Just Posted: Chapter 11,  ‘EMPEROR JOHN TZIMISKES’ to SVEIN’S SAGA

IVAR the BONELESS was PRINCE IVAR (Igor) of KIEV and his son


I have just posted a first draft of Chapter 11,  ‘EMPEROR JOHN TZIMISKES’ of “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson” Book to the website SeiberTeck.com under the Book Heading of that name.

Emperor John Tzimiskes and Prince Sviatoslav of Madrid Skylitzes

Book 4, Chapter 11, EMPEROR JOHN TZIMISKES  (Circa 969-971 AD): 

When the Armenian General John Tzimiskes had heard that Prince Sveinald was soon to be crowned co-Emperor of Rome by Emperor Nikephoros Phokas II, he knew it was time to act and he told his lover, Empress Theophano to talk the Emperor into recalling him to Constantinople so they could begin an insurrection.  According to the contemporary historian Leo the Deacon:

“General Tzimiskes arrived with his fellow conspirators, General John Kourkouas, Domestic Theophanes, General Michael Bourtzes and Leo Pediasimos, sailing along the shore in a light boat and disembarking on land in the place called Boukoleon and John whistled to his warriors, who were leaning out from the terrace above, and they let down a basket attached to ropes, and hauled up all the conspirators, one at a time, and then John himself.”  They hid in Empress Theophano’s palace apartment, then slunk into the Emperor’s bedchamber and murdered him with swords in an execution of Death by Cuts, wherein all assassins strike equal blows against their victim.  Tzimiskes then had his men strike off the Emperor’s head to show it to supporters as he took over Phocas’ place as Emperor of Eastern Rome.

When the new Emperor John sent Prince Svein a message that he would never be co-Emperor of Rome, Prince Svein gathered up his Hraes’, Bulgarian and Wallachian legions as well as twenty thousand Pecheneg mounted warriors and attacked the Romans from southern Bulgaria and conquered the city of Philippopolis.  Again we turn to Leo the Deacon for details and the Romans set up an ambush and drew the Pecheneg horsemen into a trap and destroyed them with their heavy cavalry (cataphracts).  In response to this guerilla warfare tactic, Count Vlad and his Wallachian legion impaled twenty thousand Roman citizens in Philippopolis.  Historically, nobody has ever drawn this parallel, however, there were twenty thousand Pechenegs killed in a dishonourable ambush and then twenty thousand people impaled in the captured Roman city for no apparent reason, so, I’ll use my drafting skills and draw this conclusion.

The Romans had to withdraw after this victory to put down a rebellion in Anatolia so the Hraes’ legions ravaged Thrace and Macedonia all summer and then Prince Svein and Princess Svia wintered in their new capital of Pereslavet on the Danube estuary.

The next spring, Emperor John returned with his generals and a huge Roman army supported by three hundred Greek-fire equipped triremes and they set out to drive the Hraes’ out of Bulgaria.  Again we rely heavily on the writings of Leo the Deacon to provide as accurate a description of the Battle of Bulgaria as we possibly can.  The Romans drive Prince Svein and his Hraes’ legions into the Fortress of Dorostal (Dorostolon) on the Danube and the three hundred fire breathers block their escape by sea.  While battling before the Fortress, the Hraes’ legions almost rout the Roman legions and are saved by a miracle when the ghost of Saint Theodore appears on a white horse to regroup the Roman forces so they can drive the Hraes’ back to the fortress.  Here I have the Hraes’ forces see the ghost on the white horse as well but their ghost has no legs and it is the ghost of Saint Ivar ‘the Boneless’ and he warns the Hraes’ that the fleeing Romans are leading them into another trap and the Hraes’ advance in reverse and return to their fortress to escape a hidden cataphract legion that would have annihilated them.

Prince Hraerik returns from Baghdad with the Hraes’ merchant fleet of thousands of ships and they sail up the Danube and trap the three hundred Roman fire breathers upriver.  Hraerik sends peace envoys to Admiral Theophanes and talks are established between Emperor John and Prince Svein.  They agree that Prince Svein’s claim to co-Emperorship shall remain valid, but first he must settle his claim on the throne of Denmark before he can advance his Roman claim and Emperor John pays Svein ten thousand pounds of gold to help advance his Danish claim.  The Romans gain all Bulgarian lands south of the Danube and the Hraes’ retain all Wallachian lands north of the great river, so, Svein loses his new capital of Pereslavet, as it is on the south side of the Danube River.  And Prince Svein almost loses Princess Sviataslava to Emperor John when they learn that she is really an Armenian Roman princess, a cousin of Empress Theophano.

In Leo the Deacon’s account of the battle, he has two Prince Sveins extant, Sphendosthlavos (Svein ‘the Slav’ – Svein’s Slavic name) and Sphengelos (Svein ‘the Old’ – Svein’s Norse name) and he has Sphengelos die in battle.  In the next chapter of the saga, the Russian Primary Chronicle has two Prince Sveins existing as well, Sviatoslav (Svein ‘the Slav’ – Svein’s Slavic name) and Sveinald (Svein ‘the Old’ – Svein’s Norse name) and Sviatoslav dies in battle fighting Pechenegs while Sveinald survives and makes it back to Kiev.  In this tale, Kagan Kurya of the Pechenegs makes a gold encrusted drinking goblet of Prince Sviatoslav’s skull, but I think we have sufficiently illustrated that golden skull cups were a Bulgarian thing (ie: Emperor Nikephoros the First was beheaded by Kagan Krum of the Bulgars and his skull was turned into a gold encrusted drinking cup a hundred and fifty years earlier).  The Nestorian monks of the Russian chronicles have fallen into a nasty habit of killing off any Hraes’ Princes or Princesses who leave their respective territories.  And, while not wanting to ‘dis’ ancient Christian writers, perhaps Nestor could have found a more original form of death for Sviatoslav than ripping off Emperor Nikephoros’ fated skull cup death.  But I think my effort of illustrating why the ‘Lying Sagas of Denmark’ were destroyed by the following Danish Christian kings, gives me the right to call out plagiarism when I see it, so, yes, the Russian monk Nestor ripped this off from the Romans and Prince Svein was never killed by the Pechenegs and he returned to Kiev and then went to Scandinavia to reclaim his father, Ivar’s, Danish throne.  To put it in the words of Prince Svein, “Those Focking Christians!”

Book Four, “The Saga of Svein ‘the Old’ Ivarson,” demonstrates how Prince Svein ‘the Old’ (Slavic: Sviatoslav ‘the Brave’) of Kiev later moved to Norway and fought to become King Sweyn Forkbeard of Denmark.  But before being forced out of Russia, he sated his battle lust by crushing the Khazars and attacking the great great grandfather of Vlad the Impaler in a bloody campaign into the Heart of Darkness of Wallachia against the Army of the Impalers and their 666 salute.  The campaign was so mortifying that the fifteen thousand pounds of gold that the Emperor of Constantinople paid him to attack them seemed not nearly enough, so Prince Svein attacked the Eastern Roman Empire itself.  He came so close to defeating the greatest empire in the world, that later Danish Christian Kings would call his saga, and the sagas of his kin, “The Lying Sagas of Denmark” and set out to destroy them.

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