Kievan Rus' was a loose federation of East Slavic and Finnic peoples in Europe from the late 9th to the mid-13th century, under the reign of the Varangian Rurik dynasty. The modern nations of Belarus and Ukraine all claim Kievan Rus' as their cultural ancestors, with Belarus and Russia deriving their names from it. At its greatest extent, in the mid-11th century, it stretched from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in the south and from the headwaters of the Vistula in the west to the Taman Peninsula in the east, uniting the majority of East Slavic tribes. According to Russian historiography, the first ruler to start uniting East Slavic lands into what has become known as Kievan Rus' was Prince Oleg, he extended his control from Novgorod south along the Dnieper river valley to protect trade from Khazar incursions from the east, he moved his capital to the more strategic Kiev. Sviatoslav I achieved the first major expansion of Kievan Rus' territorial control, fighting a war of conquest against the Khazars.
Vladimir the Great introduced Christianity with his own baptism and, by decree, extended it to all inhabitants of Kiev and beyond. Kievan Rus' reached its greatest extent under Yaroslav the Wise; the state declined beginning in the late 11th century and during the 12th century, disintegrating into various rival regional powers. It was further weakened by economic factors, such as the collapse of Rus' commercial ties to the Byzantine Empire due to the decline of Constantinople and the accompanying diminution of trade routes through its territory; the state fell to the Mongol invasion of the 1240s. During its existence, Kievan Rus' was known as the "land of the Rus'", in Greek as Ῥωσία, in Old French as Russie, Rossie, in Latin as Russia, from the 12th century Ruthenia. Various etymologies have been proposed, including Ruotsi, the Finnish designation for Sweden, Ros, a tribe from the middle Dnieper valley region. In the Norse sources, the sagas, the principality is called Garðariki, the peoples, according to Snorre Sturlason, are called Suiones, the confederation of Great Sviþjoð were made up of the peoples along the Dniepr called Tanais that separated Asia and Europe, all the way to the Baltics and Scandinavia.
The term Kievan Rus' was coined in the 19th century in Russian historiography to refer to the period when the centre was in Kiev. In English, the term was introduced in the early 20th century, when it was found in the 1913 English translation of Vasily Klyuchevsky's A History of Russia, to distinguish the early polity from successor states, which were named Rus; the Russian term was rendered into Belarusian and Ukrainian as Кіеўская Русь and Ки́ївська Русь, respectively. Prior to the emergence of Kievan Rus' in the 9th century AD, the lands between the Baltic Sea and Black Sea were populated by eastern Slavic tribes. In the northern region around Novgorod were the Ilmen Slavs and neighboring Krivichi, who occupied territories surrounding the headwaters of the West Dvina and Volga Rivers. To their north, in the Ladoga and Karelia regions, were the Finnic Chud tribe. In the south, in the area around Kiev, were the Poliane, a group of Slavicized tribes with Iranian origins, the Drevliane to the west of the Dnieper, the Severiane to the east.
To their north and east were the Vyatichi, to their south was forested land settled by Slav farmers, giving way to steppelands populated by nomadic herdsmen. Controversy persists over whether the Rus' were Slavs; this uncertainty is due to a paucity of contemporary sources. Attempts to address this question instead rely on archaeological evidence, the accounts of foreign observers, legends and literature from centuries later. To some extent the controversy is related to the foundation myths of modern states in the region. According to the "Normanist" view, the Rus' were Scandinavians, while Russian and Ukrainian nationalist historians argue that the Rus' were themselves Slavs. Normanist theories focus on the earliest written source for the East Slavs, the Primary Chronicle, although this account was not produced until the 12th century. Nationalist accounts have suggested that the Rus' were present before the arrival of the Varangians, noting that only a handful of Scandinavian words can be found in modern Russian and that Scandinavian names in the early chronicles were soon replaced by Slavic names.
