Julius Nepotianus, sometimes known in English as Nepotian, was a member of the Constantinian dynasty who reigned as a short-lived usurper of the Roman Empire. He ruled the city of Rome for twenty-eight days, before being killed by his rival usurper Magnentius general Marcellinus, Nepotianus was the son of Eutropia, half-sister of Emperor Constantine I, and of Virius Nepotianus. On his mothers side, he was the grandson of Emperor Constantius Chlorus, after the revolt of Magnentius, Nepotianus proclaimed himself emperor and entered Rome with a band of gladiators on 3 June 350. After attempting to resist Nepotianus with a force of Roman citizens, the defeated Praefectus urbi Titianus. Magnentius quickly dealt with this revolt by sending his trusted magister officiorum Marcellinus to Rome, according to Eutropius, Nepotianus was killed in the resulting struggle, his head put on a lance and borne around the city. In the following days, his mother Eutropia was killed, during the persecution of the supporters of Nepotianus, List of Roman Emperors List of Roman usurpers Aurelius Victor De Caesaribus 42.6, Epitome 42.3 Zosimus, ii.59
Political mutilation in Byzantine culture
Mutilation in the Byzantine Empire was a common method of punishment for criminals of the era but it had a role in the empires political life. Some disfigurements practised bore a secondary practical rationale as well, by blinding a rival, one would not only restrict their mobility but make it almost impossible for them to lead an army into battle, an important part of taking control of the empire. Castration was used to eliminate potential opponents, in the Byzantine Empire, for a man to be castrated meant that he was no longer a man—half-dead, life that was half death. Castration eliminated any chance of heirs being born to either the emperor or the emperors childrens place at the throne. Other mutilations were the severing of the nose or the amputating of limbs, the mutilation of political rivals by the emperor was deemed an effective way of side-lining from the line of succession a person who was seen as a threat. In Byzantine culture, the emperor was a reflection of heavenly authority, since God was perfect, the emperor had to be unblemished, any mutilation, especially facial wounds, would disqualify an individual from taking the throne.
An exception was Justinian II, who had his nose cut off when he was overthrown in 695 but was able to become emperor again, in 705. Castration as a punishment for political rivals did not come into use until much later, an example is that of Basil Lekapenos, the illegitimate son of Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos, who was castrated when young. He gained enough power to become parakoimomenos and effective prime minister for three emperors, but could not assume the throne himself. The last to use this method voluntarily was Michael VIII Palaiologos, although some of his successors were forced to use it again by the Ottoman Sultans
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their lives and their legal and social standing by appearing in the arena, most were despised as slaves, schooled under harsh conditions, socially marginalized, and segregated even in death. Irrespective of their origin, gladiators offered spectators an example of Romes martial ethics and, in fighting or dying well, they could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. They were celebrated in high and low art, and their value as entertainers was commemorated in precious, the origin of gladiatorial combat is open to debate. There is evidence of it in funeral rites during the Punic Wars of the 3rd century BC and its popularity led to its use in ever more lavish and costly games. The gladiator games lasted for nearly a thousand years, reaching their peak between the 1st century BC and the 2nd century AD.
The games finally declined during the early 5th century after the adoption of Christianity as state church of the Roman Empire in 380, early literary sources seldom agree on the origins of gladiators and the gladiator games. In the late 1st century BC, Nicolaus of Damascus believed they were Etruscan, a generation later, Livy wrote that they were first held in 310 BC by the Campanians in celebration of their victory over the Samnites. This was accepted and repeated in most early modern, standard histories of the games, reappraisal of pictorial evidence supports a Campanian origin, or at least a borrowing, for the games and gladiators. Campania hosted the earliest known gladiator schools, tomb frescoes from the Campanian city of Paestum show paired fighters, with helmets and shields, in a propitiatory funeral blood-rite that anticipates early Roman gladiator games. Compared to these images, supporting evidence from Etruscan tomb-paintings is tentative, the Paestum frescoes may represent the continuation of a much older tradition, acquired or inherited from Greek colonists of the 8th century BC.
