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Martinus or Marinus was briefly co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire from September/October 641–September/October 641. Martinus was the son of Emperor Heraclius and Empress Martina. After the death of Heraclius, the Byzantine Empire was left to two of Martinus' brothers, Constantine III and Heraklonas. Heraklonas was left the sole emperor, under the regency of Martina, after Constantine died of tuberculosis, although partisans of Constantine alleged that Martina had Constantine poisoned. One such partisan, Valentinus, led troops to Chalcedon to force Martina to make Constans II, the son of Constantine, co-emperor. In late September/October 641, Martina raised Martinus to co-emperor, as well as Tiberius and Constans. Valentinus seized Constantinople regardless, and deposed Martina and Heraklonas, and cut off Martinus' nose and emasculated him, before exiling him to Rhodes.

Emperor of the Romans
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
ReignSeptember/October 641 –
September October 641
SuccessorConstans II
Co-emperorsHeraklonas (February 641–September/October 461), Tiberius (September/October 461–September/October 461), Constans II (September/October 641–15 September 668)
DynastyHeraclian Dynasty
Heraclian dynasty
Heraclius 610–641
with Constantine III as co-emperor, 613–641
Constantine III 641
with Heraklonas as co-emperor
Heraklonas 641
with Tiberius, Martinus, and Constans II as co-emperors (September/October 641–September/October 641)
Constans II 641–668
with Constantine IV (654–668), Heraclius and Tiberius (659–668) as co-emperors
Constantine IV 668–685
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
Preceded by
Justinian dynasty and Phocas
Followed by
Twenty Years' Anarchy


Map of the Byzantine Empire in 650, after the loss of Egypt and other territories to Muslim conquest

Martinus was born to Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and Empress Martina at an unknown date. Martinus was declared a nobilissimus under Heraclius, while the elder brother Tiberius was made caesar on 4 July 638.[1][2] According to the Byzantine historian Nicephorus Gregoras, Martinus was also made caesar on the same day, however the later historian and Emperor Constantine VII mentions only Tiberius.[3][2] A partially preserved papyrus letter known as SB VI 8986, and CPR XXIII 35, shows that Martinus was definitely promoted to caesar at some point between 639 and 640, although the exact dating is debated: The German papyrologist who restored SB VI 8986, de:Fritz Mitthof, and the Byzantine historian Nicolas Gonis argue for a date range between October 639 and September 640,[4][5] whereas Byzantine scholar Constantin Zuckerman argues for a range between 4 January 639 and 8 November 639.[5]

According to John of Nikiu, David and his brother Martinus were involved in the banishment of Pyrrhus of Constantinople to the Exarchate of Africa. This could be seen as a reaction to Pyrrhos bypassing David and Martinus after the death of Heraclius. However, the two princes were too young at the time to have taken an active role in any banishment and the account by John of Nikiu is so contradictory that no safe conclusions can be drawn from it.[6][2] The main source for the life of Tiberius is John of Nikiu.[7]

When Heraclius died on 111 February 641, he declared in his will that Constantine III and Heraklonas would co-rule the empire under the regency of Martina. The Byzantine Senate accepted Constantine III and Heraklonas as co-emperors, but rejected Martina as empress-regent.[8][9][10] On April 20/24 or May 26 641, Constantine died of an advanced case of tuberculosis, although some supporters of Constantine alleged that Martina had him poisoned, leaving Heraklonas as the sole ruler. under the regency of Martina.[11][12][10] In August 641, Valentinus, a general who had been loyal to Constantine before his death, led his troops to Chalcedon to force Martina to elevate Constans II to co-emperor. A mob rose up in the city, demanding that Pyrrhus must crown Constans II as emperor,[13][14][15] and then abdicate, to be replaced by his steward Paul II. Martina, now in a truly desperate situation, offered the military further donatives, recalled Philagrius from Africa, and offered Valentinus the title of Count of the Excubitors.[13][12]

In late September/October, Martina elevated Constans to co-emperor, but also raised Heraklonas' brothers, Martinus and Tiberius to co-emperors alongside them.[9] Despite these offers, Valentinus entered the city in September/October, deposed Heraklonas and Martina, and then elevated Constans to emperor.[13][12] Heraklonas, Martina, Tiberius, and Martinus are said by John of Nikiu to have been "escorted forth with insolence", where following, Valentinus had Martinus' nose cut off, emasculated him and then banished him to Rhodes, where he stayed until his death.[1][16][7] Another son, Theodosius, suffered no punishment as he was deaf-mute,[7] and thus was not in a position to threaten the throne.[17]


Primary sourcesEdit


  1. ^ a b PmbZ, Martinos (#4774 /corr.).
  2. ^ a b c Gonis 2008, p. 199.
  3. ^ Garland 2002, p. 256.
  4. ^ Gonis 2008, pp. 199–202.
  5. ^ a b Zuckerman 2010, p. 875.
  6. ^ PmbZ, David (#1241 /corr.).
  7. ^ a b c Garland.
  8. ^ Treadgold 1997, pp. 306–307.
  9. ^ a b PmbZ, Heraklonas (#2565/corr.).
  10. ^ a b Moore.
  11. ^ Treadgold 1997, pp. 308–309.
  12. ^ a b c Bellinger & Grierson 1992, p. 390.
  13. ^ a b c Treadgold 1997, p. 309.
  14. ^ Stratos 1968, p. 88.
  15. ^ Stratos 1968, p. 179.
  16. ^ Garland 2002, p. 70.
  17. ^ Stratos 1968, p. 204.


  • Bellinger, Alfred Raymond; Grierson, Philip, eds. (1992). Catalogue of the Byzantine Coins in the Dumbarton Oaks Collection and in the Whittemore Collection: Phocas to Theodosius III, 602-717. Part 1. Phocas and Heraclius (602-641). Dumbarton Oaks. ISBN 9780884020240.
  • Garland, Lynda (2000). "Martina (Second Wife of Heraclius)". De Imperatoribus Romanis. Archived from the original on 13 August 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  • Garland, Lynda (2002). Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. ISBN 9781134756391.
  • Gonis, Nikolaos (2008). "SB VI 8986 and Heraclius' Sons". Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. 166: 199–202. JSTOR 20476531.
  • Lilie, Ralph-Johannes; Ludwig, Claudia; Pratsch, Thomas; Zielke, Beate (2013). Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit Online. Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Nach Vorarbeiten F. Winkelmanns erstellt (in German). Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter Missing or empty |title= (help)
  • Moore, R. Scott (1996). "Heraklonas (April/May - September 641 A.D.)". De Imperatoribus Romanis. Archived from the original on 25 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  • Stratos, A. N. (1968). Byzantium in the Seventh Century. Amsterdam: Hakkert. OCLC 271030914.
  • Treadgold, Warren (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford: Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804726306.
  • Zuckerman, Constantin (2010). On the Title and Office of the Byzantine Basileus. Paris: Association des Amis du Centre D'Histoire et Civilisation de Byzance. ISBN 978-2-916716-28-2.