Archaeological evidence from the area suggests that a Scandinavian population was present during the 10th century at the latest. On balance, it seems that the Rus' proper were a small minority of Scandinavians who formed an elite ruling class, while the great majority of their subjects were Slavs. Considering the linguistic arguments mounted by nationalist scholars, if the proto-Rus' were Scandinavians, they must have become nativized, adopting Slavic languages and other cultural practices. Ahmad ibn Fadlan, an Arab traveler during the 10th century, provided one of the earliest written descriptions of the Rus': "They are as tall as a date palm and ruddy, so that they do not need to wear a tunic nor a cloak. Liutprand of C
Theophanes was a Byzantine palace official and the chief adviser of Emperor Romanos Lekapenos during most of his reign. He was an active and able diplomat, led the naval defense of Constantinople against the Rus' invasion of 941. Nothing is known of Theophanes's origin and early life, he first appears in the sources in October 925, as imperial protovestiarios, when he became the closest adviser of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos upon the downfall of his earlier chief aide, John Mystikos. Unlike Mystikos, Theophanes would prove both capable and loyal to his master, remained the chief figure of the government for the remainder of Romanos's reign. At that time, the Byzantine Empire had been embroiled in a protracted and disastrous war with Bulgarian Tsar Simeon. In 927, Simeon died, his infant son, ascended the Bulgarian throne under the regency of his uncle George Sursubul. Despite its victories, Bulgaria was exhausted from decades of warfare, was furthermore threatened in its northern borders by the Magyars.
The Bulgarians decided to make peace with Constantinople. Negotiations followed at Mesembria, which proved successful: not only was peace agreed upon, but the links between Byzantium and Bulgaria were to be strengthened by a dynastic marriage of Tsar Peter with Maria Lekapene, the Byzantine emperor's granddaughter. Theophanes played a crucial role in the negotiations prior to the final signing of the treaty, together with Sursubul, was witness at the wedding of Peter and Maria. Theophanes proved his diplomatic skills yet again in April 934, when a large Magyar raid descended into Thrace, he met the raiders in person and arranged terms for their withdrawal and for the release of their captives in exchange for sums of money. Soon, Theophanes would have the chance to acquire military glory as well: in early summer 941, the Byzantines received word from Bulgaria that a Rus' fleet of some 1,000 ships was sailing towards the Bosporus and Constantinople. At that point, the Byzantine capital was well-nigh defenceless, for the imperial army was fighting in the east under John Kourkouas and the navy was engaged with the Arabs in the Mediterranean.
Fifteen old chelandia were discovered in one of Constantinople's harbours, put in order, outfitted with siphons for the discharge of Greek fire, placed under the command of Theophanes. The improvised squadron met the Rus' at the entrance of the Bosporus, through the use of Greek fire, turned them back; the bulk of the raiders turned east and made landfall in Bithynia, plundering the province. As the local Byzantine forces rallied there and the army began to arrive from the East, the Rus' found themselves constrained. Trying to evade the Byzantines and return to their homeland, one night in September they tried to cross over into Thrace. Theophanes, now placed in command of the entire navy, was vigilant, the Rus' fleet was annihilated. Theophanes returned in triumph to the Byzantine capital, where he was raised to the post of parakoimomenos as a reward. At the same time, Kourkouas's victories in the East brought not only new territory to the Byzantine Empire: in 944, he forced the city of Edessa to surrender one of the holiest of Christendom's relics, the "Mandylion".
