Heraclius

Heraclius

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Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.

He was responsible for introducing Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder
Heraclius the Elder
Heraclius the Elder was an East Roman general and the father of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius . Of Armenian origin, the elder Heraclius distinguished himself in the wars against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s. Ca. 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa. In 608, he rebelled with his son...

, the exarch of Africa
Exarchate of Africa
The Exarchate of Africa or of Carthage, after its capital, was the name of an administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire encompassing its possessions on the Western Mediterranean, ruled by an exarch, or viceroy...

, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

.

Heraclius' 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 war against the Sassanids. The first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Greeks; the Persian army fought their way to the Bosphorus. However, because Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 was protected by impenetrable walls and a strong navy, 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
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh
Battle of Nineveh (627)
The Battle of Nineveh was the climactic battle of the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. The Byzantine victory broke the power of the Sassanid dynasty and for a period of time restored the empire to its ancient boundaries in the Middle East...

. The Persian king Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

 was assassinated soon after and peace was restored to the two deeply strained empires.

However, soon after his victory he faced a new threat, the Muslim invasions. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

, the Muslims quickly conquered the collapsing Persian empire. In 634 the Muslims invaded Roman Syria, defeating Heraclius' brother Theodore
Theodore (brother of Heraclius)
Theodore was the brother of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius , a curopalates and leading general in Heraclius' wars against the Persians and against the Arab invasions.-Life:...

. Within a short period of time the Arabs would conquer Syria, Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Egypt.

In religious matters, Heraclius is remembered as the driving force in converting the peoples migrating to the Balkan Peninsula
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. At his request, Pope John IV
Pope John IV
Pope John IV was elected Pope of the Catholic Church, after a four-month sede vacante, December 24, 640.Pope John was a native of Dalmatia . He was the son of the scholasticus Venantius. At the time of his election he was archdeacon of the Roman Church, an important role in governing the see...

 (640–642) sent Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 teachers and missionaries to the Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

, newly Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

n provinces settled by Porga and his clan, who practiced Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 paganism. He tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism
Monothelitism
Monothelitism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus, known as a Christological doctrine, that formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism teaches that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will...

, but this philosophy was rejected as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 by both sides of the dispute. He was the first Emperor to engage the Muslims
Byzantine-Arab Wars
The Byzantine–Arab Wars were a series of wars between the Arab Caliphates and the East Roman or Byzantine Empire between the 7th and 12th centuries AD. These started during the initial Muslim conquests under the expansionist Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs and continued in the form of an enduring...

; in the Islamic tradition he is portrayed as an ideal ruler who corresponded with Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

, was a true believer of Islam, and viewed Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 as the true prophet, the messenger of God.

Origins


Heraclius was the eldest son of Heraclius the Elder
Heraclius the Elder
Heraclius the Elder was an East Roman general and the father of Byzantine Emperor Heraclius . Of Armenian origin, the elder Heraclius distinguished himself in the wars against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s. Ca. 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa. In 608, he rebelled with his son...

 and Epiphania, an Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 family from Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

. Beyond that, there is little specific information known about his ancestry. His father was a key general during Emperor Maurice's
Maurice (emperor)
Maurice was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602.A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians...

 war with Bahrām Chobin
Bahram Chobin
General Bahrām Chobin was a famous Eran spahbod during the late 6th century in Persia, usurping the Sassanid throne for a year as Bahram VI .- Life :...

, usurper of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

, during 590. After the war, Maurice appointed Heraclius the Elder to the position of Exarch
Exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

 of Africa
Africa Province
The Roman province of Africa was established after the Romans defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day northern Tunisia, and the small Mediterranean coast of modern-day western Libya along the Syrtis Minor...

.

Revolt against Phocas and accession



In 608, Heraclius the Elder renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

, who had overthrown Maurice six years earlier. The rebels issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

s, though neither of them explicitly claimed the imperial title at this time. Heraclius' younger cousin Nicetas
Nicetas (cousin of Heraclius)
Nicetas was the cousin of Emperor Heraclius, helping him the wars against Phocas and the Persians in the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. He helped Heraclius revolt against Phocas by conquering Egypt in 610. At Egypt, Nicetas established a power base because of his friendship with Patriarch John...

 launched an overland invasion of Egypt
Aegyptus (Roman province)
The Roman province of Egypt was established in 30 BC after Octavian defeated his rival Mark Antony, deposed his lover Queen Cleopatra VII and annexed the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire. The province encompassed most of modern-day Egypt except for the Sinai Peninsula...

