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Byzantine ruler, which one will you prefer?

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by halfhalfharp, Jan 23, 2018.


Byzantine ruler, which one will you prefer?

  1. Justinian I

    26 vote(s)
  2. Theodora (Justinian's wife)

    21 vote(s)
  3. Constantine the great

    12 vote(s)
  4. Irene of Athens

    6 vote(s)
  5. Empress Zoe

    1 vote(s)
  6. others (please specify in your reply)

    4 vote(s)
  7. Alexios Komnenos

    19 vote(s)
  8. Basil II

    16 vote(s)
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    Fair point, but I wasn't invoking its etymological roots, I meant that the word itself is used as the exact definition for Norse raiders and pirates of that era.
  2. fredrikslicer

    fredrikslicer Chieftain

    May 28, 2016
    True I just like to comment on things I happen to know its a habit thats hard to drop

    Ah but the Byzantines didnt call them Vikings but Rus which likely meant something like Rower closer to what the Norse would use it as (Rowers would be seafarers after all) where as the word Viking as Raider was used mainly by anglo-saxons

    Interesting think it would have made a difference if Khorow had accepted?
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2018
  3. TahamiTsunami

    TahamiTsunami Chieftain

    Sep 27, 2017
    Whoa, things are looking pretty interesting in this thread.

    Just to put my own 2 cents in, I voted for Alexios Komnenos since he's a strong choice for a leader from later in the empire's time. I'd also be fine with Basil, Justinian or Theodora. Definitely curious to find out more about Zoe.
    halfhalfharp and Zaarin like this.
  4. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    The ones in Kiev and Russia, yes (hence the name "Russia"). Other Norsemen like the Normans were simply called "Franks" (as in "westerners").
    TahamiTsunami likes this.
  5. fredrikslicer

    fredrikslicer Chieftain

    May 28, 2016
    Chatholic christian westeners were called Franks
    Normans were catholic
    Granted as time went on a greater number of Scandinavians would have been called Franks as conversions to catholisism increased

    And when the Rus/Rhos showed up the Byzantine courts embassy to the Carolingans asked who they were and the response were that they were of the Gens of the Swedes

    according to "The Grand strategy of the Byzantine Empire" (Granted I have no idea about the quality of the source as it isn't my main field)
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  6. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    Obviously, that's definition of "westerner" in Byzantine parlour, the pagans were out of this cultural sphere altogether. I was referring to the Norsemen of the middle and late Byzantine periods when most Norse people had already converted to Christianity.
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  7. Karpius

    Karpius Chieftain

    Aug 12, 2003
    I was unaware the Normans were ever called Franks, despite being granted a fiefdom in Normandy by Charles the Simple of Franconia. Was that simply a term applied by the Eastern Romans to anyone from the west?
  8. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    Yes. The "Φραγκιά" was an all-purpose inclusive term for western Europe, regardless of ethnicity or culture. Later mounted knight mercenaries of the Byzantines were called "the Frankikon" a.k.a. "the Frankish regiment", albeit most of them did in fact come from former Frankish duchies and counties.

    Another interesting association: During Italian occupation of various Greek islands in the late middle ages, there were various conversion attempts from Orthodoxy to Catholicism. The descendants of those converts had been called Franks even up until the 20th century. One example is a famous Greek rebetiko song "Frangosyriani" as in "Frankish" girl from Syros because Syros had a substantial Catholic population.
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  9. Karpius

    Karpius Chieftain

    Aug 12, 2003
    I suppose that makes sense. Much like the Eastern Romans being referred to as Byzantines in the west. I simply had never read that before.
  10. Zaarin

    Zaarin My Dearest Doctor

    May 14, 2016
    Terok Nor
    Same is true in the Middle East. Western Europeans are all "Franks."
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  11. Karpius

    Karpius Chieftain

    Aug 12, 2003
    I am almost ashamed to admit I never knew that. As much reading as I do and yet that detail has somehow escaped me.
    Learn something new everyday!
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  12. fredrikslicer

    fredrikslicer Chieftain

    May 28, 2016
    Fair enough
  13. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    May 7, 2007
    Quite incorrect. Greatness is, in part, determined based on epithets. There's a reason only two Korean leaders in all of Korean history are titled "the Great", there's a reason Alexander is "the Great", and so on. And indeed, there's a reason Justinian is (however nominally) a saint in Orthodox tradition.

    Again, as applied to Justinian, it points out he was the last Latin Byzantine emperor, as later rulers tended to favor Greek.

    Justinian's put down of the Samaritan revolts is 1) not an ethnic cleansing, as there is no evidence he targeted the Samaritans for destruction based upon hating them for their ethnicity, 2) very much in line with similar revolt putdowns by other rulers of that time (Charlemagne is praised yet look at what he did to the Saxon nobility, etc), 3) Nowhere near a genocide (especially by modern standards, where the word has much political weight and debate). Furthermore, the source you cite isn't even in English. When I clicked it, nothing showed up other than a page limit notification.

    As far as the Samaritans are concerned, Justinian look military action against them because they violently killed Christians during their revolt and destroyed churches. Noting Justinian was quite a religiously concerned ruler, and had faced the Nika Riots, it's easy to expect a harsh response to the Samaritan-instigated violence. Per Wikipedia:
    Notably, not all the Samaritans revolting were killed. Many were exiled. Kind of seems contrary to the point of an ethnic cleansing. I will also point out that Heraclius took similar actions in 629 when the Jewish people of his time revolted against him.

    I mentioned he was your favorite since you were keen on mentioning him and constantly kept focusing on how supposedly he was given less credit, yet almost anyone who knows anything about the Code's construction knows Tribonian was involved. Heck, Americans knew, and that's why he's alongside Justinian in the House of Representatives.

    A whole discussion on American history and custom could go here, but as I mentioned, every US president has been either Christian in some form, or Deist. Prayer before legislative sessions is still a thing in American government. American religious politics plays a key role in presidential and state elections, as do religious stances on everything from evolution to free speech. So yes, least secular. European nations in particular are far more secular both in government and in the people to whom the government appeals, even if we have occasionally seen exceptions.

    The idea that any ruler is "overpraised" is hardly something serious historians care about. It's in many respects a contrary opinion just to have a contrary opinion. When people say Charlemagne or Sejong are "overpraised", I roll my eyes at such generalistic conclusions, and at the necessarily subjective (rather than objective) focal point of such a statement. A fluffy naysayer can use such a statement, backed by historical facts of foibles or not, and still take little away from the ruler's reputation among scholars for greatness and importance. I can see we are talking in circles around your point about Justinian being "overpraised" as a result.

    Completely disagree. Almost all the scholarship I've seen does not agree with you that Justinian was "mediocre"--rather, they say he had great virtues and notable faults, or, in more casual historical readership, great virtues with his results fading after his death (which is also true of Charlemagne, Frederick Barbarossa, and many other rulers considered great).

    Good. Glad we cleared that up. This is the main reason I object to them representing the Byzantines in Civ. In principle, I don't mind mercenaries (I am ok with Numidian cavalry or Medjay for Carthage and Egypt respectively), but when said mercenaries would seem too close in form and function gameplay-wise to an existing unit, then there's no need to pursue them, especially when we have the dromon and cataphract as more stereotypically Byzantine unique unit options.

    No depiction at any point in time can be taken at face value then, if we simply want to entertain suspicions just because. Based on the evidence we have rounded up in Wikipedia's surprisingl thorough entry at any rate, Byzantine cataphracts were more lightly armored than their eastern counterparts. In a similar fashion, so too were the cavalry of the Western Roman Empire.

    And my whole point in introducing the fact that later Byzantine cataphracts were different and more lightly armored is to point out how silly it is that you said straight up that Byzantine cataphracts were "identical" to Sassanian cataphracts. They couldn't be. They couldn't even be "identical" to other Byzantine cataphracts. If you want to make a less outlandish claim that Byzantine cataphracts were "very similar" then that's a great deal more acceptable than any claim revolving around something Byzantine being "identical" to something Persian. The word "identical" smacks of ahistoricity. How many things in history were truly "identical" to anything else?

    Yes, we do. Ancient Roman writers didn't always. Hence the following from Wikipedia:
    Bolded the text above which refers to my point--i.e. that cataphracts and clibanarii were likely different.

    The disparity is greatly reduced given that several people mentioned how repetiive it would be to have Scythians, Huns and Mongols all in game with their various horse archers. At a certain point, the in-game representational unit ceases to be all that different in function vis-a-vis the other civs' similar in-game units. The differences in tactics were minor, the differences even in origin were minor (as far as Huns and Mongols are concerned, though some mystery still exists--we know they were Asian ethnically.)

    You are wrong, at least based upon Wikipedia and Ghost Empire, and the sources they cite. If historical sources from Heraclius' time can be trusted at all, he did indeed write such a letter making concessions to Persia. And your doubt is fine (skepticism is healthy), if it were backed up by other sources. Your doubt, as far as I can see, isn't. That the outcome was later different shouldn't be too surprising--Persia wasn't perfect, and had numerous internal schisms that resulted in the assassination of the very ruler Heraclius offered such momentous concessions to. Among other things.

