_I_ - _II_ - _III_ - _IV_ - _V_ - _VI_ - Appendix A
‘I serve barbarian slaves (the Bulgars), impure and reeking of stinking goatskins, poorer in their way of life than they are rich in evil disposition. Release me from the dreadful servitude. For what inhabitant of Achrida is not a headless neck, understanding how to honor neither God nor man? Among such wild beasts as these have I been condemned to live, and the worst of it all is that there is no hope that these necks will ever be given heads with stronger powers.' (Letters of Theophylact, Archbishop of Achrida, Migne, Patrologia Graeca, CXXVI, 508.)
'Since the race of Vlachs is altogether faithless and perverse, and does not keep faith with God or with the Emperor or with its own kindred or with a friend, but works to undo them all, and lies a great deal, and steals all over the shop, and swears the most solemn oaths to its friends and lightly disregards them, never put faith in a one of them. I advise you not to trust them at all.' (Cecaumeni Strategicon [ed. V. Vassilievsky and V. Jernstedt, St Petersburg, 1896], Zapiski Istoriko-filologicheskago Fakulteta Imperatorskago S-Peterburgskago Universiteta, Chast' XXXVIII, p. 74).
'This (the Scyths or Cumans) is a people which is not stationary, and does not stay in one place, or know how to settle down, and therefore it has no institutions. It moves all over the earth and rests nowhere, and is constantly wandering. These are flying men, and hard to catch therefore, and have no cities, and know no villages, but bestiality follows in their path. Not even the vultures, that carrion-eating and loathed tribe, can be compared to these people. Rather are they to be likened to the griffins, whom kindly nature has placed in uninhabited places, as she has done too with the Scyths. Only habits like those of wolves could have produced such men: bold and greedy, the wolf knows well how to flee whenever something terrifying appears. So too it is with the Scyths: if they meet with brave resistance they wheel about and take to their heels. A Scyth is near, and at the same time out of reach. He plunders, but before he has filled his hands he grasps his bridle, and strikes his horse with his heel and with his whip, and gives himself to the winds in flight, and he boasts that he flies more quickly than the hawk. He barely comes into view before he disappears again. This is the sort of people that the wandering nomads, the Scyths, are, with no houses: wild beasts among mankind, or, though it would be a bold man who would venture to call them so, men among the wild beasts.' (Eustathius, Bishop of Thessalonica, Address to Isaac Angelus, Eustathii Metropolitae Thessalonicensis Opuscula [ed. T. L. F. Tafel, Frankfort, 1832], p. 44. Translations mine.)
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1. This study was prepared in the course of the author's work on the Latin Empire of Constantinople. It is designed to serve as an introduction to the full account of the relations between the Latins and the Vlacho-Bulgarian state after 1204 which will form part of a forthcoming book on the Latin Empire. Unless otherwise indicated, all references to the Byzantine historians are to the Bonn edition of the Corpus. For a grant in aid of publication the author is indebted to the University of Wisconsin.