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The Transfer of Population as a Policy in the Byzantine Empire*

  • Peter Charanis (a1)

In his account of the revolt of Thomas the Slavonian (820) against the Emperor Michael II (820–829) the Byzantine historian Genesius lists a variety of peoples from whom the armies of the rebel had been drawn: Saracens, Indians, Egyptians, Assyrians, Medes, Abasgians, Zichs, Vandals, Getae, Alans, Chaldoi, Armenians, adherents of the heretical sects of the Paulicians and the Athenganoi. Some of these peoples are well known; the identity of others, despite efforts made to determine it, is by no means certain. But in any case, their listing by the Byzantine historian illustrates vividly the multi-racial character of the Byzantine Empire. This was in the ninth century, but the situation was no different for the period before, and it would not be different for the period after. The Byzantine Empire was never in its long history a true national state with an ethnically homogeneous population. If by virtue of its civilization it may be called Greek, it was never, except perhaps during the very last years of its existence, an empire of Greeks.

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1 Genesius, Historia (Bonn, 1834), p. 33.

2 Vasiliev A. A.Grégoire H., Byzance et les Arabes, I (Brussels, 1935), pp. 31, note 2 Cf. Hirsch, Byzantinische Studien (Leipzig, 1876), p. 131.

3 Cf. Charanis Peter, “Ethnic Changes in the Byzantine Empire in the Seventh Century”, Dumbarton Oaks Papers, 13 (1959), pp. 2544.

4 Ibid., pp. 25–28.

5 Procopius, De bello Vandalico, II 14, 17 for Vandals; De bello Gothico, IV 9, 6 for Kotrigurs.

6 Theophanes, Chronographia, edited by de Boor C. (Leipzig, 1883), 1:385; Acta Graeca SS. Davidis, Symeonis et Georgii, in Analecta Bollandiana, 18 (1899), p. 256.

7 Procopius, De bello Gothico, III 32, 7; Cf. Grousset R., Histoire de I'Arménie des origines à 1071 (Paris, 1947), p. 242. Grousset's statement concerning vast transfers of Armenians to Thrace by Justinian is not borne out by his references.

8 Simocatta Theophylactus, Historia, ed. de Boor C. (Leipzig, 1887), p. 143; John of Ephesus, Historia ecclesiasticae pars tertia, tr. into Latin by Brooks E. W. (Louvain, 1936), pp. 236, 252; English trans, by R. Payne-Smith (Oxford, 1860), pp. 412, 437; Scholasticus Evagrius, Ecclesiastical History, ed. Bidez J. and Parmentier L. (London, 1898), p. 215. Cf. Honigmann E., Die Ostgrenze des byzantinischen Reiches von 363 bis 1071 (Brussels, 1935), p. 23. Two years earlier, during the reign of Justin II, Sabiri and Albanians were moved on this side of the Cyrus river (in the region of the Caucasus) in order to make certain that they would not be friendly with the Persians. Menander Protector, Excerpta ex historia (Bonn, 1829), p. 394.

9 Adontz N. has tried to prove the Armenian origin of Maurice: “Les legendes de Maurice et de Constantin V, empereurs de Byzance”, Annuaire de I'Institut de Philologie et d'Histoire Orientates, 2 (Brussels, 1934), pp. 112. But see Goubert P., Byzance avant I'Islam, I (Paris, 1951), pp. 3641.

10 Sebeos, Histoire d'Héraclius, tr. from Armenian by Macler F. (Paris, 1904), pp. 3031. Cf. Dölger F., Regesten der Kaiserurkunden des oströmischen Reiches, I (Munich, 1924), p. 13, no. 108.

11 For what follows see Charanis, “Ethnic Changes…”, 3643; also by the same author, The Slavic Element in Byzantine Asia Minor in the Thirteenth Century”, Byzantion, 18 (19461948), pp. 6983.

12 Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 363, 364; Syrus Michael, Chronique, tr. from Syriac by Chabot J. B., II (Paris, 1901), p. 469; Theophanes Continuatus (Bonn, 1838), pp. 304, 311; Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Ceremoniis, I (Bonn, 1829), p. 665; Morellii J., Bibliotheca Manuscripta Graeca et Latina, I (Bassani, 1802), pp. 217, 218.

