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European Kingdoms

Eastern Mediterranean


Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire
Non-Dynastic / Anarchy (AD 695-717)

In AD 395, the Roman empire finally split permanently, creating formal Eastern Roman and Western Roman empires, acknowledging what had existed in practise for many years.

These emperors belong to no dynasty and obtained brief power in a disturbed period when the Islamic empire was sweeping through the Byzantine North African possessions.

Eastern Roman Emperor Basil II in iconography

(Information by Peter Kessler, with additional information from An Introduction to the History of the Turkic Peoples, Peter B Golden (1992), from The Bulgarians: from pagan times to the Ottoman conquest, David Marshall Lang (Westview Press, 1976), and from External Link: History of the Byzantine Empire (Live Science).)

695 - 698


Replaced the Heraclids. Captured & executed.

695 - 697

The Islamic Wali of Ifriqiyya and the Maghreb, Hasan ibn al-Nu'man, captures Carthage and the Eastern Roman administration retreats, possibly to Caralis on Sardinia. This gives the Arabs a firm base from which to launch more sustained attacks on Sicily.

698 - 705

Tiberius III

Captured & executed.

697 - 698

Despite the arrival of an Eastern Roman fleet to retake Carthage, it is permanently lost to the Islamic empire following defeat at the Battle of Carthage. The new Islamic territory eventually evolves into the modern countries of Tunisia and Algeria.

704 - 705

The deposed and banished former emperor, Justinian II Rinotmetus, secures help and support from the powerful Danubian Bulgars to reclaim his throne. He does so in 705, with the Bulgars riding into Constantinople behind their khan, Tervel. Leontius and Tiberius and many of their supporters are executed.

705 - 711

Justinian II Rinotmetus

Restored with Bulgar support. Captured & executed.


Armenia is lost to the Islamic empire. In the same year, one of many Berber or Moorish raids on Sardinia is documented for the first time. The raids are forcing the island's legates to become increasingly self-reliant as it becomes clear that the empire is unable to protect them.

Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian II
This coin which was issued during the restored reign of Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian II is a gold solidus from Constantinople, with a facing bust of Christ (left) holding the gospels and raising a right hand in benediction, and a bust of Justinian holding a cross potent and globus cruciger


Having had a change of heart about the territory which he had ceded to the Bulgars, Justinian Rinotmetus now attempts to reclaim them militarily. Khan Tervel puts him firmly in his place with a Bulgarian victory at the Battle of Anchialus (close to today's Pomorie in south-eastern Bulgaria).


The exarchate of Ravenna is further weakened, this time by the Eastern Roman emperor himself. Justinian II sends an expedition against Ravenna, commanded by the patrician Theodore. The reason is not clear, but it may be related to a rebellion which involved some of the city's inhabitants and which dethroned Justinian in 695. Theodore invites all of Ravenna's leading citizens to attend a banquet, where they are captured as they arrive and thrown onto a ship to be taken back to Constantinople. The city itself is subsequently sacked. Exarch Theophylactus is apparently not involved either in prosecuting or defending against the action, but he is replaced in the following year.


Prior to his accession as Emperor Leo III, Leo the Isaurian is sent on a diplomatic mission to bribe the Alani into severing links with the pro-Islamic kingdom of Abasgia. The mission proves successful. Unfortunately his master is dethroned and executed in the following year by the rebel general, Philippicus Bardanes.

711 - 713

Philippicus Bardanes

Rebelled and captured the throne.

713 - 716

Anastasius II


716 - 717

Theodosius III


Theodosius III is replaced by Leo III, founder of the Isaurian dynasty of emperors.

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