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The Heraclian Dynasty of Byzantium

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Uploaded on May 31, 2009

The song is ΑΠΟΨΕ ΤΑ ΜΕΣΑΝΥΧΤΑ - apopse ta mesanyhta(Tonight at Midnight) from Guardians of Hellenism VOL 4 (Pontos & Cappadocia).

As always for this series on Byzantium, I try to capture the spirit of the era. For the Heraclian Dynasty, which was characterized with danger, victory and loss, I fashioned the video after the Psalms, where Kind David would ask for help and forgiveness.

The Heraclian dynasty began with Heraclius (Ἡράκλειος), who was of Armenian origin, and served as general in Carthage under emperor Maurice. Heraclius's predecessaros weakened the empire and left its treasuries empty, while the Sassanid Persians invaded and conquered most of the the empire, including Jerusalem and Alexandria. The Persians also took the True Cross and brought it back with them.

Heraclius reorganized the empire into military themes, and after some years, launched a counter invasion in Persia, reclaiming all lost territories. Then out of nowhere, the armies of Islam burst ouf ot Arabia, conquering Persian and many Byzantine Provinces. Heraclius was also the fist emperor to style himself as Basileus, or King, after the Ancient Greek tradition, and he also made Greek the official language of Byzantium.

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