The solidus, nomisma, or bezant was a pure gold coin issued in the Late Roman Empire. Under Constantine, who introduced it on a wide scale, it had a weight of about 4.5 grams. It was replaced in Western Europe by Pepin the Short's currency reform, which introduced the silver-based pound/shilling/penny system, under which the shilling functioned as a unit of account equivalent to 12 pence developing into the French sou. In Eastern Europe, the nomisma was debased by the Byzantine emperors until it was abolished by Alexius I in 1092, who replaced it with the hyperpyron, which came to be known as a "bezant"; the Byzantine solidus inspired the slightly less pure Arab dinar. In late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, the solidus functioned as a unit of weight equal to 1/72 of a pound; the solidus was introduced by Diocletian in AD 301 as a replacement of the aureus, composed of solid gold and minted 60 to the Roman pound. His minting was on a small scale and the coin only entered widespread circulation under Constantine I after AD 312, when it permanently replaced the aureus.
Constantine's solidus was struck at a rate of 72 to a Roman pound of pure gold. By this time, the solidus was worth 275,000 debased denarii. With the exception of the early issues of Constantine the Great and the odd usurpers the solidus today is a much more affordable gold Roman coin to collect compared to the older aureus; those of Valens Honorius and Byzantine issues. The solidus was maintained unaltered in weight and purity until the 10th century. During the 6th and 7th centuries "lightweight" solidi of 20, 22 or 23 siliquae were struck along with the standard weight issues for trade purposes or to pay tribute. Many of these lightweight coins have been found in Europe and Georgia; the lightweight solidi were distinguished by different markings on the coin in the exergue for the 20 and 22 siliquae coins and by stars in the field for the 23 siliquae coins. In theory the solidus was struck from pure gold, but because of the limits of refining techniques, in practice the coins were about 23k fine.
In the Greek-speaking world during the Roman period, in the Byzantine economy, the solidus was known as the νόμισμα nomisma. In the 10th century Emperor Nicephorus II Phocas introduced a new lightweight gold coin called the tetarteron nomisma that circulated alongside the solidus, from that time the solidus became known as the ἱστάμενον νόμισμα histamenon nomisma in the Greek speaking world, it was difficult to distinguish the two coins, as they had the same design and purity, there were no marks of value to distinguish the denominations. The only difference was the weight; the tetarteron nomisma was a lighter coin, about 4.05 grams, but the histamenon nomisma maintained the traditional weight of 4.5 grams. To eliminate confusion between the two, from the reign of Basil II the solidus was struck as a thinner coin with a larger diameter, but with the same weight and purity as before. From the middle of the 11th century the larger diameter histamenon nomisma was struck on a concave flan, though the smaller tetarteron nomisma continued to be struck on a smaller flat flan.
Former money changer Michael IV the Paphlagonian assumed the throne of Byzantium in 1034 and began the slow process of debasing both the tetarteron nomisma and the histamenon nomisma. The debasement was gradual at first, but accelerated rapidly: about 21 carats during the reign of Constantine IX, 18 carats under Constantine X, 16 carats under Romanus IV, 14 carats under Michael VII, 8 carats under Nicephorus III and 0 to 8 carats during the first eleven years of the reign of Alexius I. Alexius eliminated the solidus altogether. In its place he introduced; the weight and purity of the hyperpyron nomisma remained stable until the fall of Constantinople to the Crusaders in 1204. After that time the exiled Empire of Nicea continued to strike a debased hyperpyron nomisma. Michael VIII recaptured Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire continued to strike the debased hyperpyron nomisma until the joint reign of John V and John VI. After that time the hyperpyron nomisma continued as a unit of account, but it was no longer struck in gold.
From the 4th to the 11th centuries, solidi were minted at the Constantinopolitan Mint, but in Thessalonica, Rome, Ravenna, Alexandria, Carthage and other cities. During the 8th and 9th centuries the Syracuse mint produced a large number of solidi that failed to meet the specifications of the coins produced by the imperial mint in Constantinople; the Syracuse solidi were lighter and only 19k fine. Although imperial law forbade merchants from exporting solidi outside imperial territory, many solidi have been found in Russia, Central Europe and Syria. In the 7th century they became a desirable circulating currency in Arabian countries. Since the solidi circulating outside the empire were not used to pay taxes to the emperor, they did not get reminted, the soft pure-gold coins became worn. Through the end of the 7th century, Arabi
The Balkans known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast; the Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined; the highest point of the Balkans is 2,925 metres, in the Rila mountain range. The concept of the Balkan peninsula was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered the Balkan Mountains the dominant mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea; the term of Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey in the 19th century, the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire in Southeast Europe.
