Byzantine Empire /
Flavius Mauricius Tiberius
Also spelled: Maurikios
(Ca. 539-602) Byzantine emperor 582-602, who managed to take control over Italy.
Maurice is told to have been a good leader and ready to act, but not good on public and social relations. In many cases he carried through his programmes apparently unaware of the lack of public or elitarian support. This would eventually cost him both his throne and life.
He inherited an empire weak from continuous war on all fronts, one which had been forced to pay tribute to hostile neighbours. Slavs, Avars and Lombards pushed on northwestern frontiers, often resulting in permanent settlements, very much against the interests of the empire. Along the eastern border, Persia was the constant enemy. The cost of these wars was slow national development, and heavy taxation.
Through the second half of his reign he began enjoying great successes in military battles, the main reason being the strength the empire gained from forging peace with Persia in 590, when he aided his ally to the throne.
Maurice even managed to take control over Italy, a land largely destroyed by war. A civil administration was introduced here, bringing peace and stability. New administration was also introduced in North Africa, where the military controlled the civil administration, in a system called exarchate.
But as the strength of the empire improved, the heavy taxation continued, causing much discontent in the populace. He was also very cheap in his expenses, causing the anger that led to the coup of 602.
With his fall, many of his achievements were quickly lost. Persia began war, European peoples entered the territory of the empire and settled permanently. In many ways, the weakness of the Middle Eastern powers in the 7th century came from his fall, paving the ground for the easy successes of the Arab Muslims beginning in the 630's.
Maurice was a tolerant ruler in relation to theological conflicts. He supported the theology defined at the Council of Chalcedon, but did little to suppress the Monophysites.
To him, the military treatise, Strategikon, is often attributed. Whether it was truly written by him, or under his auspices, it is often considered among the most important military theoretical works, in use even up to the 20th century.
Ca. 539: Born in Cappadocia, Asia Minor.
Becomes a notary in the government.
578: Is appointed commander of the eastern imperial forces.
581: Leads his forces to a crushing victory against the Persians.
582 August 5: Maurice is appointed Emperor Tiberius' successor; Tiberius now being mortally ill. He marries Constantina, daughter of Tiberius.
August 13: Crowned emperor.
August 14: Tiberius dies, possibly murdered. Maurice becomes sole ruler of the empire, an empire with poor finance and enemies along all its borders.
584: Slavs begin moving towards Constantinople.
586: Byzantine troops wins against the Persians at Dara.
588: Mutiny in the army along the eastern border, yet it continues to be able to fight the Persians.
590: Khosrau 2 becomes Persian shah, after the aid of Maurice. The peace coming from this, allowed Maurice to concentrate on other fronts. The peace allowed Byzantine territorial advances, incorporating northeastern Mesopotamia and Armenia up to the capital Dvin and the Lake Van and territory corresponding to eastern Georgia. Maurice placed the Armenian Church under the Patriarchate of Constantinople.
590's: Launches several successful campaigns into the southeastern European provinces.
597: Writes his will in which his son, Thedosius, is made heir to the throne in Constantinople; Tiberius would be ruler from Rome.
599 or 600: Maurice refuses to pay ransom for imprisoned Byzantine soldiers, causing thousands to be killed.
602: The Avars enters into an alliance with the empire.
October: Maurice, in an attempt to save money, forces troops to set up winter quarters near the empire's westernmost borders. A revolt breaks out, and officers march on Constantinople under the leadership of Phocas. About simultaneously, a revolt breaks out in Constantinople, demanding that the emperor's son, Theodosius, or General Germanus become new emperor.
November: Phocas enters Constantinople, and soon he uses the confusion and instability to have himself crowned emperor, while his troops captured Maurice and his family.
November 27: Maurice is murdered together with his 3 sons, while the empress and his 3 daughters were spared.
Persian king, Khosrau 2, attacks the Byzantine Empire in rage over the killing of his ally, Maurice.