Petrus (Greek: Πέτρος, Petros known as Peter in English was a brother of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice. Petrus was a son of Paul, head of the Byzantine Senate and a sibling to Maurice, Byzantine Emperor, the wife of Philippicus, Theoctista. Raised to the rank of curopalates, he was an important general in the Byzantine army. Together with Priscus and Comentiolus, he was one of the three commanders-in-chief during Maurice's Balkan campaigns. Though less able than Priscus, he succeeded the latter as leader of the Roman forces in Moesia in 594, being more loyal to the emperor, his own brother; the reason for this replacement was Priscus' refusal to obey the emperor's orders to spend the winter on the northern Danube bank in 593 and to carry on fighting the Slavs. Petrus defeated the Slavs in 594 near Marcianopolis and maintained the Danube between Novae and the Danube Delta. On, he crossed the Danube and fought his way to the Helibacia river, defeating numerous Slavic tribes in the course. 601, he defeated them in several battles.
When in 602, his brother ordered his troops to spend the winter on the northern bank of the Danube, Petrus made no attempt to disobey this order, as opposed to Priscus in 593. Mutiny was the result. Although Petrus attempted to calm down his troops, they marched to Constantinople and overthrew Maurice. Petrus was subsequently murdered. Although Theophylact Simocatta portrayed Petrus as unable, relying on Priscus as only surviving witness, Petrus' expertise was sophisticated enough to put him forward as a candidate for the authorship of the Strategikon of Maurice. Michael Whitby: The Emperor Maurice and his Historian – Theophylact Simocatta on Persian and Balkan Warfare. Oxford 1988
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus, the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with a few fragments of the original structure surviving; the word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos and dromos, path or way. For this reason, it is sometimes called Atmeydanı in Turkish. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic and Byzantine era. Although the Hippodrome is associated with Constantinople's days of glory as an imperial capital, it predates that era; the first Hippodrome was built when the city was called Byzantium, was a provincial town of moderate importance. In AD 203 the Emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt the city and expanded its walls, endowing it with a hippodrome, an arena for chariot races and other entertainment. In AD 324, the Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move the seat of the government from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Nova Roma.
This name failed to impress and the city soon became known as Constantinople, the City of Constantine. Constantine enlarged the city, one of his major undertakings was the renovation of the Hippodrome, it is estimated that the Hippodrome of Constantine was 130 m wide. Its stands were capable of holding 100,000 spectators; the race-track at the Hippodrome was U-shaped, the Kathisma was located at the eastern end of the track. The Kathisma could be accessed directly from the Great Palace through a passage which only the emperor or other members of the imperial family could use; the Hippodrome Boxes, which had four statues of horses in gilded copper on top, stood at the northern end. These four gilded horses, now called the Horses of Saint Mark, whose exact Greek or Roman ancestry has never been determined, were looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and installed on the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice; the track was lined with other bronze statues of famous horses and chariot drivers, none of which survive.
The hippodrome was filled with statues of gods and heroes, among them some famous works, such as a Heracles by Lysippos and Remus with their wolf and the Serpent Column of the Plataean tripod. In his book De Ceremoniis, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus described the decorations in the hippodrome at the occasion of the visit of Saracen or Arab visitors, mentioning the purple hangings and rare tapestries. Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the centre of the city's social life. Huge amounts were bet on chariot races, four teams took part in these races, each one financially sponsored and supported by a different political party within the Roman/Byzantine Senate: The Blues, the Greens, the Reds and the Whites; the Reds and the Whites weakened and were absorbed by the other two major factions. A total of up to eight chariots, powered by four horses each, competed on the racing track of the Hippodrome; these races were not simple sporting events, but provided some of the rare occasions in which the Emperor and the common citizens could come together in a single venue.
