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Encyclopedia > Phocas
Phocas on a contemporary coin
Phocas on a contemporary coin

Flavius Phocas Augustus, Eastern Roman Emperor (reigned 602610), is perhaps one of the most maligned figures to have held the Imperial title in the long history of Rome and Byzantium. He ascended the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war. A coin of Byzantine Emperor, Phocas File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... A coin of Byzantine Emperor, Phocas File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... This is a list of Byzantine Emperors. ... 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. ... Events October 4 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas and becomes Emperor. ... A solidus of Maurices reign Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus or Maurice I (539 - November, 602) was the emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 582 to 602. ... Heraclius and his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas. ...


Almost nothing is known of Phocas's early life, although he may have been a native of Thrace. By 600, he was a subaltern officer in the Roman army that served in the Balkans, and apparently was viewed as a leader by his fellow soldiers: he was a member of a delegation sent by the army in that year to Constantinople to submit grievances to the government. The Avars had defeated the Byzantines and taken a large number of prisoners, and demanded a ransom. Maurice refused to pay and all the prisoners were killed, causing consternation among the army. The delegation's complaints were rejected, and, according to several sources, Phocas himself was slapped and humiliated by prominent court officials at this time. Thrace (Greek Θρᾴκη, Thrákē, Bulgarian Тракия, Trakija, Turkish Trakya; Latin: Thracia or Threcia) is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe spread over southern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece (Western Thrace), and European Turkey. ... For other uses, see number 600. ... Soldiers of the Roman Army (on manoeuvres in Nashville, Tennessee) Rome was a militarized state whose history was often closely entwined with its military history over the 1228 years that the Roman state is traditionally said to have existed. ... The Balkans is the historic and geographic name used to describe southeastern Europe (see the Definitions and boundaries section below). ... Map of Constantinople. ... The Eurasian Avars were a nomadic people of Eurasia who migrated into central and eastern Europe in the 6th century. ...


In 602, having created unrest in the legions by reforms intended to reduce the expenses of their maintainance, Maurice ordered the Balkan army, then campaigning against the Avars, to winter on the north side of the Danube, the unprotected far side of the river's protective boundary; amid general mutinies from Edessa to Europe, the army almost immediately revolted and marched on the capital, with Phocas at its head. Within a month, Maurice's government had collapsed, the emperor abdicated and fled the city, and the " Green "faction in Constantinople acclaimed Phocas as emperor. He was crowned in the Church of St John the Baptist and his wife Leontia was invested with the rank of Augusta. Maurice, who represented little genuine threat, was dragged from his monastic sanctuary at Chalcedon, and killed along with his five sons. It is said that he had to watch as his sons were executed in front of his eyes. The bodies were thrown in the sea and the heads of all were exhibited in Constantinople before Phocas made arrangements for a Christian burial for the relics his deeply pious predecessor. 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 (German: Donau, Slovak: Dunaj, Hungarian: Duna, Slovenian: Donava, Croatian: Dunav, Serbian: Дунав/Dunav, Bulgarian: Дунав, Romanian: Dunăre, Ukrainian: , Latin: Danuvius, Turkish: Tuna) is Europes second-longest river (after the Volga). ... A limes is a Roman wall marking the boundaries of the Roman Empire. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Phocas's rule was welcomed at first by many because he lowered taxes, which had been high during the reign of Maurice. Fulsome letters of courtly praise from Pope Gregory I are attested.The pope, Saint Gregory, appreciated his acceptation of the reforms he had begun. Particularly the agrar reform of the Church in Italy and particularly in Sicily had been followed in Egypt by the Orhodox Patriarchs.The reform consisted in naming " rectores " as administrators of the latifunds and eliminating all sort of contractors and parassites who exploited the tenant farmers,reducing them to misery, while reducing the income of the owner . The Church needed money to pay for hospitals, maternities, orphanotrophies - all social infrastuctures the state had leaved to the clergy. Phocas faced great opposition and was regarded by many as a " populist "; his coup d'etat was the first violent regime change in Constantinople since its foundation by Constantine. He is reported to have responded to this opposition with cruelty, allegedly killing thousands in an effort to keep control of the government. This was probably an exaggeration: no histories actually written under Phocas survive, and thus we are dependent for information on historians writing under his successors, who had an interest in blackening Phocas' reputation.Also his last words have been probably distorted. Pope Saint Gregory I or Gregory the Great (ca. ... Head of Constantines colossal statue at Musei Capitolini Gaius Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus (Latin: IMP CAESAR FLAVIVS CONSTANTINVS PIVS FELIX INVICTVS AVGVSTVS[1] (February 27, 272–May 22, 337), commonly known as Constantine I, Constantine the Great, or (among Orthodox Christians) Saint Constantine, was proclaimed Augustus by his troops...

