Battle of the Hellespont
The Battle of the Hellespont, consisting of two separate naval clashes, was fought in 324 between a Constantinian fleet, led by the eldest son of Constantine I, Crispus. Despite being outnumbered, Crispus won a complete victory. Following his defeat at Adrianople, in Thrace and his main army fell back to the city of Byzantium. Licinius left a strong garrison in Byzantium but ferried the greater part of his troops across the Bosphorus to the Asian shore. To maintain his force in Byzantium, to secure his line of communication between Asia Minor and the city, retaining control of the narrow waters separating Thrace from Bithynia and Mysia now became imperative for Licinius. Constantine, if he wished to cross to Asia in order to destroy Licinius' means of further resistance, had to gain control of the sea crossings. Licinius' main army was on the Bosphoros to cover this crossing point whilst the bulk of his navy was moved to cover the Hellespontine narrows, he assembled a second military force, under his newly elevated co-emperor Martinian, at Lampsacus on the Asian shore of the Hellespont.
While Constantine was directing the siege of Byzantium, Crispus led a force of 80 vessels into the Hellespont. Abantus opposed him with a superior fleet of 200 ships. However, the size of the Licinian forces worked against them within the confined waters of the strait. Crispus was able to use his more compact squadrons to outmanoeuvre his opponent's unwieldy armada and sink many of the Licinian warships. Abantus withdrew to the eastern end of the Hellespont to regroup his forces. Crispus augmented his fleet with reinforcements brought in from the Aegean Sea and the two fleets met again on the following day; the second clash was fought near Gallipoli. Abantus' ship was sunk and he only managed to save himself by swimming ashore. All but four of the ships of the Licinian fleet were sunk or captured; the Constantinian fleet won an overwhelming victory. This naval victory allowed Constantine to move his army across to Asia Minor, using a fleet of light transports to avoid Martinian's forces. Once Licinius knew of the destruction of his navy he withdrew his forces from Byzantium.
Constantine's army defeated Licinius' at the Battle of Chrysopolis. Constantine became the sole master of the Roman Empire. Grant, The Roman Emperors: A biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome 31 BC-AD 476, London. ISBN 0-297-78555-9 Lieu, S. N. C and Montserrat, D. From Constantine to Julian, London. ISBN 0-415-09336-8 Odahl, C. M. Constantine and the Christian Empire, Routledge 2004. ISBN 0-415-17485-6 Pears, Edwin. "The Campaign against Paganism A. D. 324." The English Historical Review, Vol. 24, No. 93: 1–17
The Sava is a river in Central and Southeastern Europe, a right tributary of the Danube. It flows through Slovenia, along the northern border of Bosnia and Herzegovina, through Serbia, discharging into the Danube in Belgrade, its central part is a natural border of Croatia. The Sava forms the northern border of the Balkan Peninsula, the southern edge of the Pannonian Plain; the Sava is 990 kilometres long, including the 45-kilometre Sava Dolinka headwater rising in Zelenci, Slovenia. It is the greatest tributary of the Danube by volume of water, second-largest after Tisza in terms of catchment area and length, it drains a significant portion of the Dinaric Alps region, through the major tributaries of Drina, Kupa, Vrbas, Kolubara and Krka. The Sava is one of the longest rivers in Europe and among a handful of European rivers of that length that do not drain directly into a sea; the population in the Sava River basin is estimated at 8,176,000, it connects three national capitals—Ljubljana and Belgrade.
The Sava is navigable for larger vessels from the confluence of the Kupa River in Sisak, Croatia two-thirds of its length. The name is believed to be derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *sewh1 and the ending *eh2, so that it means'that which waters'; the Sava River is formed from the Sava Dolinka and the Sava Bohinjka headwaters in northwest Slovenia. The river's headwater area encompasses several tributaries, including the 52-kilometre Sora, the 27-kilometre Tržič Bistrica and the 17-kilometre Radovna rivers—flowing into the Sava at confluences located as far east downstream as Medvode; the Sava Dolinka rises at the Zelenci Pools near Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in a valley separating the Julian Alps from the Karavanke mountain range. The spring is located near the Slovene-Italian border at 833 metres above sea level, in a drainage divide between the Adriatic and Danube basins; the Sava Dolinka spring is fed by groundwater exhibiting bifurcation of source karst aquifer to the Sava and Soča basins.
