Tiberius (son of Constans II)

Last updated

Emperor of the Romans
Tiberius (son of Constans II).jpg
Tiberius, mosaic in basilica of Sant'Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna.
Roman emperor of the East

(with Constans II)
Reign659–681 (22 years)
Coronation 2 June 659
Predecessor Constans II
Successor Constantine IV
Born Constantinople
(now Istanbul, Turkey)
Dynasty Heraclian
Father Constans II
Mother Fausta
Religion Christianity

Tiberius (Medieval Greek : Τιβέριος, romanized: Tibérios) was Byzantine co-emperor from 659 to 681. He was the son of Constans II and Fausta, who was elevated in 659, before his father departed for Italy. After the death of Constans, Tiberius' brother Constantine IV, ascended the throne as senior emperor. Constantine attempted to have both Tiberius and Heraclius removed as co-emperors, which sparked a popular revolt, in 681. Constantine ended the revolt by promising to accede to the demands of the rebels, sending them home, but bringing their leaders into Constantinople. Once there, Constantine had them executed, then imprisoned Tiberius and Heraclius and had them mutilated, after which point they disappear from history.



Tiberius was the youngest son of Constans II. His mother was Fausta, daughter of the Patrician Valentinus. [1] Although his eldest brother Constantine IV had been raised to the rank of co-emperor in 654, [2] in 659, shortly before his father's departure for Italy, Tiberius was also elevated by Constans to the rank of co-emperor, alongside his older brother Heraclius. The coronation ceremony took place between 27 April and 9 August. Given that most coronations took place in festive days, it's very likely that this one took place on Whitsunday (2 June). [3] In 663, Constans tried to have his sons join him in Sicily, but this provoked a popular uprising in Constantinople, [4] led by Theodore of Koloneia and Andrew, [5] and the brothers remained in the imperial capital. [4]

With Constans II's death in 668, Constantine IV became the senior emperor. [6] After ruling alongside Tiberius and Heraclius for thirteen years, Constantine attempted to demote his brothers from the imperial position, but this provoked a military revolt in the Anatolic Theme (in modern Turkey). [7] The army marched to Chrysopolis, and sent a delegation across the straits of the Hellespont to Constantinople, demanding that the two brothers should remain co-emperors alongside Constantine IV. [7] They based their demand on the belief that, since Heaven was ruled by the Trinity, in the same way the empire should be governed by three Emperors. [6] Confronted by this situation, Constantine kept a close eye on his brothers, and sent across a trusted officer, Theodore, the captain of Koloneia. Constantine gave Theodore the delicate task of praising the soldiers for their devotion and agreeing with their reasoning, with the objective of persuading them to return to their barracks in Anatolia. [8] He also invited the leaders of the rebellion to come over to Constantinople and consult with the Senate in order that they may begin the process of confirming the army's wishes. [8] Happy with this apparently positive outcome, the army departed back to Anatolia, while the instigators of the movement entered the city. [8] With the military threat now gone, Constantine moved against the leaders of the revolt, captured them and had them hanged at Sycae. [9]

Because he was the focus of a plot to curtail Constantine's power, both he and his brother were now suspect in the senior emperor's eyes; also, the emperor was keen to raise up his own son, the future Justinian II. [10] Sometime between 16 September and 21 December 681, Constantine ordered the mutilation of his brothers by slitting their noses, and ordered that their images no longer appear on any coinage, and that their names be removed from all official documentation; [11] likely to ensure that his son, Justinian II would, succeed him. [10] After this point, neither are mentioned again in the historical record. [12]


  1. Kazhdan 1991, p. 496.
  2. Kazhdan 1991, p. 500.
  3. Grierson 1968, p. 402.
  4. 1 2 Winkelmann & Lilie 2001, pp. 47–48.
  5. Lilie 2013.
  6. 1 2 Moore.
  7. 1 2 Bury 1889, p. 308.
  8. 1 2 3 Bury 1889, p. 309.
  9. Stratos 1980, p. 139.
  10. 1 2 Hoyland 2012, pp. 173–174.
  11. Oaks 1968, p. 513.
  12. Haldon 2016, pp. 43–45.


Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">681</span> Calendar year

Year 681 (DCLXXXI) was a common year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. The denomination 681 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heraclonas</span> Byzantine emperor in 641

Heraclius, known by the diminutive Heraclonas or Heracleonas, and sometimes called Heraclius II, was the son of Heraclius and his niece Martina. His father had stipulated in his will that both of his sons, Heraclonas and Constantine III, should rule jointly upon his death. Heraclius also specified that his wife, Martina, was to be called "Mother and Empress" insofar as she might have influence at court as well. The emperor Heraclius died in February 641 from edema. When Martina made the late Emperor's will public she faced staunch resistance to her playing any active role in government, but both Heraclonas and Constantine were proclaimed joint-emperors in February 641 without incident. After Constantine died of tuberculosis in May 641, Heraclonas became sole emperor, under the regency of his mother due to his young age. He reigned until October or November 641, when he was overthrown by Valentinus, a general and usurper of Armenian extract, who installed Constans II, the son of Constantine III. Valentinus had Heraclonas' nose cut off, then exiled him to Rhodes, where he is believed to have died in the following year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constans II</span> Byzantine emperor from 641 to 668

Constans II, nicknamed "the Bearded", was the Byzantine emperor from 641 to 668. Constans was the last attested emperor to serve as consul, in 642, although the office continued to exist until the reign of Leo VI the Wise. His religious policy saw him steering a middle line in disputes between the Orthodoxy and Monothelitism by refusing to persecute either and prohibited discussion of the natures of Jesus Christ under the Type of Constans in 648. His reign coincided with Muslim invasions under Mu'awiya I in the late 640s to 650s. Constans was the first emperor to visit Rome since the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476, and the last one to visit Rome while it was still held by the Empire.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constantine IV</span> Byzantine emperor from 668 to 685

Constantine IV, called the Younger and sometimes incorrectly the Bearded out of confusion with his father, was Byzantine emperor from 668 to 685. His reign saw the first serious check to nearly 50 years of uninterrupted Islamic expansion, most notably when he successfully defended Constantinople from the Arabs. His calling of the Sixth Ecumenical Council saw the end of the monothelitism controversy in the Byzantine Empire; for this, he is venerated as a saint in the Eastern Orthodox Church, with his feast day on September 3.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Leontius</span> Byzantine emperor from 695 to 698

Leontius was Byzantine emperor from 695 to 698. Little is known of his early life, other than that he was born in Isauria in Asia Minor. He was given the title of patrikios, and made strategos of the Anatolic Theme under Emperor Constantine IV. He led forces against the Umayyads during the early years of Justinian II's reign, securing victory and forcing the Umayyad caliph, Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, to sue for peace.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tiberius III</span> Byzantine emperor from 698 to 705

Tiberius III, born Apsimar, was Byzantine emperor from 698 to 705. Little is known about his early life, other than that he was a droungarios, a mid-level commander, who served in the Cibyrrhaeot Theme. In 696, Tiberius was part of an army sent by Byzantine Emperor Leontius to retake the North African city of Carthage, which had been captured by the Arab Umayyads. After seizing the city, this army was pushed back by Umayyad reinforcements and retreated to the island of Crete. As they feared the wrath of Leontius, some officers killed their commander, John the Patrician, and declared Tiberius the emperor. Tiberius swiftly gathered a fleet and sailed for Constantinople, where he then deposed Leontius. Tiberius did not attempt to retake Byzantine Africa from the Umayyads, but campaigned against them along the eastern border with some success. In 705, former emperor Justinian II, who had been deposed by Leontius, led an army of Slavs and Bulgars from the First Bulgarian Empire to Constantinople, and after entering the city secretly, deposed Tiberius. Tiberius fled to Bithynia, but was captured a few months later and beheaded by Justinian between August 705 and February 706. His body was initially thrown into the sea, but was later recovered and buried in a church on the island of Prote.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mizizios</span> Usurper of the Byzantine Empire

Mizizios or Mezezius was an Armenian noble who served as a general of Byzantium, later usurping the Byzantine throne in Sicily from 668 to 669.

