Philippikos Bardanes

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Emperor of the Romans
Solidus of Philippicus.png
A solidus of Philippikos
Byzantine emperor
Reign4 November 711– 3 June 713
PredecessorJustinian II
SuccessorAnastasios II
(now Bergama, Izmir, Turkey)
Philippicus Bardanes
DynastyTwenty Years' Anarchy

Philippikos or Philippicus (Latin: Philippicus Bardanes; Greek: Φιλιππικός Βαρδάνης, romanizedPhilippikos Vardanis) was Byzantine emperor from 711 to 713.


Philippicus was originally named Bardanes (Greek: Βαρδάνης, romanizedVardanis; Armenian: Վարդան, Vardan); he was the son of the patrician Nikephorus, who was of Armenian extraction from an Armenian colony in Pergamum.[1] The historian and Byzantinist Anthony Kaldellis rejects the narrative in which Philippikos Bardanes is said to have been "an Armenian by genos" or "a Persarmenian by genos".[2] Kaldellis instead suggests his origin was probably ethnic Persian, adding however that "we lack an Iranian lobby to push for its own "ethnic rights" in Byzantine Studies".[2] Kaldellis' adds that Bardanes was probably born and raised in the Byzantine realm (i.e. Romanía), as his father Nikephoros possibly was.[2] The proposition which suggests that Bardanes was descended from the fifth-century Armenian notable Vardan II Mamikonian is also rejected by Kaldellis as "a modern fiction".[2] Contemporaneous sources attest to Bardanes' tutoring, scholarly interests, learning and eloquence, all of which were in Greek.[2]

Relying on the support of the Monothelite party, he made some pretensions to the throne on the outbreak of the first great rebellion against Emperor Justinian II; these led to his relegation to Cephalonia by Tiberius Apsimarus, and subsequently to his banishment to Cherson by order of Justinian. Here Bardanes, taking the name of Philippicus, successfully incited the inhabitants to revolt with the help of the Khazars. The successful rebels seized Constantinople, and Justinian fled; Philippikos took the throne. Justinian was subsequently seized and beheaded; his son Tiberius was likewise apprehended by Philippikos's officers, Ioannes and Mauros, and killed in a church. Justinian's principal officers, such as Barasbakourios, were also massacred.

Philippicus (left) apprehending Tiberius (son of Justinian II) for execution. Scene from the 12th century Manasses Chronicle.


Among the first acts of Philippikos Bardanes were the deposition of Cyrus, the orthodox patriarch of Constantinople, in favour of John VI, a member of his own sect, and the summoning of a conciliabulum of Eastern bishops, which abolished the canons of the Sixth Ecumenical Council. In response the Roman Church refused to recognize the new emperor and his patriarch. Meanwhile, the Bulgarian ruler Tervel plundered up to the walls of Constantinople in 712. When Philippicus transferred an army from the Opsikion theme to police the Balkans, the Umayyad Caliphate under Al-Walid I made inroads across the weakened defenses of Asia Minor.

In late May 713 the Opsikion troops rebelled in Thrace. Several of their officers penetrated the city and blinded Philippicus on June 3, 713 while he was in the hippodrome.[3] He was succeeded for a short while by his principal secretary, Artemius, who was raised to the purple as Emperor Anastasius II. He died in the same year.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Charanis, Peter (1959). "Ethnic Changes in the Byzantine Empire in the Seventh Century". Dumbarton Oaks Papers. Dumbarton Oaks. 13: 23–44. doi:10.2307/1291127. JSTOR 1291127.
  2. ^ a b c d e Kaldellis, Anthony (2019). Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium. Harvard University Press. p. 185. ISBN 9780674986510.
  3. ^ Theophanes 1982, p. 79.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Regnal titles
Preceded by Byzantine Emperor
4 November 711 – 3 June 713
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Tiberius III in 699, then lapsed
Consul of the Roman Empire
Succeeded by
Anastasios II in 714