You are on page 1of 19

THE STEPPE LANDS

AND THE WORLD BEYOND THEM


Studies in honor of Victor Spinei on his 70th birthday

Suported by grant CNCSIS PN II-RU 343/2010

Redactor: Dana Lungu


Cover: Manuela Oboroceanu
Editorial assistant: Anda-Elena Maleon
Front cover illustration: Portolan chart by Angelino Dulcert (1339), Sea
Charts of the Early Explorers, 13th to 17th Century, ed. Michel Mollat du
Jourdin, Monique de La Roncire, Marie-Madeleine Azard, Isabelle
Raynaud-Nguyen, Marie-Antoinette Vannereau, Fribourg, Thames and
Hudson, 1984, pl. no. 7.
ISBN 978-973-703-933-0
Editura Universitii Alexandru Ioan Cuza, 2013
700109 Iai, Str. Pinului, nr. 1 A, tel./fax: (0232)314947
http://www.editura.uaic.ro
e-mail: editura@uaic.ro

THE STEPPE LANDS


AND THE WORLD BEYOND THEM
Studies in honor of Victor Spinei
on his 70th birthday

editors
Florin Curta, Bogdan-Petru Maleon

EDITURA UNIVERSITII ALEXANDRU IOAN CUZA


IAI 2013

Descrierea CIP a Bibliotecii Naionale a Romniei


The Steppe Lands and the World Beyond Them : Studies in
Honor of Victor Spinei on his 70th Birthday / ed. by Florin Curta
and Bogdan-Petru Maleon - Iai :
Editura Universitii Al. I. Cuza, 2013
Bibliogr.
ISBN 978-973-703-933-0
I. Curta, Florin (ed.)
II. Maleon, Bogdan-Petru (ed.)
94(498) Spinei,V.
929 Spinei,V.

CONTENTS

Victor Spinei and the research on the Eurasian steppe lands ............................. 9
Victor Spineis opus: a complete list of works .................................................. 13
Early nomads

Michel Kazanski, The land of the Antes according to Jordanes and


Procopius ....................................................................................................... 35
Peter Golden, Some notes on the Avars and Rouran ........................................ 43
Li Jinxiu, A study of the Xiyu Tuji ................................................... 67
Istvn Zimonyi, The chapter of the Jayhn tradition on the Pechenegs ....... 99
Adrian Ioni, Observaii asupra mormintelor cu depunere de cai sau
pri de cai n spaiul cuprins ntre Dunrea de Jos, Carpai i Nistru,
n secolele X-XIII ......................................................................................... 115
Mykola Melnyk, On the issue of the authenticity of the names of
Pecheneg rulers in the Nikonian chronicle .................................................. 151
Nomads in the Balkans and in Central Europe

Aleksander Paro,Facta est christiana lex, in pessimo et crudelissimo


populo. Bruno of Querfurt among the Pechenegs ...................................... 161
Marek Meko, Pecheneg groups in the Balkans (ca. 1053-1091)
according to the Byzantine sources ............................................................. 179
Alexandru Madgearu, The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army ......................... 207
Jonathan Shepard, Mingling with northern barbarians: advantages and
perils ............................................................................................................ 219
Alexandar Nikolov, Ethnos Skythikon: the Uzes in the Balkans
(facts and interpretations) ........................................................................... 235
Uwe Fiedler, Zur Suche nach dem archologischen Niederschlag von
Petschenegen, Uzen und Kumanen in den Gebieten sdlich der unteren
Donau .......................................................................................................... 249
Ioto Valeriev, New Byzantine, tenth-to eleventh-century lead seals from
Bulgaria ....................................................................................................... 287

Francesco Dall'Aglio, The interaction between nomadic and sedentary


peoples on the Lower Danube: the Cumans and the Second Bulgarian
Empire ....................................................................................................... 299
The Mongols and the aftermath of the Mongol invasion of 1241
Christopher P. Atwood, The Uyghur stone: archaeological revelations
in the Mongol Empire .................................................................................. 315
Antti Ruotsala, Roger Bacon and the imperial Mongols of the thirteenth
century ......................................................................................................... 345
Christian Gastgeber, John of Plano Carpini and William of Rubruck. Rereading their treatises about the Mongols from a sociolinguistic point
of view .......................................................................................................... 355
Charles J. Halperin, No one knew who they were: Rus interaction
with the Mongols .......................................................................................... 377
Georgi Atanasov, Le matre ( dominus) de Drstr Terter et
le beg Tatar Kutlu-Buga pendant les annes 70 - 80 du XIV sicle ............ 389
Alexander Rubel, Alexander kam nur bis zur chinesischen Mauer. Der
Alexanderroman und seine Reise nach Asien im Mittelalter ....................... 399

Medieval archaeology within and outside the steppe lands

Silviu Oa, Cercei decorai cu muluri de granule pe pandantiv


(secolele XII-XIV) ........................................................................................ 409
Dumitru eicu, The beginnings of the church architecture in the
medieval Banat: rotundas ............................................................................ 437
Ionel Cndea, Some remarks on new ornamental disks, stove tiles, and
tripods from the medieval town of Brila (14th-16th centuries) .................... 455
Lia Btrna, Adrian Btrna, Gheorghe Sion, Reedina feudal de la
Giuleti (com. Boroaia) ................................................................................469

Early urban life between steppe empires and Byzantium

Virgil Ciocltan, Cluj i Galai: sugestii etimologice ...................................... 523


Laureniu Rdvan, Contribuii la istoria unui vechi ora al Moldovei:
Brlad .......................................................................................................... 543