It had a geopolitical rather than a geographical definition, further promoted during the creation of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in the early 20th century. The definition of the Balkan peninsula's natural borders do not coincide with the technical definition of a peninsula and hence modern geographers reject the idea of a Balkan peninsula, while scholars discuss the Balkans as a region; the term has acquired a stigmatized and pejorative meaning related to the process of Balkanization, hence the rather used alternative term for the region is Southeast Europe. The word Balkan comes from Ottoman Turkish balkan'chain of wooded mountains'; the origin of the Turkic word is obscure. From classical antiquity through the Middle Ages, the Balkan Mountains were called by the local Thracian name Haemus. According to Greek mythology, the Thracian king Haemus was turned into a mountain by Zeus as a punishment and the mountain has remained with his name. A reverse name scheme has been suggested. D. Dechev considers that Haemus is derived from a Thracian word *saimon,'mountain ridge'.
A third possibility is that "Haemus" derives from the Greek word "haema" meaning'blood'. The myth relates to a fight between the monster/titan Typhon. Zeus injured Typhon with a thunder bolt and Typhon's blood fell on the mountains, from which they got their name; the earliest mention of the name appears in an early 14th-century Arab map, in which the Haemus mountains are referred to as Balkan. The first attested time the name "Balkan" was used in the West for the mountain range in Bulgaria was in a letter sent in 1490 to Pope Innocent VIII by Buonaccorsi Callimaco, an Italian humanist and diplomat; the Ottomans first mention it in a document dated from 1565. There has been no other documented usage of the word to refer to the region before that, although other Turkic tribes had settled in or were passing through the Peninsula. There is a claim about an earlier Bulgar Turkic origin of the word popular in Bulgaria, however it is only an unscholarly assertion; the word was used by the Ottomans in Rumelia in its general meaning of mountain, as in Kod̲j̲a-Balkan, Čatal-Balkan, Ungurus-Balkani̊, but it was applied to the Haemus mountain.
The name is still preserved in Central Asia with the Balkan Daglary and the Balkan Province of Turkmenistan. English traveler John Morritt introduced this term into the English literature at the end of the 18th-century, other authors started applying the name to the wider area between the Adriatic and the Black Sea; the concept of the "Balkans" was created by the German geographer August Zeune in 1808, who mistakenly considered it as the dominant central mountain system of Southeast Europe spanning from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea. During the 1820s, "Balkan became the preferred although not yet exclusive term alongside Haemus among British travelers... Among Russian travelers not so burdened by classical toponymy, Balkan was the preferred term"; the term was not used in geographical literature until the mid-19th century because then scientists like Carl Ritter warned that only the part South of the Balkan Mountains can be considered as a peninsula and considered it to be renamed as "Greek peninsula".
Other prominent geographers who didn't agree with Zeune were Hermann Wagner, Theobald Fischer, Marion Newbigin, Albrecht Penck, while Austrian diplomat Johann Georg von Hahn in 1869 for the same territory used the term Südostereuropäische Halbinsel. Another reason it was not accepted as the definition of European Turkey had a similar land extent. However, after the Congress of Berlin there was a political need for a new term and the Balkans was revitalized, but in the maps the northern border was in Serbia and Montenegro without Greece, while Yugoslavian maps included Croatia and Bosnia; the term Balkan Peninsula was a synonym for European Turkey, the political borders of former Ottoman Empire provinces. The usage of the term changed in the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century when was embraced by Serbian geographers, most prominently by Jovan Cvijić, it was done with political reasoning as affirmation for Serbian nationalism on the whole territory of the South Slavs, included anthropological and ethnological studies of the South Slavs through which were claimed various nationalistic and racistic theories.
