Eutychius


Eutychius

:"For the Christian martyr St. Eutychius, see Saint Placidus (martyr). There is another St. Eutychius who was a companion of Proculus of Pozzuoli. See also Patriarch Eutychius of Constantinople and Patriarch Eutychius of Alexandria."

Eutychius (died 752) was the last Exarch of Ravenna (c.727-752).

The entire exarchate had risen in revolt in response to imposition of iconoclasm in 727; the Lombards, the papacy, and the Italian cities all moved to eliminate Byzantine authority. Emperor Leo III sent Eutychius to take control of the situation. Eutychius arrived in Naples, where he ordered an assassination attempt on Pope Gregory II's life. When the attempt failed, Eutychius turned his attention to the Lombards. His attempts to bribe them eventually gained results; the Lombard King Liutprand was promised assistance in subjecting the duchies of Benevento and Spoleto to his authority, in exchange for the king's help in removing the pope. Gregory, however, met with Liutprand, and convinced him to abandon the effort; Eutychius was still given troops to help put down the rebellions within the exarchate.

Conflict with the Lombards resulted in disaster in 737, when the city of Ravenna was seized by Liutprand. Further warfare erupted in 739. Pope Gregory III had supported the dukes of Benevento and Spoleto against Liutprand, causing the latter to invade central Italy. The exarchate, as well as the Duchy of Rome, was ravaged. In 740 Eutychius and Gregory appealed to Venice to liberate Ravenna, which they succeeded in doing. Nevertheless, it was clear the Byzantine authority in Italy was falling apart, an inevitability that caused the pope to appeal to Charles Martel of the Franks that same year.

Shortly after the ascension of Pope Zachary in 741, Liutprand again planned to capture Ravenna. Zachary, however, marched north; he met Eutychius near Rimini, and then entered Ravenna to the joy of the local citizenry. Continuing on to the Lombard capital of Pavia, Zachary convinced Liutprand to abort the expedition, and to restore some of the territory he had captured. Several years later, however, the new Lombard king Aistulf captured Ravenna in 751, and around this time Eutychius was killed fighting against the Lombards. His death put an end to the Exarchate of Ravenna; the papacy, however, would claim the former imperial territory, and assisted the help of the Franks in recovering it.


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