Byzantine Empire, Constans II, 641-668, AV Solidus
Obv.Facing bust of Constans with long beard, crown and globus cruciger
Rvs.Cross potent on 3 three steps
Constans II (* 7 November 630; † 15 September 668 in Syracuse), son of Constantine III and Gregory, was Eastern Roman or Byzantine emperor from 641 to 668.
Before his coronation he was called Flavius Heraclius after his grandfather, and his name as emperor was actually Konstantinos according to the laws, but his contemporaries seem to have already called him Konstans for unexplained reasons.
Konstans was elevated to Caesar by his father Constantine after the latter's accession to power in January 641. In the autumn of 641, at the age of eleven, he was brought to the throne by a court party led by the senior military officer Valentinus, the comes excubitorum, who had overthrown his uncle Heraclonas, the half-brother of his father, who had died in the meantime, after a few months. Constans was married to Valentinus' daughter Fausta. The marriage produced three sons, the eldest of whom, Constantine, was elevated to co-emperor in 654; the two younger sons Herakleios and Tiberios also advanced to co-emperor in 659.
Constantine's brother Theodosios, on the other hand, was passed over and executed as an alleged usurper in 660.
In the first years of the still minor emperor's reign, the Eastern Roman Senate seems to have had real political significance for the last time; senators effectively conducted official business and acted as advisors. This phase ended when the ruler himself took over the government at the age of 18. Prior to this, there had been an attempted coup by the military, which had unsuccessfully sought power in 644 or 645 with the participation of Valentinus. The putschists were defeated and Valentinus was lynched by the capital population.
Domestically, the emperor, who was apparently not particularly popular and repeatedly the target of attacks, once again tried to assert his claim to rule over the church.
In the context of religious policy, there was also a conflict with the papacy regarding its 648 ban on a discussion of the question of whether Jesus had had one or two natures (see Monophysitism and Monotheletism). This dispute led to the persecution in Asia Minor of Constantine-Silvanus and the faith he preached, and to the condemnation of Maximus Confessor by an imperial court. Furthermore, this led to the imprisonment, deportation and banishment of Pope Martin I because he enforced the condemnation of monotheletism and its proponents in a synod in Rome in 649.
In 666, Constans withdrew the supremacy of the Church of Ravenna from Rome and made it an independent church. Two unsuccessful usurpations in Carthage and Ravenna probably also belong in this context. Constans was apparently quite unpopular with the people of Constantinople as a ruler, which is possibly an explanation for his later campaigns in the West.
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