Second Bulgarian Empire

Byzantines counter-attack fails
Byzantine troops ©Angus McBride
1304 Jan 1

Byzantines counter-attack fails

Sozopolis, Bulgaria

When Theodore Svetoslav was crowned Emperor of Bulgaria in 1300, he sought revenge for the Tatar attacks on the state in the previous 20 years. The traitors were punished first, including Patriarch Joachim III, who was found guilty of helping the enemies of the crown. Then the tsar turned to Byzantium, which had inspired the Tatar invasions and had managed to conquer many Bulgarian fortresses in Thrace. In 1303, his army marched southwards and regained many towns. In the following year the Byzantines counter-attacked and the two armies met near the Skafida river.


The Byzantines had an advantage in the beginning and managed to push the Bulgarians across the river. They were so infatuated with the chase of the retreating soldiers that they crowded on the bridge, which had been sabotaged before the battle by the Bulgarians, and broke down. The river was very deep at that place and many Byzantine soldiers panicked and drowned, which helped the Bulgarians snatch victory. After the victory, the Bulgarians captured a lot of Byzantine soldiers and according to custom the ordinary people were released and only the nobles were held for ransom. 


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Last Updated: : Tue Jan 16 2024