Sunday, July 29, 2007

Today In History: I'm pretty sure this violates the Geneva Convention..

On this date in 1014 AD, Byzantine forces handed the army of the Bulgarian Empire a stomping at the Battle of Kleidion.

Capturing some 14-15,000 Bulgarian troops, Basil II of Byzantium had them blinded, but showed what a nice guy he was by ordering that one man out of every hundred be left one-eyed so that he could lead the other 99 home.

7 comments:

Carl said...

All in favor of walking thru this valley and going home? All in favor of standing here and blindly starving to death?
OK, The eyes have it.

Matt G said...

Well, it's like they always say:

"In the land of the 11th Century Bulgaria, every 100th veteran is king."

Wait. Isn't that how it goes?

skywriter said...

Are you sure that just wasn't a Buckeye's game.

Tam said...

carl,

Gawd, that was an awful pun.

Wish I'd wrote it. ;)

Chas S. Clifton said...

Don't you have to assume that combatant numbers are over-reported by a factor of at least ten in most ancient chronicles?

Tam said...

It's an oft-applied rule of thumb for ancient battles.

Bear in mind, though, that Kleidion isn't much further back than Hastings, which hardly makes it ancient...

Akatsukami said...

The exact number of troops engaged can be questioned, as can the blinding of the prisoners and the story that the Bulgarian tsar Samuel had a stroke and/or heart attack when he saw the blind army come stumbling back.

OTOH, the incident (or the propaganda about it) did get Basil the nickname Bulgaroktonos ("killer of Bulgarians"), so we may hypothesize that the essential message was gotten across, viz., "Don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry".