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Maurice

(Comprehensive Guide to Military History)

Article abstract: Military significance: A gifted Byzantine military leader and writer, Emperor Maurice won a two-front war in Asia and the Balkans.

As commander of the Byzantine army of the east from 572 to 581, Maurice distinguished himself campaigning in Persian Mesopotamia and Armenia. These victories, however, were virtually nullified by Byzantine defeats in southeastern Europe against the tribal armies of the Avars and their Slav vassals. Maurice’s skills—and Byzantium’s military peril—persuaded the dying Emperor Tiberius to designate him as his successor in 582.

Confronting Persians and Avars simultaneously, Emperor Maurice balanced demands on both fronts with holding actions, penetration raids, and bribery. In 590, Persia erupted in civil war, and Maurice threw his armies behind Shah Khasraw II. At Dara (590) and Lake Urmiah (591), Byzantine forces and Khasraw’s troops crushed the usurpers, and Maurice thereby won a peace guarantee and extensive land concessions from the grateful shah. The Byzantines then shifted to the Balkans, gradually reclaiming lost territory....

(The entire section is 312 words.)