Constantius II ruled the Roman Empire between 337-361 CE. He was the second son of Constantine the Great and Fausta. Constantius was a devout follower of Arianism Christianity. Ruling for 24 years, he was the longest reigning son of Constantine and therefore, arguably, the most successful.
Ammianus Marcellinus records his life and reign in great detail. However, the hostility of the historian has forever marred the reputation of this successful emperor, recording that his reign was plagued by imperial insecurity, court intrigue and an inability to solve widespread religious controversies.
Constantius was responsible for the slaughter of his cousins and uncles, of Theodora's line during the great massacre of 337 CE. Such a slaughter within the imperial family itself was unprecedented. Murdering his relatives (such as Dalmatius, Hannibalianus and Julius Constantius), whom he saw as challengers to his and his brothers' ascensions to the throne, Constantius secured his own position within the Empire. The only two male members of this line of the imperial family to survive were Gallus and Julian. Thus, after this slaughter and the division of the empire between Constantine's sons, Constantius was able to secure the most prestigious and wealthiest provinces in the east for himself, and perhaps more importantly; Constantinople – the new capital of the Roman Empire. Eventually, after the death of his brothers; Constantine II and Constans, he became sole ruler of the Roman Empire. However, learning the lessons from Diocletian and Constantine the Great he realised that to rule and secure the empire on his own was impossible, thus throughout his reign he subsequently promoted his only surviving male relatives, Gallus and later Julian as his Caesars.
Constantius was especially skilled at cementing the internal stability of the Empire.
Defending the Empire
The main criticism levelled at Constantius was his cautious and defensive foreign policy. This is understandable given that most Roman contemporaries, even in the Later Roman Empire, were still obsessed with the idea of conquest and expansion. Yet this defensive policy safeguarded the frontiers of the empire against the Sassanian Empire – which was resurgent during the reign of the ambitious and skilful Shapur II – and the increased threat of the Germanic tribes in the west. His policy was also extremely important in protecting and conserving Rome's limited manpower strength. The vicious cycle of usurpation, civil war and dynastic murder had led to wider imperial insecurity and vulnerability, making aggressive foreign campaigns ever more dangerous and unwise. The civil wars that had wrecked the empire were particularly damaging and always proved a huge drain on Roman manpower. For example, during Constantine's conflict with Magnentius, his brothers' murderer, Constantius lost 40% of his men while his rival's army suffered a loss of 2/3.
Therefore, although Constantius' foreign policy of defence and containment received a lot of criticism it proved a lot more effective than an aggressive policy would have done and indeed it actually formed the precedent for the later overall strategy of the Roman Empire.
Constantius was especially skilled at cementing the internal stability of the Empire – a fact that is often overlooked considering the bloody civil wars and unrest that had previously threatened the empire. During his reign he faced many varied internal threats and challengers. These included;
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1) Vertranio: who had briefly been proclaimed by the Danube legions, was quickly disposed of
2) Magnentius: survived three years of war with his brothers' killer. Finally defeated him at the battle of Mons Seleuci. (later proscribed the followers of Magnentius [Amm. Marc. 14.5.2-5])
3) Silvanus: the Frankish-born general was disposed of through a trick [Amm.Marc. 15.5.3-31]
4) Caesar Gallus: who was suspected of insubordination and was quickly checked and done away with.
5) Caesar Julian: openly rebelled against Constantius and succeeded – mainly because Constantius died before he could give battle.
It is important to note that Constantius II was the first ever Roman Emperor to publically and monumentally celebrate victory in a civil war [Amm.Marc. 21.16.14]. This was a completely new and unprecedented move by a Roman Emperor, especially when one considers that in the early empire Octavian changed his name to Augustus in order to actively distance himself from civil conflict. Constantius' decision to do this underlines the fact that the ability to protect against internal threats was now a major prerequisite of being a successful emperor during the Later Roman Empire.
Ammianus criticises Constantius throughout his narrative for his paranoia and his susceptibility to court intrigue and scheming courtiers. The historian states that this paranoia created a culture of suspicion and fear in Rome [Amm.Marc.21.16.8-9 & 21.6.1-3 & 8-10]. However, given all the schemes and plots against him his suspicions seem highly justified – indeed if more Roman Emperors had been so 'paranoid' perhaps fewer would have fell victim to palace coups and military rebellions.