This is described as a munus, a duty owed the manes of a dead ancestor by his descendants. The war in Samnium, immediately afterwards, was attended with equal danger, the enemy, besides their other warlike preparation, had made their battle-line to glitter with new and splendid arms. There were two corps, the shields of the one were inlaid with gold, of the other with silver, the Dictator, as decreed by the senate, celebrated a triumph, in which by far the finest show was afforded by the captured armour. His plain Romans virtuously dedicate the magnificent spoils of war to the Gods and their Campanian allies stage a dinner entertainment using gladiators who may not be Samnites, but play the Samnite role. Other groups and tribes would join the cast list as Roman territories expanded, most gladiators were armed and armoured in the manner of the enemies of Rome. The munus became a morally instructive form of historic enactment in which the only option for the gladiator was to fight well. In 216 BC, Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, late consul and augur, was honoured by his sons with three days of gladiatora munera in the Forum Romanum, using pairs of gladiators
Anastasius, known in English as Anastasios II or Anastasius II, was the Byzantine Emperor from 713 to 715. Anastasios was originally named Artemius and had served as a bureaucrat, after the Opsician army in Thrace had overthrown Emperor Philippikos Bardanes, they acclaimed Artemius as Emperor. He chose Anastasius as his regnal name, soon after his accession, Anastasius II imposed discipline on the army and executed those officers who had been directly involved in the conspiracy against Philippikos. Anastasios upheld the decisions of the Sixth Ecumenical Council and deposed the Monothelete Patriarch John VI of Constantinople and this put an end to the short-lived local schism with the Catholic Church. The advancing Umayyad Caliphate surrounded the Empire by land and sea and his emissaries having failed in Damascus, he undertook the restoration of Constantinoples walls and the rebuilding of the Roman fleet. However, the death of the Caliph al-Walid I in 715 gave Anastasius an opportunity to turn the tables on his rival.
These troops of the Opsician theme, resenting the Emperors strict measures, slew the admiral John, and proclaimed as emperor Theodosius III, a tax-collector of low extraction. In 719, Anastasios headed a revolt against Leo III, who had succeeded Theodosius, receiving considerable support, however the chronicler Theophanes the Confessor, who offers this information elsewhere, confuses Tervel with his eventual successor Kormesiy, so perhaps Anastasios was allied with the younger ruler. In any case, the rebel forces advanced on Constantinople, the enterprise failed, and Anastasios fell into Leos hands and was put to death by his orders. List of Byzantine emperors Ostrogorsky, the Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press,1991. Media related to Anastasius II at Wikimedia Commons
Peter Abelard was a medieval French scholastic philosopher and preeminent logician. His love for, and affair with, Héloïse dArgenteuil have become legendary, the Chambers Biographical Dictionary describes him as the keenest thinker and boldest theologian of the 12th Century. Abelard, originally called Pierre le Pallet, was born c. 1079 in Le Pallet, about 10 miles east of Nantes, in Brittany, as a boy, he learned quickly. Instead of entering a career, as his father had done. During his early academic pursuits, Abelard wandered throughout France and learning and he first studied in the Loire area, where the nominalist Roscellinus of Compiègne, who had been accused of heresy by Anselm, was his teacher during this period. Around 1100, Abelards travels finally brought him to Paris, in the great cathedral school of Notre-Dame de Paris, he was taught for a while by William of Champeaux, the disciple of Anselm of Laon, a leading proponent of Realism. During this time he changed his surname to Abelard, sometimes written Abailard or Abaelardus, and William thought Abelard was too arrogant.
It was during this time that Abelard would provoke quarrels with both William and Roscellinus and his teaching was notably successful, though for a time he had to give it up and spend time in Brittany, the strain proving too great for his constitution. Abelard was once more victorious, and Abelard was almost able to hold the position of master at Notre Dame, for a short time, William was able to prevent Abelard from lecturing in Paris. Abelard accordingly was forced to resume his school at Melun, which he was able to move, from c. 1110-12, to Paris itself, on the heights of Montagne Sainte-Geneviève. From his success in dialectic, he turned to theology and in 1113 moved to Laon to attend the lectures of Anselm on biblical exegesis. Unimpressed by Anselms teaching, Abelard began to offer his own lectures on the Book of Ezekiel, Anselm forbade him to continue this teaching, and Abelard returned to Paris where, in around 1115, he became master of Notre Dame and a canon of Sens. Distinguished in figure and manners, Abelard was seen surrounded by crowds – it is thousands of students – drawn from all countries by the fame of his teaching.
