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Pelister 06-29-2009 08:29 PM

Hey SoM,

I found this in one of my books.

I hate it when the authors us the term "Slav" as a synonym for the term "Sklavenoi". Anyway ...

A Sklavonian chieftain, Chilbuldius, became a Roman commander, and one of their best. He was a Thracian, of Sclavonian origin, defending northern Thrace from Sclavonian marauders. (Proc.Wars vii. 38. 17).

Some of the Sclavonian tribal chiefs who had contact with the East Roman empire.


Not really building on the Macedonian Theme, and know where near as good as you have done here, but something in any case.

Macedonia in the 4th century

[quote] the richest and most productive areas of the Balkan provinces in the estimation of the fourth century [I]Expositio Totius Mundi[/I], was Thrace, Macedonia, and Thessaly ... central cities, Naissus, Serdica and Justinia Prima usually remained within the administration horizon of Constantiniople [/quote] p.62 The Emporer Maurice and his historian, Whitby

Macedonia in the 6th century

[quote] The first book of the Miracula preserves important evidence on conditions in Thessalonica, the second city of the Balkans, and shows that Slavs attacked the city, in 586, [U]but it does not provide proof of infiltration into Macedonia[/U]; infiltration only became a serious threat to the city in the seventh century, when the constricting presence of Slavs is recorded in the second book of the Miracula [/quote]

Macedonia in the 7th century

[quote] Within the Balkans there were groups of Slavs who took over the corn producing lands of Thessaly, and were able to export food to Thessalonica by the late seventh century (showing no community of interest with the Slavs blocking the entrance to the city), and Slav leaders such as Perbundus soon emerged who were attracted by the benefits of urban civilization (Source: Mirac. SD 235) [/quote] p.83 The Emporer Maurice and his historian, Whitby

How were they able to "take over" corn production? And trade with the native Macedonians of the region? Note, the "Slavs" who are now producing corn in Macedonia, and exporting it to Thessalonica "show no community with the Slavs blocking the entrance to the city". We have to assume they were trading with ancient Macedonians still populating the region, right ??

Bratot 06-29-2009 08:42 PM



Pelister 06-29-2009 09:05 PM

Good find Bratot.

555 is an early date.

The first and ONLY ancient Macedonian city to be destroyed was Bargala, in 585.

Soldier of Macedon 06-29-2009 09:33 PM

Excellent work, I don't have much time now but I will look into it in more detail later. All the more value is now added given that information concerning the Macedonians of East Rome is being consolidated here.

Check the below threads for related information:



Interesting to note is the fact that the region of Adrianople, or Odrin as it was known to the Macedonian revolutionaries of the 19th century, has had a consistent Macedonian identity during the East Roman period.

TrueMacedonian 06-29-2009 10:06 PM

And let's look at an article from the end of May about the lost fortress of Justinian in Eastern Macedonia :clap:


In Eastern Macedonia, a Lost Fortress of Justinian
5/26/2009 (

By Christopher Deliso*

High on a windswept ridge in Macedonia’s barren northeastern expanse, some 17 kilometers down a rough dirt track heading towards Kratovo, it stands as a cryptic reminder of the country’s still largely undocumented past: the rocky remains of what was once an important outpost in the Early Byzantine imperial hinterland.

Nevertheless, the lack of specific references in Late Antique and Byzantine sources means that we may never know what the name of the settlement or its fortress actually was- a tantalizing omission that could only be resolved “by epigraphy finds, which we so far haven’t encountered,” says Dr. Carolyn Snively, an archaeologist and professor from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. For the last decade, Dr. Snively has been working jointly with international and Macedonian experts, supported by local workers at Konjuh- in the process, shedding light on this little-documented period of Macedonia’s remote history.

The lost fortress of Justinian at Konjuh had a strategic vantage point on a central ridgeline overlooking farmland and probably an iron mine (Photo: Christopher Deliso)
Recently having arrived back in Macedonia, Dr. Snively will soon lead excavations into an eleventh season of work. The dig will last from May 28 through August. Earlier today, she shared some insights and projections for this season’s upcoming work with

Background and Significance

The Konjuh site was originally discovered in 1938, but only worked on extensively during the 1970s by Yugoslav archaeologist Ivan Mikulcic. This expert drew the original plan of the site, which has been redrawn several times. Although the plan “seriously needs to be updated,” says Dr. Snively, “we have not had an architect on site with enough free time and surveying skill to do it in recent seasons.”

