Late antiquity Byzantine Empire’s apogee: Maurice Tiberius?

Mar 2013
1,441
Escandinavia y Mesopotamia
#1
I have speculated for some days now about an issue that I cannot solve.

In late antiquity Justinian (reign 527-565) managed to use the full chest treasure of his two predecessors to expand westward:

Just.png



After Justinian's death the Lombards managed to take some rural areas in the Italian Peninsula, though the two important cities of Rome and Ravenna remained in Byzantine’s hands. BUT under the reign of Maurice Tiberius (reign 582-602) he actually managed to expand the empire’s borders eastward due to some clever political alliance with a deposed Persian Shah. So at the death of Maurice Tiberius the empire had actually expanded eastward and looked like this in 602:

Maur.png



I do not know if those two maps are 100% accurate but I am 100% sure that Maurice did expand the border in east. So basically, after Justinian's death some areas were lost in the Italian peninsula, and other were won in Mesopotamia.

This makes me wonder: does Maurice’s gain in Persia equalize the loss of some areas in the Italian Peninsula under Justin II? - Could that be that under the reign of Maurice, and not Justinian, that he Byzantine Empire was at its highest geographically?
 
Last edited:

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,597
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#2
I am not good at estimated area in square miles or other units from maps. And I thik that you should discuss border changes in Africa and Spain as well as in Italy and the Persian Frontier.

By the way, Khosraw Ii was not a deposed Persian shah or king but a deposed Persian shahanshah, or king of kings. A king of kings is as much higher than a king as a king is higher than a duke. Furthermore, of all the different kings of kings of different lands, the Persian ones were the only ones that can be considered to be emperors or emperor equivalents. Thinking of Khosraw II as an emperor makes him almost an infinite number of steps higher than a king.

But I think it is fair the say that the "Byzantine" empire was at its highest geographically in the reign of Trajan or of Septimius Severus, centuries before the time that it is called "Byzantine"..
 
Jan 2016
1,046
Victoria, Canada
#3
No, not by a long shot I'd say. Maurice's gains in Armenia were considerable, but by the year 600 about half of mainland Italy had been lost to the Lombards and Roman possessions in Iberia, reaching as far as Cordoba under Justinian, had been whittled away considerably to a thin strip of land along the southern coast. Some rough calculation in Google Earth gives about 90,000 sq km of land gained in Armenia by Maurice, while the amount of land lost in Italy alone amounts to about 170,000 sq km, with another 20-30 thousand in Spain. This is closer than one might expect, but it's not really that close. It is interesting to note that the Romans did gain about as much territory in Armenia and Mesopotamia from 290 to 600 as they lost in the west from 555 to 600, although the comparison is pretty meaningless at that point.
 
#4
No, not by a long shot I'd say. Maurice's gains in Armenia were considerable, but by the year 600 about half of mainland Italy had been lost to the Lombards and Roman possessions in Iberia, reaching as far as Cordoba under Justinian, had been whittled away considerably to a thin strip of land along the southern coast. Some rough calculation in Google Earth gives about 90,000 sq km of land gained in Armenia by Maurice, while the amount of land lost in Italy alone amounts to about 170,000 sq km, with another 20-30 thousand in Spain. This is closer than one might expect, but it's not really that close. It is interesting to note that the Romans did gain about as much territory in Armenia and Mesopotamia from 290 to 600 as they lost in the west from 555 to 600, although the comparison is pretty meaningless at that point.
One thing that I wonder. The gains Maurice obtained in the East could be said to be one of the rasons for the last Roman-Sassanian War. After that war was over, do you know if the Romans got that terroritory back or if the frontiers went back to be what they were before Maurice's gains?
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,610
Blachernai
#5
One thing that I wonder. The gains Maurice obtained in the East could be said to be one of the rasons for the last Roman-Sassanian War. After that war was over, do you know if the Romans got that terroritory back or if the frontiers went back to be what they were before Maurice's gains?
I have speculated for some days now about an issue that I cannot solve.

I do not know if those two maps are 100% accurate but I am 100% sure that Maurice did expand the border in east. So basically, after Justinian's death some areas were lost in the Italian peninsula, and other were won in Mesopotamia.

This makes me wonder: does Maurice’s gain in Persia equalize the loss of some areas in the Italian Peninsula under Justin II? - Could that be that under the reign of Maurice, and not Justinian, that he Byzantine Empire was at its highest geographically?
Echoing a later post here, the Roman gains in Armenia and Lazika were a major factor in the destabilization of a centuries-old system of spheres of influence and which ultimately resulted in the last great war. Some of the Roman-Persian treaties from the second half of the sixth century (as recorded in the fragments of Menander Protector, preserved in the Constantinian Excerpta) specifically permit fighting in the Caucasus while prohibiting it in northern Mesopotamia. This kept the Romans involved in too many frontiers and prevented them from turning full attention to the Avars and Lombards.

One thing that I wonder. The gains Maurice obtained in the East could be said to be one of the rasons for the last Roman-Sassanian War. After that war was over, do you know if the Romans got that terroritory back or if the frontiers went back to be what they were before Maurice's gains?
The agreement of 630 returned to the 591 borders.
 