13 Mansi 11: 961; Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 365; Michael Syrus, op. cit., 2: 470.

14 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De thematibus, ed. Pertusi A. (Rome, 1952), pp. 88 f. Cf. Panchenko B. A., “Pamiatnik Slavian v Vifinii VII.v”, Bulletin de I'Institut archéologique russe à Constantinople, 8 (Sofia, 1903), p. 53. Panchenko considers these Scythians Turks, and identifies them with the Vardariotae Turks.

15 Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 427, 429; Michael Syrus, 2: 518, 521, 523; Nicephorus, Opuscula Historica, ed. de Boor C. (Leipzig, 1880), pp. 65, 66; Ghevond, Histoire des guerres et des conquetes des Arabes en Arménie, tr. from Armenian by Chahnazarian G. V. (Paris, 1856), pp. 126127.

16 Agapius of Menbidj, Histoire universelle, tr. Vasiliev A. A., Patrologia Orientalis, 8 (1912), pp. 531, 538; Dionysius I of Tell-Mahré, Chronique, tr. Chabot J. B. (Paris, 1895), pp. 5657. Cf. Lombard A., Etudes d'histoire byzantine. Constantine V, empereur des Romains (740–775) (Paris, 1902), p. 35. Among the peoples involved were some Alans also.

17 Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 429.

18 Nicephorus, op. cit., 68 f. Cf. Charanis, “The Slavic Element in Byzantine Asia Minor …”, pp. 76 ff.

19 Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 451–52; Chevond, op. cit., p. 150; Michael Syrus, op. cit., 3: 2.

20 Theophanes, op. cit., 1: 469.

21 On all this see Charanis, “Nicephorus I, The Savior of Greece from the Slavs (810 A.D.)”, Byzantina Metabyzantina, I (1946), pp. 7592.

22 Charanis, “Ethnic Changes in Seventh-Century Byzantium”, p. 27.

23 Pecters P., “Histoires monastiques géorgienne”, Analecta Bollandiana, 36–37 (19171919), pp. 102103. Cf. De Goeje M. J., Mémoires d'histoire et de géographie orientate, 3: Mémoire sur les migrations des Tsiganes à trovers I'Asie (Leiden, 1903), p. 75. Who, one may ask, are the Tzingoi mentioned by the Arab astronomer Apomasar (Abu Ma'shar Ja'far ibn Muhammed ibn ‘Umar al-Balkhî, d. 886) as translated into Greek probably in the tenth century?: Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, V, 3 (Brussels, 1910), p. 54.

24 Grégoire H., “Précisions géographiques et chronologiques sur les Pauliciens”, Aca-demie royale de Belgique: Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences Morales et Politiques, 5e Ser., 33 (Brussels, 1947), pp. 294 f.; Runciman S., The Medieval Manichee (Cambridge, 1947), pp. 2646.

25 Grégoire H., “La carrièere du premier Nicéphore Phocasé, Prosphora eis Stilpona P. Kyriakiden (Thessalonica, 1953), p. 251.

26 Cedrenus, Historiarum compendium (Bonn, 1839), 2: 382; Commena Anna, Alexiad, 2 (Bonn, 1878), pp. 298 f.

27 Diaconus Leo, Historia (Bonn, 1828), p. 28.

28 Stephen (Asoghik) of Taron, Histoire universelle (deuxième partie), tr. from Armenian by Macler F. (Paris, 1917), p. 74.

29 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De administrando imperio, ed. Moravcsik Gy. and tr. Jenkins R. J. H. Budapest, 1949, pp. 238240 (Bonn, pp. 227–228); De thematibus, ed. Pertusi A. (Rome, 1952), pp. 7576, 143–146 (Bonn, 32–35); Honigmann, op. cit., 64; Grégoire H., “Notes épigraphiques, VII”, Byzantion, 8 (1933), pp. 79 ff.

30 On the westward expansion of the Armenians, Stephen (Asoghik) of Taron, op. cit., p. 141; German translation of this work, Gelzer H. and Burckhardt A.(Scriptores sacri et profani, 4) (Leipzig, 1907), p. 196; Hebraeus Bar, Chronography, tr. from Budge Syriac E. A. W. (Oxford, 1932), 1:169; Honigmann, “Malatya”, The Encyclopaedia of Islam, III (London, 1936), p. 194. Cf. Canard M., Histoire de la dynastie des H'amdanides de Jazîra et de Syrie (Paris, 1935), p. 736.