Nadiža creek, a short losing stream flowing nearby, is the source of Zelenci Pools water. The Sava Dolinka is considered the Sava's 45-kilometre segment; the Sava Bohinjka originates in Ribčev Laz, at the confluence of the Jezernica, a short watercourse flowing out from Lake Bohinj and the Mostnica River. Some sources define the Jezernica as a part of the Sava Bohinjka, specifying the latter as flowing directly out of the lake, while another group of sources include Savica, rising at the southern flank of Triglav as the 78-metre Savica Falls, downstream from Triglav Lakes Valley, flowing into the lake, as a part of the Sava Bohinjka; the watercourse flows 41 kilometres —including the length of the Savica—east to Radovljica, where it discharges into the Sava Dolinka. Downstream from the confluence, the river is referred to as the Sava; the Sava is located in Southeast Europe, flowing through Slovenia, Croatia and along the Bosnia-Herzegovina border. Its total length is 990 kilometres, including the 45-kilometre Sava Dolinka and the 945-kilometre Sava proper.
As a right tributary of the Danube, the river belongs to the Black Sea drainage basin. The Sava River is the third longest tributary of the Danube shorter than the 966-kilometre Tisza and the 950-kilometre Prut—the Danube's two longest tributaries—when the Sava Dolinka headwater is excluded from its course, it is the largest tributary of the Danube by discharge. The river course is sometimes used to describe the northern boundary of the Balkans, the southern border of the Central Europe. Before the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991, the river was located inside Yugoslav borders and it was the longest river with its entire course within the country; the Sava Dolinka rises in the Zelenci Pools, west of Podkoren in the Upper Carniola region of Slovenia at 833 metres above sea level, flows east, past Kranjska Gora to Jesenice, where it turns southeast. At Žirovnica, the river enters the Ljubljana Basin and encounters the first hydroelectric dam—Moste plant—before proceeding to the east of the glacial Lake Bled towards Radovljica and confluence of the Sava Bohinjka, at 411 metres a.s.l.
Downstream of Radovljica, the Sava proceeds southeast towards Kranj. Between Kranj and Medvode, its course comprises the Lake Trboje and the Lake Zbilje reservoirs, built for the Mavčiče and the Medvode power plants; the Sava flows through the capital of Slovenia, where another reservoir is located on the river, adjacent to the Tacen Whitewater Course. There the river course turns east and leaves the Ljubljana Basin via Dolsko, at 261 metres a.s.l.. The course continues through the Sava Hills, where it passes the Litija Basin with the mining and industrial town of Litija, the Central Sava Valley with the mining towns of Zagorje ob Savi and Hrastnik, turns to the southeast and runs through the Lower Sava Valley with the towns of Radeče, Krško; the course through the Sava Hills forms the boundary of traditional regions of Lower Carniola and Styria, At Radeče, the Vrhovo hydroelectric dam reservoir is located. The latter is site of the Krško Nuclear Power Plant, which uses the Sava River water to dissipate excess heat.
The easternmost stretch of the Sava River course in Slovenia runs to the south of Brežice, where it is joined by the Kr
Croatia the Republic of Croatia, is a country at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, on the Adriatic Sea. It borders Slovenia to the northwest, Hungary to the northeast, Serbia to the east and Herzegovina, Montenegro to the southeast, sharing a maritime border with Italy, its capital, forms one of the country's primary subdivisions, along with twenty counties. Croatia has an area of 56,594 square kilometres and a population of 4.28 million, most of whom are Roman Catholics. Inhabited since the Paleolithic Age, the Croats arrived in the area in the 6th century and organised the territory into two duchies by the 9th century. Croatia was first internationally recognized as an independent state on 7 June 879 during the reign of duke Branimir. Tomislav became the first king by 925, elevating Croatia to the status of a kingdom, which retained its sovereignty for nearly two centuries. During the succession crisis after the Trpimirović dynasty ended, Croatia entered a personal union with Hungary in 1102.
In 1527, faced with Ottoman conquest, the Croatian Parliament elected Ferdinand I of Austria to the Croatian throne. In October 1918, in the final days of World War I, the State of Slovenes and Serbs, independent from Austria-Hungary, was proclaimed in Zagreb, in December 1918 it was merged into the Kingdom of Serbs and Slovenes. Following the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, most of the Croatian territory was incorporated into the Nazi-backed client-state which led to the development of a resistance movement and the creation of the Federal State of Croatia which after the war become a founding member and a federal constituent of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. On 25 June 1991, Croatia declared independence, which came wholly into effect on 8 October of the same year; the Croatian War of Independence was fought for four years following the declaration. The sovereign state of Croatia is a republic governed under a parliamentary system and a developed country with a high standard of living.
