The Earliest States of Eastern Europe
DG-2021, 368-383

The Circumstances and Time of the Appearance of the Project “Gothic Metropolia” (Not. III)

Y. M. Mogarichev

The article deals with the information on Crimea preserved in so-called de Boors’ Notitia (Not. III according to J. Darrouzes). This information differs from other Byzantine Notitia (Not. I, II. IV, V, VI according to J. Darrouzes) dating before the beginning of the 10th century. The author agrees with the scholars who consider the “the Crimean” part of Not. III to be a part of “draft project” of creating a system of Christian dioceses of Khazaria with a center in Doros (today’s Mangup in the mountains of South-Western Crimea). On the other hand, the hypothesis that the project of organization of the “Gothic metropolis” was a result of a byzantine mission to Khazaria in which Constantine the Philosopher took part seem to be unacceptable. It’ very unlikely that the imperial mission of 860–861 traveled through Khazaria without any information about localization of Kagan’s horde. Justinian II also managed to get there even earlier in the beginning of the 8th century. The embassy of Tiberius III Apsiamar sent to Khazaria in order to destroy Justinian II also managed to get there. Diplomatic missions between Khazaria and Byzantium also undoubtedly arranged the marriage between Constantine V and Kazarian princes Chichak.

The article also deals with the problem of unification of the territory of “Gothic Metropolis” according to Not. III. It could be divided by the dioceses of Sougdaia and Bosporus on the way from Doris to Tamatarkha and inner Khazaria. The unity of “Khazar dioceses” of Gothic metropolis’ territory could achieved only if they were connected through the steppes of Northern Crimea and around the Sea of Azov. This situation possibly could be a chronological mark of the date of the composition of the document.

Although the organization of the Metropolis in Doris could be a byzantine initiative, the dioceses in inner Khazaria could be created only after the agreement of Khazar ruling elite. The Khazars controlled the Pontic Steppes and the North of Crimea until the end of 830s or the beginning of 840s. Thus, after having examined some different points of view concerning the dating of Not. III and its information about Crimea the author concludes that this document refer the situation of the second part of 830s or the beginning of 830s. It is possible that this project appeared when the Khazar Khaqanate needed a help from Byzantium and perhaps could agree with the presence of Byzantine church officials in the inner Khazar lands. Thus this project could probably appear close to the time of creation the theme of Klimata after Petrona’s mission to Khazaria and the building of Sarkel. But finally this idea remained a non-realized project. This could have happen may be as a result of the political changes (a conflict between Khazaria and Hungarians?) or was rejected by Khazar rulers for any other reasons Author agrees with V.S. Flyorov that there could be more than one mission of Byzantium’s officials and engineers and the project reflected in Not. III could be a result of one of them.

Keywords:
Crimea, Khazaria, Metropolia, Eparchy, Notitiae
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