31 Matthew of Edessa, Chronique, tr. from Armenian by Dulaurier E. (Paris, 1858), pp. 113, 114.

32 Tchamtehian M., History of Armenia (in Armenian), II (Venice, 1785), p. 903. I consulted Tchamtchian's work with the help of Professor Sirarpie Der Nersessian. Brosset M. in Lebeau-Saint-Martin, Histoire du Bas-empire, 14 (Paris, 1838), p. 211; Tournebize Fr., Histoire politique et religieuse de I'Arménie (Paris, 1900), p. 124.

33 Continuator of Ardzrouni Thomas, Histoire des Ardzrouni, tr. from Armenian, Brosset M., Collection d'historiens Arméniens, I(St. Petersburg, 1874), p. 248.

34 Grégoire H., “Manuel et Théophobe ou la concurrence de deux monastères”, Byzantion, 9 (1934), pp. 183222.

35 Gelder H., “Ungedachte und wenig bekannte Bistiimerverzeichnisse der orientalischen Kirche”, Byz. Zeitschrift, 2 (1893), p. 46. Concerning the origin of these Turks: Tafel G. L. Fr., De Thessalonica eiusque agro (Berlin, 1839), pp. 7074 (Persians); Janin R., “Les Turcs Vardariotes”, Echos d'Orient, 29 (1930), p. 444 (Persians); Panchenko, op. cit., p. 53 (Turks, the Scythians whom Justinian II settled); Kyriakides P.. Byzantinae Meletae, II–V (Thessalonica, 1937, cover 1939), pp. 251 ff. (Magyars); Laurent V., “O Bardariôton etoe Tourkôn. Perses, Turcs asiatiques ou turcs hongrois?”, in Recueil dédié à la mémoire du Professeur Peter Nīkou (Sofia, 1939), pp. 275 ff. (A mixture of Persians, Hungarians, and Turks from Asia Minor.)

36 Anna Comnena, op. cit., 1: 199. Ochrido is to be distinguished from Ochrida, the ancient Lychnidus. On the location of Ochrido, Kyriakides, op. cit., pp. 251–52; Jireček C. J., Die Heerstrasse von Belgrad nach Constantinople und dīe Balkanpässe (Prague, 1877), p. 97.

37 Life of Athanasius of Mount Athos, ed. by Pomīãlovskii I. (St. Petersburg, 1895), p. 92; Cf. “Vie de S. Athanase l'Athonite”, ed. by Petit L., Analecta Bollandiana, 25 (1906), p. 72.

38 H'auqal Ibn, tr. Canard M., in H. Grégoire-A. A. Vasiliev, Byzance et les Arabes, II, 2 (Brussels, 1950), p. 420; Cf. Canard, Hīstoire de la dynastie des H'amdanides…, pp. 737738.

39 Cedrenus, op. cit., 2: 453, 461. On the location of Voleron, Kyriakídes, op. cit., p. 30.

40 Ataliates Michael, Historia (Bonn, 1853), p. 204.

41 De Sancto Lazaro, monacho in monte Galesio, Ada Sanctorum, Novembris 3 (Brussels, 1910), p. 537.

42 Cedrenus, op. cit., 2: 52.

43 Vita S. Pauli Junioris in Monte Latro, ed. Sirmondus Jacobus, Analecta Bollandiana, 11 (1892), pp. 138140.

44 Rudakov A. P., Sketches of Byzantine Culture based on Evidence drawn from Greek Hagīography (in Russian) (Moscow, 1917), p. 56. I consulted this book with the help of Cyril Mango.

45 Zonaras John, Epitomae historiarum, III (Bonn, 1897), pp. 740 f.

46 Choniates Nicetas, Historia (Bonn, 1835), p. 23. These Serbs were doubtless the inhabitants of the servochoria which are mentioned in the Partitio regni graeci at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Cf. Tafel G. L. Fra. and Thomas G. M., Urkunden zur älteren Handels- und Staatsgeschichte der Republik Venedīg, I (Vienna, 1856), p. 475.

47 A large colony of Armenians is known to have existed in the Troad at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Although nothing is known of the circumstances of its establishment, it may have been the result perhaps of the transfer of Armenians from another region as that, for instance, which was effected by John II Comnenus when he took Anazarbus in 1138. Cf. Gregory the Priest, Chronique, tr. Dulaurier, Recueil des Historiens des Croisades: Document Arménien, I (Paris, 1869), p. 619.

