Asia Minor Slavs
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.
The earliest evidence for a relocation of Slavs from the Balkans may be a seal dated to 650. In 658 and 688/9 the Byzantines invited groups of Slavic settlers to Bithynia. Constans II settled captured Slavs in Asia Minor, and 5,000 of these joined Abdulreman ibn Khalid in 664-665.
There was a town in Bithynia known as Gordoservon, mentioned in 680–81, whose name is derived from the Serbs resettled there from the areas "around river Vardar" by Byzantine Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668), in the mid-7th century (in ca. 649 or 667). The bishop of Gordoservon, an Isidor, is also mentioned; 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).
Justinian II (685-695) also settled as many as 30,000 Slavs from Thrace in Asia Minor, 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.
Bulgar aggression in northern Greece prompted the Byzantine state to relocate a large number of Slavs in 758 under Constantine V, and again in 783 out of fear that they would side with the Bulgars during an invasion.
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.
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.
The Serbs rose up against the Byzantines in 1127–29, probably with Hungarian support; After the Byzantine victory, part of the Serb population was deported to Asia Minor.
- Arnold Joseph Toynbee (15 March 1973). Constantine Porphyrogenitus and his world. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-215253-4.
A further settlement of 208,000 Slavs was planted in Bithynia (part, by then, of thema Opsikion), on the River ... The earliest piece of evidence for a deportation of Slavs from the Balkan Peninsula to Asia Minor may be a seal inscribed ... This seal is dated 'the eighth indiction', and this might be either the year 649/50 or the year 694/5. Since it is on record that 5,000 Slavs deserted from the East Romans to the Arabs as early as 664/5,1 Charanis dates the seal 650, and this dates the first deportation of Slavs from the Balkan Peninsula to Asia Minor in the reign of Constans II ...
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