Through such policies and Yugoslavian maps the term was elevated to the modern status of
Tiberius (son of Justinian II)
Tiberius was the son of Emperor Justinian II and Theodora of Khazaria. He served as Co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire with his father Justinian II, from 706–711, he was killed in 711, when Bardanes led a rebellion, which marched on Constantinople, killing Justinian as well as Tiberius. After his death, two different individuals impersonated him, with one, named Bashir, going on to be hosted by Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad Caliph, before his lie was discovered and he was crucified. In 705, Justinian II, emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 685–695, but had been usurped by Leontios, used a vast army of Khazars and Slavs to retake the throne from Tiberios III, who had in turn overthrown Leontios. While Justinian lead troops into the Byzantine Empire, he left his wife, Theodora of Khazaria, behind in Bulgaria. While there, she gave birth to Tiberius. Once Justinian had consolidated his hold on the throne, he sent for his newly born son; when they arrived in Constantinople in 706, Theodora was crowned Augusta, Tiberius was made co-emperor.
In 710, when Pope Constantine visited Constantinople, he was welcomed by the Byzantine Senate and the young co-emperor Tiberius, before Constantine went on to meet Justinian II. In 711, the Theme of Cherson rebelled against Justinian II, led by an exiled general by the name of Bardanes; the rebels resisted a counter-attack, before the forces sent to attack the rebels themselves joined the rebellion. The rebels marched on the capital and proclaimed Bardanes as Emperor Philippicus. During this time, Justinian II had been traveling to Armenia, thus did not arrive in Constantinople in time to defend it, but only after it had fallen, he was arrested, executed outside the city in December 711. His head was kept by Bardanes as a trophy. Upon hearing the news of his death, his mother, took Tiberius, at this time six years old, to St. Mary's Church in Blachernae, for sanctuary, he was pursued by men sent by Bardanes, who dragged him from the altar and murdered him outside of the church. Two separate individuals arose claiming to be Tiberius: one in 715 during the Siege of Constantinople by the Arabs.
The second impostor, a man by the name of Bashir, plotted with a blind man named Theophantus. They arranged that Theophantus would go to Sulayman ibn Hisham, an Arab general, son of the Ummayad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, inform him that he knew the location of Tiberius, Bashir himself. Sulayman believed Theophantus and instructed him to bring Bashir to him, which Theophantus agreed to do in exchange for money. Theophantus delivered Bashir to Sulayman, whereupon Bashir denied being Tiberius profusely, so as to make Sulayman certain that he was Tiberius. After many promises of safety and reward were given, he "confessed" that he was Tiberius. Sulayman wrote to his father, who instructed him to dress the false Tiberius in royal clothes and to have him pass through all major cities in procession. Bashir went first to Edessa, the other major cities. After this, he went to Hisham. Bashir stayed with Hisham, sending ambassadors to Constantinople to proclaim that Tiberius was still alive, allied with the Umayyad.
This news frightened the Byzantines Emperor Leo III. However, Bashir was revealed and crucified in Edessa. Tiberius can be found on coins issued during the second reign of Justinian II. During Justinian II's first reign, the first coins to bear a depiction of Jesus Christ on the obverse were minted. During his second reign, Tiberius was featured on the reverse of the coins, alongside Justinian II. On the reverse and Justinian II both wear crowns and chlamys, hold cross potents in their hands; the legend of the reverse reads: "Domini Nostri Iustinianus et Tiberius Perpetui Augusti", meaning "Our Lords Justinian and Tiberius, the Eternal Emperors". Bellinger, Alfred Raymond. Catalogue of the Byzantine coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection. Dumbarton Oaks. OCLC 847177622. Bury, J. B.. A History of the Later Roman Empire from Arcadius to Irene, 395 A. D. to 800 A. D. II. MacMillan & Co. OCLC 168739195. Cook, Michael. Studies in the Origins of Early Islamic Culture and Tradition.
