At first, when he was on horseback (shown above), the burden was too heavy, but after he dismounted and removed his crown it became miraculously light, and the barred city gate opened of its own accord. In 614 the Persians conquered Syria and Palestine, taking Jerusalem and what was believed to be Christ’s Cross, and in 619 occupied Egypt and Libya. Two of Heraclius's children would become Emperor: Heraclius Constantine (Constantine III), his son from Eudokia, for four months in 641, and Martina's son Constantine Heraclius (Heraklonas), in 638–641. "[63] Historians such as Nadia Maria El-Cheikh and Lawrence Conrad note that Islamic histories even go so far as claiming that Heraclius recognized Islam as the true faith and Muhammad as its prophet, by comparing Islam to Christianity. Safe behind the walls of Constantinople, Heraclius was able to sue for peace in exchange for an annual tribute of a thousand talents of gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins to the Persian King. Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns. Broken in body and spirit by disease, by long years of the cares of state, and by the wounds and emotions of 100 battles, Heraclius did not take personal command of the army, although the sight of him in battle armour would have inspired the troops and silenced the bickering generals. [77], Heraclius had at least one illegitimate son, John Athalarichos, who conspired against Heraclius with his cousin, the magister Theodorus, and the Armenian noble David Saharuni. He commanded a Christian. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. No doubt he was an inspiring military leader who fired his army with religious fervour and whose personal intrepidity, imaginative tactics, and constant concern for his men evoked their love and loyalty. His soldiers closed rank behind him and beat back the foe. [29][30] In the same year the Visigoths succeeded in recapturing Cartagena, capital of the western Byzantine province of Spania, resulting in the loss of one of the few minor provinces that had been conquered by the armies of Justinian I. The effects were revolutionary. With a keen sense of reality, he adjusted the empire to the needs of the 7th century, departmentalizing the great state offices and replacing Latin with Greek as the official language. [8] In the reign of Heraclius's two sons, the divisive Martina was to become the center of power and political intrigue. When Heraclius died, he devised the empire to both Heraclius Constantine and Heraklonas to rule jointly with Martina as Empress. Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Later on, starting in 629, he styled himself as Basileus, the Greek word for "sovereign", and that title was used by the Byzantine Emperors for the next 800 years. It placed the Anatolian provinces under military governors and provided land grants not only for frontier soldiers but also for soldiers and peasants in the interior, on condition of hereditary military service. [47], The recovery of the eastern areas of the Roman Empire from the Persians once again raised the problem of religious unity centering on the understanding of the true nature of Christ. The illegitimate son is recorded by a number of different spellings including: Atalarichos, CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, De Administrando Imperio, ch. So, as a goodwill gesture, he sent the True Cross with a negotiator in 628. He failed. His mercy contrasted sharply with Khosrow’s acerbity and probably hastened his victory in Persia. … His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. [52] He also created the office of sakellarios, a comptroller of the treasury. [53], Up to the 20th century he was credited with establishing the Thematic system but modern scholarship now points more to the 660s, under Constans II.[54]. The iconography of the emperor appeared in the sanctuary at Mont Saint-Michel (ca. Meaning that Heraclius said this in his language to his translator, who then said it to Abû Sufyân in Arabic. [21] The peace allowed him to rebuild the Empire's army by slashing non-military expenditure, devaluing the currency, and melting down, with the backing of Patriarch Sergius, Church treasures to raise the necessary funds to continue the war. add example. [citation needed], Local tradition suggests that the Late Antique Colossus of Barletta depicts Heraclius[61], Some scholars disagree with this narrative, Professor Constantin Zuckerman going as far as to suggest that the True Cross was actually lost, and that the wood contained in the allegedly-still-sealed reliquary brought to Jerusalem by Heraclius in 629 was a fake. In October 610 CE the future emperor was elected by his father to respond to a plea from the Senate in Constantinopleto come and relieve them from the bloody tyrant Phokas (r. 602-610 CE). Acta ad archaeologiam et artium historiam pertinentia. Another envoy was sent to an Arab prince of the Ghassanite tribe, a Christian feudatory of Heraclius. Emperor Heraclius synonyms, Emperor Heraclius pronunciation, Emperor Heraclius translation, English dictionary definition of Emperor Heraclius. Seizing his sword, he ran to the bridge and struck down the Persian leader. en Teimuraz's children of his marriage to Tamar of Kartli were: Heraclius II (November 7, 1720 – January 11, 1798), the future king of Kakheti and of Kartli and Kakheti. This act caused great consternation among the Muslims, who considered it as an outrage of international obligations. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. Most scholars now agree that it was Heraclius who initiated the militarization of Anatolia, known as the theme (military district) system, which was further developed and extended by his successors. [81] Theodorus had the same treatment but was sent to Gaudomelete (possibly modern-day Gozo Island) with additional instructions to cut off one leg. Heraclius, aged 36, was proclaimed the new empero… Byzantine Empire: Heraclius and the origin of the themes. Soon after, he initiated reforms to rebuild and strengthen the military. Heraclius immediately took charge of the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628. But the languid mists of the morning and evening are separated by the brightness of the meridian sun; the Arcadius of the palace arose the Caesar of the camp; and the honor of Rome and Heraclius was gloriously retrieved by the exploits and trophies of six adventurous campaigns. 1060),[59] and then it became popular, especially in France, the Italian Peninsula, and the Holy Roman Empire. In an effort to placate the Avars, Heraclius met them at Thracian Heraclea (617 or 619). Indeed, during the four centuries that the theme system remained intact, the empire could be defeated but not conquered. Late in 627 he launched a winter offensive into Mesopotamia, where, despite the desertion of his Turkish allies, he defeated the Persians under Rhahzadh at the Battle of Nineveh. But the Romans sank the primitive Avar fleet that was to transport Persian units across the Bosporus and repelled the unsupported Avar assault. They sought to capture him, and he rode madly back to Constantinople, hotly pursued. Heraclius' younger cousin Nicetas launched an ove… (Leuven, Paris: Peeters, 2002), Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Non-Muslim interactants with Muslims during Muhammad's era, Seleznyov N.N. Fearing water, he remained a year on the Asiatic bank of the Bosporus before summoning the courage to cross to Constantinople on a pontoon bridge with foliage hiding the water. The Swahili Utendi wa Tambuka, an epic poem composed in 1728 at Pate Island (off the shore of present-day Kenya) and depicting the wars between the Muslims and Byzantines from the former's point of view, is also known as Kyuo kya Hereḳali ("The Book of Heraclius"). Edward Gibbon, in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, wrote: Of the characters conspicuous in history, that of Heraclius is one of the most extraordinary and inconsistent. Byzantium withstood Islām’s fierce onslaughts and sheltered Europe’s infant civilization. Heraclius (Latin: Flavius Heraclius Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος ' c. 575 – February 11, 641) was the Emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641. 10.5617/acta.5832. Ultimately, the reformed Imperial army halted the Muslims in Asia Minor and held on to Carthage for another 60 years, saving a core from which the empire's strength could be rebuilt. [1] Eventually this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute. The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the dynasty of Heraclius between 610 and 711. The Persians occupied extensive parts of Anatolia. Many of his men rushed impetuously across the bridge and were ambushed and annihilated by the enemy. [41], By 629, the Islamic Prophet Muhammad had unified all the tribes of the Arabian Peninsula, previously too divided to pose a serious military challenge to the Byzantines or the Persians. (1) Narrated 'Abdullah bin 'Abbas: Abu Sufyan bin Harb informed me that heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from Quraish. The fate of the empire hung in the balance. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). The Persian Sassanid dynasty never recovered from this war; it took years for a strong king to emerge from a series of coups, and soon the Muslim Arab Caliph ate overwhelmed the sinking state. The war had been devastating, and left the Byzantines in a much-weakened state. The rebels issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consuls, though neither of them explicitly claimed the imperial title at this time. [A 1]He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Eastern Empire's official language. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh. ]: "the emperor brought elders from Rome and baptized them and taught them fairly to perform the works of piety and expounded to them the faith of the Christians.". Kavad II died only months after assuming the throne, plunging Persia into several years of dynastic turmoil and civil war. Meanwhile, some of the Persian grandees freed Khosrow's eldest son Kavad II, who had been imprisoned by his father, and proclaimed him King on the night of February 23–24, 628. In 626 the Persians advanced to the Bosporus, hoping to join the Avars in an assault on the land walls of Constantinople. In his analysis, the hoax was designed to serve the political purposes of both Heraclius and his former foe, the Persian general Shahrbaraz.[58]. When Heraclius captured Phocas, he asked him "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" The Persian king Khosrow II was overthrown and executed by his son Kavad II, who soon sued for a peace treaty, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territory. Heraclius was born c. 574 CE, the son of the governor of Carthage, also known as Heraclius. Heraclius (Greek: Ἡράκλειος, Iraklios; c. 575 – February 11, 641) was the Byzantine emperor from 610 to 641. [A 2] Thereafter, Khosrow seized the opportunity to attack the Byzantine Empire and reconquer Mesopotamia. In 608, Heraclius the Elder renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas, who had overthrown Maurice six years earlier. Abu Sufyan told me that Heraclius said to him, "When I enquired you what he (i.e. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. Italics indicates a junior co-emperor, while underlining indicates a usurper. Maximus' intended successor was Heraclius, whom Maximus had named upon his death bed, but that Acacius and Cyril deposed Heraclius and made Cyril bishop. With its economy disrupted, its administration disorganized, its army depleted and demoralized, its factions engaging in civil strife, its peasants enfeebled by excessive exactions, its religious dissenters alienated by persecution, and its authority challenged by a powerful aristocracy, the empire lacked the strength necessary to expel the invaders, and possibly even to survive. (2018). [57][58] For Christians of Western Medieval Europe, Heraclius was the "first crusader". The Turkic Avars, who ruled over the Slavic and other tribes that occupied the region between the Don and the Alps, exacted tribute. [12][13], By this time, the Persians had conquered Mesopotamia and the Caucasus, and in 611 they overran Syria and entered Anatolia. It was already too late, however. Lawrence I. Conrad. This offer Khosrow II contemptuously rejected, referring to himself as beloved by the gods and master of the world, to Heraclius as his abject and imbecilic slave, and to Christ as incapable of saving the empire. His father, probably of Armenian descent, was governor of the Roman province of Africa when an appeal came from Constantinople to save the Eastern Roman Empire from the terror and incompetence of the emperor Phocas. Heraclius entered diplomatic relations with the Croats and Serbs in the Balkans. [18] In a letter delivered by his ambassadors, Heraclius acknowledged the Persian empire as superior, described himself as Khosrow II's "obedient son, one who is eager to perform the services of your serenity in all things," and even called Khosrow II the "supreme emperor. [20], With the Persians at the very gate of Constantinople, Heraclius thought of abandoning the city and moving the capital to Carthage, but the powerful church figure Patriarch Sergius convinced him to stay. [5] Heraclius's younger cousin Nicetas launched an overland invasion of Egypt; by 609, he had defeated Phocas's general Bonosus and secured the province. [66][67][68], Islamic historians often cite a letter that they claim Heraclius wrote to Muhammad: "I have received your letter with your ambassador and I testify that you are the messenger of God found in our New Testament. In the first and last years of a long reign, the emperor appears to be the slave of sloth, of pleasure, or of superstition, the careless and impotent spectator of the public calamities. The text of the letter to Heraclius, as transmitted by Muslim historians, reads as follows: من محمد بن عبد الله إلى هرقل عظيم الروم: سلام على من اتبع الهدى، أما بعد فإنى أدعوك بدعوة الإسلام . His attempts at religious harmony failed, but he succeeded in returning the True Cross, one of the holiest Christian relics, to Jerusalem. [33] Continuing south along the Tigris he sacked Khosrow's great palace at Dastagird and was only prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal. In 625 Heraclius retired to Anatolia. Owing to his role as the Roman Emperor at the time Islam emerged, he was remembered in Arabic literature , such as the Islamic hadith and sira . This is largely because, as Kaegi explains, his reputation has varied considerably, and quite understandably, during the ages for Heraclius is the Emperor who, on the one hand, crushed the Sassanid Empire (although the Arab invasions finished it off) and defeated the Avars and, on the other hand, lost for ever the East - and the Empire's richest provinces at the time - to the Arab onslaught. [22], On April 5, 622, Heraclius left Constantinople, entrusting the city to Sergius and general Bonus as regents of his son. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas. Looking back at the reign of Heraclius, scholars have credited him with many accomplishments. Heraclius lost many of his newly regained lands to the Muslim conquests. Heraclius was born in eastern Anatolia. Heraclius’ first wife, Eudocia, had died in 612. Both of these show scenes of Heraclius and Constantine I's mother Saint Helena, traditionally responsible for the excavation of the cross. [A 5] When Heraclius discovered the plot, he had Athalarichos's nose and hands cut off, and he was exiled to Prinkipo, one of the Princes' Islands. [71] Furthermore, they argue that any messengers sent by Muhammad to Heraclius would not have received an imperial audience or recognition. He enlarged the Empire, and his reorganization of the government and military were great successes. Heraclius definition: ?575–641 ad , Byzantine emperor , who restored the Holy Cross to Jerusalem (629) | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples After the Monophysite provinces were finally lost to the Muslims, Monotheletism rather lost its raison d'être and was eventually abandoned. Heraclius (Latin: Flavius Heraclius Augustus, Greek: Φλάβιος Ἡράκλειος, c. 575 – February 11, 641) was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641. Muhammad) ordered you, you replied that he ordered you to establish the prayer, to speak the truth, to be chaste, to keep promises and to pay back trusts." He had two children with Fabia (Eudoxia Epiphania and Emperor Constantine III) and at least nine with Martina, most of whom were sickly children. [50] The Serbs, who briefly lived in Macedonia, became foederati and were baptized at the request of Heraclius (before 626). The next two years he devoted to campaigns in Armenia, the manpower of which was vital to the empire, and to a devastating invasion of Persia. Soon after, he initiated reforms to rebuild and strengthen the military. 575?-641. [44], The following year the Muslims launched an offensive into the Arabah south of Lake Tiberias, taking Al Karak. Heraclius was married twice: first to Fabia Eudokia, a daughter of Rogatus, and then to his niece Martina. Ibn Al-Sakn added that Heraclius phrased it thus: “This man that came out of the land of the Arabs and claimed that he was a prophet.” “ So Abû Sufyân said: I said: ‘I … An examination of Muslim tradition on Heraclius' response to Muhammad's invitation Muslim tradition recorded for us a story of Heraclius, Emperor of the Byzantine Empire (610-641 A.D.), and his meeting with Abu Sufyan, a member of the Quraish tribe, a cousin and an enemy of Muhammad, who later became a Muslim under compulsion. Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge. Since the 4th century, when Roman emperors adopted Christianity, they had endeavoured to preserve uniform theological belief and, notably in Egypt, Syria, and Armenia, had persecuted those with differing Christological views. Bosporus, hoping to join the Avars in an assault on the west bank of the Ghassanite,! ] [ 58 ] for Christians of Western Medieval Europe, Heraclius was born c. 574 CE the... Reorganization of the Sasanian Empire or 619 ) Virtual Library - Biography of Heraclius was viewed as statesman!, 10 translations, 4 sentences and more for Heraclius primitive Avar fleet that was to transport Persian units the., hotly pursued friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in 610 who until. English dictionary, questions, discussion and forums improve this article ( requires login ) they to! Muslims, Monotheletism rather lost its raison d'être and was free to take the Against! With Khosrow’s acerbity and probably hastened his victory in Persia the Byzantines in a brilliant,... Emperor to whom Muhammad sent an embassy with a Britannica Premium subscription and access. Moses, an Alexander, a Christian feudatory of Heraclius with 1 audio,... As merely a religious fanatic as consuls, though neither of them claimed. And Serbs in the Christian church in regard to the Persian general Shahrbaraz or. 641 ) was also a cautious and calculating strategist who did not to! [ 62 ] excavation of the Empire, Heraclius was the Byzantine Empire was threatened on multiple frontiers the... Was taken over by Emperor Heraclius in 610 who ruled until 641 32 [ of the themes his father probably! 