The Alans were an Iranian nomadic pastoral people of antiquity. The name Alan is an Iranian dialectical form of Aryan. Related to the Massagetae, the Alans have been connected by modern historians with the Central Asian Yancai and Aorsi of Chinese and Roman sources, respectively. Having migrated westwards and become dominant among the Sarmatians on the Pontic Steppe, they are mentioned by Roman sources in the 1st century AD. At the time, they had settled the region north of the Black Sea and raided the Parthian Empire and the Caucasian provinces of the Roman Empire. From 215–250 AD, their power on the Pontic Steppe was broken by the Goths. Upon the Hunnic defeat of the Goths on the Pontic Steppe around 375 AD, many of the Alans migrated westwards along with various Germanic tribes, they crossed the Rhine in 406 AD along with the Vandals and Suebi, settling in Valence. Around 409 AD, they joined the Vandals and Suebi in the crossing of the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, settling in Lusitania and Carthaginensis.
The Iberian Alans were soundly defeated by the Visigoths in 418 AD and subsequently surrendered their authority to the Hasdingi Vandals. In 428 AD, the Vandals and Alans crossed the Strait of Gibraltar into North Africa, where they founded a powerful kingdom which lasted until its conquest by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the 6th century AD; the Alans who remained under Hunnic rule founded a powerful kingdom in the North Caucasus in the Middle Ages, which ended with the Mongol invasions in the 13th century AD. These Alans are said to be the ancestors of the modern Ossetians; the Alans spoke an Eastern Iranian language which derived from Scytho-Sarmatian and which in turn evolved into modern Ossetian. The various forms of Alan – Greek: Ἀλανοί Alanoi; this word was preserved in the modern Ossetian language in the form of Allon. These and other variants of Aryan were common self-designations of the Indo-Iranians, the common ancestors of the Indo-Aryans and Iranian peoples to whom the Alans belonged.
Rarer spellings include Halani. The Alans were known over the course of their history by another group of related names including the variations Asi, As, Os, it is this name, the root of the modern Ossetian. The first mentions of names that historians link with the Alani appear at the same time in texts from the Mediterranean, Middle East and China. In the 1st century AD, the Alans migrated westwards from Central Asia, achieving a dominant position among the Sarmatians living between the Don River and the Caspian Sea; the Alans are mentioned in the Vologeses inscription which reads that Vologeses I, the Parthian king between around 51 and 78 AD, in the 11th year of his reign, battled Kuluk, king of the Alani. The 1st century AD. Josephus reports in the Jewish Wars how Alans living near the Sea of Azov crossed the Iron Gates for plunder and defeated the armies of Pacorus, king of Media, Tiridates, King of Armenia, two brothers of Vologeses I: 4. Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have mentioned somewhere as being Scythians, living around Tanais and Lake Maeotis.
This nation about this time laid a design of falling upon Media, the parts beyond it, in order to plunder them. This king gave; these Alans therefore plundered the country without opposition, with great ease, proceeded as far as Armenia, laying waste all before them. Now, Tiridates was king of that country, who met them and fought them but was lucky not to have been taken alive in the battle. So the Alans, being still more provoked by this sight, laid waste the country, drove a great multitude of the men, a great quantity of the other booty from both kingdoms, along with them, retreated back to their own country; the fact that the Alans invaded Parthia through Hyrcania shows that at the time many Alans were still based north-east of the Caspian Sea. By the early 2nd century AD the Alans were in firm control of Kuban; these lands had earlier been occupied by the Aorsi and the Siraces, whom the Alans absorbed, dispersed and/or destroyed, since they were no longer mentioned in contemporaneous accounts.
It is that the Alans' influence stretched further westwards, encompassing most of the Sarmatian world, which by possessed a homogenous culture. In 135 AD, the Alans made a huge raid into Asia Minor via the Caucasus, ravaging Armenia, they were driven back by Arrian, the governor of Cappadocia, who wrote a detailed report (Ektaxis kata Alanoon or'War Ag
Leo II (emperor)
Leo II was the Byzantine emperor in 474 AD when he was a child aged 7. He was the son of Zeno, the Isaurian general and future emperor, Ariadne, the daughter of Emperor Leo I. Leo II was made co-emperor with his grandfather Leo I on 18 November 473, became sole emperor on 18 January 474 after Leo I died of dysentery, his father Zeno was made co-emperor by the Byzantine Senate on 9 February and they co-ruled for a short time before Leo II died on 10 November 474. Leo II was born in 467, the son of Zeno, an Isaurian general under Leo I, Ariadne, the daughter of emperor Leo I, he was the maternal grandson of Emperor Leo Empress Verina. Leo II was made caesar on 18 November 473, making him co-emperor alongside his grandfather Leo I, he was crowned at the Hippodrome, the ceremony was presided over by the Ecumenical Patriarch. He was appointed as the sole consul for 474 around this time; when Leo I died of dysentery on 19 January 474, Leo II ascended the throne. On 9 February 474, the Byzantine Senate made his father Zeno co-emperor under Leo II, as Leo II was too young to sign official documents.
