Byzantine Empire /
(669-711) Byzantine emperor for two periods, 685-695 and 705-711.
His ruling style was hard, there are many stories about his cruelty. Still, he proved to be an able military leader, noted especially for reconquering Macedonia from the Slavs.
Disagreement of theological issues caused bad relations between Justinian and Pope Sergius 1 in Rome. He also commanded the persecution of Manichaeans, as well as prohibiting rituals of non-Christian origin among Christians.
Justinian caused much anger when using state finances for lavish building projects. This was part of the reason for his lack of support in 695 causing this fall.
In his second reign, the bad relations with Rome were mended. Yet, with the coup that finally would remove him from power it was evident that his popularity had not improved much through the last reign.
669: Born as son of Constantine 4.
681: Made co-emperor.
685: With the death of his father, Justinian becomes new emperor.
Makes arrangements with the Arab Muslims, agreeing over joint sovereignty over Cyprus, Armenia and Georgia, as well as paying the caliph tribute.
688-689: Reconquers territory in Thrace and Macedonia. Many Slavs were resettled in Asia Minor, others drafted into the army.
691-692: Peace agreement is broken, and the Arab Muslims conquer Byzantine territory in Armenia.
693: Battle in Armenia, where Byzantine control is restored.
694-695: Arab Muslims reconquer Armenia.
695: Revolt against the hard politics of Justinian. Leontius becomes new emperor and punishes Justinian by cutting off his nose and exiling him to Cherson, south on the Crimea.
704: Justinian escapes from Cherson, getting aid from local rulers. He flees to Bulgaria.
705: Summons his supporters and sets up an army of 15,000, Justinian marches on to Constantinople. The city would, however, not fall to him by warfare, but by a coup in the middle of the night. Justinian could take the throne again, deposing Tiberius 3. Both he and Leontius, who had deposed Justinian 10 years earlier, were executed. Justinian began mass executions of both real and alleged supporters of the former regime; this did not help restore the negative image of his former reign.
708: Invades Bulgaria, but is defeated. Peace is quickly restored with Bulgaria.
709: Sends a punitive expedition against Ravenna.
709-711: Arab invasion of Cappadocia, several important towns are lost.
710: Pope Sergius 1 of Rome visits Constantinople, thereby marking a reconciliation with the Byzantine Empire.
711: A revolt begins in Cherson, making its leader, the Armenian Bardanes, sail to Constantinople, taking control of the city. Bardanes made himself emperor, taking a new name, Philippicus.
December: Justinian is beheaded outside Constantinople's city walls. The rest of his family would soon be hunted down.