Illustration from

Scylitzes Chronicle

f12r.   Battle between Byzantine Emperor Michael I Rangabe and Bulgarian Khan Krum


Bibliteca Nacional de Madrid, Vitr. 26-2, Bild-Nr. 77

In 812 Krum invaded Byzantine Thrace, taking Develt and scaring the population of nearby fortresses to flee towards Constantinople. From this position of strength, Krum offered a return to the peace treaty of 716. Unwilling to compromise his regime by weakness, the new Emperor Michael I refused to accept the proposal, ostensibly opposing the clause for exchange of deserters. To apply more pressure on the Emperor, Krum besieged and captured Mesembria (Nesebar) in the autumn of 812.

In February 813 the Bulgarians raided Thrace but were repelled by the Emperor's forces. Encouraged by this success, Michael I summoned troops from the entire Byzantine Empire and headed north, hoping for a decisive victory. Krum led his army south towards Adrianople and pitched camp near Versinikia. Michael I lined up his army against the Bulgarians, but neither side initiated an attack for two weeks. Finally, on June 22, 813, the Byzantines attacked but were immediately turned to flight. With Krum's cavalry in pursuit, the rout of Michael I was complete, and Krum advanced on Constantinople, which he besieged by land.



Referenced on p15 Byzantine Armies AD 1118-1461 by Ian Heath & Angus McBride
Cavalry engagement from the Skyllitzes Codex (second half of the 13th century). The protagonists wear hip-length scale and lamellar corselets, and helmets with neck-guards made of leather strips. (ENI Collection)

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