The Pannonian Avars were an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of unknown origins. They are best known for their invasions and destruction in the Avar–Byzantine wars from 568 to 626; the name Pannonian Avars is used to distinguish them from the Avars of the Caucasus, a separate people with whom the Pannonian Avars may or may not have been linked. They established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century. Although the name Avar first appeared in the mid-5th century, the Pannonian Avars entered the historical scene in the mid-6th century, on the Pontic-Caspian steppe as a people who wished to escape the rule of the Göktürks; the earliest clear reference to the Avar ethnonym comes from Priscus the Rhetor. Priscus recounts c. 463, the Šaragurs and Ogurs were attacked by the Sabirs, attacked by the Avars. In turn, the Avars had been driven off by people fleeing "man-eating griffins" coming from "the ocean".
Whilst Priscus' accounts provide some information about the ethno-political situation in the Don-Kuban-Volga region after the demise of the Huns, no unequivocal conclusions can be reached. Denis Sinor has argued that whoever the "Avars" referred to by Priscus were, they differed from the Avars who appear a century during the time of Justinian; the next author to discuss the Avars, Menander Protector, appeared during the 6th century, wrote of Göktürk embassies to Constantinople in 565 and 568 AD. The Turks appeared angry at the Byzantines for having made an alliance with the Avars, whom the Turks saw as their subjects and slaves. Turxanthos, a Turk prince, calls the Avars "Varchonites" and "escaped slaves of the Turks", who numbered "about 20 thousand". Many more, but somewhat confusing, details come from Theophylact Simocatta, who wrote c. 629, describing the final two decades of the 6th century. In particular, he claims to quote a triumph letter from the Turk lord Tamgan: For this Chagan had in fact outfought the leader of the nation of the Abdeli, conquered him, assumed the rule of the nation.
He... enslaved the Avar nation. But let no one think that we are distorting the history of these times because he supposes that the Avars are those barbarians neighbouring on Europe and Pannonia, that their arrival was prior to the times of the emperor Maurice. For it is by a misnomer. So, when the Avars had been defeated some of them made their escape to those. Taugast is a famous city, a total of one thousand five hundred miles distant from those who are called Turks.... Others of the Avars, who declined to humbler fortune because of their defeat, came to those who are called Mucri; these make their habitations in the east, by the course of the river Til, which Turks are accustomed to call Melas. The earliest leaders of this nation were named Chunni. While the emperor Justinian was in possession of the royal power, a small section of these Var and Chunni fled from that ancestral tribe and settled in Europe; these named themselves glorified their leader with the appellation of Chagan. Let us declare, without departing in the least from the truth, how the means of changing their name came to them....
When the Barsils, Onogurs and other Hun nations in addition to these, saw that a section of those who were still Var and Chunni had fled to their regions, they plunged into extreme panic, since they suspected that the settlers were Avars. For this reason they honoured the fugitives with splendid gifts and supposed that they received from them security in exchange. After the Var and Chunni saw the well-omened beginning to their flight, they appropriated the ambassadors' error and named themselves Avars: for among the Scythian nations that of the Avars is said to be the most adept tribe. In point of fact up to our present times the Pseudo-Avars are divided in their ancestry, some bearing the time-honoured name of Var while others are called Chunni.... According to the interpretation of Dobrovits and Nechaeva, the Turks insisted that the Avars were only pseudo-Avars, so as to boast that they were the only formidable power in the Eurasian steppe; the Gokturks claimed. Furthermore, Dobrovits has questioned the authenticity of Theophylact's account.
