Emperor Petronius Maximus
Flavius Anicius Petronius Maximus became Roman Emperor in 455.
At the age of 19 he was admitted to the council of Honorius, and in 420 held the office of city prefect, becoming consul in 433, and again in 443. After the murder of Valentinian III in 455, Maximus was chosen to succeed him, and married the widowed empress Eudoxia.
She was in league with Genseric the Vandal, who sacked Rome. Maximus was killed.
Emperor Constantine VII
Constantine VII (905-956) called Porphyrogenitus, was Roman emperor of the East from 913 to 959. He was born in Constantinople in September 905. The son of Leo VI by his mistress, later fourth wife, Zoe Carbonopsina, Constantine was legitimized by imperial baptism (January 6, 906).
His early life was clouded by sickness and misfortune. From 912 to 944, he was successively under the domination of his uncle, Emperor Alexander, of his mother Zoe, and of the usurper Romanus I Lecapenus, whose daughter Helena he married (May 4, 919). Only in January 945 did Constantine succeed in gaining possession of the throne that was rightfully his. He died in Constantinople, universally regretted, on November 9, 959.
Constantine’s high reputation was won in the realms of literature and the writing of history, and his patronage of all the arts was catholic and beneficent. He became, moreover, in his years of power, an accomplished diplomat. There exist luminating accounts of embassies to or from Italy, Germany, Spain, Russia, and Hungary. He also tried by law to protect the property rights of small landowners and soldiers.
Among the writings with which Constantine was personally concerned is the De thematibus (On the Provinces), a historical and topographical account of the Roman provinces as constituted in his day. More valuable is his account, in the so-called De administrando imperio (compiled 948-952), of the history of the occupants of countries outside the imperial borders; based on information from natives of these countries, this account is surprisingly accurate. His third great work, the so-called De cerimoniis aulae byzantinae, is a minute description of imperial ceremonial, one of the most important documents surviving from the Middle Ages. Constantine also wrote a charming and informative life of his grandfather, Basil I.
His enforced seclusion during the reign of his father-in-law, though bitterly resented by Constantine, gave him leisure for those pursuits that have put mankind forever in his debt.
Emperor Constantine V
Constantine V, (718-775), was a Roman emperor whose reign was remarkable, internally, for the progress of Iconoclasm and, externally, for his victorious campaigns against the Bulgarians. He was the son of Leo III, and came to the throne in 741 at the age of 22.
Constantine, not content with an imperial edict banning icons, summoned an Iconoclast council (754) to condemn the pictures by means of theological argument. Fortified by the council’s findings, he began a wholesale persecution of the image worshipers, and especially of the monastic orders, which he wished to extirpate. It has been said that his motives here were economic rather than religious; but modern scholarship rightly diagnoses him as a religious fanatic.
Constantine’s Iconoclastic preoccupations prevented him from intervening in Italy, where Ravenna fell to the Lombards in 751, ending Byzantine rule in northern Italy; or in Syria, where the Abbasid dynasty succeeded the Ummayad dynasty in 750. But his repeated campaigns against the Bulgars (763-775) covered him with glory. Constantine died on campaign on September 14, 775.
Marcus Aurelius Carus was Roman emperor in 282-283.
Carus was a native of Narbo Martius (Narbonne) in Gaul. He served as praetorian prefect under Emperor Probus, but his troops insisted upon hailing him as emperor while Probus was still alive. Probus, who was a strict disciplinarian, was murdered by his troops.
When Carus became emperor, he led a successful campaign against the Persians and captured the city of Ctesiphon. In 283, in the midst of stunning military successes, he died unexpectedly, probably as a result of treachery on the part of his praetorian prefect. After his death his sons Carinus and Numerian were declared coemperors.
Emperor Constantius I
Constantius I (250-306 A.D.), Roman emperor, nicknamed Chlorus (the Pale). He was the father of Constantine the Great. Constantius (Flavius Valerius Constantius) was of Illyrian stock. In 293 he was appointed caesar (junior emperor) in the tetrarchy established by Diocletian and assigned to Gaul under the augustus (senior emperor) of die West, Maximian. At the same time Constantius put aside Helena, the mother of Constantine, in order to marry Theodora, the daughter of Maximian. After restoring peace to Gaul and turning back an invasion by the Alamanni, Constantius undertook the reconquest of Britain, which had been independent for about a decade.
