Κυριακή, 18 Νοεμβρίου 2018

The Byzantine Greek Exarchs of Carthage and Africa (Part A)

The Exarchate of Africa was a division of the Byzantine Empire centered at Carthage, Tunisia, which encompassed its possessions on the Western Mediterranean. Ruled by an exarch(viceroy) it was established by the Emperor Maurice in the late 580s and survived until the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb in the late 7th century. It was one of two exarchates established following the western reconquests under Emperor Justinian to more effectively administrate the territories, along with the Exarchate of Ravenna. The Maghreb along with Corsica and Sardinia and the Balearic Islands were reconquered by the Byzantine Empire under Belisarius in the Vandalic War of 533 and reorganized as the Praetorian prefecture of Africa by Justinian I. It included the provinces of Africa Proconsularis, Byzacena, Tripolitania, Numidia, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Sitifensis, and was centered at Carthage. In the 560s, a Roman expedition succeeded in regaining parts of southern Spain, which were administered as the new province of Spania. After the death of Justinian, the Empire came into increasing attacks on all fronts, and the remoter provinces were often left to themselves to cope as best as they could for extended periods, although military officers, such as Heraclius the Elder, continued to rotate between the eastern provinces and Africa. By the 640s and 650s Byantium had lost its province of Mesopotamia to the Muslims and as well as its Sassanian opponent, and was thereby cut off from an important source of experienced officers seasoned by constant border warfare with the Persians. The Heraclian dynasty did continue to appoint some competent eastern officers to African posts, such as the Armenian Narseh, who commanded Tripoli, and John, the dux of Tigisis. The officers who did continue to arrive from the east after the loss of Mesopotamia increasingly would have been more accustomed to defeats like the Battle of Yarmouk than the previously winning strategies used against the Sassanians, and new tactics and strategies developed slowly. The Late Roman administrative system, as established by Diocletian, provided for a clear distinction between civil and military offices, primarily to lessen the possibility of rebellion by over-powerful provincial governors. Under Justinian I, the process was partially reversed for provinces which were judged to be especially vulnerable or in internal disorder. Capitalizing upon this precedent and taking it one step further, the emperor Maurice sometime between 585 and 590 created the office of exarch, which combined the supreme civil authority of a praetorian prefect and the military authority of a magister militum, and enjoyed considerable autonomy from Constantinople. Two exarchates were established, one in Italy, with seat at Ravenna (Exarchate of Ravenna), and one in Africa, based at Carthage and including all imperial possessions in the Western Mediterranean. The first African exarch was the patricius Gennadius. Among the provincial changes, Tripolitania was detached from Africa and placed under the province of Egypt, Mauretania Caesariensis and Mauretania Sitifensis were merged to form the new province of "Mauretania Prima", while Mauretania Tingitana, effectively reduced to the city of Septum (Ceuta), was combined with the citadels of the Spanish coast (Spania) and the Balearic Islands to form "Mauretania Secunda". The Visigothic Kingdom was also a continuous threat. The conflict continued until the final conquest of the last Spanish strongholds in c. 624 by the Visigoths. The Byzantines retained only the fort of Septum (Ceuta), across the Strait of Gibraltar. During the successful revolt of the exarch of Carthage, Heraclius the Elder, and his namesake son Heraclius in 608, the Berbers comprised a portion of the fleet that transported Heraclius to Constantinople. Due to religious and political ambitions, the Exarch Gregory the Patrician (who was related by blood to the imperial family, through the emperor's cousin Nicetas) declared himself independent of Constantinople in 647. At this time the influence and power of the exarchate was exemplified in the forces gathered by Gregory in the battle of Sufetula also in that year where more than 100,000 men of Amazigh origin fought for Gregory.
The term exarch comes from the Ancient Greek word Εξαρχος, exarchos, and designates holders of various historical offices, some of them being political or military and others being ecclesiastical. In the late Roman Empire and early Byzantine Empire, an exarch was a governor of a particular territory. Since the end of 3rd century, every Roman diocese was governed by vicarius who was called "exarch" in eastern parts of the Empire, dominated by Greek language and the use of Greek terminology. The office of exarch as a governor with extended political and military authority was later created in Byzantine Empire, with jurisdiction over a particular territory, usually a frontier region at some distance from the capital Constantinople.
