Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Τρίτη, 4 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

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

Heraclius was the eldest son of Heraclius the Elder and Epiphania, from Cappadocia. His father was a key general during Emperor Maurice's war with Bahrām Chobin, usurper of the Sasanian Empire, during 590. After the war, Maurice appointed Heraclius the Elder to the position of Exarch of Africa. In 608, Heraclius the Elder renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas, who had overthrown Maurice six years earlier. The rebels issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consuls, though neither of them explicitly claimed the imperial title at this time. Heraclius's younger cousin Nicetas launched an overland invasion of Egypt; by 609, he had defeated Phocas's general Bonosus and secured the province. Meanwhile, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward with another force via Sicily and Cyprus. As he approached Constantinople, he made contact with prominent leaders and planned an attack to overthrow aristocrats in the city, and soon arranged a ceremony where he was crowned and acclaimed as Emperor. When he reached the capital, the Excubitors, an elite Imperial Guard unit led by Phocas's son-in-law Priscus, deserted to Heraclius, and he entered the city without serious resistance. When Heraclius captured Phocas, he asked him "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" Phocas's reply "And will you rule better?" so enraged Heraclius that he beheaded Phocas on the spot. He later had the genitalia removed from the body because Phocas had raped the wife of Photius, a powerful politician in the city. On October 5, 610, Heraclius was crowned for a second time, this time in the Chapel of St. Stephen within the Great Palace; at the same time he married Fabia, who took the name Eudokia. After her death in 612, he married his niece Martina in 613; this second marriage was considered incestuous and was very unpopular. In the reign of Heraclius's two sons, the divisive Martina was to become the center of power and political intrigue. Despite widespread hatred for Martina in Constantinople, Heraclius took her on campaigns with him and refused attempts by Patriarch Sergius to prevent and later dissolve the marriage.
Heraclius (c. 575 – 641) was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Byzantine Empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns. The year Heraclius came to power, the empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Heraclius immediately took charge of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. The first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Byzantines; the Persian army fought their way to the Bosphorus but Constantinople was protected by impenetrable walls and a strong navy, and Heraclius was able to avoid total defeat. Soon after, he initiated reforms to rebuild and strengthen the military. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh. The Persian king Khosrow II was overthrown and executed by his son Kavadh II, who soon sued for a peace treaty, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territory. This way peaceful relations were restored to the two deeply strained empires. Heraclius soon experienced a new event, the Muslim conquests. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslims quickly conquered the Sasanian Empire. In 634 the Muslims marched into Roman Syria, defeating Heraclius's brother Theodore. Within a short period of time, the Arabs conquered Mesopotamia, Armenia and Egypt. Heraclius entered diplomatic relations with the Croats and Serbs in the Balkans. He tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites, by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism. The Church of the East (Nestorian) was also involved in the process. Eventually this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute.
Niketas was the next Exarch of Byzantine Africa. He was cousin of the emperor Heraclius, named as a patrikios in connection with Africa, may have been a de facto exarch, exercising gubernatorial power in the 610s and 20s, possibly as late as 629. His daughter Gregoria was married to Heraclius's eldest son. The elder brother of the emperor was an hypostrategos under the exarch at this time, who is not explicitly named. Nicetas or Niketas was the cousin of Emperor Heraclius. He played a major role in the revolt against Phocas that brought Heraclius to the throne, where he captured Egypt for his cousin. Nicetas remained governor of Egypt thereafter, and participated also in the Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628, but failed to stop the Sassanid conquest of Egypt ca. 618/619. He disappears from the sources thereafter, but possibly served as Exarch of Africa until his death. Nicetas disappears from sources after this, but based on a later anecdote it has been suggested by Charles Diehl that he went on to govern Africa until his probable death in 628/9. Nicetas was the father of the Empress Gregoria, wife of Constantine III, and perhaps also of a patrikios Nicetas, attested in 639, and of the Exarch of Africa Gregory.
