Pomorie is a town and seaside resort in southeastern Bulgaria, located on a narrow rocky peninsula in Burgas Bay on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast. It is situated in Burgas Province, 20 km away from the city of Burgas and 18 km from the Sunny Beach resort; the ultrasaline lagoon Lake Pomorie, the northernmost of the Burgas Lakes, lies in the immediate proximity. The town is the administrative centre of the eponymous Pomorie Municipality. Pomorie is an ancient city and today an important tourist destination; as of December 2009, it has a population of 13,569 inhabitants. It lies at 42°33′N 27°39′E. Pomorie was founded by the Ancient Greeks under the name Anchialos, deriving from Ancient Greek "anchi-" and "als-". In Latin, this was rendered as Anchialus; the Bulgars called the town Tuthom, though it's more common name in Bulgarian was Анхиало, Anhialo based on the Greek name. During the Ottoman rule, the town was called Ahyolu. In 1934 the town was renamed to Pomorie, from the Bulgarian "po-" and "more", corresponding to one of the two etymologies of the original Greek name.
Founded in the 5th or 4th century BC as a colony of Apollonia, Anchialos was mentioned in Strabo's Geographica as a small town. It was captured by Messembria in the 2nd century BC, but reconquered by Apollonia and its fortified walls destroyed; the western Black Sea coast was conquered by the Romans under Marcus Licinius Crassus in 29-28 BC after continuous campaigns in the area since 72-71. The fortified wall was meanwhile rebuilt. In the early 1st century AD Anchialos was the centre of a strategia of the vassal Odrysian kingdom, the town had a Thracian population in the 6th century AD according to the early Byzantine historian Procopius; as the Odrysian kingdom's self-independence was abolished in 45 AD, Anchialos became part of the Roman province of Thrace and was formally proclaimed a city under Emperor Trajan. At the time the city controlled a vast territory bordering that of Augusta Trajana and reaching the Tundzha to the west, bordering that of Messembria to the north and the southern shore of Lake Burgas to the south.
Anchialos acquired the appearance of a Roman city and throve in the 2nd and 3rd century under the Severan Dynasty, serving as the most important import and export station of Thrace. However, the invasion of barbarian tribes from the north meant an end to this prosperity in the middle of the 3rd century, with the Goths capturing Anchialos around 270. Diocletian stayed in the city between 28 and 30 October 294, his and Constantine the Great's reforms restored the city's prosperity for a while, as the proximity to the new capital of Constantinople made Anchialos a key food supply centre. Theodoric the Great passed through the city in 476 on the way to Adrianople. A high-ranking Byzantine general named Vitalian in 513 revolted in the region and took control of Anchialos and the neighbouring cities to use their fleet in his attack of Constantinople until he was crushed in 515; the bishopric of Anchialus was a suffragan of the metropolitan see of Hadrianopolis in Haemimonto, capital of the Roman province of Haemimontus.
However, the Notitiae Episcopatuum of Pseudo-Epiphanius, written in the reign of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius, gives it as an autocephalous archbishopric, today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see. The first bishop of the see whose name is known is 2nd-century Sotas, mentioned by Eusebius of Caesarea as an adversary of Montanism. Timotheus was at the Council of Sardica in 343/344. Sebastianus was one of the bishops at the First Council of Constantinople of 381. Sabbatius was a signatory of the decree of the Patriarch of Constantinople against simoniacs in 459. Paulus was at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553. Jacobus was a contemporary of Patriarch Tarasios of Constantinople. Nicolaus was at the Photian Council of Constantinople. No longer a residential bishopric, Anchialus is today listed by the Catholic Church as a titular see; the Slavic and Avar invasion in 584 meant Anchialos was conquered and its fortifications were destroyed. Avar Khagan Bayan turned the city into his residence for a few months and concluded a peace treaty with the Byzantines.