; by 609, he had defeated Phocas' general Bonosus
Bonosus
Bonosus can refer to the following figures in ancient history:*the usurper Bonosus * Bonosus of Sardica, founder of the Bonosians * Bonosus of Naissus, Eastern Christian bishop...

 and secured the province. Meanwhile, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward with another force via Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

.

As he approached Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, he made contact with prominent leaders and planned an attack to overthrow aristocrat
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

s in the city, and soon arranged a ceremony where he was crowned and acclaimed as emperor. When he reached the capital, the Excubitors
Excubitors
The Excubitors were founded in circa 460 AD as the imperial guards of the early Byzantine emperors. Their commanders soon acquired great influence and provided a series of emperors in the 6th century...

, an elite Imperial Guard unit led by Phocas' 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 said in reply, "And will you rule better?" With that, Heraclius became so enraged 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, and at the same time married Fabia, who took the name Eudokia
Eudokia (empress)
Eudokia or Eudocia , originally named Fabia, was a Byzantine lady who became the first empress-consort of Heraclius from 610 to her death in 612.- Family :...

. After her death in 612, he married his niece Martina in 613; this second marriage was considered incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

uous and was very unpopular. In the reign of Heraclius' 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
Patriarch
Originally a patriarch was a man who exercised autocratic authority as a pater familias over an extended family. The system of such rule of families by senior males is called patriarchy. This is a Greek word, a compound of πατριά , "lineage, descent", esp...

 Sergius to prevent and later dissolve the marriage.

War against Persia



To the brink of defeat



During his Balkan Campaigns
Maurice's Balkan campaigns
Maurice's Illyricum campaigns were a series of military expeditions conducted by emperor of Constantinopolis Maurice in an attempt to defend the Illyrian provinces of the East Roman Empire from Avars and Slavs...

, Emperor Maurice
Maurice (emperor)
Maurice was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602.A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians...

 and his family were murdered by Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

 in November 602 after a mutiny. Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

 (Chosroes) of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 had been restored to his throne by Maurice and they had remained allies. Thus, the Persian King Khosrau II seized the pretext to attack the Eastern Roman Empire, and reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia. Khosrau had at his court a man who claimed to be Maurice's son Theodosius
Theodosius (son of Maurice)
Theodosius was the eldest son of Byzantine Emperor Maurice and was co-emperor from 590 until his deposition and execution during a military revolt in November 602. Along with his father-in-law Germanus, he was briefly proposed as successor to Maurice by the troops, but the army eventually...

; and Khosrau demanded that the Romans accept this Theodosius as Emperor.

The war initially went the Persians' way, partly because of Phocas' brutal repression and the succession crisis that ensued as the general Heraclius sent his nephew Nicetas
Nicetas (cousin of Heraclius)
Nicetas was the cousin of Emperor Heraclius, helping him the wars against Phocas and the Persians in the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. He helped Heraclius revolt against Phocas by conquering Egypt in 610. At Egypt, Nicetas established a power base because of his friendship with Patriarch John...

 to attack Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, enabling his son Heraclius the younger to claim the throne in 610. Phocas, an unpopular ruler who is invariably described in historical sources as a "tyrant", was eventually deposed by Heraclius, who sailed to Constantinople from Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 with an icon affixed to the prow of his ship.

By this time, the Persians had conquered Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

 and the Caucasus
Caucasus
The Caucasus, also Caucas or Caucasia , is a geopolitical region at the border of Europe and Asia, and situated between the Black and the Caspian sea...

, and in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia. A major counter-attack led by Heraclius two years later was decisively defeated outside Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 by Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz or Shahrwaraz was a general, with the rank of Eran Spahbod under Khosrau II . His name was Farrokhan, and Shahrbaraz was his title...

 and Shahin, and the Roman position collapsed; the Persians devastated parts of Asia Minor, and captured Chalcedon
Chalcedon
Chalcedon , sometimes transliterated as Chalkedon) was an ancient maritime town of Bithynia, in Asia Minor, almost directly opposite Byzantium, south of Scutari . It is now a district of the city of Istanbul named Kadıköy...

 across from Constantinople on the Bosporus
Bosporus
The Bosphorus or Bosporus , also known as the Istanbul Strait , is a strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia. It is one of the Turkish Straits, along with the Dardanelles...

. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 and Egypt (by mid-621 the whole province was in their hands) and to devastate Anatolia, while the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

 and Slavs took advantage of the situation to overrun the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, bringing the Roman Empire to the brink of destruction. In 613, the Persian army took Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

 with the help of the Jews, seized Jerusalem in 614, damaging the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, also called the Church of the Resurrection by Eastern Christians, is a church within the walled Old City of Jerusalem. It is a few steps away from the Muristan....

 and capturing the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

 and afterwards capturing Egypt
Aegyptus
- Aegyptus, King of Egypt and Arabia :In Greek mythology, Aegyptus is a descendant of the heifer maiden, Io, and the river-god Nilus, and was a king in Egypt. Aegyptos was the son of Belus and Achiroe, a naiad daughter of Nile. Aegyptus fathered fifty sons, who were all but one murdered by the...

 in 616.

With the Persians at the very gate of Constantinople, Heraclius thought of abandoning the city and moving the capital to Carthage, but was convinced to stay by the powerful church figure Patriarch Sergius
Sergius I of Constantinople
Sergius I was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 610 to 638.In 626 during the absence of Emperor Heraclius on campaign against Sassanid Persia, the Avars laid siege to Constantinople. Along with the magister militum Bonus, he had been named regent and was in charge of the city's defense...

. Safe behind the walls of Constantinople, Heraclius was able to sue for peace in exchange for an annual tribute of: a thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins to the Persian King. The peace allowed him to rebuild the Empire's army by slashing non-military expenditure, devaluing the currency, and melting down, with the backing of Patriarch Sergius, Church treasures to raise the necessary funds to continue the war.

Byzantine Empire strikes back


On April 5, 622, Heraclius left Constantinople, entrusting the city to Sergius and general Bonus
Bonus (patrician)
Bonus was a Byzantine statesman and general, one of the closest associates of Emperor Heraclius , who played a leading role in the successful defense of the imperial capital, Constantinople, during the Avar–Persian siege of 626.-Life:...

 as regents of his son. He assembled his forces in Asia Minor, probably in Bithynia
Bithynia
Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine .-Description:...

, and, after he revived their broken morale, he launched a new counter-offensive, which took on the character of a holy war; an acheiropoietos image of Christ was carried as a military standard.
The Roman army proceeded to Armenia, inflicted a defeat on an army led by a Persian-allied Arab chief, and then won a victory over the Persians under Shahrbaraz. He would stay on campaign for several years. On March 25, 624 Heraclius left again Constantinople with his wife, Martina, and his two children; after he celebrated Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 in Nicomedia on April 15, he campaigned in the Caucasus, winning a series of victories in Armenia against Khosrau and his generals Shahrbaraz, Shahin and Shahraplakan
Shahraplakan
Shahraplakan, rendered Sarablangas in Greek sources, was a Sassanid Persian general who participated in the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628.Shahraplakan first appears in 624, when the Persian shah Khosrau II Shahraplakan, rendered Sarablangas in Greek sources, was a Sassanid Persian general who...

. In 626 the Avars and Slavs besieged Constantinople, supported by a Persian army commanded by Shahrbaraz, but the siege ended in failure (the victory was attributed to the icons of the Virgin which were led in procession by Sergius about the walls of the city), while a second Persian army under Shahin suffered another crushing defeat at the hands of Heraclius' brother Theodore.

With the Persian war effort disintegrating, Heraclius was able to bring the Gokturks
Göktürks
The Göktürks or Kök Türks, were a nomadic confederation of peoples in medieval Inner Asia. Known in Chinese sources as 突厥 , the Göktürks under the leadership of Bumin Qaghan The Göktürks or Kök Türks, (Old Turkic: Türük or Kök Türük or Türük; Celestial Turks) were a nomadic confederation of...

 of the Western Turkic Khaganate
Western Turkic Khaganate
The Western Turkic Khaganate was formed as a result of the internecine wars in the beginning of the 7th century after the Göktürk Khaganate had splintered into two politiesEastern and Western.The Western Turks initially sought friendly relations with the Byzantine Empire in order to expand their...