As such, he has argued that Theophylact borrowed information from Menander's accounts of Byzantine-Turk negotiations to meet political needs of his time – i.e. to castigate and deride the Avars during a time of strained political relations between the Byzantines and Avars. According to some scholars the Pannonian Avars originated from a confederation formed in the Aral Sea region, by the Uar known as the Var or Warr and the Xūn or Xionites (also known as the Chionitae, Chunni, H
Bonus was a Byzantine statesman and general, one of the closest associates of Emperor Heraclius, who played a leading role in the successful defense of the imperial capital, during the Avar–Persian siege of 626. Nothing is known of Bonus's origins or private life. In a panegyric poem dedicated to Bonus in 626, George Pisides calls him a "companion in arms" of Heraclius implying that Bonus accompanied him when he sailed from Africa in 610 to overthrow Emperor Phocas, he is known to have had an illegitimate son, sent as a hostage to the Avars in 622. At this time, the Byzantine Empire was engaged in a prolonged struggle with its large eastern antagonist, the Sassanid Persian Empire. Over the previous twenty years, Persian armies had scored victory after victory and captured most of the Byzantine Levant. In 622, after securing peace with the Avars in the Balkans, Heraclius set out to campaign in person against the Persians. Bonus was left behind in Constantinople as the Emperor's deputy and guardian of his young sons, together with Patriarch Sergius.
During Heraclius's absence on campaign for the next years, Bonus acted as the effective regent of the Byzantine Empire. The exact offices Bonus held are unclear. Although this would imply the position of magister officiorum, Theodore Synkellos calls him "the general" implying that he held the post of magister militum praesentalis. Modern scholarly opinion is divided between the two cases. By 626, Heraclius had scored several victories in the East and reversed the strategic situation in his favour, but the Persian general Shahrbaraz was still encamped with his army in western Asia Minor, close to Constantinople. At this juncture, the Persians came to an understanding with the Avars, raising the prospect of a combined siege of Constantinople. To that end, the Persians advanced and razed Chalcedon, opposite the Byzantine capital, awaited the arrival of the Avars. Emperor Heraclius, having learned of the threat to his capital, decided not to return in person; the Avar army arrived before the city of Constantinople in July 626.
Proposals for a surrender by the Avar khagan were rejected by Bonus, the siege began on July 29. Bonus was the overall commander of the defenders. During the first five days of the siege, he sent repeated embassies to try to persuade the khagan to withdraw, offering money in return. On the fifth day, the Byzantine envoys encountered a Persian embassy in the khagan’s tent, a fact that underscored the danger the city would be in if the Avars' Slavic allies managed to ferry the Persian army over the Bosporus strait. Thus, on the tenth day of the siege, August 7, as the Avar assault peaked, Bonus lured the Slavs into a trap: the Byzantines had learned that the signal for the Slavic fleet to cross the strait and rendezvous with the Persian forces in Chalcedon would be the lighting of a great bonfire. Therefore, the Byzantines themselves lit a beacon in Blachernae, as the Slavs made the crossing, the Byzantine fleet, standing by inside the Golden Horn, sallied forth and decisively defeated them. Following this success and the repulsion of the Avars from the walls, Bonus had to restrain the over-eager people of the city, including women and children, who wanted to rush out and capture the enemy siege engines.
Instead, on August 8, the Avars began withdrawing. The Emperor's brother, arrived soon after at the head of an army, took up the running of affairs in the capital. Shortly after this, in early May 627, Bonus died and was buried in the Monastery of St John of Stoudios. Bonus built a large cistern in the city, covered with a domed roof, close to the site of his own house, it lay in the coolest part of the city. For that reason, Emperor Romanos I Lekapenos built a palace there, the "New Palace of Bonus". Theophano, the first wife of Emperor Leo VI the Wise built a church nearby, St. Constantine of the Cistern of Bonus, where her body was transferred after the sack of the city in 1204; this palace complex played a central role in the annual ritual commemoration of Constantine the Great, the city's founder, on May 21, with the imperial family moving from the palace to Constantine's mausoleum in the Holy Apostles and back again. Dagron, Gilbert. Emperor and Priest: The Imperial Office in Byzantium. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
ISBN 978-0-521-80123-2. Haldon, John F.. Byzantine Praetorians: An Administrative and Social Survey of the Opsikion and Tagmata, c. 580–900. R. Habelt. ISBN 3-7749-2004-4. Kaegi, Walter Emil. Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-81459-6. Martindale, John Robert; the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Volume III: A. D. 527–641. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-20160-5. Van Millingen, Alexander. Byzantine Constantinople: The Walls of the City and Adjoining Historical Sites. London, United Kingdom: John Murray. Pearse, Roger. "Theodore the Syncellus, Ho
A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent surface. A distinguishing characteristic of mural painting is that the architectural elements of the given space are harmoniously incorporated into the picture; some wall paintings are painted on large canvases, which are attached to the wall. Whether these works can be called "murals" is a subject of some controversy in the art world, but the technique has been in common use since the late 19th century. Murals of sorts date to Upper Paleolithic times such as the cave paintings in the Lubang Jeriji Saléh cave in Borneo, Chauvet Cave in Ardèche department of southern France. Many ancient murals have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs, the Minoan palaces, the Oxtotitlán cave and Juxtlahuaca in Mexico and in Pompeii. During the Middle Ages murals were executed on dry plaster; the huge collection of Kerala mural painting dating from the 14th century are examples of fresco secco. In Italy, circa 1300, the technique of painting of frescos on wet plaster was reintroduced and led to a significant increase in the quality of mural painting.
