Byzantine Empire, Phocas, 602-610, AV Solidus
Obv.Bust with crown cruciger facing, in hands globus cruciger
Rev.Standing angel with staurogram-staff and globus cruciger
Phocas (* after 547 in Thrace; † 5 October 610 in Constantinople).
He was emperor of the Eastern Roman or Byzantine Empire from 602 to 610.
The first successful usurper in Byzantine history, he is traditionally regarded as a despotic ruler whose rule is said to have shaken the Eastern Roman Empire.
The reign of Emperor Phocas is considered the nadir of Byzantine history. In October 610, Herakleios (575; † 641) put an end to his reign of terror and executed a horrific sentence. But he did not leave it at that.
As a centurion, Phokas had belonged to the non-commissioned officer corps. He is said to have owed his election to his biting criticism of the conditions in the camp. Authors of the upper and educated classes portray him as a boorish figure who was also disfigured by a scar across his face. He is said to have been vicious, addicted to drink and morbidly brutal. The mocking verse "Once again you got into the jug,/ Once again you are no longer clever" made the rounds about him. Others reported that nothing excited the emperor more than the sight of blood.
However, Phokas did not so much gush blood on campaigns against foreign enemies, but rather among domestic opponents or those he considered to be such. He is said to have used the gallows and the torture rack, blindings and mutilations intensively, executions were as much a daily occurrence as debauched revelries and brutal police actions against unruly subjects, especially in Constantinople.
In addition, foreign policy disasters proved the incompetence of the emperor. The Sassanid Khosrau II, who owed his throne to the support of Maurikios, had taken the latter's assassination as an opportunity to wage war on the eastern provinces of the empire. In the end, the Sassanid troops even advanced as far as western Asia Minor. On the Danube, the Avars finally broke through the Byzantine defences. In their wake, the Slavs proceeded to firmly seize land in the Balkans.
The exarch (governor) of Carthage, Herakleios, saw this as a task or an opportunity. He sent his son of the same name with a squadron to the capital, which he reached on 3 October 610. The executed again a bloody court of punishment. Two days later, Phocas was beheaded. The head was put on a stick and carried through the streets of Constantinople.
https://www.welt.de/geschichte/article217065006/Byzanz-610-Der-Koerper-des-Kaisers-wurde-ausgeweidet.html / Author: B. Seewald