Madgearu Place Crimea | Crimea | Byzantine Empire

THE PLACE OF CRIMEAAND OF THE KERCH STRAIT IN THE OF THE MIDDLEBYZANTINE EMPIRE STRATEGY

CENTURIES) 17^-r2'n
Alexandru Madgearu

The Byzantine Empire was always aware of the importance of Crimea for the control of the steppe peoples movements and for the commercial traffic with Eurasia. When the peninsula was not under Byzantine dominatiory this control was exerted by shifting alliances with its masters (Khazars, Hungarians, Pechenegs, Russians). A line of fortifications was built in the south-western corner of Crimea during the reign of fustinian I, between Alouston (Aloutcha) and Gorzoubites (Gourzouf); the residence of the satellite Gothic principality of Doros (Mangoup-Kal6) was too fortified by Byzantine masonsl. These defensive works were done in order to protect Chersory a still prosperous harbor during the 6th century. Unlike many cities from other provinces that declined by the end of the 6thcentury Cherson was growing in that period (new buildings, intensive trade)2. Howeve{, the advanced fortifications were not enough to secure Cherson if the northern barbarians were so powerful to jeopardize the Byzantine domination in Crimea. This happened after the second third of the 7ft century, when the Khazars founded a steppe empire between Dnieper and Volga. The conversion to |udaism in 861 enforced their insertion in the large trading traffic between Europe and Asia, and their independent position between the Christian Byzantium and Islam3. The Pax Chazaricqamaintained a stability that favored the long distance trade. One of the major achievements of the Khazars in Crimea was the extension of their domination over Cherson. Banished there in 695, Justinian II (685-695) was supported by the Khazarian ruler Bazir Yilbous, but only until 704, when the new emperor Tiberius III Apsimar (698-705) requested the death of his rival. After he escaped in 705, fustinian II decided to take revenge against the Khazars and the Chersonites who betrayed him. He failed, and the city rebelled in 711 with the help of the Khazars, who became thus its masters until 841, when the Byzantine Empire restored the administration in the new framework of a theme. Theoretically, the city remained in the Byzantine Empire, but practically the real authority was exerted by I Vasiliev 2000, 262, 271'-272. Kazanski, Soupault 7936,71,-73; 2Smedley 2002, 660. 780; Bortoli,Kazanski 1979, 3 Vasiliev1936, Kazanski, Soupault 1998, 17-34; Brook1999; 1995, 237-270; Shepard 74-77; Zuckerman Zuckerman 2002, 516-523. 2000, 272; r Expression (see Boba1967, 39). coined by G.Vernadsky

Frankliry Shepard 7996.34.507. .Cherson. ODBI.irks and next by the Khazars (with an interruption caused by the KhazarianArabian wars)10.30-737.Noonan 2000. Like the Mongols in the future.Brook1. like in other Crimean fortressess.exported to the Roman and next Byzantine markets (Minorsky 1960. Kerch and Tmutorokan were placed in a better position for this than Cherson8. 2002. 1960. Cherson. the Byzantine monopoly in the Black Sea tumed into a power sharing with the Khazars who became the masters of the Kerch Strait.7-8. In this way. 6Sokolova 2000. 295. The winters became harsher in Byzantium and in the Middle East (the Black Sea froze in some years). 12Christian 1998. Around 70O the Khazars continued the expansiory conquering the eastem Crimea and the cities Bosphoros (Kerch) and Phanagoria (Thmatarkha). Geyer 2002. The harbors Kerch and Thmatarkha (or Tmutorokan) were the gates of the connection with the Don basin. salt and wood. O. A.799. O. Oikonomides 320. One of the ends of the Silk Road reached Crimea. Cutler. ODB l. 1992. Pritsak Noonan 2000. Recent researches have shown that the traffic on this road was resumed with high intensity in the 6thcentury when the Central Asia was dominated by the first Ttirkic Empire.997. Pritsak oSmedley 729-131.982. The power was shared between the municipal council. The develop centuries is testified by the Byzantine and Arabian ment of the fur trade in the 6th-9th coins found in the Kama region. e The Azov Seawas an important sourceof sturgeonsand other big fishes. Pritsak. the importance of the Cimmerian Bosphoros for the Byzantine and Islamic economy appears more clear. 10Bratianu 1999. 7993. a name that suggests the importance of the fishing for the Khazarian tradeT. There is however a scarce evidence for the existence of Byzantine officials in Cherson during this period of Khazarian supremacy.269-302.Brook7999. and to prevent the accessof the Byzantines in the Don valley and on other waterways.9. and people needed more northern furs. seeVasiliev 7936.68. located on the both sides of the Kerch Strait. Cutlel.75-76. 2000 291. 