A Turkic people from Central Asia who migrated westward across the steppe (q.v.), settling west of the Black Sea (q.v.) by the end of the fifth century. Justinian I (q.v.) tried to check the threat of Cotrigur raids by cultivating another Turkic people, the Utigurs (q.v.), who lived to the east of the Sea of Azov. In 551, when some 12,000 Cotrigurs, encouraged by their allies, the Geipids (q.v.), crossed the Danube (q.v.) on a plundering expedition, Justinian I incited the Utigurs to attack them and they were forced to withdraw. In 558 a Cotrigur chieftain named Zabergan invaded Thrace (qq.v.), sending one part of his forces into Greece (q.v.) as far as Thermopylae (q.v.). Another part moved against Constantinople (q.v.), which Belisarios (q.v.) defended heroically. Justinian I again stirred the Utigurs to attack the Cotrigurs, which they did once the Cotrigurs withdrew across the Danube. In the second half of the sixth century, the Cotrigurs were subjugated by the Avars (q.v.), who forced some to accompany them to Pannonia (q.v.). Other Cotrigurs were incorporated into Bulgaria (q.v.) in the seventh century.

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  • Zabergan —    Khan of the Cotrigurs (qq.v.), who was repulsed by the aged Belisarios (q.v.) in 559. Zabergan crossed the frozen Danube (q.v.) in the winter of 558 559. Reaching Thrace (q.v.), he divided his forces into three units. One unit ravaged Thrace,… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Belisarios —    Justinian I s (q.v.) greatest general. His contributions to Justinian I s reign were considerable. Without him, Justinian I might have lost his throne in the Nika Revolt (q.v.) of 532. The reconquest of North Africa from the Vandals (qq.v.) in …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Bulgars —    Pastoralists originally from central Asia, who migrated westward to the steppe (q.v.) north of the Caspian Sea, as did the Huns and the Avars (qq.v.). They must have been Turkic in origin because nearly a hundred proto Bulgarian (i.e., pre… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Long Wall —    A wall of considerable length erected (or rebuilt) by Anastasios I (q.v.) to the west of Constantinople (q.v.) for the purpose of protecting the city from invasion. It extended some 45 kilometers from Selymbria (q.v.), on the north shore of… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Thermopylae —    Narrow pass that provides access from northern Greece into central Greece and the Peloponnesos (qq.v.). It is best known for its famous defense against Xerxes in 480 B.C. In the Byzantine period, Justinian I (q.v.) provided it with a garrison… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • Utrigurs —    A Turkic people from the Eurasian steppe (q.v.) who migrated westward, by the late fifth century settling beyond the river Don to the east of the Sea of Azov. Justinian I (q.v.) used them as a check on their neighbors, the Cotrigurs (q.v.).… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

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