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 C)

Gennadius (c. 665), sometimes referred to as Gennadius II (his 6th-century predecessor being Gennadius I), was a Byzantine general who exercised the role of Exarch of Africa from 648 to 665. In 664 Gennadius rebelled against Emperor Constans II and was himself overthrown the next year by a loyalist uprising. In 646, the Exarch of Africa Gregory the Patrician launched a rebellion against Constans. The obvious reason was the latter's support for Monothelitism, but it was also a reaction to the Muslim conquest of Egypt, and the threat this 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. In 647 the Arab Abdallah ibn Sa'ad invaded the Exarchate with 20,000 men. The Muslims moved through western Tripolitania and advanced up to the northern boundary of the Byzantine province of Byzacena. Gregory confronted the Arabs on their return at the Battle of Sufetula, but was defeated and killed. After the defeat of Gregory the Arab victors raided far and wide across the Exarchate while the Byzantines withdrew to their fortresses. Gennadius was a Byzantine general who served under the Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668). He assumed the position of Exarch of Africa after the death of Gregory. Although the emperor had not appointed him to the position, he managed to ensure the Arab withdrawal from Byzantine North Africa by promising them an annual tribute of 330,000 nomismata, over two tons of gold, and was confirmed in his position. Like his predecessors, he acknowledged the authority of Constans, and transported to Constantinople the annual excess revenue raised from the province. He nevertheless administered Africa semi-autonomously, without interference from the imperial court, supported by the African bishops who were resolutely Chalcedonian, unlike the Emperor. The local population was disaffected. The Arab pillaging had caused them to lose faith in the ability of the Byzantines to defend them, while taxation increased sharply to pay the Arab tribute, the requirements of Constantinople and to rebuild the army. 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 during Gennadius' tenure. This situation persisted until 663 when Constans moved the imperial court to Syracuse in Sicily, much closer to the Exarchate, and demanded an increase in tribute. In 664 Gennadius refused to send to Constans the additional revenue and expelled the emperor’s representative. This caused an uprising in Africa, where the garrison troops joined with the local citizens, led by Eleutherios the Younger, to expel Gennadius in 665. Eleutherios installed himself as the new exarch and was in time confirmed by Constans. Gennadius fled to the court of Muawiyah I (r. 661–680), 1st caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate at Damascus, where he asked him for aid in recapturing Carthage. The Caliph agreed and sent a large force with Gennadius to invade Byzantine Africa in 665. However, Gennadius died when he reached Alexandria in late 665.
Julian, Count of Ceuta was, a renegade governor, a Comes in Byzantine service in Ceuta and Tangiers who subsequently submitted to the king of Visigothic Spain before joining the Muslims. According to Arab chroniclers, Julian had an important role in the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, a key event in the history of Islam, in which al-Andalus was to play an important part, and in the subsequent history of what were to become Spain and Portugal. As a historical figure, little is known about Count Julian. The earliest extant source for Julian is Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam's 9th century Kitāb futuḥ misr wa akbārahā (The History of the Conquests of Egypt, North Africa, and Spain), who at first resisted the Muslim conquest of the Maghreb, and then joined the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Other details, such as the existence of a daughter known as La Cava also appear in the 11th century. Byzantine strategy at the time as articulated by John Troglita, a Byzantine general under Justinian I, advocated dispersal and retreat back to artificially or naturally fortified places and ambush tactics against a superior foe. This left scattered Byzantine garrisons surrounded by territory already conquered by the Arabs. The autochthonous Berber tribes also resisted either in concert with the Byzantines, or under native leaders like Dihya (Kahina) and Kusaila(Caecilius). In the view of Walter Kaegi, this strategy was designed to protect the key towns and communications routes, and did so. Ceuta is the only place on the coast of the former province that can be sealed off with a small number of troops and held without significant reinforcement. The last securely known commander of Septem is Philagrius, a Byzantine treasurer who was exiled there in 641. Julian, who held what Kaegi characterizes as the "vague" title of count (quite common in this period, as detailed below), may have, in Kaegi's view, had some Byzantine title or rank for which no documentation exists before falling under the control of Theodoric. In Kaegi's view, if Julian had a daughter in Spain, it would have been in a hostage situation, used as a check on his loyalty on the part of the Goths. Julian was a count, the "Commander of Septem" (Ceuta), and according to some scholars, possibly the last Byzantine Exarch of Africa. In Byzantine North Africa the curial title comes was applied to the leader of a regiment (a successor to the old legion), and according to Maurice's Strategicon was analogous to the title and dignity of tribune. The Exarchate of Africa was divided into ducates led by a duke also called strategos. According to the Notitia Dignitatum, each duke would have had a chief of staff (princeps) and numerous staff officers in addition to the counts in charge of each legion under his command. The Army of Africa initially had 15,000 troops: the historian Procopius says that Belisarius (a general under the emperor Justinian I) took with him to Africa 15,000 soldiers, as well as 2,000 karabisianoi (marines), 1,000 mercenaries, and various members of Belisarius's own personal retinue to fight in the Vandalic War; they were ferried there by 30,000 oarsmen. Treadgold views these army troops as intended to garrison Africa after its reconquest, while the naval and mercenary elements were there only temporarily to help effect it. This view is supported by the fact that the same levels of army troop numbers for Africa (15,000) are still reported in the time of Maurice, with 5,000 for Byzantine Spain (although after the mutiny against and deposition of Maurice, Africa's troop strength was probably reduced due to Visigothic and Moorish attacks).
