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Thomas the Slav was originally a Byzantine military and naval commander entrusted with a very high command during the reign of Emperor Leo V the Armenian but later tried to depose Emperor Michael II.

He served in the Roman army with Leo V and Michael II. He had the rank of protostrator under Bardanes Tourkos, theme general of Anatolikon (seat of Amorionmarker). However, upon the death of Leo and the accession as emperor of the former general Michael who was a rival of Thomas, he started to stir up rebellion. In his account of the revolt of Thomas the Slav, the historian Genesius lists a variety of peoples (in addition to the Asia Minormarker Slavs who were main supporters of the rebellion) from whom the armies of the rebel were drawn: Persiansmarker, Iberians, Saracens, Abasgians, Getae, Alans, Chaldoi, Armenians, Vandals and adherents of heretical sects of the Paulicians and Athingani.

Caliph Al-Ma'mun saw the power in his army and did not wait long to form an alliance to depose the Byzantine Emperor. Thomas was crowned as basileus of Romans by Job the patriarch at Antiochmarker at the instance of Ma'mun. He opposed the Iconoclasm and claimed adherence to Image-worship, even to be Constantine, the restorer of Orthodoxy no longer blind. Tax collectors sided with Thomas and uprisings of the lower class in the empire began. Thomas invaded the Empire with helepoleis (heavy artillery) in the spring of 821 AD and within a matter of months only 2 themes in Asia Minormarker remained loyal to Michael II. Michael II was aware of the coming attack by Thomas, after spies had seen his forces. He assembled his fleet in Lesbos sometime for the coming siege. In 823 he began the siege of Constantinoplemarker. Thomas however was not able to hold the city longer than a year after the Bulgars under Omurtag defeated the land forces of his army and Thomas had to retreat to Adrianoplemarker in Thrace.The last of the Slav army was defeated, Thomas was captured and executed by Michael II.

Notes

  1. History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453, Vol 1-Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Vasilʹev
  2. History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453, Vol 1-Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Vasilʹev
  3. History of the Byzantine Empire, 324-1453, Vol 1-Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Vasilʹev


Sources

  • "A short History of Byzantium" John Julius Norwich



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