- Justinian II
name =Justinian II
title =Emperor of the
caption =Justinian, on the reverse of this coin struck during his second reign, is holding a patriarchal globe with PAX, "peace"
reign =685 – 695
705 - December, 711
Theodora of Khazaria
date of birth =669
date of death =December, 711|
Justinian II ( _el. Ιουστινιανός Β΄, "Ioustinianos II"; 669–December 711), known as "Rinotmetos" or "Rhinotmetus" (Ρινότμητος, "Rinotmētos", "the Slit-nosed"), was the last
Byzantine emperorof the , reigning from 685 to 695 and again from 705 to 711. Justinian unified the office of consul with that of emperor thus making emperor the head of state not only de facto but also de jure, and effectively abolished the consulate. His predecessor emperor Constans IIwas the last person to be officially proclaimed Roman consul.
Justinian II was the first son of Emperor
Constantine IVand Anastasia. His father raised him to the throne as joint emperor in 681. In 685, at the age of sixteen, Justinian II succeeded his father as sole emperor.
Due to Constantine IV's victories, the situation in the Eastern provinces of the Empire was stable when Justinian became emperor. After a preliminary strike against the
Arabs in Armenia, Justinian managed to augment the sum paid by the Umayyad Caliphs as an annual tribute, and to regain control of part of Cyprus. The incomes of the provinces of Armeniaand Iberia were divided among the two empires. In 687, as part of his agreements with the Caliphate, Justinian removed from their native Lebanon12,000 Christian Maronites, who continually resisted the Arabs.
Justinian took advantage of the peace in the East to regain possession of the
Balkans, which were before then almost totally under the heel of Slavic tribes. In 687 Justinian transferred cavalry troops from Anatoliato Thrace. With a great military campaign in 688–689, Justinian defeated the Bulgarsof Macedonia and was finally able to enter Thessalonica, the second most important Byzantine city in Europe.
The subdued Slavs were resettled in Anatolia, where they were to provide a military force of 30,000 men. Emboldened by the increase of his forces in Anatolia, Justinian now renewed the war against the Arabs. With the help of his new troops, Justinian won a battle against the enemy in Armenia in 693, but they were soon bribed to revolt by the Arabs. The emperor defeated the rebel Slavs, but the war against the Arabs was lost, and the Arabs conquered Armenia in 694–695.
Meanwhile the emperor's bloody persecution of the Manichaeans and suppression of popular traditions of non-Orthodox origin caused dissension within the Church. In 692 Justinian convened the so-called
Quinisext Councilat Constantinople to put his policy into effect, by which he compromised relations with the Roman Church. The emperor ordered Pope Sergius Iarrested, but his army rebelled at Ravennaand took the Pope's side.
Through his agents Stephen and Theodotos, the emperor extorted the funds to gratify his sumptuous tastes and his mania for erecting costly buildings. This, and ongoing religious discontent, eventually drove his subjects into rebellion. In 695 they rose under Leontius and, after cutting off the emperor's nose (whence his surname) with the intent of forever preventing his return to power (an unblemished appearance being a requirement of Imperial rule), banished him to
Chersonin the Crimea. Leontius, after a reign of three years, was in turn dethroned and imprisoned by Tiberius Apsimarus, who next assumed the throne.
Justinian became a liability to Cherson and the authorities decided to return him to Constantinople in 702 or 703. He escaped from Cherson and received help from Ibusirus Gliabanus (Busir Glavan), the
khaganof the Khazars, who received him enthusiastically and gave him his sister as a bride. Justinian renamed her Theodora. They were given a home in the town of Phanagoria, at the entrance to the sea of Azov. Busir was offered a bribe by Tiberios to kill his brother-in-law, and dispatched two Khazar officials, Papatzysand Balgitzin, to do the deed. Warned by his wife, Justinian strangled Papatzys and Balgatzin with his own hands. He sailed in a fishing-boat to Cherson, summoned his supporters, and they all sailed westwards across the Black Sea.
Justinian sailed to
Tervel of Bulgaria. Tervel agreed to provide all the military assistance necessary for Justinian to regain his throne in exchange for financial considerations, the award of a Caesar's crown, and the hand of Justinian's daughter, Anastasia, in marriage. In spring 705, with an army of 15,000 Bulgar horsemen Justinian appeared before the walls of Constantinople. Unable to take the city by force, he and some companions entered through an unused water conduit under the walls of the city, roused their supporters, and seized control of the city in a midnight coup d'état. Justinian once more ascended the throne, breaking the tradition preventing the mutilated from Imperial rule, and then had his rivals Leontius and Tiberius executed along with many of their partisans, and deposed and blinded Patriarch Kallinikos I of Constantinople.
His second reign was marked by unsuccessful warfare against Bulgaria and the Caliphate, and by cruel suppression of opposition at home. In 708 Justinian turned on Bulgarian Khan
Tervel, whom he had earlier crowned Caesar of Byzantium, and invaded Bulgaria, apparently seeking to recover the territories ceded to Tervel as a reward for his support in 705. The emperor was defeated, blockaded in Anchialus, and forced to retreat. Peace between Bulgaria and Byzantium was quickly restored. This defeat was followed by Arab victories in Asia Minor, where the cities of Ciliciafell into the hands of the enemy, who penetrated into Cappadociain 709–711.
Justinian was more interested in punishing his subjects at Ravenna and Cherson. He ordered
Pope John VIIto recognize the decisions of the Quinisext Council and simultaneously fitted out a punitive expeditionagainst Ravenna in 709. The repression succeeded, and the new Pope Constantinevisited Constantinople in 710, giving into some of the emperor's demands and restoring relations between the emperor and the Papacy. This would be the last time a Pope visited the city until the visit of Pope Paul VIto Istanbulin 1967.
There is evidence that Justinian contributed to the development of the
thematic organization and sought to protect the rights of peasant freeholders, who served as the main recruitment pool for the armed forces of the Empire.
Justinian's tyrannical rule provoked another uprising against him. Cherson revolted and under the leadership of the exiled general Bardanes, the city held out against a counter-attack and soon the forces sent to suppress the rebellion joined it. The rebels then seized the capital and proclaimed Bardanes as Emperor Philippicus; Justinian had been on his way to Armenia, and was unable to return to Constantinople in time to defend it. He was arrested and executed outside the city in December 711, his head being sent to Bardanes as a trophy.
On hearing the news of his death, Justinian's mother took his six-year-old son and co-emperor, Tiberius, to sanctuary at St. Mary's Church in Blachernae, but was pursued by Philippicus' henchmen, who dragged the child from the altar and, once outside the church, murdered him, thus eradicating the line of
By his first wife Eudokia, Justinian II had at least one daughter:
* Anastasia, who was betrothed to
Tervel of Bulgaria.By his second wife, Theodora of Khazaria, Justinian II had a son:
* Tiberios, co-emperor from 706 to 711.
Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium", Oxford University Press, 1991.
*"Byzantium: the early centuries" by
John Julius Norwich
* [http://7.1911encyclopedia.org/J/JU/JUSTINIAN_II_.htm 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article]
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