After deposing the disastrous Emperor Phocas, the new Emperor Heraclius faced the daunting task of saving the empire from simultaneous and full-scale Persian and Avar invasions. In his mid-thirties, of Armenian stock, but familiar with not much more than northwestern Africa, Heraclius had limited military and political experience and only such legitimacy as he could claim for having overthrown a usurper. The Persian King Khusrau II considered him no more legitimate than Phocas had been. On the other hand, no one living had a better claim to the Byzantine throne than Heraclius did, and he possessed an instinctive doggedness and strategic sense that allowed him to survive and to grow into his position.
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