At the eve of his campaigns, the emperor Maurice visited the city to oversee reconstruction. After 681 and the formation of the First Bulgarian Empire to the north Anchialos played an important role in many conflicts between the two empires. In 708 the forces of Justinian II were defeated near the fortress by the army of Bulgar Khan Tervel. On 30 June 763 the Bulgars under Telets suffered a defeat by the Byzantine army of Constantine V. On 21 June 766 the same emperor's fleet of 2,600 heavy ships sank en route to Anchialos, where Constantine was waiting, most soldiers drowned, forcing him to return to Constantinople. In May 783 Irene undertook a demonstrative campaign across Thrace and restored Anchialos' destroyed fortifications; the city was first conquered by the Bulgarian Empire in 812, under Khan Krum, who settled Slavs and Bulgars in Anchialos. The Byzantines restored their control over the city and the area in 864; the Battle of Anchialus took place near the city on 20 August 917, was one of Tsar Simeon the Great's greatest military achievements.
Simeon's army routed the larger Byzantine forces under Leo Phocas. Bulgaria retained the city until 971, when the Byzantine Empire reconquered it and held it for two centuries as Bulgaria was subjugated. After the restoration of the Bulgarian state Anchialos changed hands several times until it was captured by th
Battle of Thessalonica (995)
The Battle of Thessalonica occurred in 995 or earlier, near the city of Thessalonica, Greece. The battle was part of the long Bulgarian -- Byzantine war of early 11th centuries; the Bulgarians under their ruler, Tsar Samuil, succeeded in ambushing and destroying the Byzantine garrison of Thessalonica, killing its commander, Gregory Taronites, capturing his son Ashot. After the great victory in the Battle of Trajan's Gates, the subsequent civil war in the Byzantine Empire, Samuil was free to attack the Byzantine strongholds all over the Balkan peninsula. After having secured his rule over most of the northern Balkans, he led a campaign against Thessalonica, Byzantium's second largest city, held by the doux Gregory Taronites; the exact date of this campaign, the subsequent battle, is unclear. An Armenian source puts it as early as 991, while the account of John Skylitzes, on which the dating by traditional accounts relies, implies it happened in 996. However, as John Chaldos is attested as doux in Thessalonica in 995/6 in succession to Taronites, the campaign must have happened at the latest in 995, if not some time before.
Samuil sent a small detachment towards the city, while the main body of his army remained behind to prepare an ambush for the Byzantine army. As the Bulgarian raiding party approached Thessalonica, Gregory Taronites sent out his son, with the vanguard to make contact with them and reconnoitre the Bulgarian dispositions. Ashot engaged the Bulgarian raiding party and drove them back, but was drawn into the ambush and encircled with his men, his father, following up with the main Byzantine force, rushed to his rescue, but was killed trying to reach him. Ashot Taronites was taken captive and taken to Bulgaria, where shortly after he was wed to Samuil's daughter Miroslava, he was named governor of Dyrrhachium, from where he soon escaped on board Byzantine ships to Constantinople, where he arranged the surrender of the city to the Byzantines. In Thessalonica, Taronites was succeeded by John Chaldos, who fell victim to a Bulgarian ambush and was captured in 996. After that, emboldened by his successes, Samuil ventured south, into the thema of Hellas for a plundering expedition.
He captured Larissa and reached Corinth, after which he learned about the approach of a Byzantine army under Nikephoros Ouranos and returned north. The two armies met at the Spercheios river; the long Byzantine-Bulgarian conflict, would go on until the final defeat of Bulgaria in 1018. Йордан Андреев, Милчо Лалков, Българските ханове и царе, Велико Търново, 1996. Holmes, Catherine. Basil II and the Governance of Empire. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-927968-5. Strässle, Paul Meinrad. Krieg und Kriegführung in Byzanz: die Kriege Kaiser Basileios' II. Gegen die Bulgaren. Cologne: Böhlau Verlag. ISBN 3-412-17405-X. Wortley, John, ed.. John Skylitzes: A Synopsis of Byzantine History, 811-1057. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-76705-7
Uprising of Ivaylo
The Uprising of Ivaylo was a rebellion of the Bulgarian peasantry against the incompetent rule of Emperor Constantine Tikh and the Bulgarian nobility. The revolt was fuelled by the failure of the central authorities to confront the Mongol menace in north-eastern Bulgaria; the Mongols had looted and ravaged the Bulgarian population for decades in the region of Dobrudzha. The weakness of the state institutions was a result of the accelerating process of feudalisation of the Bulgarian Empire; the peasants' leader Ivaylo, said to had been a swineherd by the contemporary Byzantine chroniclers, proved to be a successful general and charismatic leader. In the first months of the rebellion, he defeated the Mongols and the Tsar's armies slaying Constantine Tikh in battle, he made a triumphant entry in the capital Tarnovo, married Maria, the emperor's widow, forced the nobility to recognize him as Emperor of Bulgaria. The Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos tried to exploit this situation to his favour and intervened in Bulgaria.
