Battle of Yarmouk
The Battle of Yarmouk was a major battle between the army of the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim forces of the Rashidun Caliphate. The battle consisted of a series of engagements that lasted for six days in August 636, near the Yarmouk River, along what today are the borders of Syria–Jordan and Syria–Israel, east of the Sea of Galilee; the result of the battle was a complete Muslim victory. The Battle of Yarmouk is regarded as one of the most decisive battles in military history, it marked the first great wave of early Muslim conquests after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, heralding the rapid advance of Islam into the Christian Levant. In order to check the Arab advance and to recover lost territory, Emperor Heraclius had sent a massive expedition to the Levant in May 636; as the Byzantine army approached, the Arabs tactically withdrew from Syria and regrouped all their forces at the Yarmouk plains close to the Arabian Peninsula, after being reinforced, they defeated the numerically superior Byzantine army.
The battle is considered to be one of Khalid ibn al-Walid's greatest military victories. It cemented his reputation as one of the greatest tacticians and cavalry commanders in history. In 610, during the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628, Heraclius became the emperor of the Byzantine Empire, after overthrowing Phocas. Meanwhile, the Sasanian Empire conquered Mesopotamia and in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia, occupying Caesarea Mazaca. Heraclius, in 612, managed to expel the Persians from Anatolia, but was decisively defeated in 613 when he launched a major offensive in Syria against the Persians. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Egypt. Meanwhile, Heraclius rebuilt his army. Nine years in 622, Heraclius launched his offensive. After his overwhelming victories over the Persians and their allies in the Caucasus and Armenia, Heraclius, in 627, launched a winter offensive against the Persians in Mesopotamia, winning a decisive victory at the Battle of Nineveh thus threatening the Persian capital city of Ctesiphon.
Discredited by these series of disasters, Khosrow II was overthrown and killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories of the Byzantine Empire. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with a majestic ceremony in 629. Meanwhile, there had been rapid political development in the Arabian Peninsula, where Muhammad had been preaching Islam and by 630, he had united most of Arabia under a single political authority; when Muhammad died in June 632, Abu Bakr was elected his political successor. Troubles emerged soon after Abu Bakr's succession, when several Arab tribes revolted against Abu Bakr, who declared war against the rebels. In what became known as the Ridda wars of 632–633, Abu Bakr managed to unite Arabia under the central authority of the Caliph at Medina. Once the rebels had been subdued, Abu Bakr began a war of conquest, beginning with Iraq. Sending his most brilliant general, Khalid ibn al-Walid, Iraq was conquered in a series of successful campaigns against the Sassanid Persians.
Abu Bakr's confidence grew, once Khalid established his stronghold in Iraq, Abu Bakr issued a call to arms for the invasion of Syria in February 634. The Muslim invasion of Syria was a series of planned and well coordinated military operations that employed strategy instead of pure strength to deal with Byzantine defensive measures; the Muslim armies, however soon proved to be too small to handle the Byzantine response, their commanders called for reinforcements. Khalid was sent by Abu Bakr from Iraq to lead the invasion. In July 634, the Byzantines were decisively defeated at Ajnadayn. Damascus fell in September 634, followed by the Battle of Fahl where the last significant garrison of Palestine was defeated and routed. Caliph Abu Bakr died in 634, his successor, was determined to continue the Caliphate Empire's expansion deeper into Syria. Though previous campaigns led by Khalid were successful, he was replaced by Abu Ubaidah. Having secured southern Palestine, Muslim forces now advanced up the trade route, where Tiberias and Baalbek fell without much struggle, conquered Emesa early in 636.
From thereon, the Muslims continued their conquest across the Levant. Having seized Emesa, the Muslims were just a march away from Aleppo, a Byzantine stronghold, Antioch, where Heraclius resided. Alarmed by the series of setbacks, Heraclius prepared for a counterattack to reacquire the lost regions. In 635 Yazdegerd III, the Emperor of Persia, sought an alliance with the Byzantine Emperor. Heraclius married off his daughter Manyanh to Yazdegerd III. While Heraclius prepared for a major offensive in the Levant, Yazdegerd was to mount a simultaneous counterattack in Iraq, in what was meant to be a well-coordinated effort; when Heraclius launched his offensive in May 636, Yazdegerd could not coordinate with the maneuver—probably owing to the exhausted condition of his government—and what would have been a decisive plan missed the mark. Byzantine preparations began in late 635 and by May 636 Heraclius had a large force concentrated at Antioch in Northern Syria; the assembled Byzantine army contingents consisted of, Franks, Georgians and Christian Arabs.