It is a member of the European Union, the United Nations, the Council of Europe, NATO, the World Trade Organization, a founding member of the Union for the Mediterranean. As an active participant in the UN peacekeeping forces, Croatia has contributed troops to the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and took a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council for the 2008–2009 term. Since 2000, the Croatian government has invested in infrastructure transport routes and facilities along the Pan-European corridors. Croatia's economy is dominated by service and industrial sectors and agriculture. Tourism is a significant source of revenue, with Croatia ranked among the top 20 most popular tourist destinations in the world; the state controls a part of the economy, with substantial government expenditure. The European Union is Croatia's most important trading partner. Croatia provides a social security, universal health care system, a tuition-free primary and secondary education, while supporting culture through numerous public institutions and corporate investments in media and publishing.
The name of Croatia derives from Medieval Latin Croātia. Itself a derivation of North-West Slavic *Xrovat-, by liquid metathesis from Common Slavic period *Xorvat, from proposed Proto-Slavic *Xъrvátъ which comes from Old Persian *xaraxwat-; the word is attested by the Old Iranian toponym Harahvait-, the native name of Arachosia. The origin of the name is uncertain, but is thought to be a Gothic or Indo-Aryan term assigned to a Slavic tribe; the oldest preserved record of the Croatian ethnonym *xъrvatъ is of variable stem, attested in the Baška tablet in style zvъnъmirъ kralъ xrъvatъskъ. The first attestation of the Latin term is attributed to a charter of Duke Trpimir from the year 852; the original is lost, just a 1568 copy is preserved, leading to doubts over the authenticity of the claim. The oldest preserved stone inscription is the 9th-century Branimir Inscription found near Benkovac, where Duke Branimir is styled Dux Cruatorvm; the inscription is not believed to be dated but is to be from during the period of 879–892, during Branimir's rule.
The area known as Croatia today was inhabited throughout the prehistoric period. Fossils of Neanderthals dating to the middle Palaeolithic period have been unearthed in northern Croatia, with the most famous and the best presented site in Krapina. Remnants of several Neolithic and Chalcolithic cultures were found in all regions of the country; the largest proportion of the sites is in the river valleys of northern Croatia, the most significant cultures whose presence was discovered include Baden, Starčevo, Vučedol cultures. The Iron Age left traces of the Celtic La Tène culture. Much the region was settled by Illyrians and Liburnians, while the first Greek colonies were established on the islands of Hvar, Korčula, Vis. In 9 AD the territory of today's Croatia became part of the Roman Empire. Emperor Diocletian had a large palace built in Split to which he retired after his abdication in AD 305. During the 5th century, the last de jure Western emperor last Western Roman Emperor Julius Nepos ruled his small realm from the palace after fleeing Italy to go into exile in 475.
The period ends with Avar and Croat invasions in the first half of the 7th century and destruction of all Roman towns. Roman survivors retreated to more favourable sites on the coast and mountains; the city of Dubrovnik was founded by such survivors from Epidaurum. The ethnogenesis of Croats is uncertain an
Battle of the Milvian Bridge
The Battle of the Milvian Bridge took place between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius on 28 October 312. It takes its name from an important route over the Tiber. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. Maxentius drowned in the Tiber during the battle. According to chroniclers such as Eusebius of Caesarea and Lactantius, the battle marked the beginning of Constantine's conversion to Christianity. Eusebius of Caesarea recounts that Constantine and his soldiers had a vision sent by the Christian God; this was interpreted as a promise of victory if the sign of the Chi-Rho, the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek, was painted on the soldiers' shields. The Arch of Constantine, erected in celebration of the victory attributes Constantine's success to divine intervention; the underlying causes of the battle were the rivalries inherent in Diocletian's Tetrarchy. After Diocletian stepped down on 1 May 305, his successors began to struggle for control of the Roman Empire immediately.