    If it's "actions and outcome that ultimately matter", then Justinian ultimately mattered as well, even if his conquests didn't last. His legal code certainly did, and even influenced Frederick Barbarossa quite a bit as well, I was interested to read earlier today: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_I,_Holy_Roman_Emperor#Frederick_and_the_Justinian_code

    Yes. Byzantium would have become a client state of Persia, with Khosrow appointing a (Persia-friendly) Byzantine emperor. Rome would essentially have lost its heirs to the Persian heel for a time, with their own emperor having instigated and allowed such a transfer of power. I don't doubt that eventually the Byzantines would have been able to throw off Khosrow's successors (heck, similar things have happened time and time again in history). But certainly it would have been a lot harder for Heraclius to mount a successful military challenge to Persia if the key to Byzantium was handed to them.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
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  14. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    Alexander is known as the Usurper in Iranian traditions, not as the Great which is the entire point here. Greatness is largely relative and especially when it comes down to people actually attributing that trait to them. Not to mention the ambiguity in many of those epithets, oftentimes intentional. Take Ivan the Terrible. "Terrible" here is akin to "formidable" in Russian, yet his legacy in western literature is based on his growing paranoia and secret police which does build up the very literal interpretation of "Terrible". If you base your evaluation of leaders based on skewed views on their legacy by biased sources either way, you won't have a very well-rounded idea of who these people were.

    Yes, that doesn't make it any more relevant. Peter or Catherine the Great aren't saints in Russian Orthodoxy, but Alexander Nevsky is. Does that make Alexander Nevsky automatically better than the former or is it in any way indicative of his comparable value? It sure reflects an important sociocultural and religious facet of both his rule and Russian Orthodoxy as a whole, but no more than that.

    I don't dispute that, that doesn't make him any more Roman though. The idea of "Roman-kind" being tied to Latin language exclusively would be foreign to the Romans for most of the imperial period, let alone the late Roman/early Byzantine period.

    That's not what ethnic cleansing means. You are inserting modern political connotations to the act itself which of course don't apply.

    Yes he did ethnically cleanse Samaria: He forcefully removed a very large portion of the indigenous Samaritan population from its ancestral homeland to other parts of the empire and he also slaughtered thousands others, including civilians. This is what ethnic cleansing or genocide if you will means. It doesn't mean that you do it because you "hate" an ethnicity, it just means you deliberately target a certain group of people to achieve a certian goal (in this case stopping the unruly Samaritans from ever revolting again).

    That's true, that doesn't make it any less genocidal by extent. The Romans have had a tradition of destroying entire tribes (or at least trying to) due to the latter's disobedience ever since the early imperial period (or even the republican one if we look at Caesar's campaign in Gaul). This was not an uncommon tactic for sure, but no less cruel or any less of an atrocity.

    Based on what? I would presume that you would follow that with a certain argument to back up how it's "nowhere near" it. Also, many genocides or similar attempts at ethnic cleansing in modern times are controversial due to contemporary politics and nothing more, something we have the privilege to avoid when discussing early medieval history. The Turks deny that there was an Armenian genocide and most countries abide by that (at least officially), does that make the Armenian genocide any less of a reality?

    I'm not sure what you mean, the book is entirely written in English. The stuff around and the language of Google itself aren't the source, the book is.

    And? Does that justify his decision to ethnically cleanse them? There's a difference between causation and justification: The revolt caused Justinian's response, but its justification was extremely flimsy because it was inhumane. This is the exact same context Turks use to talk about the Armenian genocide: The Armenians collaborated with the Russians and attacked several Turkish towns and villages, so that caused the Ottoman government (via Enver Pasha) to react by killing or expelling more than 1.5 million Armenians.

    It's not, I think you have a slightly mistaken view of what ethnic cleansing is. Ethnic cleansing also includes force repatriation in order to remove a certain group of people from a select area of choice. I hate to keep going back to the Armenian genocide on this, but not all Anatolian Armenians were killed during those events either, most of them did in fact flee or were expelled. The areas they used to live in were still ethnically cleansed though because virtually no Armenians inhabit those lands today, thus the Armenian ethnic element was forcefully vanquished.

    I agree, as I've said this was very common with many Roman rulers. I'm not saying that Justinian is a special snowflake in this, I'm just holding him accountable for horrible things that he did and that people are disputing.

    That's not a solid basis to claim that he is somehow me "favourite" though. Also, he is in fact given less credit than what would be appropriate, Tribonian is barely a recognizable name for any lay people into Byzantine history. "Almost anyone" sounds elusive to me, I'm not here to fact-check percentages of people who know him by name or not, but that's irrelevant. Knowing that he was involved and knowing what he did (or supposedly did) in order to credit him properly are different things.

    "Americans" as in actual people of the Law that bothered to make this "hall of fame" of sorts. Are you suggesting that that hall of fame is somehow representative of the American public knowledge or opinion? If that's the case, then I would most definitely not subscribe to that.

    I still uphold the opinion that your claim is rather bold and largely unsubstantiated. For one, because Europe is not homogeneous or a monolith to generalize, but most importantly because there are confirmed European nations ("proper" western ones that is) which still include religion in their constitution, namely Greece and Cyprus from the ones I definitely know for sure. So while the US are far less secular than France, there are definitely many others which are either less secular or disputably on par with them.

    You brought it up, I didn't say anything here. You said that the historians in that link didn't express the things I did about Justinian's contributions to which I replied "why would they mention he is overpraised?", mostly due to the lack of reason to point that out among themselves. I wasn't invoking the idea that historians should mention how historical figures are overpraised or not.

    That sounds like a "all Cretans are liars" paradox to me :^)

    No one denies that this is subjective, if you have thought that this was meant to be a conversation of indisputable truths only and no opinions, then you have fundamentally misunderstood what the point is here. The goal of my "rant" was to illustrate the (factual) dark side of Justinian's rule and how that relates to the (subjective) outlook on him of mine or anyone else who thinks he doesn't deserve his "awesome" reputation.

    In the end, I have nothing to prove to you and you have nothing to prove to me, precisely because we both know very well that none will convince the other. The gist of the conversation is that there is truth in both sentiments: Justinian is important for x, y and z and he did do many bad things for a, b and c and a thorough examination of everything said thus far will give those hints rather clearly. The extent at which each of the two sentiments is true is up for debate in of itself, not the credibility of it existing as debate altogether.

    What I'm essentially saying is that you can't assume the debate itself is null and void because you disagree with the idea behind that. After all, it would be rather ironic to (correctly) state that the conclusion of someone being overrated is subjective and then follow it with the idea that somehow that person's greatness is somehow set in stone.

    Here's the tip-off: Almost all of the scholarship you have seen. I apologize if I come off as somewhat blunt here (reminder that my tone is entirely casual here and this is a friendly debate), but what you have read does not determine reality. We have all read things on either Justinian or anything else. If we go by "from what I've seen" to draw conclusions about a consensus here, we'll end up, well, exactly where we are now; disagreeing even on the reality of what academia thinks.

    Also, I didn't even preface my statement which you quoted on a consensus to begin with, I just said that there are differing opinions based on the interpretation of facts and thus there are scholars who argue Justinian does in fact surmount to a mediocre ruler. Others says he is great and others might even go as far as to say he was actually bad overall. I'm not exactly making a pie chart as I'm saying this and it wouldn't really matter anyway.

    It's not a suspicion, it's a rather well-attested fact. Same goes for artistic depictions of ancient Greek hoplites, they weren't being represented accurately with their full equipment or in poses/positions that would reflect the reality of war better. Byzantine art is neither the first nor the last to take agency in how to depict soldiers, especially when it comes down to minute details such as the ones you are invoking.

    I'm not intending to repeat myself here, so if you want to take a look at what I said before you are more than welcome to do so.

    That's exactly what I said.

    That is a different point from what I got from your initial post about it. In that case yes, that could very well be true (even though the terms are by definition quite loose, so it's elusive to pin down).

    That's true, albeit an entirely different point. It would in fact be very similar in terms of what it does in the game and in terms of game mechanics. Same would go for knights (which everyone has) and cataphracts. Having 3 civs with same-y UUs would in fact make for a less interesting gameplay.

    The idea here is that the changes and differences between them are in fact great enough to distinguish them as fundamentally different. Scythian cavalry didn't even have stirrups and that's a tech of its own in the game. And of course the difference in tactics are in fact quite substantial, but that's not reflected in game, so it's not like differences in tactics would make 2 units more or less distinguishable (except maybe in fighting animations).

    If I had sources to back up mu suspicions, then they wouldn't be suspicions, they would be verified facts. I think you are far too strict on what a suspicion or doubt should be based upon.

    That's ignoring the fact that the internal issues of Persia were in fact tied with Byzantium's politics and Heraclius' actions. I'm not saying they are the reason Khosrow was ultimately overthrown, but the turn of events led to that, not the other way around. Persia had to take some hits in order for the unrest and instability to build up to that point.

    Actually, that's precisely why his rule is ultimately not very good as I see it; his actions mattered by being detrimental or unsubstantial in the long-run (such as his conquests as you mentioned). It also ultimately matters that his actions in regards to the Nika riots, the Samaritan revolts or whatever else were the ones that he took. I haven't exactly argued anything verbal from Justinian, all my criticisms are based on his actions and their outcomes.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
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  15. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    May 7, 2007
    Greatness is relative, but it's clear that those to whom such a title is given have weight and significance. I asked an Iranian friend and former law school colleague about Alexander the Great--he said he learned about him in school, but there was nothing about an "Usurper" title being banded about. If anything, they learned that Alexander was persuaded by Persian culture to adopt Persian custom (which he did). Obviously no ruler should be assessed on their titles alone, and I wasn't advocating that (lol). But I am pointing out the import of the title "the Great". It isn't idly given away to just anybody. And both Peter and Catherine are titled the Great so that's not a great counterexample--if anything, it points out that both sainthood in the Orthodox tradition and "the Great" title are of significance in Russia, even if the two aren't always combined (which, again, might seem to suggest that my pointing out Justinian had both "the Great" as a title and Orthodox sainthood, however nominally, shows Justinian was indeed a great ruler, although, again as discussed, not without flaws that many scholars recognize).

