a popular uprising that took place in Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, on Jan. 11–17, 532. It received its name from the slogan and password of the insurgents: “Nika!” (“Conquer!”).
The Nika revolt was provoked by oppressive taxation, oppression by the authorities, and the religious policies of Emperor Justinian, who persecuted heretics and pagans. The Monophy-sites played an active role in the revolt. The artisans, petty merchants, and the poor of Constantinople who belonged to the circus parties of the Venetoi and Prasinoi banded together, attacked government institutions, and set fire to the city. Justinian was besieged in his palace. His concessions (the dismissal of high officials) failed to satisfy the insurgents. The emperor prepared to flee. Opposition-minded senators joined the movement. The Nika insurgents proclaimed as emperor the nephew of Anastasius I, Hypatius.
Soon, however, the revolt became a threat to the aristocracy; the people destroyed tax rolls and demolished the homes of the wealthy. This helped the government to split the movement. Narses succeeded in bribing the leaders of the Venetoi party. With the aid of mercenary detachments of Goths and Heruli (commanded by Justinian’s generals Belisarius and Mundus), the Nika insurrection was crushed, and about 35,000 persons were killed. Hypatius and his brother were executed, and many senators were exiled. Justinian’s position was temporarily strengthened.
Z. V. UDAL’TSOVA