Although Constantine was the son of the Western Emperor Constantius, the Tetrarchic ideology did not provide for hereditary succession. When Constantius died on 25 July 306, his father's troops proclaimed Constantine as Augustus in Eboracum. In Rome, the favorite was Maxentius, the son of Constantius' imperial colleague Maximian, who seized the title of emperor on 28 October 306, but whereas Constantine's claim was recognized by Galerius, ruler of the Eastern provinces and the senior emperor in the Empire, Maxentius was treated as a usurper. Galerius, recognized Constantine as holding only the lesser imperial rank of Caesar. Galerius ordered his co-Augustus, Severus, to put Maxentius down in early 307. Once Severus arrived in Italy, his army defected to Maxentius. Severus was captured and executed. Galerius himself failed to take the city. Constantine avoided conflict with the Eastern emperors for most of this period. By 312, however and Maxentius were engaged in open hostility with one another, although they were brothers-in‑law through Constantine's marriage to Fausta, sister of Maxentius.
In the spring of 312, Constantine gathered an army of 40,000 soldiers and decided to oust Maxentius himself. He overran northern Italy, winning two major battles: the first near Turin, the second at Verona, where the praetorian prefect Ruricius Pompeianus, Maxentius' most senior general, was killed, it is understood that on the evening of 27 October with the armies preparing for battle, Constantine had a vision which led him to fight under the protection of the Christian God. Some details of that vision, differ between the sources reporting it. Lactantius states that, in the night before the battle, Constantine was commanded in a dream to "delineate the heavenly sign on the shields of his soldiers", he followed the commands of his dream and marked the shields with a sign "denoting Christ". Lactantius describes that sign as a "staurogram", or a Latin cross with its upper end rounded in a P-like fashion. There is no certain evidence that Constantine used that sign, opposed to the better known Chi-Rho sign described by Eusebius.
From Eusebius, two accounts of the battle survive. The first, shorter one in the Ecclesiastical History promotes the belief that the Christian God helped Constantine but does not mention any vision. In his Life of Constantine, Eusebius gives a detailed account of a vision and stresses that he had heard the story from the Emperor himself. According to this version, Constantine with his army was marching, when he looked up to the sun and saw a cross of light above it, with it the Greek words "Εν Τούτῳ Νίκα", En toutō níka translated into Latin as "in hoc signo vinces"; the literal meaning of the phrase in Greek is "in this, conquer" while in Latin it's "in this sign, you shall conquer". At first he was unsure of the meaning of the apparition, but in the following night he had a dream in which Christ explained to him that he should use the sign against his enemies. Eusebius continues to describe the labarum, the military standard used by Constantine in his wars against Licinius, showing the Chi-Rho sign.
The accounts of the two contemporary authors, though not consistent, have been merged into a popular notion of Constantine seeing the Chi-Rho sign on the evening before the battle. Both authors agree that the sign was not understandable to denote Christ, its first imperial appearance is on a Constantinian silver coin from c. 317, which proves that Constantine did use the sign at that time, though not prominently. He made more extensive use of the Chi-Rho and the Labarum during the conflict with Licinius; some have considered the vision in a solar context, which may have preceded the Christian beliefs expressed by Constantine. Coins of Constantine depicting him as the companion of a solar deity were minted as late as 313, the year following the battle; the solar deity Sol Invictus is pictured with a nimbus or halo. Various
Battle of Adrianople (324)
The Battle of Adrianople was fought on July 3, 324, during a Roman civil war, the second to be waged between the two emperors Constantine I and Licinius. Constantine had, in a previous war, defeated Licinius at the Battle of Cibalae and conquered from him all the Balkan Peninsula, with the exception of Thrace. A peace had been arranged but the relationship between the two emperors remained uneasy. By 324 Constantine was ready to renew the conflict and when his army, in pursuit of a raiding Visigothic, or Sarmatian, crossed into Licinius' territory an opportune casus belli was created; the reaction of Licinius to this incursion was overtly hostile and this induced Constantine to go on to the offensive. Constantine invaded Thrace in force. Licinius encamped his army in a strong position near the major city of inland Thrace. Constantine advanced eastward from Thessalonica until he came to the Hebrus River, on which Adrianople stands, set up his own camp. Licinius arranged his battle line, of 200 stades in length, in a strong position between a height overlooking the town and the confluence of the Hebrus with a tributary.
