Emirate of Crete
The Emirate of Crete was a Muslim state that existed on the Mediterranean island of Crete from the late 820s to the Byzantine reconquest of the island in 961. Although the emirate recognized the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate and maintained close ties with Tulunid Egypt, it was de facto independent. A group of Berbers Andalusians exiles led by Abu Hafs Umar al-Iqritishi conquered Crete sometime c. 824 or in the year 827/828, established an independent Islamic state. The Byzantines launched a campaign that took most of the island back in 842 and 843 under Theoktistos, but the reconquest was not completed and was soon reversed. Attempts by the Byzantine Empire to recover the island failed, for the 135 years of its existence, the emirate was one of the major foes of Byzantium. Crete commanded the sea lanes of the Eastern Mediterranean and functioned as a forward base and haven for Muslim corsair fleets that ravaged the Byzantine-controlled shores of the Aegean Sea; the emirate's internal history is less well-known, but all accounts point to considerable prosperity deriving not only from piracy but from extensive trade and agriculture.
The emirate was brought to an end by Nikephoros Phokas, who launched a huge campaign against it in 960–961. Crete had been raided by Muslim forces since the first wave of the Muslim conquests in the mid-7th century, it first experienced a raid in 654 and another in 674/675, parts of the island were temporarily occupied during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph al-Walid I. However, the island at that time was not conquered and despite occasional raids in the 8th century, it remained securely in Byzantine hands. At some point in the second half of the reign of Byzantine Emperor Michael II, a group of Andalusian exiles landed on Crete and began its conquest; these exiles had a long nomadic history. Traditionally they have been described as the survivors of a failed revolt against the emir al-Hakam I of Córdoba in 818. In the aftermath of its suppression, the citizens of the Córdoban suburb of al-Rabad were exiled en masse; some settled in Fez in Morocco, but others, numbering over 10,000, took to piracy joined by other Andalusians, landed in Alexandria and took control of the city until 827, when they were besieged and expelled by the Abbasid general Abdullah ibn Tahir al-Khurasani.
As W. Kubiak points out, the supposed origin from Córdoba is contradicted by other sources, which record the presence of Andalusian corsairs in Alexandria as early as 798/9, their takeover is dated to 814; the exact chronology of the Andalusians' landing in Crete is uncertain. Following the Muslim sources, it is dated to 827 or 828, after the Andalusians' expulsion from Alexandria. Byzantine sources however seem to contradict this, placing their landing soon after the suppression of the large revolt of Thomas the Slav. Further considerations regarding the number and chronology of the Byzantine campaigns launched against the invaders and prosopographical questions of the Byzantine generals that headed them have led other scholars like Vassilios Christides and Christos Makrypoulias to propose an earlier date, c. 824. Under the terms of their agreement with Ibn Tahir, the Andalusians and their families left Alexandria in 40 ships. Historian Warren Treadgold estimates them at some 12,000 people, of whom about 3,000 would be fighting men.
According to Byzantine historians, the Andalusians were familiar with Crete, having raided it in the past. They claim that the Muslim landing was intended as a raid, was transformed into a bid for conquest when Abu Hafs himself set fire to their ships. However, as the Andalusian exiles had brought their families along, this is later invention; the Andalusians' landing-place is unknown. As soon as Emperor Michael II learned of the Arab landing, before the Andalusians had secured their control over the entire island, he reacted and sent successive expeditions to recover the island. Losses suffered during the revolt of Thomas the Slav hampered Byzantium's ability to respond, if the landing occurred in 827/828, the diversion of ships and men to counter the gradual conquest of Sicily by the Tunisian Aghlabids interfered; the first expedition, under Photeinos, strategos of the Anatolic Theme, Damian, Count of the Stable, was defeated in open battle, where Damian was killed. The next expedition was sent a year and comprised 70 ships under the strategos of the Cibyrrhaeots Krateros.
