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  • Cited by 1
  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: June 2012

3 - The rise of new powers (800–900)


It has been persuasively suggested that far from being a response to the Arab conquest of Crete in 826 or to the beginning of the Arab conquest of Sicily, the creation of the fourth Byzantine theme in the Balkans, Peloponnesus, may be dated as early as the aftermath of Staurakios' expedition into Peloponnesus. The purpose of this theme created c. 800 must have been less the protection of the coasts against the Arab naval raids and more the protection of the Byzantine outposts on the coasts (mainly Corinth and Patras) against attacks from the interior. According to the much later testimony of Constantine Porphyrogenitus, in 805 the Slavs “who were in the province of Peloponnesus, decided to revolt, and first proceeded to sack the dwellings of their neighbors, the Greeks, and gave them up to rapine, and next they moved against the inhabitants of the city of Patras and ravaged the plains before its walls and laid siege to itself, having with them African Saracens also.” With the miraculous assistance of St. Andrew, the inhabitants of Patras were able to repel the attack, even if they lacked the support of the local military governor, who at the time was “at the extremity of the province, in the city of Corinth.”

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