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 VIII
Constantine VIII, (960-1028), was Roman emperor of the East from 1025 to 1028. Born in Constantinople, he was the younger brother of Basil II (reigned 976-1025), with whom he nominally served as co-emperor. But during these years he had no influence on policy. He was an old man when he came to be sole ruler, and he proved to be a weak, capricious, and cruel despot. He died at Constantinople on November 12, 1028.
Emperor Marcus Claudius Tacitus
After the death of Emperor Aurelian, the Roman armies asked the Senate to select the next emperor, and Marcus Claudius Tacitus, an elderly and respected senator, was finally chosen.
His reign was brief (from September 275 to about March 276) but he did win a victory over the Goths in Asia Minor before he was apparently murdered by his own troops at Tyana in Cappadocia. He attempted but failed to reestablish senatorial control over the army.
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 VI
Constantine VI (770-797) was Roman emperor from 780 to 797. He was born in Constantinople on January 14, 770, the son of Leo IV and his empress Irene. He came to the throne at the age of 10, but for the next 10 years his ambitious mother ruled in his name. With the assistance of the patriarch Tarasius, she was able to summon the Seventh Ecumenical Council, held at Nicaea in 787, and to restore the use of religious icons, which had been banned since 726.
A military revolt in her son’s favor in 790 caused Irene’s removal from the administration, but two years later Constantine weakly allowed her to return. She encouraged him to repudiate his wife and take another (795), in order to embroil him with the Church, and her restless intrigues finally succeeded in making him generally odious, even to many of his own followers.
He tried to escape to the provinces but was seized and, on the order of his mother, blinded (August 15, 797).
He died in Constantinople shortly afterward.
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.