It was victorious, but the overconfident Byzantines were routed in a night attack. Krateros managed to flee to Kos. Makrypoulias suggests that these campaigns must have taken place before the Andalusians completed their construction of Chandax, where they transferred the capital from the inland site of Gortyn. Abu Hafs repulsed the early Byzantine attacks and consolidated control of the entire island, he recognized the suzerainty of the Abbasid Caliphate, but he ruled as a de facto independent prince. The conquest of the island was of major i
Bardas was a Byzantine noble and high-ranking minister. As the brother of Empress Theodora, he rose to high office under Theophilos. Although sidelined after Theophilos's death by Theodora and Theoktistos, in 855 he engineered Theoktistos's murder and became the de facto regent for his nephew, Michael III. Rising to the rank of Caesar, he was the effective ruler of the Byzantine Empire for ten years, a period which saw military success, renewed diplomatic and missionary activity, an intellectual revival that heralded the Macedonian Renaissance, he was assassinated in 866 at the instigation of Michael III's new favourite, Basil the Macedonian, who a year would usurp the throne for himself and install his own dynasty on the Byzantine throne. Bardas was born to the droungarios Marinos and Theoktiste, was the elder brother of Empress Theodora, the wife of Emperor Theophilos, of Petronas. Three other sisters, Maria and Irene, are recorded by Theophanes Continuatus; the family had settled in Paphlagonia.
Some modern genealogists, including Cyril Toumanoff and Nicholas Adontz, have suggested a link of Bardas' family with the Armenian noble clan of the Mamikonian. According to Nina Garsoïan in the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, however, "ttractive though it is, this thesis cannot be proven for want of sources." In 837, Theophilos raised him to the rank of patrikios and sent him together with the general Theophobos in a campaign against the Abasgians, but the Byzantines were defeated. With the death of Theophilos, his son Michael III ascended the throne; as he was only two years old, a regency council was set up headed by Theodora. Bardas and his brother Petronas, as well as their relative Sergios Niketiates, were members, but it was the logothete Theoktistos who established himself as Theodora's chief advisor. Bardas still played an active role in the early days of the regency, encouraging Theodora to abandon Iconoclasm for good and taking part in the investigations that led to the deposition of the pro-iconoclast patriarch John the Grammarian and the restoration of the veneration of icons in 843.
Bardas was sidelined by Theoktistos, however. According to Symeon the Logothete, Theoktistos blamed Bardas for the desertions that led to the Byzantine defeat in the Battle of Mauropotamos against the Abbasids in 844 though the logothete himself had led the Byzantine army; as a result of these accusations, Bardas was exiled from Constantinople for an undetermined period of time. Following Bardas's exile and the death of Sergios, Theoktistos ruled supreme alongside Theodora for a decade. In 855, Michael III turned fifteen and thus came nominally of age, his mother and Theoktistos arranged a bride show and selected Eudokia Dekapolitissa as his bride, disregarding Michael's attachment to his mistress, Eudokia Ingerina. Bardas used Michael's resentment for the high-handed manner in which he was treated, began to turn him against the regency. With Michael's backing, Bardas was allowed to return to the capital, on 20 November 855, Theoktistos was murdered; this was done at the emperor's behest, for Bardas is said to have favoured a more "elegant" removal of his rival.
With the death of Theoktistos, the regency was at an end. As Michael was more interested in his pleasures and his continuing affair with Eudokia Ingerina, Bardas now became the de facto regent of the Empire. By c. 858 he was promoted to the highest state offices, followed by his promotion to kouropalates—according to Symeon the Logothete, this happened after a failed assassination attempt masterminded by Theodora—and on 22 April 862, to Caesar. The dominance of Bardas is corroborated by non-Byzantine sources: al-Tabari records that Arab envoys negotiated with Bardas, rather than the emperor, Bar Hebraeus writes that during an audience with an Arab embassy, Michael did not utter a single word, with his "cousin" speaking on his behalf. Petronas emerged from obscurity at the same time, becoming strategos of the Thracesian Theme and leading a series of successful raids against the Arabs. Although sources are critical of his character, describing him as vain and power-hungry, his capabilities as an administrator are acknowledged.
