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The Hip Historian Iaredios

Work Doodle: Romans

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So at work i doodle when not on shift, which as summer break grew closer I found I had more time off in between shifts then actually working. This gave me plenty of time to do some drawing (but rarely did i finish one in just one 4-5 hour period). When not drawing things related to my A Rude Awakening project, I tend to draw Romans. Who is surprised? No one i think. :lol: If you know me, I tend to focus more on the periods after the Third Century Crisis, after which the status of a world super power dwindled (with times of rekindling) until it barely be called a true empire.

 

 

First up are emperors Phocas and Heraclius. Phocas is drawn good, but IMO Heraclius is a personal achievement of mine. Don't say you can't shade with a ballpoint pen.  X next tot he first Phocas means that's not right, check means it is approved. And just so you all know, I drew this based off of previously done art I found on the internet. Oh, and see those feathers on Heraclius' crown? Yeah, they were a PAIN IN THE BEHIND TO DRAW.

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Phocas was a military leader under Emperor Maurice, the last of the dynasty of Justinian the Great. Maurice, without thought of funds or food, ordered his armies to reclaim the Danube limes (militarized borders, not fruit), which had fallen to barbarians a couple emperors beforehand. He gave his soldiers little money, no food provisions, and told them to due this in the middle of winter. Stupid yes, but was it worth the destruction to come as retribution? Phocas, a leader of soldiers, rebelled against Maurice in face of this absurdity, and with most of the military backing him Phocas managed to have the gates of Constantinople opened for him, where he let loose his soldiers to take what they wished, so long as Maurice and his family were secured. They were, and they were all executed (including the women and children of the dynasty), their bodies decapitated and placed upon poles and paraded through the streets. The reign of Phocas was a terrible one, and is deemed one of the worst emperors on Roman history, turning the Roman Empire into a state controlled by the military (a la the Third Century Crisis). The Justinian dynasty had an alliance with the Sassanid dynasty of Sassanian Persia, and so with the destruction of the Justinian dynasty, also having a person claiming to be Maurice in his court (saying he narrowly escaped Phocas), the Shah using this as a justification for starting one of the largest wars in Roman history (as well as the last of the 600 year long Roman-Persian wars), Sassania claiming to restore 'Maurice' to the sacred throne of Romania (originally a shorter name for the Roman Empire) invading and attempting to absorb Egypt, the Levant, and Armenia. Phocas was also the first emperor of all Romania since Diocletian to sport a beard, ending the revitalized tradition of beardless emperors started by Constantine the Great.

 

Now, since Theodosius 'the Great' of the late 300's, the Roman empire had been Christian, Theodosius effectively politicizing the major Christian patriarchs of the realm to serve under his own version of the faith, where the empire was to be seen as the New Jerusalem of the Bible in the flesh, they were in the End Times, and as ruler of this New Jersualem the emperor was to be God's deputy on Earth, giving him divine right to all of Creation in the name of 'watching over it'. This was a way to retain divine rule that the old pagan emperors had over their subjects (not to mention it would lay the foundations for the politics of medieval europe). Among myriad of things adopted by theodosius, from having a golden toothpick of all things, to studying theology to better control what he wanted people to know and obey easier. One of these was the practice that as deputy of God, you had to have 'a face as perfect as His', as well as at least have a surface appearance of godly views and intentions. Some small blemishes were fine but anything too distracting was an imperfection and unworthy of Emperorship. This is why blinding and facial mutilation would be adapted, you get to avoid the Christian taboo of the death penalty (you have to be a serious offender to get that, like 'heresy') while having a convenient way to barr people from the throne.

 

Fast forward to the 600's, and you have Phocas here, having a scar across his face, unkempt hair, and ruled in tyranny without a care of religious affairs. Enter Heraclius, son the Heraclius the Elder, and Exarch of Africa (appointed king/viceroy for the Emperor). Ruling from Carthage, Heraclius the Younger had enough of Phocas after 8 years of putting up with this tyranny. He raised the armies of Africa (back then being modern Tunis and coastal Libya and Roman Algeria), and rallied people sick of the 'satanic' rule of Phocas. He eventually gets to Constantinople, in which seeing the end of their leader's rule most of the city guards abandon Phocas and side with Heraclius (opening the gates), and those that remained loyal were cut down. Phocas was found and stripped of his royal garments and brought before Heraclius in bondage, who asked, "Is this how you have ruled, wretch?" Phocas replied, "And will you rule better?" Enraged, Heraclius personally killed and beheaded Phocas on the spot. Phocas's body was given to the people where it was mutilated, paraded through the capital, and eventually burned.

 

After dealing with Phocas, Heraclius had to deal with the Sassanian Persians, who after Heraclius' faction took Egypt and the Levant from Phocas' controlled territory, was invaded by Persians. One of their deeds was invading Jerusalem and taking the True Cross that Jesus Christ died upon and taking it back to Ctesiphon (their capital) as a great trophy (also as an insult to the Christians they persecuted heavily). They then also went deep into Anatolia and eventually reached Constantinople. Heraclius could not celebrate his coronation fully, for their ancient, heathen foe was on the verge of ruining this 'New Jerusalem'. With an elite regiment Heraclius left Constantinople unbeknownst to Persian forces, going across the Black Sea to Pontus/Georgia, enlisting a force of Khazars to assist him, then cut down into the heart of Ehran (Iran), wrecking havoc upon these Iranian heartlands, eventually going Ctesiphon itself (which was near ruined Babylon, which a couple centuries later Baghdad would be built near). No doubt he saw the weathered tanned hide of the skinned Roman Emperor Valerian nailed to the walls of the great Zoroastrian temple of Ctesiphon facing outwards the city. The Sassanian forces near Constantinople were told to go back to tend their own capital, and a final battle was done and surprisingly won by Heraclius. He was given back the True Cross, which once back in Jerusalem he got off his horse and carried the Cross in the same path Jesus did as a show of spirituality. This was proven to later be a bit of a farce, for he treated Christians with differing views than himself rather poorly and rebellions sprung up in Palestine, Syria and Egypt. Heraclius marched to Constantinople and bathed in the great glory of a Roman Triumph held in the streets of the Capital, Immediately after the ceremonies changing the official language of the Roman Empire from Latin to Greek (for most of the Latin-speaking lands ahd been lost to 'barbarians' in prior centuries), and with it changed the name of the Title of emperor from augustus to Basileus. It was soon after the end of this great war during the Triumph that Heraclius received a letter from an Arab prophet named Muhammad, who said that he should convert to his teachings of Wisdom, or Islam as it was said in his tongue, before it was too late. The emperor thought little of this, and would later hear word of a small Arab squabble occuring to his south-east border, the invaders losing.

 

Now, in olden times, the kingdoms of Arabia were many and unimportant, but then came Justinian the Great, who invested in these states to serve as satellite states against the might of the Sassanian kingdom, a cold war of the sorts before Phocas. Sassania then did the same with closer Arab states, and so the kingdoms of the sands would flip-flop for who had the better deals. this resulted in increasing power in Arab kingdoms and trade increased with their relations with these superpowers. Among one of the wealthiest of these was the city-state of Mecca, home to not only great trade, but a great temple of Arab pantheons, and so held much prestige and influence over its neighbors. Arabia was growing powerful, and so long as it was divided it would pose little threat. But then came along a trader-turned-prophet, who was to change the course of history.

 

Heraclius' campaign in Ehran had so wrecked the Sassanian country that it became nothing more than a hallow shell filled with anarchy. It was no surprise in retrospect that after the Muslim Civil War in Arabia, that the heirs to the Prophet Muhammad, the Rashidun Caliphate, then conquered Persia with relative ease, ending the reign of the Sassanian dynasty since The Third Century Crisis. They then exacted revenge upon the Romans for Muhammed's defeat of Roman Arabs when he attempted to spread his newfound theocracy there, and so first fell Roman Arabia, then the rebellious territories of Palestine, Syria, and Egypt joined the Rashidun Caliphate, the rebels agreeing to rather pay the jizya tax of the Rashidun Caliphate (tax non-believers had to pay or else they had to convert or die) then continue to live under the tyranny of Constantinople. They also took the newly reclaimed Roman Mesopotamia. After such heavy fighting with the Persians for decades, Heraclius could not do much, and with the fall of Palestine, the other spiritual heart of the empire next to Constantinople, and Egypt, the bread basket of the Romania since the rise of Octavius Caesar, the Roman Empire would never be the nigh-unstoppable powerhouse it had been. In another sign of his shallow spirituality, Heraclius emerged to his court with his letter from Muhammad, and proposed converting to the ways this heir to Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, but the extreme backlash proved so hostile that Heraclius said that he was just testing them of their faith, then went back to fortifying the new Anatolian border, where he would have to constantly push back the jihadists until his death. It wasn't until later that Anatolia would be lost, but briefly, for a secret weapon that started developing during the last Roman-Persian war would finally be completed: the Roman/Greek Fire thrower, and so when the Caliphate reached Constantinople and held it hostage for years, the release of fire-spewing ships and an elite unit of soldiers would prove to be their savior not only then but for centuries to come.

 

 

 

 

 

Here, i have an unfortunately historically inaccurate depiction of Justinian II Heraklius (the last of Heraclius' dynasty) standing before the Automata Throne of Solomon in Constantinople. It is inaccurate because this remarkable feat of engineering was built during the reign of the Makedonian dynasty, which is a century or two after the death of Justinian II and the fall of House Heraklius. It was fun drawing this, but had I known that the throne was in the wrong time period, I would have opted for the much more simplistic Throne of Justinian, and htus been easier on my hands. And yeah, i messed up on the stairs. A shame, because the rest is pretty good (not perfect).

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And here is Justinian II 'Rhinotmetus' Heraklius.

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He wears the crown of his first reign, which was cast off from him after he was usurped. His economical advisors had been too hard on people regarded taxes and debts, imprisoning multitudes of people unjustly without his notice, and this, as well as insulting the patricians and standing up of free land owners and farmers, led to his downfall as things quickly spiraled out of control and led to an upstart commander taking a force of soldiers into Constantinople, dethroning Justinian II, dragging him to the Hippodrome, and having his nose cut off and the tip of his tongue cut down the middle groove. He was put on a ship to live on the farthest part of the empire's northern borders, and found himself making friends and traveling these barbarian lands for a decade, like making an alliance with the Khazar Khan and marrying an asiatic princess that he renamed Theadora for obvious reasons (who he truly loved compared to his original arranged marriage from his first reign) before returning home with his adventurous party, sporting a golden nose prosthesis I guess his wife designed for him, and taking back his throne, executing the previous two usurpers (one had taken over the one that took over Justinian). He wore his original crown until his wife and their son that was born while he was taking back his throne were able to get to the capital and she designed him a new crown mostly made up of emeralds and pearls, which he wore for the rest of his second reign for a decade until once again things spiraled way out of control from a small rebellion at the place he was originally exiled to resulted in him getting decapitated and his head paraded throughout the city by the soldiers of the usurper. The empire would be in anarchy until a shepherd that Justinian had raised from obscurity on his was back to take back back his throe had returned from exile from barbarian lands, and the iconoclast Conon Leo I Isaurian seized power and restored order.

 

 

 

 

This is like a poster concept of the The Alexiad, the epic saga of Alexios I Komnenos, written by his daughter Anna to hopefully restore her some honor after a family scandal involving her husband that led to her being put in house arrest. There is an air of propaganda to it, but I still find it reliable. This drawing could have been done better, but I still think i did good on it. Alexios is not the perfect savior that his daughter painted him, but there has to truth to a lot of his deeds (perhaps not character) because considering all the crud he had thrown at him, the empire should not have survived, and yet it would for a few more centuries.  (Alexios I Komnenos is currently my avatar)

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Alexios was a soldier who rose to the rank of General and rewarded to being a Strateghos (kind of like a duke with military responsibilities). After serving Nikephoros III Botaneiates, who did not give a care as Rhomania was on the verge of total collapse, he took matters into his own hands and with his brother plotted a coup against the emperor before a counter-plot could be executed, and they narrowly escaped this. After taking the throne, Alexios' brother Isaac recommended his brother being more deserving for the throne than he, and so Alexios took his. His coronation was brief, and he set out to counter the multitude of enemies and rivals at his border. He was a soldier emperor, only wearing his crown and all of the royal garments when at the capital (which due to being so busy out in the many fronts he only wore it all a lot near the end of his life). He would immediately replace the currency, his new coin being the hyperion, which was to be the standard for Mediterranean trade until the rise of the Venetian ducat, and this as well as deals with Venice would give a needed surge to the dying Roman economy.

 

The not in chronological order, and starting in the upper left corner and going clock-wise, we have the Pecheneg horde, which invaded the Roman Empire but Alexios so soundly defeated them that the khanate was wiped out, any remnant of people left were absorbed by local communities; the Seljuk Sulatanate of Ikonion (or Rum, or Rome rather, they so boldly declared themselves) with jihadists at their ready. In the lower left corner, we have the Turkish pirate lord Tzachaz, who held a few Greek islands and raided the Aegean before Alexios crushed him at Lesbos. To the right we was the Normans of Siciliy, who newly arrived there with blessing of the Pope to conquer the hostile Muslims that took Sicily from the Roman empire years before; here they are led by Robert Guiscard de Hautsville, who had risen from a Norman nobleman and adventurer to a duke in no time, and sought to gain the prestige held by the Roman Emperor, and so using a man claiming to have been one of the many emperors that took the throne of Constantinople between the Battle of Manzikert and the rise of Alexios, invaded Greece. Alexios lost most of these battle but was able to win the war thanks to the assistance from Venice, and then the weather at sea. But the son of Robert Guiscard, Bohemond de Hautesville, would come back in vengeance with the arrival of the First Crusade (the upper right corner), who waited for the right moment until there was a problem in Antioch, and then seized it and coastal Syria as his own fiefdom, leading to contests with Antioch for the next century.

 

Then in the upper left we have the First Crusade. Starting out as a cry for help to the Christian West by Alexios Komnenos, as an innumerable horde of Rumish Turks and their allies across the fragments of the once mighty Great Seljuk Sultanate gathered in Rum and Alexios knew that with the poor reigns of the previous emperors that he would have no chance to combat this foe alone. Receiving the call for aide by the 'heretical' ruler of Constantinople, the Pope twisted the meaning of Alexios' message and decreed that the East was need of grand mission, a military Crusade to regain the holy Lands from the infidel. And so to combat an innumerable horde, one marched to Constantinople's gates. Hungry and outraged that they think they are simply mercenaries for Alexios call for aide (and Alexios thinking them as a zealot barbarian horde, just a little different from the hordes of centuries past), they besiege the rich city, but with a silver tongue Alexios narrowly escapes an early 1204 and actually makes each crusader personally take a vow before him that all lands conquered are to go to him. Things go well for him, reconquering over a forth (or was it a third?) of Anatolia from the Turkish invaders with this expendable horde of barbarians (those that did not treat him as their boss he was send to their deaths in pointless battles to get rid of such rabble-rousers and prove a point); but then these actions deprive the crusaders at Antioch with too little of men in the face of the enemy re-seiging the city, and the general Alexios sent to help them did not help them, so Bohemond, son of Robert Guiscard, declared their oath to Alexios null and void, and so he established the Principality of Antioch, and another founds the County of Edessa, and noble Goddfrey goes south to take Palestine, founding the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

 

He betrothed his son John (Ioannes) to a Hungarian Princess, sealing more growing closeness to feudal Europe than previous Emperors. He would die of gout from standing too much in helping the problems the catholic Crusades created in his realm, personally overseeing each person and problem in his court.

 

 

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A RUDE AWAKENING - A Spherus Magna redo | Tzais-Kuluu  |  Pushing Back The Tide  |  Last Words  |  Black Coronation  | Blue Man Bound | Visions of Thasos   ن

We are all but grey specks in a dark complex before a single white light

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