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Emperor of the Romans
A solidus of Philippicus
Byzantine emperor
Reign4 November 711 – 3 June 713
PredecessorJustinian II
SuccessorAnastasius II
(now Bergama, Izmir, Turkey)
Regnal name
DynastyTwenty Years' Anarchy

Philippicus (Latin: Filepicus;[b] Greek: Φιλιππικός, romanizedPhilippikós) was Byzantine emperor from 711 to 713. He took power in a coup against the unpopular emperor Justinian II, and was deposed in a similarly violent manner nineteen months later. During his brief reign, Philippicus supported monothelitism in Byzantine theological disputes, and saw conflict with the First Bulgarian Empire and the Umayyad Caliphate.


Philippicus was originally named Bardanes (Greek: Βαρδάνης, romanizedBardánēs; Armenian: Վարդան, Vardan); he was the son of the patrician Nicephorus, who was of Armenian extraction from an Armenian colony in Pergamum.[6] The Armenian background of Philippicus has been supported by Byzantinist historians Peter Charanis and Nicholas Adontz,[7] and disputed by Anthony Kaldellis.[8] Kaldellis adds that Bardanes was probably born and raised in the Byzantine realm, as his father Nicephorus possibly was. Contemporaneous sources attest to Bardanes' tutoring, scholarly interests, learning and eloquence, all of which were in Greek.[8] Byzantine historians Leslie Brubaker and John Haldon suggested Bardanes had some connection or affiliation with the Armenian Mamikonian family,[9] which Kaldellis also denies. Byzantine researcher Toby Bromige felt Kaldellis was too dismissive of the Armenian ancestry of certain Byzantine individuals.[10]

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 III, and subsequently to his banishment to Cherson by order of Justinian. Here, Bardanes, taking the name Philippicus, successfully incited the inhabitants to revolt with the help of the Khazars. The successful rebels seized Constantinople, and Justinian fled; Philippicus took the throne. Justinian was subsequently seized and beheaded; his son Tiberius was likewise apprehended by Philippicus'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 Philippicus 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.[11] 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. ^ His first name is sometimes spelled as Bardanus[1][2] or Vardanus[3] in outdated sources.
  2. ^ Contemporary coins render his name in Latin as Filepicus.[4][5] Philippicus is a modernized version following the Greek rendition of the name.



  1. ^ Katerkamp, Theodor (1840). Kerkelijke geschiedenis: bd. Van Rossum. p. 56.
  2. ^ J. W. van Loon (1863). Beknopt chronologisch Overzigt des Kerkgeschiedenis, in synchronistisch verband met de wereldgeschiedenis, etc. p. 86.
  3. ^ Maximus, Valerius (1536). VAL. MAX. LIBRI IX. Henricum Petrum. p. 537.
  4. ^ Sear, David (1987). Byzantine Coins and Their Values. Spink Books. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-912667-39-0.
  5. ^ Garipzanov, Ildar H. (2008). The Symbolic Language of Royal Authority in the Carolingian World (c. 751–877). Brill. pp. ix, 28. ISBN 978-90-04-16669-1.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Charanis 1961, pp. 197, 205.
  8. ^ a b Kaldellis, Anthony (2019). Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium. Harvard University Press. p. 185. ISBN 978-0674986510.
  9. ^ Brubaker, Leslie; Haldon, John (2011). Byzantium in the Iconoclast Era, c. 680–850: A History. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. p. 587. ISBN 978-0-521-43093-7.
  10. ^ Bromige, Toby (8 March 2021). "Anthony Kaldellis, Romanland: Ethnicity and Empire in Byzantium". Cambridge Core. doi:10.1017/byz.2020.30. S2CID 233600380. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  11. ^ 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
Roman consul
Succeeded by
Anastasius II in 714