Gregory the Patrician (died 647) was a Byzantine Exarch of Africa (Tunisia and Algeria). A relative of the ruling Heraclian dynasty, Gregory was fiercely pro-Chalcedonian and led a rebellion in 646 against Emperor Constans IIover the latter's support for Monothelism. Soon after declaring himself emperor, he faced an Arab invasion in 647. He confronted the invaders but was decisively defeated and killed at Sufetula. Africa returned to imperial allegiance after his death and the Arabs' withdrawal, but the foundations of Byzantine rule there had been fatally undermined. Gregory the Patrician was related by blood to Emperor Heraclius (r. 610–641) and his grandson Constans II(r. 641–668), and was possibly the son of Heraclius' cousin Niketas. Gregory is first attested as Exarch of Africa ("patrikios of Africa" in Theophanes) in July 645, but may have been appointed already under Heraclius. The Exarchate at this time was in internal turmoil due to the conflict between the mainly Orthodox Chalcedonian population and the supporters of Monotheletism, an attempt at compromise between Chalcedonianism and Monophysitism devised and promoted by Heraclius in 638. In Africa, the latter was mostly advocated by refugees from Egypt. In an effort to lessen the tensions, in July 645 Gregory hosted a theological dispute in his capital Carthage between the Chalcedonian Maximus the Confessor and the Monothelite former Patriarch of Constantinople, Pyrrhus. Gregory helped to bring about a reconciliation between the two, and Pyrrhus re-embraced the Chalcedonian position. Over the next few months, several local synods in Africa proceeded to condemn Monotheletism as heresy. In 646, Gregory launched a rebellion against Constans. The obvious reason was the latter's support for Monotheletism, but it undoubtedly was also a reaction to the Muslim conquest of Egypt, and the threat it presented to Byzantine Africa. Given the failure of the imperial government in Constantinople to stop the Muslim advance, it was, in the words of Charles Diehl, "a great temptation for the powerful governor of Africa to secede from the feeble and remote empire that seemed incapable of defending its subjects". Doctrinal differences, as well as the long-established autonomy of the African exarchate, reinforced this tendency. The Arab chronicler al-Tabari on the other hand claims that Gregory's revolt was provoked by a levy of 300 pounds of gold demanded by Constans. Arab sources claim that after he was proclaimed emperor he minted coins with his own effigy, but none have so far been found. It seems that both Maximus the Confessor and Pope Theodore I encouraged or at least supported Gregory in this venture. Thus the Pope supposedly sent an envoy to convey a dream by Maximus, according to which two rival choirs of angels shouted "Victory to Constantine [Constans] Augustus" and "Victory to Gregory Augustus", with the former gradually falling silent and the latter winning out. The revolt seems to have found broad support among the populace as well, not only among the Romanized Africans, but also among the Berbers of the interior. In 642–643, the Arabs had seized Cyrenaica and the eastern half of Tripolitania, along with Tripoli. It was only an order from Caliph Umar (r. 634–644) that halted their westward expansion. In 647, however, Umar's successor Uthman ordered Abdallah ibn Sa'ad to invade the Exarchate with 20,000 men. The Muslims invaded western Tripolitania and advanced up to the northern boundary of the Byzantine province of Byzacena. Gregory confronted the Arabs on their return at Sufetula, but was defeated and killed. Agapius of Hierapolis and some Syriac sources claim that he survived the defeat and fled to Constantinople, where he was reconciled with Constans, but most modern scholars accept the Arab chroniclers' account of his death in battle. The Arab accounts also claim that the Muslims captured Gregory's daughter, who had fought at her father's side. She was carried along back to Egypt as part of the booty, but she fell from her camel on the march and was killed. After Gregory's death, the Arabs sacked Sufetula and raided across the Exarchate, while the Byzantines withdrew to their fortresses. Unable to storm the Byzantine fortifications, and satisfied with the huge amounts of plunder they had made, the Arabs agreed to depart in exchange for the payment of a heavy tribute in gold. Despite the fact that the Arab raid was not followed up for some time, and the restoration of ties with Constantinople, Byzantine rule over Africa was shaken to its roots by Gregory's rebellion and the Arab victory. The Berber tribes in particular shook off their allegiance to the Empire, and most of southern Tunisia seems to have slipped outside the control of Carthage. Thus the Battle of Sufetula marked "the end, more or less near, but inevitable, of Byzantine domination in Africa" (Diehl).