Theophanes was sent at the head of the Byzantine delegation to receive it from an Edessene embassy at the river Sagaris, thence convey it to Constantinople, where it was received with great pomp and ceremony. This triumph, was to be the last for Emperor Romanos, his eldest sons and co-emperors and Constantine, overthrew him in December 944 and exiled him to the island of Prote. Shortly after, another palace coup deposed them as well, restored power to the legitimate emperor, Constantine VII. Theophanes was one of the few officials of the previous regime to remain in power; the plot was uncovered sometime in 947, Theophanes was deposed and exiled. The date and place of his death are unknown. Jenkins, Romilly. Byzantium: The Imperial Centuries, AD 610–1071. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0-8020-6667-4. Kazhdan, Alexander. "Theophanes". In Kazhdan, Alexander; the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. P. 2061. ISBN 0-19-504652-8. Runciman, Steven; the Emperor Romanus Lecapenus and His Reign: A Study of Tenth-Century Byzantium.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-35722-5
The Byzantine army or Eastern Roman army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy. A direct continuation of the Roman army, the Eastern Roman army maintained a similar level of discipline, strategic prowess and organization, it was among the most effective armies of western Eurasia for much of the Middle Ages. Over time the cavalry arm became more prominent in the Byzantine army as the legion system disappeared in the early 7th century. Reforms reflected some Germanic and Asian influences – rival forces became sources of mercenary units e.g.. Since much of the Byzantine military focused on the strategy and skill of generals utilizing militia troops, heavy infantry were recruited from Frankish and Varangian mercenaries. From the seventh to the 12th centuries, the Byzantine army was among the most powerful and effective military forces in the world – neither Middle Ages Europe nor the fracturing Caliphate could match the strategies and the efficiency of the Byzantine army.
Restricted to a defensive role in the 7th to mid-9th centuries, the Byzantines developed the theme-system to counter the more powerful Caliphate. From the mid-9th century, they went on the offensive, culminating in the great conquests of the 10th century under a series of soldier-emperors such as Nikephoros II Phokas, John Tzimiskes and Basil II; the army they led was less reliant on the militia of the themes. With one of the most powerful economies in the world at the time, the Empire had the resources to put to the field a powerful host when needed, in order to reclaim its long-lost territories. After the collapse of the theme-system in the 11th century, the Byzantines grew reliant on professional Tagmata troops, including ever-increasing numbers of foreign mercenaries; the Komnenian emperors made great efforts to re-establish a native army, instituting the pronoia system of land grants in exchange for military service. Mercenaries remained a staple feature of late Byzantine armies since the loss of Asia Minor reduced the Empire's recruiting-ground, while the abuse of the pronoia grants led to a progressive feudalism in the Empire.
The Komnenian successes were undone by the subsequent Angeloi dynasty, leading to the dissolution of the Empire at the hands of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Emperors of Nicaea managed to form a small but effective force using the same structure of light and armed troops, both natives and foreigners, it proved effective in defending what remained of Byzantine Anatolia and reclaiming much of the Balkans and Constantinople itself in 1261. Another period of neglect of the military followed in the reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos, which allowed Anatolia to fall prey to an emerging power, the Ottoman emirate. Successive civil wars in the 14th century further sapped the Empire's strength and destroyed any remaining chance of recovery, while the weakening of central authority and the devolution of power to provincial leaders meant that the Byzantine army was now composed of a collection of militias, personal entourages and mercenary detachments. Just as what we today label the Byzantine Empire was in reality and to contemporaries a continuation of the Roman Empire, so the Byzantine army was an outgrowth of the Late Roman structure, which survived until the mid-7th century.
The official language of the army for centuries continued to be Latin but this would give way to Greek as in the rest of the Empire, though Latin military terminology would still be used throughout its history. In the period after the Muslim conquests, which saw the loss of Syria and Egypt, the remainders of the provincial armies were withdrawn and settled in Asia Minor, initiating the thematic system. Despite this unprecedented disaster, the internal structures of the army remained much the same, there is a remarkable continuity in tactics and doctrine between the 6th and 11th centuries; the Battle of Manzikert in 1071 and the subsequent Seljuk invasions, together with the arrival of the Crusades and the incursions of the Normans, would weaken the Byzantine state and its military, which had to rely on foreign mercenaries. The Eastern Empire dates from the creation of the Tetrarchy by the Emperor Diocletian in 293, his plans for succession did not outlive his lifetime, but his reorganization of the army did by centuries.