, Ziebel, who invaded Persian Transcaucasia
Third Perso-Turkic War
The Third Perso-Turkic War was the third and final conflict between the Sassanian Empire and the Western Turkic Khaganate. Unlike the previous two wars, it was fought, not in Central Asia, but in Transcaucasia. Hostilities were initiated in 627 AD by Khagan Tong Yabghu of the Western Göktürks and...

. Heraclius exploited divisions within the Persian Empire, keeping the Persian general Shahrbaraz neutral by convincing him that Khosrau had grown jealous of him and ordered his execution. Late in 627 he launched a winter offensive into Mesopotamia, where, despite the desertion of his Turkish allies, he defeated the Persians under Rhahzadh
Rhahzadh
Razadh, originally Roch Vehan, known in Byzantine sources as Rhazates was a Persian general of Armenian origin under Sassanid king Khosrau II ....

 at the Battle of Nineveh
Battle of Nineveh (627)
The Battle of Nineveh was the climactic battle of the Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602–628. The Byzantine victory broke the power of the Sassanid dynasty and for a period of time restored the empire to its ancient boundaries in the Middle East...

. Continuing south along the Tigris he sacked Khosrau's great palace at Dastagird and was only prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal. Discredited by this series of disasters, Khosrau was overthrown and killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II
Kavadh II
Kavadh II , twenty-third Sassanid King of Persia, son of Khosrau II , was raised to the throne in opposition to his father in February 628, after the great victories of the Emperor Heraclius...

, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. In 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

 to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony.

Heraclius took for himself the ancient Persian title of "King of Kings
King of Kings
King of Kings is a title that has been used by several monarchies and empires throughout history. The title originates in the Ancient Near East. It is broadly the equivalent of the later title Emperor....

" after his victory over Persia. Later on, starting in 629, he styled himself as Basileus
Basileus
Basileus is a Greek term and title that has signified various types of monarchs in history. It is perhaps best known in English as a title used by the Byzantine Emperors, but also has a longer history of use for persons of authority and sovereigns in ancient Greece, as well as for the kings of...

, the Greek word for "sovereign", and that title was used by the Roman Emperors for the next 800 years. The reason Heraclius chose this title, over previous Roman terms such as Augustus, has been attributed by some scholars to having to do with Heraclius' Armenian origins.

Heraclius' defeat of the Persians had been the end game in a war that had been on and off for almost 800 years, when Alexander the Great had totally defeated the Persians. After Heraclius' victory over the Persian Empire left it in disarray which it never recovered. In 633 the new Islamic State slowly devoured the Persians until the Muslim conquest of Persia led to the end of the Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 in 644, and the Sassanid dynasty in 651.

War against the Arabs




The Islamic Prophet Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 had recently succeeded in unifying all the nomad
Nomad
Nomadic people , commonly known as itinerants in modern-day contexts, are communities of people who move from one place to another, rather than settling permanently in one location. There are an estimated 30-40 million nomads in the world. Many cultures have traditionally been nomadic, but...

ic tribes of the Arabian Peninsula
Arabian Peninsula
The Arabian Peninsula is a land mass situated north-east of Africa. Also known as Arabia or the Arabian subcontinent, it is the world's largest peninsula and covers 3,237,500 km2...

. The Arab tribes had been too divided in the past to pose a serious military threat to the Romans or the Persians. Now unified and animated by their new conversion to Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

, they comprised one of the most powerful states in the region. The first conflict between the Byzantines and Muslims was the Battle of Mu'tah
Battle of Mu'tah
The Battle of Mu'tah was fought in 629 , near the village of Mu'tah, east of the Jordan River and Karak in Karak Governorate, between an army sent by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and an army of the Byzantine Empire- The Eastern Romans.In Muslim histories, the battle is usually described as the...

 in September 629. A small Muslim skirmishing force attacked the province of Arabia
Arabia Petraea
Arabia Petraea, also called Provincia Arabia or simply Arabia, was a frontier province of the Roman Empire beginning in the 2nd century; it consisted of the former Nabataean kingdom in modern Jordan, southern modern Syria, the Sinai Peninsula and northwestern Saudi Arabia. Its capital was Petra...

 but were repulsed. Because the engagement was a Byzantine victory, there was no apparent reason to make changes to the military configuration of the region. Also, once the severity of the Muslim threat was realized, the Byzantines had little preceding battlefield experience with the Arabs, and even less with zealous soldiers united by a prophet. Even the Strategicon, a manual of war
Byzantine military manuals
This article lists and briefly discusses the most important of a large number of treatises on military science produced in the Byzantine Empire.- Background :...

 praised for the variety of enemies it covers, does not mention warfare against Arabs at any length.

