The Battle of the Gates of Trajan, 986: A reassessment

Matthew Larnach

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The Battle of the Gates of Trajan, 17 August 986, was a landmark event in the history of the Byzantine Empire. Ambushed and annihilated by a Bulgarian army, this humiliating military reverse played a significant role in shaping the long reign of Emperor Basil II, who would rule the Byzantine Empire for another thirty-nine years and lead it to what may be regarded as its military apogee. Yet this emphasis on its legacy has left the battle itself, and the campaign which preceded it, relatively unstudied. This paper seeks to rectify this oversight by reassessing the campaign in detail, employing logistical modelling and geographical research to reconstruct the mistakes which led to one of Byzantium’s most infamous defeats.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)9-34
    Number of pages26
    JournalJournal of Military History (US)
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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