Rather than maintain the traditional infantry-heavy legions, Diocletian reformed it into limitanei and comitatenses units. There was an expansion of the importance of the cavalry, though the infantry still remained the major component of the Roman armies, in contrast to common belief. In preparation for Justinian's African campaign of 533-534 AD, the army assembled amounted to 10,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 mounted archers and federate lancers; the limitanei and ripenses were to occupy the limes, the Roman border fortifications. The field units, by contrast, were to stay well behind the border and move where they were needed, whether for offensive or defensive roles, as well as forming an army against usurpers; the field units were held to high standards and took precedence over Limitanei in pay and provisions. Cavalry formed about one-third of the units, but as a result of smaller units, about one-quarter of the Roman armies consisted of cavalry. About half the cavalry consisted of heavy cavalry.
They were armed with spear or lance and sword and armored
Romanos I Lekapenos
Romanos I Lekapenos or Lakapenos, Latinized as Romanus I Lecapenus, was an Armenian who became a Byzantine naval commander and reigned as Byzantine Emperor from 920 until his deposition on December 16, 944. Romanos Lekapenos, born in Lakape between Melitene and Samosata, was the son of an Armenian peasant with the remarkable name of Theophylact the Unbearable. Theophylact, as a soldier, had rescued the Emperor Basil I from the enemy in battle at Tephrike and had been rewarded by a place in the Imperial Guard. Although he did not receive any refined education, Romanos advanced through the ranks of the army during the reign of Emperor Leo VI the Wise. In 911 he was general of the naval theme of Samos and served as admiral of the fleet. In this capacity he was supposed to participate in the Byzantine operations against Bulgaria on the Danube in 917, but he was unable to carry out his mission. In the aftermath of the disastrous Byzantine defeat at the Battle of Acheloos in 917 by the Bulgarians, Romanos sailed to Constantinople, where he overcame the discredited regency of Empress Zoe Karvounopsina and her supporter Leo Phokas.
On 25 March 919, at the head of his fleet, Lekapenos seized the Boukoleon Palace and the reins of government. He was named magistros and megas hetaireiarches, but he moved swiftly to consolidate his position: in April 919 his daughter Helena was married to Constantine VII, Lekapenos assumed the new title basileopator. In subsequent years Romanos crowned his own sons co-emperors, Christopher in 921, Stephen and Constantine in 924, for the time being, Constantine VII was regarded as first in rank after Romanos himself, it is notable that, as he left Constantine untouched, he was called'the gentle usurper'. Romanos strengthened his position by marrying his daughters to members of the powerful aristocratic families of Argyros and Mouseles, by recalling the deposed patriarch Nicholas Mystikos, by putting an end to the conflict with the Papacy over the four marriages of Emperor Leo VI, his early reign saw several conspiracies to topple him, which led to the successive dismissal of his first paradynasteuontes, John the Rhaiktor and John Mystikos.
From 925 and until the end of his reign, the post was occupied by the chamberlain Theophanes. The first major challenge faced by the new emperor was the war with Bulgaria, re-ignited by the regency of Zoe; the rise to power of Romanos had curtailed the plans of Simeon I of Bulgaria for a marital alliance with Constantine VII, Romanos was determined to deny the unpopular concession of imperial recognition to Simeon, which had toppled two imperial governments. The first four years of Romanos' reign were spent in warfare against Bulgaria. Although Simeon had the upper hand, he was unable to gain a decisive advantage because of the impregnability of Constantinople's walls. In 924, when Simeon had once again blockaded the capital by land, Romanos succeeded in opening negotiations. Meeting Simeon in person at Kosmidion, Romanos criticized Simeon's disregard for tradition and Orthodox Christian brotherhood and shamed him into coming to terms and lifting the siege. In reality, this was accomplished by Romanos' tacit recognition of Simeon as emperor of Bulgaria.