Enriched by the offerings of his pupils, and entertained with universal admiration, he came, as he says, but a change in his fortunes was at hand. In his devotion to science, he had lived a very regular life, enlivened only by philosophical debate, now, at the height of his fame. Héloïse dArgenteuil lived within the precincts of Notre-Dame, under the care of her uncle and she was remarkable for her knowledge of classical letters, which extended beyond Latin to Greek and Hebrew. Abelard sought a place in Fulberts house and, in 1115 or 1116, the affair interfered with his career, and Abelard himself boasted of his conquest. Once Fulbert found out, he separated them, but they continued to meet in secret, Héloïse became pregnant and was sent by Abelard to be looked after by his family in Brittany, where she gave birth to a son whom she named Astrolabe after the scientific instrument
Siege of Antioch
The Siege of Antioch took place during the First Crusade in 1097 and 1098. The first siege, by the crusaders against the Muslim-held city, Antioch lay in a strategic location on the crusaders route to Palestine. Supplies and retreat could all be controlled by the city, anticipating that it would be attacked, the Muslim governor of the city, Yaghi-Siyan, began stockpilling food and sending requests for help. The Byzantine walls surrounding the city presented an obstacle to its capture. The crusaders arrived outside the city on 21 October and began the siege, the garrison sortied unsuccessfully on 29 December. After stripping the area of food, the crusaders were forced to look farther afield for supplies, opening themselves to ambush. On the 31 December, a force of 20,000 crusaders encountered an army led by Duqaq of Damascus heading to Antioch. As the siege went on, supplies dwindled and in early 1098 one in seven of the crusaders was dying from starvation, a second relief force, this time under the command of Ridwan of Aleppo, advanced towards Antioch, arriving on 9 February.
Like the army of Duqaq before, it was defeated, Antioch was captured on 3 June, although the citadel remained in the hands of the Muslim defenders. Kerbogha began the siege, against the crusaders who had occupied Antioch. The second siege ended when the crusaders exited the city to engage Kerboghas army in battle, on seeing the Muslim army routed, the defenders remaining in the citadel surrendered. There are a number of sources relating to the Siege of Antioch. There are four accounts, those of Fulcher of Chartres, Peter Tudebode, and Raymond of Aguilers. Nine letters survive relating to or from the army, five of them were written while the siege was underway and another in September. While there are many sources the number of people on crusade is unclear because they fluctuated regularly, lying on the slopes of the Orontes Valley, in 1097 Antioch covered more than 3.5 square miles and was encircled by walls studded by 400 towers. The river ran along the northern wall before entering Antioch from the northwest.
Mount Silpius, crested by a citadel, was the Antiochs highest point, there were six gates through which the city could be entered, three along the northern wall, and one on each of the south and west sides. The valley slopes made approaching from the south, east, or west difficult, the citys defences dated from the reign of the Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century
Philippikos or Philippicus was Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 711 to 713. Philippicus was originally named Bardanes, he was the son of the patrician Nikephorus, here Bardanes, taking the name of Philippicus, successfully incited the inhabitants to revolt with the help of the Khazars. The successful rebels seized Constantinople, and Justinian fled, Philippikos took the throne, in response the Roman Church refused to recognize the new Emperor and his patriarch. Meanwhile, Tervel of Bulgaria plundered up to the walls of Constantinople in 712, when Philippicus transferred an army from the Opsikion theme to police the Balkans, the Umayyad Caliphate under Al-Walid I made inroads across the weakened defenses of Asia Minor. In late May 713 the Opsikion troops rebelled in Thrace, several of their officers penetrated the city and blinded Philippicus on June 3,713 while he was in the hippodrome. He was succeeded for a short while by his secretary, Artemius. He died in the same year, list of Byzantine emperors References Sources Ostrogorsky, George.
The Chronicle of Theophanes, an English translation of anni mundi 6095–6305 and this article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain, Hugh, ed. Philippicus. The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press,1991, media related to Philippicus at Wikimedia Commons
The Byzantine army or Eastern Roman army was the primary military body of the Byzantine armed forces, serving alongside the Byzantine navy. A direct descendant of the Roman army, the Byzantine army maintained a level of discipline, strategic prowess. It was among the most effective armies of western Eurasia for much of the Middle Ages, over time the cavalry arm became more prominent in the Byzantine army as the legion system disappeared in the early 7th century. Since much of the Byzantine military focused on the strategy and skill of generals utilizing militia troops, heavy infantry were recruited from Frankish, restricted to a largely defensive role in the 7th to mid-9th centuries, the Byzantines developed the theme-system to counter the more powerful Caliphate. With one of the most powerful economies in the world at the time, after the collapse of the theme-system in the 11th century, the Byzantines grew increasingly reliant on professional Tagmata troops, including ever-increasing numbers of foreign mercenaries.