He sent Ivan Asen III, son of the former Emperor Mitso Asen, to claim the Bulgarian throne at the head of a large Byzantine army. Michael VIII incited the Mongols to attack from the north, forcing Ivaylo to fight on two fronts. Ivaylo was besieged in important fortress of Drastar. In his absence the nobility in Tarnovo opened the gates to Ivan Asen III. However, Ivaylo managed to break the siege and Ivan Asen III fled back to the Byzantine Empire. Michael VIII sent two large armies in an attempt to turn the fortunes of the war, but they were both defeated by the Bulgarian rebels in the Balkan mountains. In the meantime, the nobility in the capital had proclaimed as emperor one of their own, the magnate George Terter I. Surrounded by enemies and with diminishing support due to the constant warfare, Ivaylo fled to the court of the Mongol warlord Nogai Khan to seek aid, but was murdered; the legacy of the rebellion endured both in Byzantium. Years after the demise of the peasant emperor, two "Pseudo-Ivaylos" appeared in the Byzantine Empire and enjoyed wide support by the populace.
Following the demise of Ivan Asen II, the large Bulgarian Empire began to decline as a result of a succession of infant emperors and internal struggles among the nobility. To the north the country faced a Mongol invasion in constant raiding thereafter. Although Ivan Asen II defeated the Mongols shortly before his death, the regency of Kaliman I Asen agreed to pay an annual tribute to the Mongols to avoid devastation; the Mongol invasion led to the collapse of the loosely held Cuman confederation in the western part of the Eurasian Steppe and the foundation of the Mongol Golden Horde. This had long–term political and strategic consequences for Bulgaria — the Cumans were Bulgarian allies and supplied the Bulgarian army with auxiliary cavalry while the Golden Horde proved to be a hostile entity. To the south, Bulgaria lost large portions of Thrace and Macedonia to the Nicaean Empire, which had escaped the initial Mongol attacks; the lands to the north-west, including Belgrade, Braničevo and Severin Banat, were conquered by the Kingdom of Hungary.
In 1256 Bulgaria descended into a civil war between Mitso Asen, a relative of Ivan Asen II, who established himself in south-eastern Bulgaria, the bolyar of Skopje Constantine Tikh, proclaimed emperor by the nobility in Tarnovo. The Hungarian noble of Rus' princely origin Rostislav Mikhailovich established himself in Vidin as another claimant of the title Emperor of Bulgaria and was recognized as such by the Kingdom of Hungary. By 1261 Constantine Tikh had emerged as victor, but his 20–year-long reign did not bring stability to Bulgaria: Vidin remained separated from the central authorities in Tarnovo, the Mongols campaigned in north-eastern Bulgaria, looting the countryside and paralysing the economy; that same year Michael VIII Palaiologos seized Constantinople and restored the Byzantine Empire as a major adversary of Bulgaria to the south. In the 1260s Constantine Tikh broke his leg in a hunting incident and was paralysed from the waist down; this disability weakened his control over the government and he fell under the influence of his second wife Irene Doukaina Laskarina, involved in intrigues with her relatives in the Byzantine court.
