Constans II

Constans II (Greek: Κώνστας Β', Kōnstas II; Latin: Heraclius Constantinus Augustus or Flavius Constantinus Augustus; 7 November 630 – 15 September 668), also called Constantine the Bearded (Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Πωγωνάτος Kōnstantinos ho Pogonatos), was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668. He was the last emperor to serve as consul, in 642.[1][2] Constans is a nickname given to the Emperor, who had been baptized Herakleios and reigned officially as Constantine. The nickname established itself in Byzantine texts and has become standard in modern historiography.

Constans II
Emperor of the Romans
Solidus Constans II (obverse)
A solidus of Constans II, wearing a diadem and holding the globus cruciger
Emperor of the Byzantine Empire
ReignSeptember 641 – 15 September 668
PredecessorHeraklonas
SuccessorConstantine IV
Co-emperorConstantine IV (654-668)
Born7 November 630
Died15 September 668 (aged 37)
Syracuse of Sicily
SpouseFausta
IssueConstantine IV
Heraclius
Tiberius
Full name
Heraclius Constantinus or Flavius Constantinus
DynastyHeraclian Dynasty
FatherConstantine III
MotherGregoria
Heraclian dynasty
Chronology
Heraclius 610–641
with Constantine III as co-emperor, 613–641
Constantine III 641
with Heraklonas as co-emperor
Heraklonas 641
Constans II 641–668
with Constantine IV (654–668), Heraclius and Tiberius (659–668) as co-emperors
Constantine IV 668–685
with Heraclius and Tiberius (668–681), and Justinian II (681–685) as co-emperors
Justinian II 685–695, 705–711
with Tiberius as co-emperor, 706–711
Succession
Preceded by
Justinian dynasty and Phocas
Followed by
Twenty Years' Anarchy

Life

Early life and reign as co-emperor

Constans was the son of Constantine III and Gregoria. After the death of Constantine III's father Heraclius, Constantine ruled with his half-brother Heraklonas through Heraclius' second marriage to Martina. Due to rumors that Heraklonas and Martina poisoned Constantine III, Constans II was named co-emperor. Later that same year his uncle was deposed, and Constans II was left as sole emperor.

Constans owed his rise to the throne to a popular reaction against his uncle and to the protection of the soldiers led by the general Valentinus. Although the precocious emperor addressed the senate with a speech blaming Heraklonas and Martina for eliminating his father, he reigned under a regency of senators led by Patriarch Paul II of Constantinople. In 644 Valentinus attempted to seize power for himself but failed.

As sole emperor

Under Constans, the Byzantines completely withdrew from Egypt in 642, and Caliph Uthman launched numerous attacks on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea. A Byzantine fleet under the admiral Manuel occupied Alexandria again in 645, and the Alexandrians hailed him as a liberator, since the caliphate levied heavier taxes and showed less respect for their religion. But Manuel squandered his time and popularity in plundering the countryside, and eventually the Arab army managed to force him to embark for home.[3] The situation was complicated by the violent opposition to Monothelitism by the clergy in the west and the related rebellion of the Exarch of Carthage, Gregory the Patrician. The latter fell in battle against the army of Caliph Uthman, and the region remained a vassal state under the Caliphate until civil war broke out and imperial rule was again restored.

Byzantiumby650AD
Byzantine Empire in 650 under Constans II
Hexagram-Constans II and Constantine IV-sb0995
Hexagram of Constans II

Constans attempted to steer a middle line in the church dispute between Orthodoxy and Monothelitism by refusing to persecute either and prohibiting further discussion of the natures of Jesus Christ by decree in 648 (the Type of Constans). Naturally, this live-and-let-live compromise satisfied few passionate participants in the dispute.

Meanwhile, the advance of the Caliphate continued unabated. In 647 they had entered Armenia and Cappadocia and sacked Caesarea Mazaca. In the same year, they raided Africa and killed Gregory. In 648 the Arabs raided into Phrygia, and in 649 they launched their first maritime expedition against Crete. A major Arab offensive into Cilicia and Isauria in 650–651 forced the Emperor to enter into negotiations with Caliph Uthman's governor of Syria, Muawiyah. The truce that followed allowed a short respite and made it possible for Constans to hold on to the western portions of Armenia.

In 654, however, Muawiyah renewed his raids by sea, plundering Rhodes. Constans led a fleet to attack the Muslims at Phoinike (off Lycia) in 655 at the Battle of the Masts, but he was defeated: 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, and the Emperor himself was almost killed. The sea battle was so devastating that the emperor escaped only by trading clothes with one of his men.[4] Before the battle, chronicler Theophanes the Confessor says, the Emperor dreamed of being at Thessalonika; this dream predicted his defeat against the Arabs because the word Thessalonika is similar to the sentence "thes allo niken", which means "gave victory to another (the enemy)".[5] Caliph Uthman was preparing to attack Constantinople, but he did not carry out the plan when the first Fitna broke out in 656.

Tremissis of Constans II Pogonatus
A tremissis coin of Constans II Pogonatos

In 658, with the eastern frontier under less pressure, Constans defeated the Slavs in the Balkans, temporarily reasserting some notion of Byzantine rule over them and resettled some of them in Anatolia (ca. 649 or 667). In 659 he campaigned far to the east, taking advantage of a rebellion against the Caliphate in Media. The same year he concluded peace with the Arabs.

Now Constans could turn to church matters once again. Pope Martin I had condemned both Monothelitism and Constans' attempt to halt debates over it in the Lateran Council of 649. Now the Emperor ordered his Exarch of Ravenna to arrest the Pope. Exarch Olympius excused himself from this task, but his successor, Theodore I Calliopas, carried it out in 653. Pope Martin was brought to Constantinople and condemned as a criminal, ultimately being exiled to Cherson, where he died in 655.

Constans grew increasingly fearful that his younger brother, Theodosius, could oust him from the throne; he therefore obliged Theodosius to take holy orders and later had him killed in 660. Constans' sons Constantine, Heraclius, and Tiberius had been associated on the throne since the 650s. However, having attracted the hatred of citizens of Constantinople, Constans decided to leave the capital and to move to Syracuse in Sicily.

From there, in 663, he launched an assault against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which then encompassed most of Southern Italy. Taking advantage of the fact that Lombard king Grimoald I of Benevento was engaged against Frankish forces from Neustria, Constans disembarked at Taranto and besieged Lucera and Benevento. However, the latter resisted and Constans withdrew to Naples. During the journey from Benevento to Naples, Constans II was defeated by Mitolas, Count of Capua, near Pugna. Constans ordered Saburrus, the commander of his army, to attack again the Lombards, but he was defeated by the Beneventani at Forino, between Avellino and Salerno.

In 663 Constans visited Rome for twelve days—the only emperor to set foot in Rome for two centuries—and was received with great honor by Pope Vitalian (657–672). Although on friendly terms with Vitalian, he stripped buildings, including the Pantheon, of their ornaments and bronze to be carried back to Constantinople, and in 666 declared the Pope of Rome to have no jurisdiction over the Archbishop of Ravenna, since that city was the seat of the exarch, his immediate representative. His subsequent moves in Calabria and Sardinia were marked by further strippings and request of tributes that enraged his Italian subjects.