This force was organized into five armies, the joint leader of, Theodore Trithyrius. Vahan, an Armenian and the former garrison commander of Emesa, was made the overall field commander, had under his command a purely Armenian army. Buccinator, a Slavic prince, commanded the Slavs and Jabalah ibn al
Battle of Bathys Ryax
The Battle of Bathys Ryax was fought in 872 or 878 between the Byzantine Empire and the Paulicians. The Paulicians were a Christian sect which—persecuted by the Byzantine state—had established a separate principality at Tephrike on Byzantium's eastern border and collaborated with the Muslim emirates of the Thughur, the Abbasid Caliphate's borderlands, against the Empire; the battle was a decisive Byzantine victory, resulting in the rout of the Paulician army and the death of its leader, Chrysocheir. This event destroyed the power of the Paulician state and removed a major threat to Byzantium, heralding the fall of Tephrike itself and the annexation of the Paulician principality shortly after; the Paulicians were a Christian sect whose precise origins and beliefs are somewhat obscure: Byzantine sources portray them as dualists, while Armenian sources maintain that they were an adoptionist sect. The Paulicians were fiercely iconoclastic, adhered to a distinct Christology and rejected the authority and practices of the official Byzantine Church, following their own leaders.
They were persecuted by the Byzantine state as early as 813, despite the emperors' official support for iconoclasm. After the definitive end of Byzantine Iconoclasm in 843, that persecution was intensified: in an attempt, unique in Byzantine history, to eradicate an entire "heretical" sect, orders were sent out to kill anyone who would not recant. According to the chroniclers, up to 100,000 Paulicians were massacred, while the remnants fled from their strongholds in east-central Anatolia, found refuge among the Empire's Muslim enemies, the Arab emirates of the Thughur, the Arab–Byzantine frontier zone along the Taurus–Antitaurus mountain ranges. With support from the emir of Melitene, Umar al-Aqta, the Paulician leader Karbeas founded a separate principality at Tephrike, for the next decades, the Paulicians campaigned alongside the Arabs against Byzantium; the Arabs and Paulicians suffered a critical blow in 863 with the defeat and death of Umar at the Battle of Lalakaon and the death of Karbeas in the same year, but under their new leader, the Paulicians resumed their raids deep into Byzantine Anatolia, raiding as far as Nicaea and sacking Ephesus in 869/970.
The new Byzantine emperor, Basil I the Macedonian, sent an embassy for negotiations to Tephrike. After the talks failed, Basil led a campaign against the Paulician state in the spring of 871, but was defeated and only narrowly managed to escape himself. Encouraged by this success, Chrysocheir staged another deep raid into Anatolia, reaching Ancyra and ravaging southern Galatia. Basil reacted by sending the Domestic of the Schools Christopher, against them; the Paulicians managed to avoid a clash, as the campaigning season drew to a close, they began retiring towards their own territory. They encamped at Agranai in the theme of Charsianon, with the shadowing Byzantine army making their camp at nearby Siboron to the west. From there, the Paulicians marched northeast to the pass of Bathys Ryax or Bathyryax, a location of strategic importance, as indicated by the fact that it served as a fortified assembly point for Byzantine expeditions to the East. Christopher sent the strategoi of the themes of Armeniakon and Charsianon ahead with some four to five thousand men, to make contact with the Paulician army, shadow it as far as the pass and report on its intentions, i.e. whether it intended to double back westwards to resume raiding Byzantine territory or whether it headed back to Tephrike, in which case they would have to rejoin the Domestic's forces.
When the two generals with their men reached the pass, night had fallen, the Paulicians unaware that they were being followed, had made camp in the valley of the pass. The Byzantines took up position in a wooded hill called Zogoloenos that overlooked the Paulician encampment, which further concealed them from their enemy. At this point, the sources record that a dispute broke out between the men of the two thematic corps as to, the bravest. A picked detachment of 600 men from both divisions launched a surprise attack at dawn, while the rest of the army remained behind and made loud clamour with trumpets and drums, so as to suggest the imminent arrival of the entire Byzantine field army under Christopher; the ruse worked perfectly: the Paulicians, taken by surprise and dispersed without offering any serious resistance. The Paulician rout was completed, their remnants were pursued by the victorious Byzantines up to a distance of 50 km. Chrysocheir himself managed to escape with a small detachment of bodyguards, but he was brought at bay at Konstantinou Bounos.