Constantinople & Relgion
Given that Constantius was the longest living and most documented of the sons of Constantine it is in his reign that we can best see how the reforms introduced earlier by Constantine the Great developed and worked. This is especially true for the reign of Constantius as he did not change much himself but instead chose to continue with the administrative systems set in place by his father. For example, he ensured the distinction between military and civil posts.
During his reign Constantinople increased in importance becoming more clearly recognisable as an equal to the Eternal City; Rome. Under Constantius the city increasingly became the centre of the Empire. He was the patron of many important building projects in the city; granaries, Horrea Constantia, bath houses and a library. In addition, the Church of the Holy Apostles was remodelled and improvements were made to the water supply.
Indeed after his work in the city the orator Themistius (Oration 3) stated that Constantinople was now no longer a second city but a true rival to Rome itself.
Constantius also furthered the religious policies of the Constantinian Dynasty. With the Edict of 365 CE he ordered the closure of all pagan temples, forbade access to them and prohibited the performance of sacrifice both private and public; stating that those who disobeyed were to be executed [Cod. Theod. 16.10.4]. Laws such as this and others were specifically designed to break the power and institution of temples in pagan religious practice. Temples were central to almost every activity in paganism, acting as sites of celebration of the cults. Therefore, Constantius' policies were evidently a direct attack on paganism. The Emperor also had the famous statue of Victory removed from the Senate house in Rome as he believed no Christian should have to work in the shadow of a pagan monument. However, other practices were allowed to remain such as the burning of incense and candles which would, interestingly, later be adopted by Christianity.
Constantius died of an illness in 361 CE while marching to do battle with his Caesar, Julian, who had rebelled and claimed the title of Augustus.
Why the Romans Are Important in the Debate About Gay Marriage
Mr. Frakes has taught in the History Dept. at Clarion University since 1991. He is the author of Contra Potentium Iniurias: The Defensor Civitatis and Late Roman Justice (2001) and Writing for College History (2004).
Continuing legislative measures attempting to ban gay marriage show that this issue, so critical in our last national election, remains a controversial topic. Since many of our political institutions are derived from ancient Roman precedents, a quick look at Roman laws regarding homosexuality serves to illustrate what may be driving some of the current controversy surrounding gay unions in the United States.
While the world of the ancient Greeks seems to have tolerated homosexuality (as seen in the poems of Sappho and the dialogues of Plato), that of the Romans was more cautious. Romans in the period of the Roman Republic and early empire tended to perceive the Greek acceptance of male homosexuality as less than male and, thus, literally unvirtuous (Vir being the Latin word for man). Indeed, a Roman term for effeminacy was &ldquoGraeculus&rdquo&mdash&ldquoa little Greek!&rdquo
The earliest Roman law regarding homosexuality appears to have been the Lex Scantinia that was passed by the Roman assembly at some point in the Roman Republic (perhaps in the second century BC). Although the text of this law itself has not survived, later Roman jurists of the second and third century AD describe how it outlawed the homosexual rape of young male Roman citizens. Consensual male or female homosexual unions apparently were not legislated against. Although there is scholarly debate, Roman literature of the republic and early empire suggests that men who engaged in consensual liaisons were often mocked as unmanly, but consensual homosexual sex itself was not illegal.
This would change in the later Roman Empire. While the first three centuries of the empire saw no legislation as far as we can tell regarding homosexuality, aside from the continuation of the Lex Scantinia as marked by its citation by the Roman jurists, in the fourth century there would be dramatic new laws condemning male homosexuality. Most scholars interpret a convoluted law from the year 342 AD surviving in both the Theodosian Code and the Code of Justinian as a decree from the emperors Constantius II and Constans that marriage based on unnatural sex should be punished meticulously. Although Constans himself was later denounced as having male lovers, this trend of the emperors in condemning male homosexuality in laws would continue. In a law of 390, surviving in the Theodosian Code and the Lex Dei (&lsquoLaw of God&rsquo), the emperors Valentinian, Theodosius, and Arcadius ordained that any man taking the role of a woman in sex would be publicly burned to death.