Rashidun coin Pseudo-Byzantine types
Coin of the Rashidun Caliphate with figure of Constans II standing facing, holding cross-tipped staff and globus cruciger. Pseudo-Byzantine types. Struck circa 647-670.

According to Warren Treadgold, the first themes were created between 659 and 661, during the reign of Constans II.[6]

Death and succession

Rumours that he was going to move the capital of the Empire to Syracuse were probably fatal for Constans. On September 15, 668, he was assassinated in his bath by his chamberlain, according to Theophilus of Edessa, with a bucket.

His son Constantine succeeded him as Constantine IV. A brief usurpation in Sicily by Mezezius was quickly suppressed by the new emperor.

Record in Chinese sources

Constans II 641-678, Karthago, 652-653, AV 4.37 g
A solidus (coin) of Constans II that was minted in Carthage.
Illustration of Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong 643 CE
Illustration of the Byzantine embassy to Tang Taizong in 643 CE.

The Chinese dynastic histories of the Old Book of Tang and New Book of Tang mention several embassies made by Fu lin (拂菻), which they equated with Daqin (i.e. the Roman Empire).[7] These are recorded as having begun in the year 643 with an embassy sent by the king Boduoli (波多力, i.e. Constans II Pogonatos) to Emperor Taizong of Tang, bearing gifts such as red glass and green gemstones.[7] Other contacts are reported taking place in 667, 701, and perhaps 719, sometimes through Central Asian intermediaries.[8] These histories also record that the Arabs (Da shi 大食) sent their commander "Mo-yi" (Chinese: 摩拽伐之, Pinyin: Mó zhuāi fá zhī), to besiege the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, and forced the Byzantines to pay them tribute.[7] This Arab commander "Mo-yi" was identified by historian Friedrich Hirth as Muawiyah I (r. 661–680), the governor of Syria before becoming the Umayyad caliph.[7] The same books also described Constantinople in some detail as having massive granite walls and a water clock mounted with a golden statue of man.[7] The Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocatta, writing during the reign of Heraclius (r. 610–641), relayed information about China's geography, its capital city Khubdan (Old Turkic: Khumdan, i.e. Chang'an), its current ruler Taisson whose name meant "Son of God" (Chinese: Tianzi), and correctly pointed to its reunification by the Sui Dynasty (581–618) as occurring during the reign of Maurice, noting that China had previously been divided politically along the Yangzi River by two warring nations.[9]

Family

By his wife Fausta, a daughter of the patrician Valentinus, Constans II had three sons:

See also

References

  1. ^ JSTOR: The Last Consul: Basilius and His Diptych
  2. ^ JSTOR: The Iranian Factor in Byzantium during the Reign of Heraclius
  3. ^ Treadgold, Warren. (1997). A History of the Byzantine State and Society. Stanford University Press. p. 312
  4. ^ Bennett, Judith M. Medieval Europe: a short history (11th ed.). McGraw-Hill. p. 70. ISBN 9780073385501.
  5. ^ «θὲς ἄλλῳ νὶκην», see Bury, John Bagnell (1889), A history of the later Roman empire from Arcadius to Irene, Adamant Media Corporation, 2005, p.290. ISBN 1-4021-8368-2
  6. ^ Warren Treadgold, Byzantium and Its Army 284-1081 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995). pp. 23-25;72-3.
  7. ^ a b c d e Hirth, Friedrich (2000) [1885]. Jerome S. Arkenberg, ed. "East Asian History Sourcebook: Chinese Accounts of Rome, Byzantium and the Middle East, c. 91 B.C.E. – 1643 C.E." Fordham.edu. Fordham University. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  8. ^ Mutsaers, Inge (2009). Marlia Mundell Mango, ed. Byzantine Trade, 4th–12th Centuries. Retrieved 2016-09-10.
  9. ^ Yule, Henry (1915), Henri Cordier, ed., Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol I: Preliminary Essay on the Intercourse Between China and the Western Nations Previous to the Discovery of the Cape Route, 1, London: London: Hakluyt Society, pp. 29–31, see also footnote #4 on p. 29, footnote #2 on p. 30, and footnote #3 on page 31, retrieved 21 September 2016

Sources

External links

Constans II
Born: 7 November 630 Died: 15 September 668
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Heraklonas
Byzantine Emperor
641–668
with Constantine IV (654–685)
Heraclius (659–681)
Tiberius (659–681)
Succeeded by
Constantine IV
Political offices
Vacant
Title last held by
Heraclius
Consul of the Roman Empire
642
Vacant
Title next held by
Justinian II
640s

The 640s decade ran from January 1, 640, to December 31, 649.

== Events ==

=== 640 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

February 27 – Pepin the Elder, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia, dies and is succeeded by his son Grimoald. He becomes the head of the Frankish household, and the most powerful man in the Frankish Kingdom (approximate date).

King Chintila dies of natural causes after a 3-year reign, in which he permitted the bishops wide authority in Hispania, Septimania and Galicia. He is succeeded by his son Tulga, who becomes ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom (approximate date).

At the request of Porga of Croatia, one of the first dukes or princes (Croatian: knez) of Dalmatian Croatia, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius sends Christian missionaries to the Croatian Provinces (approximate date).

The French city of Lille (according to the legend) is founded by Lydéric. He kills Phinaert in a duel to avenges his parents' deaths (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

King Eadbald of Kent dies after a 24-year reign. He is succeeded by his sons, Eorcenberht and Eormenred, who jointly rule the Kingdom of Kent (now South East England).

Hartlepool Abbey in Northumbria (Northern England) is founded. Wooden huts surrounding a church are built in Saxon style.

====== Africa ======

May – Siege of Babylon Fortress: The Rashidun army lays siege to Babylon Fortress in the Nile Delta (near Cairo). The next two months' fighting remain inconclusive, the Byzantines having the upper hand by repulsing every Muslim assault.

July 6 – Battle of Heliopolis: The Muslim Arab army (15,000 men) under 'Amr ibn al-'As defeats the Byzantine forces near Heliopolis (Egypt). Amr divides his troops into three parts, surrounding the Byzantines.

December 21 – Muslim Arabs capture Babylon after a seven-month siege; during a night assault Arab warriors open the city gates. The Thebaid region (Upper Egypt) is annexed by the Rashidun Caliphate.

December 22 – On orders of the Saracen leader, Amar, the Serapeum of Alexandria, containing works that had survived the destruction of the Library of Alexandria, is burned down, along with its collection of 500,000 manuscripts.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of Tang begins the military campaigns against the Western Regions states in the Tarim Basin. General Hou Junji captures the kingdom of Gaochang, to solidify Chinese rule in Central Asia.

Nestorian missionaries build the Daqin Pagoda in Chang'an (Shaanxi). Daqin is the name for the Roman Empire or the Near East.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Disibod, Irish monk and hermit, arrives as a missionary in Francia. He begins his religious work in the Vosges and Ardennes.

May 28 – Pope Severinus succeeds Honorius I as the 71st pope. He dies in Rome only two months after being consecrated.

December 24 – Pope John IV succeeds Severinus as the 72nd pope. His election is accepted by the Exarchate of Ravenna.

