Constantine III (Byzantine emperor)

Constantine III (Latin: Heraclius Novus Constantinus Augustus; Greek: Ἡράκλειος νέος Κωνσταντῖνος, Herákleios néos Kōnstantînos; 3 May 612 – 20 April or 24/26 May 641) was the shortest reigning Byzantine emperor, ruling for four months in 641. He was the eldest son of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and his first wife Eudokia.

Constantine III
Emperor of the Romans
Solidus Heraclius Constantine Obverse.jpg
Solidus of Emperor Constantine III (right) with his father Heraclius (left)
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
ReignFebruary 641 – May 641
PredecessorHeraclius
SuccessorHeraklonas
Co-emperorHeraklonas
Born3 May 612
Died24 May 641 (aged 28 or 29)
Chalcedon, Bithynia
SpouseGregoria
IssueConstans II
Theodosius
Manyanh (Maria)
Names
Heraclius Novus Constantinus
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Heraclius Novus Constantinus Augustus
DynastyHeraclian Dynasty
FatherHeraclius
MotherEudokia

ReignEdit

Constantine was crowned co-emperor by his father on 22 January 613 and shortly after was betrothed to his cousin, Gregoria, a daughter of his father's first cousin, Nicetas. As the couple were second cousins, the marriage was technically incestuous, but this consideration must have been outweighed by the advantages of the match to the family as a whole. Furthermore, its illegality paled into insignificance beside Heraclius' marriage to his niece Martina the same year. In comparison, Constantine's marriage was far less scandalous than that of his father.

Constantine and Gregoria married in 629 or perhaps early 630 and in that year their first child, Constans II was born. Their second child was another son, Theodosius. They also had a daughter named Manyanh (Maria) who later married the last Sassanid King of Persia, Yazdgerd III.

Constantine became senior Emperor when his father died in 641. He reigned together with his younger half-brother Heraklonas, the son of Martina. His supporters feared action against him on the part of Martina and Heraklonas, and the treasurer Philagrius advised him to write to the army, informing them that he was dying and asking for their assistance in protecting the rights of his children. He also sent a vast sum of money, more than two million solidi (gold coins), to Valentinus, an adjutant of Philagrius, to distribute to the soldiers to persuade them to secure the succession for his sons after his death. Indeed, he died of tuberculosis after only four months, leaving Heraklonas sole emperor. A rumor that Martina had him poisoned led first to the imposition of Constans II as co-emperor and then to the deposition, mutilation, and banishment of Martina and her sons.

FamilyEdit

By his wife Gregoria, the daughter of Niketas, Constantine III had two sons and one daughter:

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

LiteratureEdit

  • Ostrogorsky, George (1956). History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
Constantine III (Byzantine emperor)
Born: 3 May 612 Died: 20 April or 24/26 May 641
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Heraclius
Byzantine emperor
613–641
with Heraclius, 613–641
Heraklonas, 641
Succeeded by
Heraklonas