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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

The Heraclian epoch (610-717)

Period of Anarchy (711-717) 


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The three accidental rulers, Vardan or Philippicus, Anastasius II, and Theodosius III, who occupied the throne after Justinian II, were deposed in rapid succession. Anarchy and mutiny prevailed throughout the Empire. By favoring Monotheletism, Vardan broke off peaceful relations with Rome. Anastasius, however, succeeded in restoring the former agreement with the pope. In external affairs the Empire was particularly unsuccessful. The Bulgarians, determined to take revenge for the murder of Justinian, who had been friendly towards them, moved southward as far as Constantinople. The Arabs, advancing persistently by land through Asia Minor and by water in the Aegean Sea and the Propontis, also menaced the capital. The Empire was going through a very critical period, similar to the one which had preceded the revolution of the year 610, and once more it was in need of an able, energetic man who could save it from inevitable ruin. Such a man appeared in the person of the strategus of the theme of Anatolici, Leo, a man with a very wide following. The weak Theodosius III, realizing his complete impotence against the approaching menace, renounced his imperial rank, and in the year 717 Leo entered Constantinople in triumphant procession and was crowned emperor by the patriarch in the temple of St. Sophia. He spared the life of Theodosius III. Leo thus rose from a military ruler entrusted with wide power in the theme organization to emperor 

A History of the Byzantine Empire - Table of Contents

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