1902 Encyclopedia > Justinian II

Justinian II
Roman emperor of the East, 685-695 and 704-711




JUSTINIAN II., Rhinotmetus, Roman emperor of the East from 685 to 695, and from 704 to 711, succeeded his father Constantine IV., at the age of sixteen. His reign was unhappy both at home and abroad. He made a truce with the Arabs, which admitted them to the joint possession of Armenia, Iberia, and Cyprus, while by removing 10,000 Christian Maronites from their native Lebanon, he gave the Arabs a command over Asia Minor of which they took advantage in 692 by conquering all Armenia. In 688 Justinian was defeated by the Bulgarians. Meanwhile the bitter dissensions caused in the church by the emperor, his bloody persecution of the Manichaeans, and the insatiable and cruel rapacity with which, through his creatures Stephanus and Theodatus, he extorted the means of gratifying his sumptuous tastes, maddened his subjects into rebellion. In 695 they rose under Leontius, and, after cutting off the emperor's nose (whence his surname), banished him to Cherson in the Crimea. Leontius, after a reign of three years, was in turn dethroned and imprisoned by Tiberius Absimarus, who next assumed the purple. Justinian meanwhile had escaped from Cherson and married Theodora, sister of Busirus, khan of the Khazars. Compelled, however, by the intrigues of Tiberius, to quit his new home, he fled to Terbelis, king of the Bulgarians. With an army of 15,000 horsemen Justinian suddenly pounced upon Constantinople, slew his rivals Leantius and Tiberius, with thousands of their partisans, and once more ascended the throne in 704. His second reign was marked by an unsuccessful war against Terbelis, by Arab victories in Asia Minor, by devastating expeditions sent against his own cities of Ravenna and Cherson, and by the same cruel rapacity towards his subjects. Conspiracies again broke out; Bardanes, surnamed Philippicus, assumed the purple; and Justinian, the last of the house of Heraclius, was assassinated in Asia Minor, December 711.






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