Maurice (emperor)

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Maurice (Latin: Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus; Greek: Φλάβιος Μαυρίκιος Τιβέριος Αὔγουστος) (539 – 27 November 602) was Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Emperor from 582 to 602. A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians. Once emperor, he brought the war with Persia to a victorious conclusion: expanding the eastern frontier dramatically and marrying his daughter to Khosrau II, the Persian king. Maurice also campaigned extensively in the Balkans against the Avars - pushing them back across the Danube by 599. In the west, Maurice established two large semi-autonomous provinces called exarchates, ruled by exarchs, viceroys, of the emperor. In Italy, Maurice established the Exarchate of Ravenna in 584, the first real effort by the empire to halt the advance of the Lombards. With the creation of the Exarchate of Africa in 590, Maurice further solidified the empire's hold on the western Mediterranean. His reign was troubled by financial difficulties and almost constant warfare. In 602, a dissatisfied general Phocas usurped the throne, having Maurice and his six sons executed. This event would prove cataclysmic for the empire, sparking a devastating war with Persia that would leave both empires helpless in the wake of the Muslim invasions. His reign is a relatively accurately documented era of Late Antiquity; in particular by the historian Theophylact Simocatta. Maurice also authored the Strategikon, a manual of war which influenced European militaries for nearly a millennium. Maurice stands out as one of the last emperors whose empire still bore a strong resemblance to the Roman Empire of previous centuries.

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