Maurice (emperor)
Overview
 
Maurice (539 – 27 November 602) was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602.

A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians. Once he became Emperor, he brought the war with Persia to a victorious conclusion: expanding the eastern frontier dramatically and marrying his daughter to Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

, the Persian king.

Maurice also campaigned extensively
Maurice's Balkan campaigns
Maurice's Illyricum campaigns were a series of military expeditions conducted by emperor of Constantinopolis Maurice in an attempt to defend the Illyrian provinces of the East Roman Empire from Avars and Slavs...

 in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 against the Avars - pushing them back across the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 by 599.
Encyclopedia
Maurice (539 – 27 November 602) was Byzantine Emperor from 582 to 602.

A prominent general in his youth, Maurice fought with success against the Sassanid Persians. Once he became Emperor, he brought the war with Persia to a victorious conclusion: expanding the eastern frontier dramatically and marrying his daughter to Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

, the Persian king.

Maurice also campaigned extensively
Maurice's Balkan campaigns
Maurice's Illyricum campaigns were a series of military expeditions conducted by emperor of Constantinopolis Maurice in an attempt to defend the Illyrian provinces of the East Roman Empire from Avars and Slavs...

 in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 against the Avars - pushing them back across the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 by 599. He also conducted campaigns across the Danube, the first Emperor to do so in over two hundred years. In the West, Maurice established two large semi-autonomous provinces called exarchates, ruled by exarchs, viceroys, of the emperor.

In Italy, Maurice established the Exarchate of Ravenna
Exarchate of Ravenna
The Exarchate of Ravenna or of Italy was a centre of Byzantine power in Italy, from the end of the 6th century to 751, when the last exarch was put to death by the Lombards.-Introduction:...

 in 584, the first real effort by the Empire to halt the advance of the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

. With the creation of the Exarchate of Africa
Exarchate of Africa
The Exarchate of Africa or of Carthage, after its capital, was the name of an administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire encompassing its possessions on the Western Mediterranean, ruled by an exarch, or viceroy...

 in 590, Maurice further solidified the empire's hold on the western Mediterranean.

His reign was troubled by financial difficulties and almost constant warfare. In 602, a dissatisfied general named Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

 usurped the throne, having Maurice and his six sons executed. This event would prove cataclysmic for the Empire, sparking a devastating war with Persia that would leave both empires helpless in the wake of the Muslim invasions.

His reign is a relatively accurately documented era of Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity
Late Antiquity is a periodization used by historians to describe the time of transition from Classical Antiquity to the Middle Ages, in both mainland Europe and the Mediterranean world. Precise boundaries for the period are a matter of debate, but noted historian of the period Peter Brown proposed...

; in particular by the historian
Historian
A historian is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. Historians are concerned with the continuous, methodical narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race; as well as the study of all history in time. If the individual is...

 Theophylact Simocatta
Theophylact Simocatta
Theophylact Simocatta was an early seventh-century Byzantine historiographer, arguably ranking as the last historian of Late Antiquity, writing in the time of Heraclius about the late Emperor Maurice .-Life:His history of the reign of emperor Maurice is in eight books...

. Maurice also authored the Strategikon
Strategikon
The Strategicon or Strategikon is a manual of war by written in the late 6th century and usually attributed to Byzantine Emperor Maurice; it is moreover a practical manual, "a rather modest elementary handbook," in the words of its introduction, "for those devoting themselves to generalship."The...

, a manual of war
Byzantine military manuals
This article lists and briefly discusses the most important of a large number of treatises on military science produced in the Byzantine Empire.- Background :...

 which influenced European militaries for nearly a millennium. Maurice stands out as one of the last Emperors whose Empire still bore a strong resemblance to the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 of previous centuries.

Origins and early life

Maurice was born in Arabissus in Cappadocia
Cappadocia
Cappadocia is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in Nevşehir Province.In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine...

 in 539, the son of a certain Paul
Paul (father of Maurice)
Paul was the father of Maurice, Byzantine Emperor. He served as head of the Byzantine Senate.- Background :According to Evagrius Scholasticus, Maurice and his family could trace their lineage from "elder Rome". The future Emperor had been born in Arabissus, Cappadocia. The family's hometown was...