1.106.794 Alexandru Madgearu Khazarian governors. Noonan A.74-76. Pritsak1978. who traveled to Crimea on the Silk Road. The commerce intermediated by the Kerch Strait included not only usual commodities like fishe.For the attack of576.For the first time s Vasiliev1936. 7996. This development was in direct relation with the cold period attested in the Mediterranean area between the 6th and the 9th centuryll. they protected the trade. Kode. 479. 1980.1. Noonan 1. The transit trade by the strait was managed by a govemor called baliqci ('Lord of the Fishes'). Zuckerman 1. The domestic production of silk in Byzantium did not exclude the imports.288.Brcok2002.264-265.323. Another luxury good was the silk. Noonan7999. 41.285-301. 11 273.65. br this way. Noonan7992. In this light. the Khazarian governor and the Byzantine archon6. The attack against Kerch (Bosphoros) of the Ttirkic warriors in 576 could be seen as an attempt to take full control over the end of this road12.Dagron 7Minorsky 1978. especially the trade fulfilled by the Sogdian and Khorezmian merchants.492.999.36). the establishment of a strong control over the both sides of the Kerch Strait gave to the Khazars the opportunity to transform the Azov Sea in a'Khazarian Lake'. arrived there through the commerce exerted by the Ti.81-87. but also luxury goods like furs.42. 172-773. 264.47.253-254. which means that the city was under a kind of condominium. Yiicel 168-769.510-511.

The rise of the Khazarian power affected the Byzantine positions in Crimea.Yticel Noonan 1992. who met him in784 at Constantinople.996. although and China'13.In these circumstances. This intention was not followed by the next emperors. ated a new'world-system'. was a danger for the Khazars.55-59.254. 1aNoonan 200O 287-288. It seemsthat the upheaval was started by the bishop at the request of the Byzantine empressIrene (780-802). Arabian attacksin Caucasus. in the same years when the Franks defeated the Arabs at Poitiers in 732. 1sObolensky 1979. defence against them was the reason of the building of the Sarkel ('White Castle') tofortress. the future ConstantineV (747-775). (baptized Irene). even if the Byzantine economic interests were affected by the conquest of Bosphoros and Panticapaion. 207. Brook 2002. 107-1ll.59-166.Brook7999.In 839. riage of the son of Leo III (777-741).the Khazars askedthe Byzantinesto agreed this proposal. 17Krist6 1.493-494. the Byzantinesavoided any conflict with them. 1.The Byzantine-Khazarian alliance started in731 or 732 by the marwith Cicak. linking the MediterranearLthe Near East.Persia. their common enemies.Yricel 2002.at the junction of Don and Volga. sometime in the 780s. who continued to consider that the Byzantine-Khazarian alliance was necessaryfor the defence of the backside of the security spaceof Constantinople.40-41. .Spinei 2003. Brdtianu 1'999.The Khazars continued the wars against the Abbasid Caliphate until 79915.33.512. caused and Hungarians.India Crimea and particularly Bosphorosbelonged to this system.127-128. Brook 1999. influencing the strategy applied in the northern spaceof security of Constantinople. the Khazars extended their domination over the Gothic fortressesin the central and western Crimea. Arzdpy 2000. help them to construct the stronghold. 2002.12th Centuries) 795 'the vigorous commercial contactsestablishedby the Tiirk crein the Middle Ages. 15Vasiliev 1.Crimea and the Kerch Strait (7th . but they failed.226-227. Zuckerman 1997.it was better to preserve good relations with the Khazars. The increasing turmoil in the region between Don and Volga after 830. The alliance was closed during the the daughter of qagan Bihor which reachedthe Black Seaeasternshoresin777-737.511.. Brook 2002. Moreovel. especiallyduring the wars against the Arabs.The main concern of the Pontic policy around 800 was Bulgari4 and the Khazarian presencein Crimea was useful for the anti-Bulgarian strategy. by the migration of the Pechenegs (the areabetween Don and Bug).This meansthat Irene tried to limit the Khazarian expansion in Crimea and to break the alliance with the Khazarsl6.936.97-92.This fact delayed any attempt of recovery of the Byzantine administration in Crimea.773.328-337. in a position able to bar the access ward the Azov and the Caspianseas.495.Noonan 1999. particularly in Cherson and Bosphoros. the main connectionof the silk trade passedby the northern Caucasusla. Theseoffensiveswere stopped by the Khazars.who built a fortification of 13Christian 7998. beThe Hungarians arrived after 830 in Leaedia The coming thus a new actor in the balanceof forcesin the North-Pontic spacel7. As long as the Khazarswere still powerful.The Gothic ruler from Doros and bishop John of Gothia rebelled against them.501. Whittow 7996. Theophylus (829-842) sending a group of workers led by the officer Petronas..