These laws certainly demonstrate a change from the Roman Republic where, to be sure, homosexual rape of male citizens was condemned but consensual homosexual sex was tolerated, even if sometimes mocked. Why did this change occur? The answer is fairly straightforward and lies ultimately in the results of the actions of the famous Roman emperor Constantine. In 312, this father of the emperors Constantius II and Constans had reached out to Christianity as the basis for his authority. Throughout the next 25 years of his reign, Constantine supported Christianity and gave financial help to the Church and legal sanction to some of the bishops&rsquo powers. As his sons came of age in an increasingly Christian society, they and many of their advisors would have grown up with Biblical strictures. Thus, the pronouncements of the Book of Leviticus (18. 22, 20. 13) against male homosexuality as an abomination punishable by death in God&rsquos eyes would logically have influenced writers of imperial law. Such strictures were reinforced in the New Testament (Romans 1. 24-27). So, it would appear that the growing influence of the Bible in an increasingly Christian Roman empire led emperors to condemn homosexual unions.
When we look at the current attempts in the United States to ban homosexual marriage, we must clarify what the premises for such measures are. If the drive to stop homosexual marriage ultimately derives from the Hebrew Bible, and its acceptance as religious truth by Christians, would not laws banning homosexual marriage be thus derived from religion? If so, such new legislation may well be an attempt to break down the &ldquoWall of Separation&rdquo between Church and State that Thomas Jefferson described as an integral aspect of American government.
Constantius II 337 AD
During the years 337 to 361, Constantius II became the emperor of Rome where he can be found on the Bible Timeline Poster. When his father died, he was made the new ruler of the empire, along with his two brothers Constans and Constantine II. By 340, there was a problem that arose between the brothers in the Roman Empire’s western provinces. As a result of this conflict, Constans became the new ruler when Constantine II died. However, he was eventually assassinated after being overthrown by Magnentius, in 350. Constantius was not pleased with having Magnentius as his new co-ruler, so he decided to defeat him at a fight that took place in Mons Seleucus and Mursa Major.
Constantius II was assigned to rule the east, and this was the original intention of his father when the empire was divided between three of his sons. It was also believed that the late Constantine the Great thought of Constantius II as capable of dealing with the threats received by the eastern provinces from the Persians. When the news about the death of Constantine the Great reached King Sapor II, he began his attacks on the Roman Empire. Fortunately, the king agreed to a truce with Constantius II in 350 AD because the former had to deal with several concerns in his own kingdom.
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Constantius had several campaigns that involved defeating the Germanic tribes. He was successful and also he was able to defeat the Alamanni, Quadi and Sarmatians. However, the war in the eastern provinces was not as successful.
By 351, Constantius was having difficulties in ruling the empire by himself. Thus, he decided to promote Constantius Gallus as Caesar, yet he was executed after reports against him were gathered that proved his corrupt and violent nature. In 355, Julian, who was Gallus’ half-brother, took his place as the new Caesar.
By the time Constantius became the sole emperor, he received some news from the eastern provinces about the violent behavior of Gallus, his cousin. There were complaints about him being a tyrant. This caused Constantius to send Gallus to a place in Mediolanum. Here, Gallus was tried to court before he was executed.
After dealing with Gallus, Constantius II was preoccupied about the Franks who were advancing over the border. In fact, Silvanus, the Frankish leader, made himself as the new emperor of Colonia Agrippina. Eventually, Silvanus was murdered, although it was not too long before the city was occupied by Germans. Hence, Constantius II appointed Julian as the new Caesar to restore peace and order in the troubled city.
In 357, Constantius II went to Rome before beginning his campaigns in the Danube to cease the Suevi, Quadi and Sarmatians. However, there was another conflict in the east broke off, which involved Sopr II, the king of Persia. Constantius II requested for Julian to send reinforcements, but the he did not obey him. Julian assumed that Constantius II was only jealous of his victories in the western provinces. Julian’s troops believed in him, and instead of following the orders of the emperor they showed loyalty to their leader by making him Augustus.
As a result, Constantius II decided to leave Mesopotamia and head off with his troops to stop the usurper without the help of Julian and his army. However, upon reaching Cilicia in 361, he suffered from sudden fever and died.
A short history of Byzantium: No. 17 Constantius II, the Byzantine autocrat (Part 1).
