Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία
Ελληνική ιστορία και προϊστορία

Δευτέρα, 24 Δεκεμβρίου 2018

The Byzantine Greek Exarchs of Ravenna and Italy (Part C)

Theophylact was an Exarch of Ravenna (701 or 702-709), succeeding John II Platinus. According to T.S. Brown, the garrison of Ravenna made an attempt on his life in 701. Shortly after his promotion, Theophylact marched from Sicily to Rome, where John VI had recently been made Pope. His reasons for marching into the city are not known, but his presence infuriated the Romans. The local soldiers threatened Theophylactus, but John managed to subdue them; several of the exarch's minions, however, were set upon. In 709 the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II sent an expedition under the command of the patrician Theodore against the city of Ravenna, possibly in retaliation for the participation of the city's inhabitants in the rebellion of 695. Theodore, upon reaching Ravenna, invited all of the leading citizens of the city to attend a banquet. As they arrived, they were seized and dragged aboard ship. Ravenna was then sacked, while the captured officials were brought to Constantinople. There, Justinian sentenced them all to death; the Archbishop Felix alone was spared, although he was blinded. Theophylactus was apparently not a victim of the catastrophe, but had little control over the situation, and the exarchate was severely weakened. Theophylactus was succeeded by John III Rizocopus in 709.
John III Rizocopus was an Exarch of Ravenna (710). Following the restoration of the Byzantine Emperor Justinian II, he sent a military force to savage Ravenna. "Apparently," writes Jeffrey Richards, "some prominent Ravennates were involved in the revolt which overthrew Justinian and when he returned to power he determined to revenge himself on the entire city." The Archbishop Felix was arrested with other prominent citizens and taken to Constantinople, and the city plundered and burned. In response, the citizens and soldiers of Ravenna rebelled, making one George the son of Johannicus their leader, whose father was one of the captives taken to Constantinople. John was appointed Exarch not long after this, and landed at Naples with loyal troops, where he encountered Pope Constantine responding to an Imperial summons to Constantinople. John then proceeded to Ravenna by way of Rome, where he "cut the throats" of several senior papal officials, according to the Liber Pontificalis. Richards explains this violent act by pointing out "the inclusion of the papal steward and the papal treasurer among the victims suggests a bid to plunder the papal treasury." John Rizocopus continued to Ravenna, where he died shortly after, although the details are not recorded. The Liber Pontificalis does record that in Ravenna "by God's judgment on his atrocious deeds he [John] died an ignominious death". Whether his death was due to illness or a revolt by the Ravennese is impossible to determine, but the latter is more likely, given the subsequent dispatch of a punitive expedition. The strategos of Sicily, Theodore, was placed in charge of the latter, and imprisoned and executed the leaders of the Ravennese revolt, including Archbishop Felix, who was deported to Constantinople, blinded and exiled to the Crimea.
Popes of the first half of the eighth century perceived Constantinople as a source of legitimating authority and in practice "paid handsomely" to continue to receive imperial confirmation, but Byzantine authority all but vanished in Italy (except for Sicily) as the emperors became increasingly pressed by the Muslim conquests. Although antagonism about the expense of Byzantine domination had long persisted within Italy, the political rupture was set in motion in earnest in 726 by the iconoclasm of Emperor Leo III the Isaurian. The exarch was lynched while trying to enforce the iconoclastic edict and Pope Gregory II saw iconoclasm as the latest in a series of imperial heresies. In 731, his successor, Pope Gregory III organized a synod in Rome (attended by the Archbishop of Ravenna), which declared iconoclasm punishable by excommunication. When the exarch donated six columns of onyx to the shrine of St. Peter in thanks for the pope's assistance in his release from the Lombards, Gregory III defiantly had the material crafted into icons. Leo III responded in 732/33 by confiscating all papal patrimonies in South Italy and Sicily, together constituting most papal income at the time. He further removed the bishoprics of Thessalonica, Corinth, Syracuse, Reggio, Nicopolis, Athens, and Patras from papal jurisdiction, instead subjecting them to the Patriarch of Constantinople. This was in effect an act of triage: it strengthened the imperial grip on the southern empire, but all but guaranteed the eventual destruction of the exarchate of Ravenna, which finally occurred at Lombard hands in 751. In effect, the papacy had been "cast out of the empire". Pope Zachary, in 741, was the last pope to announce his election to a Byzantine ruler or seek their approval.
