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  Item Reference: KCLCAL-1927-1928-475

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vi SOME DEBTS TO BYZANTINISM century witnessed continuance of the furious contests with Avars Slavs and Persians illiminated by the brilliant efforts and successes of Heraclius and marked also by the irruption of Slavs into the Greek peninsula But new foe arose in Moslem Arabia and Syria and Egypt fell to the Arabs who were destined to be at constant war with the Empire From the eighth to the tenth century there were desperate wars with the Bulgarians and Russians and the Hungarians and Patzinaks were added as foes Triumphs were gained over the weak- ened Arabs of the East and the Macedonian dynasty shed lustre on the sorely tried Empire Even after the fatal blow from the Seljuk Turks at Mantzikert in 1071 the Empire was hard in dying Greek dynasty re-emerged after the rule of the Latins and the first attack of the Ottoman Turks was beaten off Could an Empire of degenerates and slaves have shown such vitality Before the Turkish siege which ended in its capture in 1453 Con- stantinople again and again saw hostile fleets and armies appear before her walls only to retire The Akathistos hymn celebrates the deliverance from the Avars in the reign of Heraclius or as some think from the Arabs in the reign of Constantine IV In 717-18 the Moslems under Muslama were driven off by the obstinate defence of Leo the Isaurian and the terrors of Greek fire In 941 Igor the Russian failed with his thousand ships and forty thousand men The Crusaders with their combination of force and fraud were successful in 1203-4 but it was victory which did the West little credit If we call to mind the dangers to Western Europe caused by the Turkish sieges of Vienna in 1529 and 1683 we Westerners can feel some gratitude to the people who built and maintained the celebrated walls of Constantinople sometimes unjustly criticized as an unromantic shield of defence But the Byzantine Empire did much more than merely repel the assaults of barbarous or alien peoples She imbued them with her own religion and culture The christianizing and civilizing force of Con- stantinople worked upon the Slav peoples especially and in no instance was this more marked than in her dealings with the Slavized Finno- Uralian Bulgarians It was in the ninth century that the Bulgarian Czar Boris adopted the Orthodox faith and assumed the Christian name of Michael after struggle with Rome Bulgaria definitely fell to the Eastern Church The famous brothers Methodius and Cyril were their missionaries and Cyril's invention of the Glagolithic script was of far- reaching importance for the civilization of the Slav peoples It was under the Bulgarian Czar Simeon 892-927 that Greek influence became most marked in Bulgaria Simeon prided himself on his Greek culture and Byzantine court ceremony was introduced into his capital It was in his age too that Greek literature especially ecclesi- astical literature was eagerly translated for the Bulgarians Simeon himself translated extracts from John Chrysostom under the title of the Golden Book and works like the Chronicle of Malalas Athanasivs against the Arians and the Hexamercm of John of Damascus were translated into the Slav language and these translations had great
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