Zuckerman 7997.73 .730-731. This denotes the development of the policy based on a power sharing with the Khazars in Crimea and north of the peninsula.56-62. as representatives of their interests. 233-235. in the form of the new theme of Cherson. the Byzantine customs official. This city was prosperous in the 9ft-10d centuries. created in 841 by the same emperor Theophilus. Sokolova 7993. whose function was the same like of the future Venetian colony of Tana. 209-210. 23Smedley 1979.67-73 name reflectedthe abandonmentof the region outside the town. established near the mouth of Don Riverle. and it shows how important was for the Byzantine state the defence of the positions held by the Khazars north of the Black Sea. and as a consequence one of the final points of the Silk Road.320-323.Oikonomides 2000. 21The name Klimata concernsthe small zones around the fortressesfrom the mountain region of the peninsula (Zuckerman 1997. called Rhos in the Byzantine sources.327. because it was were portaged across the narrow neck of land that separates the two great rivers there'. demonstratedthat the danger was representedby the Hungarians . being the Byzantine gate to the trade with Khazars and Rus'. . since it is sure that Kerch was a Khazarian possession in 965. Oikonomides 2000. 7979. Smediey 1980. when it was conquered by Rus'.for instance.not 833). which could be ascribed to a Pecheneg or Hungarian invasion26.Brook 1999. Its 2000 soldiers were commanded by the same Petronas.68-73. 26Noonan 7998-7999. On the other hand. The Byzantine-Khazarian power sharing meant also the reestablishment of a real imperial administration in Crimea. The initial plan was to occupy a larger area.but the Khazarian rule came back in unknown circumstances.38-40. the archaeological excavations attest a general destruction by the end of the 9thcentury. At Sarkel was established the main Khazarian customs point2o.181-186. 25Zuckerman 7997. Cherson was the residence of a kommerkiarios.-297. Kerch was not a priority for the Byzantines as long as the Khazars were still powerful2a. Obolensky "1967. 20Pritsak 1978.291.an idea introduced by Boba Brook 2002. Whittow 1.996.and that the right date is 839. A new enemy replaced the Khazars as intermediaries between the Black Sea and the northern fur lands. Its importance declined only by the end of the 10s century23. becoming the theme of Chersonz. The strategic target of this policy was the stability of the northem steppe. necessary for the security of Cherson. taking a rich 18 (whohas Zuckerman 1997. 57-58 174. 22Wozniak 1975. In 860.see. 1eFor this colony.The transmission to a barbarian power of the military architectonic techniques was unusual. for goods Sarkel was even more favorable. 70-74andT6th7994. called the theme of Klimata2l. Noonan7992.512. 128-729.67). The position of 'a shipping crossroads.702-106. considersthat the changeof the Oikonomides 2000.196 Alexandru Madgearu Byzantine gp"tt.201-277. 24Noonan 7992.Papacostea 7979. ravaged the suburbs. Constantinople suffered a surprise attack caused by a fleet of 200 ships with 8000 warriors arrived by the Black Sea from the far north. the location of Sarkel on the Silk Road made this fortress an important commercial place. The name of the province was changed after some decades.262. A recent interpretation suggests that this harbor was recovered by the Byzantines before 8732s.327agreesthat the Byzantine administration retumed in the eastemCrimea in the secondhalf of the 9thcentury. who was sent to Sarkel. The invaders. In the same time.

