|1304||Battle of Skafida||★ ★ ★ ★ ★|
|Outcome:||A Byzantine defeat by the Bulgarians||1304|
|War & Enemy:||
Later Bulgarian Wars
|The Battlefield|| Location:
At Skafida river, near Sozopol, Bulgaria
| Modern Country:
|The Byzantines(emperor: Michael IX Palaiologos)||The Enemies|
|Commander:||Co-Emperor Michael IX Palaiologos||Tsar Theodore Svetoslav|
|Background story:||When Theodore Svetoslav was crowned Tsar in 1300, he sought revenge for the Tatar attacks on Bulgaria in the previous 20 years. The traitors were punished first, including Patriarch Joakim III, who was found guilty of helping the enemies of the crown. Then the tsar turned against Byzantium, which had inspired the Tatar invasions and had managed to conquer many Bulgarian fortresses in Thrace.
In 1303 his army marched southwards and regained many towns. In the following year the Byzantines counter-attacked and the two armies met near the Skafida river.
The Byzantines had an advantage in the beginning of the battle and managed to push the Bulgarians across the river. They were so infatuated with the chase of the retreating soldiers that they crowded on the bridge, which had been sabotaged before the battle by the Bulgarians, and broke down. The river was very deep at that place and many Byzantine soldiers panicked and drowned, which helped the Bulgarians snatch victory.
After the victory, the Bulgarians captured many Byzantine soldiers and according to the custom of that period, the ordinary people were released and only the nobles were held for ransom.
|Noteworthy:||After the defeat, Michael IX had to melt his personal treasure in order to pay for a new army.|
|Aftermath:||The Bulgarians continued their attacks with success. A peace treaty was signed in 1307 that lasted until Theodore Svetoslav's death in 1321. So peace prevailed for some time at that part of the Balkans.|