Page 1006

1006 UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE ANCIENT WORLD.

Notwithstanding his mutilation and disgrace, the exile still dreamed of a return to

power. Nor were his hopes without a shadow

of foundation. In the capital a certain Abismarus headed a revolt against Leontius, who

had been proclaimed after the downfall of

Justinian, and Leontius in his turn was subjected to the same punishment which he had

inflicted on his predecessor. The successful

rebel took to himself the name of Tiberius,

and he was reluctantly accepted by the people.

The sympathies of the citizens were still with

the House of Heraclius, notwithstanding the

crimes which had been committed in its name.

There were some even who could look to

the exile Justinian as a possible relief from

the ills inflicted by the usurper. That dethroned monarch had now escaped from the

khan of Tartary, and was hunting through

the East in the hope of some profitable alliance. He finally came back to Europe, where

he made a league with the Bulgarians, to

whose king, Terbelis, he gave his daughter in

marriage. The confederates then marched on

Constantinople. The city was besieged. Tiberius was overthrown, and Justinian again

took the throne. For seven years he continued in power, where his character manifested

some improvement. In vindictive fury against

his old enemies, however, his passions burned

as fiercely as ever. While returning home

across the Euxine, though the ship at that

moment was tossed in a fearful storm, he had

sworn an oath that not one of his enemies

should escape with his head. He now renewed his declaration. Leontius and Tiberius

were dragged out into public view and put to

death with torture. Their adherents were

hunted down and executed. Every weapon

which malice and revenge could invent were

freely used against those who had contributed

to his banishment. To Stephen, captain of

the guards, appropriately surnamed the savage, was committed the duty of exterminating

those who had participated in the revolution

in 695. His anger was especially directed

against the inhabitants of the Chersonesus,

who had insulted him during his banishment.

But it was not long until these proceedings

bore the legitimate fruit of an insurrection.

The provincials, many of whom were the descendants of exiled families, found a leader in a

certain Bardanes, surnamed Philippicus, who

was proclaimed Emperor. The Imperial guards

turned from Justinian and joined the insurgents. The Emperor soon found himself abandoned of all. In the year 711 his enemies

dosed in upon his palace, and he was struck

down by an assassin. He had lived without

mercy to others, and now died without their

regret. His young son, to whom he had

looked as a successor in the Empire, fled for

refuge to a church, but was pursued and

killed. With his death the dynasty of Heraclius was extinguished, after having occupied

the throne for a century.

After the death of Justinian, the insurgent

Philippicus reigned for two years, but in 713

was assassinated in his chamber. Thereupon

a certain Artemius, under the title of Anastasius II., was elevated to the throne. Though

having few antecedent claims to the Imperial

authority, he began immediately to win by

his virtues that recognition which he could

never hope to attain according to the rules of

legitimacy. But the spirit of insubordination

and rebellion was now rife in the Empire, and

a mutiny in the fleet soon robbed the state of

a wise and prudent ruler. Anastasius finding

himself pressed to the wall by the mutineers,

resigned the scepter to his antagonist, who was

proclaimed as Theodosius III. The latter,

however, had in his temporary ascendancy no

abiding root of strength, and after a brief

reign of a few months duration, he was, in

717, compelled to submit to the superior claims

of Leo, the Isaurian, general of the eastern

army.