The Belegezites (Ancient Greek: Βελεγεζίται, Belegezitai) were a South Slavic (Sklavenoi) tribe that lived in the area of Thessaly in the Early Middle Ages. They are one of the tribes listed in the Miracles of Saint Demetrius.
According to the Miracles of Saint Demetrius, they were settled around Demetrias and Phthiotic Thebes on the northern shores of the Pagasetic Gulf. The same area is still called Belechatouia (Βελεχατουΐα, Velechativa in Latin) in the chrysobull of 1198 granting privileges to the Republic of Venice, and in the 1204 Partitio Romaniae. At the time, it formed an imperial episkepsis (fiscal district). The later, 13th/14th-century name "land of the Levachatai" (γῆ τῶν Λεβαχάτων), and the name of the village Levache (Λεβάχη), both found in the cadasters of the Lykousada Monastery, also possibly derive from the same locality.
The area of Belzetia, which was also located in Greece and is mentioned as the area ruled by Akameros in ca. 799, most likely does not derive from the Belegezites, but rather from the related Slavic tribe of the Berzites.
After settling in the region of Thessaly, the economic activities of the tribe included trade with the Byzantine city of Thessaloniki by 670–80. When the city was besieged by the Sagudates, Drogubites and other tribes in the late 7th century, the leaders of the Belegezites provided supplies for the besieged population. During the same period, along with other tribes they were using armed logboats to plunder the coasts of Thessaly. One of the leaders of the tribe in the late 7th century was a person named Tihomir, whose name has been found on artifacts of the same period. Religious buildings of the 8th century in Thessaly have been connected with the Christianization of the tribe, after the campaigns of Byzantine emperor Nikephoros I against the Slavs of the area.
Their name is rendered in English as Belegezites, Velegesites, Belegizites and Velzite Slavs. In Macedonian, Bulgarian and Serbian, Velegeziti (Cyrillic: Велегезити) is used.
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- Florin Curta The Making of the Slavs: History and Archaeology of the Lower ... 2001 Page 108 "Sagudates, Belegezites, Baiunetes, and Berzetes. There are several cross references to most of these tribes in Book II. In all cases, We are left with the impression that they were a familiar presence. The Sclavenes were not just invaders, they ..."
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