Constantius is arguably the most interesting of the three sons of Constantine I. He lived long enough, unlikely his brothers Constantine II and Constans, to have an immediate impact on the empire, primarily with his interference in church policies. He was after all a man who loved to wield absolute power. It was Constantius who first sat next to his father’s deathbed and schemed to put in place his plans for succession. Next he acted on behalf of his brothers to have his extended family massacred, so that there would be no doubt who was in charge. He was always prepared to put to death, murder or engage in civil war against men he considered his enemy, to hold onto his absolute grip on power.
It is true that he was a very troubled and complex individual. If you were a part of Constantius court during his reign, you needed to be prepared, as historian Peter Brown states, “to rise and fall like courtiers.” This included, at first all the bishops in his eastern provinces and those that weren’t prepared to prostate oneself to Constantius preferred view of Christianity were generally defamed and exiled. The fourth century historian Ammianus Marcellinus gives us the best account of Constantius later years, where even he is critical of Constantius for being a malign and mistrusting person. Evidence of this is found in the many purges recorded by Ammianus, especially following the defeat of Magnentius.
We will revisit Magnentius shortly but one of most important question during Constantius reign was always going to be centred around Christ’s relationship with God the father. Was Christ God or was he like God ? Under Constantine I, the issue was supposed to have been resolved, but like all good stories there is always a twist or a killjoy at hand. That killjoy according to the Trinitarian bishops was Arius and his followers. Arians, in a nutshell believed that, Christ was not of the same substance. (Christ was like god not God.) This was the view Constantius aligned himself with and he spent considerable time championing the cause of Arians, calling for numerous church councils to get his interpretation of Christianity accepted. His direct interference led to the Sirmium Creed being adopted as the new ‘official’ statement of faith. Clearly seen as a subordinate faith by many, eastern bishops who supported Constantius creed would debate forever how in fact Christ was like God, unable to truly pinpoint its reasoning for it. Without getting bogged down in the theological concepts of it all, it was never going to work, further splitting the Nicenes and Arian factions.
Icon of St. Anthanasius of Alexander. A holy man who would spend seventeen years of his life in exile for daring to stand up to no less than four emperors.
One of the most vocal critics against Constantius Arian views was Anthanasius of Alexander. A champion of the Nicene view of Christianity, he argued with and offended so many of his fellow bishops, including those of the ‘subordinate’ faith, that he was constantly in hot water. Even more worrisome, Anthanasius offended emperors with his outspoken views. Anthanasius once said that: “An Arian is a wicked thing in truth and in every respect his heart is depraved and irreligious….so also are they hostile and hateful to God.”
Constantine I would be the first emperor to exile him, but under Constantius he would suffer the greatest indignity by being framed with prostitutes for apparently libeling the empress. He would be subsequently exiled, where he would run for the safety of Rome. Only while Constans was still alive, did Anthanasius feel safe. He would be allowed to return to Alexander with Constantius pledge to his brother that no harm would come to Anthanasius. However, upon Constans murder by Magnentius, Anthanasius would suffer another long stretch in exile, this time far away in upper Egypt, out of reach from arrest and Constantius.
A gold Solidus of Constantius II celebrating fifteen years as Augustus.
These troubling times for Constantius were only a distraction for the real problems he faced. Upon his father’s death, he inherited a war with Persia. Beginning in the late 330’s, he almost exclusively worked from out of Antioch against King Shapur II. The Sassanids had always resented the fact that many decades early they had lost the Armenian region in war. Provoked by the great Constantine I, King Sharpur hoped to avenge this loss and soon after Constantine’s death, found himself fighting his son, Constantius. It is believed that for thirteen uninterrupted years, the two rulers fought in at least nine major battles. None of the battles proved to be conclusive. After the siege of Nisibis in 350 AD, Sharpur who once more failed in his attempts to achieve his objectives against Constantius, finally decided to sue for a truce. For both men this came as a relief, Sharpur could now concentrate on problems he had on his eastern borders, and Constantius could deal with a little matter involving the murder of his brother and a usurper named Magnetius.