. He had one brother, Peter
Peter (curopalates)
Petrus |Cappadocia]] – 27 November 602 in Constantinople or Chalcedon) was a brother of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, who reigned from 582 to 602.-Background:...

, and two sisters, Theoctista and Gordia, later the wife of the general Philippicus
Philippicus (general)
Philippicus or Philippikos was an East Roman general, comes excubitorum, and brother-in-law of Emperor Maurice. His successful career as a general spanned several decades, chiefly against the Persians.- Under Maurice :...

. According to a legend, he was of Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 origin, but the issue cannot be determined in any way. The historian Evagrius Scholasticus
Evagrius Scholasticus
Evagrius Scholasticus was a Syrian scholar and intellectual living in the 6th century AD, and an aide to the patriarch Gregory of Antioch. His surviving work, Ecclesiastical History, comprises a six-volume collection concerning the Church's history from the First Council of Ephesus to Maurice’s...

 records a (likely invented) descent from old Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

.

Maurice first came to Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 as a notarius
Notarius
A notarius is a public secretary who is appointed by competent authority to draw up official or authentic documents . In the Roman Catholic Church there have been apostolic notaries and even episcopal notaries...

, and came to serve as a secretary to the comes excubitorum (commander of the Excubitors
Excubitors
The Excubitors were founded in circa 460 AD as the imperial guards of the early Byzantine emperors. Their commanders soon acquired great influence and provided a series of emperors in the 6th century...

, the imperial bodyguard) Tiberius, the future Tiberius II (r. 578–582). When Tiberius was named Caesar
Caesar (title)
Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator...

in 574, Maurice, was appointed to succeed him as comes excubitorum.

Persian War and accession to the throne

In late 577, despite his complete lack of military experience, he was named as magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 per Orientem
Diocese of the East
The Diocese of the East was a diocese of the later Roman Empire, incorporating the provinces of the western Middle East, between the Mediterranean Sea and Mesopotamia...

, effectively commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army in the East, in the ongoing war against Sassanid Persia, succeeding the general Justinian
Justinian (general)
Justinian was an East Roman aristocrat and general, and a member of the ruling Justinian dynasty. As a soldier, he had a distinguished career in the Balkans and in the East against Sassanid Persia...

. At about the same time, he was raised to the rank of patricius. He scored a decisive victory against the Persians in 581. A year later, he married Constantina
Constantina (empress)
Constantina was the Empress consort of Maurice of the Byzantine Empire.-Family:Constantina was a daughter of Tiberius II Constantine and his wife Ino Anastasia. Her parentage was recorded in the chronicles of Theophylact Simocatta, Paul the Deacon and John of Biclaro.The Georgian Chronicle...

, the Emperor's daughter. On August 13, he succeeded his father-in-law as Emperor. Upon his ascension he ruled a bankrupt Empire. At war with Persia, paying extremely high tribute to the Avars
Eurasian Avars
The Eurasian Avars or Ancient Avars were a highly organized nomadic confederacy of mixed origins. They were ruled by a khagan, who was surrounded by a tight-knit entourage of nomad warriors, an organization characteristic of Turko-Mongol groups...

, and the Balkan provinces thoroughly devastated by the Slavs
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

, Maurice's situation was tumultuous at best.

Maurice had to continue the war against Persia. In 586, his troops defeated the Persians at Dara
Dara
-2011 uprising:The city of Daraa was the starting point of the 2011 uprising against the regime lead by Bashar Al-Assad. It all started when 15 children from the same family were arrested in early March 2011 for writing an anti regime slogan on the wall of their school. The children's ages ranged...

. Despite a serious mutiny in 588, the army managed to continue the war. In 590, Prince Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

 and Persian commander-in-chief Bahram Chobin
Bahram Chobin
General Bahrām Chobin was a famous Eran spahbod during the late 6th century in Persia, usurping the Sassanid throne for a year as Bahram VI .- Life :...

 overthrew king Hormizd IV
Hormizd IV
Hormizd IV, son of Khosrau I, reigned as the twenty-first King of Persia from 579 to 590.He seems to have been imperious and violent, but not without some kindness of heart. Some very characteristic stories are told of him by Tabari. His father's sympathies had been with the nobles and the priests...

