User Tools

Site Tools


No Terror of Justinian - Glory Instead!

A Byzantine timeline by Sargon. It saw great success in the 2008 Turtledove Awards - winning the Turtledove for the best Dark Ages and Medieval Timeline, as well as the superlative award for best overall timeline.

The full title of the TL is actually: The Roman Emperor Who Lost His Nose: A timeline of Justinian II - The Magnificent Rhinotmetos.

It can be read on the forum here.

The TL is currently paused whilst the author finds time to finish up the next part.

Overview & POD

The TL looks at a little known period of Eastern Roman (Byzantine) History during the latter part of OTL's Heraclian Dynasty (610 - 711), in particular the reign of Justinian II. The period is so obscure, that sources for this period are hard to come by, and of those that are, many have not been translated into English. This of course has made researching it particularly difficult for the author, who has had to improve his medieval Greek as a result, and spend a fair amount of time and money getting hold of the various texts useful for the era. Matters are not helped by the fact that there is only one full length book thus far published in English about Justinian II, as well as a single work of historical fiction by Harry Turtledove based upon the Emperor's life, incidentally reckoned amongst the best of his novels (it ought to be as his degree was in Byzantine Studies!).

The POD concerns itself with a change of direction and actions of Justinian II. Historically, although he was a gifted ruler in many ways such as militarily, administratively, and in the religious sphere for example, he suffered from such stubbornness, divine belief, paranoia and a thirst for revenge from losing his throne in 695 that his second reign ended up with him being deposed for a second time and the ousting of his dynasty from power for good. On his return to Constantinople in 704, it is said in OTL the little fishing boat commandeered by himself and his small band of followers carrying him across the Black Sea and back to his lands was caught in a storm, and was in danger of sinking. One of his companions, certain that the boat would sink pleaded with the Emperor to promise God that Justinian would have mercy on his enemies if God saved them from the storm. Justinian entirely characteristicly shook his fist at the heavens and declared, “If I spare even one of them, may God drown me now!”. The storm disappeared within a short while, and the Emperor saw it as divine sanction for him to mete out revenge to all those he thought had wronged him when he got his throne back, leading to his deposition later on.

In this TL, the POD happens when the Emperor is thrown overboard by a particularly nasty wave, and given a good dunking for his trouble. For good measure, he is made unconscious for a short while before being hauled to safety by his followers, where the one who uttered the warning, Myakes, admonishes the Emperor for challenging God, but remarks that God has given the Emperor a chance to redeem himself. Justinian is recorded as being a very pious man, the first Emperor in fact to put the image of Christ upon Roman coins in OTL. Thus, working on this belief in God, the TL follows what happens now that he takes on-board what happened to him and God's desire that he not seek such revenge. Without the paranoia and desire for revenge clouding his judgement as it did OTL, he is able to utilise his undoubted skills for the better, and change history in quite a significant way as a result…


Part I: Hope for the Future - The Son of a Successful Emperor
Part II: Success and Arrogance - His First Reign
Part III: Long Exile & The Struggle Back - Restoration, Triumph and Reflection
Part IV: A Change in Direction - Mercy & Joy
Part V: Building the Future
Part VI: Victory, Trouble and Gifts
Part VII: Crisis in Italy
Part VIII: The Reign in Spain
Part IX: Into the Fire
Part X: The Mists of Toledo
Part XI: The Wrath of Hercules
Part XII: Kings, Knights, Bishops and Pawns
Part XIII: (underway and expected to be posted in 2021)


All are historical unless marked with an *:

Justinian II, Emperor of the Romans (685-695 & 705- )
Myakes, Commander of the Excubitores - Justinian's long time friend and companion
Theodora, Empress of the Romans (705- ) - The Khazar wife of the Emperor - the first barbarian bride of a Basileus
Cyrus, Patriarch of Constantinople (705- )
Tiberius III Apsimarus, Emperor of the Romans (698-705) Rehabilitated as Strategos (Admiral) (706-710) then Drungarokomes (Admiral of the Fleet) (710-
Heraclius, Roman Strategos (General), brother of Tiberius
Ibousiros Gliabanos, Khagan of the Khazars (c690- ) - Theodora's brother
Tervel, Khan of the Bulgars (694/5- )
Anastasia, Dowager Empress of the Romans (668 - ) - Justinian's mother
Barisbakourios, Roman Strategos - Friend and supporter of Justinian
Stephen, Roman Parakoimomenos - Brother of Barisbakourios, another Friend and supporter of Justinian
Theophilos of Doros, Roman Parakoimomenos - Friend and supporter of Justinian
Moropaulos, Roman Parakoimomenos & fisherman - Friend and supporter of Justinian
Leo the Isaurian, Roman Spatharios - Supporter of Justinian
Leontius, Emperor of the Romans (695-698)
Tiberius IV, Co-Emperor of the Romans (706- ) - Justinian's young son
Theophylactus, Roman Sakellarios - Justinian's Treasurer
Elias, Roman Strategos
Felix, Archbishop of Ravenna (708-709)
Stephen, Exarch of Ravenna (702-709)
Bardanes, Roman Strategos
John Rizocopo, Exarch of Ravenna (709- )
Paul*, Archbishop of Ravenna (709- )
Al-Walid I ibn Abd al-Mali, Umayyad Caliph (705- )
Constantine, Pope and Bishop of Rome (708 - )
Roderic, King of the Visigoths (710- )
Agila II, King of the Visigoths (710- ) - Rival to Roderic
Julian, Governor of Septum - In charge of the Roman Empire's last outpost in Africa near the Straits of Gibraltar
Pelayo, Visigoth General - Supporter of Roderic
Musa bin Nusair, Umayyad Governor of North Africa (698- )
Tariq ibn Ziyad, Umayyad General - Under the command of Musa
Tarif ibn Malluk, Lieutenant to Tariq
Philippicus*, Servant - In the Palace at Septum
Osbert, Visigoth General - Relative of Roderic
Sisbert, Visigoth General - Relative of Roderic
John*, Merchant ship Captain - Confidant of Theophilos of Doros
George*, Roman Strategos (General)
Nicholas*, Roman Strategos (Vice-Admiral)
Alexander*, Roman Drungarios (Admiral)

List of Rulers relevant to story so far from 660 to 710

Empire of the Romans

641-668 Constans II Pogonatus (assassinated)

646-647 Gregory (rival) (killed in battle)

649-653 Olympius (rival) (killed by plague)

668-685 Constantine IV (early death by dysentery)

669 Mezezius (rival) (executed)

668-681 Heraclius [II]

668-681 Tiberius (II) [III] (both co-emperors, later deposed and exiled by their brother Constantine)

685-695 Justinian II Rhinotmetos (overthrown & exiled)

695-698 Leontius (Leo) [II] (deposed, retired to monastery)

698-705 Tiberius III Apsimar (II) [IV] (deposed, rehabilitated as General)

705- Justinian II Rhinotmetos (restored)

706- Tiberius IV (III) [V]

The Caliphate

Rashidun Caliphs

656-661 Ali ibn Abi Talib (the only caliph universally accepted by Sunnis and Shi'as)

661 Hasan ibn Ali Was considered by some Muslims at that time as a caliph, for 6 months

Umayyad Caliphs

661–680 Muawiyah I ibn Abi Sufyan

680–683 Yazid I ibn Muawiyah

683–684 Muawiyah II ibn Yazid

684–685 Marwan I ibn Hakam

685–705 Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan

705– Al-Walid I ibn Abd al-Malik

Kingdom of the Visigoths

649–672 Reccesuinth

653 Froia (rival)

672–680 Wamba

672 Hilderic (rival)

672-673 Paul (rival)

680–687 Erwig

687–702 Ergica

693 Suniefred (rebel)

694–710 Wittiza (joint ruler with father Ergica until 702)

710- Roderic (south-western and western Iberia)

710- Agila II (rival holding north-eastern and eastern Iberia)

Khanate of the Bulgars

605?–665 Kubrat

665–668 Bat Bajan

668–694/5 Asparuh

c680-? Kuber (after fall of Great Bulgaria, led part of the Bulgars in migration ultimately to Syrmia)

694/5– Tervel

Khaganate of the Khazars

c650-c665? Irbis?

c665-c669? Khalga?

c669-c690? Kaban?

c690- Ibousiros Gliabanos

Popes of the Holy See of St. Peter in Rome

657-672 St. Vitalian

672-676 Adeodatus II

676-678 Donus

678-681 St. Agathon

681-683 St. Leo II

683-685 St. Benedict II

685-686 John V

686-687 Conon

687-701 St. Sergius I

701-705 John VI

705-707 John VII

708 Sisinnius

708- Constantine

Patriarchs of Constantinople

654-666 Peter

667-669 Thomas II

669-675 John V

675-677 Constantine I

677-679 Theodore I

679-686 George I

686-687 Theodore I (restored)

687-693 Paul III

693-705 Callinicus I

705- Cyrus

Kingdom of the Lombards

Second Bavarian Dynasty

653-661 Aripert I

661-662 Perctarit and Godepert

Beneventan Dynasty

662-671 Grimuald

671 Garibald

Third Bavarian Dynasty

671-688 Perctarit (restored from exile)

688-689 Alahis (rebel)

688-700 Cunincpert

700-701 Liutpert

701 Raginpert

701- Aripert II


The General Situation in 700 A.D:

The Campaigns in Thessaly:


timelines/no_terror_of_justinian_-_glory_instead.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/27 19:05 by sargon