Magnentius had been on Constantius list of things to do for many months. His brother’s death in January, 350 AD had bothered him greatly, but sensibly decided there was nothing he could do about it until the threat from Sharpur had abated. Finally when that chance came in the form of a truce with Sharpur during the summer of 350 AD (which would last for eight whole years before Sharpur resumed his fight with Rome under Julian), he eagerly marshalled his troops to deal with this stand up who threatened the rule of Constantine’s family. Though before he could venture west, he needed someone who could keep the Sassanids from breaking the peace. What he really needed was an understudy to look after the East. Having no sons of his own, Constantius would be forced to call on his cousin Gallus and make him Caesar. If we remember, Gallus and his half-brother Julian were the only two boys to survive the purge of 337 AD. It was also during this amazing moment that Constantius, presumably in a frenzy of generosity released Julian as well from ‘house arrest’, allowing the young man to pursue a scholarly education in Constantinople and other cities in the Aegean.
This generosity, of course, would not be extended to Magnentius in the west. Despite Magnentius quickly gaining the loyalty of many provinces in the west, the forthcoming bloody battle with Constantius would not save him. Even when Magnentius was reduced as Edward Gibbon described, “to sue, and to sue in vain, for peace”, Constantius would not back down. Gibbon’s bests sums up Constantius stance by finally adding that: “though he (Constantius) granted fair terms of pardon and reconciliation to all who adondoned the standard of rebellion, avowed his inflexible resolution to inflict a just punishment on the crimes of an assassin, whom he prepared to overhelm on every side by the effort of his victorius arms.”
The reign of Constantius was set against the backdrop of Christianity’s rise. He had done enough to promote and alienate the church all at the same time. He was also a tyrant, murderer and some say an inept ruler all rolled into one. It’s hard to pinpoint ever a time or a place when Constantius was at ease with the world or in fact, ever happy. Though, we do get a glimpse of an Emperor content enough to indulge his pride and curiosity in a visit to the ancient capital of Rome in 357 AD. Resembling “the appearance of a triumphal procession” Constantius entered Rome like a long-lost sovereign. He was received by the senate of Rome, observed the courts, preformed imperial ceremonies and attended the games of the circus.
In his short thirty day visit, someone somewhere surely must have seen him smile at least once? No one likely remembers, but what they will never forget is that their emperor, devoid of personality, entered Rome immobilized like a statue.
“Though he was very short he stooped when he passed under a high gate otherwise he was like a dummy, gazing straight before him as if his head were in a vice and turning neither to right nor left.” – Ammianus Marcellinus.
Constantine II was born at Arelate, the son of Constantine and Fausta. His date of birth though is reported as being at some time in February AD 317. This date though is of some doubt since it is known that Fausta’s son Constantius II was born in August of the same year. Therefore one suspects that he was either born in AD 316 or, and this well possible, Constantine II was the illegitimate child of Constantine and another woman.
In any case, before the year AD 317 was over, Constantine II was elevated to the rank of Caesar alongside his half brother Crispus. This was part of an agreement between Constantine and Licinius, who simultaneously promoted his own son, Licinius the Younger, to the same position.
In AD 320 and AD 321 Constantine II then held the consulship, first as the colleague of his father, then of Crispus. The fact of Constantine II being made consul, too young even to be able to sign his own name yet, did much to support Licinius’ accusation that Constantine was seeking to advance his sons at the expense of Licinius’ son. A matter which was a contributing factor in the eventual break between the two Augusti. In AD 324, the year of Licinius’ defeat, Constantine II held yet another consulship with Crispus.
But in AD 326 Crispus was executed for (either for treason or adultery). This left Constantine II as the senior Caesar alongside his brother and co-Caesar Constantius II who had been elevated by his father in AD 323.
In AD 332 Constantine II was sent by his father to the Danube to campaign against the Visigoths and their ruler Alaric. Naturally his was a purely ceremonial command, the actually commanding of the troops being conducted by seasoned generals rather than an unexperienced teenage, royal heir. The campaign though was very successful, a crushing victory being won over the enemy. Following this, in AD 333 Constantine II was moved to Treviri (Trier) to oversee the defence of the Rhine frontier.
In AD 335 Constantine announced the division of the empire to follow his own death, between his three sons and his nephews Dalmatius and Hannibalianus. In this division Constantine II would receive Gaul, Spain and Britain.