The Komnenian emperors made great efforts to re-establish a native army, the Komnenian successes were undone by the subsequent Angeloi dynasty, leading to the dissolution of the Empire at the hands of the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The Emperors of Nicaea managed to form a small but effective force using the structure of light and heavily armed troops. It proved effective in defending what remained of Byzantine Anatolia and reclaiming much of the Balkans, another period of neglect of the military followed in the reign of Andronikos II Palaiologos, which allowed Anatolia to fall prey to an emerging power, the Ottoman emirate. In the period after the Muslim conquests, which saw the loss of Syria and Egypt, despite this unprecedented disaster, the internal structures of the army remained much the same, and there is a remarkable continuity in tactics and doctrine between the 6th and 11th centuries. The Eastern Empire dates from the creation of the Tetrarchy by the Emperor Diocletian in 293 and his plans for succession did not outlive his lifetime, but his reorganization of the army did by centuries.
Rather than maintain the traditional infantry-heavy legions, Diocletian reformed it into limitanei, there was an expansion of the importance of the cavalry, though the infantry still remained the major component of the Roman armies, in contrast to common belief. In preparation for Justinians African campaign of 533-534 AD, the army assembled amounted to 10,000 foot soldiers and 5,000 mounted archers, the limitanei and ripenses were to occupy the limes, the Roman border fortifications. The field units, by contrast, were to stay well behind the border and move quickly where they were needed, whether for offensive or defensive roles, the field units were held to high standards and took precedence over Limitanei in pay and provisions. Cavalry formed about one-third of the units, but as a result of smaller units, about half the cavalry consisted of heavy cavalry. They were armed with spear or lance and sword and armored in mail, some had bows, but they were meant for supporting the charge instead of independent skirmishing.
In the field there was a component of some 15% of cataphractarii or clibanarii. The light cavalry featured high amongst the limitanei, being very useful troops on patrol, the infantry of the comitatenses was organized in regiments of about 500–1,200 men. They were still the heavy infantry of old, with a spear or sword, body armour, but now each regiment was supported by a detachment of light infantry skirmishers
It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic, several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empires Greek East and Latin West divided. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empires official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed. Finally, under the reign of Heraclius, the Empires military, the borders of the Empire evolved significantly over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Maurice, the Empires eastern frontier was expanded, in a matter of years the Empire lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arabs. This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia, the Empire recovered again during the Komnenian restoration, such that by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city.
Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence. Its remaining territories were annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 finally ended the Byzantine Empire, the term comes from Byzantium, the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantines capital. This older name of the city would rarely be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts. The publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, and in 1680 of Du Canges Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of Byzantine among French authors, however, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world. The Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the Roman Empire, the Empire of the Romans, the Roman Republic, and as Rhōmais. The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and Graikoi, and even as late as the 19th century Greeks typically referred to modern Greek as Romaika and Graikika.
The authority of the Byzantine emperor as the legitimate Roman emperor was challenged by the coronation of Charlemagne as Imperator Augustus by Pope Leo III in the year 800. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known primarily as Rûm, the Roman army succeeded in conquering many territories covering the entire Mediterranean region and coastal regions in southwestern Europe and north Africa. These territories were home to different cultural groups, both urban populations and rural populations. The West suffered heavily from the instability of the 3rd century AD
The Opsician Theme or simply Opsikion was a Byzantine theme located in northwestern Asia Minor. Created from the imperial army, the Opsikion was the largest and most prestigious of the early themes. Involved in several revolts in the 8th century, it was split in three after ca,750, and lost its former pre-eminence. It survived as a theme until after the Fourth Crusade. The Opsician theme was one of the first four themes, and has its origin in the armies of the East Roman army. The term Opsikion derives from the Latin term Obsequium, which by the early 7th century came to refer to the units escorting the emperor on campaign and it is possible that at an early stage, the Opsikion was garrisoned inside Constantinople itself. Thus the Opsician theme was the area where the imperial Opsikion was settled, the exact date of the themes establishment is unknown, the earliest reference points to a creation as early as 626, but the first confirmed occurrence is in 680. It is possible that it initially included the area of Thrace.