Plato was the Exarch of Ravenna from 645 to 649. He is known primarily for his monothelitism, as well as for his opposition to Pope Theodore I, whom he convinced Patriarch Paul II of Constantinople to break with.

Constantine Lips was a Byzantine aristocrat and admiral who lived in the later 9th and early 10th centuries. He was killed in 917 at the Battle of Acheloos against Bulgaria. Constantine Lips is most notable for his foundation of the convent bearing his name at Constantinople.

Fausta was the Byzantine empress as the wife of Constans II, when they married in 642.

Valentinus, sometimes anglicized as Valentine, was a Byzantine usurper of probable Armenian extraction, who served under emperor Constans II from 641 until 644 or 645. He rose to prominence under Heraclius Constantine, who appointed him to secure the succession of his son Heraclius to the throne, at the cost of Heraclonas and Martina. Valentinus managed to successfully depose them, along with Heraclonas's brothers David Tiberius and Martinus; this left Constans as sole ruler. Valentinus became the boy's regent, becoming the most powerful man in the empire. Following a failed military campaign against the Arabs, ties between him and Constans became increasingly hostile, such that in 644 or 645, Valentinus attempted to become augustus (emperor) and depose Constans. This failed, and Valentinus was lynched along with his envoy Antoninus.

Arsaber, was a Byzantine noble who attempted an unsuccessful usurpation of the Byzantine imperial throne in 808.

Alexios Mosele or Mousoulem/Mousele (Μουσουλέμ/Μουσελέ) was a late 8th-century Byzantine general of Armenian origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Heraclius (son of Constans II)</span> Byzantine co-emperor from 659–681

Heraclius was Byzantine co-emperor from 659 to 681. He was the son of Emperor Constans II and Fausta, who was elevated in 659, before his father departed for Italy. After the death of Constans, Heraclius' brother Constantine IV ascended the throne as senior emperor. Constantine attempted to have both Heraclius and Tiberius removed as co-emperors. However, this sparked a popular revolt in 681. Constantine ended the revolt by promising to accede to the demands of the rebels, sending them home, but bringing their leaders into Constantinople. Once there, Constantine had them executed, then imprisoned Tiberius and Heraclius and had their noses slit, after which point they disappear from history.

Heraclius was the brother of the Byzantine emperor Tiberius III and the Byzantine Empire's leading general during his reign. He scored a number of victories against the Umayyads, but was unable to halt the Arab conquest of Armenia, nor able to prevent the deposition of his brother by Justinian II, who later captured and executed both Tiberius and Heraclius.

Saint Antony the Younger was a Byzantine military officer who became a monk and saint. He is commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on 1 December.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Constantine (son of Theophilos)</span> Byzantine co-emperor in the 830s

Constantine was an infant prince of the Amorian dynasty who briefly ruled as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire sometime in the 830s, alongside his father Theophilos. Most information about Constantine's short life and titular reign is unclear, although it is known that he was born sometime in the 820s or 830s and was installed as co-emperor soon after his birth. He died sometime before 836, possibly after falling into a palace cistern.

Heraclius was born between 667 and 685, and was the son, and second of two children, of Byzantine Emperor Constantine IV and his wife, Empress Anastasia.

Martinus or Marinus was caesar of the Byzantine Empire from c. 639 to 641. Martinus was the fifth son of Emperor Heraclius and Empress Martina, who was Heraclius' second wife and niece. Martinus was elevated to caesar, a junior imperial title that placed him on the line of succession, at some point between 638 and 640 by his father.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">David (son of Heraclius)</span> Byzantine co-emperor in 641 CE

David was one of three co-emperors of Byzantium for a few months in late 641, and had the regnal name Tiberius. David was the son of Emperor Heraclius and his wife and niece Empress Martina. He was born after the emperor and empress had visited Jerusalem and his given name reflects a deliberate attempt to link the imperial family with the Biblical David. The David Plates, which depict the life of King David, may likewise have been created for the young prince or to commemorate his birth. David was given the senior court title caesar in 638, in a ceremony during which he received the kamelaukion cap previously worn by his older brother Heraclonas.