Around 900. including the important harbors of Anchialos and Mesembria. 31Treadgold 1997. who wandered on the route Volga-Oka. and next on the Dnieper valley. Boba 30Nikolov 7997. Sorlin1961. The Rus'were a potential danger not only for Chersory but also for other Byzantine regions.-111. They were also in good position to strike the Khazars. . 91. A good defence against the Russian maritime attacks required the control over some strategic points on the western and northern shores of the Black Sea. Their location between Don and Bug was suitable for the prevention of the Russian attacks. Shepard 32'1. Slavs and Finno-Ugrians. 7956.Crimea and the Kerch Strait (7ft .256. Recent studies are showing that Rus' were an ethnical mixture composed by Vikings. 2e 7967.12s Centuries) 197 futy27. who established together in the 9'h century a qaganate that was at the beginning dependent to the Khazars. Ahrweiler has supposed that this 9th century Lykostomion is the same with that recorded in centuries (on an island at the mouth of the Chilia the Danube Delta in the 13th-15th 2TOstrogorsky 7996. they will become the Apostles of the Slavs: the Saints Constantine (Cyril) and Methodius. They. the envoys started negotiations with the Hungarians.Byzantium was then the master of Cherson. For more than three decades. archon of Lykostomion. 28 -708. In fact. in order to transform them in Byzantine allies.8oba7967. 1996. including the capital. 1996. the Hungarians took the place of the Khazars as the warrants of the North-Pontic space security. 707 Franklin. made for a certain Thomas. and to attack Bulgaria and the Frankish Empire. and also for the Khazars2e. In 861.39. applied to the Eastern Slavs ruled by an aristocracy of Viking extraction invited after the middle of the 9m century to give them the necessary force required to take from the Khazars the control over the fur roads. Danubian theme called Lykostomion. Whittow Franklin. Its existence was inferred from the dedication of Photios' Lexikon.239. The attack of 860 has demonstrated that the Khazarian state was not a real shield against these new enemies.79-92. Theirboatswere small. the name acquired an ethnic meaning. buta large number could mean areal threatfor Constantinople. whose whole significations were recently emphasized3o. who occupied in 812 a part of Thrace. Shepard Boba1967.51-53. In fact. two missionaries were sent in Khazaria.452.3-1. The emperor Michael III (842-867) hoped that the Khazars will be baptized by their actiory but the missionaries were primarily diplomats. After few years. just after the Rus' attack.-322. were In the aftermath of this offensive was created a reconquered by Michael III in 86331. with the difference that they did not intend to control the Crimean harbors as did the Khazars. the Rus' occupied the Khazarian center of Kiev which became the residence of their princes (knyazi)28.31-32. The new danger which emerged north of the Black Sea was counterbalanced with one of the brilliant Byzantine diplomatic operations. H. these Rus' were the traders and warriors from the Ladoga Lake area. The defence against them required the strengthening of the Byzantine positions in Crimea and the prevention of future attacks by new and effective alliances. 28-31. but only a small sector of the western seashore remained under its power after the war against Krum. 71. Afterwards.