The Strategicon reports that the army troops in Africa under Maurice comprised about 5,000 cavalry and 10,000 infantry. A count/tribune from this time period could command anywhere from 200-400 men in a regiment in battle, and up to 520 at fully authorized garrison strength (excluding officers' servants, and, in cavalry regiments, squires). Byzantine strategy at the time dictated varying regimental tagmata sizes in the field the better to confuse the enemy. In battle, the counts normally reported to a chiliarch who commanded 2,000-3,000 men, and in turn reported to a merarch. In the case of an exarchate like Africa, ultimate civil and military command were joined in the exarch.
The Arab conquest of North Africa was quite rapid. The Umayyads faced an internally weakened Byzantine state, one of whose emperors, Constans II was assassinated in his bath in the midst of an army revolt and another, Justinian II, who had been deposed, mutilated and exiled in 695, only a few years before the Arabs broke through into the province of Africa in 697. For a while, a Byzantine expeditionary force under John the Patrician was able to re-supply coastal garrisons and in some cases aid in the reconquest of lost territory, especially the important city of Carthage, but the next year the Arabs sent in their own reinforcements after an appeal to the caliph by Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, and forced the Byzantines to yield most of the province. After losing the subsequent Battle of Carthage outside the walls, the expeditionary force retreated to its island naval bases to re-group, whereupon the Droungarios of the Cibyrrhaeot Theme, Apsimar seized control of the fleet's remnants after a mutiny by naval officers. The emperor Leontius was himself deposed and mutilated, to be replaced by Apsimar, now calling himself Tiberius II. The only serious resistance the Arabs encountered after this was the fort of Septem Fratres (Ceuta), which held out until 711, and the local Moorish tribes (Berbers) in the hinterlands. Luis García de Valdeavellano writes that, during the Umayyad conquest of North Africa, in "their struggle against the Byzantines and the Berbers, the Arab chieftains had greatly extended their African dominions, and as early as the year 682 Uqba had reached the shores of the Atlantic, but he was unable to occupy Tangier, for he was forced to turn back toward the Atlas Mountains by a mysterious person" who became known to history and legend as Count Julian. Muslim historians have referred to him as Ilyan or Ulyan.
A force of 10,000 Arabs led by the Arab general Uqba ibn Nafi and enlarged by thousands of others. Departing from Damascus, the army marched into North Africa and took the vanguard. In 670 the city of Kairouan (Tunis) was established as a refuge and base for further operations. This would become the capital of the Islamic province of Ifriqiya, which would cover the coastal regions of today's western Libya, Tunisia, and eastern Algeria. After this, as Edward Gibbon writes, the fearless general "plunged into the heart of the country, traversed the wilderness in which his successors erected the splendid capitals of Fes and Morocco, and at length penetrated to the verge of the Atlantic and the great desert". In his conquest of the Maghreb he besieged the coastal city of Bugia as well as Tingi or Tangier, overwhelming what had once been the traditional Roman province of Mauretania Tingitana. But here he was stopped and partially repulsed. Moreover, as Gibbon writes, Uqba, "this Mahometan Alexander, who sighed for new worlds, was unable to preserve his recent conquests. By the universal rebellion against muslim occupation of the Greeks and Africans he was recalled from the shores of the Atlantic." On his return, a Berber-Byzantine coalition ambushed and crushed his forces near Biskra, killing Uqba and wiping out his troops. Then, adds Gibbon, "The third general or governor of Africa, Zuheir, avenged and encountered the fate of his predecessor in the Battle of Mamma. He vanquished the native population in many battles; but he was overthrown by a powerful army, which Constantinople had sent to the relief and liberation of Carthage."
