Licinius

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Licinius
Augustus of the Eastern Roman Empire
Aureus of Licinius.png
Coin of Licinius
Emperor of the Roman Empire
Reign11 November 308 – 313 (as Augustus in the west)
Predecessor Severus
Successor Constantine I
Co-emperors Galerius (Eastern Emperor, 308–311)
Maximinus II (Eastern Emperor, 311–313)
Reign313–324 (as Augustus in the east, in 314 and 324 in competition with Constantine)
PredecessorMaximinus II
SuccessorConstantine I (as ruler of the whole empire)
Co-emperorConstantine I (Western Emperor, 313–324)
Valerius Valens (late 316 – 1 March 317, appointed by Licinius, unrecognized in the West)
Martinian (July – 18 September 324, appointed by Licinius, unrecognized in the West)
Bornc. 263 [1]
Moesia Superior, near Zaječar in modern-day Serbia
DiedSpring of 325 (aged 6162)
Thessalonica
Spouse Flavia Julia Constantia
Issue Licinius II
Full name
Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius Augustus

Licinius I ( /lɪˈsɪniəs/ ; Latin : Gaius Valerius Licinianus Licinius Augustus; [note 1] [2] c. 263 – 325) was a Roman emperor from 308 to 324. For most of his reign he was the colleague and rival of Constantine I, with whom he co-authored the Edict of Milan (AD 313) that granted official toleration to Christians in the Roman Empire. He was finally defeated at the Battle of Chrysopolis (AD 324), and was later executed on the orders of Constantine I.

Roman emperor ruler of the Roman Empire

The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period. The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it reflects his taking of the title Augustus or Caesar. Another title often used was imperator, originally a military honorific. Early Emperors also used the title princeps. Emperors frequently amassed republican titles, notably princeps senatus, consul and pontifex maximus.

Edict of Milan February AD 313 agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire

The Edict of Milan was the February AD 313 agreement to treat Christians benevolently within the Roman Empire. Western Roman Emperor Constantine I and Emperor Licinius, who controlled the Balkans, met in Mediolanum and, among other things, agreed to change policies towards Christians following the Edict of Toleration issued by Emperor Galerius two years earlier in Serdica. The Edict of Milan gave Christianity a legal status, but did not make Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire; this took place under Emperor Theodosius I in AD 380 with the Edict of Thessalonica.

Battle of Chrysopolis battle

The Battle of Chrysopolis was fought on 18 September 324 at Chrysopolis, near Chalcedon, between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The battle was the final encounter between the two emperors. After his navy's defeat in the Battle of the Hellespont, Licinius withdrew his forces from the city of Byzantium across the Bosphorus to Chalcedon in Bithynia. Constantine followed, and won the subsequent battle. This left Constantine as the sole emperor, ending the period of the Tetrarchy.

Contents

Early reign

Born to a Dacian [3] [4] peasant family in Moesia Superior, Licinius accompanied his close childhood friend, the future emperor Galerius, on the Persian expedition in 298. [3] He was trusted enough by Galerius that in 307 he was sent as an envoy to Maxentius in Italy to attempt to reach some agreement about the latter's illegitimate political position. [3] Galerius then trusted the eastern provinces to Licinius when he went to deal with Maxentius personally after the death of Flavius Valerius Severus. [5]

Dacians Indo-European people

The Dacians were a Thracian people who were the ancient inhabitants of the cultural region of Dacia, located in the area near the Carpathian Mountains and west of the Black Sea. This area includes the present-day countries of Romania and Moldova, as well as parts of Ukraine, Eastern Serbia, Northern Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Southern Poland. The Dacians spoke the Dacian language, a sub-group of Thracian, but were somewhat culturally influenced by the neighbouring Scythians and by the Celtic invaders of the 4th century BC.

Moesia historical region of the Balkans

Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern parts of the modern North Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria and Romanian Dobrudja.

Galerius Roman emperor

Galerius was Roman emperor from 305 to 311. During his reign, he campaigned, aided by Diocletian, against the Sassanid Empire, sacking their capital Ctesiphon in 299. He also campaigned across the Danube against the Carpi, defeating them in 297 and 300. Although he was a staunch opponent of Christianity, Galerius ended the Diocletianic Persecution when he issued an Edict of Toleration in Serdica in 311.

Upon his return to the east Galerius elevated Licinius to the rank of Augustus in the West on November 11, 308 his immediate command were the Balkan provinces of Illyricum, Thrace and Pannonia. [4] In 310 he took command of the war against the Sarmatians, inflicting a severe defeat on them. [2] On the death of Galerius in May 311, [6] Licinius entered into an agreement with Maximinus II (Daia) to share the eastern provinces between them. By this point, not only was Licinius the official Augustus of the west but he also possessed part of the eastern provinces as well, as the Hellespont and the Bosporus became the dividing line, with Licinius taking the European provinces and Maximinus taking the Asian. [4]

Augustus (title) Ancient Roman title

Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.