=== 641 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

February 11 – Emperor Heraclius, age 65, dies of dropsy at Constantinople after a 31-year reign. He reorganized the imperial administration, but lost Armenia, Egypt, Palestine, Syria and much of Mesopotamia to the Muslim Arabs. Heraclius is succeeded by his sons Constantine III and Heraklonas.

May – Constantine III, age 29, dies of tuberculosis after a four-month reign, leaving his half-brother Heraklonas sole emperor. Rumors spread that Constantine has been poisoned by Heraclius's second wife (and niece) Martina.

September – The Byzantine Senate turns against Martina and her son Heraklonas, who are both mutilated and exiled to Rhodes. Supported by general Valentinus, Constantine's son Constans II, age 10, succeeds to the throne.

Constans II establishes a new civil-military defensive organisation, based upon geographical military district. Byzantine forces maintain the frontier along the line of the Taurus Mountains (Southern Turkey).

====== Europe ======

Aega, Mayor of the Palace and regent (alongside of queen mother Nanthild) of Neustria and Burgundy, dies during the reign of King Clovis II. He is replaced by Erchinoald, a relative of Dagobert I's mother.

The Lombards under King Rothari conquer Genoa (Liguria) and all remaining Byzantine territories in the lower Po Valley, including Oderzo (Opitergium).

Arechis I, duke of Benevento (northeast of Naples), dies after a 50-year reign and is succeeded by his son Aiulf I.

====== Britain ======

Prince Oswiu of Bernicia conquers Gododdin (or "The Old North") as far north as Manau (modern Scotland), on behalf of his half-brother, King Oswald (approximate date).

King Bridei II dies after a 5-year reign, and is succeeded by his brother Talorc III as ruler of the Picts.

====== Africa ======

November 8 – Siege of Alexandria: Muslim Arabs under 'Amr ibn al-'As capture Alexandria after a fourteen-month siege. Byzantine officials formally capitulate to Amr, turning the city over to Arab hands.

The city of Fustat (later Cairo) is founded in Egypt. It becomes the first capital of Egypt under Muslim rule.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty (China) instigates a civil war in the Western Turkic Khaganate, by supporting Isbara Yabghu Qaghan.

November 17 – Emperor Jomei of Japan, age 48, dies after a 12-year reign.

=== 642 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II marries Fausta, daughter of Valentinus, a general of Armenian origin. He proclaims her Augusta, and appoints his father-in-law to commander-in-chief of the Byzantine army. Valentinus is allowed to wear the imperial purple, and becomes the most powerful man in the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

April 30 – Chindasuinth, a Gothic warlord (already 79 years old), commences a rebellion and deposes King Tulga in Toledo, Spain. He is proclaimed king by the Visigothic nobility and anointed by the bishops. Tulga is tonsured and sent out to live his days in a monastery.

Radulf, a Frankish aristocrat, revolts against King Sigebert III of Austrasia and defeats his army, taking the title of rex or king of Thuringia.

====== Britain ======

August 5 – Battle of Maserfield: King Penda of Mercia defeats and kills King Oswald of Northumbria, age 38, at Oswestry (West Midlands). He commands a united British and Mercian force, which includes the Welsh army of Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd and Cynddylan of Pengwern. The Mercians become dominant in the English Midlands.

Oswiu succeeds his half-brother Oswald as king of Bernicia. He strengthens his position by marrying Eanflæd, daughter of King Edwin of Northumbria, then in exile in the Kingdom of Kent. This marriage takes place between 642 and 644.

====== Persia ======

Battle of Nahāvand: The Rashidun army (30,000 men) under Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas defeats the Persians at Nahāvand (modern Iran). The Persian cavalry, full of confidence, mounts an ill-prepared attack. The Arabs retreat to a safe area, where they outmanoeuvre and destroy the Persians in a narrow mountain valley.

====== Africa ======

Battle of Dongola: 'Amr ibn al-'As sends an Arab expedition of 20,000 horsemen, under his cousin Uqba ibn Nafi, to Makuria (Southern Egypt). The Nubians strike hard against the Muslims near Dongola with hit-and-run attacks. The Arab incursions into Nubia are temporarily halted.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty issues a decree throughout China, that increases the punishment for men who deliberately inflict injuries upon themselves (most commonly breaking their own legs) in order to avoid military conscription. This decree is an effort to eradicate this practice that has grown as a trend since the time of the rebellion against the Sui Dynasty.

Taizong supports a revolt by Turkic tribes against the rebellious Tu-lu Qaghan of the Western Turkic Khaganate.

Empress Kōgyoku ascends to the throne of Japan, after her husband (and uncle) Emperor Jomei's death in 641.

Winter – Yeon Gaesomun seizes power over Goguryeo (Korea), and places King Bojang on the throne.

==== By topic ====

====== Arts and sciences ======

The earliest surviving dated Arabic-language papyrus (PERF 558), found in Heracleopolis (Egypt), and the earliest known Arabic text with diacritical marks is written.

====== Architecture ======

Arabs begin construction of the Mosque of Amr at Cairo, the first mosque built in Egypt and in all of Africa.

====== Religion ======

October 12 – Pope John IV dies after a 2-year reign. He is succeeded by a Jerusalem-born cleric of Greek descent, Theodore I, as the 73rd pope of Rome.

A monastic settlement is founded in Hampshire (England) which later becomes Winchester Cathedral.

=== 643 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II recognises Theodore Rshtuni as ruler of Armenia, after his successful campaign against the Muslims. He names him commander (nakharar) of the Armenian army.

Maurikios names himself dux of Rome, and revolts against exarch Isaac (Exarchate of Ravenna). He declares Rome's independence from the Exarchate and from the Byzantine Empire.

====== Europe ======

King Rothari of the Lombards issues the Edictum Rothari, which is the first codification of Lombard law (written in Latin). The edict guarantees rights only for Lombard subjects.

Duke Leuthari II has Otto, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, murdered. He is succeeded by Grimoald the Elder, the eldest son of Pepin of Landen.

====== Britain ======

King Cynegils of Wessex dies after a 32-year reign, and is succeeded by his son Cenwalh (who is still pagan); he marries the sister of King Penda of Mercia (approximate date).

====== Persia ======

Peroz III, son of Yazdegerd III, the last Sassanid king of Persia, flees to territory under the control of the Tang Dynasty in China (approximate date).

====== Africa ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Arab armies continue their military expansion into North Africa and lay siege to Tripoli. The city is captured after one month.

'Amr ibn al-'As sends a detachment to Sabratha (modern Libya). The city puts up feeble resistance, but soon surrenders and agrees to pay Jizya.

====== Asia ======

Chinese prefectural government officials travel to the capital of Chang'an, to give the annual report of the affairs in their districts. Emperor Taizong discovers that many have no proper quarters to rest in, and are renting rooms with merchants. Therefore, Taizong orders the government agencies in charge of municipal construction to build every visiting official his own private mansion in the capital.

A Chinese embassy is sent to the North Indian Empire. They are invited by Emperor Harsha, who holds a Buddhist convocation at the capital Kannauj, which is attended by 20 kings and thousands of pilgrims.

