Roman Emperor Biography: Constantine IV

Constantine IV led the empire of Rome from 668-685 A.D. His actions in the miltary led to his death. Information on his life, career, reign, and contributions to Roman culture.

Born of Constans II and Fausta, Constantine IV was born around 650, being the oldest son. Until April 654 Constans II had proclaimed him co-emperor until he was murdered in Sicily in 668. Then he became emperor along with his two brothers, Herclius and Tiberius. Constans IV married Anastasia and had two sons named Justinian II and Heraclius. It is still unknown whether the nickname Pogonatos belonged to Constans II or Constantine IV.

Once Constantine IV heard of his father's assassination he immediately set sail for Sicily. This was shortly after the rebellion of the Mizizius had been put down. Over the winter he was able to regain imperial authority over the troops and by spring he had brought them back to the Arabs. The building up had occurred during Constans II's reign. Mucawiya attacked Sicily, North Africa and Anatolia. It soon became obvious that Mucawiya was focusing on brining his forces to the capital city of Constantinople. Then in 670 the Arab naval forces began to occupy Cyzicus, where they established a base for their future attacks against the city. Then they captured the Smyrna in 672. Two years later the Arab fleet had begun its assault upon Constantinople. While the emperor had his attention focused on the Arabs, The Slav chieftain Perbundus made plans to capture Thessalonica. As soon as Constantine heard of these plans he had him executed. Yet the Slavs became angered by this and still attacked the city and lead to the siege of it.

The Arabs continued their assault on Constantinople yet they were unable to capture the city. After their blockade through the city through the summer, by winter the returned to the base off of Cyzicus. For the next three years the Arab fleet returned each summer until 678 when the Byzantines, utilizing Greek fire they were finally able to defeat the Arab navy and force them to withdrawl. The Greek's fire was actually a liquid that was invented by Callinicus of Heliopolis, who was a Christian refuges for Syria. This liquid was pumped through a siphon onto the enemy ships and then it would burst into flames when it would touch the timber. The state secret of the Byzantines was the ingredients of the flammable liquid. It was so heavily guarded that the secret is still not known till this day. At the same time as they were having their naval success, the Byzantines also won a major land battle against the Arabsin Anatolia. Both of theses wins lead Mucawiya to recall his land and naval forces to seek a peace treaty. Constantine IV made a treaty with Mucawiya so that he would pay an annual tribute of 3,00 pieces of gold.



Constantine was able to turn his attention to the western region of his empire, with the Byzantine victories in the East. Quickly the Byzantine army had been dispatched to Thessalonica defeating the Slavs, and lifted the siege. The Avars were impressed by the Byzantine success and set ambassadors to Constantinople to acknowledge Byzantine control over them. Then in 670, Asparuch led a group of Bulgars into the land near the delta of the Danube. This is what the Byzantine regarded as under their control, their intention was to move further south into Byzantine territory. In 680 the naval and land expedition that were under Constantine's command tried to remove the Bulgars. Yet they were unable to force a battle. Finally when the Byzantines attempted to retreat from the region. The Bulgars attacked them and then inflicted a lot of damage to them. The very next year, Constantine IV agreed to a treaty that recognized Bulgar the control of the region all because of the defeat. Once they had control they held control over Byzantines' access to the Danabue, also they established the capital at Pliska. To set an alternative to this Constantine made a theme of Thrace and settled fugitives from the Avar Khanate. They are a buffer against the Bulgars. Constantine was able to send raiding parties to attack Ascalon, Acre, and Caesarea and then recapture most of Cilicia.

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