Although the name of the settlement and fortress has vanished, pottery finds date the ruins, clearly a fortress standing watch over now buried remnants of an urban settlement and church, to the 6th century- and the reign of Emperor Justinian I (r. 517-565), one of the greatest Byzantine rulers. Under Justinian, imperial authority was reasserted as far as northern Africa and parts of Italy. Justinian’s expansion efforts were executed by a powerful military led by his renowned general, Belisarius, considered a master tactician who could win battles even when cut off from communications with the capital or other parts of the army.

Yugoslav archaeologist Ivan Mikulcic’s original plan of the Konjuh site, with fortifications of the lower city outlined in orange (courtesy Carolyn Snively)
The Kratovo region, part of the mineral-rich Osogovski Mountain range, has always had strategic importance for its mines. Romans, Byzantines and Ottomans all excavated it extensively for gold, silver and iron. In the 6th century, the Byzantine Empire was beset by barbarian tribes in the Balkans but still held on to large areas through an extensive system of fortresses that allowed military garrisons to provide some measure of protection for settlements and ongoing economic activities. Indeed, an important part of the Justinianic legacy was the refortification of the region as part of his general military strategy.

At the fortress site, finds have revealed that one significant local activity then was the excavation of iron ore, a substance which archaeologists have discovered in large quantities among the various artifacts discovered to date.

The mining was carried out near today’s village of Konjuh. A tiny enclave of a few hundred people, without even a village shop, the village is about 1km south of the ridgeline upon which the bygone fortress stands. Here there are no great stone towers or constructions, at least no remaining ones here, but the steepness of the ridge and its width at the top would have provided protection for defenders and adequate space to store weapons, provisions and, when necessary, people.

View of the northern terrace taken from the acropolis, end of 2005 season (Photo: Carolyn Snively)
The fortress ridgeline is surrounded by valleys and, further on, flanked by other small ridges that could also have served as military outposts. At the top, the acropolis, there is a remarkable 3m (15ft)-deep cistern, and the remains of several small stairways and paths chiseled into the sides of the rock. Naturally formed turrets overlook the plain, behind which Byzantine bowmen could have taken aim at any invaders below.

Below the fortress, on the lower town located on a northern terrace, excavators have made their most substantial discoveries. A street system, and the base of a Late Antique church indicate organized settlement occurred there over a period of several centuries. The settlement likely dates from the 5th century, says Dr. Snively, adding that “there was probably a 3rd or 4th-century settlement in the vicinity, though I don’t think the inhabitants started living on the northern terrace until the need for building a fortification arose later.”

2009: Upcoming Plans

In keeping with the professional approach to managing the site, the remains of the foundations are all painstakingly reburied each year at the end of the digging season- partly, for their own protection, since the project hasn’t the funds to hire a full-time guard. According to Dr. Snively, the team won’t re-dig everything that has been buried in previous seasons. “This year, we will concentrate on excavating the apse of the basilica we discovered last year,” she says.

This exciting discovery confirms the significance of the site as a former center of civilization with some amount of population. According to Dr. Snively, one of the main goals of the 2009 dig in terms of this structure will be “to define the basilica’s shape and dimensions- we can say with 95 percent certainty that it is a 6th-century basilica, which would have been built within a few decades of Justinian’s fortification works.”

Indeed, the whole region is remarkably rich in sites once populated during the Late Antique period. According to Katie Haas, an archaeology student from Gettysburg College who has come to Macedonia for the summer thanks to a grant from the Mellon Foundation, “there is a marked efflorescence of Late Antique sites in this region.” As a member of the dig team, Katie will concentrate on the important job of small finds analysis- particularly, spatial pattern analysis of the site. She is part of a nine-person team (comprised of American, British and Macedonian archaeologists, who will be aided by local workmen.

While locals have since learned to respect the site’s integrity and have developed good relations with the excavation teams, some nefarious diggers have in the past attempted to search here, as almost everywhere in Macedonia, for gold – in the process, breaking their drill heads when inadvertently striking the solid bedrock.

While occasionally outsiders continue to show up illegally, Dr. Snively does not anticipate any trouble this summer from the “wild diggers,” as such people are known in the press. Indeed, other local inhabitants are more in danger, as when the villagers’ sheepdogs were sadly poisoned en masse by a probable sheep-rustler- indicating that this still is the wild east to some extent.