74-75. Wozniak 7984.342-354.Spinei 2003. because Cherson was a point of contact with the northern allies and a departure base. we can conclude that the positions held by the Byzantine Empire in Crimea were essential for such operations. in function in86733. while the alliance with the Hungarians secured the stability in the north. The importance of Crimea in this re- 32 Ahrweiler7966. A new war against Bulgaria involved the Pechenegs on the Byzantine side.50-52. The sudden increase of the Pecheneg power required a change of the north Pontic policy of Byzantium.Even if the plan of invasion in Bulgaria was not accomplished.-83.61-66.ru Madgearu channel. they occupied the interior of Crimea3s. The base from Lykostomion was a stop in the coast navigation to Cherson.strategosof Chaldeea. Howard-fohnston 2000. Spinei 2003. The existence of a Byzantine headquarter on the Danube in the 9th century is now supported by a lead seal found at Isaccea that belonged to Ioannes Chaldos (stratilates).55-56. The new defensive system created after 863. a For the migrafion to Atelkuz and its locatiory seeHuxley L984. 89-90. on August. 33Bamea7993.107-109.Ioannes Bogas (strategosof Cherson) received the mission to request the help of the Pechenegs in the new campaign against Symeory but the Bulgarian tzar made the same thing. the existence of the Lykostomion theme that included the maritime sector of the Danube. Like Hungarians. where he won the crushing victory of Acheloos (near Anchialos). but the Pechenegs were too called as allies by Symeory to fight against the Hungarians. at Periprava)3'. . Krist6 1996. 20th.1. and.82-790. see:T6th 1994.The emperor Leo VI planned a two front offensive against Bulgaria.For the war of 894-896. Malamut 1995. consequently.304-306. 36Diaconu 1970.The seal attests a Byzantine authority in the former Noviodunum around 860-870. It is very likely that the last operation in which the fleet of Lykostomion was involved was the transshipment of the Hungarians in Bulgaria during the war of 894-896. The system was composed from two themes (Cherson and Lykostomion) and an allied people (Hungarians). Spinei 2003. Zuckerman 7997.198 Alexand.43-M. 3sObolensky 7979. Its existence can be admitted only after 863. Mesembria was also loste. summoning the Hungarian allies. The failure of the northern campaign led also to the end of the ephemeral Danubian theme. This was a great advantage for Symeon.116. The result of the war was the settlement of the Pechenegs in Atelkuz (region between Dnieper or Bug and Danube).917tr'. since they could jeopardize Cherson.52.1. who directed his troops on the southern conflict area. At las! Bogas has succeeded to convince the Pechenegs to start the war against Bulgaria. while the Byzantine fleet was sent to the Danube to carry them over the river.14-75. inserted between Bulgaria and the steppe region.81.lnglT.29. The dispute between Bogas and the commander of the navy Romanos Lekapenos (the future emperor) stopped this actiory and the Byzantine army remained without the allied Pecheneg forces. based on the harbors of Anchialos and Mesembria and on the port of call of Lykostomiory ensured the security of the capital against the Rus' and Bulgaria. the place mastered by the Hungarians between 889 and 895. One solution was to make them allies.

Whittow 7996. 37Wozniak 1979.it was n"""sury to stop this trend by supporting their rivals. defeating them and requestingthem to attack Constantinople."b"a solution found for the Pecheneg It of the Khazarsand of the Pechenegs.970.for instance.574.264-265. The Rus' launched in 943 another attack against the Khazarian fortressesSudak and Tmutorokan was Tmutorokary and next againstthe CaucasianArabian possessions.Wozniak 1984. 39The Byzantine-Pechenegs alliance along the whole 10thcentury is sustained.173-777.2--11'3. Zuckerman 1'995.115-776. i.722.id" of the Kerch Strait. 35-43.by Diaconu Malamut 1995. The Rus' were a suitable partneq' r.4.the strategicobjectives Pechenegs. Huxley 7984.Noonan 7992.Crimea and the Kerch Shait (7th. .497.513.but it was finally defeatedwith the intensive use destroyed -'Greek The Byzantine intrigue failed this time. A fleet composedof 1000small boats sieged the capital and the suburbs like in 860.176. Noolan 7992.507-514. It was argued that Tmutorokan was already conquered but the more recent in 913. conquered.This fact gave to the Russiansthe opportunity to settle their control over orr" .d^ was able to start his own campaign against Cherson. and Russians between hostility keepthe 10e century were the destruction of in the policy North-Pontic of the new Byzantine suPremacythat menPecheneg of the counterbalancing and the the Khazarian state were appliedby These objectives Byzantium.956. a1Stokes1960.) 799 spectincreasedafter the abandonmentof the Lykostom]on theme.After the conquestof this city.Brook 2002. Byzantine the of enemies were potential Rus' same that ihe true is were not able to launch offensivestoward the Black Seaif they were hold back by the By this reasonit was imperative to who controlled the Dnieper cataracts. 