The unique origin of the Opsikion was reflected in several aspects of the themes organization, thus the title of its commander was not stratēgos as with the other themes, but komēs, in full komēs tou basilikou Opsikiou. Its prestige is further illustrated by the seals of its commanders, already in 668, on the death of Emperor Constans II in Sicily, the count Mezezius staged an abortive coup. Under the patrikios Barasbakourios, the Opsikion was the main power-base of Emperor Justinian II, Justinian II settled many Slavs captured in Thrace there, in an attempt to boost its military strength. Most of them, deserted to the Arabs on the first battle, in 717, the Opsicians supported the rise of Leo III the Isaurian to the throne, but in 718, their count, the patrikios Isoes, rose up unsuccessfully against him. In 741–742, the kouropalatēs Artabasdos used the theme as a base for his usurpation of Emperor Constantine V. In 766, another count was blinded after a mutiny against the same emperor. As a result, Emperor Constantine V set out to weaken the power by splitting off the new themes of the Boukellarioi.
At the same time, the emperor recruited a new set of elite and staunchly iconoclast guard regiments, in the 9th century, he is recorded as receiving an annual salary of 30 pounds of gold, and of commanding 6,000 men. The thematic capital was moved to Nicaea, in the great Revolt of Thomas the Slav in the early 820s, the Opsikion remained loyal to Emperor Michael II. In 866, the Opsician stratēgos, George Peganes, rose up along with the Thracesian Theme against Basil I the Macedonian, the junior co-emperor of Michael III,930, Basil Chalkocheir revolted against Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history, often when a given Roman is described as becoming emperor in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title often used was imperator, originally a military honorific, early Emperors used the title princeps. Emperors frequently amassed republican titles, notably Princeps Senatus, the first emperors reigned alone, emperors would sometimes rule with co-Emperors and divide administration of the Empire between them. The Romans considered the office of emperor to be distinct from that of a king, the first emperor, resolutely refused recognition as a monarch. Although Augustus could claim that his power was authentically republican, his successor, nonetheless, for the first three hundred years of Roman Emperors, from Augustus until Diocletian, a great effort was made to emphasize that the Emperors were the leaders of a Republic.
Elements of the Republican institutional framework were preserved until the end of the Western Empire. The Eastern emperors ultimately adopted the title of Basileus, which had meant king in Greek, but became a title reserved solely for the Roman emperor, other kings were referred to as rēgas. In addition to their office, some emperors were given divine status after death. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late 5th century, Romulus Augustulus is often considered to be the last emperor of the west after his forced abdication in 476, although Julius Nepos maintained a claim to the title until his death in 480. Constantine XI was the last Byzantine Roman emperor in Constantinople, dying in the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, a Byzantine group of claimant Roman Emperors existed in the Empire of Trebizond until its conquest by the Ottomans in 1461. In western Europe the title of Roman Emperor was revived by Germanic rulers, the Holy Roman Emperors, in 800, at the end of the Roman Republic no new, and certainly no single, title indicated the individual who held supreme power.
Insofar as emperor could be seen as the English translation of imperator, Julius Caesar had been an emperor, Julius Caesar, unlike those after him, did so without the Senates vote and approval. Julius Caesar held the Republican offices of four times and dictator five times, was appointed dictator in perpetuity in 45 BC and had been pontifex maximus for a long period. He gained these positions by senatorial consent, by the time of his assassination, he was the most powerful man in the Roman world. In his will, Caesar appointed his adopted son Octavian as his heir, a decade after Caesars death, Octavians victory over his erstwhile ally Mark Antony at Actium put an end to any effective opposition and confirmed Octavians supremacy. His restoration of powers to the Senate and the people of Rome was a demonstration of his auctoritas, some historians such as Tacitus would say that even at Augustus death, the true restoration of the Republic might have been possible. Instead, Augustus actively prepared his adopted son Tiberius to be his successor, the Senate disputed the issue but eventually confirmed Tiberius as princeps