Μιὰ ἀραβο-βυζαντινὴ ἀνταλλαγὴ αιχμαλώτων ἐπὶ Μιχαὴλ Γ’

Ἀπὸ τὴ Χρονογραφία τοῦ σύριου Μονοφυσίτη Γρηγόριου Βὰρ Ἑβραίου.

And in the year in which Wathek began to reign, which is the year eleven hundred and fifty-five (A.D. 844), Michael, the son of Theophila, [began] to reign over the Rhomaye, being a child three years old. And his mother Theodora administered the kingdom, and ‘Amanu’il, the captain of the host, was over all the troops. And the Rhomaye sent an ambassador to the Arabs on the subject of peace, and the exchange of prisoners. And when the ambassador of the Rhomaye came, Wathek the king received him gladly, and he did not speak arrogant words like his father, who said, ‘We do not admit that the Christians are of equal value with the Arabs when [weighed in] the balance for exchange’, [154] but straightway he wished to exchange man for man. Now the ambassador of the Rhomaye was not at first pleased [with this view], and he said, ‘All the Arab prisoners which we have are soldiers whom we have made prisoners during the wars, whilst as regards the Christian prisoners that are with you, the greater number of them are soldiers which ye have captured in the villages, and old men, and old women, and very young boys, and girls. How can we possibly give soul for soul?‘ And when they had contended in this wise for days, finally the ambassador agreed to exchange one for one. And because the number of the Arab prisoners amounted to four thousand three hundred and sixty-two souls, and the number of the Christians was fewer, Wathek the king sent and collected from all his boundaries slaves, both male and female, which he bought from their owners. And since even by this means the [full] number was not made up, he drove out from his palace the handmaidens which he had chosen from the Rhomaye, and sent them with his ambassadors. And the ARABS and the Rhomaye were gathered together on the river of Silawkia, which is on the frontier of Tarsos, and the liberation [of the prisoners] took place. And it is said that Wathek commanded his ambassadors, saying, ‘As concerning all the Arabs whom ye redeem among the prisoners—first of all ask each man, «Is the Word of God create or uncreate?» He who saith «uncreate» redeem, and he [who saith] «create» leave in the hands of the Rhomaye.

 

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