthy master; that they should embark for Greece, where, instead of the skins of squirrels, silk and gold would be the recompense of their service. At the same time, the Russian prince admonished his Byzantine ally to disperse and employ, to recompense and restrain, these impetuous children of the North. Contemporary writers have recorded the introduction, name, and character of the Varangians: each day they rose in confidence and esteem; the whole body was assembled at Constantinople to perform the duty of guards; and their strength was recruited by a numerous band of their countrymen from the island of Thule. On this occasion the vague appellation of Thule is applied to England; and the new Varangians were a colony of English and Danes who fled from the yoke of the Norman conqueror. The habits of pilgrimage and piracy had approximated the countries of the earth; these exiles were entertained in the Byzantine court; and they preserved, till the last age of the empire, the inheritance of spotless loyalty and the use of the Danish or English tongue. With their broad and double-edged battle-axes on their shoulders, they attended the Greek emperor to the temple, the senate, and the hippodrome; he slept and feasted under their trusty guard; and the keys of the palace, the treasury, and the capital were held by the firm and faithful hands of the Varangians.62
In the tenth century, the geography of Scythia was extended far beyond the limits of ancient knowledge; and the monarchy of the Russians obtains a vast and conspicuous place in the map of Constantine.63 The sons of Ruric were masters of the spacious province of Wolodomir, or Moscow; and, if they were confined on that side by the hordes of the East, their western frontier in those early days was enlarged to the Baltic Sea and the country of the Prussians. Their northern reign ascended above the sixtieth degree of latitude, over the Hyperborean regions, which fancy had peopled with monsters, or clouded with eternal darkness. To the south they followed the course of the Borysthenes, and approached with that river the neighbourhood of the Euxine Sea. The tribes that dwelt, or wandered, in this ample circuit were obedient to the same conqueror, and insensibly blended into the same nation. The language of Russia is a dialect of the Sclavonian; but, in the tenth century, these two modes of speech were different from each other; and, as the Sclavonian prevailed in the South, it may be presumed that the original Russians of the North, the primitive subjects of the Varangian chief, were a portion of the Fennic race.64 With the emigration, union, or dissolution of the wandering tribes, the loose and indefinite picture of the Scythian desert has continually shifted. But the most ancient map of Russia affords some places which still retain their name and position; and the two capitals, Novogorod65 and Kiow,66 are coeval with the first age of the monarchy. Novogorod had not yet deserved the epithet of great, nor the alliance of the Hanseatic league, which diffused the streams of opulence and the principles of freedom. Kiow could not yet boast of three hundred churches, an innumerable people, and a degree of greatness and splendour, which was compared with Constantinople by those who had never seen the residence of the Cæsars. In their origin, the two cities were no more than camps or fairs, the most convenient stations in which the Barbarians might assemble for the occasional business of war or trade. Yet even these assemblies announce some progress in the arts of society; a new breed of cattle was imported from the southern provinces; and the spirit of commercial enterprise pervaded the sea and land from the Baltic to the Euxine, from the mouth of the Oder to the port of Constantinople. In the days of idolatry and barbarism, the Sclavonic city of Julin was frequented and enriched by the Normans, who had prudently secured a free mart of purchase and exchange.67 From this harbour, at the entrance of the Oder, the corsair, or merchant, sailed in forty-three days to the eastern shores of the Baltic, the most distant nations were intermingled, and the holy groves of Curland are said to have been decorated with Grecian and Spanish gold.68 Between the sea and Novogorod an easy intercourse was discovered: in the summer, through a gulf, a lake, and a navigable river; in the winter season, over the hard and level surface of boundless snows. From the neighbourhood of that city, the Russians descended the streams that fall into the Borysthenes; their canoes, of a single tree, were laden with slaves of every age, furs of every species, the spoil of their beehives, and the hides of their cattle; and the whole produce of the North was collected and discharged in the magazines of Kiow. The month of June was the ordinary season of the departure of the fleet; the timber of the canoes was framed into the oars and benches of more solid and capacious boats; and they proceeded without obstacle down the Borysthenes, as far as the seven or thirteen ridges of rocks, which traverse the bed, and precipitate the waters, of the river. At the more shallow falls it was sufficient to lighten the vessels; but the deeper cataracts were impassable; and the mariners, who dragged their vessels and their slaves six miles over land, were exposed in this toilsome journey to the robbers of the desert.69 At the first island below the falls, the Russians celebrated the festival of their escape; at a second, near the mouth of the river, they repaired their shattered vessels for the longer and more perilous voyage of the Black Sea. If they steered along the coast, the Danube was accessible; with a fair wind they could reach in thirty-six or forty hours the opposite shores of Anatolia; and Constantinople admitted the annual visit of the strangers of the North. They returned at the stated season with a rich cargo of corn, wine, and oil, the manufactures of Greece, and the spices of India. Some of their countrymen resided in the capital and provinces; and the national treaties protected the persons, effects, and privileges of the Russian merchant.70
But the same communication which had been opened for the benefit, was soon abused for the injury, of mankind. In a period of one hundred and ninety years, the Russians made four attempts to plunder the treasures of Constantinople; the event was various, but the motive, the means, and the object were the same in these naval expeditions.71 The Russian traders had seen the magnificence and tasted the luxury of the city of the Cæsars. A marvellous tale, and a scanty supply, excited the desires of their savage countrymen: they envied the gifts of nature which their climate denied; they coveted the works of art which they were too lazy to imitate and too indigent to purchase: the Varangian princes unfurled the banners of piratical adventure, and their bravest soldiers were drawn from the nations that dwelt in the northern isles of the ocean.72 The image of their naval armaments was revived in the last century in the fleets of the Cossacks, which issued from the Borysthenes to navigate the same seas for a similar purpose.73 The Greek appellation of monoxyla, or single canoes, might be justly applied to the bottom of their vessels. It was scooped out of the long stem of a beech or willow, but the slight and narrow foundation was raised and continued on either side with planks, till it attained the length of sixty, and the height of about twelve, feet. These boats were built without a deck, but with two rudders and a mast; to move with sails and oars; and to contain from forty to seventy men, with their arms, and provisions of fresh water and salt fish. The first trial of the Russians was made with two hundred boats; but, when the national force was exerted, they might arm against Constantinople a thousand or twelve hundred vessels. Their fleet was not much inferior to the royal navy of Agamemnon, but it was magnified in the eyes of fear to ten or fifteen times the real proportion of its strength and numbers. Had the Greek emperors been endowed with foresight to discern, and vigour to prevent, perhaps they might have sealed with a maritime force the mouth of the Borysthenes. Their indolence abandoned the coast of Anatolia to the calamities of a piratical war, which, after an interval of six hundred years, again infested the Euxine; but, as long as the capital was respected, the sufferings of a distant province escaped the notice both of the prince and the historian. The storm, which had swept along from the Phasis and Trebizond, at length burst on the Bosphorus of Thrace: a strait of fifteen miles, in which the rude vessels of the Russian might have been stopped and destroyed by a more skilful adversary. In their first enterprise74 under the prince of Kiow, they passed without opposition, and occupied the port of Constantinople in the absence of the emperor Michael, the son of Theophilus. Through a crowd of perils he landed at the palace stairs, and immediately repaired to a church of the Virgin Mary.75 By the advice of the patriarch, her garment, a precious relic, was drawn from the sanctuary and dipped in the sea; and a seasonable tempest, which determined the retreat of the Russians, was devoutly ascribed to the Mother of God.76 The silence of the Greeks may inspire some doubt of the truth, or at least of the importance, of the second attempt of Oleg, the guardian of the sons of Ruric.77 A strong barrier of arms and fortifications defended the Bosphorus: they were eluded by the usual expedient of drawing the boats over the isthmus; and this simple operation is described in the national chronicles as if the Russian fleet had sailed over dry land with a brisk and favourable gale. The leader of the third armament, Igor, the son of Ruric, had chosen a moment of weakness and decay, when the naval powers of the empire were employed against the Saracens. But, if courage be not wanting, the instruments of defence are seldom deficient. Fifteen broken and decayed galleys were boldly launched against the enemy; but, instead of the single tube of Greek fire usually planted on the prow, the sides and stern of each vessel were abundantly supplied with that liquid combustible. The engineers were dexterous; the weather was propitious; many thousand Russians, who chose rather to be drowned than burnt, leaped into the sea; and those who escaped to the Thracian shore were inhumanly slaughtered by the peasants and soldiers. Yet one third of the canoes escaped into shallow water; and the next spring Igor was again prepared to retrieve his disgrace and claim his revenge.78 After a long peace, Jaroslaus, the great-grandson of Igor, resumed the same project of a naval invasion. A fleet, under the command of his son, was repulsed at the entrance of the Bosphorus by the same artificial flames. But in the rashness of pursuit the vanguard of the Greeks was encompassed by an irresistible multitude of boats and men; their provision of fire was probably exhausted; and twenty-four galleys were either taken, sunk, or destroyed.79
Yet the threats or calamities of a Russian war were more frequently diverted by treaty than by arms. In these naval hostilities every disadvantage was on the side of the Greeks; their savage enemy afforded no mercy; his poverty promised no spoil; his impenetrable retreat deprived the conqueror of the hopes of revenge; and the pride or weakness of empire indulged an opinion that no honour could be gained or lost in the intercourse with Barbarians. At first their demands were high and inadmissible, three pounds of gold for each soldier or mariner of the fleet; the Russian youth adhered to the design of conquest and glory; but the counsels of moderation were recommended by the hoary sages. “Be content,” they said, “with the liberal offers of Cæsar; is it not far better to obtain without a combat the possession of gold, silver, silks, and all the objects of our desires? Are we sure of victory? Can we conclude a treaty with the sea? We do not tread on the land; we float on the abyss of water, and a common death hangs over our heads.”80 The memory of these Arctic fleets that seemed to descend from the Polar circle left a deep impression of terror on the Imperial city. By the vulgar of every rank, it was asserted and believed that an equestrian statue in the square of Taurus was secretly inscribed with a prophecy, how the Russians, in the last days, should become masters of Constantinople.81 In our own time, a Russian armament, instead of sailing from the Borysthenes, has circumnavigated the continent of Europe; and the Turkish capital has been threatened by a squadron of strong and lofty ships of war, each of which, with its naval science and thundering artillery, could have sunk or scattered an hundred canoes, such as those of their ancestors. Perhaps the present generation may yet behold the accomplishment of the prediction, of a rare prediction, of which the style is unambiguous and the date unquestionable.