In modern times, the term became more well-known with the Mexican muralism art movement. There are many different techniques; the best-known is fresco, which uses water-soluble paints with a damp lime wash, a rapid use of the resulting mixture over a large surface, in parts. The colors lighten; the marouflage method has been used for millennia. Murals today are painted in a variety of ways; the styles can vary from abstract to trompe-l'œil. Initiated by the works of mural artists like Graham Rust or Rainer Maria Latzke in the 1980s, trompe-l'oeil painting has experienced a renaissance in private and public buildings in Europe. Today, the beauty of a wall mural has become much more available with a technique whereby a painting or photographic image is transferred to poster paper or canvas, pasted to a wall surface to give the effect of either a hand-painted mural or realistic scene. In the history of mural several methods have been used: A fresco painting, from the Italian word affresco which derives from the adjective fresco, describes a method in which the paint is applied on plaster on walls or ceilings.
The buon fresco technique consists of painting in pigment mixed with water on a thin layer of wet, lime mortar or plaster. The pigment is absorbed by the wet plaster. After this the painting stays for a long time up to centuries in brilliant colors. Fresco-secco painting is done on dry plaster; the pigments thus require a binding medium, such as egg, glue or oil to attach the pigment to the wall. Mezzo-fresco is painted on nearly-dry plaster, was defined by the sixteenth-century author Ignazio Pozzo as "firm enough not to take a thumb-print" so that the pigment only penetrates into the plaster. By the end of the sixteenth century this had displaced the buon fresco method, was used by painters such as Gianbattista Tiepolo or Michelangelo; this technique had, in reduced form, the advantages of a secco work. In Greco-Roman times encaustic colors applied in a cold state were used. Tempera painting is one of the oldest known methods in mural painting. In tempera, the pigments are bound in an albuminous medium such as egg yolk or egg white diluted in water.
In 16th-century Europe, oil painting on canvas arose as an easier method for mural painting. The advantage was that the artwork could be completed in the artist's studio and transported to its destination and there attached to the wall or ceiling. Oil paint may be a less satisfactory medium for murals because of its lack of brilliance in colour; the pigments are yellowed by the binder or are more affected by atmospheric conditions. The canvas itself is more subject to rapid deterioration than a plaster ground. Different muralists tend to become experts in their preferred medium and application, whether that be oil paints, emulsion or acrylic paints applied by brush, roller or airbrush/aerosols. Clients will ask for a particular style and the artist may adjust to the appropriate technique. A consultation leads to a detailed design and layout of the proposed mural with a price quote that the client approves before the muralist starts on the work; the area to be painted can be gridded to match the design allowing the image to be scaled step by step.