Though the sons would defy their Constantine’s wishes after his death in AD 337. Between them the brothers agreed to simply eliminate their cousins Dalmatius and Hannibalius. Was the reason for the murder of their cousins not have to share territory with them, then Constantine II failed to secure any additional territory for himself, remaining in control of only Britain, Gaul and Spain, though he, the eldest among the brothers, was acknowledged as the senior Augustus by the other two.
Was their very accession to power tainted by murder, then it wasn’t long before the brothers began to quarrel among themselves. One particular source of trouble was the bishop Athanasius who after fleeing to Treviri was granted permission by Constantine II to return to Alexandria which was in the domain of Constantius II, who wanted him there under no circumstances.
In an attempt to allay their differences, the brothers held a meeting either somewhere in Pannonia or at Viminacium. Among other things they tried to settle border disputes. But if these negotiations led to Constans gaining additional territory, then Constantine II was once again left only with Britain, Gaul and Spain. Was this settlement unsatisfactory for Constantine II, then soon after things were made worse when Constans became ever more unwilling to accept Constantine II’s claim to to be the senior Augustus.
In AD 340 Constantine II broke with Constans and invaded Italy, with Constans absent from Rome engaged in suppressing an uprising among the Danubian tribes. Constans hasily sent back a relatively small force to Italy, to slow the advance of the indaver, while his main army would return. But this vanguard on its own successfully staged an ambush at Aquileia in which Constantine II was killed.
A Step Towards the Purple
There is little suggestion that Julian had an interest in becoming the emperor. He preferred to get lost amongst his books, but in 355, his world was turned upside down when he was declared Caesar of the West. Constantius believed he needed a representative in Gaul after recent rebellions, so he elevated Julian&rsquos position as he was his last remaining male relative. Julian married Helena, the emperor&rsquos sister, and was sent to Gaul with a small following.
While Julian unquestionably preferred the quiet life, he showed an aptitude for military command while in Gaul. In 356, he regained Colonia Agrippina and enjoyed a significant victory over the Alamanni in 357 at the Battle of Strasbourg. Further victories included a defeat of the Salian Franks of the Lower Rhine. The historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, is arguably the best source for information on Julian. According to Marcellinus, the Caesar took his role as military commander seriously and expected his men to handle rough conditions. For instance, he hated soldiers who slept on mattresses rather than on the cold stone floor.
Back home, Constantius was becoming more unpopular. He ordered his soldiers to attack religious dissenters, and an estimated 3,000 Christians were killed in a single day in Constantinople. By now, Julian was convinced that Christianity was corroding the might and steel of the Roman Empire. While in Gaul, Julian sacrificed to Bellona, the goddess of war.
Julian on a coin &ndash Thoughtco
Constantius joutui lähes välittömästi sotaan Rooman itäisen naapurin Persian kanssa, jota johti lahjakas kuningas Shapur II. Constantius kävi tuota sotaa vaihtelevalla menestyksellä. Persia joutui lopulta luopumaan valloitusaikeistaan ja keskittymään Keski-Aasian suunnalta hyökkäävien itäisten vihollisiensa torjumiseen.
Persian lisäksi Constantiusta työllistivät Rooman sisäiset valtataistelut. Kenraali Magnentius oli vuonna 350 murhauttanut Constantiuksen veljen Constansin, joka oli hallinnut Rooman länsiosia (Konstantinus II oli kuollut jo aiemmin Constansin vastaisella sotaretkellä). Magnentius myös julistautui keisariksi, saaden tukea läntisten provinssien legioonilta. Constantius päätti välittömästi yrittää Magnentiuksen kukistamista. Kuviota monimutkaisti lisäksi se, että myös eräs Vetranio oli Tonavan legioonien tuella julistautunut keisariksi.
Constantius onnistui pian suostuttelemaan Vetranion puolelleen. On myös mahdollista, että Vetranio oli jatkuvasti toiminut Constantiuksen laskuun, pyrkien keisariksi julistautumisellaan vain hajottamaan Magnentiuksen tukijajoukkoa. Tätä teoriaa tukee se, että Vetraniota ei tapettu, kuten usurpaattoreille oli tapana tehdä.