The following year the Muslims launched raids into the Arabah
Arabah
The Arabah , also known as Aravah, is a section of the Great Rift Valley running in a north-south orientation between the southern end of the Sea of Galilee down to the Dead Sea and continuing further south where it ends at the Gulf of Aqaba. It includes most of the border between Israel to the...

 south of Lake Tiberias, taking Al Karak. Other raids penetrated into the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

 reaching as far as Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

. Islamic sources record that Heraclius dreamt of the coming Arab invasion. Historian Al-Tabari wrote that Heraclius dreamt of a new kingdom of the "circumcised man" that would be victorious against all its enemies. After telling his court his dream, his patricians, who did not know of the rise of Islam in Arabia, "advised him to send orders to behead every Jew in his dominion."

It was only when a Bedouin
Bedouin
The Bedouin are a part of a predominantly desert-dwelling Arab ethnic group traditionally divided into tribes or clans, known in Arabic as ..-Etymology:...

 trader speaking of a man uniting the tribes of Arabia under a new religion was brought before the Emperor did Heraclius and his court realize that the kingdom of the "circumcised man" was not the Jews but the new Islamic Empire. When the Muslim Arabs attacked Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

 in 634, he was unable to oppose them personally in battle. Although he remained strategically in charge of operations, his generals failed him in battle. The Battle of Yarmouk
Battle of Yarmouk
The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the Muslim Arab forces of the Rashidun Caliphate and the armies of the East Roman-Byzantine Empire. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what is today the border...

 in 636 resulted in a crushing defeat for the larger Roman army; within three years, the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 had been lost again. By the time of Heraclius' death, on February 11, 641, most of Egypt had fallen as well.

Islamic view of the Emperor


In Islamic and Arab histories Heraclius is the only Roman Emperor who is discussed at any length. Owing to his role as the Roman Emperor at the time Islam emerged, he was remembered in Arabic literature
Arabic literature
Arabic literature is the writing produced, both prose and poetry, by writers in the Arabic language. The Arabic word used for literature is adab which is derived from a meaning of etiquette, and implies politeness, culture and enrichment....

, such as the Islamic hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 and sira. Although outside of Islamic sources there is no evidence to suggest Heraclius ever heard of Islam, and it is possible that he and his advisors actually viewed the Muslims as some special sect of Jews, he was viewed favourably in these sources.

In Surah 30, the Qur'an refers to the Perso-Roman wars as follows:

30:2 Certainly, the Romans will be defeated. 3 In the nearest land. After their defeat, they will rise again and win. 4 Within several years. Such is GOD's decision, both in the first prophecy, and the second. On that day, the believers shall rejoice 5 in GOD's victory. He grants victory to whomever He wills. He is the Almighty, Most Merciful.

The Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

 "Utendi wa Tambuka
Utendi wa Tambuka
Utend̠i wa Tambuka or Utenzi wa Tambuka , also known as Kyuo kya Hereḳali , is an epic poem in the Swahili language dated 1728...

", an epic poem composed in 1728 at Pate Island (off the shore of present-day Kenya
Kenya
Kenya , officially known as the Republic of Kenya, is a country in East Africa that lies on the equator, with the Indian Ocean to its south-east...

) and depicting the wars between the Muslims and Byzantines from the former's point of view, is also known as Kyuo kya Hereḳali ("The book of Heraclius"). In that work, Heraclius is portrayed as declining the Prophet's command to renounce his false belief in Christianity; he is therefore defeated by the Muslim forces. This reflects the considerable impression which this Emperor made on his Muslim foes, being still prominently remembered by Muslims more than a millennium after his death and at a considerable geographical and cultural distance.

In Muslim tradition he is seen as a just ruler of great piety, who had direct contact with the emerging Islamic forces. The 14th-century scholar Ibn Kathir
Ibn Kathir
Ismail ibn Kathir was a Muslim muhaddith, Faqih, historian, and commentator.-Biography:His full name was Abu Al-Fida, 'Imad Ad-Din, Isma'il bin 'Umar bin Kathir, Al-Qurashi, Al-Busrawi...