Relations were subsequently marred by continued wrangling over titles, but peace had been established. On the death of Simeon in May 927, Bulgaria's new emperor, Peter I, made a show of force by invading Byzantine Thrace, but he showed himself ready to negotiate for a more permanent peace. Romanos seized the occasion and proposed a marriage alliance between the imperial houses of Byzantium and Bulgaria, at the same time renewing the Serbian-Byzantine alliance with Časlav of Serbia, returning independence the same year. In September 927 Peter arrived before Constantinople and married Maria, the daughter of his eldest son and co-emperor Christopher, thus Romanos' granddaughter. On this occasion Christopher received precedence in rank over his brother-in-law Constantine VII, something which compounded the latter's resentment towards the Lekapenoi, the Bulgarians, imperial marriages to outsiders. From this point on, Romanos' government was free from direct military confrontation with Bulgaria. Although Byzantium would tacitly support a Serbian revolt against Bulgaria in 931, the Bulgarians would allow Magyar raids across their territory into Byzantine possessions and Bulgaria remained at peace for 40 years, until Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria.
Romanos appointed the brilliant general John Kourkouas commander of the field armies in the East. John Kourkouas subdued a rebellion in the theme of Chaldia and intervened in Armenia in 924. From 926 Kourkouas campaigned across the eastern frontier against the Abbasids and their vassals, won an important victory at Melitene in 934; the capture of this city is considered the first major Byzantine territorial recovery from the Muslims. In 941, while most of the army under Kourkouas was absent in the East, a fleet of 15 old ships under the protovestiarios Theophanes had to defend Constantinople from a Kievan raid; the invaders were defeated at sea, through the use of Greek fire, again at land, when they landed in Bithynia, by the returning army under Kourkouas. In 944 Romanos concluded a treaty with
The Pechenegs or Patzinaks were a semi-nomadic Turkic people from Central Asia speaking the Pecheneg language which belonged to the Oghuz branch of Turkic language family. The Pechenegs were mentioned as Bjnak, Bjanak or Bajanak in medieval Arabic and Persian texts, as Be-ča-nag in Classical Tibetan documents, as Pačanak-i in works written in Georgian. Anna Komnene and other Byzantine authors referred to them as Patzinakitai. In medieval Latin texts, the Pechenegs were referred to as Bisseni or Bessi. East Slavic peoples use the terms Pečenegi or Pečenezi, while the Poles mention them as Pieczyngowie or Piecinigi; the Hungarian word for Pecheneg is besenyő. Three of the eight Pecheneg "provinces" or clans were collectively known as Kangars. According to Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, the Kangars received this denomination because "they are more valiant and noble than the rest" of the people "and, what the title Kangar signifies". For no Turkic word with similar meaning is known, Ármin Vámbéry connected the ethnonym to the Kirghiz words kangir and kani-kara, while Carlile Aylmer Macartney associated it with the Chagatai word gang.
Omeljan Pritsak proposed that the name had been a composite term deriving from the Tocharian word for stone and the Iranian ethnonym As. If the latter assumption is valid, the Kangars' ethnonym suggests that Iranian elements contributed to the formation of the Pecheneg people. Mahmud al-Kashgari, an 11th-century man of letters specialized in Turkic dialects argued that the language spoken by the Pechenegs was a variant of the Cuman and Oghuz idioms, he suggested that foreign influences on the Pechenegs gave rise to phonetical differences between their tongue and the idiom spoken by other Turkic peoples. Anna Komnene stated that the Pechenegs and the Cumans shared a common language. Although the Pecheneg language itself died out centuries ago, the names of the Pecheneg "provinces" recorded by Constantine Porphyrogenitus prove that the Pechenegs spoke a Turkic language; the Huns and Pechenegs are thought to have belonged to the same proto-Turkic group of languages as the modern Chuvash language.
Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos lists eight Pecheneg tribal groupings, four on each side of the Dnieper river, reflecting the bipartite left-right Turkic organization. These eight tribes were in turn divided into 40 sub-tribes clans. Constantine VI records the names of eight former tribal leaders who'd been leading the Pechenegs when they were expelled by the Khazars and Oghuzes. Golden, following Németh and Ligeti, proposes that each tribal name consists of two parts: the first part being an equine coat color, the other the tribal ruler's title; the first three tribes in the list below formed the Qangar/Kenger and were deemed "more valiant and noble than the rest". Paul Pelliot originated the proposal that the Book of Sui—a 7th-century Chinese work—preserved the earliest record on the Pechenegs; the book mentioned the Pei-ju people who had settled near the En-ch'u and A-lan peoples, to the east of Fu-lin. Victor Spinei emphasizes that the Pechenegs' association with the Pei-ju is "uncertain".
He proposes that an 8th-century Uighur envoy's report, which survives in Tibetan translation, contains the first certain reference to the Pechenegs. The report recorded an armed conflict between the Be-ča-nag and the Hor peoples in the region of the river Syr Darya. Ibn Khordadbeh, Mahmud al-Kashgari, Muhammad al-Idrisi, many other Muslim scholars agree that the Pechenegs belonged to the Turkic peoples; the Russian Primary Chronicle stated that the "Torkmens, Pechenegs and Polovcians" descended from "the godless sons of Ishmael, sent as a chastisement to the Christians". Omeljan Pritsak says that the Pechenegs' homeland was located between the Aral Sea and the middle course of the Syr Darya, along the important trade routes connecting Central Asia with Eastern Europe; the Orkhon inscriptions listed the Kangars among the subject peoples of the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. The Turkic Khaganate collapsed in 744 which gave rise to a series of intertribal confrontations in the Eurasian steppes; the Karluks attacked the Oghuz Turks, forcing them to launch a westward migration towards the Pechenegs' lands.
The Uighur envoy's report testifies that the Oghuz and Pecheneg waged war against each other in the 8th century, most for the control of the trade routes. The Oghuz made an alliance with the Karluks and Kimaks and defeated the Pechenegs and their allies in a battle near the Lake Aral before 850, according to the 10th-century scholar, Al-Masudi. Most Pechenegs launched a new migration towards the Volga River, but some groups were forced to join the Oghuz; the latter formed the 19th tribe of the Oghuz tribal federation in the 11th century. The Pechenegs who left their homeland settled between the Volga rivers, their new territory was quite large, according to Muslim sources. Their territory bordered on the Khazars, Slavs and Ouzes; the Pechenegs sold their captives. The Khazars made an alliance with the Ouzes against the Pechenegs and they invaded the Pechenegs' land from two directions; the double attack forced the Pechenegs into a new westward migration. They marched across the Khazar Khaganate and expelled the Magyars
Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria
Sviatoslav's invasion of Bulgaria refers to a conflict beginning in 967/968 and ending in 971, carried out in the eastern Balkans, involving the Kievan Rus', the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantines encouraged the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to attack Bulgaria, leading to the defeat of the Bulgarian forces and the occupation of the northern and north-eastern part of the country by the Rus' for the following two years; the allies turned against each other, the ensuing military confrontation ended with a Byzantine victory. The Rus' withdrew and eastern Bulgaria was incorporated into the Byzantine Empire. In 927, a peace treaty had been signed between Bulgaria and Byzantium, ending many years of warfare and establishing forty years of peace. Both states prospered during this interlude, but the balance of power shifted in favour of the Byzantines, who made great territorial gains against the Abbasid Caliphate in the East and formed a web of alliances surrounding Bulgaria. By 965/966, the warlike new Byzantine emperor Nikephoros II Phokas refused to renew the annual tribute, part of the peace agreement and declared war on Bulgaria.