In some cases the design is projected straight onto the wall and traced with pencil before painting begins. Some muralists will paint directly without any prior sketching, preferring the spontaneous technique. Once completed the mural can be given coats of varnish or protective acrylic glaze to protect the work from UV rays and surface damage. In modern, quick form of muralling, young enthusiasts use POP clay mixed with glue or bond to give desired models on a canvas board; the canvas is set aside to let the clay dry. Once dried, the canvas and the shape can be painted with your choice of colors and coated with varnish; as an alternative to a hand-painted or airbrushed mural, digitally printed murals can be applied to surfaces. Existing murals can be photographed and be reproduced
The Moldovița Monastery is a Romanian Orthodox monastery situated in the commune of Vatra Moldoviței, Suceava County, Romania. The Monastery of Moldovița was built in 1532 by Petru Rareș, Stephen III of Moldavia's illegitimate son, it was founded as a protective barrier against the Muslim Ottoman conquerors from the East. Stephen the Great, the King of Moldavia from 1457 until his death in 1504, fought 36 battles against the Ottoman Empire, winning 34 of them, he was religious and built churches after many victories. Stephen's illegitimate son, Petru Rareș, who ruled Moldavia from 1527 to 1538 and again from 1541 to 1546, promoted a new vision for Bukovina churches, he commissioned artists to cover the exteriors with elaborate frescoes. The best preserved are the monasteries in the towns of Sucevița, Moldovița, Voroneț, Suceava, Pătrăuți, Arbore and Probota; these eight monasteries—including the Monastery of Moldovița—were placed on UNESCO World Heritage list in 1993, as the Painted churches of Moldavia.
This monastery, built by Voivode Petru Rareș, is one of the eight monasteries in Northern Moldavia with frescoes painted on the outer walls. Sister Maika, living in the monastery for more than 50 years, says that it is "the holy scriptures in color". Moldovița's frescoes were painted by Toma of Suceava in 1537, they are well preserved. The predominantly yellow-and-blue paintings on its exterior represent recurring themes in Christian Orthodox art: a procession of saints leads up to the Virgin enthroned with the Child in her lap, above the narrow east window. D. 626. Tall arches open the porch to the daylight. Within it, "The Last Judgment" covers the entire surface of the west wall with its river of fire and its depiction of the sea giving up its dead to judgment. Moldovița and Humor are the last churches built with an open porch, a hidden place above the burial-vault, with Gothic-style windows and doors; the monastery of Moldovița was depicted on a Romanian postage stamp in 1968. Photos from Romania: Moldovita Monastery http://www.users.cloud9.net/~romania/Churches/moldovita_pictures.htm Church of Romania on Orthodoxwiki https://web.archive.org/web/20071106010622/http://www.ici.ro/romania/en/turism/m_moldovita.html https://web.archive.org/web/20060827032449/http://www.manastiri-bucovina.go.ro/moldovita-eng.htm http://www.flyingmonk.com/Countries/Bucovina/index.html http://www.romanianmonasteries.org/images/moldovita/moldovita.html Moldoviţa Monastery
The Sclaveni or Sklavenoi were early Slavic tribes that raided and settled the Balkans in the Early Middle Ages and became known as the ethnogenesis of the South Slavs. They were mentioned by early Byzantine chroniclers as barbarians having appeared at the Byzantine borders along with the Antes, another Slavic group; the Sclaveni were differentiated from the Wends. Most South Slavic tribes accepted Byzantine suzerainty, came under Byzantine cultural influence; the term was used as general catch-all term until the emergence of separate tribal names by the 10th century. The Byzantines broadly grouped the numerous Slav tribes living in proximity with the Eastern Roman Empire into two groups: the Sklavenoi and the Antes; the Sclaveni were called as such by Procopius, as Sclavi by Jordanes and Pseudo-Maurice. The derived Greek term Sklavinia was used for Slav tribes in Byzantine Macedonia and the Peloponnese. By 800, the term referred to Slavic mobile military colonists who settled as allies within the territories of the Byzantine Empire.
