Justinian II

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Justinian II (Greek: Ιουστινιανός Β΄, Ioustinianos II, Latin: Justinianus II) (669 – 11 December 711), also known as Rinotmetos or Rhinotmetus "the cut-nosed"[1], 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 who was keen to restore the empire to its former glories, but he responded poorly to any opposition to his will and lacked the finesse of his father, Constantine IV.[2] Consequently, he generated enormous opposition to his reigns, and it resulted in his deposition in 695 in a popular uprising, and he only returned to the throne in 705 with the help of a Bulgar and Slav army. His second reign was even more despotic than the first, and it too saw his eventual overthrow in 711, abandoned by his army who turned on him before killing him.

Contents

First reign

Justinian II was the eldest son of Emperor Constantine IV and Anastasia.[3] His father raised him to the throne as joint emperor in 681 on the fall of his uncles Heraclius and Tiberius.[4] In 685, at the age of sixteen, Justinian II succeeded his father as sole emperor.[5]

Due to Constantine IV's victories, the situation in the Eastern provinces of the Empire was stable when Justinian ascended the throne.[6] After a preliminary strike against the Arabs in Armenia,[7] Justinian managed to augment the sum paid by the Umayyad Caliphs as an annual tribute, and to regain control of part of Cyprus.[6] The incomes of the provinces of Armenia and Iberia were divided among the two empires.[2] 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.[8] Additional resettlement efforts, aimed at the Mardaites and inhabitants of Cyprus allowed Justinian to reinforce naval forces depleted by earlier conflicts.[2]

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