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Constantius II (337-361AD)


Flavius Julius Constantius II was the second son of Constantine I and Fausta. Constantius was born in 317 AD and given the rank of Caesar 324AD. He was named after his grandfather Constantius I Chlorus.

Following the death of his father in 337 AD, the Empire was divided among the three sons – Constantine II, Constantius II and Constans. Constantius received the Eastern provinces as his share of the inheritance, which included Constantinople as his capital. In 340 AD, Constantine II invaded Italy in an attempt to conquer the territory of the youngest brother Constans. Nonetheless, Constantine II was killed and the Empire was then divided between Constantius and Constans.

In January 350 AD, Magnentius led a rebellion in the West against Constans. With most of the Western legions defecting to Magnentius’ cause, Constans fled in the direction of Spain, but was overtaken and killed by Magnentius. With the Empire in chaos, Constantia (sister of Constanius II) persuaded the leader of the Balkin legions, Vetranio, to proclaim himself as co-emperor and to keep Magnentius’ legions in check until her brother arrived from the East. Vetranio complied and upon Constantius II’ arrival, Vetranio abdicated. Constantius then moved against Magnentius inflicting a major defeat in September 351 AD. Eventually, Magnentius was completely defeated in 353 AD.

This is a small hoard of AE Bronze Numis of Constantius II who had been elevated to the rank of Caesar, the sole surviving male descendant of Constantius I and Theodora, Flavius Claudius Julianus. Julian was given responsibility for the defense of Gaul, where he distinguished himself as a good military leader. Fearing the popularity of Julian, Constantius ordered Julian to send his best troops to the East in support of the war against the Persians. Julian’s troops rebelled and proclaimed him Emperor while at his winter quarters at Paris in February, 360 AD. Julian strove to obtain recognition of his new status from his cousin Constantius and continued issuing coinage in the senior Emperor’s name. However, Constantius would have no part of sharing the rule.

In 361 AD, Constantius set out to meet Julian in battle. However, while he was advancing through Cilicia, Constantius became gravely ill and died at Mopucrene on November 3rd, 361 AD. Julian entered the gates of Constantinople unopposed as ruler of the Roman Empire. The House of Theodora had prevailed.

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