Column of Phocas, the last monument erected in the Roman forum.
Column of Phocas, the last monument erected in the Roman forum.

Phocas is the dedicatee of the last monument erected in the Roman forum. In Phocas's reign, the Byzantines were sovereign over the city of Rome, although the Pope was the most powerful figure resident in the city. Phocas tended to support the popes in many of the theological controversies of the time, and thus enjoyed good relations with the papacy. Phocas gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV for use as a church; he intervened to restore Smaragdus to the Exarchate of Ravenna, in gratitude Smaragdus erected in the Roman Forum a gilded statue atop the rededicated "Column of Phocas" (illustration, right), which featured a new inscription on its base in the emperor's honour. The fluted Corinthian column and the marble plinth on which it sits were already standing in situ, scavenged previously from yet other monuments. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (903x1929, 801 KB) Roma, Foro Romano, colonna di Foca. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (903x1929, 801 KB) Roma, Foro Romano, colonna di Foca. ... The Column of Phocas, against the backdrop of the Arch of Septimius Severus. ... The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, although the Romans referred to it more often as the Forum Magnum or just the Forum) was the central area around which ancient Rome developed, in which commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. ... The Roman Forum (Forum Romanum, although the Romans referred to it more often as the Forum Magnum or just the Forum) was the central area around which ancient Rome developed, in which commerce, business, prostitution, cult and the administration of justice took place. ... The Pope (from Greek: pappas, father; from Latin: papa, Papa, father) is the head of the Catholic Church, which considers him the successor of St. ... The Pantheon, Rome, in front of which stands the obelisk Macuteo, one of seven ancient Egyptian obelisks in Rome. ... Boniface IV (ca. ... Smaragdus was Exarch of Ravenna (585-589, 603-611). ... The Exarchate of Ravenna was a center of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751 A.D., when the last Exarch was put to death by the Emperors enemies in Italy, the Lombards. ... The Column of Phocas, against the backdrop of the Arch of Septimius Severus. ... The Corinthian order as used for the portico of the Pantheon, Rome provided a prominent model for Renaissance and later architects, through the medium of engravings. ...


It was during Phocas's reign that the traditional frontiers of the Eastern Roman Empire began to collapse. The Balkans had been for some years subject to raiding by Avars and Slavs; with the removal of the army from the Danube, these attacks worsened, and enemy forces penetrated as far as Athens. In the east, the situation was grave. The Persian King Chosroes II had been helped onto his throne years earlier by Maurice during a civil war in Persia; now, he used the death of his erstwhile patron as an excuse to break his treaty with the empire. He received at his court an individual claiming falsely to be Maurice's son Theodosius; he arranged a coronation for this pretender and demanded that the Byzantines accept him as emperor. He also took advantage of the difficulties in the Roman military: he came to the aid of Narses, a Roman general who refused to acknowedge the new emperor's authority and who was besieged by troops loyal to Phocas in Edessa. This expedition was part of a war of attrition Chosroes waged against Byzantine forts in northern Mesopotamia, and by 607 or so he had advanced Persian control to the Euphrates. The Slavic peoples are the most numerous ethnic and linguistic body of peoples in Europe. ... Athens (Greek: Αθήνα Athína IPA ) is the capital of Greece and one of the most famous cities in the world. ... Motto: Independence, freedom, the Islamic Republic (Persian: Esteqlāl, āzādÄ«, jomhÅ«rÄ«-ye eslāmÄ«) Anthem: SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Capital Tehran Largest city Tehran Official language(s) Persian Government Supreme Leader President Islamic republic Ali Khamenei Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Revolution Declared Against Mohammad Reza Pahlavi February... Khosrau II (sometimes called Parvez, the ever Victorious), King of Persia, son of Hormizd IV of Persia (579–590), grandson of Khosrau I of Persia (531–579). ... Narses was a Byzantine general active during the reigns of the emperors Maurice and Phocas in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. ... Edessa is the historical name of a town in northern Mesopotamia. ... To suck the phallus or penis of another. ... The Euphrates (the traditional Greek name for the river, Arabic: الفرات; Al-Furat, Old Persian: Ufrat, Syriac: ܦܪܘܬ/ܦܪܬ; Prâth/Frot, Turkish: Fırat, Assyrian Akkadian: Pu-rat-tu, Hebrew: פְּרָת) River is the westernmost of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia (Beth Nahrain in Syriac), the other being the Tigris. ...


