Being a Roman emperor after the reign of Justinian I was going to be hard; Justinian had over extended the Empire and an outbreak of Yersinia. pestis in 541 had done extensive damage to the economy. Thus the failures of Justinian's reign ensured that his sucessors would be mired in conflicts for generations to come. The man we now know as Tiberius II Constantine was born in the latin speaking area of Thrace during the mid part of Emperor Justinian's reign. Due to the location of his birth, it is likely that Tiberius was the last Roman Emperor to speak latin as his native langauge. A young Tiberius eventually went to Constantinople and became good friends with Justin II by the 550's, which enabled him to quickly rise through the ranks. When the elderly Justinian I died in 565 CE, his nephew Justin I became Emperor; ensuring Tiberius's future. Tiberius's first major command was in 570 when he led an army against the Avars, the next tribe in a long line of eurasian steppe people who would terrorize europe. Tiberius won the first engament with them but ended up losing the second battle against the Avars in 571, forcing the Romans came to terms with them. In 574, the ailing Emperor Justin made Tiberius II a Caesar, who along with Justin's wife, ran the Imperial government. Tiberius and the Empress Sophia had their hands full in dealing with the Perisans on the eastern front. Years earlier Justin had disasterously started a war with them over Armenia that had led to the fall of Dara and the sacking of numerous Syrian cities. Tiberius immediatly requested a ceasefire in Mesopotamia for the price of 45,000 solidii or roughly a fifth of a tonne of gold. In 578 Emperor Justin died and Tiberius II peacefully suceeded him as Augustus. Tiberius's first act was to eliminate a bread tax and give way 7000 pounds of gold to the people of Constantinople, a practice that would continue for the rest of his reign. Tiberius II's tax ideology would proabably align with modern neoliberialism economic thought in the sense that he was an ardent beliver in lowering government revenue(taxes). While lowering taxes made Tiberius II very popular with the people, it wrecked havok on the Imperial treasury; a consequence that Tiberius's succesors would have to face down the road. Using the breathing space provided by the ceasefire in Mesopotamia, Tiberius sent an expedition into Italy which suceeded in relieving the City of Rome in 578/9. In addition Tiberius II sent money and troops to take back an northern Italian port from the Lombards: this little expedition would be last direct Imperial intervention into Italy until the reign of Constans II in the 660's CE. By 580 the war with Persia resumed in full, forcing Tiberius to transfer the field armies in the balklands to the east. In reaction to this, the Avars and their slavic tributaries began a series of raids deep into Pannonia and Thrace. The city of Sirmium would hold out against the Avars until 582, when Tiberius ransomed the saftey of the populace for 240,000 solidii or 1.07 tonnes of gold. However, by 582 it was clear that Tiberius was dying of something, one source states it was posioned mulberries but that cannot be confirmed. In his last act, he summoned the sucessful generals Maurice and Germanus and wed them to his daughters. Tiberius's last words were recorded to have been "Let my sovereignty be delivered to thee with this girl. Be happy in the use of it, mindful always to love equity and justice" Tiberius's reign is often looked to as a foot note in history, but I think it deserves to be looked at closer. It was a transition period from the latin speaking palace emperors of the 400's and 500's to the greek speaking soldier emperors that would characterize the 600's and 700's. While some regions flourished, in others it was the end of late antiquity and the beggining of the early middle ages. Anyhow, here are a lovely die matched set of solidii depicting Emperor Tiberius II Constantine. Weights are 4.45 and 4.44 grams respectivly. A mosiac from Ravenna depicting the likeness of Tiberius II as a saint. Languages of the Eastern Roman Empire(note the latin speaking regions of Thrace/Moesia) Feel free to post anything.