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Encyclopedia > Maurice (emperor)
A solidus of Maurikios' reign.
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A solidus of Maurikios' reign.

Flavius Maurikios Tiberius (539-602), known in English as Maurice, was a Byzantine Emperor who ruled from 582 to 602. He was one of the most important rulers of the early Byzantine era, whose reign was troubled by almost unending wars on all frontiers. Image File history File links Solidus-Maurice_Tiberius-sb0481. ... Image File history File links Solidus-Maurice_Tiberius-sb0481. ... Julian solidus, ca. ... Events November 29 - Antioch struck by an earthquake. ... Events Phocas kills Byzantine Emperor Maurice I and makes himself emperor Beginning of a series of wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanids Births Muawiyah, founder of the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs (approximate date) Xuanzang, famous Chinese Buddhist monk. ...

Contents

Life

Persian War and accession to the throne

Flavius Mauricius Tiberius originated from Arabissus in Cappadocia and was a successful commander-in-chief. He was adopted by his predecessor Tiberius II, and succeeded him after the latter’s death. His reign is an accurately documented era of the late classical antiquity (most important source is the historian Theophylact Simocatta). Cappadocia in 188 BC In ancient geography, Cappadocia (from Persian: Katpatuka meaning the land of beautiful horses, Greek: Καππαδοκία; see also List of traditional Greek place names; Turkish Kapadokya) was an extensive inland district of Asia Minor (modern Turkey). ... Tiberius II Constantine, wearing consular robes. ... A historian is someone who writes history, and history is a written accounting of the past. ... Theophylact Simocatta (Theophylaktos Simokates, also Simokattes) was an early 7th century Byzantine historiographer, arguably ranking as the last historian of Antiquity. ...


During a war with the Sassanid Empire, already under way in 572 under Justin II, Maurice was in service as commander-in-chief from 579 on. He scored a crushing victory against the Persians in 581. A year later, he married Constantina, the Emperor’s daughter. On August 13th, he succeeded his father-in-law. At that time, he ruled a bankrupt Empire, paying extremely high tribute to the Avars, its Balkan provinces thoroughly devastated by the Slavs and at war with Persia. The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Empire (Persian: Sasanian) is the name used for the fourth Iranian dynasty, and the second Persian Empire (226 - 651). ... Flavius Iustinus Iunior Augustus Flavius Iustinus Iunior Augustus or Justin II (c. ... The Eurasian Avars were a nomadic people of Eurasia who established a state in the Danube River area of Europe in the early 6th century. ... Distribution of Slavic peoples by language Countries inhabited predominantly by Slavic peoples The Slavic peoples are a linguistic and ethnic branch of Indo-European peoples, living mainly in Europe. ...


Maurice had to continue the war against Persia. In 586, his troops defeated the Persians at Dara. Despite serious mutiny in 588, they managed to stand up to the Persians for two more years, until Chosroes II and Persian commander-in-chief Bahram Chobin 590 overthrew King Hormizd IV. Chosroes II subsequently fled to the Byzantine court. Although the Senate advised against it one voice, Maurice helped Chosroes II. to regain his throne. Maurice could finally bring the war to a successful conclusion by means of a new accession of Chosroes II and defeat of Bahram Chobin. As agreed upon, Chosroes II., probably adopted by Maurice, rewarded the latter by sceeding north eastern Mesopotamia and Armenia up to the capital Dvin and the Lake Van and Iberia (eastern Georgia) up to the capital Tbilisi. Afterwards, Maurice imposed a Union between the Armenian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople. Events Reccared succeeds his father Leovigild as king of the Visigoths. ... Location the governorate of Dara within Syria Dara (fortress, compare Dura-Europos) (Arabic: درعا) is a city in southwestern Syria, near the border with Jordan. ... Events The Lombards are converted to Catholic Christianity. ... Khosrau II, Parvez (the Victorious), king of Persia, son of Hormizd IV, grandson of Khosrau I, 590 – 628. ... Bahram Chobin (in Persian بهرام چوبین) was a famous Eran spahbod (military commander) during Khosrau IIs rule in Sassanid Iran. ... Events September 3 - St. ... Hormizd IV, son of Khosrau I, reigned as king of Persia from 578 to 590. ... Mesopotamia refers to the region now occupied by modern Iraq, eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and Southwest Iran. ... Dvin (Armenian: ; Greek: ) — was a large commercial city, the capital of medieval Armenia, the ruins of which are located in the province of Ararat nearby a town by the same name. ... Lake Van from space, September 1996 Lake Van Landsat photo Lake Van (Turkish: Van Gölü, in Armenian: Վանա լիճ) is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country. ... Iberia can mean: The Iberian peninsula of South west Europe; That part of it once inhabited by the Iberians, who spoke the Iberian language. ... Map of Constantinople. ...