In the ensuing engagement, he was wounded by Poulades, a Byzantine soldier, a captive of the Paulicians, fell from his horse. He was captured and beheaded by the advancing Byzantines, his head was sent to Emperor Basil in Constantinople; the defeat at Bathys Ryax signalled the end of the Paulicians as a military power and a threat to Byzantium. Basil followed this success by a series of campaigns in the East against the Paulician strongholds and the Arab emirates. Tephrike itself was razed to the ground; the remaining Paulicians were resettled in the Balkans, while a large contingent was shipped off to Southern Italy to fight for the Empire under Nikephoros Phokas the Elder. The chronology and sequence of events regarding the battle and the fall of the Paulician state is uncl
Battle of Lalakaon
The Battle of Lalakaon, or Poson or Porson, was fought in 863 between the Byzantine Empire and an invading Arab army in Paphlagonia. The Byzantine army was led by Petronas, the uncle of Emperor Michael III, although Arab sources mention the presence of Emperor Michael; the Arabs were led by the emir of Umar al-Aqta. Umar al-Aqta reached the Black Sea; the Byzantines mobilized their forces, encircling the Arab army near the River Lalakaon. The subsequent battle, ending in a Byzantine victory and the emir's death on the field, was followed by a successful Byzantine counteroffensive across the border; the Byzantine victories were decisive. The Byzantine success had another corollary: deliverance from constant Arab pressure on the eastern frontier allowed the Byzantine government to concentrate on affairs in Europe in neighboring Bulgaria; the Bulgarians were pressured into accepting Byzantine Christianity, beginning their absorption into the Byzantine cultural sphere. After the rapid Muslim conquests of the 7th century, the Byzantine Empire was confined to Asia Minor, the southern coasts of the Balkans, parts of Italy.
As Byzantium remained the caliphate's major infidel enemy, Arab raids into Asia Minor continued throughout the 8th and 9th centuries. These expeditions, launched from bases in the Arab frontier zone annually acquired a quasi-ritualistic character as part of the Muslim jihad; the Byzantines were on the defensive during the 7th–9th centuries, suffered some catastrophic defeats, such as the razing of Amorium in 838. With the waning of the Abbasid Caliphate's power after 842 and the rise of semi-independent emirates along the eastern Byzantine frontier, the Byzantines could assert themselves. During the 850s the most significant threats to the Byzantine Empire were the emirate of Melitene, under Umar al-Aqta. Melitene, in particular, was a major threat to Byzantium. An indication of the threat posed by these lordships came in 860, when they combined to make an annus horribilis for the Byzantines. Umar and Karbeas raided deep into Asia Minor; this was followed shortly afterwards with another raid by the forces of Tarsus under Ali.
A naval attack from Syria sacked Attaleia, capital of the naval Cibyrrhaeot Theme. Umar struck again during the summer of 863, joining forces with Abbasid general Ja'far ibn Dinar al-Khayyat for a successful raid into Cappadocia; the Arabs crossed the Cilician Gates into Byzantine territory, plundering as they went, until they neared Tyana. The Tarsian army returned home. Umar's forces were the greater part of his emirate's strength. According to the Byzantinist John Haldon, the former number was closer to reality, it is that a Paulician contingent under Karbeas was present, although this is not explicitly attested. Emperor Michael III assembled his army to counter the Arab raid, met them in battle at an area known in Arab sources as Marj al-Usquf: a highland near Malakopeia, north of Nazianzus; the battle was bloody, with heavy casualties on both sides. The Arabs escaped the Byzantines and continued their raid north into the Armeniac Theme, reaching the Black Sea and sacking the port city of Amisos.