Ashgate Variorum. ISBN 9780860789161. Crawford, Peter; the War of the Three Gods. Pen & Sword Military. ISBN 9781848846128. Curta, Florin. Great Events in Religion: An Encyclopedia of Pivotal Events in Religious History. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9781610695664. Green, Tamara M.. The City of the Moon God: Religious Traditions of Harran. BRILL. ISBN 9789004301429. Haldon, John; the Empire That Would Not Die. Harvard University Press. ISBN 9780674969179. Hoyland, Robert G.. Theophilus of Edessa's Chronicle and the Circulation of Historical Knowledge in Late Antiquity and Early Islam. Liverpool University Press. ISBN 9781846316975. Motzki, Harald. Hadith: Origins and Developments. Routledge. ISBN 9781351931816. Moore, R. Scott. "De Imperatoribus Romanis". Www.roman-emperors.org. Retrieved 5 January 2018. Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium: The Early Centuries. Penguin. ISBN 0-14-011447-5. Venning, Timothy. A Chronology of the Byzantine Empire. Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 9780230505865
Tervel of Bulgaria
Khan Tervel called Tarvel, or Terval, or Terbelis in some Byzantine sources, was the Khan of Bulgaria during the First Bulgarian Empire at the beginning of the 8th century. In 705 Emperor Justinian II named him Caesar, the first foreigner to receive this title, he was born a Pagan like his grandfather Khan Kubrat. But was possibly baptised by the Byzantine clergy. Tervel played an important role in defeating the Arabs during the Siege of Constantinople in 717–718; the Nominalia of the Bulgarian khans states that Tervel belonged to the Dulo clan and reigned for 21 years. According to the chronology developed by Moskov, Tervel would have reigned 695–715. Other chronologies place his reign in 701–718 or 700–721, but cannot be reconciled with the testimony of the Imennik; the testimony of the source and some traditions allow identifying Tervel as the son and heir of his predecessor Asparukh, who had died in battle against the Khazars. Tervel is first mentioned in the Byzantine sources in 704, when he was approached by the deposed and exiled Byzantine emperor Justinian II.
Justinian acquired Tervel's support for an attempted restoration to the Byzantine throne in exchange for friendship and his daughter in marriage. With an army of 15,000 horsemen provided by Tervel, Justinian advanced on Constantinople and managed to gain entrance into the city in 705; the restored emperor executed his supplanters, the emperors Leontius and Tiberius III, alongside many of their supporters. Justinian awarded Tervel with many gifts, the title of kaisar, which made him second only to the emperor and the first foreign ruler in Byzantine history to receive such a title, a territorial concession in northeastern Thrace, a region called Zagora. Whether Justinian's daughter Anastasia was married to Tervel as had been arranged is unknown. Only three years however, when Justinian II consolidated his throne he violated this arrangement and commenced military operations to recover the ceded area but Khan Tervel routed the Byzantines at the Battle of Anchialus in 708. In 711, faced by a serious revolt in Asia Minor, Justinian again sought the aid of Tervel, but obtained only lukewarm support manifested in an army of 3,000.
Outmaneuvered by the rebel emperor Philippicus, Justinian was captured and executed, while his Bulgarian allies were allowed to retire to their country. Tervel took advantage of the disorders in Byzantium and raided Thrace in 712, plundering as far as the vicinity of Constantinople. Given the chronological information of the Imennik, Tervel would have died in 715. However, the Byzantine Chronicler Theophanes the Confessor ascribes Tervel a role in an attempt to restore the deposed Emperor Anastasius II in 718 or 719. If Tervel had survived this long, he would have been the Bulgarian ruler who concluded a new treaty with Emperor Theodosius III in 716. However, elsewhere Theophanes records the name of the Bulgarian ruler who concluded the treaty of 716 as Kormesios, i.e. Tervel's eventual successor Kormesiy, it is probable that the chronicler ascribed the events of 718 or 719 to Tervel because this was the last name of a Bulgar ruler that he was familiar with, that his sources had been silent about the name, as in his account of the siege of Constantinople.
According to another theory Kermesios was authorized by Tervel to sign the treaty. Most researches agree that it was during the time of Tervel when the famous rock relief the Madara Rider was created as a memorial to the victories over the Byzantines, to honour his father Asparukh and as an expression of the glory of the Bulgarian state. On 25 May 717 Leo III the Isaurian was crowned Emperor of Byzantium. During the summer of the same year the Arabs led by Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik crossed the Dardanelles and besieged Constantinople with a large army and navy. Leo III made a plea to Tervel for help, relying on the treaty of 716 and Tervel agreed; the first clash between the Bulgarians and the Arabs ended with a Bulgarian victory. During the first stages of the siege the Bulgarians appeared in the Muslim rear and large part of their army was destroyed and the rest were trapped; the Arabs built two trenches around their camp facing the walls of the city. They persisted with the siege despite the severe winter with 100 days of snowfall.
