Justinian Byzantine

Historical Overview Section

The Byzantine Empire had its first golden age under the Justinian Dynasty, which began in 518 AD with the Accession of Justin I. Under the Justinian Dynasty, the Empire reached its largest territorial point, reincorporating North Africa, southern Illyria, southern Spain, and Italy into the Empire. The Justinian Dynasty ended in 602 with the deposition of Maurice and the ascension of his successor, Phocas.

At the start of the period there was a period of balance between the various power groups in the Middle East established by Justinian and his armies, Emperor Justin II refused to continue to pay off the mighty Sassanid Persian Empire - a course of action which soon brought the Byzantine Empire again to the brink of war. Meanwhile, the Germanic Lombards invaded Italy opening up a second front for the manpower-needy Byzantines; by the end of the century only a third of Italy was in Byzantine hands.

Justin's successor, Tiberius II made the logical decision to choose between his enemies and bribed the Avars while taking military action against the Sassanid Persians. Although Tiberius' general, Maurice, led an effective campaign on the eastern frontier the payments failed to restrain the Avars. They captured the Balkan fortress of Sirmium in 582, while the Western Turkish and Khazar? Turks began to make inroads across the Danube. Maurice, who in the meantime had become Emperor, made peace with the Sassanian Emperor Khosrau II, achieving access to Armenia and then forced the Avars and Early South Slavs back across the Danube by 602.

After Maurice's murder (I hope you are following this) Khosrau used the accession of the murderer Phocas as a pretext to reconquer the Roman province of Mesopotamia. Phocas, an unpopular ruler who is invariably described in Byzantine sources as a "tyrant", was also the target of a number of senate-led plots and was eventually deposed in 610 by Heraclius.

Following the accession of Heraclius the Sassanid Persian advance pushed deep into Asia Minor, occupying Damascus and Jerusalem and removing the True Cross to Ctesiphon. The counter-offensive of Heraclius took on the character of a holy war, with Icons carried at the head of his armies. Similarly, when Constantinople was saved from an Avar siege in 626, the victory was attributed to the icons of the Virgin which were led in procession by Patriarch around the walls of the city.

The main Sassanid Persian force was destroyed at Nineveh in 627, and in 629 Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem in a majestic ceremony. The war had exhausted both the Byzantine and Sassanid Empire, and left them extremely vulnerable to the Arab Conquest forces which emerged in the following years. The Byzantines as a result suffered a crushing defeat at the Battle of Yarmuk in 636, and the Persian capital Ctesiphon fell in 634.

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

Nigel's list from Roll Call 2016
C in C Heavy cav impact bow 12 (Brilliant commander 6)
4 heavy sword with support 36
3 javelinmen 21

Sub comd (6 brilliant) Heavy cav impact bow 12
4 medium cav bow 36

Sub comd (brilliant 6)
Heavy cav impact bow
1 heavy art 10
4 bowmen 28
1 levy 3
2 light cav bow 12

+22 elements

(All gens attached to Heavy Cav)

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