Constantius was appointed augustus in the West when Diocletian and Maximian abdicated in 305. In July of 306, however, Constantius died at York in Britain. In later times, Constantine the Great attempted to legitimize his dynasty by the claim that his father was related to, or even descended from, Emperor Claudius II Gothicus (reigned 268-270).
Emperor Constantine IV
Constantine IV was Roman emperor from 668 to 685. He was the eldest son of Constans II. His reign is memorable for the repulse of the Muslim attack on Constantinople (674-678). The Roman victory was assisted by the timely invention of an incendiary weapon known as Greek fire; but the courage and tenacity of Constantine deserve all credit. This, the first major check to Muslim encroachment, was received with profound relief by the empire and Western Europe.
Constantino’s statesmanship was shown in his convocation of the Sixth Ecumenical Council at Constantinople (680-681), in which the orthodox doctrine of the two wills and the two energies of the Savior was upheld and the Monothelite heresy condemned. The one disaster of the reign was a Roman defeat at the hands of the Bulgars (680), which resulted in the establishment of a Bulgar state on Roman soil.
Constantine died in Constantinople on July 10, 685, at the age of 33.
Emperor Constantine III
Constantine III was Roman emperor in 641. He was born in Constantinople on May 3, 612, the son of Emperor Heraclius by his first wife Eudocia. He reigned for three months, with his half brother Heraclonas as co-emperor, and died in Constantinople on May 25, 641.
Emperor Maximinus II
Galerius Valerius Maximinus was Roman Emperor from 308 to 314 AD.
Originally an Illyrian shepherd, his real name was Daza or Daia. Becoming a soldier, he was raised by his uncle Galerius to the rank of Caesar, and made governor of Syria and Egypt in 305. In 308 he assumed the title of Augustus, and on the death of Galerius (311) succeeded to the provinces of Asia, and entered into a secret alliance with Maxentius.
Having invaded Thrace in the absence of Licinus, he suffered a crushing defeat near Heraclea, and fled. He died at Tarsus.
Emperor Constantine II
Constantine II, (317-340 A.D.), Roman emperor. The eldest son of Constantine the Great and his wife Fausta, Constantine II (Flavius Claudius Constantinus) was a pawn in the game of imperial politics. He was born at Arelate (Aries) in February 317. When only a few weeks old, he was proclaimed caesar (junior emperor) by his father, and he was awarded the consulship at the age of four. Even before he had attained his majority, Constantine II was dispatched to command, at least nominally, troops in the West and was assigned Gaul, Spain, and Britain as his provinces.
When Constantine the Great died in 337, Constantine II became augustus (senior emperor) along with his brothers Constans and Constantius II. This threefold division of the empire proved unworkable. Constantine II soon became involved in a dispute with Constans. He invaded Italy, the domain of Constans, and was killed near Aquileia by his brother in 340.
Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, a soldier of humble birth, was selected in 293 by Diocletian, Emperor in the East, to serve as his caesar in the first tetrarchy, made up of the four co-rulers- two emperors (augusti), assisted by two caesars. Chosen to direct the important campaign against Narses, the Persian monarch, Galerius routed the Persians in 298 and imposed peace terms highly favorable to Rome. As a result, his prestige rose rapidly.
Because the tetrarchy had all the trappings of a theocracy, with each partner associated with jupiter or Hercules, the state in principle was hostile to the Christian religion. The first clash came in 303-304, when Diocletian, encouraged perhaps by Galerius, issued a series of edicts variously restricting Christian activities. Galerius rigorously enforced this legislation in the East, both as caesar and then, after Diocletian’s abdication in 305, as emperor of the East.
Christian writers understandably denounce Galerius, but his administrative talents were undeniable. After the abdication of Diocletian and his co-augustus Maximian, the tetrarchic system was shaken by civil war in the West. But in the East, Galerius successfully maintained the system and bequeathed his territory intact to his nephew Maximinus.
On April 30, 311, attributing his grave illness to the Christian God’s wrath, Galerius unexpectedly ended the persecution with an edict of toleration. He died a few days later at Sardica (modern Sofia, Bulgaria).