In the spring, the Byzantine navy destroyed the Arab fleets that had arrived with new provisions and equipment, while a Byzantine army defeated Arab reinforcements in Bithynia. In early summer the Arabs engaged the Bulgarians in battle but suffered a crushing defeat. According to Theophanes the Confessor, the Bulgarians slaughtered some 22,000 Arabs in the battle. Shortly after, the Arabs raised the siege; the Byzantine-Bulgarian victory of 718 and the victory of the Frankish king Charles Martel in the battle of Tours stopped the Muslim advance in the interior of Europe. In 719 he again interfered in the internal affairs of the Byzantine Empire when the deposed emperor Anastasios II asked for his assistance to regain the throne. Tervel sent troops. Anastasios marched to Constantinople. In the meantime Leo III sent a letter to Tervel in which he conjured him to respect the treaty and to prefer peace to war; because Anastasios was abandoned by his supporters, the Bulgarian ruler agreed to the pleas of Leo III and broke relations with the usurper.
He sent to Leo III many of the conspirators who had sought refuge in Pliska. Tervel Peak on Livingston Island in the South Shetland Islands, Antarctica is named
Justinian II, surnamed the Rhinotmetos or Rhinotmetus, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian Dynasty, reigning from 685 to 695 and again from 705 to 711. Justinian II was an ambitious and passionate ruler, keen to restore the Roman Empire to its former glories, but he responded poorly to any opposition to his will and lacked the finesse of his father, Constantine IV, he generated enormous opposition to his reign, resulting in his deposition in 695 in a popular uprising, he only returned to the throne in 705 with the help of a Bulgar and Slav army. His second reign was more despotic than the first, it too saw his eventual overthrow in 711, abandoned by his army who turned on him before killing him. Justinian II was the eldest son of Anastasia, his father raised him to the throne as joint emperor in 681 on the fall of his uncles Heraclius and Tiberius. In 685, at the age of sixteen, Justinian II succeeded his father as sole emperor. Due to Constantine IV's victories, the situation in the Eastern provinces of the Empire was stable when Justinian ascended the throne.
After a preliminary strike against the Arabs in Armenia, Justinian managed to augment the sum paid by the Umayyad Caliphs as an annual tribute, to regain control of part of Cyprus. The incomes of the provinces of Armenia and Iberia were divided among the two empires. In 687, as part of his agreements with the Caliphate, Justinian removed from their native Lebanon 12,000 Christian Maronites, who continually resisted the Arabs. Additional resettlement efforts, aimed at the Mardaites and inhabitants of Cyprus allowed Justinian to reinforce naval forces depleted by earlier conflicts. In 688, Justinian signed a treaty with the Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan which rendered Cyprus neutral ground, with its tax revenue split. Justinian took advantage of the peace in the East to regain possession of the Balkans, which were before almost under the heel of Slavic tribes. In 687 Justinian transferred cavalry troops from Anatolia to Thrace. With a great military campaign in 688–689, Justinian defeated the Bulgars of Macedonia and was able to enter Thessalonica, the second most important Byzantine city in Europe.
The subdued Slavs were resettled in Anatolia, where they were to provide a military force of 30,000 men. Emboldened by the increase of his forces in Anatolia, Justinian now renewed the war against the Arabs. With the help of his new troops, Justinian won a battle against the enemy in Armenia in 693, but they were soon bribed to revolt by the Arabs; the result was that Justinian was comprehensively defeated at the Battle of Sebastopolis, caused by the defection of most of his Slavic troops, while he himself was forced to flee to the Propontis. There, according to Theophanes, he took out his frustration by slaughtering as many of the Slavs in and around Opsikion as he could lay his hands on. In the meantime, a Patrician by the name of Symbatius proceeded to rebel in Armenia, opened up the province to the Arabs, who proceeded to conquer it in 694–695. Meanwhile, the Emperor's bloody persecution of the Manichaeans and suppression of popular traditions of non-Orthodox origin caused dissension within the Church.
In 692 Justinian convened the so-called Quinisext Council at Constantinople to put his religious policies into effect. The Council expanded and clarified the rulings of the Fifth and Sixth ecumenical councils, but by highlighting differences between the Eastern and Western observances the council compromised Byzantine relations with the Roman Church; the emperor ordered Pope Sergius I arrested, but the militias of Rome and Ravenna rebelled and took the Pope's side. Justinian contributed to the development of the thematic organization of the Empire, creating a new theme of Hellas in southern Greece and numbering the heads of the five major themes- Thrace in Europe, the Anatolikon, Armeniakon themes in Asia Minor, the maritime corps of the Karabisianoi- among the senior administrators of the Empire, he sought to protect the rights of peasant freeholders, who served as the main recruitment pool for the armed forces of the Empire, against attempts by the aristocracy to acquire their land. This put him in direct conflict with some of the largest landholders in the Empire.
