He was responsible for introducing Greek as the Eastern Empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.
Heraclius's reign was marked by several military campaigns. The year Heraclius came to power, the empire was threatened on multiple frontiers. Heraclius immediately took charge of the ongoing war against the Sassanids (Persian dynasty). The first battles of the campaign ended in defeat for the Byzantines; the Persian army fought their way to the Bosphorus; however, because Constantinople was protected by impenetrable walls and a strong navy, Heraclius was able to avoid total defeat. Soon after, he initiated reforms to rebuild and strengthen the military. Heraclius drove the Persians out of Asia Minor and pushed deep into their territory, defeating them decisively in 627 at the Battle of Nineveh. The Persian king Khosrau II was overthrown and executed soon after and peace was restored to the two deeply strained empires.
However, soon after his victory he faced a new threat, the Muslim invasions. Emerging from the Arabian Peninsula, the Muslims quickly conquered the Sassanid empire. In 634 the Muslims invaded Roman Syria, defeating Heraclius' brother Theodore. Within a short period of time the Arabs would also conquer Mesopotamia, Armenia, and Egypt.
In religious matters, Heraclius is remembered as the driving force in converting the peoples migrating to the Balkan Peninsula. At his request, Pope John IV (640–642) sent Christian teachers and missionaries to Dalmatia, a newly Croatian-ruled province settled by Porga and his clan, who practiced Slavic paganism. He tried to repair the schism in the Christian church in regard to the Monophysites by promoting a compromise doctrine called Monothelitism. The Church of the East (commonly called Nestorian) was also involved in the process. Eventually, however, this project of unity was rejected by all sides of the dispute. Heraclius was the first Emperor to engage the Muslims; in the Islamic tradition he is portrayed as an ideal ruler who corresponded with Muhammad, possibly was a true believer of Islam, and viewed Muhammad as the true prophet, the messenger of God.
Think of Surah Ar-Room
Surah 30. Ar-Room – The Romans
[Author’s Note] This is the 30th Surah of the Qur’an. It has 60 verses. As stated earlier, a Surah is not restricted by its title. Only in the beginning, it alludes to the Roman Persian wars, 603-624 CE. The title is more important for reference purposes, and this Surah as well gives us many beautiful concepts in diversity.
With the Glorious Name of God, the Instant and Sustaining Source of all Mercy and Kindness
30:1 A.L.M. Alif-Laam-Meem. (Allah, Lateef the Unfathomable, Majeed the Magnificent, states that),
30:2 The Romans have been defeated,
30:3 In the nearby and the lowest land on earth. Yet, despite this defeat, they shall be victorious. [“Al-Ardhil Adna” = The lowest and nearby lands. The Dead Sea area is the lowest land on earth. Byzantine Romans were defeated at the hands of the Persians in the nearby lands of Syria-Palestine-Egypt, including, most crucially, in the Battle of the Dead Sea region, in 613-615 CE. The war between the two super powers of the times carried on from 603 To 624 CE. Muhammad (S) had been commissioned as a Prophet in 610 CE]
30:4 Within ten years! God’s is the command in the past and in the future. On that day the believers too will have cause to rejoice.
30:5 By God’s Help. For, He gives victory according to His Laws. And He is Exalted in Might, Most Merciful.
30:6 This is God’s promise. God never fails to fulfill His promise. But most people do not know (that His Laws never change).
A LETTER DICTATED BY PROPHET MUHAMMAD
This letter is kept in the monastery of Saint Catherine at Mount Sinai and the Christian communities of the Caliphate. The Greek Orthodox monks living in the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai have in their possession many precious documents going back many centuries. Their library is one of the finest in the world for ancient manuscripts. One of the most precious documents of all is the copy of a letter narrated by Prophet Muhammad to the monks in the year 628.
Its contents might come as a surprise to many, since in this precious manuscript Muslims are exhorted to protect the Christians living within their midst. The words are so beautiful that we repeat them in full here:
This is a message from Mohamed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries. No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims' houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God's covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate. >>. No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight.
The Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray. Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Judgement day.
It should be quite clear from this that, far from being a threat, Islam is actually the guardian of the Christian presence in the Middle East.