Byzantine historians report that Umar, enraged that the sea blocked his advance, ordered it to be lashed. When Michael learned of the fall of Amisos, he ordered a huge force to be assembled—al-Tabari claims 50,000 men—under his uncle Petronas and Nasar, the stratēgos of the Bucellarian Theme. According to al-Tabari, the emperor commanded these forces in person, but this is not supported by Byzantine sources. Given the bias against Michael by historians writing during the subsequent Macedonian dynasty, the omission may be deliberate. Byzantine armies, assembled from throughout the empire, converged on the Arabs from three directions: a northern army, made up of forces from the Black Sea themes of the Armeniacs, Bucellarians and Paphlagonia. Despite the difficulty of coordinating these separated forces, the Byzantine armies met on September 2 and surrounded Umar's smaller army at a location known as Poson or Porson (Πόρσ
Battle of Carthage (698)
The Battle of Carthage was fought in 698 between a Byzantine expeditionary force and the armies of the fifth Umayyad Caliphate. Having lost Carthage to the Muslims in 695, Emperor Leontios sent the navy under the command of John the Patrician and the droungarios Tiberius Apsimarus, they entered the harbor and recaptured it in a stunning surprise attack in 697, which resulted in the city's Arab forces fleeing to Kairouan. Emir Hasan ibn al-Nu'man was in the middle of a campaign in the Greater Maghreb region, but withdrew from campaigning in the field to confront the renewed Roman challenge to the emerging caliphate and he drew plans at Kairouan to retake Carthage the following spring, it is estimated. The Romans sent out a call for help to their allies, the native Berbers, to enemies the Visigoths and the Franks. Despite the king of the Visigoths, sending a force of 500 warriors in order to help defend Carthage, the Romans were in disarray due to in-fighting and were sapped of much of their strength.
Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, enraged at having to retake a city that had not resisted the Roman take over, offered no terms except to surrender or die. The Emperor Leontios had given his forces instructions of victory or death; the Romans left Carthage and attacked the Emir's army directly, but were defeated, the Roman commander decided to wait out the siege behind the walls of Carthage to let the Arabs exhaust themselves, since he could continue to be resupplied from the sea. The defenders were faced with Hasan's overwhelming force deployed in ferocious attacks as his men made repeated attempts to scale the walls with ladders, they combined this land assault with an attack from the sea that caused the Roman commanders to withdraw from the city and subsequently resulted in the second and final great destruction of Carthage. The Romans retreated to the islands of Corsica and Crete to further resist Muslim expansion. John the Patrician was murdered after a conspiracy at the hands of his co-commander, Tiberius Apsimarus.
Tiberius Apsimarus instead of taking the step of returning to Africa to fight the Muslims, sailed instead to Constantinople. After a successful rebellion he rose to the throne as Tiberius III, was deposed by former emperor Justinian II, now known as the Rhinotmetus; the conquest of North Africa by the forces of Islam was now nearly complete. Hasan's forces met with trouble from the Zenata tribe of Berbers under al-Kahina. and they inflicted a serious defeat on him and drove him back to Barqa. However, in 702 Caliph Abd al-Malik reinforced him. Now with a large army and the support of the settled population of North Africa, Hasan pushed forward, he decisively defeated al-Kahina in the Battle of Tabarka, 85 miles west of Carthage. He developed the village of Tunis, ten miles from the destroyed Carthage
Muslim conquest of Egypt
Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt. Egypt had been conquered just a decade before by the Persian Sassanid Empire under Khosrau II; the Rashidun Caliphate took advantage of the exhaustion of the Byzantine army and captured Egypt ten years after its reconquest by Heraclius. Before the Muslim conquest of Egypt had begun, Byzantium had lost the Levant and its Ghassanid allies in Arabia to the Caliphate; the loss of the prosperous province of Egypt and the defeat of the Byzantine armies weakened the empire, allowing for further territorial losses in the centuries to come. In December 639, ` Amr ibn al - `. Most of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of'Ak, although Al-Kindi mentions that one-third of the soldiers belonged to the Arab tribe of Ghafik; the Arab soldiers were joined by some Roman and Persian converts to Islam. However,'Umar, the Muslim caliph, reconsidered his orders to Amr, thinking it foolhardy to expect to conquer such a large country as Egypt with a mere 4,000 soldiers. Accordingly, he wrote.