Political discussions were made at the Hippodrome, which could be directly accessed by the Emperor through a passage that connected the Kathisma with the Great Palace of Constantinople. The rivalry between the Blues and Greens became mingled with political or religious rivalries, sometimes riots, which amounted to civil wars that broke out in the city between them; the most severe of these was the Nika riots of 532, in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed and many important buildings, such as the second Hagia Sophia Church, were destroyed. The current Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian following the Nika Revolt. Constantinople never recovered from its sack during the Fourth Crusade and though the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453, by that time, the Hippodrome had fallen into ruin, pillaged by the Venetians who took the four horses now in San Marco from a monument there; the Ottoman Turks, who captured the city in 1453 and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire, were not interested in racing and the Hippodrome was forgotten, although the site was never built over.
The hippodrome was used as a source of building stone, however. The Hippodrome was used for various occasions such as the lavish and days-long circumcision ceremony of the sons of Sultan Ahmed III. In Ottoman miniature paintings, the Hippodrome is shown with the monuments still intact. Although the structures do not exist anymore, today's Sultanahmet Square follows the ground plan and dimensions of the now vanished Hippodrome. To raise the image of his new capital and his successors Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all over the empire to adorn it; the monuments were set up in the middle of the spina. Among these was the Tripod of Plataea, now known as the Serpent Column, cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, set in middle of the Hippodrome
Ingund (wife of Hermenegild)
Ingunde, Ingundis or Ingunda, was the eldest child of Sigebert I, king of Austrasia, his wife Brunhilda, daughter of King Athanagild of the Visigoths. She became the first Catholic queen of the Visigoths. Following the tradition of the time, it would follow that Ingund was named after her father's mother, her siblings included Chlodosind and a brother Childebert. Sigebert became ruler of the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia in 561 on the death of his father Chlothar I. In 575, Sigebert was embroiled in a civil war with his half brother, Chilperic I, king of Neustria. On the verge of victory, Sigebert was assassinated. With the death of Sigebert and the children were in great fear for their safety. Childebert, only five years old, faced certain death from Chilperic. Duke Gundovald came to Paris, where Brunhilda and the children were living, took possession of Childebert and secured his safety among the Austrasian nobility; when Chilperic came to Paris, he seized Brunhilda and ordered Ingund and Chlodosind to be held in custody in the monastery of Meaux.
Ingund would have been only eight during this traumatic time. In 569 Leovigild was elevated to co-rule the Visigoths in Hispania and Septimania with his brother Liuva. Soon afterwards, in order to legitimize his kingship, he married Goiswintha, widow of the previous Visigothic King Athanagild. Leovigild had two sons and Reccared, from a previous marriage. About 578 Leovigild negotiated the marriage of his eldest son Hermenegild to Ingund, daughter of Brunhilda now regent for her son Childebert. Ingund travelled from France to Toledo through Septimania, the part of Gaul still held by the Visigoths. Septimania stretches from the eastern end of the Pyrenees, along the Mediterranean, to the Rhone; as Ingund passed through the Visigothic town of Agde she met the local Catholic bishop, who warned her not to accept the'poison' of Arianism. In 579 Prince Hermenegild married Ingund, he being an Arian and she a Catholic. At first Ingund was warmly received by Queen Goiswintha. However, the queen was determined.
Ingund, still only twelve refused. According to Gregory of Tours: "the Queen lost her temper completely" and "seized the girl by her hair and threw her to the ground: she kicked her until she was covered with blood, had her stripped naked and ordered her to be thrown into the baptismal pool". Whether because of this fracas, or, more because of Leovigild's desire to assure the succession of his sons, he sent Hermenegild and Ingund to Seville to rule a portion of his kingdom - the province of Baetica and southern Lusitania, it was at Seville that Ingund came into contact with a Catholic monk. Leander belonged to an influential family of Hispano-Roman stock, his two brothers became bishops and his sister an Abbess. The vast majority of the population of southern Spain was Catholic. A significant segment of the Visigoth nobility were Catholic, not to mention that portion of the nobility whose roots were Hispano-Roman. Leander either was bishop of Seville when Hermenegild and Ingund arrived there, or became bishop soon afterwards.