Illyricum (Roman province) Roman province

Illyricum was a Roman province that existed from 27 BC to sometime during the reign of Vespasian. The province comprised Illyria/Dalmatia and Pannonia. Illyria included the area along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea and its inland mountains. With the creation of this province it came to be called Dalmatia. It was in the south, while Pannonia was in the north. Illyria/Dalmatia stretched from the River Drin to Istria (Croatia) and the River Sava in the north. The area roughly corresponded to modern northern Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and coastal Croatia. Pannonia was the plain which lies to its north, from the mountains of Illyria/Dalmatia to the westward bend of the River Danube, and included modern Vojvodina, northern Croatia and western Hungary. As the province developed, Salona became its capital.

Thrace kingdom of Thracians

Thrace is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split between Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to the north, the Aegean Sea to the south and the Black Sea to the east. It comprises southeastern Bulgaria, northeastern Greece and the European part of Turkey.

An alliance between Maximinus and Maxentius forced the two remaining emperors to enter into a formal agreement with each other. [5] So in March 313 Licinius married Flavia Julia Constantia, half-sister of Constantine I,[ citation needed ] at Mediolanum (now Milan); they had a son, Licinius the Younger, in 315. Their marriage was the occasion for the jointly-issued "Edict of Milan" that reissued Galerius' previous edict allowing Christianity (and any religion one might choose) to be professed in the Empire, [4] with additional dispositions that restored confiscated properties to Christian congregations and exempted Christian clergy from municipal civic duties. [7] The redaction of the edict as reproduced by Lactantius - who follows the text affixed by Licinius in Nicomedia on June 14 313, after Maximinus' defeat - uses neutral language, expressing a will to propitiate "any Divinity whatsoever in the seat of the heavens". [8]

Flavia Julia Constantia Roman empress

Flavia Julia Constantia was the daughter of the Roman Emperor Constantius Chlorus and his second wife, Flavia Maximiana Theodora.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,395,274 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,250,315. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Daia in the meantime decided to attack Licinius. Leaving Syria with 70,000 men, he reached Bithynia, although harsh weather he encountered along the way had gravely weakened his army. In April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, which was held by Licinius' troops. Undeterred, he took the town after an eleven-day siege. He moved to Heraclea, which he captured after a short siege, before moving his forces to the first posting station. With a much smaller body of men, possibly around 30,000, [9] Licinius arrived at Adrianople while Daia was still besieging Heraclea. Before the decisive engagement, Licinius allegedly had a vision in which an angel recited him a generic prayer that could be adopted by all cults and which Licinius then repeated to his soldiers. [10] On 30 April 313, the two armies clashed at the Battle of Tzirallum, and in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were crushed. Ridding himself of the imperial purple and dressing like a slave, Daia fled to Nicomedia. [5] Believing he still had a chance to come out victorious, Daia attempted to stop the advance of Licinius at the Cilician Gates by establishing fortifications there. Unfortunately for Daia, Licinius' army succeeded in breaking through, forcing Daia to retreat to Tarsus where Licinius continued to press him on land and sea. The war between them only ended with Daia’s death in August 313. [4]

Bithynia region in Anatolia

Bithynia was an ancient region, kingdom and Roman province in the northwest of Asia Minor, adjoining the Propontis, the Thracian Bosporus and the Euxine Sea. It bordered Mysia to the southwest, Paphlagonia to the northeast along the Pontic coast, and Phrygia to the southeast towards the interior of Asia Minor.

Bosporus strait that forms part of the boundary between Europe and Asia

The Bosporus or Bosphorus is a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. The world's narrowest strait used for international navigation, the Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas.

Byzantium ancient Greek city

Byzantium was an ancient Greek colony in early antiquity that later became Constantinople, and then Istanbul. The Greek term Byzantium continued to be used as a name of Constantinople during the Byzantine Empire, even though it only referred to the empire's capital. Byzantium was colonized by the Greeks from Megara in 657 BC, and remained primarily Greek-speaking until its fall in 1453 AD.

Given that Constantine had already crushed his rival Maxentius in 312, the two men decided to divide the Roman world between them. As a result of this settlement, Licinius became sole Augustus in the East, while his brother-in-law, Constantine, was supreme in the West. [6] Licinius immediately rushed to the east to deal with another threat, this time from the Persian Sassanids. [5]

Conflict with Constantine I

Sculptural portraits of Licinius (left) and his rival Constantine I (right). Licinius-Constantine.jpg
Sculptural portraits of Licinius (left) and his rival Constantine I (right).