Liviu Pilat, Iaii i drumul comercial moldovenesc ......................................... 563


Emil Lupu, Drum, ora i hotar ntre ara Moldovei i ara
Romneasc ................................................................................................. 569
Sergiu Mustea, Chiinul i arheologia urban .......................................... 599
The world outside the steppe lands during the Middle Ages
and the early modern period

Alexandru-Florin Platon, Reprsentation et politique : lhypostase


corporelle de ltat dans lEmpire Byzantin .............................................. 617
Warren Treadgold, The lost Secret History of Nicetas the Paphlagonian ...... 645
Ovidiu Cristea, Un gest al lui Manuel I Comnenul la Zemun (1165) ............. 677
Alexandru Simon, Walachians, Arpadians, and Assenids: the implications
of a lost charter ............................................................................................. 689
Matei Cazacu, Marche frontalire ou tat dans ltat? lOltnie aux
XIVe-XVe sicles ........................................................................................... 697
Arno Mentzel-Reuters, Der Kreuzzug des Deutschen Ordens zum Dnjestr
(1497). Protokoll einer Katastrophe ............................................................ 743
Ioan-Aurel Pop, Un text latin din 1531, despre raporturile moldo-polone, de la
arhivele de stat din Milano .............................................................................. 761
Iurie Stamati, Les Slaves et la gense des Roumains et de leurs tats
selon la tradition historiographique russe, de la chronique
Voskresenskaia Lev Berg .......................................................................... 779
Abbreviations .................................................................................................. 795

THE PECHENEGS IN THE BYZANTINE ARMY


Alexandru Madgearu
The Pechenegs became an asset for the Byzantine policy of divide et
impera among the northern barbarians after their arrival in Atelkuz in 889.
At the same time, however, they were a potential threat for the theme of
Cherson. Their military capability was soon demonstrated in the invasion
launched together with the Magyars into Bulgaria and the Byzantine Empire
(934).1 To neutralize them, one needed to stir hostility between the
Pechenegs and the Rus, even if the latter were also a danger for the empire
(they attacked Constantinople in 941).2 Prince Igor was therefore led to
conclude a treaty with Byzantium in 944 or 945. Among other clauses, he
promised to defend the theme of Cherson against the Pechenegs.3 After the

1
Theophanes Continuatus, Chronographia, edited by Immanuel Bekker (Bonn,
1838), pp. 422-23; Maoudi, Les prairies dor, edited and translated by C. Barbier de
Meynard and Pavet de Courteille, vol. 2 (Paris, 1863), pp. 59-64; Skylitzes, Synopsis
historiarum edited by Hans Thurn (Berlin, 1973), p. 228; French translation by Bernard
Flusin (Paris, 2003), p. 192; Petre Diaconu, Les Petchngues au Bas-Danube (Bucharest,
1970), pp. 17-9; Nicholas Oikonomides, Vardariotes - W.l.nd.r - V.n.nd.r, Hongrois installs
dans la valle du Vardar en 934, SOF 32 (1973): 1-3; Ferenc Makk, Ungarische
Aussenpolitik (896-1196) (Herne, 1999), p. 12; Paul Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan
Frontier: A Political Study of the Northern Balkans, 900-1204 (Cambridge, 2000), p. 40;
Florin Curta, Southeastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 500-1250 (Cambridge, 2006), p. 188;
Victor Spinei, The Great Migrations in the East and South East of Europe from the Ninth to
the Thirteenth Century (Amsterdam, 2006), pp. 109 and 168; Victor Spinei, The Romanians
and the Turkic Nomads North of the Danube Delta from the Tenth to the Mid-Thirteenth
Century (Leiden, 2009), p. 92.
2
The Russian Primary Chronicle. Laurentian Text, translated by Samuel Hazzard
Cross and Olgerd P. Sherbowitz-Wetzor (Cambridge, Mass., 1973), p. 72; Thomas Noonan,
Byzantium and the Khazars: a special relationship? in Byzantine Diplomacy. Papers from
the Twenty-fourth Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, Cambridge, March 1990, edited
by Jonathan Shepard and Simon Franklin (Aldershot, 1992), pp. 115-16; Constantine
Zuckerman, On the date of the Khazars conversion to Judaism and the chronology of the
kings of the Rus Oleg and Igor. A study of the anonymous Khazar Letter from the Genizah of
Cairo, REB 53 (1995): 256-257 and 264-65; Simon Franklin and Jonathan Shepard, The
Emergence of Rus. 750-1200 (London/New York, 1996), pp. 113-17; Thomas Noonan, The
Khazar-Byzantine world of the Crimea in the early Middle Ages: the religious dimension,
AEMA 10 (1998-1999): 210-11.
3
Russian Primary Chronicle, pp. 73-7; Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 20; Frank
Wozniak, Byzantium, the Pechenegs and the Rus: the limitations of a great powers
influence on its clients in the 10th century Eurasian steppe, AEMA 4 (1984): 307; George L.
Huxley, Steppe-peoples in Konstantinos Porphyrogennetos, JB 34 (1984): 85-6; Spinei,
Great Migrations, 170 and 174; Spinei, Romanians, 92-93; D. Gordyienko, The Byzantine-