Thus Bardas founded the Magnaura School with seats for philosophy, grammar and mathematics, supported scholars like Leo the Mathematician and promoted the missionary activities of Cyril and Methodius to Greater Moravia. He scored a number of successes against the Arabs in the East, culminating in the decisive Battle of Lalakaon in 863, enforced the Christianization of Bulgaria by Byzantine missionaries; the Patria of Constantinople praise him for his building activity, but aside from a church dedicated to Saint Demetrius outside the city itself, most of the buildings attributed to him were the work of Basil I the Macedonian. In 858, Bardas deposed patriarch Ignatios and appointed Photios, well-educated but a layman, in his stead. Chronicles report that Ignatios had excluded Bardas from communion because he maintained an incestuous relationship with one of his daughters-in-law, but the real reason for Ignatios's deposition was the patriarch's staunch refusal to tonsure Empress Theodora against her will, as demanded by Bardas.
The irregular elevation of Photios, riled with Pope Nicholas I, who refused to recognize it. Coupled with competition between Rome and Constantinople over their missionary activities in and jurisdic
Arabs are a population inhabiting the Arab world. They live in the Arab states in Western Asia, North Africa, the Horn of Africa and western Indian Ocean islands, they form a significant diaspora, with Arab communities established around the world. The first mention of Arabs is from the mid-ninth century BCE as a tribal people in eastern and southern Syria and the north of the Arabian Peninsula; the Arabs appear to have been under the vassalage of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, the succeeding Neo-Babylonian, Achaemenid and Parthian empires. Arab tribes, most notably the Ghassanids and Lakhmids, begin to appear in the southern Syrian Desert from the mid 3rd century CE onward, during the mid to stages of the Roman and Sasanian empires. Before the expansion of the Rashidun Caliphate, "Arab" referred to any of the nomadic and settled Semitic people from the Arabian Peninsula, Syrian Desert, North and Lower Mesopotamia. Today, "Arab" refers to a large number of people whose native regions form the Arab world due to the spread of Arabs and the Arabic language throughout the region during the early Muslim conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries and the subsequent Arabisation of indigenous populations.
The Arabs forged the Rashidun, Umayyad and the Fatimid caliphates, whose borders reached southern France in the west, China in the east, Anatolia in the north, the Sudan in the south. This was one of the largest land empires in history. In the early 20th century, the First World War signalled the end of the Ottoman Empire; this resulted in the defeat and dissolution of the empire and the partition of its territories, forming the modern Arab states. Following the adoption of the Alexandria Protocol in 1944, the Arab League was founded on 22 March 1945; the Charter of the Arab League endorsed the principle of an Arab homeland whilst respecting the individual sovereignty of its member states. Today, Arabs inhabit the 22 Arab states within the Arab League: Algeria, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen; the Arab world stretches around 13 million km2, from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the east, from the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Horn of Africa and the Indian Ocean in the southeast.
Beyond the boundaries of the League of Arab States, Arabs can be found in the global diaspora. The ties that bind Arabs are ethnic, cultural, identical, nationalist and political; the Arabs have their own customs, architecture, literature, dance, cuisine, society and mythology. The total number of Arabs are an estimated 450 million. Arabs are a diverse group in terms of religious practices. In the pre-Islamic era, most Arabs followed polytheistic religions; some tribes had adopted Christianity or Judaism, a few individuals, the hanifs observed monotheism. Today, about 93% of Arabs are adherents of Islam, there are sizable Christian minorities. Arab Muslims belong to the Sunni, Shiite and Alawite denominations. Arab Christians follow one of the Eastern Christian Churches, such as the Greek Orthodox or Greek Catholic churches. Other smaller minority religions are followed, such as the Bahá'í Faith and Druze. Arabs have influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts and architecture, philosophy, ethics, politics, music, cinema, medicine and technology in the ancient and modern history.
The earliest documented use of the word "Arab" to refer to a people appears in the Kurkh Monoliths, an Akkadian language record of the ninth century BCE Assyrian conquest of Aram, which referred to Bedouins of the Arabian Peninsula under King Gindibu, who fought as part of a coalition opposed to Assyria. Listed among the booty captured by the army of king Shalmaneser III of Assyria in the Battle of Qarqar are 1000 camels of "Gi-in-di-bu'u the ar-ba-a-a" or " Gindibu belonging to the Arab; the related word ʾaʿrāb is used to refer to Bedouins today, in contrast to ʿarab which refers to Arabs in general. The term Arab and ʾaʿrāb are mentioned around 40 times in pre-Islamic Sabaean inscriptions; the term Arab occurs in the titles of the Himyarite kings from the time of'Abu Karab Asad until MadiKarib Ya'fur. The term ʾaʿrāb is driven from the term Arab according to Sabaean grammar; the term is mentioned in Quranic verses referring to people who were living in Madina and it might be a south Arabian loan-word into Quranic language.