While his land policies threatened the aristocracy, his tax policy was unpopular with the common people. Through his agents Stephen and Theodotos, the emperor raised the funds to gratify his sumptuous tastes and his mania for erecting costly buildings. This, ongoing religious discontent, conflicts with the aristocracy, displeasure over his resettlement policy drove his subjects into rebellion. In 695 the population rose under Leontios, the strategos of Hellas, proclaimed him Emperor. Justinian was deposed and his nose was cut off to prevent his again seeking the throne: such mutilation was common in Byzantine culture, he was exiled to Cherson in the Crimea. Leontius, after a reign of three years, was in turn dethroned and imprisoned by Tiberius Apsimarus, who next assumed the throne. While in exile, Justinian began to gather supporters for an attempt to retake the throne. Justinian became a liability to Cherson and the authorities decided to return him to Constantinople in 702 or 703, he escaped from Cherson and received help from Busir, the khagan of the Khazars, who received him enthusiastically and gave him his sister as a bride.
Justinian renamed her Theodora, after the wife of Justinian I. They were given a home in the town
The Opsician Theme or Opsikion was a Byzantine theme located in northwestern Asia Minor. Created from the imperial retinue army, the Opsikion was the largest and most prestigious of the early themes, being located closest to Constantinople. Involved in several revolts in the 8th century, it was split in three. 750, lost its former pre-eminence. It survived as a middle-tier theme until after the Fourth Crusade; the Opsician theme was one of the first four themes, has its origin in the praesental 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, it is possible. In the 640s, following the disastrous defeats suffered during the first wave of the Muslim conquests, the remains of the field armies were withdrawn to Asia Minor and settled into large districts, called "themes", thus the Opsician theme was the area where the imperial Opsikion was settled, which encompassed all of north-western Asia Minor from the Dardanelles to the Halys River, with Ancyra as its capital.
The exact date of the theme's establishment is unknown. It is possible that it initially included the area of Thrace, which seems to have been administered jointly with the Opsikion in the late 7th and early 8th centuries; the unique origin of the Opsikion was reflected in several aspects of the theme's organization. Thus the title of its commander was not stratēgos as with the other themes, but komēs, in full komēs tou basilikou Opsikiou. Furthermore, it was not divided into tourmai, but into domesticates formed from the elite corps of the old army, such as the Optimatoi and Boukellarioi, both terms dating back to the recruitment of Gothic foederati in the 4th–6th centuries, its prestige is further illustrated by the seals of its commanders, where it is called the "God-guarded imperial Opsikion". Being the theme closest to the imperial capital Constantinople and enjoying a position of pre-eminence among the other themes, the counts of the Opsikion were tempted to revolt against the emperors.
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 713, the Opsikian army rose up against Philippikos Bardanes, the man who overthrew and murdered Justinian, enthroned Anastasios II, only to overthrow him too in 715 and install Theodosios III in his place. 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 brief usurpation of Emperor Constantine V. In 766, another count was blinded after a failed mutiny against the same emperor; the revolts of the Opsician theme against the Isaurian emperors were not only the result of its counts' ambition: the Opsicians were staunchly iconodule, opposed to the iconoclast policies of the Isaurian dynasty.
As a result, Emperor Constantine V set out to weaken the theme's power by splitting off the new themes of the Boukellarioi and the Optimatoi. At the same time, the emperor recruited a new set of elite and staunchly iconoclast guard regiments, the tagmata; the reduced Opsikion was downgraded from a guard formation to an ordinary cavalry theme: its forces were divided into tourmai, its count fell to the sixth place in the hierarchy of thematic governors and was renamed to the "ordinary" title of stratēgos by the end of the 9th century. In the 9th century, he is recorded as receiving an annual salary of 30 pounds of gold, of commanding 6,000 men; the thematic capital was moved to Nicaea. The 10th-century emperor Constantine Porphyrogennetos, in his De Thematibus, mentions further nine cities in the theme: Cotyaeum, Midaion, Myrleia, Parion and Abydus. 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, in c.