48 Gregoras, Historia, I (Bonn, 1829), p. 37. See further, , “On the Ethnic Composition of Byzantine Asia Minor in the Thirteenth Century”, Prosphora eis Stilpona P. Kyriakiden (Thessalonica, 1953), pp. 140141. For a Cuman settlement before 1195, Rouillard G. et Collomp P., Actes de Lavra (Paris, 1937), p. 125. For the date of the document containing this information, Dölger F., “Zur Textgestaltung der Lavra- Urkunden und zu ihrer geschichtlichen Auswertung”, Byz. Zeitschrift, 39 (1939), pp. 34 f.

49 Pachymeres, Historia, I (Bonn, 1835), p. 188.

50 The literature on the Gagauses is considerable. I cite here some of the more important works: Balaschev G. D., The Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus and the Establishment with his aid of the state of the Gagauses on the Western Coast of the Black Sea (in Greek) (Sofia, 1930); Manof A., “Who are the Gagauses?” (in Greek), Epeteris Hetaereias Byzantinôn Spoudôn, 10 (1933), pp. 381400; Mutafciev P., Die angebliche Eīnwanderung von Seldschuk-Türken in die Dobrudscha īm XIII. Jahrhundert (Sofia, 1943). But see Laurent V., “La domination byzantine aux bouches du Danube sous Michel VIII Paléologue”, Revue Historique du Sud-Est Européen, 22 (1945), pp. 194 ff.; also G. I. Bratianu, “Les Roumains aux bouches du Danube”, ibid., pp. 199ff.; Wittek P., “La descendance chretienne de la dynastie Seldjouk en Macédoine”, Echos d'Orient, 33 (1934), pp. 409, 412; Wittek, “Yazijioghlu 'Ali on the Christian Turks of the Dobruja”, Bulletin of the Society of Oriental and African Studies, 14 (1952), pp. 639668; Laurent V., “Une famille turque au service de Byzance: les Mélikès”, Byz. Zeitschrift, 49 (1956), pp. 349368. I have not seen the work by Hoppe E. M., “Die turkischen Gagauzen- Christen”, Oriens Christ., 41 (1957), pp. 125137.

51 On the settlement of Albanians and other peoples in the Peloponnesus (the Morea) see now Zakythinos D. A., Le Despotat grec de Morée, II: Vie et Institutions (Athens, 1953), 2045.

52 Evagrius Scholasticus, op. cit., p. 215. The translation is taken from the English version of Evagrius which appeared in Bonn's Ecclesiastical Library: Theodoret and Evagrius, History of th?. Church (London, 1854), p. 444.

53 Anna Comnena, 2: 298: I have used the translation of Dawes E. A. S., The Alexiad of the Princess Anna Comnena (London, 1928), p. 385.

54 Ibid., 2: 299 f.; Dawes, 385.

55 Charanis P., “The Byzantine Empire in the Eleventh Century”, A History of the Crusades, I, ed. Baldwin M. W. (Philadelphia, 1955), pp. 214 f.

56 Nicetas Choniates, op. cit., pp. 527, 534.

57 Ville-Hardouin Geoffroi de, La conquete de Constantinople, ed. and tr. into modern French by Natalis de Wailly M. (Paris, 1872), p. 239. For a general account in English on the Paulicians and Bogomiles: Runciman S., The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualistic Heresy (Cambridge, 1947); Obolensky D., The Bogomiles: A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism (Cambridge, 1948).

58 On the attempts of the Byzantines to have the Armenians accept the orthodox point of view and the Armenian resistance to these attempts see the brief but excellent account of Speros Vryonis, Jr., Byzantium: The Social Basis of Decline in the Eleventh Century”, Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Studies, 2 (1959), pp. 169 ff.

59 Matthew of Edessa, op. cit., pp. 152–54.

60 Michael Syrus, op cit., 3: 169; Attaliates, op. cit., p. 113.

61 Atlaliates, op. cit., p. 135.

62 Macler F., “Erzeroum ou topographie de la haute Arménie”, Journal Asiatique, 11th series, 13 (1919), p. 223. Macler quotes an Armenian writer of the seventeenth century who says in effect: The Armenians hated the Greeks, the Greeks hated the Armenians and so God sent the Turks to punish both.

* Other studies of population transfer will follow as sequels to this article.—Ed.

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