208

Alexandru Madgearu

treaty with Igor, the Byzantine Empire tried to maintain a balance between
the Rus and the Pechenegs. Later on, when the Rus invaded Bulgaria in
968, Emperor Nicephorus Phokas asked the Pechenegs to attack the Rus
homeland.4 This action had no repercussions on the development of the
conflict, but the Pechenegs played an important role after the victory against
Svyatoslav in the summer of 971. John Tzimiskes closed an alliance with
them to prevent further Rus attacks on the Danube region. Svyatoslav was
killed by the Pechenegs in an ambush near the Dnieper rapids on his way
back to Kiev.5
After this period when the Pechenegs were from time to time allies
of the Byzantine Empire came another during which they turned into
outright enemies. This change may be dated to 1017, when they were
summoned by the revived Bulgarian state to attack the empire.6 They did
not cross the Danube then, but ten years later the first Pecheneg raid ever
recorded devastated the themes of Bulgaria and Dristra.7 In 1032 another
wave of attacks caused destructions in many fortresses along the frontier
and in the interior of the theme of Dristra. This state of affairs lasted until

Bulgarian confrontation in the first half of the 10th century and Kyivan Rus, BS 70 (2012),
nos. 1-2: 165.
4
Russian Primary Chronicle, pp. 87-88; A. D. Stokes, The Balkan campaigns of
Svyatoslav Igorevich, Slavonic and East European Review 40 (1962): 480; Wozniak,
Byzantium, 310; Franklin and Shepard, Emergence, 147.
5
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum ed. Thurn, p. 310; transl. Flusin, p. 259; Russian
Primary Chronicle, p. 90; Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 3-4, edited by Theodor
Bttner-Wobst, vol. 3 (Bonn, 1897), pp. 535 and 536; Vasilka Tpkova-Zaimova,
Ladministration byzantine au Bas-Danube (fin du Xe-XIe s.). Tentative dune mise au
point, EB 9 (1973), no. 3: 91; Omeljan Pritsak, The Peenegs. A case of social and
economic transformation, AEMA 1 (1975): 232; Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier,
p. 53; Elisabeth Malamut, Limage byzantine des Petchngues, BZ 88 (1995), no. 1: 116;
Spinei, Great Migrations, 176.
6
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, pp. 350-59; transl. Flusin, pp. 293-99;
Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 8, pp. 564-67; Ion Barnea and tefan tefnescu, Din
istoria Dobrogei, vol. 3 (Bucharest, 1971), 93; Ivan Iordanov, The Byzantine administration
in Dobrudja (10th-12th century) according to sphragistic data, Dobrudzha 12 (1995): 210;
Catherine Holmes, Basil II and the Governance of Empire (976-1025) (Oxford, 2005), pp.
415 and 418; Paul Meinrad Strssle, Krieg und Kriegfhrung in Byzanz: die Kriege Kaiser
Basileios II. gegen die Bulgaren (976-1019) (Cologne, 2006), pp. 334 and 410; Ivan
Bozhilov, Ladministration byzantine en Bulgarie (1018-1186). Le cas de ParistrionParadounavon (Paradounavis), Byzantio kai Boulgarioi (1018-1185), edited by Katerina
Nikolaou and Kostas G. Tsiknakes (Athens, 2008), p. 95.
7
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, p. 373; transl. Flusin, p. 309; Zonaras,
Epitomae historiarum XVII, 10.2, p. 571; Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 40-42; Barnea and
tefnescu, Din istoria Dobrogei, 123; Gheorghe Mnucu-Adameteanu, Les invasions des
Petchngues au Bas Danube (1027-1048), EBPB 4 (2001): 88-91; Spinei, Romanians, 107.

The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army

209

1036.8 The frontier was already weak, because the military expenditures
decreased after 1025, and the protection granted to the small estates owned
by stratiotai was removed. This encouraged the conversion of the military
obligations into cash payments used mostly for civilian expenditures,
although the army was turning into one based not on locally recruited
troops, but on tagmata of professional soldiers, paid in cash.9 In order to put
a stop to those raids, a peace treaty was concluded with the Pechenegs in
1036. The peaceful relations implied trade across the Danube, a policy
initiated by Emperor Michael IVs minister, John Orphanotrophous, as Paul
Stephenson has demonstrated.10 The relations between the Pechenegs and
the Byzantines were peaceful by the time Katakalon Kekaumenos was
appointed katepano of Dristra in 1042 (a fact that, according to Skylitzes, a
certain Pecheneg called Koulinos would later remember this11).
The peace ended when a large number of Pechenegs moved from
their lands north of the Danube into the empire. The main reason for this
course of events was the rivalry between two Pecheneg chieftains, Kegen
and Tyrach. Kegen found refuge in the theme of Dristra in 1045, together
with 20,000 people. The Pecheneg refugees first settled into a marshy area
(most likely Balta Ialomiei or Borcea), and then moved into the empire.
Kegen was eager to enroll his men in the Byzantine army, and the katepano
Michael decided to send him to the emperor in Constantinople. There Kegen
was baptized as John, and granted the title of patrikios, thus becoming an
imperial ally (symmachos). Furthermore, Kegens Pechenegs were baptized
in the waters of the Danube, received lands, as well as three unidentified
fortifications in the theme of Dristra.12

Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum ed. Thurn, pp. 385, 397, and 399; transl. Flusin,
pp. 319, 328, and 330-331; Michael Glykas, Annales, edited by Immanuel Bekker (Bonn,
1836), p. 584 (the attack is dated to 1032 or 1033); Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 12
and 14, pp. 579, 589, and 590; Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 43-9; Malamut, Limage
byzantine, 118; Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 81; Curta, Southeastern Europe,
293-94; Spinei, Great Migrations, 187; Spinei, Romanians, 107; Alexandru Madgearu,
Byzantine Military Organization on the Danube, 10th-12th Centuries (Leiden/Boston, 2013),
pp. 117-18.
9
Warren Treadgold, Byzantium and its Army. 284-1081 (Stanford, 1995), p. 285;
Jean-Claude Cheynet, Le gouvernement des marges de lEmpire byzantin, in Le Pouvoir
au Moyen ge. Idologies, pratiques, reprsentations (Sminaire de lquipe de recherches
Socits, idologies et croyances au Moyen ge), edited by C. Carozzi and H. TavianiCarozzi (Aix-en-Provence, 2005), p. 109.
10
Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 80-3 and 114. See also Angold, The
Byzantine Empire, 1025-1204. A Political History (London, 1984), pp. 1-11; John Haldon,
Warfare, State and Society in the Byzantine World, 565-1204 (London, 1999), p. 91.
11
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, p. 469; transl. Flusin, p. 387.
12
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, pp. 456-57; transl. Flusin, p. 378;
Attaleiates, Historia, edited by Inmaculada Prez Martn (Madrid, 2002), p. 24; Zonaras,

210

Alexandru Madgearu

How are we to conceptualize the position acquired by those


Pechenegs within the Byzantine defense system? First of all, it is clear that
the purpose of their settlement was twofold: to prevent further Pecheneg
incursions, and to provide a shield against their rivals beyond the Danube,
given the hostility between Kegen and Tyrach. But none of those initial
goals seems to have been fulfilled, as Kegen decided to use his new position
of power against Tyrach, without any consultation with emperor. He
attacked his rival across the Danube in 1047 and his action eventually
caused a mass migration of Pechenegs into the empire. Another factor that
contributed to this population movement was the pressure of the Uzes from
the east, who in turn had been driven away by the Cumans. The Pechenegs
crossing of the Danube could not be stopped by the fleet sent from
Constantinople, as the river had frozen. Sources indicate that 800,000
Pechenegs made the crossing, a number which is evidently exaggerated.13
So, after two years, the attempt to contain the Pecheneg invasions with
forces provided by other Pechenegs turned out to be a major failure, which
moreover put the border provinces under an even greater threat. Michael
Attaleiates was right to express mistrust in this attempt to change the nature
of the Pechenegs by assimilation and integration.14
When Constantine IX received Kegen with honors, such a turn of
event must have been unthinkable. The emperors plan was to insert those
excellent brave warriors into an existing structure, which had been depleted
as a result of previous Pecheneg invasions. This was meant to be a solution

Epitomae historiarum XVII 26, pp. 641-42; C. Neculescu, Ipoteza formaiunilor politice
romne la Dunre n sec. XI, RIR 7 (1937), nos. 1-2: 125-27; Eugen Stnescu, La crise du
Bas-Danube byzantin au cours de la sconde moiti du XIe sicle, Zbornik radovi
Vizantolokog Instituta 9 (1966): 51; Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 51-61; Barnea and
tefnescu, Din istoria Dobrogei, 126; Angold, Byzantine Empire, 15; Malamut, Limage
byzantine, 119-23; Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 90-91; MnucuAdameteanu,Les invasions, 98-9; Teodora Krumova, Pecheneg chieftains in the
Byzantine administration in the theme of Paristrion in the eleventh century, Annual of
Medieval Studies at the CEU 11 (2005): 210-12; Curta, Southeastern Europe, 296; Spinei,
Great Migrations, 188 and 190; Spinei, Romanians, 108-09.
13
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, pp. 458-59 and 465-73; transl.
Flusin, pp. 379-80; Attaleiates, Historia, pp. 24-7; Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 26,
642-44); Neculescu, Ipoteza, 127-28; Stnescu,La crise, 52; Diaconu, Les
Petchngues, 62-5; Barnea and tefnescu, Din istoria Dobrogei, 127-29; Stephenson,
Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 90-1; Krumova, Pecheneg chieftains, 211-12; Curta,
Southeastern Europe, 296 and 306; Spinei, Great Migrations, 190-92; Oliver Jens Schmitt,
Die Petschenegen auf dem Balkan von 1046 bis 1072, in Pontos Euxeinos. Beitrge zur
Archologie und Geschichte des antiken Schwarzmeer- und Balkanraume. Manfred
Opermann zum 65. Geburtstag, edited by Sven Conrad et al. (Langenweissbach, 2006), pp.
479-80; Spinei, Romanians, 108-10.
14
As observed by L. R. Cresci, Michele Attaliata e gli ethn scitici, Nea Rhome
1 (2004): 203-5.

The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army

211

for the defense in the short term, and even for putting the land under
exploitation, if, in the long term, the Pechenegs would become sedentary.
There is indeed proof that the Pechenegs became a kind of stratiotai who
owed military service in exchange for land. Two seals with the inscription
Ionnes magstros ka rchon Patzinakas (one from Silistra, the other
preserved in a private collection in Munich) most certainly have belonged to
Kegen.15 They point to a moment in the Pecheneg chieftains career later
than 1045, as the title of magistros was higher than that of patrikios. The
term Patzinakia indicates an autonomous Pecheneg district located
somewhere in the Danube region. That territory remained under imperial
control, for the title of archon was only given to rulers of autonomous
regions on the periphery. It is obvious that the Pechenegs from that territory
could operate within the Empire only as stratiotai.
Barbarians such as Carpi and Goths have been settled in the Danube
region as early as the 3rd and 4th centuries. As a matter of fact, there are
striking parallels between the Pecheneg settlement and that of the Goths in
376.16 Much like the Gothic foederati, the Pechenegs quickly turned into
enemies causing much trouble over the following decade. Relying on such
unreliable barbarians for the defense of the theme of Dristra must have been
a truly desperate measure at a time of scarce resources. Granting fortresses
to autonomous allies has already been done by Constantine IX in the theme
of Armeniakon (northern Asia Minor), a region in which several estates and
fortifications had been granted to Norman mercenaries, who, like the
Pechenegs, were regarded as symmachoi, and who would later rise in
rebellion against the imperial authorities.17 The imperial power was no more
able to maintain the entire system of fortifications, and preferred instead to
grant them to various warlords who had the capability and the interest to
take care of them, even though, at least theoretically, the emperor was still

