And when, from about 1180 to 1200, the Greek power was approaching its dissolution, the people of the Danubian provinces were ripe for insurrection, and there were not wanting brave leaders to assist them in striking the blow for their independence. From the conflicting accounts of historians, neither the names nor number of those leaders, nor yet the precise events which led to the establishment of the new empire, are ascertainable with exactitude. Either there were two Wallachian brothers, Peter and Asan, to whom a near relative of the Greek emperor Isaac Angelos (1185-1195) treacherously allied himself, or three brothers, Peter, Asan, and John. The origin of the revolt is undoubted; it arose from the levying of what the people deemed an unjust tax upon them, and probably the refusal of the emperor to admit them into his army as paid mercenaries, as in the case of other tribes. In order to obtain redress for these grievances, an embassy, comprising the two brothers Peter and Asan, went to Constantinople. They were admitted to the emperor’s presence, but their requests were refused, and one of the brothers, having displayed too much warmth on the occasion, received a box on the ear, which may be said to have laid the foundation of the Wallacho-Bulgarian Empire, and expedited the fall of the Greek dynasty.
At first the revolt was unsuccessful, and the Wallachs and Bulgarians in alliance were obliged to retreat across the Danube (1187); but soon returning with a powerful army, in which a new tribe, the Kumani, were also represented, they succeeded in inflicting a defeat upon the Emperor Isaac (about 1193), who narrowly escaped with his life. Pressing on to Adrianople, the allies threatened to overwhelm the Eastern Empire, and the Emperor Alexius Comnenus was only too glad to conclude a peace with them (about 1199) and to recognise their independence.
[Footnote 125: Pic (p. 64) says the Roumanian Wallachs were first referred to in 970, and (p. 113) first mentioned north of the Danube in 1222.]