By land the Russians were less formidable than by sea; and, as they fought for the most part on foot, their irregular legions must often have been broken and overthrown by the cavalry of the Scythian hordes. Yet their growing towns, however slight and imperfect, presented a shelter to the subject and a barrier to the enemy: the monarchy of Kiow, till a fatal partition, assumed the dominion of the North; and the nations from the Volga to the Danube were subdued or repelled by the arms of Swatoslaus,82 the son of Igor, the son of Oleg, the son of Ruric. The vigour of his mind and body was fortified by the hardships of a military and savage life. Wrapt in a bear-skin Swatoslaus usually slept on the ground, his head reclining on a saddle; his diet was coarse and frugal, and, like the heroes of Homer,83 his meat (it was often horse-flesh) was broiled or roasted on the coals. The exercise of war gave stability and discipline to his army; and it may be presumed that no soldier was permitted to transcend the luxury of his chief. By an embassy from Nicephorus, the Greek emperor, he was moved to undertake the conquest of Bulgaria, and a gift of fifteen hundred pounds of gold was laid at his feet to defray the expense, or reward the toils, of the expedition.84 An army of sixty thousand men was assembled and embarked; they sailed from the Borysthenes to the Danube; their landing was effected on the Mæsian shore; and, after a sharp encounter, the swords of the Russians prevailed against the arrows of the Bulgarian horse. The vanquished king sunk into the grave; his children were made captive;85 and his dominions as far as Mount Hæmus were subdued or ravaged by the Northern invaders. But, instead of relinquishing his prey and performing his engagements, the Varangian prince was more disposed to advance than to retire; and, had his ambition been crowned with success, the seat of empire in that early period might have been transferred to a more temperate and fruitful climate. Swatoslaus enjoyed and acknowledged the advantages of his new position, in which he could unite, by exchange or rapine, the various productions of the earth. By an easy navigation he might draw from Russia the native commodities of furs, wax, and hydromel; Hungary supplied him with a breed of horses and the spoils of the West; and Greece abounded with gold, silver, and the foreign luxuries which his poverty had affected to disdain. The bands of Patzinacites, Chozars, and Turks repaired to the standard of victory; and the ambassador of Nicephorus betrayed his trust, assumed the purple, and promised to share with his new allies the treasures of the Eastern world. From the banks of the Danube the Russian prince pursued his march as far as Hadrianople; a formal summons to evacuate the Roman province was dismissed with contempt; and Swatoslaus fiercely replied that Constantine might soon expect the presence of an enemy and a master.
Nicephorus could no longer expel the mischief which he had introduced;86 but his throne and wife were inherited by John Zimisces,87 who, in a diminutive body, possessed the spirit and abilities of an hero. The first victory of his lieutenants deprived the Russians of their foreign allies, twenty thousand of whom were either destroyed by the sword or provoked to revolt or tempted to desert.88 Thrace was delivered, but seventy thousand Barbarians were still in arms; and the legions that had been recalled from the new conquests of Syria prepared, with the return of the spring, to march under the banners of a warlike prince, who declared himself the friend and avenger of the injured Bulgaria. The passes of Mount Hæmus had been left unguarded; they were instantly occupied; the Roman vanguard was formed of the immortals (a proud imitation of the Persian style); the emperor led the main body of ten thousand five hundred foot;89 and the rest of his forces followed in slow and cautious array with the baggage and military engines. The first exploit of Zimisces was the reduction of Marcianopolis, or Peristhlaba,90 in two days: the trumpets sounded; the walls were scaled; eight thousand five hundred Russians were put to the sword;91 and the sons of the Bulgarian king were rescued from an ignominious prison, and invested with a nominal diadem. After these repeated losses, Swatoslaus retired to the strong post of Dristra, on the banks of the Danube, and was pursued by an enemy who alternately employed the arms of celerity and delay. The Byzantine galleys ascended the river; the legions completed a line of circumvallation;92 and the Russian prince was encompassed, assaulted, and famished in the fortifications of the camp and city. Many deeds of valour were performed; several desperate sallies were attempted; nor was it till after a siege of sixty-five days that Swatoslaus yielded to his adverse fortune. The liberal terms which he obtained announce the prudence of the victor, who respected the valour, and apprehended the despair, of an unconquered mind. The great duke of Russia bound himself by solemn imprecations to relinquish all hostile designs; a safe passage was opened for his return; the liberty of trade and navigation was restored; a measure of corn was distributed to each of his soldiers; and the allowance of twenty-two thousand measures attests the loss and the remnant of the Barbarians.93 After a painful voyage, they again reached the mouth of the Borysthenes; but their provisions were exhausted; the season was unfavourable; they passed the winter on the ice; and, before they could prosecute their march, Swatoslaus was surprised and oppressed by the neighbouring tribes, with whom the Greeks entertained a perpetual and useful correspondence.94 Far different was the return of Zimisces, who was received in his capital like Camillus or Marius, the saviours of ancient Rome. But the merit of the victory was attributed by the pious emperor to the Mother of God; and the image of the Virgin Mary, with the divine infant in her arms, was placed on a triumphal car, adorned with the spoils of war and the ensigns of Bulgarian royalty. Zimisces made his public entry on horseback; the diadem on his head, a crown of laurel in his hand; and Constantinople was astonished to applaud the martial virtues of her sovereign.95
Photius of Constantinople, a patriarch whose ambition was equal to his curiosity, congratulates himself and the Greek church on the conversion of the Russians.96 Those fierce and bloody Barbarians had been persuaded by the voice of reason and religion, to acknowledge Jesus for their God, the Christian missionaries for their teachers, and the Romans for their friends and brethren. His triumph was transient and premature. In the various fortune of their piratical adventures, some Russian chiefs might allow themselves to be sprinkled with the waters of baptism; and a Greek bishop, with the name of metropolitan, might administer the sacraments in the church of Kiow to a congregation of slaves and natives. But the seed of the Gospel was sown on a barren soil: many were the apostates, the converts were few; and the baptism of Olga may be fixed as the era of Russian Christianity.97 A female, perhaps of the basest origin, who could revenge the death, and assume the sceptre, of her husband Igor, must have been endowed with those active virtues which command the fear and obedience of Barbarians. In a moment of foreign and domestic peace, she sailed from Kiow to Constantinople; and the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus has described with minute diligence the ceremonial of her reception in his capital and palace. The steps, the titles, the salutations, the banquet, the presents, were exquisitely adjusted, to gratify the vanity of the stranger, with due reverence to the superior majesty of the purple.98 In the sacrament of baptism, she received the venerable name of the empress Helena; and her conversion might be preceded or followed by her uncle, two interpreters, sixteen damsels of an higher, and eighteen of a lower, rank, twenty-two domestics or ministers, and forty-four Russian merchants, who composed the retinue of the great princess Olga. After her return to Kiow and Novogorod, she firmly persisted in her new religion; but her labours in the propagation of the Gospel were not crowned with success; and both her family and nation adhered with obstinacy or indifference to the gods of their fathers. Her son Swatoslaus was apprehensive of the scorn and ridicule of his companions; and her grandson Wolodomir devoted his youthful zeal to multiply and decorate the monuments of ancient worship. The savage deities of the North were still propitiated with human sacrifices: in the choice of the victim, a citizen was preferred to a stranger, a Christian to an idolater; and the father who defended his son from the sacerdotal knife was involved in the same doom by the rage of a fanatic tumult. Yet the lessons and example of the pious Olga had made a deep though secret impression on the minds of the prince and people: the Greek missionaries continued to preach, to dispute, and to baptise; and the ambassadors or merchants of Russia compared the idolatry of the woods with the elegant superstition of Constantinople. They had gazed with admiration on the dome of St. Sophia: the lively pictures of saints and martyrs, the riches of the altar, the number and vestments of the priests, the pomp and order of the ceremonies; they were edified by the alternate succession of devout silence and harmonious song; nor was it difficult to persuade them that a choir of angels descended each day from heaven to join in the devotion of the Christians.99 But the conversion of Wolodomir was determined, or hastened, by his desire of a Roman bride. At the same time, and in the city of Cherson, the rites of baptism and marriage were celebrated by the Christian pontiff; the city he restored to the emperor Basil, the brother of his spouse; but the brazen gates were transported, as it is said, to Novogorod, and erected before the first church as a trophy of his victory and faith.100 At his despotic command, Peroun, the god of thunder, whom he had so long adored, was dragged through the streets of Kiow; and twelve sturdy Barbarians battered with clubs the misshapen image, which was indignantly cast into the waters of the Borysthenes. The edict of Wolodomir had proclaimed that all who should refuse the rites of baptism would be treated as the enemies of God and their prince; and the rivers were instantly filled with many thousands of obedient Russians, who acquiesced in the truth and excellence of a doctrine which had been embraced by the great duke and his boyars.101 In the next generation the relics of paganism were finally extirpated; but, as the two brothers of Wolodomir had died without baptism, their bones were taken from the grave and sanctified by an irregular and posthumous sacrament.