Preoccupied with his campaigns in the East, Nikephoros resolved to fight the war by proxy and invited the Rus' ruler Sviatoslav to invade Bulgaria. Sviatoslav's subsequent campaign exceeded the expectations of the Byzantines, who had regarded him only as a means to exert diplomatic pressure on the Bulgarians; the Rus' prince conquered the core regions of the Bulgarian state in the northeastern Balkans in 967–969, seized the Bulgarian tsar Boris II, ruled the country through him. Sviatoslav intended to continue his drive south against Byzantium itself, which in turn regarded the establishment of a new and powerful Russo-Bulgarian state in the Balkans with great concern. After stopping a Rus' advance through Thrace at the Battle of Arcadiopolis in 970, the Byzantine emperor John I Tzimiskes led an army north into Bulgaria in 971 and captured Preslav, the capital. After a three-month siege of the fortress of Dorostolon, Sviatoslav agreed to terms with the Byzantines and withdrew from Bulgaria.
Tzimiskes formally annexed Eastern Bulgaria to the Byzantine Empire. However, most of the country in the central and western Balkans remained in effect outside imperial control. By the beginning of the 10th century, two powers had come to dominate the Balkans: the Byzantine Empire controlled the south of the peninsula and the coasts, the Bulgarian Empire held the central and northern Balkans; the early decades of the century were dominated by Tsar Simeon, who expanded his empire at Byzantium's expense in a series of wars and secured for himself recognition of his imperial title. Simeon's death in May 927 was soon followed by a rapprochement between the two powers, formalized with a treaty and a marriage alliance that same year. Simeon's second son and successor, Peter I, married Maria, the granddaughter of the Byzantine emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, his imperial title was recognized. An annual tribute was agreed to be paid to the Bulgarian ruler in exchange for peace; the agreement was kept for forty years as peaceful relations suited both sides.
Bulgaria, despite the barrier formed by the Danube, was still menaced in its northern reaches by steppe peoples, the Magyars and the Pechenegs. They launched raids throughout Bulgaria reaching Byzantine territory as well; the Byzantine–Bulgarian peace meant less trouble from the north, as many Pecheneg raids had been sponsored by the Byzantines. Peter's reign, although lacking the military splendour of Simeon's, was still a "golden age" for Bulgaria, with a flourishing economy and a thriving urban society. Byzantium used the peace to focus its energy on wars against the Abbasid Caliphate in the East, where a series of campaigns under generals John Kourkouas and Nikephoros Phokas expanded imperial territory. At the same time, military reforms created a offensively-oriented army; the Byzantines did not neglect the Balkans, working to improve their contacts with the peoples of central and eastern Europe, subtly altering the balance of power in the peninsula. Their Crimean outpost of Cherson maintained trade with the Pechenegs and the emerging power of the Kievan Rus'.
These relationships on the periphery of the Bulgarian Empire were an important asset for Byzantine diplomacy: instigating attacks against Bulgaria by the Pechenegs and the Khazars was a time-honoured method of applying pressure on the Bulgarians. Upon the sudden death of Emperor Romanos II in 963, Nikephoros Phokas usurped the throne from Romanos' infant sons and became senior emperor as Nikephoros II. Nikephoros, a prominent member of the Anatolian military aristocracy focused on the East, leading his army in campaigns that recovered Cyprus and Cilicia, thus things stood when a Bulgarian embassy visited Nikephoros in late 965 or early 966 to collect the tribute owed. Nikephoros, his confidence boosted by his recent successes, deeming the Bulgarian ruler's demand presumptuous, refused to pay, claiming that with Empress Maria's recent death any such obligations had ceased, he sent them home with threats and insults. He proceeded with his troops to Thrace, where he staged an elaborate parade as a display of mi
Greek fire was an incendiary weapon used by the Eastern Roman Empire, first developed c. 672. It was a combustible compound emitted by a flame-throwing weapon and used to set light to enemy ships. Greek fire was first used by the Greeks besieged in Constantinople, it ignited on contact with water, was based on naphtha and quicklime. The Byzantines used it in naval battles to great effect, as it could continue burning while floating on water, it provided a technological advantage and was responsible for many key Byzantine military victories, most notably the salvation of Constantinople from two Arab sieges, thus securing the Empire's survival. The impression made by Greek fire on the western European Crusaders was such that the name was applied to any sort of incendiary weapon, including those used by Arabs, the Chinese, the Mongols. However, these were different mixtures and not the same formula as the Byzantine Greek fire, a guarded state secret. Byzantines used pressurized nozzles or siphōns to project the liquid onto the enemy, in a manner resembling a modern flamethrower.
