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Justinian II.

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By AMELIANVS   |   
Published: May 21, 2014
Justinian II.nickname Rhino Metus- "the slit-nosed".Although his reign was initially successful his increasingly despotic behavior,new unpopular fiscal policy as well as forced deportations and subsequent resettling of the entire provincial populations caused revolt which overthrew him.Probably from respect that was felt towards Heraclian dynasty to which Justinian belonged and which once saved the Empire from complete destruction his life was spared but knowing what we now know they should had kill him when they had a chance.

Instead former Emperor was "only"mutilated by having his nose cut off(which was considered as preventive move as there was a rule that physically incomplete man can't rule the Empire)and sent into exile.

However after some years spended in exile Justinian managed to escape and with the support of Bulgarian khan Trevel returned to Constantinople and despite having been mutilated he started as a first(and only)Emperor his second rule despite this replacing his original nose with new made of gold.

Unfortunately for the Empre he didnt use his new reign for reconciliation and to make remaining Roman state more prosperous but rather to one big revenge which evidently become his main concern for the rest of his reign while elsewhere Empire suffered other territorial losses and defeats in wars.

He started his second reign of terror by executing his replacment at the throne Emperors Leontios and Tiberius III.Before he let them kill he trampled and jumped on their chained bodies breking them some bones in front of the populacy of Constantinople in the Great hippodrome.Series of numerous executians followed in nobility and army and he even betrayed his benefactor Bulgarian khan.

Justinian II seems to me to be the last Emperor of Caligula style of cruel ancient tyrant and after six years of his second reign he was again deposed and executed ending the line of Emperor Heraclius.
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Comments10
anonymous's avatar
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Romanophile's avatar
I wouldn't compare the two. Caligula ruled for less than 4 years and his impact was negligible. Justinian ruled longer and contributed to the 20 years anarchy that raged across the late 7th/early 8th centuries. Apples vs. Oranges. But nice illustrations!
TheFireCircleYagna's avatar
TheFireCircleYagnaHobbyist Traditional Artist
Ouch, Byzantine mutilation....... ohh Caligula from East Rome?
1000yearseternalmaze's avatar
Even though he betrayed bulgarian people, he suffered as well.:( Is it strange that as bulgarian I feel sorry for him?
menapia's avatar
Brilliant picture, sometimes similar things were done to the Irish Kings in order to invalidate their right to rule under Irish Brehon Law
AMELIANVS's avatar
AMELIANVSStudent Traditional Artist
Well,in Roman environment this practice was adopted from the Sassanid Persia.

menapia's avatar
In ancient Irish history our law said that a King had to be physically complete, so if he was incapable of taking to the battlefield in defense of his people it was deemed that he automatically abdicated.  Our Emperor Nuada "Silverhand" lost his hand in a sword fight and had it replaced with a working prosthetic one made from pure silver but he still had to give up the crown, sometimes kings would get rid of potential competitors by having them blinded/castrated this meant that they could never rule.

Ireland is odd in europe since we were never conquered or had any real relationship with the Roman Empire our Gaelic has almost no Latin based words or influence unlike in other countries, even the Church did'nt bother using Latin until the English invasion.
TedShatner10's avatar
Him getting deposed then rolling back in on Constantinople going batshit insane with the purges sounds like a re-run of Marius' similar behaviour in Rome.
Jfmam's avatar
Wow, that slit-nose doesn't look good on him. It seems rather naive that they thought something like that would prevent him from trying to regain the thrown. I wonder if it wouldn't have been better to have imprisoned him somewhere, rather than leave him to his devices in exile.
FlavivsAetivs's avatar
Another awesome work!
Gabbanoche's avatar
GabbanocheHobbyist Traditional Artist
Those Byzantines seemed to have a fondness for mutilation.
anonymous's avatar
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