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Tiberius III- Apsimar

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Komnenos View Drop Down
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  Quote Komnenos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Tiberius III- Apsimar
    Posted: 30-Jun-2005 at 18:27
Most of you may know that the first King of the independent Greece was actually a German prince, Otto von Wittelsbach, who reigned as Otto I from 1833-1862.
But it might come as a shock to all of you to hear that more than a thousand before that, a German sat on the Byzantine throne,(and that long before the Germans had any designs on world domination).
It was a chap called Apsimar, who reigned as Tiberius III from 698-705 and here is an account of his short, but eventful reign:

In 697 AD, the caliph Abd al-Malik carried out a successful attack on Byzantine Africa that resulted in the capture of Carthage. The emperor Leontius sent a naval fleet under the command of John the Patrician to retake Byzantine Africa. Following a surprise attack on Carthage that allowed John to seize the city, Arab reinforcements soon forced John's troops to retreat to the safety of Crete. Fearing the emperor's anger at their failure, a group of naval officers revolted, murdered John and proclaimed Apsimar, drungary of the Cibyrrhaeots , as the emperor Tiberius III. Tiberius gathered a fleet and sailed to lay siege to Constantinople which was being ravaged by a plague. The city withstood the siege for several months, before the gates were opened for the rebels in 698 by supporters of the Green faction. Tiberius III, had Leontius' nose slit and him imprisoned in the monastery of Psamathion in Constantinople.
Tiberius made no attempt to retake Byzantine Africa and focused instead on the eastern edges of the empire. He appointed his brother, Heraclius, as monostrategos and allowed him to wage numerous campaigns in Asia Minor. While moderately successful initially, the Byzantines soon lost Armenia to the Arabs. Tiberius did make an attempt to strengthen the empire militarily by reorganizing its administration. He repaired the sea walls surrounding Constantinople and repatriated Cypriots who had been sent to the Cyzicus region during Justinian II's reign.
In 703, Tiberius learning of Justinian II's escape from Cherson and attempts to gain support from the Khazars, sent envoys to the Khazars to demand that they turn over Justinian to imperial officials. In August 705, Tiberius fled Constantinople when he was informed that Justinian II was approaching the city with a large army. He was able to elude captivity for several months, but was eventually captured. Justinian II had Tiberius and Leontius paraded through the city before they were beheaded.


The drungarios was a high ranking naval officer and Cibyrrhaeots a theme in Asia Minor which supplied half the ships for the Byzantine fleet, but what a German was doing there is more of a mystery. I couldn't find any reference to his exact origins.
In any case, what kind of a German was he, the time of the great migrations had past and most of the Germanic Kingdoms around the Mediterranean had vanished, apart from the Visigoths who were still hanging on in Spain. From which part of the Germanic world did he come from?
So, if anybody has some more information on this chap, I would be very grateful.

Coins from the reign of Tiberius III

Edited by Komnenos
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Guests View Drop Down
  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Jun-2007 at 23:06
Never knew that fact. Thanks Komnenos.
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