Taizong commissions artist Yan Liben to paint in the Lingyan Pavilion the life-size portraits of 24 government officials, to commemorate their service and contributions to the founding of the Tang Dynasty.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Æbbe establishes a monastery at Ebchester, known as Kirk Hill at St Abb's Head near Coldingham (Scotland).

=== 644 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Valentinus, Byzantine general, attempts to usurp the throne of his son-in-law Constans II. He appears at the gates of Constantinople with a contingent of Byzantine troops, and demands to be crowned emperor. His claim is rejected, and Valentinus is lynched by the populace.

====== Britain ======

Oswine, son of the late king Osric of Deira, manages, despite armed objections from King Oswiu of Bernicia, to establish himself as king of Deira (Northern England). His succession, probably the choice of the people of Deira, splits the Kingdom of Northumbria.

====== Arabian Empire ======

November 6 – Caliph Umar, age 65, dies of wounds inflicted on November 3 by the Persian slave Piruz Nahavandi at Medina, after a 10-year reign. On his death bed he appoints a committee to determine his successor. They select Uthman ibn Affan, who becomes caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty sends a Chinese expeditionary force, to invade and annex the Tarim Basin kingdom of Karasahr in Xinjiang, a vassal of the Western Turkic Khaganate. The oasis state is conquered, and Western Turks sent to assist Karasahr are defeated by the Tang forces.

=== 645 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Alexandria revolts against Arab rule at the appearance of a Byzantine fleet, (300 ships) and Byzantine forces recapture the city. Abdullah ibn Sa'ad, Arab governor of Egypt, mounts an assault and retakes it. He begins building a Muslim fleet.

====== Europe ======

Plato, exarch (imperial governor) of Ravenna, invades the southern Po Valley. The Lombards under King Rothari defeat him on the banks of the Panaro River (near Modena); 8,000 imperial troops are killed.

====== Britain ======

King Cenwalh of Wessex (according to Bede) is driven from his kingdom by his brother-in-law, King Penda of Mercia. He flees to the court of king Anna of East Anglia, and is baptised while in exile. Penda overruns Wessex.

Gwynedd and much of Wales is in the grasp of famine. Would-be king Cadwaladr Fendigaid flees to Brittany. Civil war continues in his kingdom (approximate date).

====== Japan ======

July 10 – Isshi Incident: Prince Naka-no-Ōe and Fujiwara no Kamatari assassinate Soga no Iruka, during a coup d'état at the imperial palace.

Empress Kōgyoku is forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her younger brother Kōtoku, age 49, who becomes the 36th emperor of Japan.

Naka-no-Ōe becomes crown prince and prime minister. Supporters of the semi-legendary regent Prince Shōtoku gain supremacy in Japan.

Emperor Kōtoku establishes the Taika Reform: a land reform based on Confucian ideas and philosophies from China (approximate date).

Kōtoku creates a new city at Naniwa, and moves the capital from Yamato Province. The capital has a sea port, establishing foreign trade and diplomatic relations.

====== China ======

Goguryeo–Tang War: A Chinese expeditionary army under Emperor Taizong crosses the Liao River into Goguryeo (One of the Three kingdoms of Korea).

July 18 – Tang forces under Li Shiji heading southeast, toward the Yalu River, put the strategic fortress city of Ansi (Liaoning) under siege.

September – Taizong is unable to capture Ansi fortress defended by Korean general Yang Manchun. Food supplies running low, he withdraws his forces.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Xuanzang, Chinese Buddhist monk, returns to China after a 16-year pilgrimage to India. He is greeted with much honor by Emperor Taizong.

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda at Ci'en Temple, Xi'an (Shanxi) is first erected during the Tang Dynasty (approximate date).

=== 646 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab-Byzantine War: Alexandria is recaptured by the Muslim Arabs after a Byzantine attempt (see 645) to retake Egypt fails, ending nearly 1,000 years of Greco-Roman civilization.

Gregory the Patrician, Byzantine exarch of Africa, begins a rebellion against Constans II and proclaims himself emperor. The revolt finds broad support among the populace.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Caliph Uthman ibn Affan founds the city of Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) on the coast of the Red Sea. He establishes a port for Muslim pilgrims making the required Hajj to Mecca.

====== Africa ======

Battle of Nikiou: The Rashidun army (15,000 men) under Amr ibn al-'As defeats a smaller Byzantine force, near the fortified town of Nikiou (Egypt).

Amr ibn al-'As builds fortifications in Alexandria and quarters in the vicinity a strong garrison, which twice a year is relieved from Upper Egypt.

====== China ======

Summer – Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty destroys the Xueyantuo state, during the campaign against the Xueyantuo (Central Asia).

====== Japan ======

Emperor Kōtoku makes a decree about the policies of building tombs. He discontinues the old customs of sacrificing people in honor of a dead man, and forbids ill-considered rituals about purgation.

A Great Reform edict changes Japan's political order. It will lead to the establishment of a centralized government with Kōtoku ruling from his palace, Naniwa Nagara-Toyosaki Palace, in Osaka.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Xuanzang completes his book Great Tang Records on the Western Regions, which becomes later one of the primary sources for the study of medieval Central Asia and India.

=== 647 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: An Arab army (20,000 men) under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad invades the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa. It conquers Tripolitania and the city of Sufetula, 150 miles (240 km) south of Carthage.

Self-proclaimed emperor Gregory the Patrician is killed during the Arab invasion at Sufetula. Africa returns to imperial allegiance after his death, but the foundation of Byzantine rule is fatally undermined.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty sends a Chinese mission to study Indian techniques of sugar manufacturing, at Bihar in the Ganges Valley.

Taizong establishes a Chinese military government to pacify the former territory of Xueyantuo, which extends to the Altai Mountains in the west.

Emperor Harsha, ruler of northern India, dies after a 41-year reign. His kingdom disintegrates into smaller states.

==== By topic ====

====== Astronomy and science ======

A stone tower astronomical observatory (named Cheomseongdae) at Gyeongju is constructed in Silla (South Korea) around this time.

====== Religion ======

Hilda of Whitby, age 33, is persuaded by Aidan, bishop of Lindisfarne, to enter the monastic life at Hartlepool Abbey (Northumbria).

=== 648 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II, to quiet the intense controversy caused by the Monothelete doctrine, issues an imperial edict forbidding the subject to be discussed. This edict, distributed by patriarch Paul II in Constans' name, is known as the Typos.

====== Europe ======

King Sigebert II of Austrasia is advised by Remaclus to establish a double-monastery at Stavelot and Malmedy. As a missionary bishop he founds an abbey on the River Amblève (modern Belgium).

====== Britain ======

King Cenwalh of Wessex returns from a 3-year exile in East Anglia to reclaim his kingdom. He gives 3,000 hides of land around Ashdown to his nephew Cuthred, possibly sub-king of Berkshire (England).

Cenwahl invites bishop Birinus to establish under his direction the Old Minster in Winchester. Together they have a small stone church built.

====== Asia ======

Tang general Ashina She'er re-establishes Tang control of Karasahr, and leads a military campaign against the Tarim Basin kingdom of Kucha in Xinjiang, a vassal of the Western Turkic Khaganate.