In the ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries of the Christian era, the reign of the gospel and of the church was extended over Bulgaria, Hungary, Bohemia, Saxony, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Poland, and Russia.102 The triumphs of apostolic zeal were repeated in the iron age of Christianity; and the northern and eastern regions of Europe submitted to a religion more different in theory than in practice from the worship of their native idols. A laudable ambition excited the monks, both of Germany and Greece, to visit the tents and huts of the Barbarians; poverty, hardships, and dangers were the lot of the first missionaries; their courage was active and patient; their motive pure and meritorious; their present reward consisted in the testimony of their conscience and the respect of a grateful people; but the fruitful harvest of their toils was inherited and enjoyed by the proud and wealthy prelates of succeeding times. The first conversions were free and spontaneous: an holy life and an eloquent tongue were the only arms of the missionaries; but the domestic fables of the Pagans were silenced by the miracles and visions of the strangers; and the favourable temper of the chiefs was accelerated by the dictates of vanity and interest. The leaders of nations, who were saluted with the titles of kings and saints,103 held it lawful and pious to impose the Catholic faith on their subjects and neighbours: the coast of the Baltic, from Holstein to the gulf of Finland, was invaded under the standard of the cross; and the reign of idolatry was closed by the conversion of Lithuania in the fourteenth century. Yet truth and candour must acknowledge that the conversion of the North imparted many temporal benefits both to the old and the new Christians. The rage of war, inherent to the human species, could not be healed by the evangelic precepts of charity and peace; and the ambition of Catholic princes has renewed in every age the calamities of hostile contention. But the admission of the Barbarians into the pale of civil and ecclesiastical society delivered Europe from the depredations, by sea and land, of the Normans, the Hungarians, and the Russians, who learned to spare their brethren and cultivate their possessions.104 The establishment of law and order was promoted by the influence of the clergy; and the rudiments of art and science were introduced into the savage countries of the globe. The liberal piety of the Russian princes engaged in their service the most skilful of the Greeks, to decorate the cities and instruct the inhabitants; the dome and the paintings of St. Sophia were rudely copied in the churches of Kiow105 and Novogorod; the writings of the fathers were translated into the Sclavonic idiom; and three hundred noble youths were invited or compelled to attend the lessons of the college of Jaroslaus.106 It should appear that Russia might have derived an early and rapid improvement from her peculiar connection with the church and state of Constantinople107 which in that age so justly despised the ignorance of the Latins. But the Byzantine nation was servile, solitary, and verging to an hasty decline; after the fall of Kiow, the navigation of the Borysthenes was forgotten; the great princes of Wolodomir and Moscow were separated from the sea and Christendom; and the divided monarchy was oppressed by the ignominy and blindness of Tartar servitude.108 The Sclavonic and Scandinavian kingdoms, which had been converted by the Latin missionaries, were exposed, it is true, to the spiritual jurisdiction and temporal claims of the popes;109 but they were united, in language and religious worship, with each other, and with Rome; they imbibed the free and generous spirit of the European republic, and gradually shared the light of knowledge which arose on the Western world.
[1 ]All the passages of the Byzantine history which relate to the Barbarians are compiled, methodised, and transcribed, in a Latin version, by the laborious John Gotthelf Stritter, in his “Memoriæ Populorum ad Danubium, Pontum Euxinum, Paludem Mæotidem, Caucasum, Mare Caspium, et inde magis ad Septemtriones incolentium.” Petropoli, 1771-1779; in four tomes, or six volumes, in 4to. But the fashion has not enhanced the price of these raw materials.
[2 ][Above] Hist. vol. vi. p. 308-9.
[3 ][The Bulgarians continued to live north of the Danube and formed part of the Avar empire in the latter half of the sixth century. They appear as the subjects of the Chagan in Theophylactus Simocatta.]
[4 ]Theophanes, p. 296-299 [suba.m. 6171]. Anastasius, p. 113 [p. 225 sqq. ed. de Boor]. Nicephorus, C.P. p. 22, 23 [p. 33, 34, ed. de Boor]. Theophanes places the old Bulgaria on the banks of the Atell or Volga [old Bulgaria lay between the rivers Volga and Kama. There is still a village called Bolgary in the province of Kazan]; but he deprives himself of all geographical credit by discharging that river into the Euxine sea. [For the legend of King Krovat’s sons see Appendix 2.]
[5 ]Paul. Diacon. de Gestis Langobard. l. v. c. 29, p. 881, 882. The apparent difference between the Lombard historian and the above-mentioned Greeks is easily reconciled by Camillo Pellegrino (de Ducatu Beneventano, dissert. vii. in the Scriptores Rerum Ital. tom. v. p. 186, 187) and Beretti (Chorograph. Italiæ medii Ævi, p. 273, &c.). This Bulgarian colony was planted in a vacant district of Samnium [at Bovianum, Sergna, and Sipicciano], and learned the Latin, without forgetting their native, language.
[6 ]These provinces of the Greek idiom and empire are assigned to the Bulgarian kingdom in the dispute of ecclesiastical jurisdiction between the patriarchs of Rome and Constantinople (Baronius, Annal. Eccles. 869, No. 75).
[7 ]The situation and royalty of Lychnidus, or Achrida, are clearly expressed in Cedrenus (p. 713 [ii. p. 468, ed. B.]). The removal of an archbishop or patriarch from Justinianea prima, to Lychnidus, and at length to Ternovo, has produced some perplexity in the ideas or language of the Greeks (Nicephorus Gregoras, l. ii. c. 2, p. 14, 15; Thomassin, Discipline de l’Eglise, tom. i. l. i. c. 19, 23); and a Frenchman (d’Anville) is more accurately skilled in the geography of their own country (Hist. de l’Académie des Inscriptions, tom. xxxi.)
[8 ]Chalcocondyles, a competent judge, affirms the identity of the language of the Dalmatians, Bosnians, Servians, Bulgarians, Poles (de Rebus Turcicis, l. x. p. 283 [p. 530, ed. Bonn.]), and elsewhere of the Bohemians (l. ii. p. 38 [p. 73, ib.]). The same author has marked the separate idiom of the Hungarians. [The Bulgarian conquerors adopted the language of their Slavonic subjects, but they were not Slavs. See Appendix 2.]
[9 ]See the work of John Christopher de Jordan, de Originibus Sclavicis, Vindobonæ, 1745, in four parts, or two volumes in folio. His collections and researches are useful to elucidate the antiquities of Bohemia and the adjacent countries: but his plan is narrow, his style barbarous, his criticism shallow, and the Aulic counsellor is not free from the prejudices of a Bohemian. [The statement in the text can partly stand, if it is understood that “kindred bands” means kindred to the Slavs who formed the chief population of the Bulgarian Kingdom — not to the Bulgarian conquerors. The Servians, Croatians, &c. were Slavs. But in no case does it apply to the Walachians, who ethnically were probably Illyrians — descended at least from those people who inhabited Dacia and Illyricum, before the coming of the Slavs. There was a strong Walachian population in the Bulgarian kingdom which extended north of the Danube (see Appendix 11); and it has been conjectured that the Walachians even gave the Bulgarians a king — Sabinos, a name of Latin sound. But this seems highly doubtful; and compare Appendix 3.]
[10 ]Jordan subscribes to the well-known and probable derivation from Slava, laus, gloria, a word of familiar use in the different dialects and parts of speech, and which forms the termination of the most illustrious names (de Originibus Sclavicis, pars i. p. 40, pars iv. p. 101, 102). [This derivation has been generally abandoned, and is obviously unlikely. Another, which received the approbation of many, explained the name Slovanie (sing. Slovanjn) from slovo, “a word,” in the sense of ὁμόγλωττοι, people who speak one language — opposed to Niemi, “the dumb” (non-Slavs, Germans). But this too sounds improbable, and has been rightly rejected by Schafarik, who investigates the name at great length (Slawische Alterthümer, ii. p. 25 sqq.). The original form of the name was Slované or Slovené. The form “Sclavonian,” which is still often used in English books, ought to be discarded (as Gibbon suggests); the guttural does not belong to the word, but was inserted by the Greeks, Latins, and Orientals (Σκλάβος, Sclavus, Saklab, Sakalibé, &c.). By the analogy of other names similarly formed, Schafarik shows convincingly that the name was originally local, meaning “the folk who dwelled in Slovy,” cp. p. 43-45. The discovery of this hypothetical Slovy is another question. In the Chronicle of Nestor, Slovene is used in the special sense of a tribe about Novgorod, as well as in the general sense of Slav.]
[11 ]This conversion of a national into an appellative name appears to have arisen in the viiith century, in the Oriental France [i.e. East Francia, or Franconia: towards the end of the eighth century, cp. Schafarik, op. cit. ii. p. 325-6]; where the princes and bishops were rich in Sclavonian captives, not of the Bohemian (exclaims Jordan) but of Sorabian race. From thence the word was extended to general use, to the modern languages, and even to the style of the last Byzantines (see the Greek and Latin Glossaries of Ducange). The confusion of the Σέρβλοι, or Servians, with the Latin Servi was still more fortunate and familiar (Constant. Porphyr. de Administrando Imperio, c. 32, p. 99). [Serb is supposed to have been the oldest national name of the Slavs, on the evidence of Procopius (B.G. iii. 14), who says that the Slavs and Antæ had originally one name, Σπόροι, which is frequently explained as = Srbs. Schafarik, op. cit. i. p. 93-99.]
[12 ]The emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus, most accurate for his own times, most fabulous for preceding ages, describes the Sclavonians of Dalmatia (c. 29-36).
[13 ]See the anonymous Chronicle of the xith century, ascribed to John Sagorninus (p. 94-102), and that composed in the xivth by the Doge Andrew Dandolo (Script. Rerum Ital. tom. xii. p. 227-230): the two oldest monuments of the history of Venice.
[14 ]The first kingdom of the Bulgarians may be found, under the proper dates, in the Annals of Cedrenus and Zonaras. The Byzantine materials are collected by Stritter (Memoriæ Populorum, tom. ii. pars ii. p. 441-647), and the series of their kings is disposed and settled by Ducange (Fam. Byzant. p. 305-318). [For an ancient Bulgarian list of the early Bulgarian kings see Appendix 3. For the migration and establishment south of the Danube, and extent of the kingdom, cp. Appendix 2.]