Slavic military settlements appeared in the Peloponnese, Asia Minor, Italy. Procopius gives the most detail about the Antes; the Sclaveni are mentioned by Jordanes, Pseudo-Caesarius, Menander Protector, etc. The first Slavic raid south of the Danube was recorded by Procopius, who mentions an attack of the Antes, "who dwell close to the Sclaveni" in 518. Scholar Michel Kazanski identified the 6th-century Prague culture and Sukow-Dziedzice group as Sclaveni archaeological cultures, the Penkovka culture was identified as Antes. In the 530s, Emperor Justinian seems to have used divide and conquer and the Sclaveni and Antes are mentioned as fighting each other. Sclaveni are first mentioned in the context of the military policy on the Danube frontier of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I. In 537, 1,600 cavalry, made up of Sclaveni and Antes, were shipped by Justinian to Italy to rescue Belisarius. Sometime between 533–34 and 545, there was a conflict between the Antes and Sclaveni in Eastern Europe. Procopius noted that the two "became hostile to one another and engaged in battle" until a Sclaveni victory.
The conflict was aided or initiated by the Byzantines. In the same period, the Antes raided Thrace; the Romans recruited mounted mercenaries from both tribes against the Ostrogoths. The two tribes were at peace by 545. Notably, one of the captured Antes claimed to be Roman general Chilbudius, he was freed. He was pressured and continued to claim that he was Chilbudius; the Antes are last mentioned as anti-Byzantine belligerents in 545, the Sclaveni continued to raid the Balkans. The Antes became Roman allies by treaty in 545. Between 545 and 549, the Sclaveni raided deep into Roman territory. In 547, 300 Antes fought the Ostrogoths in Lucania. In the summer of 550, the Sclaveni came close to Naissus, were seen as a great threat, their intent on capturing Thessaloniki and the surroundings was thwarted by Germanus. After this, for a year, the Sclaveni spent their time in Dalmatia "as if in their own land"; the Sclaveni raided Illyricum and returned home with booty. In 558 the Avars arrived at the Black Sea steppe, defeated the Antes between the Dnieper and Dniester.
The Avars subsequently allied themselves with the Sclaveni. Daurentius, the first Slavic chieftain recorded by name, was sent an Avar embassy requesting his Slavs to accept Avar suzerainty and pay tribute, because the Avars knew that the Slavs had amassed great wealth after plundering the Balkans. Daurentius retorted that "Others do not conquer our land, we conquer theirs so it shall always be for us", had the envoys slain. Bayan campaigned against Daurentius' people, with aid from the Byzantines, set fire to many of their settlements, although this did not stop the Slavic raids deep into the Byzantine Empire. In 578, a large army of Sclaveni devastated other areas. In the 580s, the Antes were bribed to attack Sclaveni settlements. John of Ephesus noted in 581: "the accursed people of the Slavs set out and plundered all of Greece, the regions surrounding Thessalonica, Thrace, taking many towns and castles, laying waste, burning and seizing the whole country." However, John exaggerated the intensity of the Slavic incursions since he was influenced by his confinement in Constantinople from 571 up until 579.
Moreover, he perceived the Slavs as God's instrument for punishing the persecutors of the Monophysites. By the 580s, as the Slav communities on the Danube became larger and more organised, as the Avars exerted their influence, raids became larger and resulted in permanent settlement. By 586, they managed to raid the western Peloponnese, Epirus, leaving only the east part of Peloponnese, mountainous and inaccessible. In 586 AD, as many as 100,000 Slav warriors raided Thessaloniki; the final attempt to restore the northern border was from 591 to 605, when the end of conflicts with Persia allowed Emperor Maurice to transfer units to the north. However he was deposed after a military revolt in 602, the Danubian frontier collapsed one and a half decades later. In 602
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe. It borders the Black Sea to the southeast, Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, Serbia to the southwest, Moldova to the east, it has a predominantly temperate-continental climate. With a total area of 238,397 square kilometres, Romania is the 12th largest country and the 7th most populous member state of the European Union, having 20 million inhabitants, its capital and largest city is Bucharest, other major urban areas include Cluj-Napoca, Timișoara, Iași, Constanța, Brașov. The River Danube, Europe's second-longest river, rises in Germany's Black Forest and flows in a general southeast direction for 2,857 km, coursing through ten countries before emptying into Romania's Danube Delta; the Carpathian Mountains, which cross Romania from the north to the southwest, include Moldoveanu Peak, at an altitude of 2,544 m. Modern Romania was formed in 1859 through a personal union of the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia.