====== Americas ======

In an early skirmish in the run up to the Second Tikal-Calakmul War, B'alaj Chan K'awiil scores a military victory, apparently over his half-brother, who had galled him by using the same royal emblem (or emblem glyph) as he did.

Dos Pilas breaks away from Tikal and becomes a vassal state of Calakmul.

==== By topic ====

====== Literature ======

The Book of Jin is compiled in China during the Tang Dynasty. Its chief editor is the chancellor Fang Xuanling, who dies in this year as well.

====== Religion ======

Pope Theodore I excommunicates Paul II of Constantinople.

=== 649 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Arab naval forces under Abdullah ibn Saad conquer Cyprus, sacking the capital Constantia after a short siege, and looting the rest of the island. The Cypriots agree to pay the same revenue as they have done to Emperor Constans II.

Constans II orders Olympius, exarch of the Exarchate of Ravenna, to arrest Pope Martin I on the ostensible grounds that the pope's election has not been submitted to the emperor for approval, but in fact because of the Lateran Council of 649's condemnation of Monothelitism and the Type of Constans. Olympius attempts to gain the support of the citizens of Rome and the bishops, with little success, and perhaps considers the assassination of the Pope.

====== Europe ======

January 20 – King Chindasuinth, at the urging of bishop Braulio of Zaragoza, crowns his son Recceswinth as co-ruler of the Visigothic Kingdom.

====== Arabian Empire ======

Muawiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, governor of Syria, develops an Arab navy in the Levant and uses it to confront the Byzantine Empire in the Aegean Sea. It is manned by Monophysitise Christian, Coptic and Syrian Christian sailors.

====== China ======

January 19 – The Tang campaign against Kucha ends after the forces of Kucha surrender, following a 40-day siege led by general Ashina She'er, establishing Chinese control over the northern Tarim Basin (Xinjiang).

July 10 – Emperor Tai Zong dies after a 23-year reign, in which he has restored the civil administration in the Chinese Empire. He is succeeded by his son Gao Zong, age 20, who becomes ruler of the Tang dynasty.

====== Japan ======

Emperor Kōtoku has Soga no Kurayamada accused of treason. He strangles himself at the temple of Yamada-dera. Other relatives of the Soga clan are captured and executed.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

May 14 – Pope Theodore I dies after a 7-year reign, in which he has shown generosity to the poor. He is succeeded on July 5 by Martin I as the 74th pope.

October 5 – The Lateran Council of 649, summoned by Theodore and carried forward by Martin, opens. It strongly condemns Monothelitism and the Type of Constans.

650s

The 650s decade ran from January 1, 650, to December 31, 659.

== Events ==

=== 650 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

The Khazar Khaganate extends from the Dnieper to the Caspian Sea, and establishes the city, Itil, as its capital on the shore of the Caspian. Northward it extends to the headwaters of the Volga. Their rulers accept the Jewish religion, apparently to assert their independence from both Muslims and Christians (approximate date).

A Rashidun army under Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rabiah is annihilated by the Khazars, near the city of Balanjar (Northern Caucasus). During the battle, both sides use catapults against the other (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

The Mercians under King Penda move on East Anglia, destroy the monastery at Burgh Castle and expel King Anna who probably flees to Magonsæte (approximate date).

King Oswiu of Bernicia seeks Irish support against the forces of Penda. While in Ireland he has a liaison with Fín, the granddaughter of King Colmán Rímid Uí Néill (approximate date).

King Cloten of Dyfed (Southern Wales) marries Princess Ceindrech of Brycheiniog, and unites the two kingdoms (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

The first Chinese paper money is issued, yet these banknotes will not become government-issued until the Song Dynasty era Sichuan province issues them in the year 1024, with the central government of China following suit in the 12th century.

Emperor Kōtoku is presented a white pheasant; he is pleased and begins a new Japanese era name (nengo) to be called Hakuchi, meaning 'The White Pheasant'.

====== Americas ======

Yuknoom the Great, ruler of Calakmul, attacks Dos Pilas and forces its leader, B'alaj Chan K'awiil, and a likely heir to the throne of Tikal, to take refuge at Aguateca, beginning the Second Tikal-Calakmul War.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

St. Martin's Church is built in Canterbury, England (approximate date).

====== Art and science ======

The panel of the Tamamushi Shrine, the so called "Hungry Tigress Jataka", is made during the Asuka period (Japan). It is now kept at Horyu-ji Treasure House (approximate date).

=== 651 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

King Clovis II of Neustria and Burgundy marries Balthild, an Anglo-Saxon aristocrat sold into slavery in Gaul. She has been owned by Clovis' mayor of the palace, Erchinoald, who gives her to him to garner royal favour (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

King Oswiu of Bernicia declares war on his rival, King Oswine of Deira. Oswine refuses to engage him in battle, and retreats to Gilling (North Yorkshire). Oswine is betrayed by a friend, and murdered by Oswiu's soldiers.

Œthelwald succeeds his uncle Oswine as king of Deira, and allies himself with Oswiu's enemy, King Penda of Mercia. Queen Eanflæd of Bernicia donates the estate of Gilling for the foundation of a monastery.

====== Persia ======

King Yazdegerd III of Persia is murdered in a miller's hut near Merv by his followers, ending both Persian resistance to Arab conquest, and the Sassanid Empire.

====== Arabian Empire ======

The Rashidun army under Abdullah ibn Aamir invades Afghanistan, and captures the main forts in Khorasan (modern Iran). The Muslim Arabs occupy the cities of Balkh and Herat, which surrender peacefully.

An embassy led by Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas arrives in the capital Chang'an via an oversea route. They are greeted by Emperor Gao Zong, who orders the establishment of the first Chinese mosque.

The Qur'an is compiled by Caliph Uthman ibn Affan in its present form. The text become the model from which copies are made and promulgated throughout the urban centers of the Arab world.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

The Hôtel-Dieu de Paris is founded by bishop Landry (Landericus). It becomes the first major hospital in Paris.

=== 652 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

King Rothari dies after a 16-year reign, and is succeeded by his son Rodoald as king of the Lombards.

====== Britain ======

King Penda of Mercia invades Bernicia, and besieges King Oswiu at Bamburgh, in North East England.

====== Arab Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: An Arab fleet under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad defeats the Byzantine fleet (500 ships) off the coast of Alexandria.

Siege of Dongola: A Rashidun army (5,000 men) under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad besieges Dongola in the Kingdom of Makuria (modern Sudan).

Uthman ibn Affan establishes a treaty (the Baqt) between the Christian Nubians and the Muslims in Egypt, that lasts for six centuries.

Abdel al Rahman ibn Awf, companion (sahabah) of Muhammad, frees 30,000 slaves at his death (approximate date).

====== Asia ======

The registers of population are prepared in Japan. Fifty houses are made a township, and for each township there is appointed an elder. The houses are all associated in groups of five for mutual protection, with one elder to supervise them one with another. This system prevails until the era of World War II.

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is constructed in Chang'an (modern Xi'an), during the Tang Dynasty (China). It is completed in the same year, during the reign of Emperor Gao Zong.

=== 653 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II voluntarily surrenders Armenia to the Arabs, following a truce with Muawiyah, governor of Syria. Muawiyah grants the Armenians virtual autonomy, and appoints the nakharar Theodor Rshtuni as ruler of Armenia.

