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Constantius Chlorus, Roman Emperor

Flavius Valerius Constantius, or Constantius Chlorus as he was better known, was a Roman emperor who ruled for the short period of only one year. As an emperor, he was solely in charge of the Western section of the Roman Empire.

Byzantine historians are the ones primarily responsible in him being given the name Chlorus, which means pale in Latin. As the father of future Roman emperor Constantine I, Constantius was at the head of the Constantine dynasty.

There were quite a few written accounts that detail the life of Constantius in those times. One of the most noteworthy and reliable ones is the Historia Augusta in which it is learned that Constantius was the son of Eutropius and Claudia.

Eutropius was of the noble class originally from Dardania while Claudia, by no means of common stock, was herself the niece of the emperors Claudius II and Quintillus. These claims have been disputed however and some historians have suggested that these claims to nobility in the family were nothing more than wishful claims on the part of Constantius grandson Constantine II who manufactured them in the hopes of elevating what was suspected to be the somewhat lowly beginnings of the family.

Early on in his political career, Constantius enjoyed the support of the emperor Carus who bestowed upon him the coveted title of governor of Dalmatia. The Roman emperor was in fact so impressed with Constantius' exceptional abilities that the emperor at one point even considered adopting him, making him in effect, the legal claimant to the throne. This was after the emperor had expressed dissatisfaction with the potential his own son, Carinus showed.

The extent of Constantius' rule over his section of the Roman Empire can perhaps best be illustrated by an explanation of how the empire was actually divided among the various rulers. The Roman emperor Diocletian first established the Tetrarchy, which effectively divided the state into two portions, the West and the East. Each separate section was under the rule of an Augustus, with a Caesar functioning as support. Diocletian appointed himself as Augustus of the Eastern Empire and took on as his Caesar, Galerius. Constantius in turn was appointed Caesar of the Western Empire, serving under the Augustus, Maximian.

Constantius would later meet and subsequently marry Maximian's stepdaughter, who was named Theodora. The couple would together have six children. It was also during this time that Constantius divorced his first wife (or as some reports have claimed, his concubine) named Helena. He already had a son with Helena, whom they named Constantine. By all accounts, Helena was thought to have originally been from Nicodemia in Asia Minor. For his domain, Constantius was given jurisdiction over the areas covered by Gaul, Britain and maybe even Hispania.

293 AD was the year that Constantius managed to defeat the armies of Carausius, who had previously declared himself emperor in Britain and northern Gaul. In 296, he found himself in a battle in the city of Lingonae in Gaul against the Alamanni.

Constantius died on July 25, 306 AD in York.

Original Authors: Doods Pangburn
Edit Update Authors:
M.A.Harris
Updated On:
22/07/2008



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