940.At the request of Romanos I Lekapenos (920-944). these could not be faithful allies. The city was captured.ated north of the CaspicSea)and with the Alans (north-eastof the Black Sea). Brook 2002. of the security policy and thereforefor Byzantine-Pecheneg the of the existence not support does Imperio be Administrando but the interpretation is unconvincing.514. Pechenegs Therefore.301-315. he continued the war againstthe Rus'. eventshave shown that the Pechenegs evolved toward a potential supremacyin the North-Pontic the Pechenegs Because steppes.Obolensky a0Ostrogorsky 1.12thCetto.94\. The text-is alliance along the 10ft century38.257. enemies time in the same were they because they but Empire. rival to of power acedto becomea pole for this essential was Rus'37. The clearly tp"ukit g about this alliance as a feature of the Byzantine diplomacy3e.the Rus' knyaz Oleg started a war against Tmutorokan.37iWozniak1984. the Uzoi with alliances by other power singlereil fact is the limitation of the Pecheneg (lo.256-257. This was the problem.S0=t-202. of the the Rus' as an instrument in the north Pontic policy was resumed after few years.210-271.373-31.109.496. Most of all.11.Yricel Noonan 1998-1999. Minorsky 7960. during a Russian campaign toward the Caspian Seaa1. which was intended to oppose two potential enemies. under the common command of Oleg and Igor. Crimea and Pechenegs a policy of oscillation between that supposed It was_recently Constantinople. 38Lounghis1999. A persecution of the Christians launched by the Khazars was the alleged rea5o. f& another Byzantine maneuvel. in Kerch Strait area.84-87.i". Soloviev 1960.732.303. but the idea of using Fire'ao.the Khazars and the Rus'.The invasion took place in june 1\h. 1993. Frankliry Shepard 1996. 2002. Yncel2002. but the commander of KerctUa certain PesatU "rorrr.

the Rus' k'rryaz decided to occupy the Danubian re' gion in order to control the trade fulfilled along the rive1. The victory against the Rus' was a stimulus for a new Byzantine expansion in Crimea. 2003. Next. Shepard 88-89.Brook Whittow 7996. a must for the Rus'45. Cherson remained Byzantine. In the same time. '1979. 20. Wozntak a2Vasiliev1936. but the invasion did not take place. in944 or 945. the monopoly over the Azov Sea passed from Khazars to Rus'. For the time being. Frankliry Shepard 7996. the treaty allowed to the'Black Bulgarians' to attack the Khazarian territories in Crimea. O..Obolensky 730. beyond the narrow area around the city of Cherson.295-296. 792-L95. a6 Whittow 1996.447-465. When the Khazars attacked the west of Crimea in962. but the treachery of Kalokyres. because this matched the Byzantine interestsa2. Sorlin7967. 745-746. the Russians planned a new inroad in the Byzantine Empire. a Bratianu 1999. Whittow 7996. In the first years after 977 was created the function of strategosof Bosphoros (Kerch). Wozniak a3 1996. which will be a major problem for the Rus' in the next perioda.This means that Kerch was took from the Rus'in the aftermath of the victory over Svyatoslav. Huxley1984. in alliance with the Pechenegs. Tmutorokan was already their possession. The Russian offensive changed the balance of forces in the north of the Black Sea. After the successful campaign against Bulgaria in 968. hence the beginning of a new stage in the commercial policy of Byzantium. mentioned inTaktikon Scorialensis. Yncel2002.. strategosof Cherso0 transformed this campaign into a war against the Byzantine Empire (he suggested to Svyatoslav to support him as pretender against Nikephor Phokas). the Rus' remained an useful ally for the Byzantines.743-144.273.Only the strong offensive led by the next emperor |ohn Tzimiskes has succeeded to defeat Svyatoslav at Durostorum. a much easier way than by Chersona3. 747-150. Svyatoslav (945-972) conquered Sarkel and launched a campaign against the Khazarian capital ltil in 965. the anti-Bulgarian common war proposed by Nikephor Phokas to Svyatoslav in 966 was intended to give to the Rus' a field for action that was also convenient for the Byzantine interests. including Kerclu becoming the masters of the ways along Don and Volga. Frankliru Shepard ODBIII. if they were able to contain the Pechenegs and to fight against Bulgaria. in971. Pritsa4Tmutorokan. 7984. By the peace agreement. The extension of the Byzantine domination over the Kerch Strait indicates ihe involvement of this naval power in the trade fulfilled by the Azov Sea. Igor was thus convinced to close a treaty with the Byzantine Empire. . Whittow 1996. the Goths asked the Rus' for help. He obliged himself to defend the isthmus of Crimea against the'Black Bulgarians' settled north of the Azov Sea and against the Pechenegs. The area of the Cherson theme was also extended over the Gothic settlements. 1979. 465-472. Spinei 175-726. 7999. 497 .257. 2090. 1984.200 Alexandru Madgearu interpretations are showing that this happened in943. because the Byzantines payed knyazlgor to stop the war.A side effect of the decline of the Khazarian qaganate was the increase of the Pecheneg powe{.309-311. Diaconu7970. 118-122. who gained free access to the Black Sea through the Kerch Strait. In this light. In this way. Franklin. 85-86.294. 307. but the Rus' occupied most of Crimea. Sorlin1961. 117. Svyatoslav engaged himself not to attack Cherson in the futurea6. and not to occupy the Dnieper mouth.259-260. 4sWozniak 7996.

