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Three Millennia of Greek Literature

Vasilief, A History of the Byzantine Empire

Justinian the Great and his successors (518-610)

Immediate successors of Justinian 


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The Persian wars. The fifty years truce with Persia established by Justinian in 562 was broken by Justin II, who refused to continue the payment of the set annual sum. A common hostility to Persia developed interesting relations between the Byzantine Empire and the Turks, who had appeared shortly before this period in Western Asia and along the shores of the Caspian Sea. They occupied the territory between China and Persia; the latter they viewed as their main enemy. Turkish ambassadors crossed the Caucasian Mountains, and after a long journey reached Constantinople, where they were accorded an amiable reception. Tentative plans began to develop for an offensive and defensive Turco-Byzantine alliance against Persia. The Turkish embassy made a very interesting proposal to the Byzantine government to mediate in the silk trade with China, avoiding Persian interference the very thing Justinian had striven to attain, the only difference being that Justinian had hoped to arrange this by a southern sea route with the aid of the Abyssinians while the Turks were considering the northern land route. Negotiations however did not culminate in the formation of a real alliance for combined action against Persia, because the Byzantine Empire at the end of the sixties was more concerned with western developments, particularly in Italy where the Lombards were attacking. Besides, Justin considered the Turkish military forces rather inadequate.

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