[15 ][In the year after his victory over Nicephorus, the Bulgarian prince Krum or Krumn captured the towns of Mesembria and Develtus, and in the following year inflicted a crushing defeat on Michael I. at Versinicia near Hadrianople (June, 813) and proceeded to besiege Constantinople. He retired having devastated the country, but prepared to besiege the capital again in 815. His death was a relief to the Emperor Leo V. (see above, vol. viii. p. 246), who then took the field and gained at Mesembria a bloody victory over the Bulgarians. The prince Giom Omortag, who came to the throne about 817 or 818, made a treaty withLeo for 30 years; and peace was maintained for more than 75 years, till the accession of Simeon. Omortag is called Mortagon by the Greek chroniclers, and Ombritag by Theophylactus of Ochrida; but the right form of the name is furnished by his own curious inscription which was discovered at Trnovo (see Appendix 4). Omortag had three sons, and it is to be noticed that all three had Slavonic names; this marks a stage in the growth of Slavonic influence in the kingdom. The youngest, Malomir, came to the throne. He was succeeded by his nephew Boris (circa 852-888), whose reign is memorable for the conversion of Bulgaria to Christianity (see Appendix 6).]
[16 ]Simeonem [emi-argon, id est] semi-Græcum esse aiebant, eo quod a pueritiâ Byzantii Demosthenis rhetoricam et Aristotelis syllogismos didicerat [leg. didicerit] (Liutprand, l. iii. c. 8 [= c. 29]). He says in another place, Simeon, fortis, bellator, Bulgariæ [leg. Bulgariis] præerat; Christianus sed vicinis Græcis valde inimicus (l. i. c. 2 [= c. 5]). [It is important to notice that native Slavonic literature flourished under Simeon — the result of the invention of Slavonic alphabets (see Appendix 6). Simeon himself — anticipating Constantine Porphyrogennetos — instituted the compilation of a Sbornik or encyclopædia (theological, philosophical, historical), extracted from 20 Greek writers. The Presbyter Grigori translated the chronicle of John Malalas into Slavonic. John the Exarch wrote a Shestodnev (Hexaemeron), an account of the Creation. The monk Chrabr wrote a valuable little treatise on the invention of the Cyrillic alphabet (cp. Appendix 6); and other works (chiefly theological) of the same period are extant.]
[17 ][Simeon came to the throne in 893, and died May 27, 927.]
[18 ][That is, Servia in the strict sense, excluding the independent Servian principalities of Zachlumia, Trevunia, Diocletia, as well as the Narentans. See Const. Porph., De Adm. Imp., chaps. 32-36. The boundary of Bulgaria against Servia in Simeon’s time seems to have followed the Drin; it left Belgrade, Prishtina, Nitzch, and Lipljan in Bulgaria.]
Ovid (Metamorph. ix. 1-100) has boldly painted the combat of the river-god and the hero; the native and the stranger. [The battle was fought near Anchialos in Bulgaria (Leo Diac. p. 124). There was a river named Achelous in the neighbourhood (Theoph. Contin. p. 389; cp. Pseudo-Sym. Mag. p. 724), and the name misled Gibbon. Cp. Finlay, ii. p. 288 note.]
[20 ][The peace was concluded after Simeon’s death in 927. Th. Uspenski has published (in the Lietopis ist. phil. obschestva, of the Odessa University. Viz. Otd. ii., 1894, p. 48 sqq.) a curious jubilant sermon preached at Constantinople on the occasion of the conclusion of the peace. It presents great difficulties, owing to the allusiveness of its style, which has been ingeniously discussed by Uspenski, who is tempted to identify the anonymous author with Nicolaus Mysticus, the Patriarch, a correspondent of the Tsar Simeon. But chronology seems to exclude this supposition; for Nicolaus died in 925; and, though the preliminaries to the peace may have occupied a considerable time, the sermon must have been composed after the death of Simeon in 927 (as M. Uspenski seems to forget in his concluding remarks, p. 123).]
[21 ]The ambassador of Otho was provoked by the Greek excesses, cum Christophori filiam Petrus Bulgarorum Vasileus conjugem duceret, Symphona, id est consonantia, scripto [al. consonantia scripta]. juramento firmata sunt, ut omnium gentium Apostolis, id est nunciis, penes nos Bulgarorum Apostoli præponantur, honorentur, diligantur (Liutprand in Legatione, p. 482 [c. 19]). See the Ceremoniale of Constantine of Porphyrogenitus, tom. i. p. 82 [c. 24, p. 139, ed. Bonn], tom. ii. p. 429, 430, 434, 435, 443, 444, 446, 447 [c. 52, p. 740, 742, 743, 749, 751, 767, 771, 772, 773], with the annotations of Reiske. [Bulgarian rulers before Simeon were content with the title Knez. Simeon first assumed the title tsar (from tsesar, ts’sar; = Cæsar). It may have been remembered that Terbel had been made a Cæsar by Justinian II. (Nicephorus, p. 42, ed. de Boor). The Archbishopric of Bulgaria was raised to the dignity of a Patriarchate. Simeon’s residence was Great Peristhlava; see below, p. 66, note 90.]
[22 ][In 963 Shishman of Trnovo revolted, and founded an independent kingdom in Macedonia and Albania. Thus there were now two Bulgarian kingdoms and two tsars.]
[23 ][The kingdom of Eastern Bulgaria had been conquered first by the Russians and then by the Emperor Tzimisces (see below, p. 67), but Western Bulgaria survived, and before 980, Samuel, son of Shishman, came to the throne. His capital was at first Prespa, but he afterwards moved to Ochrida. His aim was to recover Eastern Bulgaria and conquer Greece; and for thirty-five years he maintained a heroic struggle against the Empire. Both he and his great adversary Basil were men of iron, brave, cruel, and unscrupulous; and Basil was determined not merely to save Eastern, but to conquer Western, Bulgaria. In the first war (976-986) the Bulgarians were successful. Samuel pushed southward and, after repeated attempts which were repulsed, captured Larissa in Thessaly and pushed on to the Isthmus. This was in 986. To cause a diversion and relieve Greece, Basil marched on Sophia, but was caught in a trap, and having endured immense losses escaped with difficulty. After this defeat Eastern Bulgaria was lost to the Empire. (The true date of the capture of Larissa and the defeat of Basil, 986, has been established, against the old date 981, by the evidence of the Strategikon of Kekaumenos, — for which see above, vol. viii. p. 407. Cp. Schlumberger, L’épopée Byzantine, p. 636. On this first Bulgarian war, see also the Vita Niconis, ap. Martène et Durand, ampl. Coll. 6, 837 sqq.; and a contemporary poem of John Geometres, Migne, P.G. vol. 106, p. 934, and cp. p. 920, a piece on the Cometopulos, i.e. Samuel, with a pun on κομήτης, “comet.”) There was a cessation of hostilities for ten years. The second war broke out in 996. Samuel invaded Greece, but returning he was met by a Greek army in the plain of the Spercheios, north of Thermopylæ, and his whole host was destroyed in a night surprise. In 1000 Basil recovered Eastern Bulgaria, and in the following year South-western Macedonia (Vodena, Berrœa). Again hostilities languished for over ten years;Basil was occupied in the East. In 1014, the third war began; on July 29 Nicephorus Xiphias gained a brilliant victory over the Bulgarian army at Bielasica (somewhere in the neighbourhood of the river Strumica); Samuel escaped to Prilêp, but died six weeks later. The struggle was sustained weakly under Gabriel Roman (Samuel’s son) and John Vladislav, his murderer and successor, last Tsar of Ochrida, who fell, besieging Durazzo, in 1018. The Bulgarians submitted, and the whole Balkan Peninsula was once more imperial. If Samuel had been matched with a less able antagonist than Basil, he would have succeeded in effecting what was doubtless his great aim, the union of all the Slavs south of the Danube into a great empire. For a fuller account of these wars see Finaly, vol. ii.; and for the first war, Schlumberger, op. cit., chap. x. Jireček, Gesch. der Bulgaren, p. 192-8, is remarkably brief. There is a fuller study of the struggle by Rački in the Croatian tongue (1875).]
[24 ]A bishop of Wurtzburg [leg. Verdun] submitted this opinion to a reverend abbot; but he more gravely decided that Gog and Magog were the spiritual persecutors of the church; since Gog signifies the roof, the pride of the Heresiarchs, and Magog what comes from the roof, the propagation of their sects. Yet these men once commanded the respect of mankind (Fleury, Hist. Eccles. tom. xi. p. 594, &c.).
[25 ]The two national authors, from whom I have derived the most assistance, are George Pray (Dissertationes ad Annales veterum Hungarorum, &c., Vindobonæ, 1775, in folio) and Stephen Katona (Hist. Critica Ducum et Regum Hungariæ stirpis Arpadianæ, Pæstini, 1778-1781, 5 vols. in octavo). The first embraces a large and often conjectural space; the latter, by his learning, judgment, and perspicuity, deserves the name of a critical historian.
[26 ]The author of this Chronicle is styled the notary of King Béla. Katona has assigned him to the twelfth century, and defends his character against the hypercriticism of Pray. This rude annalist must have transcribed some historical records, since he could affirm with dignity, rejectis falsis fabulis rusticorum, et garrulo cantu joculatorum. In the xvth century, these fables were collected by Thurotzius, and embellished by the Italian Bonfinius. See the Preliminary Discourse in the Hist. Critica Ducum, p. 7-33. [Cp. Appendix 7.]
[27 ]See Constantine de Administrando Imperio, c. 3, 4, 13, 38-42. Katona has nicely fixed the composition of this work to the years 949, 950, 951 (p. 4-7). [Cp. vol. ix App. 9.] The critical historian (p. 34-107) endeavours to prove the existence, and to relate the actions, of a first duke Almus, the father of Arpad, who is tacitly rejected by Constantine. [Constantine, c. 38, says that Arpad was elected chief, and not his father Salmutzes (Almos).]
[28 ]Pray (Dissert. p. 37-39, &c.) produces and illustrates the original passages of the Hungarian missionaries, Bonfinius and Æneas Silvius.
[29 ][Cp. Appendix 7.]
[30 ][Voivods, “war-leaders,” a Slavonic word. Cp. Appendix 7.]
[31 ]Fischer, in the Quæstiones Petropolitanæ de Origine Ungrorum, and Pray, Dissertat. i. ii. iii. &c., have drawn up several comparative tables of the Hungarian with the Fennic dialects. The affinity is indeed striking, but the lists are short; the words are purposely chosen; and I read in the learned Bayer (Comment. Academ. Betropol. tom. x. p. 374) that, although the Hungarian has adopted many Fennic words (innumeras voces), it essentially differs toto genio et naturâ. [Cp. Appendix 7.]
[32 ]In the region of Turfan, which is clearly and minutely described by the Chinese geographers (Gaubil, Hist. du Grand Gengiscan, p. 13; De Guignes, Hist. des Huns, tom. ii. p. 31, &c.).
[33 ]Hist. Généalogique des Tartars, par Abulghazi Bahadur Khan, partie ii. p. 90-98.
[34 ]In their journey to Pekin, both Isbrand Ives (Harris’s Collection of Voyages and Travels, vol. ii. p. 920, 921) and Bell (Travels, vol. i. p. 174) found the Vogulitz in the neighbourhood of Tobolsky. By the tortures of the etymological art, Ugur and Vogul are reduced to the same name; the circumjacent mountains really bear the appellation of Ugrian; and of all the Fennic dialects the Vogulian is the nearest to the Hungarian (Fischer, Dissert. i. p. 20-30. Pray, Dissert. ii. p. 31-34). [It is quite true that the Vogulian comes closest to the Hungarian.]
[35 ]The eight tribes of the Fennic race are described in the curious work of M. Levesque (Hist. des Peuples soumis à la Domination de la Russie, tom. i. p. 361-561).
[36 ]This picture of the Hungarians and Bulgarians is chiefly drawn from the Tactics of Leo, p. 796-801 [c. 18], and the Latin Annals, which are alleged by Baronius, Pagi, and Muratori, 889, &c.
[37 ]Buffon, Hist. Naturelle, tom. v. p. 6, in 12mo. Gustavus Adolphus attempted, without success, to form a regiment of Laplanders. Grotius says of these Arctic tribes, arma arcus et pharetra, sed adversus feras (Annal. l. iv. p. 236); and attempts, after the manner of Tacitus, to varnish with philosophy their brutal ignorance.
[38 ]Leo has observed that the government of the Turks was monarchical, and that their punishments were rigorous (Tactics, p. 896 [18, § 46], ἁπηνει̑ς καὶ βαρείας). Regino (in Chron. 889) mentions theft as a capital crime, and his jurisprudence is confirmed by the original code of St. Stephen ( 1016). If a slave were guilty, he was chastised, for the first time, with the loss of his nose, or a fine of five heifers; for the second, with the loss of his ears, or a similar fine; for the third, with death; which the freeman did not incur till the fourth offence, as his first penalty was the loss of liberty (Katona, Hist. Regum Hungar. tom. i. p. 231, 232).
[39 ]See Katona, Hist. Ducum Hungar. p. 321-352. [One of the most important consequences of the Hungarian invasion and final settlement in these regions was the permanent separation of the Northern from the Southern Slavs. In the eighth and ninth centuries the Slavs formed an unbroken line from the Baltic to the Cretan sea. This line was broken by the Magyar wedge.]
[40 ][In the latter part of the ninth century, Moravia under Sviatopolk or Svatopluk was a great power, the most formidable neighbour of the Western Empire. It looked as if he were going to found a great Slavonic empire. For the adoption of the Christian faith see Appendix 6. He died in 894, and under his incompetent son the power of Great Moravia declined, and was blotted out from the number of independent states by the Hungarians about 906. The annihilation of Moravia might be a relief to the Franks who had originally (before Svatopluk’s death) called in the Magyars against the Moravians, but they found — at least for some time to come — more terrible foes in the Magyars.]
[41 ]Hungarorum gens, cujus omnes fere nationes expertæ [sunt] sævitiam, &c., is the preface of Liutprand (l. i. c. 2 [= c. 5]), who frequently expatiates on the calamities of his own times. See l. i. c. 5 [= c. 13]; l. ii. c. 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 [= c. 2-5, 8 sqq. 21]; l. iii. c. 1, &c.; l. v. c. 8 [= c. 19], 15 [= c. 33], in Legat. p. 485 [c. 45]. His colours are glaring, but his chronology must be rectified by Pagi and Muratori. [For these early invasions of the Western Empire by the Hungarians see E. Dümmler, Geschichte des ostfränkischen Reichs, ii. 437 sqq., 543 sqq. The terrible defeat of the Bavarians under Margrave Liutpold took place on July 5, 907.]
[42 ]The three bloody reigns of Arpad, Zoltan, and Toxus are critically illustrated by Katona (Hist. Ducum, &c. p. 107-499). His diligence has searched both natives and foreigners; yet to the deeds of mischief, or glory, I have been able to add the destruction of Bremen (Adam Bremensis, i. 43 [leg. 54]).
[43 ]Muratori has considered with patriotic care the danger and resources of Modena. The citizens besought St. Geminianus, their patron, to avert, by his intercession, the rabies, flagellum, &c.
The bishop erected walls for the public defence, not contra dominos serenos (Antiquitat. Ital. med. Ævi, tom. i. dissertat. i. p. 21, 22), and the song of the nightly watch is not without elegance or use (tom. iii. diss. xl. p. 709). The Italian annalist has accurately traced the series of their inroads (Annali d’Italia, tom. vii. p. 365, 367, 393, 401, 437, 440; tom. viii. p. 19, 41, 52, &c.).
[44 ]Both the Hungarian and Russian annals suppose that they besieged, or attacked, or insulted Constantinople (Pray, Dissertat. x. p. 239; Katona, Hist. Ducum, p. 354-360), and the fact is almost confessed by the Byzantine historians (Leo Grammaticus, p. 506 [p. 322, ed. Bonn]; Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 629 [ii. p. 316, ed. Bonn]), yet, however glorious to the nation, it is denied or doubted by the critical historian, and even by the notary of Béla. Their scepticism is meritorious; they could not safely transcribe or believe the rusticorum fabulas; but Katona might have given due attention to the evidence of Liutprand; Bulgarorum gentem atque Grascorum tributariam fecerant (Hist. l. ii. c. 4, p. 435 [= c. 7]).
[46 ]They are amply and critically discussed by Katona (Hist. Ducum, p. 360-368, 427-470). Liutprand (l. ii. c. 8, 9 [= c. 24-31]) is the best evidence for the former, and Witichind (Annal. Saxon. l. iii. [c. 34-49]) of the latter; but the critical historian will not even overlook the horn of a warrior, which is said to be preserved at Jazberin.
[47 ]Hunc vero triumphum, tam laude quam memoriâ dignum, ad Meresburgum rex in superiori cœnaculo domus per ζωγραϕίαν, id est, picturam, notari [leg. notare] præcepit, adeo ut rem veram potius quam verisimilem videas: an high encomium (Liutprand, l. ii. c. 9 [= c. 31]). Another palace in Germany had been painted with holy subjects by the order of Charlemagne; and Muratori may justly affirm, nulla sæcula fuere in quibus pictores desiderati fuerint (Antiquitat. Ital. medii Ævi, tom. ii. dissert. xxiv. p. 360, 361). Our domestic claims to antiquity of ignorance and original imperfection (Mr. Walpole’s lively words) are of a much more recent date (Anecdotes of Painting, vol. i. p. 2, &c.). [This victory is commonly called the battle of Merseburg; but it was fought at Riada (according to Widukind, i. 38, who in such a matter is the best authority), and Riada probably corresponds to Rietheburg, where the streams of the Unstrut and Helme meet. The event should be called the battle of Riada. The Italian Liutprand who names Merseburg is not such a good witness as the Saxon historian.]
[48 ][Giesebrecht has made it probable that by legion Widukind (iii. 44) meant a company of 1000 men. Gesch. der deutschen Kaiserzeit, i. p. 831.]
[49 ]See Baronius, Annal. Eccles. 929, No. 2-5. The lance of Christ is taken from the best evidence, Liutprand (l. iv. c. 12 [= c. 25]), Sigebert, and the acts of St. Gerard; but the other military relics depend on the faith of the Gesta Anglorum post Bedam, l. ii. c. 8.
[50 ][The best account of the battle is in Widukind. The other sources are Annales Sangallenses majores; Flodoard; Continuator Reginonis; Ruotger; and a later but noteworthy account in the Vita Udalrici by Gerhard. See E. Dümmler, Kaiser Otto der Grosse (in the Jahrbb. der deutschen Geschichte), 1876(p. 256 sqq.), and Giesebrecht, op. cit. (p. 418 sqq.), for details of the battle.]
[51 ]Katona, Hist. Ducum Hungariæ, p. 500, &c.
[52 ]Among these colonies we may distinguish, 1. The Chazars, or Cabari, who joined the Hungarians on their march (Constant. de Admin. Imp. c. 39, 40, p. 108, 109). [The name of the Kabars, a Khazar people, survives in the name of the two Kabar-dahs (Kabar-hills).] 2. The Jazyges, Moravians, and Siculi, whom they found in the land; the last were [according to Simon de Kéza, c. 4] perhaps a remnant of the Huns of Attila, and were entrusted with the guard of the borders. [Siculus (Zaculus in Simon de Kéza) is the equivalent, in chroniclers’ Latin, of Székely (plural, Székelyek), which is generally derived from szék, seat, abode. Hunfalvy (Magyarország Ethnographiája, p. 302) explains the word as “beyond the habitations,” a name which might be applied to people of a march district. The word would thus be formed like Erdély (= Erdö-elv, beyond the forest), the Hungarian name of Transylvania. Their German neighbours call the Székelyek Szeklers.] 3. The Russians, who, like the Swiss in France, imparted a general name to the royal porters. 4. The Bulgarians, whose chiefs ( 956) were invited, cum magnâ multitudine Hismahelitarum. Had any of these Sclavonians embraced the Mahometan religion? 5. The Bisseni and Cumans, a mixed Multitude of Patzinacites, Uzi, Chazars, &c. who had spread to the lower Danube. [Bisseni = Patzinaks; Cumans = Uzi.] The last colony of 40,000 Cumans, 1239, was received and converted by the kings of Hungary, who derived from that tribe a new regal appellation (Pray, Dissert. vi. vii. p. 109-173; Katona, Hist. Ducum, p. 95-99, 252-264, 476, 479-483, &c.).