Balkan warfare

After his victory on the eastern frontier, Maurice focused on the Balkans and transferred parts of Armenian nobility to south eastern Europe. The Slavs, having pillaged the Roman Balkan provinces for decades, began settling the land from the 580’s on. The Avars took the strategically important fort of Sirmium in 582, using it as a base of operations against several poorly defended forts alongside the Danube from 583 on. In 584 the Slavs threatened the capital and in 586 Avars besieged Thessaloniki, while Slavs went as far as the Peloponnese. Balkan peninsula with northwest border Isonzo-Krka-Sava The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe a region of southeastern Europe. ... Sremska Mitrovica (Сремска Митровица) is a city located in the Vojvodina province of Serbia and Montenegro at 44. ... Events The Visigoths conquer the Suevi kingdom in Spain. ... Events Reccared succeeds his father Leovigild as king of the Visigoths. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... The Peloponnese or Peloponnesus (Greek: Πελοπόννησος Peloponnesos; see also List of traditional Greek place names) is a large peninsula in southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth. ...


Maurice launched several campaigns against Slavs and Avars from 591 on, with good prospect of turning the tide. In 592 his troops retook Singidunum from the Avars. His commander-in-chief Priscus defeated Slavs, Avars and Gepids in 593 on Roman territory south of the Danube, before he crossed the Danube into modern-day Wallachia to continue his series of victories. 594 Maurice replaced Priskos with his rather inexperienced brother Peter, who nonetheless scored another victory in Wallachia. Events After the great slaughter at Woddesbeorg, Ceawlin is deposed as both king of Wessex and Bretwalda. ... Singidunum was an ancient Roman city, first settled by the Scordisci in the 3rd century B.C., and later garrisoned and fortified by the Romans who romanized the name. ... The Gepids (Latin Gepidae) were a Germanic tribe most famous in history for defeating the Huns after the death of Attila. ... Events Empress Suiko ascends to the throne of Japan. ... Map of Romania with Wallachia in yellow. ...


595 Priskos, again in command of another army further upstream, defeated the Avars. The latter only dared to attack again in 597 to score a success. In 598 a treaty was signed with the Avar leader Bayan, only to be broken for retaliation campaigns inside Avar homeland. In 599 and 601, the Byzantine forces wreaked havoc amongst the Avars and Gepids. In 602 the Slavs suffered a crucial defeat in Wallachia. The Byzantine troops were now able to hold the Danube line again. Meanwhile, Maurice was making plans for resettling devastated areas in the Balkans by using Armenian settlers. Bayan may have the following meanings coming from various cultures Bayan (exposition) Al Bayan (newspaper) The Bayan was a set of two books written by the Báb Persian Bayan Arabic Bayan Bayan, a Russian musical instrument Boyan, a mythical Slavic bard Bayan (Avar Khagan) Bayan, son of Kubrat Khan...