Taking the plunge: American Fulbright scholar Seth Elder descends into the fortress’s murky cistern depths (photo: Christopher Deliso)
Part of the archaeologists’ sustained good relations with the locals owes to education and trust-building efforts carried out since 1998. But it also owes to something that helps explain why the fortress has attracted relatively little attention thus far- a lack of shiny objects. The lack of major awareness of the site, despite its historical significance, probably stems from the fact that neither gold nor silver, nor colorful mosaics have yet been discovered. Traditionally, these sort of ‘big-ticket’ items are what draw attention from the central government (this is of course not only the case in Macedonia).

Although archaeologists do not anticipate making stunning discoveries of buried treasure at Konjuh, the possibility cannot be completely excluded. Working with extraordinary diligence since 1998, Dr. Snively has deliberately not chosen to dig for burial areas on the site – even though such spots would have the best chance of containing jewelry and coins – partly because there has not been sufficient support available to protect the site during the off-season. Were the site to gain a reputation for riches, the thinking goes, it would become more difficult to protect it from looters.

Another reason why the team is deliberately not looking for burial sites is because of lack of sufficient support for an activity which would greatly enlarge the scope and character of the operation.

“If we found a cemetery, we would then have to bring in a physical anthropologist too,” says Dr. Snively, noting also the further permits and bureaucratic requirements that would be needed in such cases. While the Macedonian government has pledged an all-out campaign for excavating “mega-sites” like Stobi, Heraclea and Ohrid-area locales, more modest sites like Konjuh have gone largely unnoticed.

Konjuh: “A Great Example of Cooperation”

Konjuh locals have also been happy to see the site remain undisturbed, archaeologist Snively believes, because it has provided an occasional source of employment for the economically depressed village, when additional workers or watchmen have been needed over the past decade. “Injecting even a few thousand dollars into the local economy makes a big difference in a small village like this,” she notes.

The cultural heritage protection aspect of the Konjuh fortress site is particularly intriguing to Seth Elder, an American Fulbright scholar from DePauw University in Indiana. Seth chose to come to Macedonia for his research on the practical connections between archaeology, local communities and economic development. Since arriving in Macedonia last year, and touring numerous sites, he has gained insight into the Konjuh site from a comparative sense.

According to him, “the Konjuh site is a great example of cooperation between local and international archaeologists, and also with the local community. Since Macedonia has been somewhat isolated from international archaeologists’ attention, there’s a real need for more work like this to be carried out in the future.” He also emphasizes the need for Macedonian archaeologists to publish their findings more widely in foreign journals, as this activity is a key part of attracting the attention of outside experts who often have the ability to acquire funding and personnel for increasing archeological efforts.

From the well-worn fortress wall remnants, unfinished bridge sections in the distance show how close the site would be to organized transport, and so tourism, if the authorities someday finish the long-promised connection to Bulgaria (Photo: Christopher Deliso)
Future Tourism Potential?

Indeed, one of the very interesting aspects of the site for the future is its specific placement. The fortress is set in what is today literally the middle of nowhere, on a ridge above the Kriva River near Konjuh. However, some raised concrete pillars that might seem equally mysterious to outsiders may hold the key for the area’s development as a tourism destination. Long-neglected skeletons of bridge supports, these and other similar structures dot the wilderness in eastern Macedonia- unfinished pieces of proposed railway and highway links to Bulgaria. For various reasons, the long-hoped-for infrastructure project has never been completed. If it were, the site would be ideally located for travelers to access.

Even today, the Konjuh fortress site is accessible enough for visitors, if coming with a professional guide, and part of a cluster of local sites around Kratovo, such as the standing stone dolls of Kuklica, the enigmatic Neolithic rock site of Cacev Kamen, and the magnificent Lesnovski Monastery. When combined with the natural beauty of this mountainous region and the potential for outdoor activities, plus the architectural attractiveness of Kratovo itself, this clearly indicates the potential for a multi-faceted tourism product that could conceivably put this forgotten corner of northeastern Macedonia back on the map- even if the name of the fortress settlement has vanished from the map long ago.

