In 1046, and again in 1061, two dangerous pagan risings shook the very foundations of the infant church and state; the western provinces were in constant danger from the attacks of the acquisitive emperors, and from the south and southeast two separate hordes of fierce barbarians (the Petchenegs in 1067-1068, and the Kumanians in 1071-1072) burst over the land.
So important was this traffic held at Constantinople that, when the portage to the Don was endangered by the irruption of a fresh horde of Turks (the Petchenegs), the emperor Theophilus himself despatched the materials and the workmen to build for the Khazars a fortress impregnable to their forays (834).
Indeed his dominion became an object of uneasiness to the jealous statecraft of Byzantium, and Constantine Porphyrogenitus, writing for his son's instruction in the government, carefully enumerates the Alans, the Petchenegs, the Uzes and the Bulgarians as the forces he must rely on to restrain it.
The advance of the Petchenegs from the East gave the Russians their opportunity.
Before the onset of those fierce invaders the precarious suzerainty of the khakan broke up. By calling in the Uzes, the Khazars did indeed dislodge the Petchenegs from the position they had seized in the heart of the kingdom between the Volga and the Don, but only to drive them inwards to the Dnieper.
PETCHENEGS, or Patzinaks, a barbarous people, probably of Turkish race, who at the end of the 9th century were driven into Europe from the lower Ural, and for about 300 years wandered about the northern frontier of the East Roman Empire.
Isaac's only military expedition was against the Hungarians and Petchenegs, who began to ravage the northern frontiers in 1059.
This prince founded the church in 1037 in gratitude for his victory over the Petchenegs, a Turkish race then settled in the Dnieper valley.
He had next to repel the invasions of Patzinaks (Petchenegs) and Kumans in Thrace, with whom the Manichaean sects of the Paulicians and Bogomilians made common cause; and thirdly, he had to cope with the fast-growing power of the Turks in Asia Minor.
The Magyars occupied Belgrade, the Petchenegs (Patzinaks) continued their inroads, and in 1065 the Uzes (called by the Greeks Comani), a Turkish tribe from the shores of the Euxine, crossed the Danube in vast numbers, ravaged Thrace and Macedonia, and penetrated as far as Thessalonica.
The modern Hungarians (excluding Slavonic elements) are probably a mixture of these Magyars with the remnants of older invaders such as Huns, Petchenegs and Kumans.
Through it went the communications of the empire with the Petchenegs and other native tribes, and more especially with the Russians.
Rebellions broke out at home and abroad; the Normans conquered Lombardy, which subsequently (1055) became the duchy of Apulia, and thus Italy was lost to the empire; the Petchenegs (Patzinaks) crossed the Danube and attacked Thrace and Macedonia; and the Seljuk Turks made their appearance on the Armenian frontier.
The Ugrians were forced farther west by the Turkish tribe of the Petchenegs in the 10th century, and these were succeeded in the 11th century by the Kumans (Comani) or Polovtsians, a kindred Turkish stock or federation.
Towards the close of the 13th century, Walachia and Moldavia were occupied by a mixed population, composed partly of Vlachs, but mainly of Sla y s and Tatars; in Great Walachia,1 also called Muntenia, the Petchenegs and Cumanians The predominated.