[53 ]Christiani autem, quorum pars major populi est, qui ex omni parte mundi illuc tracti sunt captivi, &c. Such was the language of Piligrinus, the first missionary who entered Hungary, 973. Pars major is strong. Hist. Ducum, p. 517.
[54 ]The fideles Teutonici of Geisa are authenticated in old charters; and Katona, with his usual industry, has made a fair estimate of these colonies, which had been so loosely magnified by the Italian Ranzanus (Hist. Critic. Ducum, p. 667-681).
[55 ]Among the Greeks, this national appellation has a singular form Ῥω̑ς, as an undeclinable word, of which many fanciful etymologies have been suggested. [Cp. Appendix 8.] I have perused, with pleasure and profit, a dissertation de Origine Russorum (Comment. Academ. Petropolitanæ, tom. viii. p. 388-436) by Theophilus Sigefrid Bayer, a learned German, who spent his life and labours in the service of Russia. A geographical tract of d’Anville, de l’Empire de Russie, son Origine, et ses Accroissemens (Paris, 1772, in 12mo), has likewise been of use.
[56 ]See the entire passage (dignum, says Bayer, ut aureis in tabulis figatur) in the Annales Bertiniani Francorum (in Script. Ital. Muratori, tom. ii. pars i. p. 525 [Pertz, Mon. i. 434]), 839, twenty-two years before the era of Ruric. In the tenth century, Liutprand (Hist. l. v. c. 6 [=c. 15]) speaks of the Russians and Normans as the same Aquilonares homines of a red complexion.
[57 ]My knowledge of these annals is drawn from M. Levesque, Histoire de Russie. Nestor, the first and best of these ancient annalists, was a monk of Kiow, who died in the beginning of the twelfth century; but his chronicle was obscure, till it was published at Petersburgh, 1767, in 4to. Levesque, Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 16. Coxe’s Travels, vol. ii. p. 184. [See vol. ix. Appendix 6.]
[58 ]Theophil. Sig. Bayer de Varagis (for the name is differently spelt), in Comment. Academ. Petropolitanæ, tom. iv. p. 275-311. [The Varangians, in the proper and original sense of the word, meant the Scandinavians. In the chronicle of Nestor, the Baltic Sea is the sea of the Variazi (c. 4). Endless attempts have been made, chiefly by Russian scholars, to find other identifications (such as Slavs, Khazars, Finns); but all these attempts were eminently unsuccessful. The geographical meaning of Varangia has been brought out most clearly in a passage in the Book of Advice which is annexed to the Strategicon of Cecaumenos (see above, vol. viii. p. 407). In § 246 (p. 97, ed. Vasilievski and Jernstedt) Harold Hardrada is called the “son of the king of Varangia,” i.e. Norway. The formation of the Varangian guard at Constantinople, and the inclusion in it of other Teutons (Danes, English, &c.), led to an extension of the meaning of Varangian from its original limitation to Norwegians or Scandinavians. Schafarik (ii. 72) derives the name from vara, vaere, a compact; the meaning would be fæderati.]
[59 ][The name is Scandinavian (old Norse Hraerikr). Riuric founded Novgorod (Nestor, c. 15); died in 879.]
[60 ][This refers to the story of Oskold and Dir, boyars of Riuric, and their establishment at Kiev; see Nestor, c. 15, 16, 18. Oleg, who succeeded Riuric at Novgorod, is stated in this chronicle to have marched against Kiev and put Oskold and Dir to death ( 881). It was doubtless Oleg who united Novgorod and Kiev, but it has been questioned whether Oskold and Dir were real personages. The Arabic writer Masūdī mentions “Dir” as a powerful Slav king.]
[61 ]Yet, as late as the year 1018, Kiow and Russia were still guarded ex fugitivorum servorum robore confluentium, et maxime Danorum. Bayer, who quotes (p. 292) the Chronicle of Dithmar [Thietmar] of Merseburg, observes that it was unusual for the Germans to enlist in a foreign service.
[62 ]Ducange has collected from the original authors the state and history of the Varangi at Constantinople (Glossar. Med. et Infimæ Græcitatis, sub voce Βάραγγοι; Med. et Infimæ Latimitatis, sub voce Vagri; Not: ad Alexiad. Annæ Commenæ, p. 256, 257, 258; Notes sur Villehardouin, p. 296-299). See likewise the annotations of Reiske to the Ceremoniale Aulæ Byzant. of Constantine, tom. ii. p. 149, 150. Saxo Grammaticus affirms that they spoke Danish; but Codinus maintains them till the fifteenth century in the use of their native English: Πολυχρονίζουσι οἱ Βάραγγοι κατὰ τὴν πάτριον γλω̑σσαν αὐτω̑ν ἤτοι Ἰγκληνιστί.
[63 ]The original record of the geography and trade of Russia is produced by the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus (de Administrat. Imperii, c. 2, p. 55, 56, c. 9, p. 59-61, c. 13, p. 63-67, c. 37, p. 106, c. 42, p. 112, 113), and illustrated by the diligence of Bayer (de Geographiâ Russiæ vicinarumque Regionum circiter a.c. 948, in Comment. Academ. Petropol. tom. ix. p. 367-422, tom. x. p. 371-421), with the aid of the chronicles and traditions of Russia, Scandinavia, &c.
[64 ][There were peoples of Finnic race in Livonia and Ingria, between Novgorod and the Baltic; and east of Novgorod the Finnic circle reached down to the Oka, south of Moskowa. The most southerly of these peoples were the Muromians, whose town was Murom; north of these were the Merians, whose town was Rostov; and further north were the Ves, who lived about the White Lake (Bielo-ozero). The Muromians, the Merians, and Ves were in loose subjection to Riuric (Nestor, c. 15).]
[65 ]The haughty proverb: “Who can resist God and the great Novogorod?” is applied by M. Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 60) even to the times that preceded the reign of Ruric. In the course of his history he frequently celebrates this republic, which was suppressed 1475 (tom. ii. p. 252-266). That accurate traveller, Adam Olearius, describes (in 1635) the remains of Novogorod, and the route by sea and land of the Holstein ambassadors (tom. i. p. 123-129).
[66 ]In hâc magnâ civitate, quæ est caput regni, plus trecentæ ecclesiæ habentur et nundinæ octo, populi etiam ignota manus (Eggehardus ad 1018, apud Bayer, tom. ix. p. 412 [Ekkehardus Uraugiensis, Chronicon, ap. Pertz, Mon. vi.]). He likewise quotes (tom. x. p. 397) the words of the Saxon annalist [Adam of Bremen, ii. c. 19], Cujus (Russiae) metropolis est Chive, æmula sceptri Constantinopolitani quæ est clarissimum decus Græciæ. The fame of Kiow, especially in the xith century, had reached the German and the Arabian geographers.
[67 ]In Odoræ ostio quâ Scythicas alluit paludes, nobilissima civitas Julinum [leg. Jumne], celeberrimam Barbaris et Græcis qui sunt in circuitu præstans stationem; est sane maxima omnium quas Europa claudit civitatum (Adam Bremensis, Hist. Eccles. p. 19 [ii. 19]). A strange exaggeration even in the xith century. The trade of the Baltic, and the Hanseatic league, are carefully treated in Anderson’s Historical Deduction of Commerce; at least in our language, I am not acquainted with any book so satisfactory. [Jumne lies near Wollin.]
[68 ]According to Adam of Bremen (de Situ Daniæ, p. 58), the old Curland extended eight days’ journey along the coast; and by Peter Teutoburgicus (p. 68, 1326) Memel is defined as the common frontier of Russia, Curland, and Prussia. Aurum ibi plurimum (says Adam) [ . . . ] divinis auguribus atque necromanticis omnes domus sunt plenæ . . . a toto orbe ibi responsa petuntur maxime ab Hispanis (forsan Zupanis, id est regulis Lettoviæ [other conjectures are: Cispanis and his paganis]) et Græcis [c. 16]. The name of Greeks was applied to the Russians even before their conversion: an imperfect conversion, if they still consulted the wizards of Curland (Bayer, tom. x. p. 378, 402, &c.; Grotius, Prolegomen. ad Hist. Goth. p. 99).
[69 ]Constantine [de adm. Imp. c. 9] only reckons seven cataracts, of which he gives the Russian and Sclavonic names; but thirteen are enumerated by the Sieur de Beauplan, a French engineer, who had surveyed the course and navigation of the Dnieper or Borysthenes (Description de Ukraine, Rouen, 1660, a thin quarto), but the map is unluckily wanting in my copy. [See Appendix 9.]
[70 ]Nestor apud Levesque, Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 78-80 [caps. 21, 22, 27, 35]. From the Dnieper or Borysthenes, the Russians went to Black Bulgaria, Chazaria, and Syria. To Syria, how? where? when? May we not, instead of Συρία, read Συανία? (de Administrat. Imp. c. 42, p. 113). The alteration is slight; the position of Suania, between Chazaria and Lazica, is perfectly suitable; and the name was still used in the xith century (Cedren. tom. ii. p. 770). [Four treaties are cited in the old Russian chronicle: (1) 907 (Nestor, c. 21) with Oleg; (2) 911 (ib. c. 22) with Oleg; (3) 945 (ib. c. 27) with Igor; (4) 970 (ib. c. 36) with Sviatoslav. There is no doubt that the texts of the last three treaties inserted by the chronicler are genuine. According to custom, duplicates of the documents in Greek and in the language of the other contracting party were drawn up. These treaties have attracted much attention from Russian scholars. Two investigations deserve special mention: a paper of Sergieevich in the January No. of the Zhurnal Minist. Nar. prosv., 1882, and an article of Dimitriu in Viz. Vremenn. ii. p. 531 sqq. (1893). The transaction of 907, before the walls of Constantinople, was merely a convention, not a formal treaty; and Dimitriu shows that the negotiation of 911 was doubtless intended to convert the spirit of this convention into an international treaty, signed and sealed. But he also makes it probable that this treaty of 911 did not receive its final ratification from Oleg and his boyars, and consequently was not strictly binding. But it proved a basis for the treaty of 945, which was completed with the full diplomatic forms and which refers back to it.]