In the civil administration of the Byzantine Empire the exarch was, as stated above, the imperial governor of a large and important region of the Empire. The Exarchates were a response to weakening imperial authority in the provinces and were part of the overall process of unification of civil and military offices, initiated in early form by Justinian I, which would lead eventually to the creation of the Thematic system by either the Emperor Heraclius or Constans II. After the dissolution of the Western Empire in the late fifth century, the Eastern Roman Empire remained stable through the beginning of the Middle Ages and retained the ability for future expansion. Justinian I reconquered North Africa, Italy, Dalmatia and finally parts of Spain for the Eastern Roman Empire. However, this put an incredible strain on the Empire's limited resources. Subsequent emperors would not surrender the re-conquered land to remedy the situation. Thus the stage was set for Emperor Maurice to establish the Exarchates to deal with the constantly evolving situation of the provinces. In Italy the Lombards were the main opposition to Byzantine power. In North Africa the Amazigh or Berber princes were ascendant due to Roman weakness outside the coastal cities. The problems associated with many enemies on various fronts (the Visigoths in Spain, the Slavs and Avars in the Balkans, the Sassanid Persians in the Middle East, and the Amazigh in North Africa) forced the imperial government to decentralize and devolve power to the former provinces. The term Exarch most commonly refers to the Exarch of Italy, who governed the area of Italy and Dalmatia, still remaining under Byzantine control after the Lombard invasion of 568. The exarchate's seat was at Ravenna, whence it is known as the "Exarchate of Ravenna". Ravenna remained the seat of the Exarch until the revolt of 727 over Iconoclasm. Thereafter, the growing menace of the Lombards and the split between eastern and western Christendom that Iconoclasm caused made the position of the Exarch more and more untenable. The last Exarch was killed by the Lombards in 751. A second exarchate was created by Maurice to administer northern Africa, formerly a separate praetorian prefecture, the islands of the western Mediterranean and the Byzantine possessions in Spain. The capital of the Exarchate of Africa was Carthage. The exarchate proved both financially and militarily strong, and survived until the Arab Muslim conquest of Carthage in 698.
Gennadius (fl. 578–600) was an Byzantine general and the first exarch of Africa. Gennadius was appointed as magister militum Africae in c. 578, and quickly defeated the Romano-Moorish kingdom of Garmul in Mauretania. Garmul was a Berber king of the Mauro-Roman Kingdom. Garmul, who destroyed a Byzantinearmy in 571, launched raids into Byzantine territory, and three successive generals (the praetorian prefect Theodore and the magister militum Theoctistus in 570, and Theoctistus' successor Amabilis in 571) are recorded by John of Biclaro to have been killed in a battle by Garmul's forces. His activities, especially when regarded together with the simultaneous Visigoth attacks in Spania, presented a clear threat to the province's authorities. Thus the new emperor, Tiberius II Constantine, re-appointed Thomas as praetorian prefect, and the able general Gennadius was posted as magister militum with the clear aim of ending Garmul's campaigns. Preparations were lengthy and careful, but the campaign itself, launched in 577–78, was brief and effective, with Gennadius utilizing terror tactics against Garmul's subjects. Garmul was defeated and killed by 579, and the coastal corridor between Tingitana and Caesariensis secured. Gennadius held this post until named exarch by Emperor Maurice (r. 582–602) sometime between 585 and 592. Already a patricius by 582, he was awarded the title of honorary consul sometime before 585. As exarch, he had an extensive correspondence with Pope Gregory the Great on issues of the African Church, and especially the suppression of the Donatists. Gennadius (Dahbiah) suppressed a series of Moorish revolts in c. 585 and c. 596, and retired from his post sometime between September/October 598 and July 600. He was succeeded by Innocentius as a civilian praetorian prefect of Africa.
Heraclius the Elder (died 610) was an Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641). Heraclius the Elder distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s. As a subordinate general (or hypostrategos), Heraclius served under the command of Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. In circa 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice (r. 582–602) to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. In circa 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas (r. 602–610). Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne. Heraclius the Elder is next mentioned in 608 as Patrician and Exarch of Africa. According to Patriarch Nikephoros, Heraclius the Elder had been appointed to the position by Maurice prior to the latter's deposition and death in 602. He might have replaced Innocentius, a temporary exarch appointed between 598 and 600. The appointment suggests that Heraclius the Elder enjoyed the favor of Maurice and would have reason to remain loyal to him. Heraclius the Elder and his African court notably lamented the death and execution of Maurice and posthumously praised the fallen emperor. The exarchs of Africa were effectively Governor-Generals with both civilian and military powers. Their seat of power was Carthage. Historians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries ascribed much significance to this appointment, even suggesting it would require prominent ties of Heraclius the Elder to Africa or the wider Western Roman Empire. Later historians pointed, however, that this appointment was part of a wider pattern. In the 6th century, several prominent Byzantine military commanders had started their careers in the eastern regions of the Empire, often in the vicinity of Upper Mesopotamia. Then they were transferred to North Africa at some point in their respective careers. There is therefore no indication that this rotation from the eastern to the western provinces was unusual. Charles Diehl regarded early 7th-century Byzantine Africa to have undergone an economic and demographic decline, being under constant threat by hostile Berbers. Later historians, however, have had to revise this picture in light of archaeological evidence: the Exarchate was among the most affluent areas of the Byzantine Empire, though of lesser wealth and significance than Egypt. It seems to have seen much less warfare than the Balkans, Mesopotamia and the Caucasus did in that era, thus allowing its residents a safer way of life. There is evidence of ongoing trade between Byzantine Africa and Frankish Gaul during the 7th century. Agriculture was thriving, particularly in the vicinity of the Medjerda River. The production of grain, olive oil and wine kept the local population well-fed and probably supplied their maritime trade. Fishing seems to have been another thriving field. The local elite seems to have invested in the building of churches. The main testaments to their existence and activities are examples of funerary art, particularly mosaics. Heraclius the Elder seems to have established ties with this elite. His son, Heraclius the Younger, married his first wife Eudokia during the 7th century. Her father was Rogas, a landowner in the Exarchate.
