Historical Development: the Rise of the Medieval East Roman World
Through the reigns of Constans II (641–668), Constantine IV (668–685) and Justinian II (685–695) Asia Minor was subjected to constant raiding, with substantial tracts of territory devastated on a yearly basis from the early 640s well into the first half of the eighth century. This devastated the population, the economy of the regions affected, especially the border zones, and urban life, which was reduced effectively to fortified garrison towns. A series of sieges and attempts to break Constantinopolitan resistance between 674 and 678 was finally driven back; and a major siege in 717–718 was defeated with great losses on the Arab side. But the situation appeared desperate enough for Constans II to move the imperial court to Sicily in 662.His assassination in 668 brought the experiment to an end, but illustrates the nature of the situation. Justinian II was deposed in 695; a series of short-lived usurpers followed until Justinian II himself recovered his throne in 705. But he was again deposed and killed in 711, and the situation of internal political and military confusion lasted until the seizure of power by the general Leo, who became Leo III (717–741) and, having defeated the Arab besiegers in 717–718, finally re-established some political order.
KeywordsNinth Century Sixth Century Eleventh Century Eighth Century Imperial Court
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