Heraclius Constantine

Heraclius Constantine (Latin: Flavius Heraclius novus Constantinus; Greek: Ἡράκλειος Κωνσταντῖνος, translit. Herakleios Konstantinos; 3 May 612 – c. May 641), often enumerated as Constantine III,[b] was one of the shortest reigning Byzantine emperors, ruling for three months in 641. He was the eldest son of Emperor Heraclius and his first wife Eudokia.

Heraclius Constantine
Emperor of the Romans
Solidus Heraclius Constantine Obverse.jpg
Solidus of Heraclius Constantine (right) with his father Heraclius (left)
Byzantine emperor
Reign11 February – 25 May 641
Coronation22 January 613[1]
Born3 May 612[1]
Died25 May 641[a] (aged 29)
Chalcedon, Bithynia
(now Kadıköy, Istanbul, Turkey)
IssueConstans II
Heraclius Constantinus[4]
Regnal name
Flavius Heraclius novus Constantinus[4]
DynastyHeraclian dynasty
ReligionChalcedonian Christianity


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.[6] 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.[8]

Constantine became senior Emperor when his father died on 11 February 641. He reigned together with his younger half-brother Heraclonas, the son of Martina. His supporters feared action against him on the part of Martina and Heraclonas, 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. He died of tuberculosis after only three months, on 25 May, leaving Heraclonas sole emperor.[8] 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.[6]


In 629 or 630, Constantine married Gregoria, the daughter of Niketas.[6] They had two sons:


  1. ^ Or, according to the Necrologium, 20 April, which would make a total reign of 99 days (counting from 11 January) as opposed to the "103 days" (from 11 February) indicated by Nikephoros.[2] The latter date, 11 February, is traditionally the most accepted.[3]
  2. ^ The Byzantines themselves did not use regnal numbers, which are instead applied to the emperors by modern historians. There is particular confusion surrounding the name 'Constantine III' as it is also applied to the earlier Constantine III (r. 407–411) of the Western Roman Empire. The name has also, rarely, been used as an alternative name for Heraclius Constantine's son Constans II.[5] The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium uses 'Herakleios Constantine' instead of 'Constantine III'[6] and uses 'Constantine III' solely for the Western emperor,[7] while the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire uses the numeral solely for the Byzantine emperor.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Chronicon Paschale, Olympiad 348.
  2. ^ Grierson 1962, p. 48.
  3. ^ Franzius 2021.
  4. ^ a b c PLRE, pp. 349–350.
  5. ^ Foss 2005, pp. 93–94.
  6. ^ a b c d ODB, p. 917.
  7. ^ ODB, pp. 500, 917.
  8. ^ a b Ostrogorsky 1956, pp. 100–101.
  9. ^ Bury 1889, p. vi.


Heraclius Constantine
Born: 3 May 612 Died: 25 May 641
Regnal titles
Preceded by Byzantine emperor
with Heraclius, 613–641
Heraclonas, 641
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Heraclius in 611, then lapsed
Consul of the Roman Empire
Succeeded by
Heraclonas in 639