The two armies remained in position for a number of days before battle was joined, as both sides were reluctant to chance the crossing of the river against a well-prepared and battle-arrayed enemy. Constantine used a ruse to get his troops across the Hebrus. Having noticed a suitable crossing point where the river narrowed and was overlooked by a wooded hillside, he ordered material and ropes to be conspicuously assembled at another place on the river, well away from his chosen crossing, to give the impression that he intended to build a bridge to cross there. On the wooded hillside, he secretly assembled a force of cavalry, he led his cavalry over the river crossing at the narrows, fell on the enemy unexpectedly. The surprise attack was a complete success and the remainder of his army crossed at the same point. With his position on the river outflanked, Licinius' withdrew his forces and took up a defensive position on higher ground. However, this gave Constantine the initiative once more, his attack was again successful.
What followed, in the words of the historian Zosimus, was "a great massacre": Licinius' army, according to Zosimus, received losses of 34,000 dead. During the onslaught, Constantine directed the guard of his overtly Christian standard, the labarum, to move it to any part of the field where his troops seemed to be faltering; the appearance of this talisman dismayed those of Licinius. Constantine, wounded in the thigh, halted his attack at sunset and darkness allowed Licinius and the remains of his force to withdraw to Byzantium, the coast, the safety of his fleet; the battle was one of the largest of the 4th century. Though Zosimus attributes the success of the Constantinian forces to the courage and martial prowess of Constantine himself, whom he alleges to have led the cavalry in person in the charge which broke Licinus' defenses, other contemporary accounts ascribe his success to the discipline of the troops and Constantine's felicitas, his'good fortune'. Constantine's effort to start a civil conflict proved successful, as did his campaign against Licinius.
Following the battle at Adrianople, Constantine moved to besiege Byzantium. At this point in the campaign, control of the narrow waters separating Thrace and Asia Minor became of the utmost importance to both emperors. Constantine's son Crispus commanded his navy in a struggle with the larger fleet of Licinius. Following Crispus' naval victory in the waters of the Hellespont, Constantine crossed with his army into Bithynia, he met Licinius' army in the final battle of the war at Chrysopolis on the Asiatic shore of the Bosporus. Constantine won an overwhelming victory. Yielding to the pleas of his sister Constantia, Constantine spared the life of his brother-in-law, but some months he ordered his execution, thereby breaking his solemn oath. Licinius was suspected of the army command pressed for his execution. A year Constantine's nephew the younger Licinius fell victim to the emperor's anger or suspicions. Constantine became the first man to be master of the entire Roman world since the elevation of Maximian as co-emperor by Diocletian in 285.
Primary source Zosimus, Historia nova, English translation: R. T. Ridley, Zosimus: New History, Byzantina Australiensia 2, Canberra. 1814 English translation at WikisourceSecondary sources Grant, The Emperor Constantine, London. ISBN 0-7538-0528-6 Lieu, S. N. C and Montserrat, D. From Constantine to Julian, London. ISBN 0-415-09336-8 Odahl, C. M. Constantine and the Christian Empire, Routledge 2004. ISBN 0-415-17485-6 Stephenson, P. Constantine: Unconquered Emperor, Christian Victor, London Syvanne, I. Military History of Late Rome 284-361 Pen and Sword, Barnsley Yorks
Sirmium was a city in the Roman province of Pannonia. First mentioned in the 4th century BC and inhabited by Illyrians and Celts, it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Pannonia Inferior. In 294 AD, Sirmium was proclaimed one of four capitals of the Roman Empire, it was the capital of the Praetorian prefecture of Illyricum and of Pannonia Secunda. Sirmium was located on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in northern Serbia; the site is protected as an Archaeological Site of Exceptional Importance. The modern region of Syrmia was named after the city. Sirmium was one of the largest cities of its time. Colin McEvedy, put the population at only 7,000, based on the size of the archaeological site. Ammianus Marcellinus called it "the glorious mother of cities". Remains of Sirmium stand on the site of the modern-day Sremska Mitrovica, 55 km west of Belgrade and 145 km away from Kostolac. Archaeologists have found traces of organized human life on the site of Sirmium dating from 5,000 BC.