Muawiyah leads a raid against Rhodes, taking the scattered pieces of the Colossus of Rhodes (one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World) and shipping it back to Syria, where he destroys the bronze scrap to make coins.

====== Europe ======

King Rodoald is murdered after a six-month reign, and is succeeded by Aripert I, who is elected as king of the Lombards. He spreads Catholicism over the Lombard realm and builds many new churches through the kingdom.

Atto succeeds Theodelap as duke of Spoleto, in Central Italy (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

King Penda of Mercia secures dominance over the area of Middle Anglia, where he establishes his son Peada as ruler.

Peada marries Alchflaed, daughter of King Oswiu of Bernicia, and is baptised at Ad Murum (in the region of Hadrian's Wall) by bishop Finan.

King Œthelwald of Deira rejects Oswiu's overlordship, and turns to Penda instead. Penda mounts another attack against Bernicia (approximate date).

Talorgan I, nephew of Oswiu, is crowned king of the Picts. He probably accepts Northumbrian overlordship and pays tribute.

King Sigeberht I of Essex dies after a 36-year reign, and is succeeded by his relative Sigeberht II.

Sigeberht II is persuaded by Oswiu to adopt Christianity, as part of a mobilization against Penda.

====== Asia ======

Emperor Kōtoku sends an embassy to the court of the Tang Dynasty in China. Japanese ambassadors, priests and students sail for the capital Chang'an, but some of the ships are lost en route.

Prince Tenji of Japan changes his residence to Asuka (Nara Prefecture), with other imperial family members and ministers. Only Emperor Kōtoku stays in the Naniwa Palace (approximate date).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

June 17 – Pope Martin I is arrested in the Lateren in Rome, along with Maximus the Confessor, on the orders of Emperor Constans II, and taken to imprisonment in Constantinople.

Northumbrian missionaries under St. Cedd are despatched to Essex, to found the monastery at Bradwell-on-Sea.

The Temple of Sinheungsa in Gangwon Province (South Korea) is constructed by the Buddhist monk Jajang.

=== 654 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II appoints his son Constantine IV, age 2, co-emperor (Augustus). He is too young to rule as monarch of the Byzantine Empire, and his title remains a given name.

====== Europe ======

King Recceswinth draws up at Toledo the Liber Judiciorum, a Visigothic code based on Roman law, that establishes equality between Goths and Hispano-Romans without regard to racial or cultural differences.

====== Britain ======

King Penda of Mercia defeats the East Anglians at Bulcamp near Blythburgh (Suffolk). King Anna of East Anglia and his son Jurmin are killed.

Æthelhere succeeds his brother Anna as king of East Anglia, and accepts Mercian overlordship (approximate date).

====== Arabian Empire ======

Muawiyah, governor of Syria, stations a large garrison on Cyprus. He conquers the Greek island of Kos in the Dodecanese.

Arab invaders cross the Oxus River, in what later will be Uzbekistan. Nomadic Turkic tribes continue to control Central Asia.

====== Asia ======

November 24 – Emperor Kōtoku dies after a 9-year reign; Kōgyoku (his elder sister) is restored on the throne under the name Saimei.

Takamuko no Kuromaro, a Japanese diplomat, is sent to the Tang Dynasty again, but dies upon his arrival in Chang'an.

Nakatomi no Kamatari, the inner minister (naidaijin) of Japan, is granted the Shikwan (the Purple Cap).

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

August 10 – The exiled Pope Martin I is deposed, and succeeded by Eugene I, as the 75th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. On September 17, Martin is taken to Constantinople and publicly humiliated, for having condemned the Byzantine Emperor Constans II in 649.

Philibert, Frankish abbot, receives a gift from King Clovis II of Neustria, and founds Jumièges Abbey in Normandy.

=== 655 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Battle of the Masts: Emperor Constans II personally commands the Byzantine fleet (500 ships), and sets off to challenge the Arab navy. He sails to the province of Lycia (Turkey) in the southern region of Asia Minor. The two forces meet off the coast of Mount Phoenix, near the harbour of Phoenix (modern Finike). The Arabs under Abdullah ibn Sa'ad are victorious in battle, although losses are heavy for both sides. Constans barely escapes to Constantinople.

====== Britain ======

November 15 – Battle of the Winwaed: King Oswiu of Bernicia defeats his rival, King Penda of Mercia at Cock Beck, near what later will be Leeds (Yorkshire). Kings Cadafael Cadomedd of Gwynedd and Œthelwald of Deira, allies of Mercia, withdraw their forces before the battle begins. It marks the defeat of the last credible pagan force in England. It also sows the seeds which will lead to Anglo-Saxon acceptance of the Catholic Church (approximate date).

Oswiu becomes overlord (bretwalda) over much of Great Britain. He establishes himself as king of Mercia, setting up his son-in-law, Penda's son Peada, as a subject king over Middle Anglia.

====== Asia ======

Empress Kōgyoku re-ascends to the throne of Japan, beginning a new reign as Saimei-tennō.

Arab armies conquer Khurasan (Iran), and the Silk Road along Transoxiana (Central Asia).

King Vikramaditya I of Chalukya (India) re-unites the kingdom, after defeating his brothers.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

May 15 – Pope Martin I is banished to Chersonesos Taurica (Ukraine). He dies later in the Crimean Peninsula after a 6-year reign, leaving Eugene I as the uncontested pope (see 654).

Peada founds Peterborough Cathedral (Province of Canterbury). It become one of the first centres of Christianity in England. Deusdedit is consecrated to archbishop of Canterbury.

=== 656 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

February 1 – King Sigebert III of Austrasia, age 25, dies after a 22-year reign. His 5-year-old son Dagobert II is kidnapped by the court chancellor, Grimoald the Elder, who makes his own son king, and exiles him to an Irish monastery. Dagobert is placed with Dido, bishop of Poitiers, while Grimoald's son Childebert the Adopted assumes the Austrasian throne.

====== Britain ======

King Oswiu of Northumbria invades Pengwern (modern Wales) and kills King Cynddylan in battle, near the River Trent. Cynddylan's brother Morfael and the rest of the royal family flee to Glastening (Wessex).

King Œthelwald of Deira is removed from office by his uncle Oswiu, because of his desertion at the Battle of the Winwaed, and replaced by the latter's son Alhfrith, as subject king in a united Northumbria.

====== Arabian Empire ======

First Islamic Civil War: An armed revolt erupts in Egypt; several Muslim sympathisers travel to Medina to rally support, beginning the fitna (literally meaning the 'trail of faith'). The Muslim expansion comes to a halt as the martial energies of the Islamic forces are directed inwards.

June 20 – Uthman ibn Affan is murdered at Medina after an 11-year reign. He is succeeded by Muhammad's cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi-Talib, who becomes the fourth caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate. He makes Kufah (Iraq) his capital, but the succession is disputed.

November 7 – Battle of the Camel: Rebel Arabs under Aisha (widow of Muhammad) begin a revolt against Ali. They are defeated at Basra, and Aisha is exiled to Medina. During the battle 10,000 people lose their lives, with each party bearing equal loss.