The oldest surviving indication of an Arab national identity is an inscription made in an archaic form of Arabic in 328 using the Nabataean alphabet, which refers to Imru' al-Qays ibn'Amr as "King of all the Arabs". Herodotus refers to the Arabs in the Sinai, southern Palestine, the frankincense region. Other ancient Greek historians like Agatharchides, Diodorus Siculus and Strabo mention Arabs living in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, southern Jordan, the Syrian steppe and in eastern Arabia. Inscriptions dating to the 6th century BCE in Yemen include the term "Arab"; the most popular Arab account holds that the word "Arab" came from an eponymous father called Ya'rub, the first to speak Arabic. A
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the success of a military commander who had led Roman forces to victory in the service of the state or and traditionally, one who had completed a foreign war. On the day of his triumph, the general wore a crown of laurel and the all-purple, gold-embroidered triumphal toga picta, regalia that identified him as near-divine or near-kingly, was known to paint his face red, he rode in a four-horse chariot through the streets of Rome in unarmed procession with his army and the spoils of his war. At Jupiter's temple on the Capitoline Hill, he offered sacrifice and the tokens of his victory to the god Jupiter. Republican morality required that, despite these extraordinary honours, the general conduct himself with dignified humility, as a mortal citizen who triumphed on behalf of Rome's Senate and gods; the triumph offered extraordinary opportunities for self-publicity, besides its religious and military dimensions.
Most Roman festivals were calendar fixtures, while the tradition and law which reserved a triumph to extraordinary victory ensured that its celebration, attendant feasting, public games promoted the general's status and achievement. By the Late Republican era, triumphs were drawn out and extravagant, motivated by increasing competition among the military-political adventurers who ran Rome's nascent empire, in some cases prolonged by several days of public games and entertainments. From the Principate onwards, the triumph reflected the Imperial order and the pre-eminence of the Imperial family; the triumph was consciously imitated by medieval and states in the royal entry and other ceremonial events. In Republican Rome exceptional military achievement merited the highest possible honours, which connected the vir triumphalis to Rome's mythical and semi-mythical past. In effect, the general was close to being "king for a day", close to divinity, he wore the regalia traditionally associated both with the ancient Roman monarchy and with the statue of Jupiter Capitolinus: the purple and gold "toga picta", laurel crown, red boots and, again the red-painted face of Rome's supreme deity.
He was drawn in procession through the city in a four-horse chariot, under the gaze of his peers and an applauding crowd, to the temple of Capitoline Jupiter. The spoils and captives of his victory led the way. Once at the Capitoline temple, he sacrificed two white oxen to Jupiter and laid tokens of his victory at Jupiter's feet, dedicating his victory to the Roman Senate and gods. Triumphs were tied to season, or religious festival of the Roman calendar. Most seem to have been celebrated at the earliest practicable opportunity on days that were deemed auspicious for the occasion. Tradition required; the ceremony was thus, in some sense, shared by the whole community of Roman gods, but overlaps were inevitable with specific festivals and anniversaries. Some may have been coincidental. For example, March 1, the festival and dies natalis of the war god Mars, was the traditional anniversary of the first triumph by Publicola, of six other Republican triumphs, of the first Roman triumph by Romulus.
Pompey postponed his third and most magnificent triumph for several months to make it coincide with his own dies natalis. Religious dimensions aside, the focus of the triumph was the general himself; the ceremony promoted him – however temporarily – above every mortal Roman. This was an opportunity granted to few. From the time of Scipio Africanus, the triumphal general was linked to Alexander and the demi-god Hercules, who had laboured selflessly for the benefit of all mankind, his sumptuous triumphal chariot was bedecked with charms against the possible envy and malice of onlookers. In some accounts, a companion or public slave would remind him from time to time of his own mortality. Rome's earliest "triumphs" were simple victory parades, celebrating the return of a victorious general and his army to the city, along with the fruits of his victory, ending with some form of dedication to the gods; this is so for the earliest legendary and semi-legendary triumphs of Rome's regal era, when the king functioned as Rome's highest magistrate and war-leader.