There can be no doubt of the influence the bishop held, nor can there be any doubt that he saw in this Catholic princess an opportunity to advance the Catholic cause, for the history of this period contains numerous examples of queens influencing their husband's religious conversion. Hermenegild's the Byzantine controlled cities of southeastern Spain; these cities were predominantly Latin Christian. The sixth century experienced a flight of Catholic clergy to southern Spain, many from Africa, but other areas as well. Persecution and the Three-Chapter Controversy would account for much of the flight. Examples of the new arrivals are the African Nanctus and the Greek named Paul. So when Hermenegild and Ingund arrived in Seville, they would have been met by a strong and active Catholic party. In the winter of 579-80 Hermenegild proclaimed himself king at Seville, yet, he continued to refer to his father as'King'. Whether or not Hermenegild held the Orthodox Christian belief in the Trinity at this time cannot be known, for it is not till 582 that he "officially" accepted the Catholic faith.
However, from the beginning, he seems to have been supported by those who support the Catholic cause. For in 580 Leander travelled to Constantinople to plead the rebel's cause and seek aid from the Byzantine Empire. Sometime between 580 and 582 Hermenegild and Ingund had a son named Athanagild after Ingund's maternal grandfather. Leander travelled to Constantinople to gain support from Emperor Tiberius in 580, returning in 582. Hermenegild converted to Catholicism in 582 - as Leander was absent in the years prior, it would follow that Ingund was a major influence for his conversion. Leovigild more or less ignored his son's transgression until 582 when he marched on Merida and captured the city, it is difficult to determine whether this was because of Hermenegild's new found Catholicism or a coincidence. Leovigild saw in Arianism Visigothic identity and any threat to this identity as a threat to Visigoth legitimacy to rule, he viewed Catholicism as Arianism as the Visigoth religion. Leovigild's response may have been a reaction to Hermenegild and other Visigoth nobles who had, at one time or another, converted to Catholicism.
By 584 the revolt had decidedly turned against Hermenegild and its outcome became all too clear. Ingun
Justinian I, traditionally known as Justinian the Great and Saint Justinian the Great in the Eastern Orthodox Church, was the Eastern Roman emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the historical Roman Empire. Justinian's rule constitutes a distinct epoch in the history of the Later Roman empire, his reign is marked by the ambitious but only realized renovatio imperii, or "restoration of the Empire"; because of his restoration activities, Justinian has sometimes been known as the "last Roman" in mid 20th century historiography. This ambition was expressed by the partial recovery of the territories of the defunct Western Roman Empire, his general, swiftly conquered the Vandal Kingdom in North Africa. Subsequently, Belisarius and other generals conquered the Ostrogothic kingdom, restoring Dalmatia, Sicily and Rome to the empire after more than half a century of rule by the Ostrogoths; the prefect Liberius reclaimed the south of the Iberian peninsula, establishing the province of Spania.
These campaigns re-established Roman control over the western Mediterranean, increasing the Empire's annual revenue by over a million solidi. During his reign, Justinian subdued the Tzani, a people on the east coast of the Black Sea that had never been under Roman rule before, he engaged the Sasanian Empire in the east during Kavad I's reign, again during Khosrow I's. A still more resonant aspect of his legacy was the uniform rewriting of Roman law, the Corpus Juris Civilis, still the basis of civil law in many modern states, his reign marked a blossoming of Byzantine culture, his building program yielded such masterpieces as the church of Hagia Sophia. Justinian was born in Tauresium, around 482. A native speaker of Latin, he came from a peasant family believed to have been of Illyro-Roman or Thraco-Roman origins; the cognomen Iustinianus, which he took is indicative of adoption by his uncle Justin. During his reign, he founded Justiniana Prima not far from his birthplace, which today is in South East Serbia.
His mother was the sister of Justin. Justin, in the imperial guard before he became emperor, adopted Justinian, brought him to Constantinople, ensured the boy's education; as a result, Justinian was well educated in jurisprudence and Roman history. Justinian served for some time with the Excubitors but the details of his early career are unknown. Chronicler John Malalas, who lived during the reign of Justinian, tells of his appearance that he was short, fair skinned, curly haired, round faced and handsome. Another contemporary chronicler, compares Justinian's appearance to that of tyrannical Emperor Domitian, although this is slander; when Emperor Anastasius died in 518, Justin was proclaimed the new emperor, with significant help from Justinian. During Justin's reign, Justinian was the emperor's close confidant. Justinian showed much ambition, it has been thought that he was functioning as virtual regent long before Justin made him associate emperor on 1 April 527, although there is no conclusive evidence of this.