Scholasticus was an exarch of Ravenna (713-723). In 713 he was appointed as exarch, the same year Anastasios II became Byzantine Emperor, and overthrew the Monothelite Emperor Philippicus. Scholasticus was charged with giving a letter to Pope Constantine, which described Anastasios' allegiance to orthodoxy, helping to heal the rift between Rome and Constantinople. He was replaced in ca. 723 as exarch by Paul. Paul was a senior Byzantine official under Leo III the Isaurian, serving as the strategos of Sicily, and then as the Exarch of Ravenna from 723 to 727. Paul is first mentioned in 717/18. Theophanes the Confessor calls him the private chartoulariosof Emperor Leo III the Isaurian, while Patriarch Nikephoros I of Constantinople calls him a loyal and close confidante (oikeios) of Leo's, and that he was experienced in military matters. As a result, when the governor (strategos) of Sicily, Sergios, driven by a false message that Constantinople had fallen to the Arabs, declared a rival emperor in the person of Basil Onomagoulos, Leo named him as Sergios' replacement and sent him to Sicily to restore control. It was probably on this occasion that he was raised to the rank of patrikios, although Patriarch Nikephoros implies that he already held the title. He is commonly held to have been the same as the Sergios appointed as Exarch of Ravenna in c. 723, and consequently to have held the office of strategos of Sicily continuously until then. Although both suppositions are likely, neither is certain. If the identification is true, then Paul was responsible for the defeat of an Arab attack on the island in 720/21. As exarch, he had to face the resistance of the local inhabitants, led by Pope Gregory II, to the high taxation demanded by Leo. According to the Liber Pontificalis, the Emperor ordered Paul to either kill or imprison the Pope, but both failed and led to a renewed wave of rebellion against imperial authority in Italy; the Pope even anathematized Paul. In 726/27, the Ravenna itself rose in revolt, denouncing both Exarch Paul and Emperor Leo III, and overthrew those officers who remained loyal. Paul rallied the loyalist forces and attempted to restore order, but was killed. The armies discussed electing their own emperor and marching on Constantinople, but when they sought the advice of the Pope, he dissuaded them from acting against the sitting emperor. According to John Julius Norwich, the person traditionally recognized as the first doge of Venice, Paolo Lucio Anafesto, was actually Exarch Paul. Moreover, Paul's magister militum had the same first name as the doge's reputed successor, Marcellus Tegallianus, casting doubt on the authenticity of that doge as well.
Eutychius was the last Exarch of Ravenna (c. 727–751). The Exarchate of Ravenna had risen in revolt in 727 at the imposition of iconoclasm; the Exarch Paul lost his life attempting to quash the revolt. In response, Emperor Leo III the Isaurian (r. 717–741) sent the eunuch patrician Eutychius to take control of the situation. In certain historical works, Eutychius is mentioned as having served as exarch already in 710/11–713, between the tenures of John III Rizocopus and Scholasticus. This is however a modern interpolation based on an erroneous reading of the Liber pontificalis. Eutychius landed in Naples, where he called upon loyal citizens to assassinate Pope Gregory II. When the citizens responded by pledging to defend the Pope and to die in his defense, Eutychius turned his attention to the Lombards, offering King Liutprand and the Lombard dukes bribes if they would abandon Pope Gregory. Despite all of this, according to Jeffrey Richards, Pope Gregory persisted in his efforts to preserve imperial rule in Italy. Eutychius's efforts eventually gained results: King Liutprand came to an agreement with the Exarch, and agreed to support him in return for assistance in subjecting the duchies of Benevento and Spoleto. Pope Gregory, however, met with Liutprand, and convinced him to abandon the effort, then with Liutprand's help effected a reconciliation with Eutychius. When one Tiberius Petasius proclaimed himself emperor in Tuscia and Eutychius found himself critically short of manpower, Pope Gregory ordered the Roman army to help him put down the rebellion, and Petasius was killed. Conflict with the Lombards resulted in disaster in 737, when the exarchate's capital, Ravenna, was seized by Liutprand. Further warfare erupted in 739. Pope Gregory III had supported the dukes of Benevento and Spoleto against Liutprand, causing the latter to invade central Italy. The exarchate, as well as the Duchy of Rome, was ravaged and Ravenna fell to the Lombards; Eutychius was forced to go to the Venetian islands. He appealed to the inhabitants to help liberate Ravenna, and the Venetian fleet sailed with him to recover the city. Shortly after the accession of Pope Zachary in 741, Liutprand planned to campaign against the Lombard Duchy of Spoleto, which had defied him. Zachary, however, marched north to the Lombard capital of Pavia and convinced Liutprand to abort the expedition and to restore some of the territory he had captured. Nevertheless, Liutprand saw this treaty as between him and the Pope alone; in the words of Jeffrey Richards, "he still regarded the exarch as fair game." In 743, Liutprand marched on Ravenna, and Eutychius was so impoverished in resources that he, Archbishop John V of Ravenna, and the leading citizens petitioned the pope to intervene. Pope Zachary began a diplomatic offensive to dissuade Liutprand from conquering Ravenna, and on his journey to the Lombard court at Ticinum, he was met at the church of St. Christopher at Aquila by Exarch Eutychius and citizens of Ravenna. "The sight of the exarch begging the pope to save him from the Lombards testifies more powerfully than anything else to the utter enfeeblement of the exarchate and the effective transfer of authority in Catholic Byzantine Italy from the imperial governor to the pope," observes Richards. Pope Zachary was successful in convincing Liutprand to put off his intended campaign and return the rural districts around Ravenna he had seized. Several years later, however, in 751, the Lombard king Aistulf captured Ravenna. The Exarchate came to an end, and Byzantine Italy was confined to Sicily and the southern, Greek-speaking regions of Italy. The archbishoprics within the former exarchate, had developed traditions of local secular power and independence, which contributed to the fragmenting localization of powers. Three centuries later, that independence would fuel the rise of the independent communes. So the Exarchate disappeared, and the small remnants of the imperial possessions on the mainland, Naples and Calabria, passed under the authority of the Catapan of Italy, and when Sicily was conquered by the Arabs in the 9th century the remnants were erected into the themes of Calabria and Langobardia. Istria at the head of the Adriatic was attached to Dalmatia.