Abdullah ibn Sa'ad, governor of Upper Egypt, dies after a 12-year regime in which he has defeated neighboring Nubia.

====== Asia ======

Empress Saimei of Japan builds a new palace at Asuka (Nara Prefecture), because her former residence took fire. This construction is called the "Mad Canal" by the people of that day, wasting the labor of tens of thousand workers and a large amount of money.

====== Polynesia ======

September 24 – A total solar eclipse is observable from Easter Island. The next at this location will not occur until July 11, 2010.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

Li Xiăn, seventh son of the Chinese emperor Gao Zong, is made crown prince. His lavish palatial mansion in Chang'an is converted into a Daoist abbey during the Tang Dynasty (approximate date).

The Yasaka Shrine is constructed in the Gion district of Kyoto (Japan).

=== 657 ===

==== By place ====

====== Europe ======

Grimoald the Elder, mayor of the palace of Austrasia, is deposed by Clovis II, king of Neustria. Clovis also captures Grimoald's son Childebert the Adopted, executing them both.

Clovis II dies and is succeeded by his eldest son Chlothar III, age 5, who becomes king of Neustria and Burgundy, under the regency of his mother Balthild.

====== Arab Empire ======

Battle of Siffin: Muslim forces under Ali ibn Abi-Talib fight an inconclusive battle against Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan, on the banks of the Euphrates, near Raqqa (Syria).

====== Asia ======

Tang campaigns against the Western Turks: Emperor Gao Zong dispatches a military campaign led by Su Dingfang. He annexes the Western Turkic Khaganate.

Gao Zong commissions the pharmacology publication of an official materia medica, documenting the use of 833 different substances for medicinal purposes.

====== Americas ======

In the course of the Second Tikal-Calakmul War, the Snake Lord (Yuknoom Ch'een II) makes a direct attack against Tikal itself, driving out its new ruler Nuun Ujol Chaak, and establishing Calakmul as the regional superpower. B'alaj Chan K'awiil, the one time heir apparent to rule Tikal, swears his allegiance to the new overlord.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

June 1 – Pope Eugene I dies at Rome after a reign of nearly 2½ years. He is succeeded by Vitalian as the 76th pope.

Hilda, Anglo-Saxon abbess, founds a monastery at Streaneshalch, on the Yorkshire coast at Whitby (England).

=== 658 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Emperor Constans II undertakes an expedition to the Balkan Peninsula, and defeats the Avars in Macedonia. He temporarily reasserts Byzantine rule, and resettles some of them in Anatolia to fight against the Rashidun Caliphate (approximate date).

====== Europe ======

The confederation of Slavic tribes falls apart after the death of King Samo. A Slav principality is formed from the kingdom's remnants in Carinthia (modern Austria), and the Avars capture most of its territory in Hungary (approximate date).

====== Britain ======

Battle of Peonnum: King Cenwalh and the Wessex Saxons make a push against Dumnonia (South West England). They are victorious at Penselwood in Somerset, and the Dumnonia-Wessex border is set at the River Parrett (approximate date).

A revolt led by three Mercian noblemen (Immin, Eata, and Eadberht) installs Wulfhere (son of king Penda) as ruler of Mercia, and drives out the supporters of King Oswiu of Northumbria.

====== Asia ======

The Chinese Buddhist monks Zhi Yu and Zhi You recreate several south-pointing chariots, for the Japanese prince Tenji. This is a 3rd-century device made by Ma Jun, and acts as a mechanical-driven directional-compass vehicle (according to the Nihon Shoki).

Chinese forces defeat the Western Turkic Kaganate (Central Asia). The West kaganate becomes a vassal of the Tang Dynasty. During the power vacuum, Turgesh tribes emerge as the leading power (approximate date).

=== 659 ===

==== By place ====

====== Byzantine Empire ======

Arab–Byzantine War: Emperor Constans II signs a peace treaty with the Rashidun Caliphate. He uses the pause to strengthen his defences, and consolidates Byzantine control over Armenia. Constans establishes the themata, dividing territorial command in Anatolia.

Constans II elevates his son Heraclius to the rank of co-emperor (Augustus), alongside his brother Tiberius.

====== Asia ======

A Japanese embassy is sent to the Chinese Empire, and received in an audience by Emperor Gao Zong. The Tang Dynasty is determined in the next year to take administrative measures in regard to Japan. The envoys are detained.

====== Middle East ======

The Battle of Nahrawan takes place between Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Khawarij terrorists in Nahrawan, Iraq.

==== By topic ====

====== Religion ======

March 17 – Gertrude of Nivelles, daughter of Pepin of Landen (mayor of the palace of Austrasia), requests on her deathbed a burial wearing a plain linen shroud. This is the traditional (pagan) practice of a 'furnished' grave.

Leodegar, an opponent of Ebroin (mayor of the palace), is appointed bishop of Autun in Burgundy.

663

Year 663 (DCLXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 663 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.

Andronikos V Palaiologos

Andronikos V Palaiologos (or Andronicus V Palaeologus) (Greek: Ανδρόνικος Ε' Παλαιολόγος) (c. 1400 – c. 1407) was co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire with his father John VII Palaiologos.

Battle of the Masts

The Battle of the Masts (Arabic: معركة ذات الصواري, romanized Ma‘rakat Dhāt al-Ṣawārī) or Battle of Phoenix was a crucial naval battle fought in 654 (A.H. 34) between the Muslim Arabs, led by Abu'l-Awar and the Byzantine fleet under the personal command of Emperor Constans II. The battle is considered to be "the first decisive conflict of Islam on the deep" as well as part of the earliest campaign by Muawiyah to conquer Constantinople.

Byzantine Empire under the Heraclian dynasty

The Byzantine Empire was ruled by emperors of the dynasty of Heraclius between 610 and 711. The Heraclians presided over a period of cataclysmic events that were a watershed in the history of the Empire and the world in general.

At the beginning of the dynasty, the Empire was still recognizable as the Eastern Roman Empire, dominating the Mediterranean and harbouring a prosperous Late Antique urban civilization. This world was shattered by successive invasions, which resulted in extensive territorial losses, financial collapse and plagues that depopulated the cities, while religious controversies and rebellions further weakened the Empire.

By the dynasty's end, a very different state had emerged: medieval Byzantium, a chiefly agrarian, military-dominated society that was engaged in a lengthy struggle with the Muslim Caliphate. However, this state was also far more homogeneous, being reduced to its mostly Greek-speaking and firmly Chalcedonian core territories, which enabled it to weather these storms and enter a period of stability under the successor Isaurian Dynasty.

The Heraclian dynasty was named after the general Heraclius the Younger, who, in 610, sailed from Carthage, overthrew the usurper Phocas, and was crowned Emperor. At the time, the Empire was embroiled in a war with the Sassanid Persian Empire, which in the next decade conquered the Empire's eastern provinces.

After a long and exhausting struggle, Heraclius managed to defeat the Persians and restore the Empire, only to lose these provinces again shortly after to the sudden eruption of the Muslim conquests. His successors struggled to contain the Arab tide. The Levant and North Africa were lost, while in 674–678, a large Arab army besieged Constantinople itself.