    How does being the last Byzantine emperor to speak Latin (to such an extent anyway), with a desire to restore the old Roman Empire (partially successful in Justinian's one lifetime) somehow not make him any more Roman? He's called the last Roman by some historians because of this (and also because of the Corpus Juris Civilis).

    When you use a modern, politically charged term like "ethnic cleansing", modern rules for its application apply. It is you who are inserting modern political connotations to an ancient revolt putdown by using charged modern terminology.

    Please cite any historian who calls such actions "ethnically cleansing". Many rulers wiped out rebels of particular ethnicities and creeds, and yet such actions were not called ethnic cleansing. (In this regard a number of conquerors apply.) As defined by Wikipedia, "Ethnic cleansing is the systematic forced removal of ethnic or religious groups from a given territory by a more powerful ethnic group, often with the intent of making it ethnically homogeneous. The forces applied may be various forms of forced migration (deportation, population transfer), intimidation, as well as mass murder and genocidal rape."

    There is no indication Justinian put down the Samaritans so as to replace them with Byzantines. There was no "ethnic" component to his attack on them. If anything, his attacks were motivated by a need to put down the rebellion (which was very violent, and I note you don't dispute that the Samaritans were violent in their rebellions against him).

    Genocide is different from ethnic cleansing. As defined, genocide is "intentional action to destroy a people (usually defined as an ethnic, national, racial, or religious group) in whole or in part. The hybrid word "genocide" is a combination of the Greek word génos ("race, people") and the Latin suffix -cide ("act of killing"). The United Nations Genocide Convention, which was established in 1948, defines genocide as "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group". There was no indication Justinian desired the destruction of the Samaritans as an ethnic or religious group--he certainly banned their religion, but he didn't pursue them after the rebellions to wipe them out. He instead allowed them property rights but curtailed their religious practices. (He didn't much like any religion that wasn't Christian, but he didn't hold some sort of special animus against Samaritans as you imply).

    Interesting that you are willing to use modern examples at this point--obviously, most countries other than Turkey see the Armenian genocide as genocide. In contrast, no historian that I've read or heard of calls Justinian's actions against the Samaritan rebels genocide, or ethnic cleansing. Obviously, Justinian put the Samaritan rebels down with force, but he took measures to give Samaritans property rights even after their rebellions, with such property rights removed later, at the behest of Justin II. There was no indication Justinian wanted to wipe out the Samaritans, though he did ban their religion.

    It showed up with "cy" in the link (indicating Cyprus). When I looked at the source on my phone nothing showed up. So I guess to be more specific--it didn't appear to be an English source when I first saw it. If the source said there was ethnic cleansing or genocide I'd be interested. If it said Justinian's actions harmed the Samaritans then that's nothing new. Of course putting down rebellions harms people. Heraclius knew this too. As did most rulers putting down rebellions (including Seondeok of Silla). But what's the alternative? Let the rebels go on destroying churches and killing people?

    Justinian's putdown of the Samaritan revolt was nowhere near on the scale of the Armenian genocide, and it wasn't a genocide. It was a limited action to put down a rebellion and its leader. Nothing extraordinary in his time. Alexios put down rebellions, it seems, even more frequently than Justinian did.

    I firmly disagree with your statement that putting down the rebellion relied on an "extremely flimsy" justification. I think the mass slaughter of Christians and the death of one of his governors was more than enough justification for Justinian to use military action against the rebels.

    The reason why your claim here holds little value is because the people in this same thread who you prefer to Justinian (Heraclius, Basil II, Alexios) were also Roman rulers who also attacked and displaced large numbers of people. That's kind of the nature of war and putting down rebellions. Are we to call these other Byzantine rulers also guilty of genocide and ethnic cleansing?

    American lawyers know and respect Tribonian is all it shows--i.e. it's not somehow a ghastly surprise to realize Justinian didn't create the entire Corpus Juris Civilis all on his own. But he did instigate the monumental task, put the right lawyers to it, and push in a lot of money. Justinian's goal, partly religious, partly political, was to realize a series of legal codes that would be used in practice, both by lawyers and administrators in his empire.

    Tell that to the writers of the Economist and other European news publications. They've been comparing the US to the Europeans at large (with caveats) before, and religion is a fairly common topic. I can't think of many EU member states that are less secular than the US.

    Er, no, you brought it up. This entire discussion exists because you deemed Justinian overrated. The BBC podcasters discussing Justinian's Code implicitly (with phrases like "No, Justinian meant business from the first" and noting that even in Procopius' more hostile source material Justinian comes across as determined) praise Justinian and his accomplishments, while also discussing Tribonian's contributions. Acknowledgement of Tribonian's contributions need not be taken as a detriment against Justinian. It was Justinian's ambition that "imperial majesties should not just be decorated with arms, but armed with laws" after all.

    It's rather hipster to call something or someone with a great reputation "overrated" though I appreciate that you're acknowledging throughout this discussion that other Byzantine rulers weren't perfect either. (And don't worry about your casual/blunt tone, I really don't mind and you'll note I adopt a similar tone--if you see in this forum past discussion on Akhenaten, you'll note I'm even more blunt--though for Akhenaten I hold a special hatred in my heart.) That being said, I agree neither of us will convince the other.

    You deemed Justinian "overrated" and more recently, used the word "mediocre", and nothing I've seen reflects that opinion. If you want to cite sources where they call him "mediocre", please feel free to do so. As I stated, all the historical scholars I've read agree he was indeed great, and accomplished much, but was not without flaws.

    A Greek friend of mine who grew up and studied in Athens noted the history curriculum he encountered there involved more coverage of Justinian and Theodora than the other Byzantine rulers combined. I don't think the reputation that came across to him was that Justinian was "mediocre". Justinian did, after all, rule the Byzantine Empire at its height, and later rulers saw a much smaller Byzantine empire. That alone doesn't explain his significance though, as we've discussed with the Corpus Juris Civilis, Hagia Sophia, and link to earlier Roman history and culture.

    And nothing about artistic depictions in any way detracts from my point that historians generally agree that the cataphract saw many changes in Byzantine history and was distinct in tactics and armor from the Sassanian counterparts. In particular, Procopius noted the differences in ranged attack between Justinian's cataphracts and the Sassanian enemy heavy cavalry, as earlier mentioned. I also don't intend to repeat myself here, but the Wikipedia entry on cataphracts stands rather easily against your initial assertion that the Byzantine cataphract was "identical' to the Sassanian counterpart, let alone identical to other Byzantine cataphracts.

    Visually, they are not that different from Hunnic or Mongolian horse archers (the Scythian horse archers do have distinctive hats, which helps, to a point), and tactically they are no different except in fighting power and range (stats). But anyone at a glance would be forgiven for being confused between the units. We've also seen plenty of melee cavalry replacements already, both in Civ VI and other previous Civ games. My point is that we already have units like that which can be difficult to tell apart from other civs' unique units. Even if the Sassanians were ingame (they aren't), cataphracts for Byzantium would be just fine, and consistent with units similar to each other (horse archers) which are unique units of different civs.

    Heraclius had neither the political clout in Persia nor the spies to instigate internal dissension in the Persian Empire via Byzantium's politics. Things only changed when Heraclius started winning, but you overstate his involvement. Persian commanders being jealous of each other in the initial Persian victory didn't have to do with Heraclius' successes so much as internal dissension. And certainly, I'm sure Heraclius' defeat of Persia helped the internal dissension. But did that alone spark it? Evidence suggests not. Khosrow wanted his general Shahrbaraz executed after the failed siege of Constantinople, for example--you might argue Heraclius' defeating them helped (the fact that the Theodosian walls and inadequacy of enemy siege engines was a key factor in that is something I'll shelve for now). It probably did--Khosrow would have no reason to execute his most skilled general had he succeeded. That being said, much of this had to do with Khosrow being impatient and easily angered enough to order the execution of his own general. Many other leaders (including Justinian) saw even his most skilled generals occasionally defeated, but did not order their execution.

    The Hagia Sophia, Corpus Juris Civilis, and the pacification of Goths and Vandals were hardly bad in the long-run for the Byzantine Empire. As far as his actions putting down rebellions, numerous rulers put down rebellions with force. You can dislike that all you like, but that's nothing detrimental against Justinian that isn't detrimental against almost every other Byzantine emperor. Alexios in particular put down a large number of rebellions. But I don't think that's reason to dispute his success as a ruler. The same goes for Justinian, who attempted to use peaceful means to stop the Nika Riots from coming into existence before he eventually resorted to force (and only then, it seems, at the behest of his beloved Theodora).

    P.S. If I'm not mistaken, you didn't respond to my point on the Varangian Guard, so I guess we can agree to disagree on their suitability for Byzantium for now.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
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  16. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    How so? What makes you think that simply having the title (given by a certain group of people) makes it clear as to how worthy of it they are?

    First of all, there's the obvious problem with the anecdotal evidence on this claim and the general "I know from this guy" line of argument which I invoked in my previous post.