930, Basil Chalkocheir revolted against Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos. Both revolts, were quelled, are a far cry from the emperor-making revolts of the 8th century; the theme existed through the Komnenian period, was united with the Aegean theme sometime in the 12th century. It also survived after the Fourth Crusade into the Empire of Nicaea: George Akropolites records that in 1234, the Opsician theme fell under the "Italians". Asia Minor Slavs
Constantinople was the capital city of the Roman Empire, of the Byzantine Empire, of the brief Crusader state known as the Latin Empire, until falling to the Ottoman Empire. It was reinaugurated in 324 from ancient Byzantium as the new capital of the Roman Empire by Emperor Constantine the Great, after whom it was named, dedicated on 11 May 330; the city was located in what is now the core of modern Istanbul. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe; the city was famed for its architectural masterpieces, such as the Greek Orthodox cathedral of Hagia Sophia, which served as the seat of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the sacred Imperial Palace where the Emperors lived, the Galata Tower, the Hippodrome, the Golden Gate of the Land Walls, the opulent aristocratic palaces lining the arcaded avenues and squares. The University of Constantinople was founded in the fifth century and contained numerous artistic and literary treasures before it was sacked in 1204 and 1453, including its vast Imperial Library which contained the remnants of the Library of Alexandria and had over 100,000 volumes of ancient texts.
It was instrumental in the advancement of Christianity during Roman and Byzantine times as the home of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and as the guardian of Christendom's holiest relics such as the Crown of Thorns and the True Cross. Constantinople was famed for its complex defences; the first wall of the city was erected by Constantine I, surrounded the city on both land and sea fronts. In the 5th century, the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius under the child emperor Theodosius II undertook the construction of the Theodosian Walls, which consisted of a double wall lying about 2 kilometres to the west of the first wall and a moat with palisades in front; this formidable complex of defences was one of the most sophisticated of Antiquity. The city was built intentionally to rival Rome, it was claimed that several elevations within its walls matched the'seven hills' of Rome; because it was located between the Golden Horn and the Sea of Marmara the land area that needed defensive walls was reduced, this helped it to present an impregnable fortress enclosing magnificent palaces and towers, the result of the prosperity it achieved from being the gateway between two continents and two seas.
Although besieged on numerous occasions by various armies, the defences of Constantinople proved impregnable for nearly nine hundred years. In 1204, the armies of the Fourth Crusade took and devastated the city, its inhabitants lived several decades under Latin misrule. In 1261 the Byzantine Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos liberated the city, after the restoration under the Palaiologos dynasty, enjoyed a partial recovery. With the advent of the Ottoman Empire in 1299, the Byzantine Empire began to lose territories and the city began to lose population. By the early 15th century, the Byzantine Empire was reduced to just Constantinople and its environs, along with Morea in Greece, making it an enclave inside the Ottoman Empire. According to Pliny the Elder in his Natural History, the first known name of a settlement on the site of Constantinople was Lygos, a settlement of Thracian origin founded between the 13th and 11th centuries BC; the site, according to the founding myth of the city, was abandoned by the time Greek settlers from the city-state of Megara founded Byzantium in around 657 BC, across from the town of Chalcedon on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus.
The origins of the name of Byzantion, more known by the Latin Byzantium, are not clear, though some suggest it is of Thraco-Illyrian origin. The founding myth of the city has it told that the settlement was named after the leader of the Megarian colonists, Byzas; the Byzantines of Constantinople themselves would maintain that the city was named in honour of two men and Antes, though this was more just a play on the word Byzantion. The city was renamed Augusta Antonina in the early 3rd century AD by the Emperor Septimius Severus, who razed the city to the ground in 196 for supporting a rival contender in the civil war and had it rebuilt in honour of his son Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, popularly known as Caracalla; the name appears to have been forgotten and abandoned, the city reverted to Byzantium/Byzantion after either the assassination of Caracalla in 217 or, at the latest, the fall of the Severan dynasty in 235. Byzantium took on the name of Kōnstantinoupolis after its refoundation under Roman emperor Constantine I, who transferred the capital of the Roman Empire to Byzantium in 330 and designated his new capital as Nova Roma'New Rome'.
During this time, the city was called'Second Rome','Eastern Rome', Roma Constantinopolitana. As the city became the sole remaining capital of the Roman Empire after the fall of the West, its wealth and influence grew, the city came to have a multitude of nicknames; as the largest and wealthiest city in Europe during the 4th–13th centuries and a centre of culture and education of the Mediterranean basin, Constantinople came to be known by prestigious titles such as Basileuousa and Megalopol