Nevertheless, the state survived and the establishment of the Theme system allowed the imperial heartland of Asia Minor to be retained. Under Justinian II and Tiberios III the imperial frontier in the East was stabilized, although incursions continued on both sides.

The latter 7th century also saw the first conflicts with the Bulgars and the establishment of a Bulgarian state in formerly Byzantine lands south of the Danube, which would be the Empire's chief antagonist in the West until the 11th century.

Constans II (son of Constantine III)

Constans II (Welsh: Custennin) was the eldest son of the Western Roman Emperor Constantine III and was appointed co-emperor by him from 409 to 411. He was killed during the revolts and fighting that ended his father’s reign.

Constantine III (Byzantine emperor)

Constantine III (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Γ΄; Latin: Heraclius Novus Constantinus Augustus; 3 May 612 – 20 April or 24/26 May 641) was Byzantine emperor for four months in 641, making him the shortest reigning Byzantine emperor. He was the eldest son of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius and his first wife Eudokia.

Constantine's birth name was Heraclius Novus Constantinus, (Greek: Ἡράκλειος νέος Κωνσταντῖνος), which was also the official name under which he reigned. The name Constantine became established in later Byzantine texts as short for the Emperor and has become standard in modern historiography. In terms of official imperial nomenclature, the style "Constantine III" would be more appropriate for his son Constans II (r. 641–668).

Constantine IV

Constantine IV (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Δ', translit. Kōnstantinos IV; Latin: Flavius Constantinus Augustus; c. 652 – 14 September 685), sometimes incorrectly called Pogonatos (Πωγωνάτος), "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, while his calling of the Sixth Ecumenical Council saw the end of the monothelitism controversy in the Byzantine Empire.

Duke of Naples

The Dukes of Naples were the military commanders of the ducatus Neapolitanus, a Byzantine outpost in Italy, one of the few remaining after the conquest of the Lombards. In 661, Emperor Constans II, highly interested in south Italian affairs (he established his court in Syracuse), appointed a Neapolitan named Basil dux or magister militum. Thereafter a line of dukes, often largely independent and dynastic from the mid-ninth century, ruled until the coming of the Normans, a new menace they could not weather. The thirty-ninth and last duke, Sergius VII, surrendered his city to King Roger II of Sicily in 1137.

Fausta (wife of Constans II)

Fausta (c. 630 – after 668) was the Empress consort of Constans II of the Byzantine Empire

Heraclius (son of Constans II)

Heraclius (Greek: Ἡράκλειος, Herakleios) 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, 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.

Heraklonas

Constantine Heraclius (Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος Ἡράκλειος; Latin: Flavius Constantinus Heraclius (Heraclianus) Augustus; 626–641), commonly known by the diminutive Heraklonas or Herakleonas (Greek: Ἡρακλωνᾶς/Ἡρακλεωνᾶς), or rarely, Heraclius II, was the son of Heraclius and his niece Martina. His father had stipulated in his will that both of his sons should rule jointly upon his death. Heraclius also specified that his wife, Martina, was to be called "Mother and Empress" in so far as she might have influence at court as well. The Emperor Heraclius died in February 641 from edema. When Martina did make the late Emperor's will public she faced staunch resistance to her playing any active role in government, but both Heraklonas and Constatine III were proclaimed joint-emperors in February 641 without incidence . After Constantine died of tuberculosis in April/May 641, Heraklonas became sole emperor, under the regency of his mother due to his young age, usually dated from April/May – September/October 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 Heraklonas' nose cut off, then exiled him to Rhodes, where he is believed to have died in the same year.

Paul II of Constantinople

Paul II (? – December 653) was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople from 641 to 653. He assumed regency for Byzantine emperor Constans II after a succession crisis in 641.

Stephanos of Clypea (now Kelibia, in Tynisia) appears to have served as secretary/scribe of Patriarch Paulus II of Constantinople (641-653 AD) against the Monothelites, in 646 AD [Steph. Antonii Morcelli, Africa Christiana, vol. 1, 1136: Clypiensis, LDCCCXVI, p. 144].

Plato (exarch)

Plato (Greek: Πλάτων, fl. 645–653) was the Exarch of Ravenna from 645 to 649. He is known primarily for his monothelitism and his opposition to the Pope Theodore I. He convinced the Patriarch Paul II of Constantinople to break with the Pope.

He is first attested as exarch in 645. By 649, when his successor Olympius is named as being at Ravenna, he was already back at the imperial court in Constantinople, functioning as the advisor of Emperor Constans II on the Italian situation regarding Pope Martin I's resistance to Monotheletism.

He is last attested in 653. A brother, the presbyter Theocharistos, and a brother-in-law or son-in-law named Theodore Chilas, are also attested two years later.

Pope Eugene I

Pope Eugene I (d. 2 June 657), also known as Eugenius I, was Pope from 10 August 654 to his death in 657. He was a native of Rome, born to one Rufinianus.

In June 653, in the midst of a dispute with Byzantine Emperor Constans II over Monothelitism (the belief that Jesus had that only a single, divine will), Pope Martin I was seized and carried to Constantinople and subsequently exiled to Cherson in the Crimea. Initially, in the pontiff's absence, the church was probably governed by the archpriest, archdeacon and the primicerius of the notaries. Over a year later, and with no sign of Martin's return, Eugene was chosen to succeed. If the emperor expected Eugene to take a different approach from that of his predecessor, he was disappointed.

Saborios

Saborios or Saborius (Greek: Σαβώριος) was a Byzantine general who rose in revolt against Emperor Constans II (r. 641–668) in 667–668. He sought and obtained the aid of the Caliph Muawiyah I (r. 661–680), but was killed in a horse accident before confronting the imperial troops.

Tiberius (son of Constans II)

Tiberius (Greek: Τιβέριος, Tiberios) 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.

Type of Constans

The Type of Constans (also called Typos of Constans) was an imperial edict issued by Byzantine Emperor Constans II in 648 in an attempt to defuse the confusion and arguments over the Christological doctrine of Monotheletism. For over two centuries, there had been a bitter debate regarding the nature of Christ: the orthodox Chalcedonian position defined Christ as having two natures in one person, whereas Monophysite opponents contended that Jesus Christ possessed but a single nature. At the time, the Byzantine Empire had been at near constant war for fifty years and had lost large territories. It was under great pressure to establish domestic unity. This was hampered by the large number of Byzantines who rejected the Council of Chalcedon in favour of Monophysitism.

The Type attempted to dismiss the entire controversy, on pain of dire punishment. This extended to kidnapping the Pope from Rome to try him for high treason and mutilating one of the Type's main opponents. Constans died in 668. Ten years later his son, Constantine IV, fresh from a triumph over his Arab enemies and with the predominately Monophysitic provinces irredeemably lost, called the Third Council of Constantinople. It decided with an overwhelming majority to condemn Monophysitism, Monotheletism, the Type of Constans and its major supporters. Constantine put his seal to the Council's decisions, and reunited such of Christendom as was not under Arab suzerainty.

Roman and Byzantine emperors
Principate
27 BC – 235 AD
Crisis
235–284
Dominate
284–395
Western Empire
395–480
Eastern/
Byzantine Empire

395–1204
Empire of Nicaea
1204–1261
Eastern/
Byzantine Empire

1261–1453

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