15

Ivan Iordanov, Sceau darchonte de PATZINAKIA du XIe sicle, EB 28


(1992), no. 2: 79-82; Ivan Iordanov, Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, vol. 1
(Sofia, 2003), pp. 138-42, no. 59. 1; Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, vol. 2
(Sofia, 2006), pp. 201-06, no. 307; Corpus of the Byzantine Seals from Bulgaria, vol. 3
(Sofia, 2009), pp. 465-66, no. 1380; Spinei, Great Migrations, 191; Spinei, Romanians, 109.
16
Vasilka Tpkova-Zaimova, Les Mixobarbaroi et la situation politique et
thnique au Bas-Danube pendant la seconde moiti du XIe s., in Actes du XIVe Congrs
International des tudes Byzantines, Bucarest 6-12 septembre 1971, edited by Mihai Berza
and Eugen Stnescu, vol. 2 (Bucharest, 1975), pp. 617-18; Schmitt, Die Petschenegen, 477.
17
Paul Magdalino, The Byzantine army and the land: from stratiotikon ktema to
military pronoia, in To empoleo Byzantio (9-12 a.), edited by K. Tsiknakis (Athens, 1997),
pp. 27-9.

212

Alexandru Madgearu

in charge of those forts.18 This practice of leasing out elements of the


frontier defense began with the Pechenegs on the Danube.
The sedentarization of the Pechenegs is illustrated especially by the
cemetery excavated in Odrci (535 graves), which was established on the
site of a fortress they had destroyed in 1032-1036. Many graves present
clear Pecheneg features (horse bones or leaf-shaped pendants); trepanation
was observed on 53 skulls, and the individuals in questions must have been
Pechenegs. Some graves are certainly Christian.19 More Pecheneg graves
are known from Pliska (43) and Preslav (20), and have been recognized as
such on the basis of grave goods such as horse gear and belt fittings.20
Pendants of Pecheneg origin were found at Dristra and in forts such as
Pcuiul lui Soare, Garvn, Isaccea, Nufru, Mahmudia, and even at Varna.
Other such objects are known from graves in the countryside (Istria,
Trguor, Valea Dacilor, Vlnari). The memory of this population was
preserved by two place names, Pecineaga and Peceneaga, in the Constana
and Tulcea counties, respectively.21
The process continued with the settlement of the Pechenegs who
have entered the empire with the second wave. A large number of Tyrachs
men died of disease, but the survivors were settled in the region between
Ni and Sofia. Tyrach and some of his men were baptized and received
positions in the Byzantine army, much like Kegen. Those measures were
intended to pacify the region and to turn the Pechenegs into a reliable and
sedentary population.22 A seal found in Vetren confirms the integration of

18

Nicholas Oikonomides, The donations of castles in the last quarter of the


eleventh century, in Polychronion. Festschrift Franz Dlger zum 75. Geburstag, edited by
Peter Wirth (Heidelberg, 1966), pp. 413-17.
19
Liudmila Doncheva-Petkova, Zur ethnischen Zugehrigkeit einiger Nekropolen
des 11. Jahrhunderts in Bulgarien, in Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe
and Byzantium, edited by Joachim Henning, vol. 2 (Berlin/New York, 2007), pp. 644-58.
20
Liudmila Doncheva-Petkova, Pliska i pechenezite, Pliska-Preslav 9 (2003):
244-58; Tonka Mikchailova, Ksnonomadski grobove v Dvortsoviia tsentr na Pliska,
Pliska-Preslav 9 (2003): 259-66; Krumova, Pecheneg chieftains, 215-16; Schmitt, Die
Petschenegen, 482; Doncheva-Petkova, Zur ethnischen Zugehrigkeit, 657.
21
Alexandru Madgearu, The periphery against the centre: the case of
Paradunavon, Zbornik radovi Vizantolokog Instituta 40 (2003): 52-5; Spinei, Great
Migrations, 200.
22
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, pp. 458-59 and 465-73; transl.
Flusin, pp. 379-80; Attaleiates, Historia, pp. 24-7; Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 26,
pp. 642-44; Neculescu, Ipoteza,127-28; Stnescu,La crise, 52; Diaconu, Les
Petchngues, 62-5; Barnea and tefnescu, Din istoria Dobrogei, 127-29; Stephenson,
Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 90-1; Krumova, Pecheneg chieftains, 211-12; Rosina
Kostova, Bypassing Anchialos: the west Black Sea coast in naval campaigns (11th to 12th
c.) (I), in Tangra. Sbornik v chest na 70-godishninata na akad. Vasil Giuzelev, edited by
Miliiana Kaimakamova et al. (Sofia, 2006), pp. 589-90; Curta, Southeastern Europe, 296 and

