History of the Balkans: From the Earliest Times to the by Ferdinand Schevill

By Ferdinand Schevill

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At a time therefore, when, by the inconspicuous infiltration characteristic of the Slavs, many of their bands had already succeeded in getting a foothold in the peninsula. Thus, issuing respectively from the north and east, Slavs and Avars established contact on the northern rim of the Byzantine empire. It was not till the end of his reign that the Emperor Justinian became actively alarmed at the situation and fitted out an army with the immediate purpose of driving out those Slav groups which had impudently taken up their residence on Balkan soil.

At any rate, on his demise in 565, a crisis followed. The Slav raids were resumed, made worse by the participation of the ruthless Avars; and while the emperors, who followed one another in rapid succession, were still hesitating about the means to adopt to end the Balkan misery, the situation became further complicated by the return of the Persian menace. We have observed that Justinian had j curbed but not annihilated his eastern rival. Persia was an abso- ; lutism, ably conducted in the main, with a well organized army, ,ij ample material resources, and a high civilization of an oriental i type.

I Finally, on civil war breaking out in Persia, the emperor, j Maurice by name, was able to take advantage of the situation J THE SLAV AND MONGOLIAN INVASIONS 63 concluding a peace which sacrificed no essential interest of the state. raids jt was high time, for, engaged to the limit of their power New of the with the Persians, the Byzantines had wholly neglected their Slavs and northern or Balkan front. In consequence the Slavs and the Avars. Avars came and went in the peninsula at pleasure, and to all appearances the Slavs, a peasant folk on the lookout for plowland scored a great success by considerably extending their settlements.

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