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Likes: SNascimento
Sep 2014
773
Texas
#6
One thing that I wonder. The gains Maurice obtained in the East could be said to be one of the rasons for the last Roman-Sassanian War. After that war was over, do you know if the Romans got that terroritory back or if the frontiers went back to be what they were before Maurice's gains?
I'm just going to throw this in because my specialty is horse history which gets over looked a lot. Armenia was a Christian country but it was also the breeding grounds for the Nisean horse, the ultimate war horse of the time. Justinian opened two stud farms for this horse, the first in Bythnia and then in Seville. He got his horses from Armenia. Now the Seville horses had been used in North Africa against the the Vandals. They were moved from Africa to Spain about a year after the fall. 1550761513764.png
The Sassanid cataphract was a lighter version of the Parthian cataphract.
1550761583762.png

1550761648504.png 1550761715698.png Wars were fought over the possession of this horse. Charlemagne wanted to rule the entire Holy Roman Empire and wooed Irene, but he asked for horses as a part of her dowrey.....like Constantinople wasn't enough. Byzantine cataphracts.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,610
Blachernai
#7
I'm just going to throw this in because my specialty is horse history which gets over looked a lot. Armenia was a Christian country but it was also the breeding grounds for the Nisean horse, the ultimate war horse of the time. Justinian opened two stud farms for this horse, the first in Bythnia and then in Seville. He got his horses from Armenia. Now the Seville horses had been used in North Africa against the the Vandals. They were moved from Africa to Spain about a year after the fall.
The Sassanid cataphract was a lighter version of the Parthian cataphract.


Wars were fought over the possession of this horse. Charlemagne wanted to rule the entire Holy Roman Empire and wooed Irene, but he asked for horses as a part of her dowrey.....like Constantinople wasn't enough. Byzantine cataphracts.
I rather doubt Charlemagne was after Byzantine kataphraktoi, for two reasons. The first is that he lived a bit more than a century prior to any evidence of their service in the medieval Roman army again. The second problem is that the kataphraktos is more than the horse - it requires major investment on the part of the state and is really only useful in a combined-arms tactical system in which they are supported by lighter cavalry, infantry, and missile troops.
 
Sep 2014
773
Texas
#8
I rather doubt Charlemagne was after Byzantine kataphraktoi, for two reasons. The first is that he lived a bit more than a century prior to any evidence of their service in the medieval Roman army again. The second problem is that the kataphraktos is more than the horse - it requires major investment on the part of the state and is really only useful in a combined-arms tactical system in which they are supported by lighter cavalry, infantry, and missile troops.
He wanted the horses. You figure out why then. Irene almost lost the stud when the Arabs attacked, but when the iconoclasts gave up on it, she released the army to rescue the horses. The fourth crusade closed it permanently. Going over the history of the Nisean horse is long but I wrote this...maybe it can help.
sino-platonic.org/complete/spp177_horses.pdf
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,610
Blachernai
#9
He wanted the horses. You figure out why then. Irene almost lost the stud when the Arabs attacked, but when the iconoclasts gave up on it, she released the army to rescue the horses. The fourth crusade closed it permanently. Going over the history of the Nisean horse is long but I wrote this...maybe it can help.
sino-platonic.org/complete/spp177_horses.pdf
This cites nothing and consistently spells Bithynia wrong. Certainly, Theophanes (de Boor, p. 473) mentions that horses were taken on Harun's big raid. I’m also skeptical whether the stud farms were even located in Bithynia, given that the late antique ones were in Galatia and Cappadocia and on the central Anatolian plateau. But there’s no evidence that Harun was actually after the horses for strategic reasons - he was playing at ghazi caliph to establish the religious credentials of his dynasty and raiding the Romans was what ghazi caliphs did. Eirene didn’t send the army the rescue the horses, she sent them to confront the army of the Arab caliphate in her territory, which was a huge threat to her already shaky regime because her own army’s loyalty was dubious (she had to move a church council from Nicaea to Constantinople because the Opsikions kept disrupting it) and because Arab caliphs did not show up in Roman territory very often.

but when the iconoclasts gave up on it,
What does this mean?
 
Sep 2014
773
Texas
#10
This cites nothing and consistently spells Bithynia wrong. Certainly, Theophanes (de Boor, p. 473) mentions that horses were taken on Harun's big raid. I’m also skeptical whether the stud farms were even located in Bithynia, given that the late antique ones were in Galatia and Cappadocia and on the central Anatolian plateau. But there’s no evidence that Harun was actually after the horses for strategic reasons - he was playing at ghazi caliph to establish the religious credentials of his dynasty and raiding the Romans was what ghazi caliphs did. Eirene didn’t send the army the rescue the horses, she sent them to confront the army of the Arab caliphate in her territory, which was a huge threat to her already shaky regime because her own army’s loyalty was dubious (she had to move a church council from Nicaea to Constantinople because the Opsikions kept disrupting it) and because Arab caliphs did not show up in Roman territory very often.



What does this mean?
EMPRESS IRENE & THE ICONOCLASTS | TriciVenola.com

My Timeline has been looked at by hundreds of real scholars and the only complaint I got was one man wished I had done more on the steppe horsemen. Dr. Mair was very kind to publish it for me. His graduate student was most helpful. I gave him the timeline and I'm not sure if he has put the bibliography on sino-platonic papers, but you don't believe it anyway...so *shrugs*
 

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