[71 ]The wars of the Russians and Greeks in the ixth, xth, and xith centuries are related in the Byzantine Annals, especially those of Zonaras and Cedrenus; and all their testimonies are collected in the Russica of Stritter, tom. ii. pars ii. p. 939-1044.
[72 ]Προσεταιρισάμενος δὲ καὶ σνμμαχικὸν οὐκ ὀλίγον ἀπὸ τω̑ν κατοικούνγων ἐν τοι̑ς προσαρκτίοις του̑ Ὠκεανου̑ νήσοις ἐθνω̑ν. Cedrenus, in Compend. p. 758 [ii. 551, ed. B.].
[73 ]See Beauplan (Description de l’Ukraine, p. 54-61). His descriptions are lively, his plans accurate, and, except the circumstance of fire-arms, we may read old Russians for modern Cossacks.
[74 ]It is to be lamented that Bayer has only given a Dissertation de Russorum primâ Expeditione Constantinopolitanâ (Comment. Academ. Petropol. tom. vi. p. 365-391). After disentangling some chronological intricacies, he fixes it in the years 864 or 865, a date which might have smoothed some doubts and difficulties in the beginning of M. Levesque’s history. [The true date of the Russian attack on Constantinople is given in a short Chronicle first printed by F. Cumont in “Anecdota Bruxellensia I. Chroniques quelques byzantines du Mscr. 11376”; and has been established demonstratively by C. de Boor (Byz. Zeitsch. iv. p. 445 sqq.). It is June 18, 860; the old date 865 or 866 was derived from the Chronicle of Pseudo-Symeon (p. 674, ed. Bonn: cp. above, vol. viii. p. 404); but it has been proved by Hirsch that the dates of this chronicle had no authority. The same source which gives the right date asserts that the Russians were defeated and annihilated (ἠϕανίσθησαν) by the Christians with the help of the Virgin. It seems certain that they experienced a severe defeat after their retreat from the walls. Two homilies delivered by Photius on the occasion of this attack were published by Nauck in 1867 and again by C. Müller in Frag. Hist. Græc. v. 2, p. 162 sqq. The first was spoken in the moment of terror before the Emperor’s arrival;the second after the rescue. But the second makes no mention of the destruction of the hostile armament; hence de Boor shows that it must have been delivered immediately after the relief of the Barbarians from the walls, but before their destruction. Another contemporary notice of the event is found in the life of Ignatius by Nicetas (see above, vol. viii. p. 403), Migne, P.G. 105, p. 512. The chronicle of Nestor makes Oskold and Dir (see above, note 60) the leaders of the expedition.]
[75 ]When Photius wrote his encyclic epistle on the conversion of the Russians, the miracle was not yet sufficiently ripe; he reproaches the nation as εἰς ὠμότητα καὶ μιαιϕονίαν [πάντας] δευτέρους ταττόμενον. [See Photii Epistolæ, ed. Valettas, p. 178.]
[76 ]Leo Grammaticus, p. 463, 464 [p. 241, ed. B.]. Constantini Continuator, in Script. post Theophanem, p. 121, 122 [p. 196-7, ed. B.]. Simeon Logothet. p. 445, 446 [p. 674-5, ed. B.]. Georg. Monach. p. 535, 536 [826, ed. B.]. Cedrenus, tom. ii. p. 551 [ii. 173, ed. B.]. Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 162 [xvi. 5].
[77 ]See Nestor [c. 21] and Nicon, in Levesque’s Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 74-80. Katona (Hist. Ducum, p. 75-79) uses his advantage to disprove this Russian victory, which would cloud the siege of Kiow by the Hungarians.
[78 ]Leo Grammaticus, p. 506, 507 [p. 323, ed. B.]; Incert. Contin. p. 263, 264 [p. 424]; Simeon Logothet. p. 490, 491 [p. 746-7, ed. B.], Georg. Monach. p. 588, 589 [p. 914, ed. B.]; Cedren. tom. ii. p. 629 [ii. 316, ed. B.]; Zonaras, tom. ii. p. 190, 191 [xvi. 19]; and Liutprand, l. v. c. 6 [= c. 15], who writes from the narratives of his father-in-law, then ambassador at Constantinople, and corrects the vain exaggeration of the Greeks. [Nestor, c. 26.]
[79 ]I can only appeal to Cedrenus (tom. ii. p. 758, 759 [ii. 551, ed. B.]) and Zonaras (tom. ii. p. 253, 254 [xvii. 24]), but they grow more weighty and credible as they draw near to their own times. [Cp. Nestor, c. 56.]
[80 ]Nestor, apud Levesque, Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 87. [This advice was given by his counsellors to Igor in 944. See Nestor, c. 27; p. 25, ed. Miklosich.]
[81 ]This brazen statue, which had been brought from Antioch, and was melted down by the Latins, was supposed to represent either Joshua or Bellerophon, an odd dilemma. See Nicetas Choniates (p. 413, 414 [p. 848, ed. Bonn]), Codinus (de Originibus [leg. de Signis] C.P. p. 24 [p. 43, ed. B.]), and the anonymous writer de Antiquitat. C.P. (Banduri, Imp. Orient. tom. i. p. 17, 18) who lived about the year 1100. They witness the belief of the prophecy; the rest is immaterial. [The prophecy is not mentioned in the passage of Nicetas; and “Codinus” is merely a copyist of the anonymous Πάτρια τη̑ς Κωνσταντινοπάλεως edited by G. Banduri (see vol. ix Appendix 6). Therefore (as Smith rightly pointed out in his annotation to this note) there is only one witness.]
[82 ]The life of Swatoslaus, or Sviateslaf, or Sphendosthiabus [the form in Greek writers] is extracted from the Russian Chronicles by M. Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 94-107). [Nestor, c. 32-36. Svitoslav was born in 942 (cp. Nestor, c. 27); his independent reign began about 965, in which year he made an expedition against the Khazars (ib. 32).]
[83 ]This resemblance may be clearly seen in the ninth book of the Iliad (205-221), in the minute detail of the cookery of Achilles. By such a picture a modern epic poet would disgrace his work and disgust his reader; but the Greek verses are harmonious; a dead language can seldom appear low or familiar; and at the distance of two thousand seven hundred years we are amused with the primitive manners of antiquity.
[84 ][The Bulgarian Tsar Peter, successor of Simeon, made a treaty with the Empire in 927. He stipulated to prevent the Hungarians from invading the Empire, and in return he was to receive an annual subsidy; and the contract was sealed by his marriage with the granddaughter of Romanus. Peter, a feeble prince, wished to preserve the treaty, but he was not able to prevent some Magyar invasions ( 959, 962, 967); and the strong and victorious Nicephorus refused to pay the subsidies any longer. He saw that the time had come to reassert the power of the Empire against Bulgaria. He advanced against Peter in 967 (this is the right date; others place it in 966), but unaccountably retreated without accomplishing anything. He then sent Calocyres to Kiev to instigate Sviatoslav against Bulgaria. The envoy was a traitor, and conceived the idea of making Sviatoslav’s conquest of Bulgaria a means of ascending himself the throne of Constantinople. Sviatoslav conquered the north of Bulgaria in the same year (Nestor, c. 32), and established his residence at Peristhlava (near Tulcea, on south arm of the Danube delta; to be distinguished from Great Peristhlava, see below, note 90). Drster (Silistria) alone held out against the Russians. Sviatoslav wintered at Peristhlava, but was obliged to return to Russia in the following year (968) to deliver Kiev, which was besieged by the Patzinaks (Nestor, c. 33). A few months later his mother Olga died (ib. c. 34), and then Sviatoslav returned to Bulgaria, which he purposed to make the centre of his dominions. Leo Diaconus (v. c. 2, 3; p. 77-79) and the Greek writers do not distinguish the first and second Russian invasions of Sviatoslav; hence the narrative of Gibbon is confused. For these events see Jirecek, Gesch. der Bulgaren, p. 186-7; Hilferding, Gesch. der Bulgaren, i. 126; and (very fully told in) Schlumberger, Nicéphore Phocas, c. xii. and c. xv.]
[85 ][Before Peter’s death, in Jan. 969, Nicephorus, aware of the treachery of his ambassador Calocyres who had remained with Sviatoslav, and afraid of the ambition of the Russian prince, changed his policy; and, though he had called Russia in to subdue Bulgaria, he now formed a treaty with Bulgaria to keep Russia out. The basis of this treaty (Leo Diac. p. 7-9) was a contract of marriage between the two young Emperors, Basil and Constantine, and two Bulgarian princesses. Then the death of Peter supervened. David the son of Shishman the tsar of western Bulgaria (cp. above, p. 34, note 22) made an attempt to seize eastern Bulgaria, but was anticipated by Peter’s young son, Boris. Then Sviatoslav returned to Bulgaria (see last note). During his absence Little Peristhlava seems to have been regained by the Bulgarians and he had to recapture it. Then he went south and took Great Peristhlava; and captured Boris and his brother Romanus, 969.]