    Secondly, even if that one singular person was in any way representative of the example here, modern Iranian education and especially on the level of learning in schools is not what my initial comment would allude to. The actual Iranian sources and literary tradition dates back thousands of years even before Islam. Alexander was known by several epithets: "Usurper", "Accursed" (due to the fact he desecrated the holiest texts in Zoroastrianism and sacked Persepolis) and even "Roman". Yeap, Sassanian Magi called Alexander a Roman due to his "Romanesque" (for Persians at least) culture and the association of that great enemy of ancient Iran with the then more contemporary Sassanian enemy; the Romans.

    And thirdly, Alexander wasn't "persuaded" to adopt Persian customs, he simply assumed the title of Shahanshah and married an Iranian woman in order to create a Greco-Persian cultural fusion that would help unite the 2 cultural worlds and mend the empire upon a solid basis, kind of how Ptolemy and his descendants assumed the title of Pharaoh. That being said, Seleucid rulers were still styled themselves as "Basileus", so the title of "Shahanshah" was mostly ceremonial.

    I didn't say that you did, I merely pointed out that it's irrelevant altogether and isn't even applicable as a justification for certain people's historical legacy.

    Again, never said that it is idly given away to anybody. What I said is that it's given very subjectively based on sociocultural biases of the people groups which come up with said epithets. Alexander is "the Great" to western tradition and to some others he is often unknown or even evil.

    You are mixing up 2 completely different parts of the conversation. You said that being an Orthodox saint is somehow a clue to a certain ruler's comparative greatness, to which I promptly provided counterexamples compared with Alexander Nevsky explicitly, not Justinian. What my argument says has nothing to do with what you suggest, it just showcases how there are potentially greater rulers within Russian tradition that were not canonized as saints, even though some other great Russian rulers were, thus making the idea of sainthood as (one of) the arbiter for greatness ineligible.

    How does it? How is any of what you have listed here an arbiter of what makes someone Roman? Speaking Latin and having territorial ambitions is not a free ticket to being more Roman than others, that is a complete non sequitur. Frankly, it's kind of condescending to suggest that Byzantine rulers (or citizens) after Justinian are by extension less Roman than him. What it means to be Roman is a sociocultural, religious and political identity tied to thousands of years of history, not some superficialities such as language and state militarism.

    You have said that again and again and I have responded to that again and again: Many people are called "the last Roman" by some historians some of them not even emperors or rulers of any kind[\i]. It barely has any historical founding or practical meaning. It's a purely sentimental title that just adds prestige.

    Now that's just silly. How is "ethnic cleansing" politically charged in any way? The fact it is a modern term is completely irrelevant. "Nostalgia" is also a very modern term coined by modern physicians and psychologists, that doesn't mean you can't use it to describe feelings akin to it that pertained in ancient or medieval times. Frankly, your argument here is very perplexing as to what it you are supposed to claim.

    And by the way, what other term would you use then if not "ethnic cleansing"? You can't bash one definition because of your assumed associations and then come up with no alternative, when there's clearly something very similar to ethnic cleansing going on.

    The book I linked to you clearly alludes to that, as does "A history of Byzantine state and society". In the first one I can't say with certainty that the term itself is explicitly used since I have not read it in its entirety, but in the Greek translation of the latter there is a very explicit mention of "εθνοκάθαρση" (literally "ethnic cleansing") in regards to general Byzantine policies on Jews and Samaritans and with which the Samaritan revolts are brought up.

    Nice cheeky "rebels" being inserted there, but let's not stride from the point here, rebels were not the sole target of those kind of policies. The overwhelming majority of affected people were civilians that were either minimally or not involved at all with the revolts.

    Also, they are in fact called ethnic cleansings in various cases, depending on the political context. I don't understand your touchiness with the term. Would you feel better knowing that what Justinian did somewhat qualifies as ethnic cleansing by modern standards but we just didn't call it that? Is it the semantics part of the term that is your issue? If yes, then again, I encourage you to suggest an alternative.

    "No ethnic component"? What are the Samaritans then? Did he or did he not deliberately target Samaritans for forced repatriations and mass killings? If we agree that he did, then how is that not linked to ethnicity?

    Also, "replace them with Byzantines" doesn't make much sense. Firstly because Samaria was in fact mixed and had Orthodox Christians of Greek and Levantine origin already in it and secondly (and most improtantly) because "Byzantine" is not ethnic or national identification. Samaritans were also "Byzantines" or "Romans" because they were citizens of the Roman/Byzantine empire. That's like saying "replacing African Americans with Americans". African Americans are one racial/cultural group in the modern US, but they are just as American as any other because American is a cross-cultural universal title earned by citizenship.

    It depends on how someone sugarcoats each of the 2. Ethnic cleansing is usually a more "relaxed" term due to involving forced repatriation and exile more often than mass murder, whereas genocide is mostly associated with the latter. The idea here is that either is meant with clear intentions of eradicating a certain group of people and not necessarily tied with "hatred" for those groups, but oftentimes with other ulterior motives and goals.

    I don't imply he had a special animus against Samaritans, that's a strawman fallacy over there. I merely pointed how he clearly tried to cleanse (does dropping the "ethnic" make it seem a bit better now?) Samaria from its natives due to their unruly nature. He didn't just ban their religion, he slaughtered and expelled thousands of them, permanently doing damage to the demographics in the area which were perpetuated by other Islamic empires in the centuries following that. How are the abundant heaps of evidence for Justinian's atrocities not an indication enough to showcase he tried to eradicate or at the very least immensely hamper the Samaritan ethnoreligious element in the region?

    Officially no, they don't and that's not even debatable. There's literally a list of countries which openly recognize the Armenian genocide and it's not the majority. The people and academia yeah, quite possibly, but politically most of the world simply does not recognize that an Armenian genocide ever happened, including the US.

    Well, if you have read it, it mentions how various contemporary and other medieval sources said of how "the most fertile place on earth" as they called it was left virtually devoid of its people, so there's a very clear allusion to that. Again, I haven't read all of it myself due to being in limited Google books format, hence I can't say whether the terms "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" appear explicitly, albeit it wouldn't make much of a difference in this context anyway as it would devolve into a semantics argument rather rapidly.

    Why yes, that's the implication here. It's not that many rulers wiped out entire tribes and groups of people after the rebellions, it's the fact that rebels should have it their way instead of that. There's clearly no middle ground to be reached; it's either letting rebels go ham or serve their people with complete annihilation.

    How can you even claim that though? I mean, in terms of raw numbers definitely, more people lived in Anatolia in the 1910s and 1920s than in the Levant of the 6th century hence the massacre was larger, but scale of devastation is also a matter of ratios. If there were 200K Samaritans and he killed 180K of them (just random numbers for the sake of the argument here), he did in fact kill less people than Ottomans did with Armenians, but by extension he killed off a much larger percentage of the Samaritan population, thus doing the group much more harm.

    And of course you ultimately can't claim that because there are no definite numbers to cite on it, it's either speculative or educated guesswork. We rely on sources of the events, we don't have censi or statistics to compare.

    False equivalency fallacy: Alexios didn't exactly try to eradicate entire tribes of people during rebellions, primarily because rebellions were among the core Anatolians and Greeks themselves.

    And again, nobody says Justinian is a special case here, I have already said it, but you have apparently missed it. Even if Alexios was just as bad or even worse, that does not excuse Justinian, nor does it nullify the extent of his atrocities. This is not a "who's worst" contest. You can't just absolve Justinian of reasonable blame because others did it as well. If anything, anyone who ever did something similar deserves the same criticism.

    You are twisting my argument completely here. The revolt was a flimsy justification for massacring Samaritan civilians and expelling most of the rest, not for putting down the revolt in of itself. I think my initial post was rather clear on that and it showcases the very obvious dissonance between just stopping a rebellion and going on a frenzy against innocents to make an example out of them.

    Not really. Firstly, Basil and Alexios didn't respond to any rebellion by expelling the natives and slaughtering thousands of civilians of a certain group, therefore your claim is completely false. In fact, you have brought up a similar argument about Basil and the Bulgarians before and I have already told you how that's not true in the slightest. If you have evidence for these that historians have ostensibly missed during their careers, go ahead.

    Secondly, once again twisting my argument. I'm not saying that Justinian doesn't deserve to be the Byzantine ruler in the game just because of his atrocities against the Samaritans, it's just one facet of what makes him less than awesome as many people see him. You are turning a multi-layered line of thought of mine into a one-dimensional, singular example that doesn't even represent the gist of what I said. If you honestly think that being cruel and vindictive is the only thing holding Justinian back and therefore should hold everyone else back by extent, then you are misunderstanding my posts.

    And thirdly, even if any of what you said was remotely true about my convictions and my arguments, how does that make my point moot? Even if I was a hypocrite and wanted Justinian out just because of his ethnic cleansing while ignoring the ones others did, how does that make what Justinian did any less abominable? It's not a matter of me just being wrong, it's the direction in which the wrongness is oriented. Yes, I would have been a hypocrite in that scenario, hence that means both Justinian and any other similar one would deserve that same criticism. It wouldn't absolve Justinian of blame and give him a free pass.

    I would gladly do so if their claims are akin to the ones you previously made. It really is as simple as just merely adhering to the obvious reality by just observing each European state and how it functions. You want to find less secular countries than the US? You will, no doubt about that.

    And again, you are twisting my argument into something different. Sidenote: Please try to avoid that. I have no problem responding to you even when we disagree, but please try to represent what I say with the needed accuracy.

    What I said is that I didn't bring up the reason why historians would need to point out he is overrated. I called him overrated and that's my verdict, I never said that this should be a matter of discourse in academia or that any historian should explicitly abide by it. You posted something saying "they aren't saying what you say about his contributions" and I simply said that it's not needed, they need not iterate things about how he is overpraised when they are discussing him in academic matters. This is pretty much what was said in my initial post about it, it's there to see and I strongly encourage you to re-read it because there's obviously a growing dissonance in what you think I said and what I have actually said.