Although usage of the term "Greek fire" has been general in English and most other languages since the Crusades, original Byzantine sources called the substance a variety of names, such as "sea fire", "Roman fire", "war fire", "liquid fire", "sticky fire" or "manufactured fire". The composition of Greek fire remains a matter of speculation and debate, with various proposals including combinations of pine resin, quicklime, calcium phosphide, sulfur, or niter. In Titus Livy's history of Rome, priestesses of Bacchus are said to have dipped fire into the water, which did not extinguish, "for it was sulphur mixed with lime." Incendiary and flaming weapons were used in warfare for centuries prior to the invention of Greek fire. They included a number of sulfur-, petroleum-, bitumen-based mixtures. Incendiary arrows and pots containing combustible substances surrounded by caltrops or spikes, or launched by catapults, were used as early as the 9th century BC by the Assyrians and were extensively used in the Greco-Roman world as well.
Furthermore, Thucydides mentions that in the siege of Delium in 424 BC a long tube on wheels was used which blew flames forward using a large bellows. The Roman author Julius Africanus, writing in the 3rd Century AD, records a mixture that ignited from adequate heat and intense sunlight, used in grenades or night attacks:Automatic fire by the following formula; this is the recipe: take equal amounts of sulphur, rock salt, thunder stone, pyrite and pound fine in a black mortar at midday sun. In equal amounts of each ingredient mix together black mulberry resin and Zakynthian asphault, the latter in a liquid form and free-flowing, resulting in a product, sooty colored. Add to the asphalt the tiniest amount of quicklime, but because the sun is at its zenith, one must pound it and protect the face, for it will ignite suddenly. When it catches fire, one should seal it in some sort of copper receptacle. If you should wish to ignite enemy armaments, you will smear it on in the evening, either on the armaments or some other object, but in secret.
In naval warfare, the Eastern Roman Emperor Anastasius I is recorded by chronicler John Malalas to have been advised by a philosopher from Athens called Proclus to use sulfur to burn the ships of Vitalianus. Greek fire proper, was developed in c. 672 and is ascribed by the chronicler Theophanes to Kallinikos, an architect from Heliopolis in the former province of Phoenice, by overrun by the Muslim conquests:At that time Kallinikos, an artificer from Heliopolis, fled to the Romans. He had devised a sea fire which burned them with all hands, thus it was that the Romans discovered the sea fire. The accuracy and exact chronology of this account is open to question: Theophanes reports the use of fire-carrying and siphōn-equipped ships by the Byzantines a couple of years before the supposed arrival of Kallinikos at Constantinople. If this is not due to chronological confusion of the events of the siege, it may suggest that Kallinikos introduced an improved version of an established weapon; the historian James Partington further thinks it that Greek fire was not in fact the creation of any single person but "invented by chemists in Constantinople who had inherited the discoveries of the Alexandrian chemical school."
Indeed, the 11th-century chronicler George Kedrenos records that Kallinikos came from Heliopolis in Egypt, but most scholars reject this as an error. Kedrenos records the story, considered rather implausible by modern scholars, that Kallinikos' descendants, a family called Lampros, "brilliant," kept the secret of the fire's manufacture and continued doing so to Kedrenos' time. Kallinikos' development of Greek fire came at a critical moment in the Byzantine Empire's history: weakened by its long wars with Sassanid Persia, the Byzantines had been unable to resist the onslaught of the Muslim conquests. Within a generation, Syria and Egypt had fallen to the Arabs, who in c. 672 set out to conquer the imperial capital of Constantinople. Greek fire was used to great effect against the Muslim fleets, helping to repel the Muslims at the first and second Arab sieges of the city. Records of its use in naval battles against the Saracens are more sporadic, but it did sec