The messenger,'Uqbah ibn'Amr, caught up with Amr at Rafah, a little short of the Egyptian frontier. Guessing what might be in the letter,'Amr ordered the army to quicken its pace. Turning to'Uqbah,'Amr said that he would receive the caliph's letter from him when the army had halted after the day's journey.'Uqbah, being unaware of the contents of the letter and marched along with the army. The army halted for the night at Shajratein, a little valley near the city of El Arish, which'Amr knew to be beyond the Egyptian border.'Amr received and read'Umar's letter and went on to consult his companions as to the course of action to be adopted. The unanimous view was that as they had received the letter on Egyptian soil, they had permission to proceed. When'Umar received the reply, he decided to watch further developments and started concentrating fresh forces at Madinah that could be dispatched to Egypt as reinforcements. On Eid al-Adha, the Muslim army marched from Shajratein to El Arish, a small town lacking a garrison.
The town put up no resistance, the citizens offered allegiance on the usual terms. The Muslim soldiers celebrated the Eid festival there. In the part of December 639 or in early January 640, the Muslim army reached Pelusium, an Eastern Roman garrison city, considered Egypt's eastern gate at the time; the Muslim siege of the town dragged on for two months. In February 640, an assault group led by a prominent field commander Huzaifah ibn Wala assaulted and captured the fort and city. Armanousa, the daughter of Cyrus who fiercely resisted the Muslims in Pelusium and fell hostage in their hands, was sent to her father in the Babylon Fortress; the losses incurred by the Arab Muslim army were ameliorated by the number of Sinai Bedouins who, taking the initiative, had joined them in conquering Egypt. These Bedouins belonged to the tribes of Lakhm; the ease with which Pelusium fell to the Muslim Arabs, the lack of Byzantine reinforcements to aid the city during the month-long siege, is attributed to the treachery of the Egyptian governor, the Monothelite/Monophysite Patriarch of Alexandria.
After the fall of Pelusium, the Muslims marched to Belbeis, 65 kilometres from Memphis via desert roads and besieged it. Belbeis was the first place in Egypt where the Byzantines showed some measure of resistance towards the Arab conquerors. Two Christian monks accompanied by Cyrus of Alexandria and the famous Roman general Aretion came out to negotiate with'Amr ibn al-'As. Aretion was the Byzantine governor of Jerusalem, had fled to Egypt when the city fell to the Muslims.'Amr gave them three options: to either convert to Islam, to pay Jizya, or to fight the Muslims. They requested three days to reflect --. At the end of the five days, the two monks and the general decided to reject Islam and Jizya and fight the Muslims, they thus disobeyed Cyrus of Alexandria, who wanted to surrender and pay Jizya. Cyrus subsequently left for the Babylon Fortress, while the two monks and Aretion decided to fight the Arabs; the fight resulted in the victory of the latter and the death of Aretion.'Amr ibn al-'As subsequently attempted to convince the native Egyptians to aid the Arabs and surrender the city, based on the kinship between Egyptians and Arabs via Hagar.
When the Egyptians refused, the siege of Belbeis was continued. Towards the end of March 640, the city surrendered to the Muslims. With the fall of Belbeis, the Arabs were only one day away from the head of the Delta. Amr had visualized; this expectation turned out to be wrong. At the outposts of Pelusium and Belbeis, the Muslims had met stiff resistance; the siege of Pelusium had lasted for that of Belbeis for one month. Both battles were preludes to the siege of Babylon, a larger and more important city. Here, resistance on a larger scale was expected. After the fall of Belbeis, the Muslims advanced near modern Cairo; the Muslims arrived at Babylon some time in May 640 AD. Babylon was a fortified city, the Romans had prepared it for a siege. Outside the city, a ditch had been dug, a large force was positioned in the area between the ditch and the city walls; the Muslims besieged the fort of Babylon some time in May 640. The fort was a massive structure 18 metres high with walls more than 2 metres thick and studded with numerous tower
Muslim conquest of Sicily
The Muslim conquest of Sicily began in June 827 and lasted until 902, when the last major Byzantine stronghold on the island, fell. Isolated fortresses remained in Byzantine hands until 965, but the island was henceforth under Muslim rule until conquered in turn by the Normans in the 11th century. Although Sicily had been raided by the Muslims since the mid-7th century, these raids did not threaten Byzantine control over the island, which remained a peaceful backwater; the opportunity for the Aghlabid emirs of Ifriqiya came in 827, when the commander of the island's fleet, rose in revolt against the Byzantine Emperor Michael II. Defeated by loyalist forces and driven from the island, Euphemius sought the aid of the Aghlabids; the latter regarded this as an opportunity for expansion and for diverting the energies of their own fractious military establishment and alleviate the criticism of the Islamic scholars by championing jihad, dispatched an army to aid him. Following the Arab landing on the island, Euphemius was sidelined.
