Constantinople

Constantius III, co-emperor. 8 February 421.

Constantius was a very competent Roman general who made his first appearance in history during the early Fifth Century. Like many of the Roman Empire‘s most illustrious military men, he had been born in Illyria. It is most likely that he had attained the rank of Master of Soldiers and Cavalry in the service of the Roman emperor Honorius by the year A. D. 411. He swiftly ended the rebellion and usurpation of Constantine III by trapping him in the city of Arelate. Constantine III held out for three months, then surrendered the city after the besiegers promised to spare his life. Honorius refused to honor the promise of clemency and had the ex-emperor and his son executed thirty miles outside the city of Ravenna where Honorius maintained his residence. Constantius was appointed patriciu...

Justin´s madness forces his abdication. December 7, 574.

  As insanity invaded the mind of Justin, he became aware that he had to name a colleague for succession of his throne. Passing over his own relatives, he raised, on the advice of his wife Sophia, the general Tiberius to be Caesar in December 7 574, adopting him as his son, and withdrew into retirement. According to John of Ephesus, as Justin II slipped into the madness of his final days he was pulled through the palace on a wheeled throne, biting attendants as he passed. He reportedly ordered organ music to be played constantly throughout the palace in an attempt to soothe his frenzied mind. The tardy knowledge of his own impotence determined him to lay down the weight of the diadem; he showed some symptoms of a discerning and even magnanimous spirit when he addressed his assembly, Y...

Heraclius, emperor. October 4, 610.

In 608, Heraclius the Elder, Heraclius´ father, renounced his loyalty to the Emperor Phocas. The rebels even issued coins showing both Heraclii dressed as consuls, though neither of them had claimed the imperial title. Phocas responded with executions, among them of the ex-Empress Constantina and her three daughters. Heraclius’ younger cousin Nicetas launched a successful overland invasion of Egypt, where he defeated Phocas´ army. While this invasion was taking place, the younger Heraclius sailed eastward through Sicily and Cyprus, planning to enter Constantinople. Some prominent Byzantine aristocrats came to meet Heraclius, and he arranged to be crowned and acclaimed as Emperor before even entering Constantinople. As he approached the city, and planned the attack, the Excubitors, th...

The New Capital – May 11, 330 AD

The city of Byzantium was founded in the 7th Century BC as part of the Greek colonial expansion. Byzantium had the benefits of a large seaport in the form of the Golden Horn, as well as being positioned on the way between Europe and Asia for trade by land, and the Black and Mediterranean Seas for trade by water. In 324 AD, Constantine the Great founded on the site of the still-existing city of Byzantium, and began construction of what would be called Konstantinoupolis. Rome was too distant from the frontiers of the empire, so Constantine set about plans to make some drastic changes. Over the next six years, the city grew until on May 11, 330 AD, Constantine officially dedicated Constantinople the new capital of the Roman Empire. The city was divided into 14 regions to emulate Rome. However...

The Sixth Crusade – October 17, 1244 AD

The Crusades were Catholic Church sanctioned military campaigns during the Middle Ages, beginning with pleas from the Byzantine Empire, under Alexius I, to the Pope to help with the Turkish threat in Constantinople, in 1095 AD. The last Crusade was undertaken in the 15th Century and meant to counter the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The First Crusade resulted in the creation of four Crusader States – County of Edessa, Principality of Antioch, County of Tripoli and Kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederick II was ambitious and many modern historians call him “the first modern ruler” because of the efficient centralized government system he established in Sicily and southern Italy. When he was three, he was crowned King of Sicily and co-ruled with his mother. He was King of Germany, Burgundy and It...

War of Candia – September 27, 1669 AD

Most of Crete had been conquered by the Ottoman Empire during the early part of the war against the Republic of Venice and its allies, which was the fifth Ottoman-Venetian War, and began in 1645. The capital of Crete, the fortress of Candia, managed to hold off the Ottomans in their prolonged siege of the city until the last two bloody years, finally resulting in a negotiated surrender on September 27, 1669. The Venetians lost Cyprus to the Ottomans in the fourth war (1570-1573), making Crete the last major overseas territory of their republic. The Ottomans were expanding their empire and wanted Crete for its strategic location. Although Venice and the Ottomans were technically in a period of peace, the Ottomans were still allied with Barbary pirates. When the Venetian fleet attacked and d...

An Empire Reunited – September 6, 394 AD

In 392 AD, the Roman Empire was split into the Eastern and Western empires. Valentinian II led the west, while Theodosius I was in charge of the east. Both emperors favored Christianity over the old pagan gods, causing tension between the two rulers and members of the Senate. Although there was wide-spread violence on a small scale throughout the empire over the two main religions of the empire, for the most part the debate of Christianity versus Paganism was theological and academic. That all changed when Valentinian was found dead in his residence on May 15, 392. This is a category of  roman empire coins. Arbogast, a Frankish general, was the magister militum of the Western empire, making him the de facto ruler upon the death of Valentinian. He immediately sent word to Theodosius, saying...

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