The Battle of Sufetula took place in 647 between the Arab Muslim forces of theRashidun Caliphate and the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. The Exarchate of Africa was in internal turmoil due to the conflict between the mainly Orthodox Chalcedonian population and the supporters of Monotheletism, an attempt at compromise between Chalcedonianism and Monophysitism devised and promoted by Emperor Heraclius in 638. In 642–643, the Arabs had seized Cyrenaicaand the eastern half of Tripolitania, along with Tripoli. It was only an order from Caliph Umar(r. 634–644) that halted their westward expansion. In 646, the exarch Gregory the Patrician launched a rebellion against Emperor Constans II. The obvious reason was the latter's support for Monotheletism, but it undoubtedly was also a reaction to the Muslim conquest of Egypt, and the threat it presented to Byzantine Africa. The revolt seems to have found broad support among the populace as well, not only among the Romanized Africans, but also among the Berbers of the interior of the Byzantine Exarchate. In 647, Umar's successor Uthman ordered Abdallah ibn Sa'ad to invade the Exarchate with 20,000 men. The Muslims invaded western Tripolitania and advanced up to the northern boundary of the Byzantine province of Byzacena. Gregory confronted the Arabs on their return at Sufetula, but was defeated and killed. Agapius of Hierapolis and some Syriac sources claim that he survived the defeat and fled to Constantinople, where he was reconciled with Constans, but most modern scholars accept the Arab chroniclers' account of his death in battle. The Arab accounts also claim that the Muslims captured Gregory's daughter, who had fought at her father's side. She was carried along back to Egypt as part of the booty, but she fell from her camel on the march and was killed. After Gregory's death, the Arabs sacked Sufetula and raided across the Exarchate, while the Byzantines withdrew to their fortresses. Unable to storm the Byzantine fortifications, and satisfied with the huge amounts of plunder they had made, the Arabs agreed to depart in exchange for the payment of a heavy tribute in gold. Despite the fact that the Arab raid was not followed up for some time, and the restoration of ties with Constantinople, Byzantine rule over Africa was shaken to its roots by Gregory's rebellion and the Arab victory. The Berber tribes in particular shook off their allegiance to the Empire, and most of southern Tunisia seems to have slipped outside the control of Carthage. Thus the Battle of Sufetula marked "the end, more or less near, but inevitable, of Byzantine domination in Africa".
Sbeitla or Sufetula is a city in north-central Tunisia. Nearby are the Roman ruins of Sufetula, containing the best preserved Roman forum temples in Tunisia. It was the entry point of the Muslim conquest of North Africa.Through the surrender of the Berber leader Tacfarinas, the region was pacified and populated under the Roman emperor Vespasian and his sons between 67 and 69, becoming a bishopric in the Roman province of Byzacena. Some inscriptions found in the city suggest that the settlement had success along the lines of others in North Africa during the 2nd century, reaching great prosperity through the olive industry, whose cultivation benefited from excellent climatic conditions in the region. The olive presses found in the ruins of the city further bolster this conclusion. The resulting prosperity made possible the construction of a splendid forum and other important buildings. The city began to decline during the Late Empire, during which the city was surrounded and occupied by Vandals, a fact that is demonstrated by the appearance of temples dedicated to their gods. The arrival of the Byzantines inaugurated a new period of splendor. In 647, the fields before the city were the site of a major battle between the Byzantines and Berbers of Gregory the Patrician and the Rashidun Caliphate's governor of Egypt, Abdullah ibn Saad. The Battle of Sufetula ended in a decisive Muslim victory, which shook Byzantine control over the region and signalled the beginning of the Muslim conquest of North Africa. The caliph at the time of the battle was Uthman ibn Affan, who set the army under the leadership of Abdullah ibn Saad. At his arrival to Barqa, Uqba ibn Nafi and his troops joined the main army and the two commanders prepared together the plan to conquer Sbeitla. The battle was long and hard, and Caliph Uthman sent reinforcement under the leadership of Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. The three leaders prepared a new battle plan and they finally succeeded in taking Sufetula.
Πηγή : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclius
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicetas_(cousin_of_Heraclius)
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregory_the_Patrician
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exarchate_of_Africa
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sufetula
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sbeitla

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