Measures of domestic policy

In the west, he organized the threatened Byzantine dominions in Italy and Africa into exarchates, ruled by military governors or exarchs, being mentioned in 584 and 591 respectively. The exarchs had more or less complete military and civilian competences. This was remarkable due to the usual separation of civilian and military competences in that era. By founding the exarchate of Ravenna, Maurice managed to slow down the Lombard advance in Italy, if not to halt it. In 597, an ailing Maurice wrote his last will, in which he described his ideas of governing the Empire. His eldest son, Theodosius, would be a ruler of the East from Constantinople, the second one, Tiberius, of the West with the capital in Rome. Some historians believe that two youngest sons were supposed to gain Illiricum and North Africa. But as he intended to maintain unity of the Empire, this idea bears a strong similarity with the Tetrarchy of Diocletian, given the fact that Maurice also maintained claims on the former western provinces now ruled by Germanic tribes. Maurice's violent death thwarted these plans however. Categories: Historical stubs | Ancient Roman provinces ... In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was an essentially military viceroy who governed a part of the empire at some remove from the central (oriental) authorities, the Emperor and the Patriarch of Constantinople. ... Events Saint Augustine is created Archbishop of Canterbury. ... Map of Constantinople. ... Nickname: The Eternal City Motto: SPQR: Senatus PopulusQue Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 8th century BC Mayor Walter Veltroni Area    - City 1,285 km²  (496. ... Illyria Illyria (disambiguation) Illyria (Anc. ... // Introduction Exarch is from the Latin; Exarchus, Greek; Exarchon; Meaning Leader, from the word exarchein to lead, to begin, to rule. ... The Tetrarchs, a porphyry sculpture sacked from a Byzantine palace in 1204, Treasury of St. ...


In religious matters, he was very tolerant towards Monophysitism, although he was a supporter of the Council of Chalcedon. Monophysitism (from the Greek monos meaning one, alone and physis meaning nature) is the christological position that Christ has only one nature, as opposed to the Chalcedonian position which holds that Christ has two natures, one divine and one human. ... The Council of Chalcedon was an ecumenical council that took place from October 8 to November 1, 451, at Chalcedon (a city of Bithynia in Asia Minor), today part of the city of Istanbul on the Asian side of the Bosphorus and known as the district of Kadıköy. ...


Summed up, his attempts to consolidate the Empire slowly but steadily met with success, last but not least thanks to the peace with Persia. His initial popularity apparently decreased during his reign, mostly because of his fiscal politics. In 588, his announcement to cut military wages by 25% led to serious mutiny of troops on the Persian front. He is said to have refused to pay a very little ransom in 599 or 600 to deliver thousands of Byzantine soldiers taken prisoners by the Avars. It is said that the prisoners were killed and a military delegation, headed by an officer named Phocas was humiliated and rejected in Constantinople.


Death

In 602 Maurice, always dealing with the lack of money, decreed that army should stay for winter beyond the Danube, which would prove to be a serious mistake. The exhausted troops mutinied against the Emperor. Probably misjudging the situation, Maurice repeatedly ordered his troops to start a new offensive rather than returning to winter quarters. After a while, his troops gained the impression that Maurice no longer mastered the situation, they proclaimed Phocas their leader and demanded Maurice to abdicate and proclaim the successor either his son Theodosius or General Germanus. Both men were accused of treason, but the riots broke out in Constantinople and the emperor with his family left the city for Nicomedia. Theodosius headed east to Persia, but historians are not sure whether he had been sent there by his father or if he had fled there. Phocas entered Constantinople in November, supported by the Green Circus party, where he was crowned emperor, while his troops captured Maurice and his family. Maurice was brutally murdered on November 27th 602. It is said that the deposed emperor was forced to watch his three sons executed before his eyes, before he was beheaded himself (He is worshipped as a Saint in the Orthodox Church). Empress Constantina and her three daughters were spared and sent to a monastery. Events Phocas kills Byzantine Emperor Maurice I and makes himself emperor Beginning of a series of wars between the Byzantine Empire and the Sassanids Births Muawiyah, founder of the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs (approximate date) Xuanzang, famous Chinese Buddhist monk. ... The Danube (ancient Danuvius, ancient Greek Istros) is the longest river of the European Union and Europes second-longest[3] (after the Volga). ... Phocas on a contemporary coin Flavius Phocas Augustus, Eastern Roman Emperor (reigned 602–610), is perhaps one of the most maligned figures to have held the Imperial title in the long history of Rome and Byzantium. ... Nicomedia (modern İzmit, also known as Iznik) was founded by Nicomedes I of Bithynia at the head of the Gulf of Astacus (which opens on the Propontis) in 264 BC. The city has ever since been one of the chief towns in this part of Asia Minor. ...