Magnentiuksen keisarius päättyi käytännöllisesti katsoen Mursa Majorin taisteluun v. 351, jossa hän kärsi ratkaisevan tappion. Magnentius sinnitteli vielä kaksi vuotta, mutta kärsi sitten v. 353 Mons Seleucin taistelussa uuden tappion ja joutui tekemään itsemurhan. Näin Constantiuksesta tuli koko Rooman keisari. Tosin Reinjoen suunnalla oli vielä eräs Silvanus, joka vuonna 355 kapinoi keisaria vastaan ja julistautui jopa keisariksi, mutta hänet saatiin murhattua varsin vaivattomasti.
Constantius alkoi pitää päämajaansa Mediolanumissa (nykyinen Milano). Constantiuksen serkku Julianus puolestaan sai vastuulleen rauhan ylläpitämisen Germanian vastaisella rajalla. Samalla Julianus ylennettiin apukeisariksi (caesar), ja hän sai puolisokseen keisarin sisaren Helenan. Constantiuksen toisella serkulla, Constantius Galluksella, oli sen sijaan ikävämpi kohtalo, sillä keisari epäili häntä juonittelusta ja tuomitsi hänet kuolemaan vuonna 354.
Constantius joutui 350-luvun loppupuolella jälleen taistelemaan ulkoisia vihollisia vastaan, ensin Tonavan rintamalla ja sitten jälleen Persian vastaisella rajalla, jossa Shapur II:lla oli jälleen valloitusaikeita. Ollessaan idässä keskittymässä Persian vastaisiin operaatioihin, sai Constantius tiedon, että Julianus oli Germaniassa julistautunut keisariksi. Constantius lähti kohti Germaniaa kukistaakseen petollisen serkkunsa, mutta kuoli matkalla kuumetautiin.
Constantius oli suuresti kiinnostunut kristillisestä teologiasta. Hän tuki areiolaista tulkintaa Jumalan kolminaisuudesta ja pyrki kumoamaan Nikean kirkolliskokouksessa v. 325 tehdyn päätöksen, jossa oli tuomittu areiolaisuus harhaopiksi. Constantius ei ollut kuitenkaan fanaattinen areiolainen, vaan pyrki löytämään kiistoihin kompromissiratkaisun, joka olisi tyydyttänyt mahdollisimman monia kristittyjä ja taannut siten valtakuntaan uskonrauhan. Hän kutsui koolle useita kirkolliskokouksia, joissa teologisia asioita vatvottiin jokseenkin riitaisissa tunnelmissa. Lopulta areiolaisuuden kannattajat hävisivät teologisen taistelunsa, mutta tämä tapahtui vasta parikymmentä vuotta Constantiuksen kuoleman jälkeen.
Historioitsija Ammianus Marcellinuksen mukaan Constantius oli melko kyvykäs sodanjohtaja ja hallinnon järjestäjä. Hänellä oli hyvä itsehillintä, mutta lempeä hän ei ollut, vaan kykeni äärimmäiseen julmuuteen. Hänen heikkoutenaan oli alttius imartelulle. Hän oli lyhyt mies, joten hän katsoi parhaaksi tavoitella vaikuttavaa olemusta esiintymällä julkisissa tilaisuuksissa patsasmaisen jäykästi.
Ammianus kertoo myös, että Constantius pelkäsi salamurhaajia. Jopa niin paljon, että hän kaivautti vallihaudan makuuhuoneensa ympärille.
While researching military recruitment practices in the Roman Empire, Crawford came to the conclusion that Constantius, successor of Constantine the Great, deserved a book of his own. Indeed, he seems to have been at war for most of his 24-year reign, defending an empire that was much over-expanded. Crawford believes Constantius II got an undeservedly bad reputation because so many of the writings of his enemies survived. Crawford concedes the murders of his rival cousins, his attempt to assume While researching military recruitment practices in the Roman Empire, Crawford came to the conclusion that Constantius, successor of Constantine the Great, deserved a book of his own. Indeed, he seems to have been at war for most of his 24-year reign, defending an empire that was much over-expanded. Crawford believes Constantius II got an undeservedly bad reputation because so many of the writings of his enemies survived. Crawford concedes the murders of his rival cousins, his attempt to assume the direction of the various branches of the Christian church, and the deadly intrigues of the corrupt officials of his Court.