In 608, the Exarchate of Africa under Heraclius the Elder revolted against Emperor Phocas. The subsequent campaign against Phocas was portrayed by Byzantine historians as avenging the death of Maurice, which might have been part of the motivation of this revolt. The other part, however, would be what Walter Emil Kaegi termed "cold political calculations": Carthage was at a safe distance from Constantinople and Phocas could not easily launch an attack against it. The relative wealth of the Exarchate of Africa could well enough finance a revolt. Phocas's regime arguably needed the grain and revenues from Africa, while the Exarchate sustained itself with relative ease. Meanwhile, the Persian shah Khosrau II had secured control of Dara and was mobilizing his troops for a large-scale invasion into Byzantine territories. News of this campaign could have well reached Heraclius the Elder. With Phocas facing two separate military fronts, the emperor would be unable to concentrate the majority of his troops on either one of them, encouraging Heraclius the Elder of his chances to succeed in this confrontation. After their revolt, Heraclius the Elder and Heraclius the Younger were proclaimed joint consuls. There is no indication in the sources on how this was achieved, i.e. whether Heraclius the Elder was self-appointed or officially proclaimed by the Senate of Carthage, "whose members had no legal right to designate a Roman consul". Nevertheless, the significance of the proclamation was evident. No private individuals had been proclaimed consuls since the reign of Justinian I (r. 527–565). Since then it was merely another title exclusively used by the Byzantine emperors. By this proclamation, Heraclius the Elder was arguably making a first step towards becoming emperor himself, while legitimizing his connection to the long history of Rome. The mints of Carthage and later Alexandria produced coins depicting Heraclius the Elder and his namesake son wearing consular robes. John of Antioch and the Patriarch Nikephoros both report that Heraclius the Elder maintained correspondence with Priscus, the Count of the Excubitors and former commander of the army. By that time, Priscus was the son-in-law of Phocas but reportedly held a grudge against the emperor. He allegedly promised Heraclius the Elder support in case of a rebellion and confirmed it once the rebellion had started. The story is somewhat suspect. While there was major dissension in Constantinople and Priscus did in time defect to Heraclius the Elder, there is nothing to suggest that Priscus helped incite the revolt. Patriarch Nikephoros reports that Heraclius the Elder held council with his brother Gregoras before proclaiming his revolt, possibly indicating that Gregoras was acting as his advisor. He also reports that Gregoras hoped to promote his own son Nicetas to the throne, although this is considered unlikely at best by modern historians. The situation in 609–610 was quickly becoming dire for Phocas and his loyalists. Their defense against the Sassanid Empire had failed. There were Persian forces in Mesopotamia, Armenia, Syria and the Anatolian provinces. Rebel Byzantine forces held Africa and Egypt. Slavs were occupying northern Illyricum. In Thessalonica and various towns of Anatolia and Syria, the Blues and Greens were settling their differences with open conflict. In areas of Syria, the Jews were revolting and lynching Christians. Even in Constantinople, the crowds taunted Phocas for his love of liquor, implying alcoholism. In 610, the Persian general, Shahrbaraz, was approaching Antioch, but the rebels of Africa posed a more immediate threat than the Persian front. Having secured control of Egypt, they proceeded to invade Syria and Cyprus while a large fleet under Heraclius the Younger set sail for Constantinople. Supporters from Sicily, Crete and Thessalonica were joining his campaign. The rebels reached Constantinople in October 610. The only forces available to Phocas to defend the city were the Excubitors of his bodyguard and the irregular forces of the Blues and Greens, the city's racing factions. Priscus, the commander of the Excubitors, chose the moment to reveal his allegiance to Heraclius the Younger. The Greens also changed sides in support of Heraclius the Younger and Constantinople fell to the Heraclii with relative ease. Heraclius the Younger ultimately became the new emperor and Phocas was executed, along with several of his kinsmen and loyalists. According to John of Nikiu, Heraclius the Elder rejoiced at the news of his son rising to the throne, but died soon afterwards.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exarch
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exarchate_of_Africa
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gennadius_(6th_century)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garmul
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclius_the_Elder

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