He left the state affairs to his third wife, Maria Palaiologina Kantakouzene — a scandalous intriguer whose actions to secure the succession of her son alienated the nobility. The internal political development and feudalisation of Bulgaria in the 13th century resulted in a rising number of serfs, as well as an increase in the power of the landed nobility. This, in turn, led to aspirations for more self-rule among the most influential nobles. Many of them established semi-independent fiefdoms that nominally recognized the emperor in Tarnovo and reduced the capacity of the central authorities to deal with external threats. In the second half of the 13th century, the peasantry was losing personal privileges to the benefit of the secular and religious feudal lords, which in turn reduced the peasants' income and opportunities, worsening their lives. In parallel, the inability of Constantine Tikh to terminate the constant Mongol incursions in the north-east of the country shattered the pillars of the state institutions in Dobrudzha and contributed to the outbreak of the uprising and its swift success.
The Mongol raids were carried out by the semi-independent chief Nogai Khan, more powerful than the legitimate ruler of the Golden Horde, Mengu-Timur, ruled over the steppes of modern Moldova an
Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927
The Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 913–927 was fought between the Bulgarian Empire and the Byzantine Empire for more than a decade. Although the war was provoked by the Byzantine emperor Alexander's decision to discontinue paying an annual tribute to Bulgaria, the military and ideological initiative was held by Simeon I of Bulgaria, who demanded to be recognized as Tsar and made it clear that he aimed to conquer not only Constantinople but the rest of the Byzantine Empire, as well. In 917, the Bulgarian army dealt a crushing defeat to the Byzantines at the Battle of Achelous, resulting in Bulgaria's total military supremacy in the Balkans; the Bulgarians again defeated the Byzantines at Katasyrtai in 917, Pegae in 921 and Constantinople in 922. The Bulgarians captured the important city of Adrianople in Thrace and seized the capital of the Theme of Hellas, deep in southern Greece. Following the disaster at Achelous, Byzantine diplomacy incited the Principality of Serbia to attack Bulgaria from the west, but this assault was contained.
In 924, the Serbs ambushed and defeated a small Bulgarian army on its way to Serbia, provoking a major retaliatory campaign that ended with Bulgaria's annexation of Serbia at the end of that year. Simeon was aware that he needed naval support to conquer Constantinople and in 922 sent envoys to the Fatimid caliph Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah in Mahdia to negotiate the assistance of the powerful Arab navy; the caliph agreed to send his own representatives to Bulgaria to arrange an alliance but his envoys were captured en route by the Byzantines near the Calabrian coast. Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos managed to avert a Bulgarian–Arab alliance by showering the Arabs with generous gifts. By the time of his death in May 927, Simeon controlled all Byzantine possessions in the Balkans, but Constantinople remained out of his reach. In 927, both countries were exhausted by the huge military efforts that had taken a heavy toll on the population and economy. Simeon's successor Peter negotiated a favourable peace treaty.
The Byzantines agreed to recognize him as Emperor of Bulgaria and the Bulgarian Orthodox Church as an independent Patriarchate, as well as to pay an annual tribute. The peace was reinforced with Romanos's granddaughter Irene Lekapene; this agreement ushered in a period of 40 years of peaceful relations between the two powers, a time of stability and prosperity for both Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire. In the first years after his accession to the throne in 893, Simeon I defended Bulgaria's commercial interests, acquired territory between the Black Sea and the Strandzha mountains, imposed an annual tribute on the Byzantine Empire as a result of the Byzantine–Bulgarian war of 894–896; the outcome of the war confirmed Bulgarian domination in the Balkans, but Simeon I knew that he needed to consolidate his political and ideological base in order to fulfil his ultimate goal of claiming an imperial title for himself and assuming the throne in Constantinople. He implemented an ambitious construction programme in Bulgaria's new capital, Preslav, so that the city would rival the splendour of the Byzantine capital.
Simeon I continued the policy of his father Boris I of establishing and disseminating Bulgarian culture, turning the country into the literary and spiritual centre of Slavic Europe. The Preslav and literary schools, founded under Boris I, reached their apogee during the reign of his successor, it was at this time that the Cyrillic alphabet was invented, most by the Bulgarian scholar Clement of Ohrid. The Magyar devastation of the country's north-eastern regions during the War of 894–896 exposed the vulnerability of Bulgaria's borders to foreign intervention under the influence of Byzantine diplomacy; as soon as the peace with Byzantium had been signed, Simeon I sought to secure the Bulgarian positions in the western Balkans. After the death of the Serb prince Mutimir, several members of the ruling dynasty fought over the throne of the Principality of Serbia until Petar Gojniković established himself as a prince in 892. In 897 Simeon I agreed to recognize Petar and put him under his protection, resulting in a twenty-year period of peace and stability to the west.
