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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The empire from Constantine the Great to Justinian

The Henoticon 


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As to the rather vague names of Getae and Scythians, the chroniclers of that period were not well informed about the ethnographic composition of the northern peoples; hence it is very likely that these were collective names, and historians consider it probable that some Slavic tribes were included among them. Theophylact, the Byzantine writer of the early seventh century, directly identified the Getae with the Slavs. Thus, during the reign of Anastasius, the Slavs, together with the Bulgarians, first began their irruptions into the Balkan peninsula. According to one source, a Getic cavalry devastated Macedonia, Thessaly, and Epirus, and reached as far as Thermopylae. Some scholars have even advanced the theory that the Slavs entered the Balkan peninsula at an earlier period. The Russian scholar Drinov, for example, on the basis of his study of geographical and personal names in the peninsula, placed the beginning of Slavic settlement in the Balkan peninsula in the late second century A.D. The attacks of the Bulgarians and Slavs during the reign of Anastasius were not of very great consequence for that epoch, for these bands of barbarians, after robbing the Byzantine population, went back to the places from which they came. Yet these raids were the forerunners of the great Slavic irruptions into the Balkan peninsula in the sixth century during the reign of Justinian.

In order to protect the capital against the northern barbarians, Anastasius erected in Thrace, about forty miles west of Constantinople, the so-called Long Wall which extended from the Sea of Marmara to the Black Sea, making the city, said one source, practically an island instead of a peninsula. This wall did not fulfill the purpose for which it was erected, however. Because of its hurried construction and the breaches made by earthquakes it did not serve as a real barrier to the enemys approach to the city walls. The modern Turkish fortifications of the Chatalja lines erected in almost the same place pretty closely approximate the Anastasian wall, traces of which may still be seen today.

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