PRINCIPAL COMBATANTS: Byzantines vs. Muslims
PRINCIPAL THEATER(S): Cyprus and Armenia
MAJOR ISSUES AND OBJECTIVES: Byzantine emperor
Constantine V sought to retake lands lost to the Muslims.
OUTCOME: The Byzantines prevailed, recapturing Cyprus and Armenia.
APPROXIMATE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF MEN UNDER ARMS: Unknown
An Iconoclast like his father, Leo III (c. 680–741), Con-stantine V Copronymus (718–775) assumed the Byzantine throne in 741. He had been nominal coruler since infancy, and now as sole emperor was determined to regain lands lost to the Muslims in previous conflicts. Learning in 741 that the Muslim realms were torn by internal strife, he led an army into Syria, where he quickly retook certain border areas. But Constantine V was soon forced to return home because of internal problems: the religious revolt of the Second Iconoclastic War. Once the rebellion was put down, he invaded Syria again, this time taking even more land. Constantine’s fleet met that of the Arabs near Cyprus and defeated it. Following this the Muslims fled the island in 746.
By 752 Constantine had managed to retake all of Armenia after defeating the Muslims weakened by the Muslim Civil War (743–747) in a series of engagements in that region. Constantine V was as much a general as he was an emperor, and as a Byzantine commander he amassed a record of great military successes.