|896||Battle of Boulgarophygon (Battle of Achelous or Acheloos)||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A crashing Bulgarian victory who then marched against Constantinople||summer 896|
|War & Enemy:||
|The Battlefield|| Location:
Near the town of Bulgarophygon, modern Babaeski in the European part of Turkey, 26 km east of Edirne.
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Leo VI the Wise)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||General Leo Katakalon||Tsar Symeon I|
|Forces:||Unknown size but was a big army||Unknown size but was a big army|
|Background story:||During the rule of Boris I (852–889), Bulgaria was converted to Christianity. After an unsuccessful effort by Boris’ successors to revert to paganism, the Bulgar nobles, in the Council of Preslav (893), decided that Boris’ 3rd son Symeon, born after the Christianization, would become ruler of Bulgaria. It was also decided that Old Bulgarian was to replace Greek as the language of the church and the clergy to be replaced with Bulgarians.
This decision ruined the Byzantine hopes to exert influence over the newly Christianized country. In order to retaliate and also under the influence of his lover Zoe and her father (who had personal interests), emperor Leo VI decided to move the market of the Bulgarian goods from Constantinople to Thessaloniki. The ousting of the merchants from Constantinople, was a heavy blow for the Bulgarian economy. Symeon after an ineffectual effort to negotiate with Leo, declared war.
The Byzantines assembled a large army under the generals Prokopios Krenites and Kourtikios and in the ensuing battle, somewhere in the Theme of Macedonia, probably around Adrianople, the Byzantines were defeated and their commanders perished.
Leo VI turned to the well-tried methods of Byzantine diplomacy and sent envoys to the Magyars, who in that time inhabited the steppes to the north-east of Bulgaria. The Mayars attacked the Bulgarians reaching the outskirts of the capital Preslav. Symeon in alliance with the Pechenegs managed eventually to crash them and then turned against Byzantium again.
The Byzantines prepared a new army transferring "all themes and tagmata" (i. e. all forces that were fighting the Arabs) to Europe to deal with the new Bulgarian threat. The army was under the command of Domestic of the schools, Leo Katakalon.
Battle in Boulgarophygon
The armies met in Boulgarophygon. Details are not known, but the fact is that the Byzantine army was completely destroyed in the battle. Among the casualties was the protovestiarios Theodosius, the second-in-command of the army, while Leo Katakalon managed to escape with a few other survivors.
|Noteworthy:||Bulgarian historians consider this war "the first commercial war in Europe".|
|Aftermath:||Symeon marched against Constantinople but he was stopped by an army of Arab prisoners who fought for Byzantium in exchange for freedom. The war ended with a peace treaty. The Byzantines had to pay an annual tribute and ceded a large area to the Bulgars.|