The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army

213

Tyrach into the Byzantine military structures as protospatharios and


eparch.23After a while, Tyrachs Pechenegs rose in rebellion when sent
against the Seljuks in 1049. For four years until 1053, they ravaged Thrace
and Macedonia, and reached even such a remote region as the valley of the
Morava. According to his vita written at some point before 1133, Bishop
Lietbert of Cambrai encountered heathen Scythian brigands in that region
in 1054. Those were most likely Pechenegs.24 The geographical phrase the
author of the vita used desertum Bulgariae was commonly used by
Western sources for the region between Branievo and Ni, the equivalent
of silva Bulgariae or Bulgarorum.25
Some Pechenegs established their base of operations in a region
rich in grazing fields, woods and water called Hekaton Bounoi, which was
located to the north and to the east from Preslav. Sent there to open
negotiations with the rebels, Kegen was killed. Following the battle at
Preslav, in which the duke of Bulgaria, Basil Monachos was killed, Emperor
Constantine IX concluded another peace for thirty years. The Pechenegs
were again treated as symmachoi.26
Such a status results, among other things, from the fact that the
Pechenegs settled in the empire acted as allies in the wars against Hungary.
When Belgrade was briefly occupied by Hungarian troops in 1059, this
appears to have been in retaliation for the Byzantines encouraging the
Pechenegs to raid across the southern border of his kingdom, when a new
wave of Pechenegs arrived from the north, pushed by the Uzi. In 1071, the
Pechenegs raided the region around Sirmium, apparently encouraged to do

306; Spinei, Great Migrations, 190-92; Schmitt, Die Petschenegen, 479-80; Spinei,
Romanians, 108-10.
23
Spinei, Great Migrations, 191.
24
Aleksandar Uzelac, Skitski razbojnitsi i bugarskoj pustinji: pogled jednog
khodochasnika na Pomoravlje srednjom XI veka, Istorijski asopis 59 (2010): 62-3.
25
Stelian Brezeanu, Blachi and Getae on the Lower Danube in the early
thirteenth century, RESEE 19 (1981), no. 3: 597.
26
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, pp. 465-75; transl. Flusin, pp. 38492; Attaleiates, Historia, pp. 28-33; Kekaumenos, Strategikon, edited and translated by M. D.
Spadaro (Alexandria, 1998), pp. 96-9 and 100-01; Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum XVII 26,
p. 644; Armenia and the Crusades, Tenth to Twelfth Centuries. The Chronicle of Matthew of
Edessa, translated by A. E. Dostourian (Lanham, 1993), p. 80; Neculescu, Ipoteza,129;
Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 62-5 and 73-6; Barnea and tefnescu, Din istoria Dobrogei,
127-28; Alexander P. Kazhdan, Once more about the alleged Russo-Byzantine treaty (ca.
1047) and the Pecheneg crossing of the Danube, JB 26 (1977): 65-77, 65-77 (who
clarified the date at which Kegens Pechenegs were settled); Angold, Byzantine Empire, 157; Malamut, Limage byzantine, 119-28; Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 91-2;
Mnucu-Adameteanu,Les invasions, 100-05; Curta, Southeastern Europe, 297; Spinei,
Great Migrations, 194-97; Schmitt, Die Petschenegen, 484-85; Iordanov, Corpus, vol. 3, p.
393. For Hekaton Bounoi see: Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 66-9 and 73-6; Madgearu, The
periphery, 51-2; Schmitt, Die Petschenegen, 482.

214

Alexandru Madgearu

so by the Byzantine commander of Belgrade, dux Nicota (Niketas). This


man was most likely the commander of the Sirmium province, and not just
the strategos of Belgrade.27 It is highly probable that the Pechenegs
involved in these actions against Hungary were those settled between Ni
and Sofia.
An account of the first crusade (1096) mentions Pechenegs in
Byzantine military service under the command of the duke of the Bulgarian
theme. They are said to have attacked the crusaders near Belgrade. These
Pincenariis qui Bulgariam inhabitabant apparently had as their mission to
monitor the traffic on the Sava and the Danube rivers from their small boats
(naviculas).28 Besides this testimony of Albert of Aachen, there is another
by Odo de Deogilo, concerning the same journey through the theme of
Bulgaria, which appears to have been defended by Pechenegs and
Cumans.29 The presence of the Pechenegs in Belgrade is attested
archaeologically by finds of clay cauldrons from a late 11th-century
occupation layer.30 The Norman crusaders led by Bohemond, who entered in
the Byzantine Empire at Dyrrachion, after having crossed the sea from Italy,
were also attacked on Via Egnatia by the Pechenegs (Pincenati), as
recorded by Peter Tudebode, by the continuator of his account of the First
Crusade, as well as by Raymond de Aguilers. A bishop was captured by the
Pechenegs at Pelagonia, and later on other Pechenegs organized an ambush
in a mountain pass (angusta via).31 At the crossing of the Vardar River, the

27

Attaleiates, Historia, pp. 51-2; Skylitzes Continuatus, edited by E. Th. Tsolakis


(Thessaloniki, 1968), pp. 106-07; Glykas, Annales, p. 602; Zonaras, Epitomae historiarum
XVIII 6, p. 671; Scriptores Rerum Hungaricarum tempore ducum regumque stirpis
Arpadianae gestarum, edited by E. Szentptery, vol. 1 (Budapest, 1937), pp. 373, 374, and
377; John Kinnamos, Deeds of John and Manuel Comnenus, translated by Ch. M. Brand
(New York, 1976), p. 171; Tadeusz Wasilewski, Le thme byzantin de Sirmium-Serbie au
XIe et XIIe sicles, Zbornik radovi Vizantolokog Instituta 8 (1964), no. 2: 478-81; Jonathan
Shepard, Byzantium and the steppe-nomads: the Hungarian dimension, in Byzanz und
Ostmitteleuropa, 950-1453. Beitrge zu einer table-ronde des XIX Internationalen Congress
of Byzantine Studies, Copenhagen 1996, edited by Gnter Prinzing and Maciej Salamon
(Wiesbaden, 1999), pp. 67 and 69; Spinei, Great Migrations, 187.
28
Albert of Aachen, Historia Ierosolimitana. History of the Journey to Jerusalem,
edited and translated by Susan B. Edgington (Oxford, 2007), pp. 18-19.
29
Odo de Deogilo, Liber de via Sancti Sepulchri, edited by Georg Waitz, MGH
Scriptores 26 (Hannover, 1882), p. 65: Quo facto, pauci Franci, qui supervenerant,
remanserunt. Quos cum alios sequi monerent cogerent, nec impetrarent, immensam
multitudinem Pincenatorum et Cumanorum ad eos debellandos miserunt; qui etiam in
desertis Bogariae per insidias de nostris plurimos occiderunt.
30
Gordana Marjanovi-Vujovi, Archeological proving the presence of the
Pechenegs in Beograd town, Balcanoslavica 3 (1974): 183-88.
31
Recueil des historiens des croisades. Historiens occidentaux, vol. 3 (Paris,
1866), pp. 19-20, 178-79, and 236-37; Aneta Ilieva and Mitko Delev, Sclavonia and
beyond: the gate to a different world in the perception of crusaders (c. 1104-c. 1208), in