As Rome's population, power and territory increased, so did the scale, length and extravagance of its triumphal processions. The procession mustered in the open space of the Campus Martius well before first light. From there, all unforeseen delays and accidents aside, it would have managed a slow walking pace at best, punctuated by various planned stops en route to its final destination of the Capitoline temple, a distance of just under 4 km. Triumphal processions were notoriously slow; some ancient and modern sources suggest a standard processional order. First came the captive leaders and soldiers walking in chains, their captured weapons, gold, silver and curious or exotic treasures were carted behind them, along with paintings and models depicting significant places and episodes of the war. Next in line, all on foot, came Rome's senators and magistrate
The Khurramites were an Iranian religious and political movement with its roots in the movement founded by Mazdak. An alternative name for the movement is a reference to their symbolic red dress; the sect was founded in the 8th century CE by the Persian cleric Sunpadh and was a revitalization of an earlier sect that had mixed Shī‘a Islam and Zoroastrianism. The sect grew out of a response to the execution of Abu Muslim by the Abbasids, denied that he had died, rather claiming that he would return as the messiah; this message was further confirmed by the appearance of a prophet named al-Muqanna‘ "The Veiled", who claimed that the spirit of God had existed in Muhammad, ‘Alī and Abu Muslim. Under the leadership of Bābak, the Khurammites proclaimed the breakup and redistribution of all the great estates and the end to despotic foreign rule. Taking advantage of the turmoil created by the Abbasid civil war, in 816 they began making attacks on Muslim forces in Iran and Iraq; the Abbasid suppression of the rebellion led to the flight of many thousand Khurramites to Byzantium, where they were welcomed by emperor Theophilos and enrolled in the Byzantine army under their Iranian leader, Theophobos.
Al-Maqdisi mentions several facts. He observes that "the basis of their doctrine is belief in light and darkness", they "avoid the shedding of blood, except when they raise the banner of revolt". They are "extremely concerned with cleanliness and purification, with approaching people with kindness and beneficence"; some of them "believed in free sex, provided that the women agreed to it, in the freedom of enjoying all pleasures and of satisfying one's inclinations so long as this does not entail any harm to others".. Regarding the variety of faiths, they believe that "the prophets, despite the difference of their laws and their religions, do not constitute but a single spirit". Naubakhti states that they believe in reincarnation as the only existing kind of afterlife and retribution and in the cancellation of all religious prescriptions and obligations, they revere Abu Muslim and their imams. In their rituals, which are rather simple, they "seek the greatest sacramental effect from wine and drinks".
As a whole, they were estimated by Al-Maqdisi as "Mazdaeans... who cover themselves under the guise of Islam". According to Turkish scholar Abdülbaki Gölpinarli, the Qizilbash of the 16th century – a religious and political movement in Azerbaijan that helped to establish the Safavid dynasty – were "spiritual descendants of the Khurramites". Islamic conquest of Persia Kaysanites Shia List of extinct Shia sects Bahram Chobin Venetis, Evangelos. "ḴORRAMIS IN BYZANTIUM". Encyclopaedia Iranica Online. Retrieved January 6, 2013. Encyclopaedia Iranica, ḴORRAMIS Encyclopaedia Iranica, BĀBAK ḴORRAMI
Samsun is a city on the north coast of Turkey with a population over half a million people. It is the provincial capital of a major Black Sea port; the growing city has two universities, several hospitals, shopping malls, a lot of light manufacturing industry, sports facilities and an opera. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkish War of Independence here in 1919; the present name of the city may come from its former Greek name of Amisos by a reinterpretation of eis Amison and ounta to eis Sampsunda and Samsun. The early Greek historian Hecataeus wrote that Amisos was called Enete, the place mentioned in Homer's Iliad. In Book II, Homer says that the ἐνετοί inhabited Paphlagonia on the southern coast of the Black Sea in the time of the Trojan War; the Paphlagonians are listed among the allies of the Trojans in the war, where their king Pylaemenes and his son Harpalion perished. Strabo mentioned, it has been known as Peiraieos by Athenian settlers and briefly as Pompeiopolis by Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus.
