The Ancient Library

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contempt for his character, and the governors of distant provinces paid so little respect to his authority, that they seemed to be independent princes. A revolt broke out in Armenia under Pasagnathus, who made himself completely inde­pendent ; but he afterwards returned to obedience.

As early as 648, a truce for two years had been concluded between the Arabs and Constans. 1 Abdu-1-lah availed himself of that truce to invade and conquer Nubia and Abyssinia; but he return­ed in 651, renewed hostilities, and sent an ex-* pedition against Sicily, where the Arabs took several places, and maintained themselves there. In the same year Mu'awiyah spread terror through both the East and the West by the conquest of Rhodes, and it was on this occasion that the famous colossus was sold to a Jew of Edessa.

The fall of Rhodes failed to rouse Constans from his carelessness. He still endeavoured to compel obedience to his "Typus" in Italy, al­though it had been condemned by pope Martin I. Theodoras Calliopas, the imperial exarch in Italy, arrested Martin in his own palace in 653, and sent him from thence to Messina, afterwards to the island of Naxos, and at last, in 654, to Con­stantinople. Here, after a mock trial, he was con­demned of holding treacherous correspondence with the infidels, and was mutilated and. banished to Cherson, in the Chersonnesus Taurica, where he died in September, A. d. 655. Many other bishops of the orthodox faith were likewise persecuted, among whom was St. Maximus, who died in exile in the Caucasus, in 662.

In 655, the war with the Arabs became alarmingly dangerous. Mu'awiyah, then governor of Syria, fitted out a fleet, which he entrusted to the command of Abu-1-abar, while he himself with the land forces marched against Caesareia, whence he intended to proceed to the Bosporus. In this imminent danger Constans gave the command of Constantinople to his eldest son, Constantine, and sailed himself with his own ships against the hostile fleet. The two fleets met off the coast of Lycia, and an obstinate battle ensued, in which the Greeks were at last completely defeated. Constantinople seemed to be lost. But the khalif 'Othman was assassinated in 655, and Mu'awiyah, who was chosen in his stead, was obliged to renounce the conquest of Constantinople, and to defend his own empire against the attempts of 'All, and afterwards of his son Has an, who assumed the title of khalif, and maintained themselves at Kufa till 668. De­livered from the Arabs, Constans made war upon the Slavonian nations south and north of the Da­nube with great success.

In 661, Constans put his brother Theodosius to death. The reasons for this crime are not well known ; for, as Theodosius had taken orders, and was consequently unfit for reigning, political jealousy could not be the cause ; perhaps there was some religious difference between the two brothers. The murder of his brother pressed heavily upon him; he constantly dreamt about him, and often awoke, crying out that Theodosius was standing at "his bed­side, holding a cup of blood, and saying, 44 Drink, brother, drink ! " His palace at Constantinople was insupportable to him, and he at last resolved to quit the East and to fix his residence in Italy. The political state of this country, however, was as strong a reason for the emperor's presence there as the visions of a murderer.



As early as A. d, 641, Rotharis, king of the Longobards, attacked the imperial dominions in northern Italy, and conquered the greater part of them. One of his successors, Grimoald, had formed designs against the Greek possessions in southern Italy, where the emperor was still master of the duchies of Rome and Naples, with both the Sicily, Sardinia, and Corsica belonged like­wise to the Greek empire. The emperor's authority in Italy was much shaken by the religious'and civil troubles which he had caused there by his absurd edict, the " Typus;" but, on the other hand, the dissensions among the dukes and other great chiefs of the Longobards seemed to afford a favourable chance for the re-establishment of the Roman empire of Italy by the Greeks, an enter­prise which one hundred years before the emperor Justinian had so gloriously achieved by his general Narses. Under these circumstances, Constans resolved not only to imitate the example of Jus­tinian, but to make Rome once more the centre oi the Roman empire. His resolution caused the greatest surprise, for since the downfall of the Western empire no emperor had resided, nor even made a momentary stay, in Italy. " But," said Constans, " the mother (Rome) is worthier of my care than the daughter (Constantinople);" and, having fitted out a fleet, he fixed the day of his departure, and ordered the empress and his three sons to accompany him. He waited for them on board of his galley, but no sooner had they left the imperial palace, than the people of Constanti­nople rose in revolt and prevented them by force from joining the emperor. Being informed of this, Constans spit against the city, cursed its inhabit­ants, and ordered the sailors to weigh anchor. This took place towards the end of 662. Con­stans stayed the winter at Athens, having pre­viously appointed his eldest son, Constantine, governor of Constantinople. Our space prevents us from giving an account of his campaign in Italy; it is sufficient to state, that though he met at first with some success, his troops were afterwards de­feated by the Longobards, and he was obliged to relinquish his design of subduing them. After plundering the churches and other public buildings of Rome of their finest ornaments and treasures, he took up his residence at Syracuse for a time. In this city also he gratified his love of avarice and cruelty to such an extent, that many thousands fled from the island, and settled in different parts of Syria, especially at Damascus, where they adopted the religion of Mohammed. The emperor's absence from the seat of government excited Mu'awiyah to make fresh inroads into the Greek provinces.

It has been already related that Constans was deeply offended on account of the treaty having been concluded without his consent between his officers in Africa and the Arabian general 'Abdu-1-lah. In 665, Mu'awiyah being then chiefly oc­cupied in the eastern part of the Khalifate, Constans resolved to revenge himself upon his subjects in Africa, and accordingly imposed a tribute upon them which was more than double what they had engaged to pay to the Arabs. This avaricious and imprudent measure caused a revolt. They invited the Arabs to take possession of their country, promising to make no resistance. Upon this Mu'awiyah entered Africa, defeated the few troops who were faithful to Constans, and extended his

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