Front Page Titles (by Subject) 5.: THE RACE OF HERACLIUS AND NICETAS — ( P. 85 , 86 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8
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5.: THE RACE OF HERACLIUS AND NICETAS — ( P. 85 , 86 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 8 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 8.
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THE RACE OF HERACLIUS AND NICETAS — (P. 85, 86)
The story of the friendly race for empire between Heraclius and Nicetas did not awaken the scepticism of Gibbon. It rests on the authority of Nicephorus (p. 3, ed. de Boor) and Theophanes (sub ann. 6101, p. 297, ed. de Boor), who doubtless derived it from the same source. On political grounds, the story seems improbable, but the geographical implications compel us to reject it as a legend. The story requires us to believe that Nicetas, starting from Carthage at the same time as Heraclius and marching overland, had the smallest chance of reaching Constantinople before his competitor’s fleet.
There can be no doubt, I think, that the elevation of Nicetas was not contemplated by the two fathers — if it were not as an “understudy” to Heraclius in case anything befell him. The part assigned to Nicetas in the enterprise was not to race Heraclius, but to occupy Egypt, and then to support Heraclius so far as was necessary; and doubtless Nicetas started to perform his work before Heraclius put forth to sea. The possession of Egypt, the granary of the Empire, was of the utmost importance for a pretender to the throne; and its occupation was probably the first care of the African generals.
In this connection it seems to me that a notice of Sebaeos deserves attention. This historian states that “the general Heraclius revolted against Phocas, with his army, in the regions of Alexandria, and wresting Egypt from him reigned therein” (c. 21, p. 79-80 in Patkanian’s Russ. tr.); and the order of his narrative seems to place this event considerably before the overthrow of Phocas. The statement of course is not strictly correct; Sebaeos himself probably did not distinguish the elder from the younger Heraclius; but the fact that Egypt was occupied (by Nicetas) at the instance of the elder Heraclius, seems to be preserved in this notice, uncontaminated by the legend of the race for the diadem.