The city was called Simisso by the Genoese and during the Ottoman Empire the present name was written in Ottoman Turkish: صامسون. Paleolithic artifacts found in the Tekkeköy Caves can be seen in Samsun Archaeology Museum; the earliest layer excavated of the höyük of Dündartepe revealed a Chalcolithic settlement. Early Bronze Age and Hittite settlements were found there and at Tekkeköy. Samsun was settled in about 760–750 BC by Ionians from Miletus, who established a flourishing trade relationship with the ancient peoples of Anatolia; the city's ideal combination of fertile ground and shallow waters attracted numerous traders. Amisus was settled by the Ionian Milesians in the 6th century BCE, it is believed that there was significant Greek activity along the coast of the Black Sea, although the archaeological evidence for this is fragmentary; the only archaeological evidence we have as early as the 6th century is a fragment of wild goat style Greek pottery, in the Louvre. The city became part of Cappadocia.
In the 5th century BC, Amisus became a free state and one of the members of the Delian League led by the Athenians. In the 4th century BC the city came under the control of the Kingdom of Pontus; the Amisos treasure may have belonged to one of the kings. Tumuli, containing tombs dated between 300 BC and 30 BC, can be seen at Amisos Hill but Toraman Tepe was flattened during construction of the 20th century radar base; the Romans took over in 71 BC and Amisos became part of Bithynia et Pontus province. Around 46 BC, during the reign of Julius Caesar, Amisus became the capital of Roman Pontus. From the period of the Second Triumvirate up to Nero, Pontus was ruled by several client kings, as well as one client queen, Pythodorida of Pontus, a granddaughter of Marcus Antonius. From 62 CE it was directly ruled by Roman governors, most famously by Trajan's appointee Pliny. Pliny the Younger's address to the Emperor Trajan in the 1st century CE "By your indulgence, they have the benefit of their own laws," is interpreted by John Boyle Orrery to indicate that the freedoms won for those in Pontus by the Romans was not pure freedom and depended on the generosity of the Roman emperor.
The estimated population of the city around 150 CE is between 20,000 and 25,000 people, classifying it as a large city for that time. The city functioned as the commercial capital for the province of Pontus. Samsun Castle was built on the seaside in 1192, it was demolished between 1909 and 1918. Though the roots of the city are Hellenistic, it was one of the centers of an early Christian congregation, its function as a commercial metropolis in northern Asia Minor was a contributing factor to enable the spread of Christian influence. As a large port city –the commercial capital of Pontus - travel to and from Christian hotbeds like Jerusalem was not uncommon. According to Josephus, there was large Jewish diaspora in Asia Minor. Given that the early evangelist Christians focused on Jewish diaspora communities, that the Jewish diaspora in Amisus was a geographically accessible group with a mixed heritage group, it is not surprising that Amisus would be an appealing site for evangelist work; the author of 1 Peter 1:1 addresses the Jewish diaspora of the province of Pontus, along with four other provinces: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Cappadocia and Bithynia.”
As Amisus would have been the largest commercial port-city in the province, it is believed certain that the spread of Christianity in the region would have begun there. In the 1st century Pliny the Younger documents accounts of Christians in and around the cities of Pontus, his accounts center on his conflicts with the Christians when he served under the Emperor Trajan and describe early Christian communities, his condemnation of their refusal to renounce their religion, but describes his tolerance for some Christian practices like Christian charitable societies. Many great early Christian figures had connections to Amisus, including Caesarea Mazaca, Gregory the Illuminator
Theophilos was the Byzantine Emperor from 829 until his death in 842. He was the last emperor to support iconoclasm. Theophilos led the armies in his lifelong war against the Arabs, beginning in 831. Theophilos was the son of the Byzantine Emperor Michael II and his wife Thekla, the godson of Emperor Leo V the Armenian. Michael II crowned Theophilos co-emperor in 822, shortly after his own accession. Unlike his father, Theophilos received an extensive education from John Hylilas, the grammarian, was a great admirer of music and art. On 2 October 829, Theophilos succeeded his father as sole emperor. Theophilos continued in his predecessors' iconoclasm, though without his father's more conciliatory tone, issuing an edict in 832 forbidding the veneration of icons, he saw himself as the champion of justice, which he served most ostentatiously by executing his father's co-conspirators against Leo V after his accession. His reputation as a judge endured, in the literary composition Timarion Theophilos is featured as one of the judges in the Netherworld.