. Bahram Chobin claimed the throne for himself and defeated Khosrau, who subsequently fled to the Roman court. Although the Senate advised against it with one voice, Maurice assisted Khosrau to regain his throne with an army of 35,000 men. In 591 the combined Roman-Persian army under generals John Mystacon
John Mystacon
John, surnamed Mystacon, "the mustachioed", , was a prominent East Roman general in the wars with Sassanid Persia during the reigns of Byzantine emperors Tiberius II and Maurice ....

 and Narses
Narses (general under Maurice)
Narses was a Byzantine general of Armenian ancestry active during the reigns of the emperors Maurice and Phocas in the late sixth and early seventh centuries. He commanded the army in Mesopotamia under Maurice; when Phocas overthrew Maurice and seized the throne, Narses refused to recognize the...

 defeated Bahram Chobin's forces near Ganzak
Ganzak
Ganzak , is an ancient Achaemenid town founded in northwestern Iran. Its name is originally Median but later adopted into Persian...

 at the Battle of Blarathon
Battle of Blarathon
The Battle of Blarathon was fought in 592 near Ganzak between a combined Eastern Roman -Persian force and a Persian army led by the usurper Bahram Chobin. The combined army was led by John Mystacon, Narses, and the Persian prince Khosrau II. The Roman-Persian force was victorious, ousting Bahram...

. The victory was decisive; Maurice finally brought the war to a successful conclusion by means of a new accession of Khosrau.

Subsequently, Khosrau married Maurice's eldest daughter Miriam and was probably adopted by the emperor. Khosrau further rewarded Maurice by ceding to the Empire western Armenia
Armenia
Armenia , officially the Republic of Armenia , is a landlocked mountainous country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia...

 up to the lakes Van
Lake Van
Lake Van is the largest lake in Turkey, located in the far east of the country in Van district. It is a saline and soda lake, receiving water from numerous small streams that descend from the surrounding mountains. Lake Van is one of the world's largest endorheic lakes . The original outlet from...

 and Sevan
Lake Sevan
Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia and the Caucasus region. It is one of the largest high-altitude lakes in the world.Lake Sevan is situated in the central part of the Republic of Armenia, inside the Gegharkunik Province, at the altitude of 1,900m above sea level...

, including the large cities of Martyropolis
Martyropolis
Martyropolis was the former name of a city in Turkey, now known in Turkish as Silvan, in Aramaic as Meiafarakin .It is a Catholic titular see....

, Tigranokert, Manzikert, Ani
Ani
Ani is a ruined and uninhabited medieval Armenian city-site situated in the Turkish province of Kars, near the border with Armenia. It was once the capital of a medieval Armenian kingdom that covered much of present day Armenia and eastern Turkey...

, and Yerevan
Yerevan
Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia and one of the world's oldest continuously-inhabited cities. Situated along the Hrazdan River, Yerevan is the administrative, cultural, and industrial center of the country...

. Maurice's treaty with his new son-in-law brought a new status-quo to the east territorially, enlarged to an extent never before achieved by the Empire, and much cheaper to defend during this new perpetual peace – millions of solidi were saved by the remission of tribute to the Persians alone. Afterwards, Maurice imposed a union between the Armenian Church and the Patriarchate of Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

.

Balkan warfare

After his victory on the eastern frontier, Maurice was free to focus on the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. The Slavs, having pillaged the Byzantine Balkan provinces for decades, probably began settling the land from the 580s on. The Avars took the strategically important fort of Sirmium
Sirmium
Sirmium was a city in ancient Roman Pannonia. Firstly mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by the Illyrians and Celts, it was conquered by the Romans in the 1st century BC and subsequently became the capital of the Roman province of Lower Pannonia. In 294 AD, Sirmium was...

 in 582, using it as a base of operations against several poorly defended forts alongside the Danube. In 584 the Slavs threatened the capital and in 586 Avars besieged Thessalonica, while Slavs went as far as the Peloponnese
Peloponnese
The Peloponnese, Peloponnesos or Peloponnesus , is a large peninsula , located in a region of southern Greece, forming the part of the country south of the Gulf of Corinth...