 (d. 1373) went even further stating that "Heraclius was one of the wisest men and among the most resolute, shrewd, deep and opinionated of kings. He ruled the Romans with great leadership and splendor." Historians such as Nadia Maria El-Cheikh and Lawrence Conrad note that Islamic histories even go so far as claiming that Heraclius recognized Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 as the true prophet and proclaimed him the messenger of God.

Islamic historians often cite a letter that they claim Heraclius wrote to Muhammad "I have received your letter with your ambassador and I testify that you are the messenger of God found in our New Testament. Jesus, son of Mary, announced you." According to the Muslim sources reported by historian El-Cheikh, he tried to convert the ruling class of the Empire, but they resisted so strongly that he reversed his course and claimed that he was just testing their faith in Christianity. In El-Cheikh's interpretation, his status as a true believer in Islamic teaching should be seen as a way to legitimize Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 as the true prophet: if a foreign emperor, who is viewed as an almost perfect ruler, believes in Islam's message, then Muhammad must be the true prophet and voice of God.

Legacy



Looking back at the reign of Heraclius, scholars have credited him with many accomplishments. He enlarged the Empire and his reorganization of the government and military were great successes. His attempts at religious harmony failed, but he succeeded in returning the True Cross, one of the holiest Christian relics, to Jerusalem.

Accomplishments


Although the territorial gains produced by his defeat of the Persians were lost to the advance of the Muslims, Heraclius still ranks among the great Roman Emperors. His reforms of the government reduced the corruption which had taken hold in Phocas' reign, and he reorganized the military with great success. Ultimately, the reformed Imperial army halted the Muslims in Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

 and held on to Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 for another 60 years, saving a core from which the empire's strength could be rebuilt.

The recovery of the eastern areas of the Roman Empire from the Persians once again raised the problem of religious unity centering around the understanding of the true nature of Christ
Christ
Christ is the English term for the Greek meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew , usually transliterated into English as Messiah or Mashiach...

. Most of the inhabitants of these provinces were Monophysites who rejected the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

. Heraclius tried to promote a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism
Monothelitism
Monothelitism is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus, known as a Christological doctrine, that formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism teaches that Jesus Christ had two natures but only one will...

; however, this philosophy was rejected as heretical
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

 by both sides of the dispute. For this reason, Heraclius was viewed as a heretic and bad ruler by some later religious writers. After the Monophysite provinces were finally lost to the Muslims, Monotheletism rather lost its raison d'être and was eventually abandoned.

One of the most important legacies of Heraclius was changing the official language of the Eastern Roman Empire from Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 to Greek in 620. The Croats
Croats
Croats are a South Slavic ethnic group mostly living in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and nearby countries. There are around 4 million Croats living inside Croatia and up to 4.5 million throughout the rest of the world. Responding to political, social and economic pressure, many Croats have...

 and Serbs
Serbs
The Serbs are a South Slavic ethnic group of the Balkans and southern Central Europe. Serbs are located mainly in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and form a sizable minority in Croatia, the Republic of Macedonia and Slovenia. Likewise, Serbs are an officially recognized minority in...

 of Roman Dalmatia initiated diplomatic relations and dependancies with Heraclius. The Serbs, who briefly lived in Macedonia, became foederati
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

, and were baptized at the request of Heraclius (before 626). At his request, Pope John IV
Pope John IV
Pope John IV was elected Pope of the Catholic Church, after a four-month sede vacante, December 24, 640.Pope John was a native of Dalmatia . He was the son of the scholasticus Venantius. At the time of his election he was archdeacon of the Roman Church, an important role in governing the see...

 (640–642) sent Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 teachers and missionaries to Duke Porga and his Croats, who practiced Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 paganism. He also created the office of sakellarios
Sakellarios
Sakellarios is an official entrusted with administrative and financial duties . The title was used in the Byzantine Empire with varying functions, and remains in use in the Eastern Orthodox Church....

, a comptroller of the treasury.

Up to the 20th century he was credited with establishing the Thematic system
Theme (Byzantine administrative unit)
The themes or themata were the main administrative divisions of the middle Byzantine Empire. They were established in the mid-seventh century in the aftermath of the Muslim conquests of Byzantine territory and replaced the earlier provincial system established by emperors Diocletian and...

 but modern scholarship now points more to the 660s, under Constans II.