The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army

215

crusaders were met by an army corps which included Turks and Pechenegs
(Pincenates).32 Ekkehardt of Aura, in the account of the failed expedition of
1101, mentions also the Pechenegs (Pincinatos) as soldiers (militum) of
Emperor Alexios I. They escorted the crusaders along their journey to
prevent robberies.33 According to Albert of Aachen, the Pechenegs were
also involved in the defense of Adrianople, when the crusaders attempted to
take the city.34 Those reports indicate that Alexios I organized a tagma of
Pechenegs, most likely in the aftermath of the battle at Lebounion (1091), as
some of the survivors had been settled in the region of the Vardar River.35
The Pecheneg settlers in the region between Ni and Sofia
constituted another military force for skirmishing and road defense until the
very end of the Byzantine administration in that part of the Balkans. When,
in the summer of 1189, the participants in the Third Crusade moved along
the way between these cities, they were attacked by many people, among
whom some were Pincenates: Having crossed the Danube, the emperor
arrived at the farther mountain passes of Bulgaria. Huns and Alans,
Bulgarians and Patzinaks rushed suddenly out from ambushes on to the
Lords people. These people have become confident bandits because of the
inaccessibility and difficult terrain of their regions.36 This story was written
down in 1222 on the basis of an eye-witness account; it is also the last
mention of Pechenegs in the Empire. The Bulgaria mentioned in this
account is obviously the Byzantine theme by the same name, not the Asenid
state. Skirmishes in the mountain passes are also mentioned for this

From Clermont to Jerusalem. The Crusades and Crusader Societies 1095-1500. Seelected
Proceedings of the International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 1013 July 1995,
edited by Alan V. Murray (Turnhout, 2008), pp. 168-69; Spinei, Great Migrations, 211;
Spinei, Romanians, 123.
32
Recueil, 746 (Robert the Monk, Historia Hierosolimitana).
33
Ekkehard of Aura, Chronica, edited by Georg Waitz, MGH Scriptores 6
(Hannover, 1849), p. 220; Spinei, Great Migrations, 211-13.
34
Albert of Aachen, III 35 (ed. Edgington, pp. 626-27); Spinei, Great Migrations,
213.
35
Diaconu, Les Petchngues, 131-33; Spinei, Great Migrations, 209; Spinei,
Romanians, 120.
36
Itinerarium Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi, edited by William Stubbs
(London, 1864), p. 45 (I. 21): Danubio transito cum ad ulteriores Bulgariae fauces deventum
esset, Hunni et Alani, Bulgares et Pincenates in populum Domini subito ex insidiis irruunt;
quos ad facinus inaccessibilis locorum asperitas fidentius incitabat; English translation from
Helen J. Nicholson, Chronicle of the Third Crusade. A Translation of the Itinerarium
Peregrinorum et Gesta Regis Ricardi (Aldershot, 2005), p. 56. See also Spinei, Great
Migrations, 213-14.

216

Alexandru Madgearu

particular expedition by Ansbertus, according to whom ambushes had been


set up at the specific orders of Emperor Isaac II Comnenus.37
While the good Pechenegs settled in the western parts of the
Danube provinces seem to have remained loyal servants of the Byzantine
emperors, others supported or even initiated rebellions. Their military
talents were clearly appreciated by other rebels such as the inhabitants of
Dristra, who in 1072 accepted as their leader a Pecheneg chieftain named
Tatrys or Tats, most likely a ruler of the Pecheneg autonomous district
created in 1053 by Emperor Constantine IX in 1053. According to
Attaleiates, the inhabitants of Dristra turned over to Tats the control of the
frontier.38 The Pechenegs from Patzinakia thus played a key role not only at
the onset, but also in the course of the mutiny, which began as a protest
against the lack of protection and interest from the central government, and
ended in secession. From allies of the Empire, the Pechenegs thus quickly
turned into enemies, much like like those who were still living north of the
Danube and who also joined the rebellion.39 However, not all Pechenegs
turned against the Byzantine emperor. During the secession, a new military
structure was established in Mesembria, led by a katepano. Its purpose was
the defense of the imperial territory against the rebels, and one of its
commanders was Valatzertes. This is undoubtedly one and the same person
as Valtzar, Kegens son, who had entered the Byzantine military service
much like as his father.40 It is quite possible that the Byzantines used to their
advantage the rivalries between various Pecheneg clans and tribes. Since
Kegen had been murdered by rival Pechenegs from Hekaton Bounoi, it is
not unlikely that Valatzertes was appointed as commander in Mesembria in
order to take revenge on his fathers assassins.
Of a somewhat greater fame is another commander of Pecheneg
origin, named Argyros Karatzas, who is believed to be founder of a family
that still exists in various Balkan countries the Karadja (Romanian
Caragea) family. Argyross military achievements and his loyalty to the
emperor turned him into one of the most important and trusted dignitaries of
Alexios I: as commander of the mercenaries (ethnikoi) he fought at Dristra
in 1087 against the Pechenegs ruled by Tats. After a while he was
appointed duke of Philippopolis, and in 1095 he was again commander of