The Battle of Carthage was fought in 698 between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the fifth Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims in 695, Emperor Leontios sent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the droungarios Tiberius Apsimarus. They entered the harbor and successfully recaptured it in a stunning surprise attack in 697, which resulted in the city's Arab forces fleeing to Kairouan. Emir Hasan ibn al-Nu'man was in the middle of a campaign in the Greater Maghreb region, but withdrew from campaigning in the field to confront the renewed Roman challenge to the emerging caliphate and he drew plans at Kairouan to retake Carthage the following spring. It is estimated that he headed a force of 40,000 men. The Byzantines sent out a call for help to their allies, the native Berbers, and to enemies the Visigoths and the Franks. Despite the king of the Visigoths, Wittiza, sending a force of 500 warriors in order to help defend Carthage, the Byzantines were in disarray due to in-fighting and were sapped of much of their strength. Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, enraged at having to retake a city that had not resisted the Roman take over, offered no terms except to surrender or die. The Emperor Leontios had also given his forces instructions of victory or death. The Byzantines left Carthage and attacked the Emir's army directly, but were defeated, and the Byzantine commander decided to wait out the siege behind the walls of Carthage to let the Arabs exhaust themselves, since he could continue to be resupplied from the sea. The defenders were faced with Hasan's overwhelming force deployed in ferocious attacks as his men made repeated attempts to scale the walls with ladders. They combined this land assault with an attack from the sea that caused the Byzantine commanders to withdraw from the city and subsequently resulted in the second and final great destruction of Carthage. The Romans retreated to the islands of Corsica, Sicily and Crete to further resist Muslim expansion. John the Patrician was later murdered after a conspiracy at the hands of his co-commander, Tiberius Apsimarus. Tiberius Apsimarus then, instead of taking the step of returning to Africa to fight the Muslims, sailed instead to Constantinople. After a successful rebellion he rose to the throne as Tiberius III, and was later deposed by former emperor Justinian II, now known as the Rhinotmetus. The conquest of North Africa by the forces of Islam was now nearly complete. Hasan's forces met with trouble from the Zenata tribe of Berbers under al-Kahina. and they inflicted a serious defeat on him and drove him back to Barqa. However, in 702 Caliph Abd al-Malik strongly reinforced him. Now with a large army and the support of the settled population of North Africa, Hasan pushed forward. He decisively defeated al-Kahina in the Battle of Tabarka,136 km west of Carthage. He then developed the village of Tunis, ten miles from the destroyed Carthage.
Historically Ceuta ("Septem") and the surrounding territories were the last area of Byzantine Africa to be occupied by the Arabs: around 708 AD, as Muslim armies approached the city, its Byzantine governor, Julian (described as King of the Ghomara) changed his allegiance, and exhorted the Muslims to invade the Iberian Peninsula. After Julian's death, the Arabs took direct control of the city, which the indigenous Berber tribes resented. They destroyed Septem during the Kharijite rebellion led by Maysara al-Matghari in 740 AD, but Christian Berbers remained there (even if harshly persecuted in the next centuries). According to the Egyptian historian Ibn 'Abd al-Hakam, writing a century and a half after the events, Julian sent one of his daughters La Cava in later accounts to Roderic's court at Toledo for education (and as a gauge of Julian's loyalty) and Roderic subsequently made her pregnant. When Julian learned of the affair he removed his daughter from Roderic's court and, out of vengeance, betrayed Hispania to the Muslim invaders, thus making possible the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Personal power politics were possibly at play, as historical evidence points to a civil war among the Visigothic aristocracy. Roderic had been appointed to the throne by the bishops of the Visigothic Catholic church, snubbing the sons of the previous king, Wittiza, who died or was killed in 710. Thus, Wittiza's relatives and partisans fled Iberia for Julian's protection at Ceuta (Septem), the Pillar of Hercules in North Africa on the northern shore of the Maghreb. At that time, the surrounding area of the Maghreb had recently been conquered by Musa ibn Nusair, who established his governor, Tariq ibn Ziyad, at Tangier with an Arab army of 1,700 men. Julian approached Musa to negotiate the latter's assistance in an effort to topple Roderic. If Julian was the Greek commander of the last Byzantine outpost in Africa, he would have had only a military alliance with the Kingdom of the Visigoths and not been part of it. Perhaps, then, in exchange for lands in al-Andalus (the Arab name for the area the Visigoths still called by its Roman name, Hispania) or to topple a king and his religious allies, Julian provided military intelligence, troops and ships. Musa was initially unsure of Julian's project and so, in July 710, directed Tarif ibn Malluk to lead a probe of the Iberian coast. Legend says that Julian participated as a guide and emissary, arranging for Tarif to be hospitably received by supportive Christians, perhaps Julian's kinsmen, friends, and supporters, who agreed to become allies in the contemplated battle for the Visigothic throne. The next summer Julian provided the ships to carry Muslim troops across to Europe. Julian also briefed Tariq, their general. The latter left Julian behind among the merchants and crossed the Strait of Hercules with a force of some 1,700 men. He landed at Gibraltar (Jebel Tariq in Arabic) on April 30, 711 and thus began the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Later, in the Battle of Guadalete on July 19, Roderic's army of around 25,000 men was defeated by Tariq's force of approximately 7,000, largely by a reversal of fortune when the wings commanded by Roderic's relatives Sisbert and Osbert deserted or switched sides. Legend would later attribute that to a deliberate plan developed by Julian. Afterwards, Julian was apparently granted the lands he was promised by the Muslims.
Πηγή :,_Count_of_Ceuta

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