Graduate Papers

“ὁ κρατῶν Περσοκράτης ὁ πυρσολάτρης ἐζοφώθη Χοσρόης.”: The Portrayal of Chosroes II in George Pisides’ Herakleias

Vicky Hioureas

As the two greatest powers in the region, Sasanian Persia and Byzantium were often at odds with each other. In 528, after much fighting and loss, a peace was negotiated, but was soon broken on three separate occasions: between Chosroes I and Justinian; Chosroes I and Justin II; and finally, Chosroes II and Herakleios. This last war, enduring nearly 26 years, decimated both empires irreparably. Prior to this, however, a standing alliance was established between Emperor Maurice and Chosroes II, after the former restored the latter to the Sasanian throne. Once Phokas usurped Maurice’s throne and killed him and his family, Chosroes II revived the hostility between the two empires, using the murder of Maurice and the restoration of his fugitive son to the throne as justification for invasion. Chosroes II took advantage of the brewing civil war in Byzantium, and advanced in Syria and Cappadocia, as Herakleios entered Constantinople to take the throne from Phokas.