The new state named Romania since 1866, gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1877. Following World War I, when Romania fought on the side of the Allied powers, Bessarabia, Transylvania as well as parts of Banat, Crișana, Maramureș became part of the sovereign Kingdom of Romania. In June–August 1940, as a consequence of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact and Second Vienna Award, Romania was compelled to cede Bessarabia and Northern Bukovina to the Soviet Union, Northern Transylvania to Hungary. In November 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact and in June 1941 entered World War II on the Axis side, fighting against the Soviet Union until August 1944, when it joined the Allies and recovered Northern Transylvania. Following the war, under the occupation of the Red Army's forces, Romania became a socialist republic and member of the Warsaw Pact. After the 1989 Revolution, Romania began a transition back towards a market economy; the sovereign state of Romania is a developing country and ranks 52nd in the Human Development Index.
It has the world's 47th largest economy by nominal GDP and an annual economic growth rate of 7%, the highest in the EU at the time. Following rapid economic growth in the early 2000s, Romania has an economy predominantly based on services, is a producer and net exporter of machines and electric energy, featuring companies like Automobile Dacia and OMV Petrom, it has been a member of the United Nations since 1955, part of NATO since 2004, part of the European Union since 2007. An overwhelming majority of the population identifies themselves as Eastern Orthodox Christians and are native speakers of Romanian, a Romance language. Romania derives from the Latin romanus, meaning "citizen of Rome"; the first known use of the appellation was attested to in the 16th century by Italian humanists travelling in Transylvania and Wallachia. The oldest known surviving document written in Romanian, a 1521 letter known as the "Letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung", is notable for including the first documented occurrence of the country's name: Wallachia is mentioned as Țeara Rumânească.
Two spelling forms: român and rumân were used interchangeably until sociolinguistic developments in the late 17th century led to semantic differentiation of the two forms: rumân came to mean "bondsman", while român retained the original ethnolinguistic meaning. After the abolition of serfdom in 1746, the word rumân fell out of use and the spelling stabilised to the form român. Tudor Vladimirescu, a revolutionary leader of the early 19th century, used the term Rumânia to refer to the principality of Wallachia."The use of the name Romania to refer to the common homeland of all Romanians—its modern-day meaning—was first documented in the early 19th century. The name has been in use since 11 December 1861. In English, the name of the country was spelt Rumania or Roumania. Romania became the predominant spelling around 1975. Romania is the official English-language spelling used by the Romanian government. A handful of other languages have switched to "o" like English, but most languages continue to prefer forms with u, e.g. French Roumanie and Swedish Rumänien, Spanish Rumania, Polish Rumunia, Russian Румыния, Japanese ルーマニア.
1859–1862: United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia 1862–1866: Romanian United Principalities or Romania 1866–1881: Romania or Principality of Romania 1881–1947: Kingdom of Romania or Romania 1947–1965: Romanian People's Republic or Romania 1965–December, 1989: Socialist Republic of Romania or Romania December, 1989–present: Romania Human remains found in Peștera cu Oase, radiocarbon dated as being from circa 40,000 years ago, represent the oldest known Homo sapiens in Europe. Neolithic techniques and agriculture spread after the arrival of a mixed group of people from Thessaly in the 6th millenium BC. Excavations near a salt spring at Lunca yielded the earliest evidence for salt exploitation in Europe; the first permanent settlements appeared in the Neolithic. Some of them developed into "proto-cities"; the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture—the best known archaeological culture of Old Europe—flourished in Muntenia, southeastern Transylvania and northeastern Moldavia in the 3rd m
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. The early life of Phocas is unknown, but he rose to prominence in 602, as a leader in the revolt against Emperor Maurice. Phocas captured Constantinople and overthrew Maurice on 23 November 602, declared himself Byzantine Emperor on the same day. Phocas distrusted the elite of Constantinople, therefore installed his relatives in high military positions, brutally purged his opponents. Phocas was an incompetent leader, both of the administration and army, under him the Byzantine Empire was threatened by multiple enemies, with frequent raids in the Balkans from the Avars and Slavs, a Sassanid invasion of the eastern provinces; because of Phocas' incompetence and brutality, the Exarch of Carthage, Heraclius the Elder, rebelled against him. Heraclius the Elder's son, succeeded in taking Constantinople on 5 October 610, executed Phocas on the same day, before declaring himself the Byzantine Emperor. Flavius Phocas' date of birth is unknown; the life of Phocas before his usurpation of the Byzantine Empire's throne is obscure, but it is known that he served as a low-ranking officer under Emperor Maurice.
