Nika Revolt

   Revolt of 11-19 January 532 that nearly overthrew Justinian I (q.v.). Before it was suppressed, the rioters (whose watchword was Nika, meaning "Conquer!") had burned down Hagia Sophia (q.v.), the Church of St. Irene, the baths of Zeuxippus, the Chalke, and part of the Augustaion (qq.v.). Hatred of Justinian I's autocracy, most visible in John of Cappadocia's (q.v.) fiscal oppression of aristocrats and commoners alike, was the underlying cause. The immediate spark was a riot in the Hippodrome (q.v.) over the emperor's (q.v.) refusal to pardon members of the Blues and Greens for a previous disturbance in the Hippodrome. Once these factions joined forces, the violence began. Only the strong will of Theodora (q.v.) and the personal troops of Belisarios and Mundus (qq.v.) saved Justinian's throne. Some 30,000 rioters in the Hippodrome were slaughtered, after they had crowned Hypatios (q.v.). The suppression of the revolt necessitated a grand rebuilding program that created the present Hagia Sophia (q.v.).

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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