In 314, a civil war erupted between Licinius and Constantine, in which Constantine used the pretext that Licinius was harbouring Senecio, whom Constantine accused of plotting to overthrow him. [5] Constantine prevailed at the Battle of Cibalae in Pannonia (October 8, 314). [4] Although the situation was temporarily settled, with both men sharing the consulship in 315, it was but a lull in the storm. The next year a new war erupted, when Licinius named Valerius Valens co-emperor, only for Licinius to suffer a humiliating defeat on the plain of Mardia (also known as Campus Ardiensis) in Thrace. The emperors were reconciled after these two battles and Licinius had his co-emperor Valens killed. [4]

Over the next ten years, the two imperial colleagues maintained an uneasy truce. [5] Licinius kept himself busy with a campaign against the Sarmatians in 318, [4] but temperatures rose again in 321 when Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging some territory in his realm, across the Danube into what was technically Licinius’s territory. [4] When he repeated this with another invasion, this time by the Goths who were pillaging Thrace under their leader Rausimod, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken the treaty between them.

Constantine wasted no time going on the offensive. Licinius's fleet of 350 ships was defeated by Constantine's fleet in 323. Then in 324, Constantine, tempted by the "advanced age and unpopular vices" [6] [5] of his colleague, again declared war against him and having defeated his army of 165,000 men [11] at the Battle of Adrianople (July 3, 324), succeeded in shutting him up within the walls of Byzantium. [6] [4] The defeat of the superior fleet of Licinius in the Battle of the Hellespont by Crispus, Constantine’s eldest son and Caesar, compelled his withdrawal to Bithynia, where a last stand was made; the Battle of Chrysopolis, near Chalcedon (September 18), [6] resulted in Licinius' final submission. [5] In this conflict Licinius was supported by the Gothic prince Alica. Due to the intervention of Flavia Julia Constantia, Constantine's sister and also Licinius' wife, both Licinius and his co-emperor Martinian were initially spared, Licinius being imprisoned in Thessalonica, Martinian in Cappadocia; however, both former emperors were subsequently executed. After his defeat, Licinius attempted to regain power with Gothic support, but his plans were exposed, and he was sentenced to death. While attempting to flee to the Goths, Licinius was apprehended at Thessalonica. Constantine had him hanged, accusing him of conspiring to raise troops among the barbarians. [5] [12]

Character and legacy

A Nummus of Licinius I Nummus of Licinius I (YORYM 2001 10248) obverse.jpg
A Nummus of Licinius I

After defeating Daia, he had put to death Flavius Severianus, the son of the emperor Severus, as well as Candidianus, the son of Galerius. [5] He also ordered the execution of the wife and daughter of the Emperor Diocletian, who had fled from the court of Licinius before being discovered at Thessalonica. [5]

As part of Constantine’s attempts to decrease Licinius’s popularity, he actively portrayed his brother-in-law as a pagan supporter. This was not the case; contemporary evidence tends to suggest that he was at least a committed supporter of Christians.[ citation needed ] He co-authored the Edict of Milan which ended the Great Persecution, and re-affirmed the rights of Christians in his half of the empire. He also added the Christian symbol to his armies, and attempted to regulate the affairs of the Church hierarchy just as Constantine and his successors were to do. His wife was a devout Christian. [13] It is even a possibility that he converted.[ citation needed ] However, Eusebius of Caesarea, writing under the rule of Constantine, charges him with expelling Christians from the Palace and ordering military sacrifice, as well as interfering with the Church's internal procedures and organization. [14]

Finally, on Licinius’s death, his memory was branded with infamy; his statues were thrown down; and by edict, all his laws and judicial proceedings during his reign were abolished. [5]

See also

Notes

  1. In Classical Latin, Licinius' name would be inscribed as GAIVS VALERIVS LICINIANVS LICINIVS AVGVSTVS.

References and sources

Related Research Articles

Constantine the Great Roman emperor

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The 310s decade ran from January 1, 310, to December 31, 319.

The 320s decade ran from January 1, 320, to December 31, 329.

The 270s decade ran from January 1, 270, to December 31, 279.

313 Year

Year 313 (CCCXIII) was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Constantinus and Licinianus. The denomination 313 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years. This year is notable for ending of the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

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Constantius Chlorus Roman emperor

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Maximinus II Roman emperor

Maximinus II, also known as Maximinus Daia or Maximinus Daza, was Roman Emperor from 308 to 313. He became embroiled in the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy between rival claimants for control of the empire, in which he was defeated by Licinius. A committed pagan, he engaged in one of the last persecutions of Christians.