    I never said that it did. Tribonian's recognition is not tied to Justinian's, they're just part of the same discourse that's often skewed in Justinian's favour.

    It's not "hipster", it's just called having a not-so-popular opinion. There are plenty of very good reasons to think that a lot of things are overrated, you don't have to subscribe to some postmodern narcissistic, pseudo-cultural movement. It removes a lot of nuance from the discussion because you are indirectly implying that anyone who doesn't abide by the "usual standards" of evaluating historical figures is somehow part of a lowly movement and not doing so as a result of a thorough examination of facts. That's not saying you personally believe that, but it's the impression that viewing someone as "hipster" (even in the meme sense) instills on people.

    Overrated and mediocre are not mutually exclusive. You can be overrated as mediocre if people call you great, which is the case here if you ask me.

    I have stated some of my own sources, plus my own brief evaluation of it all. I'm not literally saying people use the word "mediocre", that would be unprofessional and silly in academic context. It's an allusion, an implied tone in how he is portrayed and how each of his actions is being emphasized.

    That's a very shady example right there. Again because it's based on anecdotal evidence and on the "I was told by one guy that..." type of argument, but mostly because this example doesn't specify what the curriculum focused on. If I go by the same logic of personal knowledge, then I know for a fact from my uni that history courses on the Byzantine empire are divided and you get to choose your courses from a point onward. What some student learns and to what extent really depends on their choices and the university's course schedules. For example, there's a Byzantine literature course exclusively about the Alexiad.

    The initial claim is simply very ambiguous.

    That's his verdict. I can't know what his uni (Kapodistrian university I assume) courses have covered and whether they were fully impartial, but assuming they were wholesome, the verdict each student has about certain figures is largely personal. If he likes Justinian, full power to him. In the meanwhile, there' no real reason why his opinion earns more legitimacy than anyone else's.

    Territorial extent =/= political power. That is in fact mentioned in my very first post in this thread.

    If what you imply was the case, then rulers such as Cyrus are partially yet permanently "handicapped" in discussions of comparative greatness.

    Funny story, they shouldn't necessarily. Not all Scythian tribes wore the pointy hats so the design choice was clearly aiming at something more immediately recognizable from a compendium of possible choices.

    Who said that the Varangian Guard would have to replace a melee unit to be added? Redcoats, Garde Imperiale, Winged Hussars, Malon Raider, Varu etc don't replace any unit, they are extra units unlocked at some techs or civics.

    That's not the point. It's not whether they are recognizable visually in the game, it's about whether they are fundamentally the same thing in what they did and functioned. It's not like Sassanians had something completely different that happened to look like a cataphract, they had cataphracts as well which begs the question around their uniqueness as anyone's UU (aside from the Parthians, they used it way earlier).

    Why would Heraclius need to have a personal involvement in Persian politics in order for Byzantium's politics to be influential in Persia? That doesn't compute.

    The line of thought is rather simple: Byzantine and Persian politics were deeply intertwined due to their rivalry and especially due to the former Byzantine emperor Maurice being Khosrow's patron that helped him ascend to the throne. In fact, Khosrow's entire justification for the war was Maurice's deposition and execution by Phokas. Thus Byzantine politics deeply affected Persian politics leading to many changes and unraveling events.

    I don't, I'm explicitly very conservative in mentioning Heraclius' role in Persia's political meltdown. I definitely give him praise where its due; military achievements, perseverance, courage etc. I never said that Heraclius is somehow the absolutely biggest factor behind Persia's downfall.

    Certainly not alone, but it was definitely one of the main factors, yes.

    That's just cherry-picking though, there's definitely a lot more to his actions that had a much more impactful nature in the long-run pertaining to the empire's well-being.

    I would also dispute the "pacification" part as I've said that Vandals and Italic Goths weren't a threat to the empire at that point. Even if they were, "pacification" doesn't necessarily mean to completely dissolve their realms and absorb them, he could have just as well wasted half the resources and manpower and just force those states into submission by becoming vassals. That would be neither the first nor the last time a Roman emperor did that with pesky border kingdoms.

    I repeat it once more: I don't "dislike" Justinian putting down a rebellion with force, it's his action of massacring innocent civilians in the thousands and expelling most of the natives from their homeland that I heavily criticize. You may dispute what I say along semantics over my use of the term "ethnic cleansing" (as if choice of words changes the act itself), but that doesn't automatically transform the argument into an indisputable run-of-the-mill rebel suppression with few atrocities and hence I have a problem with that. It's like you have completely circumvented my quarrel with this.

    As for the Nika riots, you got it slightly wrong. Justinian didn't initially want a peaceful resolve, he wanted to flee the City altogether. Wanting to flee from danger and abandon the situation isn't a peaceful resolve nor does it show any intention of that. Theodora simply made sure Justinian stayed and faced the problem decisively like the emperor should. His actions later definitely had Theodora's input, that I don't dispute, but his resolve wasn't the sole solution, it was merely the easy, obvious one that any other emperor would have gone by.

    There's no point trying to point out their significance if you have a fundamental problem with foreign mercenary regiments being hailed as unique to a certain civilization. It's a foundations issue, not a details issue and thus it's impossible for me to construct any argument that isn't simply dismantled by "but they were foreign mercenaries".
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  17. Dearmad

    Dearmad Dead weight

    Aug 18, 2001
    At OP: Not Justinian for God's sake... Heraclius would be nice though as that would acknowledge an interesting time for the Byzies... and the end of the Persian Empire which freed the Muslims to rise in some ways.
  18. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    May 7, 2007
    Anecdotal evidence is helpful to contradict opinions from others of the same region--my assumption is you are based in Cyprus, so naturally I asked another Greek person for his opinion. Titles like "the Great" as applied to Alexander are far more well known than any negative title given him by a select minority. The Iranians don't much (generally speaking) like Genghis Khan either, but not many others in the world care. Alexander was persuaded to adopt Persian customs by his being there. He didn't have to adopt Persian customs, but certainly the opulence may have helped. Greco-Persian cultural fusion necessarily invokes Persian customs.

    Titles are not irrelevant altogether, either to historians or anyone else. "The Great" isn't thrown around idly, whether in Korean history or any other (see, e.g. "King" Tamar of Georgia).

    If all titles are relative, then anyone's preference for a leader based on accomplishment is the result of bias. Which applies to everything and gets us nowhere. Of course leaders are seen as evil by some others. Again, "the Great" doesn't mean Alexander was a saint (though Justinian is, at least nominally, in the Orthodox tradition, a saint, as you've acknowledged). But to have both "the Great" and nominal sainthood is a sign that at least to a not insignificant group of scholars and Greeks, Justinian was one of the great Byzantine rulers.

    And I pointed out how Justinian had both the Great and a nominal sainthood. I never said being excluded from either title automatically means you are disliked. Catherine being titled "the Great" but not a saint in the Orthodox tradition doesn't make her less great, given that she already has the title "the Great".

    Latin language is an important part of being Roman. Justinian used Latin officially and unofficially more than Basil II or Alexios for sure (and in fact, their preference for Greek is one of the reasons people might want them over Justinian, as cited by others in this thread). Having Roman territorial ambitions in an attempt to restore Roman glory is clearly a Roman thing. Those are all clear denotations which mark Justinian as more Roman. If you have an issue with any insinuation that later Byzantine rulers were less Roman than him, take it up with scholars. Being called "Roman" is not some free ticket to greatness either. I'm merely pointing out reasons why some historians called Justinian the last Roman. It's also clear that as the Byzantine Empire entered its later stages, it was progressively less and less Roman, and more and more Greek--culturally and linguistically in the very least. "State militarism" isn't superficial. Heraclius, Basil II and Alexios are all praised for their "state militarism", so unless you want to call their achievements superficial (which you haven't so far), then your statement about "state militarism" being superficial seems underdeveloped.

    Modern terminology, such as the use of "the Other" and "Orientalism" are by their inherent nature modern, even if the terms may describe traditions or perceptions that are older. When you use a modern term to describe an ancient event, you will necessarily invite criticism by historians (albeit, we are all "modern" in the sense that we are discussing this now, and not in the 6th century AD). Charged political terms (including, for example, "gay", "genocide", etc) necessarily bring with them extra baggage that doesn't cohere with ancient times.

    I have repeatedly referred to Justinian's actions against the Samaritan rebels as a "putdown" of a rebellion. I disagree it is ethnic cleansing. By your vague definition of ethnic cleansing or genocide (whichever you use in the moment), any military action that displaces large numbers of people, results in large casualties and comes with some religious suppression is somehow "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide". But war is war, and putting down a rebellion is putting down a rebellion. It's different, of course, when one looks at genocide in more modern terms, where concerted campaigns to wipe out an ethnicity due to tribalism (Hutus/Tutsis) or racist ideologies (Holocaust) do not include limited military campaigns to put down armed rebellions that killed many and resulted in the desecration of churches your Byzantine emperor cares about.

    Alluding is different to stating. No English source I've ever seen calls Justinian's putdown of revolts, either with the Samaritans, the Nika Riots, or other, "ethnic cleansing". The fact that your translation resulted in such a term necessarily invites suspicion--much is lost in translation.

    Not cheeky at all. I've referred to the Samaritan rebels as rebels, which they were, as pointed out in Wikipedia and by Procopious. Civilians that rebel are still rebels, especially if they kill people. You do realize civilians can kill as well right? The Samaritan rebels instigated violence and were put down. The others were allowed to remain and given property rights by Justinian, though their religious rights were suppressed.

    Does Justinian's putdown of the Nika Rioters qualify as an "ethnic cleansing" of Greeks, or any other Byzantine citizens? Again, the fact that the rebels were Samaritan or Jewish doesn't mean it was an ethnic cleansing. It was a putdown of a rebellion, quite simply, and nowhere near as out of scale or concerted a campaign to wipe out a race as you imply. Justinian didn't like members of non-Christian religions, that much is clear, and it was not especially harsh on some religious groups over others for the sake of their religion. In the case of the Samaritans, the Samaritan rebels having slaughtered Christians, destroyed churches and killed his governor (in his own home) clearly are sufficient justification for military action.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (either the more recent ones, or any number of ancients ones) also had "ulterior motives and goals". Wars often do. But is anyone seriously claiming the War in Iraq was genocide? No.

    Justinian never sought their complete annihilation, lol. Why grant the Samaritans property rights afterward elsewise?

    I'm glad you agree Alexios is no exception, because that dulls any attacks made on the same grounds you have against Justinian. If you dislike Justinian more than Alexios, and it's not because of any number of atrocities (whether alleged ethnic cleansing [based on flimsy vagaries and a fluffy definition that veered towards the "genocide" term] on the one hand, or the blinding of 15,000 captured prisoners on the other), then clearly your real reasons for disliking Justinian more lie elsewhere, and all this talk of ethnic cleansing and genocide was just a red herring. I never said Justinian should be given a "free pass". As I have repeatedly said in this thread, most historians know of and point out Justinian's flaws as well as his virtues, which is why I do not agree he is "overrated". Even the most casual historian (Extra History's series on Justinian comes to mind) knows he has flaws and appreciates him anyway.

    You've also misrepresented what I've said a number of times in this thread, whether directly or by implication. As I see it, given that we are necessarily generalizing in our discussion, and interpreting what the other person is saying (a necessary part of human communication), there is never a time where you or I will know or "exactly" represent what the other is saying. That's the purpose of quotes.

    You never said Justinian being overrated should be a matter of discourse in academia, I agree. But you cited historical arguments against people who thought him a good ruler (both as to my posts and to others in this thread), so you should not be too surprised when I raise historical points in my rebuttal.

    Many remember the ruler, few the peasants? True enough. But Tribonian was recognized. Maybe not as much as you'd like, but as Justinian was the ruler of the time he's not hard to see why. Similarly, I would argue Belisarius and Narses get too much recognition compared to the other generals, but that's necessarily the problem with relying on sources (like Procopius) who are primarily focusing on some people (Justinian) over others. Justinian was the bigger figure in his time. Similarly, numerous political leaders in our day get more recognition and credence than any number of innovative scientists. Maybe this is problematic. But it's also just how human society seems to function.

    "Hipster" is my term for "not-so-popular" in this regard (and I don't always use the word negatively; I affectionately call some of my American friends "hipster", so it depends on context). As I said, the main reason I object to your calling Justinian "overrated" is that it's necessarily fluffy.

    Overrated means a different thing from mediocre. Someone can be overrated but still great, but mediocre is always mediocre. And I never said the terms were mutually exclusive, however based on context I think the thrust behind the terminology you used varied. You became more negative towards Justinian, I would argue, when you used the word "mediocre" to describe his rulership. The reason I point it out is because I object more to "mediocre" than "overrated", even though "mediocre" is at least a bit less vague a term.

    As discussed above, I rely on my international coworkers for opinions about all manner of things. In a separate thread I pointed out how those suspecting Kangxi of being less popular in China by virtue of being a Manchu was simply wrong, based on anecdotal evidence from my Chinese coworkers. The vast majority of the evidence I cite is not purely anecdotal, but I take your point that there's no way on this thread that I can somehow evidence it without forgoing anonymity (either of myself or my coworkers, though you probably know by now I work as a lawyer). My friend was speaking of his education in high school and uni without clearly dividing the two, so I would have to revisit that point when I next see him.

    My main problem with the Varangian Guard, as I've stated before, is their duplication of an already existing Norwegian unique unit. I could care less whether they replace a fishing boat or a horseman, frankly, as I do not see them as good Byzantine representatives in Civ (maybe in a different strategy game where each civ gets uniquely named units of each class, ala Age of Mythology, which differentiates between Norse throwing axeman and Egyptian slingers, between Greek hypaspists and Norse huscarls, there would be a suitable place for the Varangian Guard). But I don't see them fitting into Civ all that well.

    Your point, as represented in the context of Persian internal dissent helping Heraclius later become victorious militarily, was different. I mentioned the internal dissent helping Heraclius in the context of Khosrow's death, the resulting fight over the throne, etc--all distractions to Persians which certainly had an effect on their (at times, but not always) unorganized resistance to Heraclius' campaign in Persia.

    Goths and Vandals were known for their military attacks on neighbors. I don't think Justinian was somehow unaware of that aspect of their respective societies.

    Incorrect. He made a personal appeal to the Rioters in the Hippodrome, and his discussion about fleeing came later after the riots intensified and bribery had limited use.

    Again, I don't have issues with Numidian cavalry or Medjay for Carthage and Egypt respectively, despite their (at times) mercenary nature. But the Varangian Guard screams Viking a bit too loudly to be one of Byzantium's unique units (if indeed they get two this time around).[/QUOTE]
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  19. Basileus Rhomaion

    Basileus Rhomaion Chieftain

    Aug 14, 2017
    I'm not saying that anecdotal evidence is the problem, it's the logic behind the "I know from this and that" arguments which are largely based on each person's own findings, regardless of how contradictory they might be with another person. When there's no objective arbiter, it's difficult to compromise any of the sides so that there is a consensus.

    My point isn't centered around numbers, it's the very existence of dissenting voices. When entire groups of people attribute different epithets to certain people, then it's obvious that there is more nuance to any claim as per said epithets and gives light to its subjectivity.

    I didn't say he had to do it, but he did it willingly against his own generals' wishes. It's not the Persian customs part of the statement that I tried to elaborate on, but the idea he was somehow being told to do it.

    Being a nigh-inconsequential metric of comparative greatness and being idly given away are not the same. I agree that the epithets hold significance, but significance about what they say about popular views about said people, not for drawing conclusions about the latter. It's a matter of not letting popular hype cloud one's judgement.

    That's a non sequitur. Titles are relative, that doesn't mean there aren't objective standards by which one can judge leaders in order to evaluate them. You make it sound as if only titles are capable of determining one's worth within a historical context.

    For example, we can all agree that making your country richer is a good thing and an advantage one could have over the other. There's no bias in acknowledging one's financial prudence or capable state logistics. One can subjectively evaluate the impact of such a characteristic, but the characteristic itself exists and can't be turned into a negative one by extension. In the more specific case of Alexander, he undoubtedly did many horrible things, especially in regards to some of his generals and his sacking of Persepolis. But there's also the objectively good part of his rule which is his military prowess.

    Scholars and common people have nothing to do with canonization of saints though, the church does. Coincidentally (?), the leader of the Christian church was the Roman emperor himself. He had supreme authority over any bishop/patriarch and is technically the head of the Christian church (the unified one and later Orthodox).

    Also, greatness isn't really akin to playing bingo with finding titles usually given to acclaimed rulers. Just because he has both "the great" and is a saint that doesn't make his case stronger against others with either one or both of those (or even none). It sure helps carrying the conversation to that, as it's obvious here, and thus talking about it more thoroughly, but ultimately the verdict is drawn much more complexly.

    By the way, another example of questionable relevance of canonization as saints is the case of Olga of Kiev. You can look up what she did to draw your conclusions, but suffice it to say it involves burning people alive; twice.

    This doesn't have to do with what I said. I never claimed that you said that having neither means said ruler is disliked, not sure how you concluded that.

    I repeat: You brought up sainthood as a relevant factor. I brought up examples that show how this factor is not really important and that great rulers don't necessarily have them. Thus it's an arbitrary point of comparison that is unreliable to extract conclusive ideas on who might be great/greater. The "the great" part of their title simply does not enter into this part of the conversation, it's utterly irrelevant for the point I'm trying to get across.

    Not at all. People of all languages and cultures were officially Roman citizens for centuries before and after Justinian, this has nothing to do with Latin.

    "Clearly"? Mind explaining that a little bit? Because "restoring Roman glory" certainly doesn't seem like what the vast majority of Romans ever did, often by virtue of having no power to do so. And what is the implication here? That no other Roman emperor after Justinian was ambitious? That would certainly be a mistake to claim. It's just that ambitions evolved accordingly as times changed.

    Scholars most definitely don't share this view here. Actual historians don't bother quantifying "Roman-ness", let alone by poking the Byzantine emperors for their language. The idea of considering the Byzantines less Roman is so utterly absurd from a historical standpoint, that it doesn't even make sense when you really examine it. There is direct continuity from the ancient Roman empire to the stand-alone eastern portion that survived. By claiming that somehow "Roman-ness" diminished, you are assuming that a) "Roman-ness" is somehow quantifiable and more so able to be lost by just going on with the flow of history and b) that we have a fixated real definition of "Roman-ness" to begin with which no one does because it's purposefully broad and has evolved throughout history.

    No, that is completely false. Being Greek and being Roman aren't mutually exclusive traits, that makes absolutely zero sense. The eastern portion of the empire was predominantly Greek-speaking (as per its lingua franca) ever since Hellenistic times, the dominance of the Greek language there was nothing new. Do you honestly believe the eastern Roman empire was identical to the western portion until it got cut off?