Alekseenko 1. with the inscription Theophano In this case. Shepard in 7974 was denied by some scholars.529. sent in 1082 in Zichia. also called Michael. After few years.353. a7 7972. while Tmutorokan was Russian).Shepard 7996. ODBIII. Oikonomides aeObolensky Noonan1999.Brook1999. In this way it was established a sort of Byzantine-Russian condominium over the Kerch Strait (the city of Kerch was Byzantine. The need for a better maritime defence against future Russian attacks could explain the appearance of a new function. belonged to this prince. perhaps after the death of Oleg Svyatoslaviclr. In these circumstances. that the seal of a certain Michael.70-74.57-77.576-58tJ: Litavrin 1965. 54Bdnescu Kazhdan 1983. in7027. The city will remain the residence of a theme.574. 266-267. O. also known to Bdnescu. Howevel. Madgearu 2003.we should admit that the Byzantine Empire took Tmutorokan in a later Even so. His opinionwasshared by Brdtianu 7999.40. the city of Cherson was destroyed by the Rus'. 226-230. Shepard 1979.63. Zichia and Khazaria. perhaps).200. the region east of Tmutorokan 'Greek Fire'. the raw material for the the empiresl. 363. 1979. was too included in rich in oll (naphta).2090. 50 227-222.230-234. because it was on the side of the rebels. Treadgold 1997. 358. Lounghis Shepard 1996. 1993.795-196.275. The Byzantine Empire annexed all the eastern Crimea.This could concern the region recovered by a group of English knights who were in the service of the Byzantine army. leaving to the Russians the port placed in front of Kerch. 1999.12th Centuries) 207 among whom Doros was the most importantaT. q q ^ " 5of oviev r ^l9t:.983. Kazhdan 345. 2090. 7941. Bdnescu supposed that the Russian prince Oleg In fact. 137 Shepard 197 4. O. 730-731.8rook2002. Another seal. the sister of the emperot'e. It is true that Vladimir offered the city to Basil II after he married with Anna.59. Obolensky 510. it is not sure that the speech of Manuel Straboromanos could confirm the idea put forward by Nicolae Bdnescu. in order to protect this area against the neighboring barbarians (the Cumans. but deprived of the previous prosperitys0. Tmutorokan.Crimea and the Kerch Strait (7th . Litavrin 7965. ODBIII. 53 -744. Zichia. Pritsak. 52 1. in 1115ss.229.0.66. Pritsak. . archon of Matracha (Tmutorokan). but the Russian devastations from 990 had harsh consequences for Cherson. 18-39. s1 Frankliru Litavrin7965.38. belonged to a Byzantine dignitary whose mission was the defence of the entire area of the Azov Sea and the region west of Bosphoros. Tmutorokan. Oikonomides a8 1972. 170-1L3. archontissa Rhosias.226-234.996. 762-163. the seal Svyatoslavich abandoned Tmutorokan in 1094 to the Byzantines5a. The location of the territory conquered by these knights proposed by j. but the existence of some place-names of obvious English origin in the area is a decisive proof for it53. Mouzalonissa belonged to his wife. most probable just after 977: the strategosof Pontus Euxinusa8. Franklin. this exmoment. Bdnescu 7947. the fate of Cherson remained uncertain as long as the Rus' were able to threaten it. When Basil lI (976-1025)asked the new Rus' ruler Vladimir (980-1015)to help him in the civil war against Bardas Phokas. A speech of Manuel Straboromanos remembers that Alexios I took again 'the lands located near the Cimmerian Bosphoros's2.