In 608, the Exarch of Africa and his son, both named Heraclius, began a revolt against Phocas, issuing coins depicting the two of them in consular (though not imperial) regalia. Phocas responded with the executions, among them of the ex-Empress Constantina and her three daughters. Nicetas, a nephew of Heraclius the Elder, led an overland invasion of Egypt; the younger Heraclius began to sail westward with another force via Sicily and Cyprus. With the outbreak of civil war came serious urban rioting in Syria and Palestine; Phocas sent his general Bonosus to quell the disturbances and reconquer Egypt. Bonosus dealt with the eastern cities so harshly that his severity was remembered centuries later; he then took almost the entire eastern army with him to Egypt, where he was defeated by Nicetas after some hard fighting. The Persians took advantage of this conflict to occupy a significant part of the eastern provinces and even begin a penetration into Anatolia. Events September 15 - Boniface IV becomes pope. ... // Introduction Exarch is from the Latin; Exarchus, Greek; Exarchon; Meaning Leader, from the word exarchein to lead, to begin, to rule. ... Heraclius and his sons Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas. ... Consul (abbrev. ... Sicilian disambiguates here; see also Sicilian language or Sicilian Defence. ... Map of the British Mandate of Palestine. ...


By 610, the younger Heraclius had reached the vicinity of Constantinople, and most of the military loyal to Phocas had gone down in defeat or defected. Some prominent Byzantine aristocrats came to meet Heraclius, and he arranged to be crowned and acclaimed as Emperor. When he reached the capital, the Excubitors, an elite imperial guard unit led by Phocas's own son-in-law Priscus, deserted to Heraclius, and he entered the city without serious resistance. Phocas was captured and brought before Heraclius, who asked, "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" Phocas replied, "And will you rule better?" Enraged, Heraclius personally killed and beheaded Phocas on the spot. Phocas's body was mutilated, paraded through the capital, and burned. Events October 4 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas and becomes Emperor. ...


References

  • David Michael Olster, The Politics of Usurpation in the Seventh Century: Rhetoric and Revolution in Byzantium, (Adolf M Hakkert, 1993) ISBN 9025610102)

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Phocas
Preceded by:
Maurice
Byzantine Emperor
602610
Succeeded by:
Heraclius

  Results from FactBites:
 
Phocas - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1042 words)
Phocas is the dedicatee of the last monument erected in the Roman forum.
Phocas gave the Pantheon to Pope Boniface IV for use as a church; in thanks, Boniface erected in the forum the so-called Column of Phocas, which featured an inscription on its base in the emperor's honour.
He also took advantage of the chaos that Phocas' usurpation had sowed in the Roman military: he came to the aid of Narses, a Roman general who refused to acknowedge the new emperor's authority and who was besieged by troops loyal to Phocas in Edessa.
Roman Emperors - DIR Phocas (5264 words)
Phocas was, and to a certain extent remains, one of the most maligned of all Byzantine emperors.
Thus, the empire that Phocas seized from Maurice was one whose authority in the provinces was represented by an unpopular minority and enforced by military power.
Phocas immediately sought to silence those who might voice concerns over his lack of dynastic ties by requiring the previous emperor's father-in-law to renounce his own claim to the throne.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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