. In 591 Maurice launched several campaigns against Slavs and Avars – with good prospect of turning the tide.

In 592 his troops retook Singidunum
Singidunum
Singidunum is the name for the ancient city in Serbia which became Belgrade, the capital of Serbia. It was recorded that a Celtic tribe Scordisci settled the area in the 3rd century BC following the Gallic invasion of the Balkans. The Roman Empire conquered the area in 75 BC and later garrisoned...

 from the Avars. His commander-in-chief Priscus
Priscus (general)
Priscus was a leading East Roman general during the reigns of the Byzantine emperors Maurice , Phocas and Heraclius . Although the contemporary sources are markedly biased in his favour, Priscus comes across as an effective and capable military leader...

 defeated Slavs, Avars and Gepids south of the Danube in 593. The same year he crossed the Danube into modern-day Wallachia
Wallachia
Wallachia or Walachia is a historical and geographical region of Romania. It is situated north of the Danube and south of the Southern Carpathians...

 to continue his series of victories. In 594 Maurice replaced Priscus with his rather inexperienced brother Peter
Peter (curopalates)
Petrus |Cappadocia]] – 27 November 602 in Constantinople or Chalcedon) was a brother of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, who reigned from 582 to 602.-Background:...

, who despite initial failures, nonetheless scored another victory in Wallachia. Priscus, now in command of another army further upstream, defeated the Avars again in 595. The latter only dared to attack again peripherally in Dalmatia
Dalmatia
Dalmatia is a historical region on the eastern coast of the Adriatic Sea. It stretches from the island of Rab in the northwest to the Bay of Kotor in the southeast. The hinterland, the Dalmatian Zagora, ranges from fifty kilometers in width in the north to just a few kilometers in the south....

 two years later. In 598 a treaty was signed with the Avar leader Bayan I, only to be broken for retaliation campaigns inside Avar homeland. In 599 and 601, the Byzantine forces wreaked havoc amongst the Avars and Gepids. In 602 the Slavs suffered a crushing defeat in Wallachia. The Byzantine troops were now able to hold the Danube line again. Meanwhile, Maurice was making plans for resettling devastated areas in the Balkans by using Armenian settlers.

Measures of domestic policy

In the west, he organized the threatened Byzantine dominions in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 and Africa
Praetorian prefecture of Africa
The praetorian prefecture of Africa was a major administrative division of the Eastern Roman Empire, established after the reconquest of northwestern Africa from the Vandals in 533-534 by emperor Justinian I...

 into exarchates, ruled by military governors or exarch
Exarch
In the Byzantine Empire, an exarch was governor with extended authority of a province at some remove from the capital Constantinople. The prevailing situation frequently involved him in military operations....

s, being mentioned in 584 and 591 respectively. The exarchs had more or less complete military and civilian competences. This was remarkable due to the usual separation of civilian and military competences in that era. By founding the Exarchate of Ravenna, Maurice managed to slow down the Lombard advance in Italy, if not to halt it.

In 597, an ailing Maurice wrote his last will, in which he described his ideas of governing the Empire. His eldest son, Theodosius
Theodosius (son of Maurice)
Theodosius was the eldest son of Byzantine Emperor Maurice and was co-emperor from 590 until his deposition and execution during a military revolt in November 602. Along with his father-in-law Germanus, he was briefly proposed as successor to Maurice by the troops, but the army eventually...

, would be a ruler of the East from Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, the second one, Tiberius, of the West with the capital in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. Some historians believe his younger sons were to rule from Alexandria, Carthage, and Antioch. His intent was to maintain unity of the Empire, making this idea bear a strong resemblance with the Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy
The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

 of Diocletian. However, Maurice's violent death prevented any of these plans from coming to fruition.

In religious matters, he was very tolerant towards Monophysitism
Monophysitism
Monophysitism , or Monophysiticism, is the Christological position that Jesus Christ has only one nature, his humanity being absorbed by his Deity...