At the time of his accession, Theophilos was obliged to wage wars against the Arabs on two fronts. Sicily was once again invaded by the Arabs, who took Palermo after a year-long siege in 831, established the Emirate of Sicily, continued to expand across the island; the defence after the invasion of Anatolia by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Ma'mun in 830 was led by the Emperor himself, but the Byzantines were defeated and lost several fortresses. In 831 Theophilos retaliated by leading a large army into capturing Tarsus; the Emperor returned to Constantinople in triumph. Another defeat in the same province in 833 forced Theophilos to sue for peace, which he obtained the next year, after the death of Al-Ma'mun. During the respite from the war against the Abbasids, Theophilos arranged for the abduction of the Byzantine captives settled north of the Danube by Krum of Bulgaria; the rescue operation was carried out with success in c. 836, the peace between Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire was restored. However, it proved impossible to maintain peace in the East.
Theophilos had given asylum including Nasr, a Persian. He baptized Theophobos, who became one of his generals; as relations with the Abbasids deteriorated, Theophilos prepared for a new war. In 837 Theophilos led a vast army of 70,000 men towards Mesopotamia and captured Melitene and Arsamosata; the Emperor took and destroyed Zapetra, which some sources claim as the birthplace of Caliph al-Mu'tasim. Theophilos returned to Constantinople in triumph. Eager for revenge, Al-Mu'tasim assembled a vast army and launched a two-pronged invasion of Anatolia in 838. Theophilos decided to strike one division of the caliph's army. On 21 July 838 at the Battle of Anzen in Dazimon, Theophilos led a Byzantine army of 25,000 to 40,000 men against the troops commanded by al-Afshin. Afshin withstood the Byzantine attack, counter-attacked, won the battle; the Byzantine survivors fell back in disorder and did not interfere in the caliph's continuing campaign. Al-Mu'tasim took Ancyra, al-Afshin joined him there; the full Abbasid army advanced against the cradle of the dynasty.
There was determined resistance. A Muslim captive escaped and informed the caliph where there was a section of the wall that had only a front facade. Al-Mu'tasim concentrated his bombardment on this section, the wall was breached. Having heroically held for fifty-five days, the city now fell to al-Mu'tasim on 12 or 15 August 838. In 838, in order to impress the Caliph of Baghdad, Theophilus had John the Grammarian distribute 36,000 nomismata to the citizens of Baghdad. Around 841, the Republic of Venice sent a fleet of 60 galleys to assist the Byzantines in driving the Arabs from Crotone, but it failed. During this campaign Al-Mu'tasim discovered that some of his top generals were plotting against him. Many of these leading commanders were arrested and some executed before he arrived home. Al-Afshin seems not to have been involved in this, but he was detected in other intrigues and died in prison in the spring of 841. Caliph al-Mu'tasim fell sick in October 841 and died on 5 January 842. In 836, following the expiration of the 20-year peace treaty between the Empire and Bulgaria, Theophilos ravaged the Bulgarian frontier.
The Bulgarians retaliated, under the leadership of Isbul they reached Adrianople. At this time, if not earlier, the Bulgarians annexed its environs. Khan Malamir died in 836; the peace between the Serbs, Byzantine foederati, the Bulgars lasted until 839. Vlastimir of Serbia united several tribes, Theophilos granted the Serbs independence; the annexation of western Macedonia by the Bulgars changed the political situation. Malamir or his successor may have seen a threat in the Serb consolidation and opted to subjugate them in the midst of the conquest of Slav lands. Another cause might have been that the Byzantines wanted to divert attention so that they could cope with the Slavic uprising in the Peloponnese, meaning they sent the Serbs to instigate the war, it is thought that the rapid extension of Bulgars over Slavs prompted the Serbs to unite into a state. Khan Presian I invaded Serbian territory in 839; the invasion led to a three-year war, in which