An initial assault on the island's capital, failed, but the Muslims were able to weather the subsequent Byzantine counter-attack and hold on to a few fortresses. With the aid of reinforcements from Ifriqiya and al-Andalus, in 831 they took Palermo, which became the capital of the new Muslim province; the Byzantine government sent a few expeditions to aid the locals against the Muslims, but preoccupied with the struggle against the Abbasids on their eastern frontier and with the Cretan Saracens in the Aegean Sea, it was unable to mount a sustained effort to drive back the Muslims, who over the next three decades raided Byzantine possessions unopposed. The strong fortress of Enna in the centre of the island was the main Byzantine bulwark against Muslim expansion, until its capture in 859. Following its fall, the Muslims increased their pressure against the eastern parts of the island, after a long siege captured Syracuse in 878; the Byzantines retained control of some fortresses in the north-eastern corner of the island for some decades thereafter, launched a number of efforts to recover the island until well into the 11th century, but were unable to challenge Muslim control over Sicily.
The fall of the last major Byzantine fortress, Taormina, in 902, is held to mark the completion of the Muslim conquest of Sicily. Under Muslim rule, Sicily prospered and detached itself from Ifriqiya to form a semi-independent emirate; the island's Muslim community survived the Norman conquest in the 1060s and prospered under the Norman kings, giving birth to a unique cultural mix, until it was deported to Lucera in the 1220s after a failed uprising. Throughout the imperial Roman period, Sicily was a prosperous backwater. Only in the 5th century did it suffer from raids by the Vandals operating from the coasts of North Africa. In 535, the island came under Byzantine control and was raided by the Ostrogoths in the Gothic War, but calm returned thereafter. Protected by the sea, the island was spared the ravages inflicted on Byzantine Italy through the Lombard invasions of the late 6th and early 7th centuries, retained a still flourishing urban life and a civilian administration, it was only the increasing threat of the Muslim expansion.
As John Bagnell Bury writes, "A fruitful land and a desirable possession in itself, Sicily's central position between the two basins of the Mediterranean rendered it an object of supreme importance to any Eastern sea-power, commercially or politically aggressive. Following the onset of Muslim attacks against North Africa, it became a crucial strategic base, for a while, in 661–668, it was the residence of the imperial court under Constans II. Constituted as a theme around 690, its governing strategos came to assume control over the scattered imperial possessions in the southern Italian mainland; the island was raided thereafter in the first half of the 8th century, but did not come under serious threat until the Muslims completed their conquest of North Africa and moved into Hispania as well. It was Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri, the Abbasid governor of Ifriqiya, who first made plans to invade the island in force and attempt to capture it and Sardinia in 752–753, but he was thwarted by a Berber rebellion.
In 799, the founder of the Aghlabid dynasty, Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab, secured recognition of his position as autonomous emir of Ifriqiya by the Abbasid caliph, Harun al-Rashid, thereby marking the establishment of a independent state centred on modern Tunisia. In 805, Ibrahim concluded a ten-year truce with the Byzantine governor of Sicily, renewed by Ibrahim's son and successor Abdallah I in 813. During this time, the Aghlabids were too preoccupied with their rivalry with the Idrisids to the west to plan any serious assault on Sicily. Instead, there are testimonies of commercial traffic between Sicily and Ifriqiya, of the presence of Arab traders on the island; the occasion for the invasion of Sicily was provided by the rebellion of the tourmarches Euphemius, commander of the island's fleet. According to and fictional accounts, driven by lust for a nun, he had forced her to marry him, her brothers protested to Emperor Michael II, the Byzantine ruler ordered the island's strategos, Constantine Soudas, to investigate the matter and if the charges were found true, to cut off Euphemius' nose as punishment.
Thus it came that Euphemius, returning from a naval raid against the African coast, learned
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. 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 and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. 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", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire