Justinian II


Justinian II “the Slit-nosed” ruled as emperor of the Byzantine Empire in two spells: from 685 to 695 CE and then again from 705 to 711 CE. It was after his first reign and prior to his exile that his nose was cut off by the usurper Leontios and so Justinian acquired his nickname. Unpopular with his people, whom he incessantly overtaxed, and suffering from a justified reputation for cruelty and disproportionate vengeance on those whom he perceived had wronged him, Justinian also struggled on the battlefield. He might have been one of the very few emperors to regain his throne but the fact that he was kicked off it twice by rebellious usurpers with no imperial connections is significant. Seemingly attacking cities at random, butchering anyone remotely regarded as a threat, and even laughing when he lost his own fleet in a storm, Justinian had descended into madness, and his second reign is now remembered as one of the most brutal and terrifying in Byzantine history.

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