In 602, the Byzantine army rebelled against Emperor Maurice due to exhaustion and outrage over orders to continue campaigning north of the Danube in winter as well as previous cuts in wages. The army declared Phocas, by a centurion, to be the new emperor, raising him on a shield on 23 November 602. Phocas was crowned the new Emperor by the Patriarch in the church of St John the Baptist at the Hebdomon. Several days afterwards. Maurice fled the city with his sons and Tiberius, but they were soon after captured and executed. Maurice's wife and daughters were put in the monastery of Nea Metanoia and killed. Despite the execution of the previous emperor and his dynastic successors, Phocas remained in a precarious position, which led him to devote his energy to purging enemies and destroying conspiracies; because of this focus, the local resistance he faced all throughout the Byzantine Empire, he was unable to confront foreign attacks on the empire's frontiers. The Avars and Slavs launched numerous raids into the Balkan provinces of the Byzantine Empire, the Sassanian Empire launched an invasion of the eastern provinces of the empire.
The Avars were able to take all land in the Balkans north of Thessalonika. The populations of Christian cities were captured; the Byzantines transferred most of their forces to the eastern front due to the threat from the Persians. The Sassanid Persians had been at peace with Maurice as a result of a treaty they made with him in 591. After Phocas usurped and killed Maurice, the Persians invaded the empire in 603; the Sassanids occupied the eastern provinces, leading the Magister militum per Orientem, Narses, to defect to their side. Phocas swiftly dealt with him, by inviting him to Constantinople under the promise of safe conduct having him burnt alive when he arrived. By 607, the Sassanids had occupied Mesopotamia and much of Asia Minor, as far as the Bosphorus. By the time his reign ended in 610, the Persians had crossed the Euphrates and taken Zenobia. Contemporary accounts describe the Persians as being brutal to the occupied population. The'miracle of St Demetrios' described the carnage: he devil raised the whirlwind of hatred in all the East, Asia and all the lands from there to Constantinople: the factions, no longer content to spill blood in public places, attacked homes, slaughtered women, the aged, the young who were sick.
Phocas was an incompetent administrator, unable to control either the state or the army effectively. Due to his distrust of the bulk of Constantinople's elite, who he had no connection with before becoming emperor, Phocas practised nepotism filling senior military positions with his relatives, he installed: his brother Domentziolus as Magister officiorum in 603. All three remained loyal to Phocas. Of the three known male blood-relatives of Phocas, all three were appointed to senior posts, two in military positions and one in an administrative position. Phocas appointed Priscus, his son-in-law by way of his marriage to Phocas' daughter Domentzia, as Comes excubitorum, the captain of the Excubitors, in 603; when Phocas was Emperor, Byzantine Italy was under continual attack from Lombards, but the Byzantine government spent few resources to aid Italy due to troubles elsewhere. In the entirety of Phocas' reign the only public building built with government money in the city of Rome was a statue of Phocas completed in 608.
When Phocas usurped Maurice, Gregory the Great was bishop of Rome and he praised Phocas as a restorer of liberty. Gregory referred to him as a pious and clement lord, compared his wife Leontia to Marcian's consort Pulcheria. In May 603, portraits of the imperial couple arrived in Rome and were ordered by the Pope to be placed in the oratory of St Caesarius in the imperial palace on the Palatine. Imperial approval was needed in that time to appoint a new Pope, but the approval was delayed