    That's not what I said at all, you are twisting my argument again. What I said is that judging one's "Roman-ness" based on language and state militarism is superficial. Those are in fact superficial arbiters for determining one's identity, either cultural or ethnic, I didn't imply that those are superficial factors in a vacuum. You took what I said and put it in a completely different context.

    Really? If anything, I'm "inviting" criticism from people who just happen to disagree with me such as you. I don't see how what you say somehow represents historians' possible qualms with my statements, let alone refutations in of themselves.

    "Gay" isn't politically charged at all. Are you implying we shouldn't call homosexual historical figures "gay"? That's just arguing semantics for the sake of it really, no one can get confused as to what "gay" would infer historically. It's pretty clear that sometimes when someone uses such terms, they are used for their actual meanings, not with the connotations behind them. To try and go around them as if they are a "no-go-zone" makes little sense to me.

    You can disagree with my definition if you like (even though that wouldn't make much sense, we have pretty much stated the same things about it), but calling it "vague" is just a downright fallacy. What I said about it and what I linked to it with the Samaritan revolts is very clear and specific: Justinian expelled and slaughtered thousands of Samaritan civilians; these are means to ethnically cleansing a certain area since it intends at largely removing the main element of said group from it. I honestly have no idea what could be interpreted as "vague" in anything I said.

    You are underplaying the intentional element in the persecution and mass atrocities part of the putdown. I'd even go as far as to say you have trivialized them here, given that you seem to believe that such intentional slaughter and forced repatriations are somehow "the reality of rebellions". that Justinian couldn't avoid.

    Except that not all wars or rebellions necessarily have the person instigating the atrocities deliberately persecute the people in question. It's not like Samaritan civilians were refugees of a war or were struck with misfortune, Justinian's deliberate actions targeted them as retaliation and for setting an example for future dissenters.

    And as I've said, even in the modern sense genocide doesn't always have connotations which you imply here. Do you honestly think the Turks had a pathological hatred for Armenians? Did they have tribal feuds? Genocide isn't defined by rigid contexts of when you are "allowed" to use the term, it's a proper English word with a singular definition and thus can be used whenever that definition is met.

    That's because the Nika riots putdown wasn't deliberately targeting civilians of a certain demographic and persecuting them. It's obvious that those 2 rebellions are very different contextually in order to accuse anyone of ethnic cleansing.

    As for alluding vs stating, how would that matter? Take an example: If I'm implying someone is ugly by what I say to him, but I avoid using the term on purpose to not hurt his feelings, does that mean he's not really ugly or that it removes any merit from someone using it bluntly?

    I get the feeling that if we go on with this the semantics argument will get so absurd, that I don't think any word I'll use will ever get past scrutiny.

    "Civilian" here is pretty clear that it means non-rebels i.e. non-combatants. Let's be 100% honest here: Was it really necessary to explain such an obvious detail? Is it not obvious that my usage of civilian talks about people simply not fighting within the context of the rebellion?

    The reason why inserting "rebel" is "cheeky" is because, as I've said, most victims of Justinian's measures were not "rebel civilians", but "non-rebel civilians". Now I believe my point is beyond any misinterpretation.

    No, because the 2 rebellions are nothing alike and you are committing to a false equivalency fallacy by likening them in order to make a point.

    I didn't say that.

    So the "non-rebel civilians" that were expelled just left because they felt like it? Do our sources lie and Justinian was the good guy all along? I mean, after all, Samaria couldn't have been that much of a great place to live, so I guess its inhabitants simply decided to flee en masse and permanently damage their demographics in the area. That sure makes a lot more sense.

    I beg your pardon? This has nothing to do with the paragraph you have quoted. I assume you misquoted something there, otherwise it doesn't make much sense.

    I suspect which part of the post you meant to quote, so I will answer regardless: You are committing to a false equivalency fallacy yet again. The wars in Iraq or Afghanistan (whichever you imply) didn't necessarily have permanent demographics damage against a certain people as a means to their ulterior motives nor were they the ulterior motives in of themselves. Justinian had the ulterior motive of permanently stopping Samartians from revolting ever again, perhaps even adding a bit of spiteful retribution to the mix. His means to do so was to expel and slaughter thousands of Samaritans, including innocents (or "non-rebel civilians" as we shall call them from now on). I didn't say that he had ulterior motives, hence anyone who has ulterior motives with wars is somehow genocidal. That is in fact a misinterpretation of what I said.

    Property rights where? Most of them weren't even allowed to stay in their own homes and lands anymore. Do you understand how contradictory that sounds? You claim he gave them property rights afterwards when he clearly forced most of them out and killed many others. What exactly would the Samaritans be allowed to do so after the revolt? Being marched into the Anatolian plain chained up?

    And you yourself admitted to Justinian banning their religion, how is that not intending the destruction of the Samaritan community? Nationalism didn't exist back then you know, most people were defined by their religion in an ethnoreligious fusion kind of way. Their persecution was very much an existential threat and it only became worse after the revolt due to Justinian's tactics of suppression.

    I'm sorry, but this is borderline slander and utter disrespect towards me.. Nothing you have said in this paragraph represents the truth or my sentiments in any way. You have completely twisted my argument by just taking the very first sentence and having at it with your own preconceived conclusions; conclusions about the subject matter and apparently also conclusions about me, which are frankly in rather poor taste. You have ostensibly read little from the rest I have said or if you did read all of it, you don't seem to have paid the necessary attention to portray it accurately.

    Perhaps most disrespectful though isn't just the disregard of my arguments, but the implication that in its entirety it was just a coy and not sincere. What you are essentially saying is that I would consciously either lie or delude myself into bringing up and toying around with the matter of ethnic cleansing so lightly as to just "prove" Justinian's wrongdoings on some internet forum. If that's not a blatant insult to my character, I don't know what is.

    Name one.

    I'm sorry, but no. Misunderstandings happen all the time, but the level of distortion and misrepresentation of my sayings in your last 2 posts is astonishing. I keep having to repeat myself over and over, explaining the exact same things in more and more detail, only to be completely discarded and only parts of my posts being taken into account for your response, ripped apart from their context and meaning.

    Rebuttal and putting words in my mouth about what the academia should think or say are very different things.

    Do you not see how you have just contradicted yourself? You said that you never said the terms are mutually exclusive and literally in the very next sentence you mention how those 2 terms are used for different purposes, thus giving the idea that they can't coexist. It's not about overrated and mediocre meaning the same thing, it's about Justinian being both. For me he is mediocre, as in not a very good ruler, but not necessarily a bad one either. At the same time he is overrated because he is considered a great emperor, which is clearly an overevaluation of my verdict that he is mediocre.

    That's not different to what I said. I merely pointed out how the causality was reciprocal and that one affected the other.

    And how did that impact Justinian exactly? If anything, hostile nations being busy with smaller fringe ones instead of his own empire would be the ideal scenario.

    Justinian wasn't at the hippodrome, the emperor would watch the games from the safety of the imperial palace which was directly adjacent to the hippodrome. By the time the rioters tried to breach the palace to depose him, there was already widespread chaos all over the city that got way out of control.

    That makes very little sense, but as I've said, it's a foundations issue. You don't want them, godspeed to you.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2018
  20. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

    May 7, 2007
    And yet, simple things like what one learned in school and how much coverage was given one ruler over others are simply enough to not need an "objective arbiter".

    When I said he was "persuaded" you will note I tellingly did not say any other person persuaded him to adopt the customs, I said he "was persuaded". Here's another example of this phrase as used: "I was persuaded by the presence of bad weather that day to stay indoors most of the time". You will note no one person is doing the persuading. Of course, historically it's not entirely clear what exactly led Alexander to adopt Persian customs, but he was certainly persuaded (perhaps by his admiration for the customs upon learning of them) to adopt them.

    My point is quite simple--the title "the Great" isn't just given to anyone willy-nilly; it is earned. Accordingly, relatively few rulers have had such a title, whether in Korea or Byzantium. I never said the presence of titles should cloud one's judgement of the rulers--clearly, it's their accomplishments that matter, but the titles stand as testament to the fact that their accomplishments had weight and were appreciated.

    Sure, but again, the sainthood shows appreciation, and is bestowed on few. You can criticize the church all day for bestowing titles on a subjective basis, but that's the nature of appreciation--it's subjective. That said, certain titles have weight, and merely appreciating an emperor for being holy is not the same as making him a saint. One has more significance than the other.

    I never said Justinian's reputation rested alone on the twin laurels of "the Great" title that he has, and his sainthood. Rather I point out their existence to show he was appreciated and considered one of the better Byzantine emperors.

    Disagree. As the West focused more on Latin and the Byzantine Empire more on Greek, linguistic (and inevitably, cultural) differences became more evident, even if (in some form), by virtue of geography or other, they had always existed in some form.

    Sure, happy to explain. Justinian wanted to restore the glory of the Roman Empire of yore, and conspiciously, the empire he conquered touched upon territories of that empire, including North Africa and Italy. Justinian specifically sought this restoration, and this is of course a very Roman sentiment, though others (like Mehmed II) also saw themselves as heirs to Rome in a sense. In Justinian's case however, the cultural, linguistic and military link was far more clear than say, for Alexios Komnenos, who spoke Greek primarily (and better than Justinian, no doubt), and did not rule over a partially reconquered empire resembling that of the Western Roman Empire of yore. When you say "And what is the implication here? That no other Roman emperor after Justinian was ambitious? That would certainly be a mistake to claim." I am given the impression you ignored what I wrote. I didn't imply anything about other Roman emperors after Justinian lacking ambition, lol. I said Justinian's ambition was clearly Roman in nature; other later emperors had ambitions of different hues (in Alexios' case, it was about reforming a badly shaken economy and army, not about reclaiming the territories of the former Western Roman Empire--Byzantium was in far too much a shambles by then for that).