, although he was a supporter of the Council of Chalcedon
Council of Chalcedon
The Council of Chalcedon was a church council held from 8 October to 1 November, 451 AD, at Chalcedon , on the Asian side of the Bosporus. The council marked a significant turning point in the Christological debates that led to the separation of the church of the Eastern Roman Empire in the 5th...

. He clashed with Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I
Pope Gregory I , better known in English as Gregory the Great, was pope from 3 September 590 until his death...

 over the latter's defense of Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 against the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

.

Maurice's attempts to consolidate the Empire slowly but steadily met with success, last but not least thanks to the peace with Persia. His initial popularity apparently decreased during his reign, mostly because of his fiscal politics. In 588, his announcement to cut military wages by 25% led to serious mutiny of troops on the Persian front. He is said to have refused to pay a very little ransom in 599 or 600 to deliver 12,000 Byzantine soldiers taken prisoners by the Avars. It is said that the prisoners were killed and a military delegation, headed by an officer named Phocas was humiliated and rejected in Constantinople.

Death

In 602, Maurice, always dealing with the lack of money, decreed that the army should stay for winter beyond the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, which would prove to be a serious mistake. The exhausted troops mutinied against the Emperor. Probably misjudging the situation, Maurice repeatedly ordered his troops to start a new offensive rather than returning to winter quarters. After a while, his troops gained the impression that Maurice no longer mastered the situation, they proclaimed Phocas
Phocas
Phocas was Byzantine Emperor from 602 to 610. He usurped the throne from the Emperor Maurice, and was himself overthrown by Heraclius after losing a civil war.-Origins:...

 their leader and demanded Maurice to abdicate and proclaim the successor either his son Theodosius or General Germanus
Germanus (patricius)
Germanus, called "patricius" , was a leading member of the Byzantine Senate during the reign of Maurice.-Family:Other that a wife called Leontia by Theophanes the Confessor, there is no named relative of Germanus. His name has led to a possible identification with a similarly named son of Germanus...

. Both men were accused of treason, but the riots broke out in Constantinople and the emperor with his family left the city for Nicomedia
Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

. Theodosius headed east to Persia, but historians are not sure whether he had been sent there by his father or if he had fled there. Phocas entered Constantinople in November, where he was crowned Emperor, while his troops captured Maurice and his family.

Maurice was murdered on November 27 (some say November 23), 602. It is said that the deposed emperor was forced to watch his six sons executed before his eyes, before he was beheaded himself. Empress Constantina and her three daughters were spared and sent to a monastery. The Persian King Chosroes II used this coup and the murder of his Patron as an excuse for a renewed war against the Empire.

Legacy

Maurice, whose court still used Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 in the same way as the army and administration did, was in total an able emperor and commander-in-chief, even though Theophylact's description may be a bit too glorifying. He possessed insight, public spirit and courage. He proved his expertise on military and foreign affairs during his campaigns against Persians and Avars/Slavs in the same way as during peace negotiations with Khosrau II. His administrative reforms portray him as a statesman with farsightedness, the more so since they outlasted his death by far and were the basis for the introduction of the themes as military districts.

He also promoted science and arts; Maurice is also the traditional author of the military treatise Strategikon which is praised in military circles as the only sophisticated combined arms
Combined arms
Combined arms is an approach to warfare which seeks to integrate different branches of a military to achieve mutually complementary effects...

 theory until World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. However, some historians now believe the Strategikon is the work of his brother or another general in his court.

His greatest weakness was his inability to judge how unpopular his decisions were. Or to cite the historian Previte-Orton, listing a number of character flaws in the emperor's personality:
It was this flaw that cost him throne and life and thwarted most of his efforts to prevent the disintegration of the great empire of Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

. It seems, as if Maurice attempted to have his way on behalf of Imperial pretension with respect to the old Imperium Romanum, but as his end shows, he met strong resistance.

His demise is a turning point in history, given the fact that the new war against Persia weakened both empires in a way enabling the Slavs to permanently settle the Balkans and paving the way for Arab/Muslim expansion. The English historian A.H.M. Jones
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones
Arnold Hugh Martin Jones — known as A.H.M. Jones — was a prominent 20th century British historian of classical antiquity, particularly of the later Roman Empire.-Biography:...

 concludes the final era of classical antiquity with Maurice's death, as the turmoil which shattered the Empire in the next four decades permanently and thoroughly changed society and politics.

