Asia Minor Slavs

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Asia Minor Slavs refers to the historical South Slav communities relocated to Anatolia by the Byzantine Empire, from the Balkans. After Maurice's Balkan campaigns (582-602), and subsequent subduing of Slavs in the Balkans during the 7th and 8th centuries, large communities were forcefully relocated to Asia Minor as military, fighting the Umayyad Caliphate.


7th century[edit]

In 658 and 688/9 the Byzantines invited groups of Slavic settlers to Bithynia.[1]

The best known Slavic settlement there was the city of Gordoservon (Serbian: Srbograd, Grad Srba, Гордосервон, Greek: Γορδόσερβα) is mentioned, whose name is derived from the Serbs resettled in Asia Minor (in ca 649[2] or 667[3]) by Byzantine Emperor Constans II (641–668), who came from the areas "around river Vardar". Isidor, the Bishop of Gordoservon is mentioned in 680/681, and the fact that this town was an episcopal seat gives ground to the thesis that it had a large Serbian population. Around the year 1200 this city is mentioned as 'Servochoria' (Serbian habitation).

Constantine III settled captured Slavs in Asia Minor, and 5,000 of these joined Abdulreman ibn Khalid in 664-665.[4]

Justinian II (685-695) also settled in Asia Minor as many as 30,000 Slavs from Thrace, in an attempt to boost military strength. Most of them however, with their leader Neboulos, deserted to the Arabs at the Battle of Sebastopolis in 692.[5]

8th century[edit]

Military campaigns in northern Greece in 758 under Constantine V (r. 741–775) prompted a relocation of Slavs under Bulgar aggression, again in 783.[1] The Bulgar expansion caused massive Slav migrations, and in 762, more than 200,000 people fled to Byzantine territory and were relocated to Asia Minor.[6]

The most prominent among the Asia Minor Slavs was Thomas the Slav, a military commander who raised most of the empire in an unsuccessful revolt against Michael II the Amorian in the early 820s. Although the 10th-century chronicler Genesios calls him "Thomas from Lake Gouzourou, of Armenian race", most modern scholars support his Slavic descent and believe his birthplace to have been near Gaziura in the Pontus.[7]

10th century[edit]

The Slavs of the Opsician Theme (Sklabesianoi) are still attested as a separate group in the 10th century, serving as marines in the Byzantine navy.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b A. P. Vlasto (1970). The Entry of the Slavs Into Christendom: An Introduction to the Medieval History of the Slavs. CUP Archive. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-521-07459-9. 
  2. ^ Serbian Studies. North American Society for Serbian Studies. 1995. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Kostelski, Z. (1952). The Yugoslavs: the history of the Yugoslavs and their states to the creation of Yugoslavia. Philosophical Library. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  4. ^ Stratos (1975), p. 234
  5. ^ Warren Treadgold (1998). Byzantium and Its Army, 284-1081. Stanford University Press. p. 26. ISBN 978-0-8047-3163-8. 
  6. ^ Sima M. Cirkovic (15 April 2008). The Serbs. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 16–. ISBN 978-1-4051-4291-5. 
  7. ^ Lemerle 1965, pp. 264, 270, 284.
  8. ^ Ahrweiler 1966, p. 402.