However, Petar was not content with his subordinate position and sought ways to achieve independence. The internal situation of the Byzantine Empire at the beginning of the 10th century was seen by Simeon I as a sign of weakness. There was an attempt to murder emperor Leo VI the Wise in 903 and a rebellion of the commander of the Eastern army Andronikos Doukas in 905; the situation further deteriorated as the emperor entered into a feud with the Ecumenical Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos over his fourth marriage, to his mistress Zoe Karbonopsina. In 907, Leo VI had the patriarch deposed. At the beginning of the 10th century, the Arabs completed the conquest of Sicily and from 902 began attacking Byzantine shipping and towns in the Aegean Sea. In 904, they sacked the empire's second-largest city, taking 22,000 captives and leaving the city empty. Simeon I decided to exploit that opportunity, the Bulgarian army appeared in the vicinity of the deserted city. By securing and settling Thessalonica, the Bulgarians would have gained an important port on the Aegean Sea and would have cemented their hold on the western Balkans, creating a permanent threat to Constantinople.
Aware of the danger, the Byzantines sent the experienced diplomat Leo Choirosphaktes to negotiate a solution. The course of the negotiations is unknown – in a surviving letter to emperor Leo VI the Wise, Choirosphaktes boasted that he had "convinced" the Bulgarians not to take the city but did not mention more details. However, a
Battle of Spercheios
The Battle of Spercheios took place in 997 AD, on the shores of the Spercheios river near the city of Lamia in central Greece. It was fought between a Bulgarian army led by Tsar Samuil, which in the previous year had penetrated south into Greece, a Byzantine army under the command of general Nikephoros Ouranos; the Byzantine victory destroyed the Bulgarian army, ended its raids in the southern Balkans and Greece. The major historical source on the battle comes from Greek historian John Skylitzes whose Synopsis of Histories contains a biography of the then-reigning Byzantine Emperor, Basil II. After the success of the Bulgarians in the Battle of the Gates of Trajan in 986, Byzantium descended into a civil war, further exacerbated by the conflict with the Fatimids in Syria. Tsar Samuil took advantage of the situation, he managed to seize many castles in the surroundings of Byzantium's second largest city, Thessalonica. In 991, the Byzantines managed to capture Roman of Bulgaria but this did not stop Samuil, now de facto the only emperor of Bulgaria.
In 996, Samuil defeated the forces of the strategos of Thessalonica and marched south threatening Larissa and Corinth. On his way back he met a Byzantine army on the opposite side of the Spercheios river, led by the Domestic of the West, Nikephoros Ouranos. Basil II had appointed Ouranos commander of all Balkan and Greek territories of the Byzantine Empire and gave him a large army to defeat the Bulgarians, he followed the Bulgarian army and confronted it after the Bulgarians went through the Thermopylae pass on the river of Spercheios. After heavy rainfalls, the river had flooded a large area on both shores; the Bulgarians camped on the southern shore and the Byzantines on the northern, separated from each other by the river. The two armies remained thus encamped for several days. Samuil was confident that the Byzantines could not cross, neglected taking measures to protect his camp. Ouranos however and found a ford, led his army across during the night, attacked the Bulgarians at dawn; the Bulgarians were not able to put up effective resistance, the larger part of their army was destroyed and captured.