Soldier of Macedon 06-30-2009 04:16 AM

Using information already supplied in this thread, below is a short summary of events during the 9th century, prior to (and during) the mission of the Macedonian brothers from Salonika, SS Cyril and Methody.
[QUOTE][B][COLOR="blue"]800:[/COLOR][/B] Macedonia Theme is created within East Roman administration, consisting of Macedonians and Thracians, who at that stage had assimilated the Slavonic tribes in their region.

[B][COLOR="blue"]813:[/COLOR][/B] A great battle takes place between the armies of East Rome and Bulgaria, the former consisting chiefly of Macedonians and Thracians.

[B][COLOR="blue"]821:[/COLOR][/B] Thomas the Slav raises the banner of revolt against East Rome, his army consisted, among others, Macedonians and Thracians.

[B][COLOR="blue"]850/60:[/COLOR][/B] Macedonian and Thracian soldiers sent to subdue the Slavic rebels in the Peloponnese, upholding the rule of East Rome in the region.

[B][COLOR="Blue"]867:[/COLOR][/B] Basil the Macedonian, a native of the Adrianople region, conspires against Michael III and takes rule of East Rome. After a continued warrior tradition and significance in the political life of East Rome, the Macedonians produce an emperor, and subsequently a dynasty.[/QUOTE]

Here is another good thread that has significance to this topic:

[QUOTE]A Sklavonian chieftain, Chilbuldius, became a Roman commander, and one of their best. He was a Thracian, of Sclavonian origin, defending northern Thrace from Sclavonian marauders. (Proc.Wars vii. 38. 17).[/QUOTE]
I haven't searched too thoroughly, but I can't seem to locate book 7 from Procopius on the net. Can you help?

Also, can we get access to the 'Miracles of Saint Demetrius'?

Risto the Great 06-30-2009 04:29 AM

[QUOTE]850/60: Macedonian and Thracian soldiers sent to subdue the Slavic rebels in the Peloponnese, upholding the rule of East Rome in the region.[/QUOTE]
Why were they sent?
Were there alternative groups who could have been sent?
How close were the Thracians and Macedonians?
Perhaps the Slavic rebels in the Peloponnese were merely Macedonians/Thracians who had been led astray?

Soldier of Macedon 06-30-2009 04:29 AM

It appears that the first half of the 9th century saw rebellions in the whole Slavic-speaking world.

[QUOTE]Frontier wars
At the start of Louis's reign, the many tribes — Danes, Obotrites, Slovenes, Bretons, Basques — which inhabited his frontierlands were still in awe of the Frankish emperor's power and dared not stir up any trouble. In 816, however, the Sorbs rebelled and were quickly followed by Slavomir, chief of the Obotrites, who was captured and abandoned by his own people, being replaced by Ceadrag in 818. Soon, Ceadrag too had turned against the Franks and allied with the Danes, who were to become the greatest menace of the Franks in a short time.

A greater Slavic menace was gathering on the southeast. There, Ljudevit Posavski, duke of Pannonia, was harassing the border at the Drava and Sava rivers. The margrave of Friuli, Cadolah, was sent out against him, but he died on campaign and, in 820, his margarvate was invaded by Slovenes. In 821, an alliance was made with Borna, duke of the Dalmatia, and Ljudevit was brought to heel. In 824 several Slav tribes in the north-western parts of Bulgaria acknowledged Louis's suzerainity and after he was reluctant to settle the matter peacefully with the Bulgarian ruler Omurtag, in 827 the Bulgarians attacked the Franks in Pannonia and regained their lands.[/QUOTE]

Soldier of Macedon 06-30-2009 04:46 AM

[QUOTE=Risto the Great;19099]Why were they sent?
Were there alternative groups who could have been sent?
How close were the Thracians and Macedonians?
Perhaps the Slavic rebels in the Peloponnese were merely Macedonians/Thracians who had been led astray?[/QUOTE]
Thracians and Macedonians have historically been close in several ways linking the people, they were sent to the Peloponnese as soldiers of East Rome, by the request of the emperor. Although they were known as good fighters, there may indeed be an additional reason (language) for their use against the rebels in the Peloponnese, who were most probably a combination of local elements (Macedonia, Thrace, Illyria) and tribes from the Danube.

Daskalot 06-30-2009 01:00 PM

This thread has been a real enlightening read, thank you SoM for your great contribution! A big thank you to all of you for bringing forth relevant information regarding this topic.

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