The city was firstly mentioned in the 4th century BC and was inhabited by the Illyrians and Celts. The Triballi king Syrmus was considered the eponymous founder of Sirmium, but the roots are different, the two words only became conflated later; the name Sirmium by itself means "flow, flowing water, wetland", referring to its close river position on the nearby Sava. With the Celtic tribe of Scordisci as allies, the Roman proconsul Marcus Vinicius took Sirmium in around 14 BC. In the 1st century AD, Sirmium gained the status of a Roman colony, became an important military and strategic center of the Pannonia province; the Roman emperors Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, Claudius II prepared war expeditions in Sirmium. In 103 Pannonia was split into two provinces: Pannonia Superior and Pannonia Inferior, Sirmium became the capital city of the latter. In 296 Diocletian reorganized Pannonia into four provinces: Pannonia Prima, Pannonia Valeria, Pannonia Savia and Pannonia Secunda, Sirmium became the capital of Pannonia Secunda.
He joined them with Noricum and Dalmatia to establish the Diocese of Pannonia, with Sirmium as its capital also. In 293, with the establishment of the Tetrarchy, the Roman Empire was split into four parts. With the establishment of Praetorian prefectures in 318, the capital of the prefecture of Illyricum was Sirmium, remaining so until 379, when the westernmost Diocese of Illyricum, was detached and joined to the prefecture of Italia assuming the name of Diocese of Illyricum; the eastern part of Illyricum remained a separate prefecture under the East Roman Empire with its new capital in Thessalonica. The city had an imperial palace, a horse-racing arena, a mint, an arena theatre, a theatre, as well as many workshops, public baths, public palaces and luxury villas. Ancient historian Ammianus Marcellinus called it "the glorious mother of cities"; the mint in Sirmium was connected with the mint in Salona and silver mines in the Dinaric Alps through the Via Argentaria. At the end of the 4th century Sirmium came under the sway of the Goths, was again annexed to the East Roman Empire.
In 441 the Huns conquered Sirmium. For a short time, Sirmium was the centre of the Gepids and king Cunimund minted gold coins there. After 567, Sirmium was returned to the East Roman Empire; the Pannonian Avars conquered and destroyed the city in 582. Ten Roman emperors were born in this city or in its surroundings: Herennius Etruscus, Decius, Claudius II, Aurelian, Maximian, Constantius II, Gratian; the last emperor of the united Roman Empire, Theodosius I, became emperor in Sirmium. The usurpers Ingenuus and Regalianus declared themselves emperors in this city and many other Roman emperors spent some time in Sirmium, including Marcus Aurelius, who might have written parts of his famous work Meditations in the city. Sirmium was, most the site of the death of Marcus Aurelius, of smallpox, in March of 180 CE; the city had a Christian community by the third century. By the end of the century, it had a bishop, the metropolitan of all the Pannonian bishops; the first known bishop was Irenaeus, martyred during the Diocletianic Persecution in 304.
For the next century, the sequence of bishops is known, but in the fifth and sixth centuries the see falls into obscurity. An unnamed bishop is mentioned in 448; the last known bishop is mentioned in a papal letter of 594, after which the city itself is mentioned and the see went into abeyance. From the time of the first synod of Tyre in 335, Sirmium became a stronghold of the Arian movement and site of much controversy. Between 347 and 358 there were four synods held in Sirmium. A fifth took plate in 375 or 378. All dealt with the Arian controversy. On the location Glac near Sirmium is found unexcavated the palace of Emperor Maximianus Herculius built on the place where his parents worked as laborers on the estate of a Roman column. During the construction of the hospital in 1971, was found in monumental Jupiter's sanctuary with more than eighty of the altar, the second largest in Europe. Sirmium had two bridges with which she was bridged river Sava, of which indicate the historical sources, bri
The Balkans known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast; the Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined; the highest point of the Balkans is 2,925 metres, in the Rila mountain range. The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea; the term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars discuss the Balkans as a region; the term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan'chain of wooded mountains'; the origin of the Turkic word is obscure. From classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon,'mountain ridge'.
A third possibility is that "Haemus" derives from the Greek word "haema" meaning'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between the monster/titan Typhon. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name; the earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as Balkan. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist and diplomat; the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had settled in or were passing through the Peninsula. There is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion; the word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its general meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, Ungurus-Balkani̊, but it was applied to the Haemus mountain.
The name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th-century, other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term"; the term was not used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because then scientists like Carl Ritter warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula".
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel. Another reason it was not accepted as the definition of European Turkey had a similar land extent. However, after the Congress of Berlin there was a political need for a new term and the Balkans was revitalized, but in the maps the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia; the term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by Jovan Cvijić, it was done with political reasoning as affirmation for Serbian nationalism on the whole territory of the South Slavs, included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racistic theories.
Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of