The Persian King Chosroes II. used this coup and the murder of his Patron as an excuse for a renewed war against the Byzantine Empire.


Assessment

Maurice, whose court still used Latin in the same way as the army and administration did, was in total an able Emperor and commander-in-chief, even though Theophylact’s description may be a bit too glorifying. He possessed insight, public spirit and courage. He proved his expertise on military and foreign affairs during his campaigns against Persians and Avars/Slavs in the same way as during peace negotiations with Chosroes II. His administrative reforms portray him as a statesman with farsightness, the more so since they outlasted his death by far and were the basis for the introduction of the themes as military districts. Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in Latium, the region immediately surrounding Rome. ...


He also promoted Science and Arts; Maurice is also the traditional author of the military treatise Strategikon which is praised in military circles as the first and only sophisticated combined arms theory until World War II. However, some historians now believe the Strategikon is the work of his brother or another general in his court. Strategikon (6th century) is a manual of war by Byzantine emperor Maurice I; it is moreover a practical manual, a rather modest elementary handbook, in the words of its introduction, for those devoting themselves to generalship. ... Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different arms of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects. ... Combatants Major Allied powers: United Kingdom Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Major Axis powers: Nazi Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Harry Truman Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead...


His greatest weakness was his inability to judge how unpopular his decisions were. Or to cite the historian Previte-Orton, listing a number of character flaws in the Emperor's personality:

   
Maurice (emperor)
His fault was too much faith in his own excellent judgement without regard to the disagreement and unpopularity which he provoked by decisions in themselves right and wise. He was a better judge of policy than of men.[1]
   
Maurice (emperor)

It was this flaw that cost him throne and life and thwarted most of his efforts to prevent the disintegration of the great empire of Justinian I. Image File history File links Cquote1. ... Image File history File links Cquote2. ... Justinian I depicted on one of the famous mosaics of the Basilica of San Vitale. ...


It seems, as if Maurice attempted to have his way on behalf of Imperial pretension with respect to the old Imperium Romanum, but as his end shows, he met strong resistance.


His demise is a turning point in history, given the fact that the new war against Persia weakened both empires in a way enabling the Slavs to permanently settle the Balkans and paving the way for Arab/Muslim expansion. The English Historian A.H.M. Jones conludes the final era of classical antiquity with Maurice’s death, as the turmoil which shattered the Byzantine Empire in the next four decades permanently and thoroughly changed Society and Politics. Arnold Hugh Martin A.H.M. Jones (1904-1970) was a prominent 20th century historian of classical antiquity, particularly of the later Roman Empire. ...


References

John Bagnell Bury (16 October 1861 – 1 June 1927) was an eminent British historian, classical scholar, and philologist. ... Edward Gibbon (1737–1794). ... The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, a major literary achievement of the 18th century published in six volumes, was written by the celebrated English historian Edward Gibbon. ... Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire (usually abbreviated as PLRE) is a set of three volumes collectively describing every person attested or claimed to have lived in the Roman world from AD 260 to 641. ...

Notes

  1. ^ Previte-Orton, Charles William, The shorter Cambridge medieval history (Cambridge: University Press, 1952), p. 203.

External links

Preceded by:
Tiberius II Constantine
Byzantine Emperor
582 - 602
with Tiberius II Constantine (582)
Succeeded by:
Phocas

 
 

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