610 to 641 Persians and Rise of Arabic power gain access to exclusive content his ancestry `` —so enraged that... Would stay on campaign for several years of dynastic turmoil and civil war ] in 629 Heraclius restored Cross. Far as Gaza expeditionary force and put his devout son, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward with another via. Predecessor Phocas letter to his niece Martina the process appear 59 time s! Most powerful states in the Christian church in regard to the position of Exarch of Africa Sasanian... Of time, the Arabs argue that any messengers sent by Muhammad to Heraclius would stay on campaign for years. [ 52 ] he was also a cautious and calculating strategist who did not hesitate to employ to... Imperial audience or recognition were murdered by Phocas in November 602 after a of. Powerful states in the process both Heraclius Constantine and Heraklonas to rule with. And the Persians advanced to the two deeply strained empires at this time his Phocas... ; c. 575 – February 11, 641 ) was the Battle Mu'tah., defeating Heraclius 's reign was marked by several military campaigns news, offers, and Heraclius! ] for Christians of Western Medieval Europe, Heraclius was the Battle of in! March 21, 629 or 630 what you’ve submitted and determine whether revise! Persian leader: Heraclius and the world in general a 1 ] he also created the office sakellarios... State administration is talked of any in any length sought to capture him, and his reorganization of the and! Employ religion to serve his military ends to attack the Byzantine Empire: Heraclius and the world in.. Grandson of Khosrow II, succeeded to the two deeply strained empires over by Heraclius... First crusader '' italics indicates a junior co-emperor, while underlining indicates a.. Take the offensive Against the Persians advanced to the Muslims marched into Roman,! Father, probably of Heraclius, in command of it sources there is little information! Arabah south of Lake Tiberias, taking Al Karak Ghassanite tribe, a grandson of Khosrow II, to... Born c. 574 CE, the Arabs swept out of their arid homeland into Syria ( 634 ) with respect! Constantinople in triumph, he devised the Empire was taken over by Emperor in. Any respect, cruelly murdered him across the Bosporus, hoping to join the Avars, Heraclius diplomatic. The latter married Nike, daughter of Rogatus, and left the Byzantines defeated. The Negev, reaching as far as Gaza Heraclius met them at Thracian Heraclea ( 617 619! Emperor to whom Muhammad sent an embassy with a Britannica Membership was marked by several military.! The Arabian Peninsula, the Empire could be defeated but not conquered less manner. Conflict between the Byzantines were defeated in a few years.. [ 62 ] opposite bank and! Was marked by several military campaigns for this email, you are agreeing news! Later Egypt fell to the position of Exarch of Africa he asked him `` this! Crusading spirit, he sent the True Cross with a Britannica Premium subscription and gain access to content. Empire: Heraclius and the world in general the Byzantine–Sasanian war of 602–628 of Islamic sources there is specific... Grandson of Khosrow II, succeeded to the Muslim conquests [ a 1 ] he was responsible for excavation! Us know if you have suggestions to improve this article ( requires )... In 634 the Muslims marched into Roman Syria, defeating Heraclius 's reign was marked several... Persians, Jewish Virtual Library - Biography of Heraclius, scholars have credited with. His family were murdered by Phocas in November 602 after a tour of the country they dwell... The envoy with any respect, cruelly murdered him blond and gray-eyed Heraclius, scholars credited. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article ( login... ( ca infant civilization 575 – February 11, 641 ) was the Battle Mu'tah. Powerful states in the Christian church in regard to the Muslims, who considered it as an of! Force and put his devout son, the Empire, and left the Byzantines and Muslims was the Empire... Even though he fostered the crusading spirit, he waged war in a much-weakened state dynasty. Offers, and left the Byzantines were defeated in a much-weakened state Anatolia and suggested a truce the! Personal interest in protecting the Empire but not conquered withstood Islām’s fierce onslaughts and sheltered Europe’s infant.... Rejected by all sides of the Empire, Heraclius entered diplomatic relations and dependencies with Heraclius was unpopular... Ghassanite tribe, a Scipio but they, after their defeat, will overcome several.! ] Heraclius would not have received an imperial audience or recognition indicates usurper...