Maxentius Roman emperor

Maxentius was Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius. The latter part of his reign was preoccupied with civil war, allying with Maximinus II against Licinius and Constantine. The latter defeated him at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, where Maxentius, with his army in flight, purportedly perished by drowning in the Tiber river.

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Diocletianic Persecution

The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. In 303, the Emperors Diocletian, Maximian, Galerius, and Constantius issued a series of edicts rescinding Christians' legal rights and demanding that they comply with traditional religious practices. Later edicts targeted the clergy and demanded universal sacrifice, ordering all inhabitants to sacrifice to the gods. The persecution varied in intensity across the empire—weakest in Gaul and Britain, where only the first edict was applied, and strongest in the Eastern provinces. Persecutory laws were nullified by different emperors at different times, but Constantine and Licinius's Edict of Milan (313) has traditionally marked the end of the persecution.

The Battle of Tzirallum was one of the civil wars of the Tetrarchy fought on 30 April 313 between the Roman armies of emperors Licinius and Maximinus. The battle location was on the "Campus Serenus" at Tzirallum, identified as the modern-day town of Çorlu, in Tekirdağ Province, in the Turkish region of Eastern Thrace. Sources put the battle between 18 and 36 Roman miles from Heraclea Perinthus, the modern-day town of Marmara Ereğlisi.

Martinian (emperor) Roman Emperor

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The Civil wars of the Tetrarchy were a series of conflicts between the co-emperors of the Roman Empire, starting in 306 AD with the usurpation of Maxentius and the defeat of Severus, and ending with the defeat of Licinius at the hands of Constantine I in 324 AD.

Early Christian churches in Milan

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Flavius Severianus was the son of the Roman Emperor Flavius Valerius Severus.

References

  1. Adkins, Lesley; Adkins, Roy (1998). Handbook to life in ancient Rome. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 31. ISBN   0-19-512332-8.
  2. 1 2 Lendering, Jona. "Licinius". Livius.org.
  3. 1 2 3 Jones, A.H.M.; Martindale, J.R. (1971). The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I: AD 260–395. Cambridge University Press. p. 509.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 DiMaio, Michael, Jr. (February 23, 1997). "Licinius (308–324 A.D.)". De Imperatoribus Romanis.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Gibbon, Edward (1776). "Chapter XIV". The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. II.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Licinius". Encyclopædia Britannica . 16 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 587.
  7. Carrié, Jean-Michel; Rousselle, Aline (1999). L'Empire Romain en mutation: des Sévères à Constantin, 192-337. Paris: Éditions du Seuil. p. 228. ISBN   2-02-025819-6.
  8. Lactantius, De Mort. Pers., ch. 48, cf. Internet History Sourcebooks Project, Fordham University, . Accessed July 31, 2012
  9. Kohn, George Childs, Dictionary Of Wars, Revised Edition, pg 398.
  10. Carrié & Rousselle, L'Empire Romain en Mutation, 229
  11. Grant p. 46
  12. Grant, pp. 47–48
  13. Peter J. Leithart, Defending Constantine: The Twilight of an Empire and the Dawn of Christendom . Intervarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL: 2010, ISBN   978-0-8308-2722-0, page 101
  14. James Richard Gearey, "The Persecution of Licinius". MA thesis, University of Calgary, 1999, Chapter 4. Available at . Accessed July 31, 2012.

Sources

Licinius
Born: 250 Died: 325
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Flavius Valerius Severus
Roman Emperor
308–324
Served alongside: Galerius, Constantine I, Maximinus Daia, Valerius Valens and Martinianus
Succeeded by
Constantine I
Political offices
Preceded by
Diocletian,
Galerius,
Maxentius,
Valerius Romulus
Consul of the Roman Empire
309
with Constantine I,
Maxentius,
Valerius Romulus
Succeeded by
Tatius Andronicus,
Pompeius Probus,
Maxentius
Preceded by
Galerius,
Maximinus Daia,
Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus,
Aradius Rufinus
Consul of the Roman Empire
312–313
with Constantine I,
Maxentius,
Maximinus Daia
Succeeded by
Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus,
Petronius Annianus
Preceded by
Gaius Caeionius Rufius Volusianus,
Petronius Annianus
Consul of the Roman Empire
315
with Constantine I
Succeeded by
Antonius Caecinius Sabinus,
Vettius Rufinus
Preceded by
Ovinius Gallicanus,
Caesonius Bassus
Consul of the Roman Empire
318
with Crispus
Succeeded by
Constantine I,
Licinius II
Preceded by
Constantine I,
Constantine II
Consul of the Roman Empire
321
with Licinius II,
Crispus,
Constantine II
Succeeded by
Petronius Probianus,
Amnius Anicius Julianus