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Old 12-24-2008, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default Macedonia: Brief History, 7th, 8th & 9th centuries

7th Century

In the year 610, Heraclius of Carthage in Africa sailed from his homeland to Constantinople and defeated the East Roman emperor, assuming the title for himself. Only a decade later he made significant changes to certain elements in the East Roman Empire, the most outstanding being the change of official language from Latin to Greek. Clashes between the East Romans and the Slavic rebels in Macedonia and the rest of the Balkans were frequent, while the Slavic tribes north of the Danube under the leadership of Samo had also rebelled against the local power in their region, the Avars, defeating the latter and established their own kingdom. the Kingdom of Samo lasted until his death in the year 658, after which his domains fractured and were absorbed into other local entities.

During the year 674 Perbund was a rebel chieftain of a Slavic tribe from Macedonia, the Rouchinai, who lived in Salonika. He adopted several customs of the East Romans, and was conversant in the official language of the state, which was Greek. He decided to make an attempt at capturing Salonika while the East Romans under Constantine IV were pre-occupied with the Arab threat. As soon as the East Roman Emperor heard of the news he rushed back to the city where he had the rebel leader from Macedonia executed. Angered at the murder, various Slavic tribes gathered to subsequently attack the city and its East Roman establishment, which was followed by a siege on Constantinople by the Arabs for the next four years. As all of this was taking place, Bulgar tribes crossed the Danube unopposed and settled in Moesia, as the weaknesses of East Rome were exposed and exploited from all sides. Attempts by the East Romans to subdue them failed, and ultimately a Bulgar state was established on formerly East Roman territory, dangerously close to the capital, Constantinople. It was less than a decade after the death of Perbund, the rebel from Macedonia, that Asparuk and the rest of the Khan horde established the Bulgar state in the year 681. Aside from the weakness of East Rome, had Perbund of Macedonia not been at odds with the former and eventually slain, the probability of a Bulgar state transpiring would have been significantly diminished.

In the year 687 Justinian II brought over troops from the Asian provinces of East Rome to Europe and with their aid defeated a great number of Slavic rebels in Macedonia. Shortly afterward in the year 689, Justinian II inflicted further punishment and deported 200,000 Slavic-speakers from rebellious Macedonia who were resettled in Asia, where they were expected to provide 30,000 troops to serve East Rome against the Arabs. However, the Slavic troops revolted against Justinian II, and although later defeated along with the Arabs, several thousands of Slavic-speakers from Macedonia remained settled in Asia Minor after the event.
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Old 12-25-2008, 07:34 PM   #2
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8th Century

The Slavic rebels of Macedonia were suprisingly well intergated into important elements of East Roman society, despite prior attacks carried out by their linguistic kin from the Danube against the East Roman Empire. With the setback of Perbund, the forced deportations, and the increased friction as a result, clashes were frequent between the Slavic rebels of Macedonia and the East Romans. East Roman Emperor Constantine V is recorded to have plundered and enslaved much of the Slavic rebels from Macedonia during the years 758-59, which was a land outside of the control of East Rome more often than not. However, in the year 766, from those same rebels arose a native priest called Niketas, who had risen to the highest position of the Eastern Church, as the Patriarch at Constantinople, which was an incredible feat for a mere 'barbarian'.

Now despite all of these events, the East Roman 'Macedonia Theme' with its capital at the Thracian city of Adrianople, was not established until the beginning of the 800's. This disproves the theory that the Macedonians of Macedonia proper 'ran away' from the Slavic rebels, as well over 2 centuries had passed since the first attacks on East Rome from the Danube had occured. Furthermore, the 'Macedonia Theme' was also largely inhabited by Slavic-speaking peoples, which further eliminates the previous theory. It is more likely that segments of the Macedonian nobility and upper classes had moved east, being closer to the East Roman capital but more importantly escaping increased Bulgarian savagery and attacks in Macedonia proper during that period of time as the Bulgars were aiming to expand their territory at the expense of East Rome and the Slavic rebels.
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Old 03-06-2009, 07:46 PM   #3
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9th Century

The fact that the Macedonia Theme was established well over 2 centuries after the invasion of the Slavic-speaking tribes from the Danube indicates that the local Macedonian populace and the relevant Slavic tribes lived in relative harmony after the initial turbulence. The Macedonia Theme included large parts of southern Thrace covering lands from the Sea of Marmara to the city of Adrianople, which was chosen as its capital, and was governed as a single administrative unit. Macedonia proper was not included in the new East Roman administrative unit as control of the region could not be guaranteed due to the rebellious inhabitants who had maintained their autonomous status. Segments of the Macedonian nobility who wished to avoid any further involvement in the rebellious attacks against the East Romans, and/or to avoid the impending Bulgar attacks and invasions, had much to lose with the breakdown of the East Roman system. A gravitation east towards the capital by way of partial Macedonian emigration appears to have taken place, inspiring the name of the Macedonia Theme.

Although the Slavic rebels of Macedonia spent time to recover from recent battles against the East Romans, the Slavic tribes of the Peloponnese erupted in revolt, turning on the East Roman establishment and in particularly their Greek-speaking neighbours. In the year 821, an individual known as Thomas, who was a Slavic-speaking soldier in the East Roman Army, had raised the banner of revolt in the Asia Minor provinces. Emperor Michael II was in a dire position as East Roman rule diminished in all the eastern provinces except Opsikion and Armeniakon, with Thomas actually being crowned as an emperor by the Patriarch of Antioch, also receiving support by the local Muslims hostile towards the East Romans. Eventually Emperor Michael II utilised the help of the Bulgar Khan Omurtag, who intervened in the civil war on behalf of the East Romans. Although Thomas the Slav had amassed a large army and territory within a relatively short period of time, not doubt including several thousand descendants of the Slavic-speaking rebels from Macedonia that were resettled in Asia Minor, and had spent over a year attempting to take Constantinople via siege, he was captured and killed in the year 823. The main reasons for the revolt led by Thomas the Slav was to support the “iconodules” during the Iconism struggles and also to stand up for the poor who were being bled dry by the East Roman system.
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