Constantine II (emperor)

Constantine II (Latin: Flavius Claudius Constantinus; February 316 – 340) was Roman emperor from 337 to 340. Son of Constantine the Great and co-emperor alongside his brothers, his attempt to exert his perceived rights of primogeniture led to his death in a failed invasion of Italy in 340.

Constantine II
Large statue of Constantine II
Statue of Emperor Constantine II on top of the Cordonata (the monumental staircase climbing up to Piazza del Campidoglio), in Rome
Roman emperor
Augustus9 September 337 – 340 (Gaul, Hispania, and Britain)
PredecessorConstantine I
SuccessorConstantius II and Constans
Co-emperorsConstantius II (East)
Constans (Italy and Africa)
Caesar1 March 317 – 9 September 337
BornFebruary 316
Arelate, Viennensis
Died340 (aged 24)
Aquileia, Italy
Names
Flavius Claudius Constantinus[1]
Regnal name
Flavius Claudius Constantinus Iunior nobilissimus Caesar
Dominus Noster Flavius Claudius Constantinus Augustus[2]
DynastyConstantinian
FatherConstantine the Great
MotherFausta
ReligionArian Christianity

CareerEdit

 
Coin of Constantine II as caesar, marked: d·n· fl· cl· constantinus nob· ("Our Lord Flavius Claudius Constantine, Noblest Caesar")
 
Solidus of Constantine II as caesar, marked: constantinus iun· nob· caes· on the obverse ("Constantine Junior, Noblest Caesar") and victoria caesar· n·n· ("the Victory of Our Caesars")

The eldest son of Constantine the Great and Fausta, Constantine II was born in Arles in February 316[3] and raised as a Christian.

 
Aureus of Constantine II as caesar, marked: constantinus iun· nob· ("Constantine Junior, Noblest Caesar") on the obverse and virtus caesar ("the Virtue of Our Caesar") on the reverse

CaesarEdit

On 1 March 317, he was made Caesar.[4] In 323, at the age of seven, he took part in his father's campaign against the Sarmatians.[5] At age ten, he became commander of Gaul, following the death of his half-brother Crispus. An inscription dating to 330 records the title of Alamannicus, so it is probable that his generals won a victory over the Alamanni.[5] His military career continued when Constantine I made him field commander during the 332 campaign against the Goths.[citation needed]

AugustusEdit

Following the death of his father in 337, Constantine II initially became emperor jointly with his brothers Constantius II and Constans,[6] with the Empire divided between them and their cousins, the caesars Dalmatius and Hannibalianus.[7] This arrangement barely survived Constantine I’s death, as his sons arranged the slaughter of most of the rest of the family by the army.[8] As a result, the three brothers gathered together in Pannonia[5] and there, on 9 September 337,[1][8] divided the Roman world among themselves. Constantine, proclaimed Augustus by the troops[1] received Gaul, Britannia and Hispania.[9]

 
Division of the Roman Empire among the Caesars appointed by Constantine I: from west to east, the territories of Constantine II, Constans I, Dalmatius and Constantius II. After the death of Constantine I (May 337), this was the formal division of the Empire, until Dalmatius was killed and his territory divided between Constans and Constantius.

He was soon involved in the struggle between factions rupturing the unity of the Christian Church.[5] The Western portion of the Empire, under the influence of the Popes in Rome, favoured Catholicism over Arianism, and through their intercession they convinced Constantine to free Athanasius, allowing him to return to Alexandria.[10] This action aggravated Constantius II, who was a committed supporter of Arianism.[citation needed][11]

Constantine was initially the guardian of his younger brother Constans, whose portion of the empire was Italia, Africa and Illyricum. Constantine soon complained that he had not received the amount of territory that was his due as the eldest son.[8] Annoyed that Constans had received Thrace and Macedonia after the death of Dalmatius, Constantine demanded that Constans hand over the African provinces, to which he agreed in order to maintain a fragile peace.[8][12] Soon, however, they began quarreling over which parts of the African provinces belonged to Carthage, and thus Constantine, and which belonged to Italy, and therefore Constans.[13]

Further complications arose when Constans came of age and Constantine, who had grown accustomed to dominating his younger brother, would not relinquish the guardianship. In 340 Constantine marched into Italy at the head of his troops.[12] Constans, at that time in Dacia, detached and sent a select and disciplined body of his Illyrian troops, stating that he would follow them in person with the remainder of his forces.[8] Constantine was engaged in military operations[6] and was killed in an ambush outside Aquileia.[12] Constans then took control of his deceased brother's realm.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Jones, Martindale & Morris, p. 223.
  2. ^ Cooley, Alison E. (2012). The Cambridge Manual of Latin Epigraphy. Cambridge University Press. p. 504. ISBN 978-0-521-84026-2.
  3. ^ Victor, 41:4
  4. ^ Victor, 41:6
  5. ^ a b c d DiMaio, Constantine II (337–340 A.D.)
  6. ^ a b Eutropius, 10:9
  7. ^ Victor, 41:20
  8. ^ a b c d e Gibbon, Ch. 18
  9. ^ Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia (2021). "Constantine II | Roman Emperor". Encyclopedia Britannica.
  10. ^ A. H. M. Jones, "The Later Roman Empire" (Baltimore, 1986), pg. 114
  11. ^ Howard, Nathan D. (26 October 2012). "Constantine II;". Wiley Online Library. Retrieved 14 November 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Victor, 41:21
  13. ^ Zosimus, 2:41–42

SourcesEdit

Primary sourcesEdit

Secondary sourcesEdit

External linksEdit

Constantine II (emperor)
Born: 316 Died: 340
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Constantine I
Roman emperor
337–340
With: Constantius II and Constans
Succeeded by
Constantius II
Constans
Political offices
Preceded by
Constantine I
Licinius Caesar
Consul of the Roman Empire
320–321
with Constantine I ,
Crispus,
Licinius,
Licinius Caesar
Succeeded by
Petronius Probianus
Amnius Anicius Julianus
Preceded by
Acilius Severus
Vettius Rufinus
Consul of the Roman Empire
324
with Crispus
Succeeded by
Sex. Anicius Faustus Paulinus
Valerius Proculus
Preceded by
Ianuarinus
Vettius Iustus
Consul of the Roman Empire
329
with Constantine I
Succeeded by
Gallicanus
Aurelius Valerius Tullianus Symmachus