Constantine Heraclius (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Ἡράκλειος, Latin: Flavius Constantinus Heraclius (Heraclianus) Augustus; 626–641), commonly known by the diminutive Heraklonas or Herakleonas (Greek: Ἡρακλωνᾶς/Ἡρακλεωνᾶς), or rarely, Heraclius II, was the son of Heraclius and his niece Martina, and was Byzantine Emperor briefly between February and September 641.
|Emperor of the Byzantine Empire|
|Reign||February 641 – September 641|
|Died||641 (aged 15)|
|with Constantine III as co-emperor, 613–641|
|with Heraklonas as co-emperor|
|with Constantine IV (654–668), Heraclius and Tiberius (659–668) as co-emperors|
|with Heraclius and Tiberius (668–681), and Justinian II (681–685) as co-emperors|
|Justinian II||685–695, 705–711|
|with Tiberius as co-emperor, 706–711|
Justinian dynasty and Phocas
Twenty Years' Anarchy
He was baptised and officially reigned as Flavius Constantinus Heraclius, but the diminutive nickname Heraklonas, little Heraclius, became established in Byzantine texts and has become standard in historiography.
Heraklonas was probably born at Lazica while his father was on campaign against Khosrau II of the Sassanid Empire. He was probably the fourth son of Martina and Herakleios, but the first one born free of physical deformity and eligible for the throne.
Towards the end of Heraclius' reign he obtained through his mother’s influence the title of Augustus on July 4, 638, and after his father’s death was proclaimed joint emperor with his older half-brother Constantine III (Herakleios Constantine).
The premature death of Constantine III, in May 641, left Heraklonas sole ruler. But a suspicion that he and Martina had murdered Constantine led soon after to a revolt under the general Valentinus, who forced Heraklonas to accept his young nephew Constans II as co-ruler. Martina intended to balance this setback with the coronation of her younger son the Caesar David (Tiberios) as emperor.
But this merely irritated the supporters of Constans II, and Valentinus spread rumors that Martina and Heraklonas intended to eliminate Constans and his supporters. The revolt which ensued toppled Heraklonas and his mother, who were subjected to mutilation and banishment. This was the first time a reigning emperor had been subjected to mutilation, which was a practice probably borrowed from the Persians; in this case, Martina's tongue and Heraklonas' nose were cut out. Nothing further is known about Heraklonas after his removal and exile to Rhodes. He is presumed to have died later that year. Constans II, the son of Constantine III, became sole emperor.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Heracleonas". Encyclopædia Britannica. 13 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 308.
- The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
- Ostrogorsky, George (1956). History of the Byzantine State. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.