Crawford's chosen area to rehabilitate Constantius's memory is the military. Constantius was usually faced with several wars at once. Not only was this more than the empire could support, but many of the successful generals at a distance from the Court were driven to rebel by backstabbers at Court. Constantius defeated all these rebellions except the last. On the eastern front, Persia was led by the very able and ambitious Shapur II, and Constantius was able to keep even him contained.
Crawford's evaluation of historical sources shows that Constantius had enemies who were very vocal. Athanasius of Alexandria, whilom bishop, wrote a great deal, all violently opposed to Constantius. As Crawford says: “It was with his fellow Christians that Constantius found that trying to be somewhat fair to everyone was not going to be tolerated.” History considers that Constantius was an Arian, but Crawford shows that Constantius wasn’t really an Arian, that was just the term that Athanasius used to describe all his enemies of whatever form of Christian thought. Constantius wasn’t opposing a branch of religion so much as trying to bring under control people of whatever religion who created turbulence in the Empire. Constantius was most opposed to Athanasius because Athanasius was the churchman who fostered the most crime and violence.
Another vocal enemy - an earned one - is Ammianus Marcellinus, a soldier writing the history of events of his own time. Ammianus followed Ursicinus, a loyal and effective general who was eventually cashiered by Constantius and then he followed Constantius's cousin Julian, who once he was named Caesar was under constant fire at least from the Court and maybe from Constantius himself. Crawford questions Ammianus at every opportunity, but eventually concludes in his Epilogue (which is more balanced than the rest of the book) that Ammianus was probably reporting pretty fairly.
This interesting book fills a gap in 4th century history and as such deserves to be read in spite of its Doubting Thomas approach. . more
An interesting and fair biography of a not-often remembered (and poorly so when remembered) Roman Emperor from the fourth century A.D. Crawford tells an interesting story of Constantius&apos life, his place in the Constantinian dynasty, and draws a three-dimensional picture of the emperor&aposs successes and failures, both as a ruler, as a general, and as a person. The book suffers from a reliance on few sources (principally the contemporary historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who hated Constantius), but th An interesting and fair biography of a not-often remembered (and poorly so when remembered) Roman Emperor from the fourth century A.D. Crawford tells an interesting story of Constantius' life, his place in the Constantinian dynasty, and draws a three-dimensional picture of the emperor's successes and failures, both as a ruler, as a general, and as a person. The book suffers from a reliance on few sources (principally the contemporary historian Ammianus Marcellinus, who hated Constantius), but then sources from the fourth century are relatively limited. the work could also have used another pass by an editor, for it occasionally suffers from clumsy sentence structure and odd use of tenses. The Kindle copy also has more typos than it should.
Overall recommended to students of Roman history, especially those interested in the later Empire, as a good work accessible to the non-specialist. . more
Death [ править ]
Once again Constantius had his toga tugged to let another of his relatives loose on the Roman Empire. His wife Eusabia suggested he promote Gallus's younger brother Julian as Caesar. He was skinny, angsty youth who had read too much Plato and had ambitions to be a published writer. Constantius was still inclined to find or manufacture an excuse to kill his cousin but his sister Helena said Julian was a cute and wanted to marry him. In the end Constantius considered Julian less of a threat with his very gay sounding name and egg head reputation. However, to make sure, Constantius paid a fortune in bribes to hairdressers and body masseurs to get the 'in' on what Julian was really up to.
Matters all came to ahead in 361 when Constantius got the news that Julian was now developing a lot of body hair and had taken up kick boxing. Empress Eusabia had died and Constantius's new wife Faustina was pregnant ('definitely a boy' believed the emperor). This made Julian eminently disposable in Constantius's fevered mind so he requested Julian to meet him in Constantinople to reapply for his job as Caesar. Suspecting the true nature of the interview and mindful of Gallus's fate, Julian proclaimed himself emperor and marched to take over the empire. Constantius II started rallying his troops in order to combat this cheek but decided he simply couldn’t be bothered any more, so said "screw it, I've done enough to earn myself a wikipedia entry" and died. A few months later Faustina gave birth to Constantius's daughter Flavia Maxima Constantia, though later in life she went by the name of Nancy and married emperor Gratian.