The modern day border of Turkey can be attributed to Heraclius. This border was Heraclius' line of defence in Eastern Anatolia which would permanently define the border between lands Islamised by Arabs in the first flush of Islamic conquest and those which would only be Islamised many centuries later — by Turks. It was this ethnic and cultural dividing line which, at the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, would in 1925 become the eastern border of the present Turkish Republic.

Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 in his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire is a non-fiction history book written by English historian Edward Gibbon and published in six volumes. Volume I was published in 1776, and went through six printings. Volumes II and III were published in 1781; volumes IV, V, VI in 1788–89...

wrote:

Recovery of the True Cross


Despite his actual Orthodox theology, Heraclius was long remembered favourably in the Western church for his reputed feat in recovering the True Cross
True Cross
The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a Christian tradition, are believed to be from the cross upon which Jesus was crucified.According to post-Nicene historians, Socrates Scholasticus and others, the Empress Helena The True Cross is the name for physical remnants which, by a...

, which had been captured by the Persians. As Heraclius approached the capital Khosrau fled from his favourite residence, Dastgerd
Dastgerd
Dastgerd is a city in the Central District of Borkhar County, Isfahan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 15,524, in 4,028 families....

 (near Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

), without offering resistance. Meanwhile, some of the Persian grandees freed his eldest son Kavadh II
Kavadh II
Kavadh II , twenty-third Sassanid King of Persia, son of Khosrau II , was raised to the throne in opposition to his father in February 628, after the great victories of the Emperor Heraclius...

, whom Khosrau II had imprisoned, and proclaimed him King on the night of 23–4 February, 628. Kavadh however was mortally ill and was anxious that Heraclius should protect his infant son Ardeshir. So, as a goodwill gesture, he sent the True Cross with a peace negotiator to sue for peace in 628.

After a tour of the Empire he returned the cross on March 21, 630. The story was included in the Golden Legend
Golden Legend
The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine that became a late medieval bestseller. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived, compared to twenty or so of its nearest rivals...

the famous 13th century compendium of hagiography, and he is sometimes shown in art, as in The History of the True Cross
The History of the True Cross
The History of the True Cross or The Legend of the True Cross is a sequence of frescoes painted by Piero della Francesca in the Basilica of San Francesco in Arezzo...

sequence of fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es painted by Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 in Arezzo
Arezzo
Arezzo is a city and comune in Central Italy, capital of the province of the same name, located in Tuscany. Arezzo is about 80 km southeast of Florence, at an elevation of 296 m above sea level. In 2011 the population was about 100,000....

, or a similar sequence on a small altarpiece by Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer
Adam Elsheimer was a German artist working in Rome who died at only thirty-two, but was very influential in the early 17th century. His relatively few paintings were small scale, nearly all painted on copper plates, of the type often known as cabinet paintings. They include a variety of light...

 (Städel
Städel
The Städel, officially the Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, is an art museum in Frankfurt am Main, with one of the most important collections in Germany....

, Frankfurt). Both of these show scenes of Heraclius and Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

's mother Saint Helena
Helena of Constantinople
Saint Helena also known as Saint Helen, Helena Augusta or Helena of Constantinople was the consort of Emperor Constantius, and the mother of Emperor Constantine I...

, traditionally responsible for the excavation of the cross. The scene usually shown is Heraclius carrying the cross; according to the Golden Legend he insisted on doing this as he entered Jerusalem, against the advice of the Patriarch. At first (shown above), when he was on horseback, the burden was too heavy, but after he dismounted and removed his crown it became miraculously light, and the barred city gate opened of its own accord.

Probably because he was one of the few Eastern Roman Emperors widely known in the West, the Late Antique
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

 Colossus of Barletta
Colossus of Barletta
The Colossus of Barletta is a large bronze statue of an Eastern Roman Emperor, nearly three times life size and currently located in Barletta, Italy....

 was considered to depict Heraclius.

Family


Heraclius was married twice: first to Fabia Eudokia, a daughter of Rogatus, and then to his niece Martina. He had two children with Fabia and at least nine with Martina, most of whom were sickly children. Of Martina's children at least two were disabled
Disability
A disability may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental or some combination of these.Many people would rather be referred to as a person with a disability instead of handicapped...