    Disagree. None of your statements reflect what I've read in English sources. Actual historians do talk about Roman and Greek culture in the context of Byzantium quite a bit, and indeed, as historians are want to do, generalize about cultural (and other) shifts in the empire leading into the 11th century. I never said there was a lack of continuity between the Roman Empire of yore and Byzantium--it's fairly obvious Byzantium always saw itself as heir to the earlier empire.

    You are far too frequently misunderstanding "mutually exclusive" to use it as often as you've been in the past two quotes. Being Greek and Roman are distinct, not mutually exclusive. The later Byzantine Empire considered itself Roman while being Greek in language and culture to a significant extent. But it's clear the shift from Latin to Greek reflected cultural changes. Korea doesn't remain Korean if the lingua franca becomes Japanese, though I also note I never claimed it was language alone that reflected the Byzantine Empire's shift to becoming more Greek culturally.

    I have frequently cited historians in my rebuttals with you, and notably several sources with regards to Heraclius and Justinian. Especially on Heraclius the sources I cited refuted your "doubt" over Heraclius ever signing a letter giving up sovereignty to Byzantium to Khosrow.

    I take this opportunity to point out to all reading this the ignorance and blatant disregard for LGBT rights movements here. The term "gay" is politically charged in part because it's used as a pejorative (you may encounter this in multiplayer game lobbies where people insult each other and the statements they make as "gay" even if they have nothing to do with sexuality. Re: historical figures, the term "gay" is almost always inappropriate. The concept of "gay" did not exist in Alexander's time, for example, so to call him "gay" is both historically misleading and/or inappropriate. Arguing semantics for the sake of it is what you do when you pick minor points and blow them up into mountains, as you've done so far with everything from the use of titles to whether the US is less secular than other Western nations. And as I'll get to later, there's one particular point in your post which demonstrates you fixation on semantics.

    I said your definition as applied was vague. It was. You didn't define the terms "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide" at all, you just said that violence, displacing people and clamping down on religion were all signs it was ethnic cleansing and/or genocide. I pointed out that there are numerous other instances of similar actions that no one would seriously term "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide".

    No, people "struck with misfortune" would be more like the 15,000 Bulgarian prisoners of war Basil II had blinded, I agree. Of course putting down the Samaritan revolt was in part retaliation, but it was also about stability. Letting violent rebels continue to remain in an area isn't exactly a great idea.

    Again, the fact that the rebels happened to be Samaritan (but I also note that historically Jews joined them) does not mean that Justinian's putdown was targeting them for their being "civilians of a certain demographic".

    Any stats on the non-rebel civilians vis-a-vis the actual rebels? I don't see how you can say "most" victims were not rebel civilians. Procopius is quite clear--he says the majority of the Samaritans made cause with the rebels and accordingly were slaughtered. Implying that those who didn't join, at least in not insignificant part, lived (which makes sense, as later they existed to make Justin II rescind the restoration of rights Justinian gave to the Samaritans).

    The problem is you don't elucidate how they are different--the reason I used the clearly different events is because your discussion of slaughter+displacement = ethnic cleansing is overly vague.

    Blatant speculation, unsubstantiated, and contrary to Justinian having restored Samaritan rights before Justin II could take them away later.

    The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan definitely had permanent demographics damage against certain peoples. Justinian didn't spitefully seek retribution--he restored their rights after the rebellion was put down, and the fact that you try to blunt this point by saying the Samaritans likely fled doesn't help your case.

    Property rights where the Samaritans lived of course, though legally property rights on an individual level reside with the individual. I enjoy your speculation on what the Samaritans did afterward, but I consider it irrelevant and blatantly speculative in an attempt to be more negative towards Justinian in this regard than extant evidence on the aftermath would allow. Justinian was noted at having restored rights to the Samaritans, and Justin II was the one who took those rights away later.

    Not all religious suppression relates to "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide". It was certainly suppression, and I didn't argue against that. "Ethnoreligious fusion kind of way" is another example of your fluffy use of terms.

    "What you are essentially saying" and everything that follows thereafter is your erroneous interpretation of what I said. I did point out that you were not using the term "ethnic cleansing" in a clear way cohering to a particular definition. I never said you deluded yourself, I said the discussion of ethnic cleansing appeared a red herring. This is because you are inordinately fixated on the Samaritan putdown being an ethnic cleansing despite acknowledging other Byzantine emperors you appear to like more (Basil II, Alexios Komnenos, etc) are also guilty of atrocities (On a related note, Basil II's particular reputation for cruelty, and Alexios' own religious persecution against the Bogomils (whose leader he had burnt to death in the Hippodrome of Constantinople) are also important to note.). If all of the Byzantine emperors are guilty of significant atrocities (you've often said Justinian was no "exception" to others in this regard), then the ones you prefer as indicated in this thread are also. Hence, your accusations of Justinian committing atrocities of his own seems a moot point. Basil II engaged in cruel and unusual punishment that Justinian did not, and both Basil II and Alexios violently put down rebellions in their own time. We've alluded to all this before and yet you still focused on the ethnic cleansing element. Hence my red herring comment.

    Sure. You misrepresented me when I said in my previous post that:

    In your post above, you said in reply to my (quoted) statement: "Rebuttal and putting words in my mouth about what the academia should think or say are very different things."

    I never put words in your mouth about what academia should say. Rather, I rebutted your points by indicating what specific sources (academic and otherwise) DID say.

    This is the semantic statement you made which I allude to earlier as an example of your fixation on semantics. Things can be different but not mutually exclusive. When you said Justinian was "overrated" earlier in this thread, you couched that statement by also saying you didn't necessarily think him horrible or other, and that your raising his negative points did not necessarily reflect your real stance on him. Much more recently in this thread, you used the phrase "mediocre ruler" to describe Justinian. "Overrated" means something not quite worthy of the praise it receives (whether in large or small part, or to a lesser shade of either). "Mediocre" necessarily carries more negative connotations, as it immediately implies at best middling quality. An "overrated" movie can still be decent. A "mediocre" movie cannot. So there is no contradiction here at all. In the context of what you've posted here, you signposted a more negative attitude towards Justinian more recently, and your constant discussion of a supposed ethnic cleansing is a clear example.

    You are asking how Goths and Vandals being barbarian empires bordering Justinian impacted Justinian exactly. I think it's quite likely Justinian was thinking of the fall of Rome to the Goths just decades before his reign began. His ambition to restore the glory of the old Western Roman Empire was clearly in conflict with the Goths having physical possession of it, and (for example) Justinian sought ways to get a casus belli in place to take Rome back. Case in point, his political manuevering with Amalasuntha, and his seizing upon her death as a reason for war with the other Goths.

    Not quite true--the hippodrome was right next to the palace, and a secret tunnel led from Justinian's palace to the imperial box in the Hippodrome. It was at that imperial box where on January 18 (Sunday), after various measures he took to quell the unrest were unsuccessful, Justinian personally appeared, acknowledged his errors to the Nika Rioters, and promised to pardon them as well. When this did not work, he later considered other measures, including fleeing, whereupon Theodora made her famous "purple is the best burial shroud" speech as recorded by Procopius.

    It makes plenty of sense. Neither the Numidian cavalry nor the Medjay are likely to be mistaken for the unique unit of an already extant civilization in Civ VI for starters (which, by the way, I already stated as a reason for excluding the Varangian Guard).

    Ending Notes:

    Frankly, I think you've become quite a bit more personal in your most recent post, and I do not appreciate the accusations of slander or contradiction. That, and the fact that you cite few sources and more speculation (whether as to the Samaritans fleeing Justinian, or any other) tells me it's time to conclude this discussion with you. I enjoyed the spirited discussion when you focused on the history rather than when you started accusing me of purposefully misrepresenting what you said.

    And frankly, I think we've talked in circles anyway. It's clear you and I will not agree on the Samaritan revolt, or on the degree to which titles such as "the Great" should bear significance. So I see no point in further continuing, and will only participate further in this thread if new and interesting historical points are raised, rather than rehashings of the semantics in your recent post. Happy to let you have the last word here as a sign of good faith--I did not mean to ever insult you personally or any other such, so I am hoping that any other comments directed by you to me were more the result of misunderstanding.


    For others that read the thread (including those who may surprisingly still check this thread even though Basileus and I have taken up most of the airtime here), I hope you are able to look past any personal grievances that seem to have been aired here, and focus instead on the history. Regarding Justinian, I point people to the BBC podcast In Our Time session on his legal code and to Yale's historical course on YouTube which had a session on Justinian (and Procopius, noting his assessments of Justinian's flaws and successes). The Ancient History Encyclopedia's short entry on Justinian points out that Justinian is widely held as one of the greatest Byzantine emperors, but also one of the most controversial (this is one of the reasons why I do not agree Justinian is "overrated"--historians are well aware of his flaws). And Wikipedia's entry on Justinian also points out several of Justinian's flaws (note the "Results" subsection), but notes his reign was an "age of splendor" with prolific building sprees, and also notes the lasting importance of Justinian's Corpus Juris Civilis.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018

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