As Justin became senile near the end of his reign, Justinian became the de facto ruler. Justinian was appointed consul in 521 and commander of the army of the east. Upon Justin's death on 1 August 527, Justinian became the sole sovereign; as a ruler, Justinian showed great energy. He was known as "the emperor" on account of his work habits, he seems to have been amiable and easy to approach. Around 525, he married Theodora, in Constantinople, she was by some twenty years his junior. In earlier times, Justinian could not have married her owing to her class, but his uncle, Emperor Justin I, had passed a law allowing intermarriage between social classes. Theodora would become influential in the politics of the Empire, emperors would follow Justinian's precedent in marrying outside the aristocratic class; the marriage caused a scandal, but Theodora would prove to be a shrewd judge of character and Justinian's greatest supporter. Other talented individuals included his legal adviser. Justinian's rule was not universally popular.
Justinian recovered. Theodora died in 548 at a young age of cancer. Justinian, who had always had a keen interest in theological matters and participated in debates on Christian doctrine, became more devoted to religion during the years of his life; when he died on 14 November 565, he left no children, though his wife Theodora had given birth to a stillborn son several years into his reign. He was succeeded by Justin II, the son of his sister Vigilantia and married to Sophia, the niece of Empress Theodora. Justinian's body was entombed in a specially built mausoleum in the Church of the
Saint Hermenegild or Ermengild, was the son of king Liuvigild of the Visigothic Kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula and southern France. He fell out with his father in 579 revolted the following year. During his rebellion, he converted from Arianism to Chalcedonian Christianity. Hermenegild was exiled, his death was celebrated as a martyrdom due to the influence of Pope Gregory I's Dialogues, in which he portrayed Hermenegild as a "Catholic martyr rebelling against the tyranny of an Arian father." Hermenegild was the eldest son of the Liuvigild and his first wife, Princess Theodosia He was brother to Reccared I and brought up an Arian. Liuvigild made his sons co-regents. In 579 he married Ingund, daughter of the Frankish King Sigebert I of Austrasia, a Chalcedonian Christian, her mother was the Visigoth princess Brunhilda of Austrasia. The twelve-year-old Ingund was pressured by Hermenegild's stepmother Goiswintha to abjure her beliefs, but she stayed firm in her faith. Liuvigild sent Hermenegild to the south to govern on his behalf.
There he came under the influence of Leander of older brother of Isidore of Seville. Hermenegild was converted to Chalcedonian Christianity, his family demanded that he return to Arianism. Around this time, he led a revolt against Liuvigild. Contemporary accounts attribute this to politics rather than to religious differences, he asked for the aid of the Byzantine Empire but they were occupied with defending against territorial incursions by the Sasanian Empire For a time Hermenegild had the support of the Suebi, defeated by Liuvigild in 579. However, Liuvigild forced them to capitulate once again in 583. Hermenegild fled to Seville and when that fell to a siege in 584 went to Córdoba. After Liuvigild paid 30,000 pieces of gold, the Byzantines withdrew, taking Ingund and her son with them. Hermengild sought sanctuary in a church. Liuvigild would not violate the sanctuary, he sent Reccared inside to offer peace. This was accepted and peace was made for some time. Goiswintha, brought about another alienation within the family.
Hermenegild was imprisoned in Toledo. During his captivity in the tower of Seville, an Arian bishop was sent to Hermenegild for Easter but he would not accept the Eucharist from him. King Liuvigild ordered. Walsh, Michael, ed.. Butler's Lives of the Saints: Concise Edition and Updated. San Francisco: Harper. ISBN 0-06-069299-5. Innes, Matthew. Introduction to Early Medieval Europe, 300-900; the sword, the plough and the book. Routledge. P. 552. ISBN 978-0-203-64491-1. Lives of the Saints: April 13 St. Hermenegild, Martyr Saint Hermenegild engraved by L. Beck, from De Verda collection Saint Hermenegild, Martyr at the Christian Iconography web site