This Russia could be identified with a city from the eastern part of Crimeas7.202 AlexandruMadgearu tension was auspicious for the development of the Byzantine trade with the north. It is very significant that the privilege granted in 1169 by Manuel I Comnenus to the Genoese merchants specified that they can trade freely all over the Byzantine Empire. In a similar way acted the Genoese in1269. Hungarians.However. In fac! all the three wars planned in this way were lost. Kerch and Tmutorokan. the relations with them were not always peaceful.348-353. while the existence of aByzantine customs service is attested in the same point around 118060. Not even these outposts were always mastered by Byzantium. Howevel. 115. The cities from the peninsula payed tribute to them.Like in the 8th-9thcenturies. unable to exert a real control over the foreign warriors settled in Crimea and around (Khazars. Theoretically. Russians).344-347. but only that the Byzantine Empire preserved the right to take customs taxes for the merchandise arrived from the Azov Seas8. 62Obolensky 1979. Bdnescu 7947. Cherson was only a small outpost. Pechenegs. . During the 12mcentury most of Crimea entered under the domination of the Cumans. selbidem. 'Russia' but with the exception of and Tmutorokan (praeter Russiam et Matracham)%. 63Kazhdan 7983. when they forbad to the Venetians the access at Tana by the Azov Sea (quod non iretur adTanam).774. A Genoese document from the same time remembered that the Genoese and Venetians are making trade at Tmutorokanse. the harbors of Cherson.Spinei 2003. 202-203. The reason of this war was probable the defence of the positions acquired by the Byzantine Empire near the Kerch Strait. The analysis of a speech in honor of Manuel I Comnenus has demonstrated that the Byzantine army launched a campaign against the Cumans settled near the Azov Sea.114-776. Martin 1979. 58Martin 7979. The Cumans established trade relations with Byzantium. Pechenegs.by Sudak62. the constant 56 Vasiliev 7936. in order to preserve only for themselves the profit took from the trade with oriental products arrived on the Silk Road61. leaving to the barbarians the inner part of the peninsula. these backside operations were able to bring victory but they depended on the loyalty of the barbarian allies summoned from north (Hungarians. around 1152115363. 6f Papacostea 1979.732.64. The exception clause did not mean that the accessbeyond Kerch was forbiddery as it was considered before.264. This concern for the Byzantine monopoly in the Azov Sea denotes that the Byzantine state was aware of the importance of the Kerch Strait for the connection with the northern trade routes. The interior of the peninsula was left under their dominatiory in order to save what was really important. the Byzantine Empire preferred to keep the control over the most important points in Crimea.144-145. This overview of the Byzantine policy applied in Crimea between the Zh and the 12th century reveals that the domination over this peninsula supported the offensives against Bulgaria. 5TSoloviev 1960.573. 60Kazhdan 7983. The explanation seems to be the weakness of the Byzantine forces in Crimea. Russians).

Cherson was of minor importance. In all these cases.Crimea and the Kerch Strait (7h .12h Centuries) 203 concern for the recovery of this distant region denotes the awarenessthat Crimea was in somewhay important for Byzantium.the harbors located onboth sidesof the Kerch Strait.who managed to extend their control over ig when the Byzantineswere too weak to defend it. the Don river. becauseit was placed too far from the main waterway. The partnership with the Khazars made easier the fight against the Arabs for some decades.while the next alliance with the Hungarians was one of the elementsof the offensive system createdagainst Bulgaria. Cherson was the place of contact. The sameimportance had this strait for the Khazars and for the Russians. Instead. A similar action was undertaken in966. Chersonwas the best place to meet the nomad warriors who were the target of the Byzantine diplomacy. . From the economic point of view.Bosphoros(Kerch)and Phanagoria(Tmutorokan) were essentialfor the Byzantine trade with the north. The fight for survival and next for revival in the 7ft-9ftcenturies required alliancesagainst Bulgaria and the Arabs. without taking into considerationthe lessonsof the past.

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