Samuil himself was wounded and he and his son Gavril Radomir evaded capture by feigning death among the bodies of their slain soldiers, while around 12,000 of their men were said to be captured. After nightfall they set off to Bulgaria and in the Pindus mountains gathered what was left of their army. Over the difficult 400 km journey to Ochrid, his arm healed at an angle of 140°. According to Yahya of Antioch, Nikephoros Ouranos returned to Constantinople with one thousand heads of Bulgarian soldiers and twelve thousand captives; the battle was a major defeat of the Bulgarian army. At first Samuil showed readiness for negotiations but upon the news of the death of Bulgaria's official ruler Roman in prison, he proclaimed himself the sole legitimate tsar and continued the war. Although Samuil managed to recover, the Byzantines decisively took the lead in the war. In 1014, they conquered the country. According to Skylitzes, the victory was Ouranos's achievement, Basil II is credited with little besides appointing him to the office of Domesticos.
Йордан Андреев, Милчо Лалков, Българските ханове и царе, Велико Търново, 1996. Ioannes Scylitzes, Synopsis Historion
Battle of Pressburg
The Battle of Pressburg or Battle of Pozsony, or Battle of Bratislava was a three-day-long battle, fought between 4–6 July 907, during which the East Francian army, consisting of Bavarian troops led by Margrave Luitpold, was annihilated by Hungarian forces. An important result of the Battle of Pressburg was the Kingdom of East Francia could not regain control over the Carolingian March of Pannonia, including the territory of the marchia orientalis, lost in 900. However, the most significant result of the Battle of Pressburg is that the Hungarians secured the lands they gained during the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin, prevented a German invasion that jeopardized their future and established the Kingdom of Hungary; this battle is considered one of the most significant battles in the history of Hungary, marks the conclusion of the Hungarian conquest. The Battle of Pressburg is mentioned in several annals, including the Annales iuvavenses, Annales Alamannici, Continuator Reginonis, Annales Augienses, in the necrologies of important people such as kings, dukes and spiritual leaders.
The most important source for the battle is the 16th Century chronicle of the Bavarian Renaissance humanist and philologist Johannes Aventinus, which contains the most comprehensive descriptions. Despite being written 600 years after the events, it is based on manuscripts written at the time of the battle, but since lost. In 900, the advisors to the new king of East Francia, Louis the Child, led by his regent, Hatto I, Archbishop of Mainz, refused to renew the East Francian –Hungarian alliance, which ended upon the death of Arnulf of Carinthia, the prior king Consequently, in 900 the Hungarians took over Pannonia from the Duchy of Bavaria a part of East Francia; this started a war between the Hungarians and Germans that lasted until 910. Prior to the Battle of Pressburg, most fighting was between the Hungarians and the Bavarians, with the exception of the Hungarian campaign in Saxony of 906. After losing Pannonia, the Margrave of Bavaria allied with Bavaria's former enemy Mojmir II of Moravia.
In 902 the Hungarian armies led by Kurszán, defeated Great Moravia, occupied its eastern area, followed by Hungarian suzerainty over the rest of Moravia and Dalamancia. This interrupted Bavaria's trade routes to Eastern Europe; this was an economic blow and was one of the reasons that caused Luitpold to believe a campaign against the Hungarians was necessary. He could not reconcile the loss of Bavarian control over Pannonia and Bohemia. Several events strengthened Luitpold's resolve to start a campaign against the Hungarians. During the last Hungarian attacks against Bavaria, Luitpold's forces defeated some of their units in minor battles, including Laibach and Fischa River. In 904, the Bavarians assassinated Kurszán after feigning a desire for a peace treaty to which they invited him to negotiate. After these setbacks, for a time the Hungarians did not attack Bavaria; these events and the belief the Hungarians were afraid of his forces convinced Luitpold the time was right to expel the Hungarians from the territories belonging to Bavaria.
