Constans II

Constans II
   Called "Pogonatos" ("the bearded"), Constans II was emperor from 641-668, when Arab expansion was continuing at a dizzying pace. In 642 the Arabs captured Alexandria (qq.v.), the same year they attacked Armenia (q.v.). In 647 the Arabs entered Asia Minor (q.v.) in force, raiding Cappadocia and capturing Caesarea (qq.v.). In 649 they raided Cyprus, and they pillaged Rhodes, Crete (qq.v.), and Cos in 654. In the next year the Arabs defeated a Byzantine fleet in a sea battle in which Constans II escaped only because he changed clothes with a seaman (who died while taking the brunt of the Arab attack). As if by miracle, the Arab assault stalled from 656-661 due to a civil war in the caliphate between Muawiya (q.v.) and Ali, the son-in-law of Muhammad the Prophet (q.v.). The respite allowed Constans II to turn his attention to Greece (q.v.), where, in 658, he attacked "sklavinia" (q.v.) (perhaps Macedonia [q.v.]). The Slavs (q.v.) whom he captured he resettled in Asia Minor (q.v.), where they were enrolled as troops. This experiment had mixed success, considering that in 665 some 5,000 Slav soldiers deserted to the Arabs. In 663 he opened up an inconclusive campaign against the Lombards (q.v.), after which he went to Rome (q.v.) where he was received by Pope (q.v.) Vitalian, a successor to Pope Martin I (q.v.). Constans II had exiled Pope Martin to Cherson (q.v.) in 654 after the pope (q.v.) condemned the imperial edict (Typos) of 648 that sought to pacify the opponents of Monotheletism (q.v.). Maximos the Confessor [q.v.], who supported Pope Martin, was also exiled. He then retired to Syracuse in Sicily (qq.v.), whose defenses he intended to strengthen against Arab attacks, and where he considered moving the imperial capital. In 668 after having survived many rebellions, he was murdered by a member of his entourage.

Historical Dictionary of Byzantium . .

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