Aistulf (died 756) was the Duke of Friuli from 744, King of Lombards from 749, and Duke of Spoleto from 751. His father was the Duke Pemmo. After his brother Ratchis became king, Aistulf succeeded him in Friuli. He succeeded him later as king when Ratchis abdicated to a monastery. Aistulf continued the policy of expansion and raids against the papacy and the Eastern Roman exarchate of Ravenna. In 751, he captured Ravenna itself and even threatened Rome, claiming a capitation tax. He also conquered the Istria region from Eastern Roman occupation in the same year. The popes, thoroughly irritated and alarmed, and despairing of aid from the Roman Emperor, turned to the Carolingian mayors of the palace of Austrasia, the effective rulers of the Frankish kingdom. In 741, Pope Gregory III asked Charles Martel to intervene, but he was too busy elsewhere and declined. In 753, Pope Stephen II visited Charles Martel's son Pepin the Short, who had been proclaimed king of the Franks in 751 with the consent of Pope Zachary. In gratitude for the papal consent to his coronation, Pepin crossed the Alps, defeated Aistulf, and gave to the pope the lands which Aistulf had torn from the ducatus Romanus and the exarchate (Emilia-Romagna and the Pentapolis). Aistulf died hunting in 756. He was succeeded by Desiderius as king of the Lombards and by Alboin as duke of Spoleto. He had given Friuli to his brother-in-law Anselm, abbot of Nonantula, whose sister Gisaltruda he had married, when he succeeded to the kingship in 749.
The relationship between the Pope in Rome and the Exarch in Ravenna was a dynamic that could hurt or help the empire. The Papacy could be a vehicle for local discontent. The old Roman senatorial aristocracy resented being governed by an Exarch who was considered by many a meddlesome foreigner. Thus the exarch faced threats from without as well as from within, hampering much real progress and development. In its internal history the exarchate was subject to the splintering influences which were leading to the subdivision of sovereignty and the establishment of feudalism throughout Europe. Step by step, and in spite of the efforts of the emperors at Constantinople, the great imperial officials became local landowners, the lesser owners of land were increasingly kinsmen or at least associates of these officials, and new allegiances intruded on the sphere of imperial administration. Meanwhile, the necessity for providing for the defence of the imperial territories against the Lombards led to the formation of local militias, who at first were attached to the imperial regiments, but gradually became independent, as they were recruited entirely locally. These armed men formed the exercitus romanae militiae, who were the forerunners of the free armed burghers of the Italian cities of the Middle Ages. Other cities of the exarchate were organized on the same model.
The Byzantine Papacy was a period of Byzantine domination of the Roman papacy
 from 537 to 752, when popes required the approval of the Byzantine Emperor for episcopal consecration, and many popes were chosen from the apocrisiarii (liaisons from the pope to the emperor) or the inhabitants of Byzantine-ruled Greece, Syria, or Sicily. The Byzantine Papacy was composed of the following popes and antipopes. Of the thirteen popes from 678 to 752, only Benedict II and Gregory II were native Romans; all the rest were Greek-speaking, from Greece, Syria, or Byzantine Sicily. Many popes of this period had previously served as papal apocrisiarii (equivalent of the modern nuncio) in Constantinople. Justinian Iconquered the Italian peninsula in the Gothic War (535–554) and appointed the next three popes, a practice that would be continued by his successors and later be delegated to the Exarchate of Ravenna. With the exception of Pope Martin I, no pope during this period questioned the authority of the Byzantine monarch to confirm the election of the bishop of Rome before consecration could occur; however, theological conflicts were common between pope and emperor in the areas such as monothelitism and iconoclasm. Greek-speakers from Greece, Syria, and Sicily replaced members of the powerful Roman nobles in the papal chair during this period. Rome under the Greek popes constituted a "melting pot" of Western and Eastern Christian traditions, reflected in art as well as liturgy. According to Duffy, by the end of the 7th century, "Greek-speakers dominated the clerical culture of Rome, providing its theological brains, its administrative talent, and much of its visual, musical, and liturgical culture". Ekonomou argues that "after four decades of Byzantine rule, the East was inexorably insinuating itself into the city on the Tiber. Even Gregory would succumb, perhaps unwittingly, to the lux orientis[...] Once the political bonds had been reformed, both Rome and the Papacy would quickly begin to experience, even before the sixth century came to a close, its influence in other ways as well." Ekonomou views the Byzantine influence as organic rather than "an intentional or systematic program" by the emperors or exarchs, who focused more on political control and taxation than cultural influence.
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