, which was seen as punishment for the illegality of the marriage: Fabius (Flavius) had a paralyzed
Paralysis
Paralysis is loss of muscle function for one or more muscles. Paralysis can be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage as well as motor. A study conducted by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, suggests that about 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed...

 neck and Theodosios, who was a deaf-mute
Deaf-mute
For "deafness", see hearing impairment. For "Deaf" as a cultural term, see Deaf culture. For "inability to speak", see muteness.Deaf-mute is a term which was used historically to identify a person who was both deaf and could not speak...

, married Nike, daughter of Persian general Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz
Shahrbaraz or Shahrwaraz was a general, with the rank of Eran Spahbod under Khosrau II . His name was Farrokhan, and Shahrbaraz was his title...

 or daughter of Niketas, cousin of Heraclius.

Two of Heraclius' children would become Emperor: Martina's son Constantine Heraclius (Heraklonas)
Heraklonas
Constantinus Heraclius , known in English as Heraklonas, Heraclonas, or Heracleonas , was the son of Heraclius and his niece Martina, and was Byzantine Emperor briefly between February and September 641....

, from 638 – 641, and Heraclius Constantine (Constantine III), his son from Eudokia, from February, 641 – May, 641.

Heraclius had at least one illegitimate son, John Athalarichos
John Athalarichos
John Athalarichos , also spelled as Atalarichos, Athalaric, and At'alarik, was an illegitimate son of the 7th century Byzantine Emperor Heraclius...

, who conspired a plot against Heraclius with his cousin, the magister Theodorus, and the Armenian noble David Saharuni
David Saharuni
David Saharuni was sparapet, curopalates, ishkhan, and presiding prince of Byzantine controlled Armenia from 635 to 638.David was a nakharar from the princely noble House of Saharuni. When the marzpan of Persarmania Varaz-Tirots Bagratuni was in the imperial court in Osroene, he entered in a plot...

. When Heraclius discovered the plot he had Atalarichos' nose and hands cut off and he was exile
Exile
Exile means to be away from one's home , while either being explicitly refused permission to return and/or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return...

d to Prinkipo
Büyükada
Büyükada is the largest of the nine so-called Princes' Islands in the Sea of Marmara, near Istanbul, with an area of about two square miles...

, one of the Princes' Islands
Princes' Islands
The Princes' Islands , are a chain of nine islands off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey, in the Sea of Marmara. The islands also constitute the Adalar district of Istanbul Province...

. Theodorus had the same treatment but was sent to Gaudomelete (possibly modern day Gozo Island
Gozo
Gozo is a small island of the Maltese archipelago in the Mediterranean Sea. The island is part of the Southern European country of Malta; after the island of Malta itself, it is the second-largest island in the archipelago...

) with additional instructions to cut off one leg.

During the last years of Heraclius' life, it became evident that a struggle was taking place between Heraclius Constantine and Martina, who was trying to position her son Heraklonas in line for the throne. When Heraclius died, in his will
Will (law)
A will or testament is a legal declaration by which a person, the testator, names one or more persons to manage his/her estate and provides for the transfer of his/her property at death...

 he left the empire to both Heraclius Constantine and Heraklonas to rule jointly with Martina as Empress.

Family tree


See also


  • Non-Muslim interactants with Muslims during Muhammad's era
    Non-Muslim interactants with Muslims during Muhammad's era
    This is a list of the non-Muslim interactants with Muslims during Muhammad's era. In Islam, the Ṣaḥābah were the companions of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. This form is plural; the singular is Ṣaḥābi...

  • Hadith of the prediction in Sura al-Rum
    Hadith of the prediction in Sura al-Rum
    The Hadith of the prediction in Sura ar-Rum is a hadith concerning the sura called Ar-Rum in the Qur'an which can be read as a prediction , possibly in AD 615 that the Romans would triumph over the Persians and the Muslims over the Meccans.The early Muslim community perceived the Greeks of the...

  • Revolt against Heraclius
    Revolt against Heraclius
    The Revolt against Heraclius was a Jewish insurrection against the Byzantine Empire across Levant, coming to the aid of the Persian during Byzantine–Sassanid War of 602–628. The revolt began with the Battle of Antioch , culminating with the conquest of Jerusalem in 614 by Persian and Jewish forces...


External links