37
Ansbertus, Historia de expeditione Friderici imperatoris, ed. A. Chroust, MGH
SRG, Nova Series 5 (Berlin, 1928), p. 35.
38
Skylitzes Continuatus, p. 166; Attaleiates, Historia, p. 150; Zonaras, Epitoma
historiarum XVIII. 7, p. 713.
39
Stnescu,La crise, 60-1; Nicolae S. Tanaoca, Les mixobarbares et les
formations politiques paristriennes du XIe sicle, RRH 12 (1973), no. 1: 80.
40
Skylitzes, Synopsis historiarum, ed. Thurn, p. 465; transl. Flusin, p. 385; Spinei,
Great Migrations, 198-99; Iordanov, Corpus, vol. 3, p. 456, no. 1346.

The Pechenegs in the Byzantine army

217

the mercenaries. His name is certainly Turkic, and Anna Comnena was
certain about his barbarian origin. Karadja appears to have been a clan
name, which appears in some place names in Romania, particularly in those
areas otherwise known for toponyms of Pecheneg or Cuman origin.41
By contrast, whether or not Michael Monastras or Manastras was of
Pecheneg or Cuman origin remains unclear. He was commander of the
mercenaries under Alexios I, following Argyros Karatzas. He also fought
against the Pechenegs at Lebounion and against the Cumans in 1095. In
1103 he was appointed dux of Cilicia. Anna Comnena calls him a
mixobarbarian, which may imply that he was born in Paradunavon.42 Be
as it may, he seems to have present in the region, since five of his seals have
found in Bulgaria.43 His namesake Manastras was the Cuman chief who
supposedly killed Joannitsa Kaloyan in 1207.44 The Pecheneg garrison
attested in 1108 in Mamistra (Mopsuestia, Cilicia) may have been sent there
under his command. The mission of those Pechenegs was to assist Baldwin
of Edessa against Tancred of Antioch.45
Judging from these three examples, it appears that Emperor Alexios
I appointed baptized Pecheneg or Cuman chiefs to fight against the
Pechenegs under the command of rival chiefs. It was the lesson the
Byzantine learned from the events of 1045-1047: one could certainly exploit
such rivalries, but only when Pecheneg commanders were integrated into
the regular military structure of the Byzantine army, either at the central or
at the regional level. When at the command of large numbers of exclusively
Pecheneg troops, like Kegen and Tats, they were completely unreliable.
Both leaders took matters in their own hands, even though they were
formally under imperial orders, precisely because they had large number of
Pechenegs at their disposal.
Pecheneg warriors who settled with their families on imperial soil in
1045, 1047, 1059, and 1091 were recruited for the local defense. First,

41
Anna Comnena, The Alexiad, translated by E. R. A. Sewter (London, 2003), pp.
224, 262, 306 (VII. 3. 6; VIII. 7. 4; X. 4. 10); C. I. Karadja, Karadja - nume peceneg n
toponimia romneasc, RI 29 (1943), nos. 1-6: 87-92; Vitalien Laurent, Argyros Karatzas,
protokuropalates i duce de Philippopoli, RevIst 29 (1943), nos. 7-12: 203-10; Gyula
Moravcsik, BT, vol. 2 (Berlin, 1958), p. 153; B. Skoulatos, Les personnages byzantins de
lAlexiade. Analyse prosopographique et synthse (Louvain-la-Neuve, 1980), pp. 27-8;
Stephenson, Byzantiums Balkan Frontier, 109; Curta, Southeastern Europe, p. 300;
Iordanov, Corpus, vol. 2, pp. 188-90 (nos. 283-86).
42
Anna Comnena, Alexiad, pp. 240, 257, 299, 306, 338-340, 359, 365, 371, 445,
455 (VII. 9. 7; VII. 10. 2; VIII. 5.5; X. 2. 7; X. 4. 10; XI. 2. 7-10; XI. 9. 4; XI. 11. 5; XII. 2.
1; XIV. 3. 1; XIV. 5. 7); Moravcsik, BT, vol. 2, p. 192; Skoulatos, Les personnages, 213-15.
43
Iordanov, Corpus, vol. 2, pp. 269-271 (nos. 415-19).
44
Spinei, Great Migrations, 421-22.
45
Matthew of Edessa, III 39 (ed. Dostourian, p. 201); Spinei, Great Migrations,
214.

218

Alexandru Madgearu

Patzinakia appeared, an autonomous district in Paradunavon, somewhere to


the south from Dristra. Next, Pechenegs were settled in more distant areas,
and were used mainly for the defense of the roads in the Morava and Vardar
regions. In some cases, Pecheneg troops were dispatched to the eastern front
against the Seljuks, not only in 1049, but also in 1071. There were Pecheneg
troops on the battle field at Mantzikert, who deserted in the midst of the
military confrontation.46 Pecheneg troops were apparently reliable mostly in
auxiliary missions, such as those in which they were involved, as a kind of
military police, during the first three crusades.

46

Matthew of Edessa, II, 57 (ed. Dostourian, p. 135); Spinei 2006, 198.