[86 ][Nicephorus was assassinated Dec. 10, 969. Lines of his admirer John Geometres, bishop of Melitene, written soon after his death, attest the apprehensions of the people of Constantinople at the threatening Russian invasions. “Rise up,” he cries to the dead sovereign, “gather thine army; for the Russian host is speeding against us; the Scythians are throbbing for carnage,” &c. The piece is quoted by Scylitzes (Cedrenus, ii. p. 378, ed. Bonn) and is printed in Hase’s ed. of Leo Diac. (p. 453, ed. B.). Evidently these verses were written just after the capture of Philippopolis by the Russians, and the horrible massacre of the inhabitants, in early spring 970, when the Russian plunderers were already approaching the neighbourhood of the capital. John Tzimisces, before he took the field, sent two embassies to Sviatoslav, commanding him to leave not only the Imperial provinces but Bulgaria (cp. Lambin in the Mémoires de l’Acad. de St. Petersburg, 1876, p. 119 sqq.). In preparing for his campaign, Tzimisces formed a new regiment of chosen soldiers, which he called the Immortals (Leo Diac. p. 107). For the Russian wars of Tzimisces see Schlumberger, L’épopée Byzantine, chaps. i. ii. iii.; and Bielov’s study (cited below, note 88).]
[87 ]This singular epithet is derived from the Armenian language, and Τζιμισκη̑ς is interpreted in Greek by μουζακίτζης, or μοιρακίτζης. As I profess myself equally ignorant of these words, I may be indulged in the question in the play, “Pray which of you is the interpreter?” From the context they seem to signify Adolescentulus (Leo Diacon. l. iv. MS. apud Ducange, Glossar Græc. p. 1570 [Bk. v. c. 9, p. 92, ed. Bonn]). [Tshemshkik would be the Armenian form. It is supposed to be derived from a phrase meaning a red boot.]
[88 ][The first victory was gained by the general Bardas Sclerus in the plains near Arcadiopolis; it saved Constantinople. M. Bielov in a study of this war (Zhurnal Min. vol. 170, 1876, p. 168 sqq.) tried to show that the Russians were victorious, but (as M. Schlumberger rightly thinks) he is unsuccessful in proving this thesis.]
[89 ][For the date ( 972) of this splendid expedition of Tzimisces cp. Schlumberger, op. cit. p. 82. Nestor places it in 971 (c. 36).]
[90 ]In the Sclavonic tongue, the name of Peristhlaba implied the great or illustrious city, μεγάλη καὶ οὓσα καὶ λεγομένη, says Anna Comnena (Alexiad, l. vii. p. 194 [c. 3]). From its position between Mount Hæmus and the Lower Danube, it appears to fill the ground, or at least the station, of Marcianopolis. The situation of Durostolus, or Dristra, is well known and conspicuous (Comment. Academ. Petropol. tom. ix. p. 415, 416; D’Anville, Geographie Ancienne, tom. i. p. 307, 311). [Great Peristhlava was situated at Eski Stambul, 22 kilometres south of Shumla. Marcianopolis was much farther east; some of its ruins have been traced near the modern village of Dievna (about 30 kils. west of Varna as the crow flies). Tzimisces called Peristhlava after himself Joannopolis, but the city rapidly decayed after this period. He called Drster Theodoropolis, in honour of St. Theodore the Megalomartyr, who was supposed to have fought in the Roman ranks in the last great fight at Drster on July 23. Thereby hangs a problem. The Greek writers say that the day of the battle was the feast of St. Theodore; but his feast falls on June 8. Cp. Muralt, Essai de Chron. byz. ad ann.]
[91 ][The Greek sources for the capture of Peristhlava (and for the whole campaign) are Leo the Deacon and Scylitzes. The numbers (given by Scylitzes) are very doubtful.]
[92 ][A battle was fought outside Silistria and the Russians discomfited, in April 23, before the siege began.]
[93 ][For the treaty see above, p. 57, note 70.]
[94 ]The political management of the Greeks, more especially with the Patzinacites, is explained in the seven first chapters de Administratione Imperii.
[95 ]In the narrative of this war, Leo the Deacon (apud Pagi, Critica, tom. iv. 968-973 [Bk. vi. c. 3-13]) is more authentic and circumstantial than Cedrenus (tom. ii. p. 660-683) and Zonaras (tom. ii. p. 205-214 [xvi. 27-xvii. 3]). These declaimers have multiplied to 308,000 and 330,000 men those Russian forces of which the contemporary had given a moderate and consistent account.
[96 ]Phot. Epistol. ii. No. 35, p. 58, edit. Montacut [Ep. 4, ed. Valettas, p. 178]. It was unworthy of the learning of the editor to mistake the Russian nation, τὸ Ῥω̑ς, for a war-cry of the Bulgarians; nor did it become the enlightened patriarch to accuse the Sclavonian idolaters τη̑ς Ἐλληνικη̑ς καὶ ἀθέου δόξης. They were neither Greeks nor atheists.
[97 ]M. Levesque has extracted, from old chronicles and modern researches, the most satisfactory account of the religion of the Slavi, and the conversion of Russia (Hist. de Russie, tom. i. p. 35-54, 59, 92, 93, 113-121, 124-129, 148, 149, &c.). [Nestor, c. 31.]
[98 ]See the Ceremoniale Aulæ Byzant. tom. ii. c. 15, p. 343-345: the style of Olga, or Elga [Old Norse, Helga], is Ἀρχόντισσα Ῥωσίας. For the chief of Barbarians the Greeks whimsically borrowed the title of an Athenian magistrate, with a female termination which would have astonished the ear of Demosthenes. [In the account of the Ceremony of Olga’s reception her baptism is not mentioned; it was indeed irrelevant.]
[99 ]See an anonymous fragment published by Banduri (Imperium Orientale, tom. ii. p. 112, 113), de Conversione Russorum. [Reprinted in vol. iii. of Bonn ed. of Constantine Porph. p. 357 sqq.; but since published in a fuller form from a Patmos MS. by W. Regel in Analecta Byzantino-Russica, p. 44 sqq. (1891). But the narrative is a later compilation and mixes up together (Regel, op. cit. p. xxi.) the story of the earlier conversion by Photius, and the legend of the introduction of the Slavonic alphabet by Cyril and Methodius.]
[100 ]Cherson, or Corsun, is mentioned by Herberstein (apud Pagi, tom. iv. p. 56) as the place of Wolodomir’s baptism and marriage; and both the tradition and the gates are still preserved at Novogorod. Yet an observing traveller transports the brazen gates from Magdeburg in Germany (Coxe’s Travels into Russia, &c. vol. i. p. 452), and quotes an inscription, which seems to justify his opinion. The modern reader must not confound this old Cherson of the Tauric or Crimæan peninsula [situated on the southern shore of the bay of Sebastopol] with a new city of the same name, which had arisen near the mouth of the Borysthenes, and was lately honoured by the memorable interview of the empress of Russia with the emperor of the West. [Till recently, the date of the marriage and conversion of Vladimir was supposed to be 988. The authority is the Russian chronicle of “Nestor,” which contains the fullest (partly legendary) account (c. 42). Vladimir captured Cherson, and sent an embassy, demanding the hand of the princess Anne, and threatening to attack Constantinople if it were refused. Vasilievski showed (in a paper in the Zhurnal Min., 184 (1876), p. 156) from the notice in Leo Diaconus (p. 175, ed. Bonn), and the Baron von Rosen (in his book of extracts from the annals of Yahia (1883), note 169), that Cherson was captured in 989 (c. June); and it follows that the marriage and conversion cannot have been celebrated before the autumn of 989. The fragment which is sometimes called “Notes of the Greek toparch of Gothia,” which was published by Hase (notes to Leo Diaconus, p. 496 sqq. ed. Bonn), does not belong to this period nor concern the neighbourhood of Cherson; but probably refers to events which happened on the lower Don in the early part of the 10th century. This explanation has been proposed by Th. Uspenski in the Kievskaia Starina of 1889 (see Schlumberger, L’épopée Byzantine, p. 767, note).]
[101 ][The adoption of Christianity in Russia was facilitated by the fact that there was no sacerdotal caste to oppose it. This point is insisted on by Kostomarov, Russische Geschichte in Biographien, i. 5.]
[102 ]Consult the Latin text, or English version, of Mosheim’s excellent History of the Church, under the first head or section of each of these centuries.
[103 ]In the year 1000, the ambassadors of St. Stephen received from Pope Sylvester the title of King of Hungary, with a diadem of Greek workmanship. It had been designed for the duke of Poland; but the Poles, by their own confession, were yet too barbarous to deserve an angelical and apostolical crown (Katona, Hist. Critic. Regum Stirpis Arpadianæ, tom. i. p. 1-20).
[104 ]Listen to the exultations of Adam of Bremen ( 1080), of which the substance is agreeable to truth: Ecce illa ferocissima Danorum, &c. natio . . . jamdudum novit in Dei laudibus Alleluia resonare . . . Ecce populus ille piraticus . . . suis nunc finibus contentus est. Ecce patria [illa] horribilis semper inaccessa propter cultum idolorum . . . prædicatores veritatis ubique certatim admittit, &c. &c. (de Situ Daniæ, &c. p. 40, 41, edit. Elzevir [c. 42]: a curious and original prospect of the North of Europe, and the introduction of Christianity).
[105 ][The great monument of Yaroslav’s reign is the church of St. Sophia at Kiev, built by Greek masons. A smaller church, also dedicated to the Holy Wisdom, was built at Novgorod on the pattern of the Kiev church by his son Vladimir in 1045.]
[106 ][For Yaroslav’s taste for books, see Nestor, c. 55.]
[107 ][It is important to notice the growth of monasticism in Russia in the 11th century. The original hearth and centre of the movement was at Kiev in the Pestcherski or Crypt Monastery, famous for the Saint Theodosius [ob. 1074] whose biography was written by Nestor. Kostomarov (op. cit. p. 18 sqq.) has a readable chapter on the subject.]
[108 ]The great princes removed in 1156 from Kiow, which was ruined by the Tartars in 1240. Moscow became the seat of empire in the xivth century. See the first and second volumes of Levesque’s History, and Mr. Coxe’s Travels into the North, tom. i. p. 241, &c.
[109 ]The ambassadors of St. Stephen had used the reverential expressions of regnum oblatum, debitam obedientiam, &c. which were most rigorously interpreted by Gregory VII.; and the Hungarian Catholics are distressed between the sanctity of the pope and the independence of the crown (Katona, Hist. Critica, tom. i. p. 20-25, tom. ii. p. 304, 346, 360, &c.).