Family relations

Maurice's marriage was fertile and produced nine known children:
  • Theodosius
    Theodosius (son of Maurice)
    Theodosius was the eldest son of Byzantine Emperor Maurice and was co-emperor from 590 until his deposition and execution during a military revolt in November 602. Along with his father-in-law Germanus, he was briefly proposed as successor to Maurice by the troops, but the army eventually...

     (4 August 583/585 – after 27 November 602). According to John of Ephesus, he was the first heir born to a reigning emperor since the reign of Theodosius II
    Theodosius II
    Theodosius II , commonly surnamed Theodosius the Younger, or Theodosius the Calligrapher, was Byzantine Emperor from 408 to 450. He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code, and for the construction of the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople...

     (408–450). He was appointed Caesar in 587 and co-emperor on 26 March 590.
  • Tiberius
    Tiberius (son of Maurice)
    Tiberius was a son of Maurice, Byzantine emperor and his wife Constantina. He was executed by new emperor Phocas. Theophylact Simocatta reports that Tiberius would have played a significant role in the succession of his father. The will of Maurice would have declared him a co-emperor and ruler of...

     (d. 27 November 602).
  • Petrus (d. 27 November 602).
  • Paulus (d. 27 November 602).
  • Justin (d. 27 November 602).
  • Justinian (d. 27 November 602).
  • Anastasia (d. circa 605).
  • Theoctista (d. circa 605).
  • Cleopatra (d. circa 605).


A daughter Miriam/Maria
Maria (daughter of Maurice)
Maria is the name of a supposed daughter of Maurice, Byzantine Emperor and wife of Khosrau II. Her existence is recorded in the Chronicle of Michael the Syrian. "Maurice accorda sa fille Marie en mariage à Khosrov" - Historicity :...

 is recorded by the 12th-century chronicler Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian , also known as Michael the Great or Michael Syrus or Michael the Elder, to distinguish him from his nephew, was a patriarch of the Syriac Orthodox Church from 1166 to 1199. He is best known today as the author of the largest medieval Chronicle, which he composed in Syriac...

 as married to Khosrau II
Khosrau II
250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II 250px|thumb|Khosrau II (Khosrow II, Chosroes II, or Xosrov II in classical sources, sometimes called Parvez, "the Ever Victorious" – (in Persian: خسرو پرویز), was the twenty-second Sassanid King of Persia, reigning from 590 to 628...

.

His brother Petrus
Peter (curopalates)
Petrus |Cappadocia]] – 27 November 602 in Constantinople or Chalcedon) was a brother of the Byzantine Emperor Maurice, who reigned from 582 to 602.-Background:...

 (c. 550 – 602) became the curopalates
Curopalates
Kouropalatēs, Latinized as curopalates or curopalata and Anglicized as curopalate, was a Byzantine court title, one of the highest from the time of Emperor Justinian I to that of the Komnenoi in the 12th century...

and was killed at the same time of his brother. He married Anastasia Aerobinda (b. ca 570), daughter of Areobindus (b. c. 550) and wife, and had female issue.

His sister Theoctista (c. 540 – aft. 582) married a husband who died before 582 and had a daughter Gordia (c. 560 – aft. 597), who married Marinus (c. 555 – aft. 597), son of Nerses (c. 530 – aft. 595) and wife Hesychia (b. c. 535), by whom she had a daughter Theoctista (c. 575/c. 580 – aft. 597), married to Christodorus or Christodoros (b. c. 570) and had issue.

His sister Gordia (c. 550 – aft. 602) married Philippicus
Philippicus (general)
Philippicus or Philippikos was an East Roman general, comes excubitorum, and brother-in-law of Emperor Maurice. His successful career as a general spanned several decades, chiefly against the Persians.- Under Maurice :...

 (c. 550 – Chrysopolis, 614), General
General
A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

, comes excubitorum and magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

in 582, by whom she had a daughter, who married Artabastus (Artavazd) Mamikonian (b. ca 565), and had issue.

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