The nominal leader of the Bavarian army was the King of East Francia. Since he was under the age of majority, the actual commander was Luitpold. An experienced military leader, Luitpold fought the Moravians and achieved some military success against raiding Hungarian units, but lost the March of Pannonia to them. Many historians believe the commander of the Hungarian forces was Árpád, Grand Prince of the Hungarians, but there is no proof of this, it is more they were led by the same unknown, but brilliant commander who led them during the battles of Brenta, Eisenach and Augsburg. These battles, part of the Hungarian invasions of Europe, were their greatest triumphs, they inflicted the heaviest losses of enemy forces, including in most cases the enemy commander; this conclusion is supported by analysis of these battles using existing sources. In these cases, the following principles of warfare were used with great success: Psychological warfare, for example terrorizing and demoralising the enemy with constant, repeated attacks, inflating the enemy's confidence and, lowering its vigilance, with deceiving manoeuvres or false negotiations striking and destroying it by surprise attack, Feigned retreat, Effective use of military intelligence, thus preventing surprise attacks and attacking before all German forces could combine Rapid deployment and movement of units, surprising enemy troops, Covertly crossing geographical obstacles, thought by the enemy to be insurmountable, attacking unexpectedly, Use of nomadic battlefield tactics, the value of, shown by their victories in those battles, Extraordinary patience to wait days or weeks for the right moment to engage the enemy and win the battle, Maintain superlative discipline among troops in respecting and executing orders, Ki
Battle of Rusokastro
The Battle of Rusokastro occurred on July 18, 1332 near the village of Rusokastro, between the armies of the Bulgarian and Byzantine Empires. The outcome was a Bulgarian victory In 1328, the emperors of Bulgaria and Byzantium, Michael Asen III and Andronikos III Palaiologos, signed a secret treaty against Serbia. While Michael Asen III was fighting against the Serbs in 1330, the Byzantines invaded Thrace and captured its Bulgarian towns; the Byzantines were unprepared for war. Their Empire was torn by civil unrest and the army was fighting against the Turks in Asia Minor. In the Bulgarian Empire, there were internecine struggles as well but the new Emperor Ivan Alexander knew that the decisive confrontation with Byzantium was yet to come and decided to improve his relations with the Serbs. In 1332, he concluded a peace treaty with them; the treaty was secured with a marriage between the Serb king Stefan Dushan and the sister of the Emperor, Elena. In the summer of the same year, the Byzantines gathered an army and without a declaration of war advanced towards Bulgaria and plundering the villages on their way.
The Byzantines seized several castles because Ivan Alexander's attention was focused towards fighting the rebellion of his uncle Belaur in Vidin. He tried to negotiate with the enemy without success; the Emperor decided to act swiftly during the course of five days, when his cavalry covered 230 km to reach Aitos and face the invaders. Ivan Alexander had troops of 8,000 while the Byzantines were only 3,000. There were negotiations between the two rulers but the Bulgarian emperor deliberately prolonged them because he was awaiting reinforcements. In the night of July 17 they arrived in his camp and he decided to attack the Byzantines the next day. Andronikos III Palaiologos had no choice; the Byzantine army consisted of 16 squads and six of them made up the first column. The right wing was commanded by the protostrator, the left wing was under the megas papias Alexios Tzamplakon, the center was commanded by the emperor; the army formed a wide front in two lines with the flanks positioned behind the center forming a crescent.
The battle continued for three hours. The Byzantines tried to prevent the Bulgarian cavalry from surrounding them, but their manoeuvre failed; the cavalry moved around the first Byzantine line, leaving it for the infantry and charged the rear of their flanks. After a fierce fight the Byzantines were defeated, abandoned the battlefield and took refuge in Rusokastro; the Bulgarian army surrounded the fortress and at noon on the same day Ivan Alexander sent envoys to continue the negotiations. The Bulgarians recovered their lost territory in Thrace and strengthened the position of their empire; the eight-year-old son and successor of the Bulgarian emperor Michael Asen was married to the daughter of Andronikos, cementing the peace between the two states. This battle was regarded by medieval Bulgarian historians as a great triumph of emperor Ivan Alexander; that was the last major battle between Bulgaria and Byzantium as their seven-century rivalry for domination of the Balkans was soon to come to an end, after the fall of the two Empires under Ottoman domination.
Rusokastro Rock at the north entrance to McFarlane Strait in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named after “the settlement and medieval fortress of Rusokastro in Southeastern Bulgaria.” Andreev, Y.. The Bulgarian Tsars. Veliko Tarnovo: Abagar. ISBN 954-427-216-X. Clifford Rogers, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology: Vol. 1, Oxford University Press, 2010