Leo II died soon on 10 November 474, at the age of 7, leaving Zeno as the sole emperor. His death having occurred so soon after he became emperor has led to speculation among some modern scholars that he was poisoned by his mother Ariadne so that Zeno could ascend to the throne; however no contemporary sources raised this suggestion though Zeno was unpopular, thus it is considered that Leo II's death was natural when the high child mortality rate of the time is considered. Victor of Tonona, a 6th-century chronicler, says that Leo II did not die, but was rather taken by Ariadne and hidden at a monastery; this is likely a confusion with Basiliscus, the son of the Byzantine commander Armatus. Basiliscus was crowned caesar in 476 and was executed in 477 after his father was murdered by Zeno, but was saved by Ariadne; the confusion stems from the fact that Basiliscus was renamed Leo in order to avoid association with the usurper who rose against Zeno. Zeno was vastly unpopular, due to a lack of dynastic prestige, with his only familial ties to the imperial throne being his marriage to Ariadne, the daughter of Leo I, through his now-dead son Leo II.
Additionally, because he was an Isaurian, he was seen as a foreigner by the Byzantine elite, the treasury was empty on his ascension. Zeno's sole rule was opposed by the House of Leo, with Verina, the widow of Leo I, proclaiming her brother Basiliscus as emperor in January 475. Zeno fled, for 20 months Basiliscus ruled before Zeno returned and retook the throne. Zeno's rule was marked by constant unrest, it was only through cunning and bribery that he managed to rule for 17 years, until his death on 9 April 491. Adkins, Lesley. Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome. New York: Facts On File. ISBN 9780816074822. Carr, John. Fighting Emperors of Byzantium. Pen and Sword. ISBN 9781473856400. Dagron, Gilbert. Emperor and Priest: the Imperial Office in Byzantium. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521801232. John. Children of Achilles: the Greeks in Asia Minor Since the Days of Troy. London: I. B. Tauris. ISBN 9781845119416. James, Liz. Wonderful things: Byzantium Through Its Art: Papers From the 42nd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, London, 20-22 March 2009.
Farnham: Ashgate Variorum. ISBN 9781409455141. Jeffreys, Elizabeth. Studies in John Malalas. BRILL. ISBN 9789004344624. Jones, A. H. M.. The Decline of the Ancient World. Routledge. ISBN 9781317873051. Jones, Arnold Hugh Martin; the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 2, AD 395-527. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521201599. Lee, A. D.. From Rome to Byzantium AD 363 to 565: the Transformation of Ancient Rome. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9780748668359. McClanan, A.. Representations of Early Byzantine Empresses: Image and Empire. Springer. ISBN 9781137044693. Meijer, Fik. Emperors Don't Die in Bed. Routledge. ISBN 9781134384051. Shalev-Hurvitz, Vered. Holy Sites Encircled: The Early Byzantine Concentric Churches of Jerusalem. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199653775
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus, the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with a few fragments of the original structure surviving; the word hippodrome comes from the Greek hippos and dromos, path or way. For this reason, it is sometimes called Atmeydanı in Turkish. Horse racing and chariot racing were popular pastimes in the ancient world and hippodromes were common features of Greek cities in the Hellenistic and Byzantine era. Although the Hippodrome is associated with Constantinople's days of glory as an imperial capital, it predates that era; the first Hippodrome was built when the city was called Byzantium, was a provincial town of moderate importance. In AD 203 the Emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt the city and expanded its walls, endowing it with a hippodrome, an arena for chariot races and other entertainment. In AD 324, the Emperor Constantine the Great decided to move the seat of the government from Rome to Byzantium, which he renamed Nova Roma.
This name failed to impress and the city soon became known as Constantinople, the City of Constantine. Constantine enlarged the city, one of his major undertakings was the renovation of the Hippodrome, it is estimated that the Hippodrome of Constantine was 130 m wide. Its stands were capable of holding 100,000 spectators; the race-track at the Hippodrome was U-shaped, the Kathisma was located at the eastern end of the track. The Kathisma could be accessed directly from the Great Palace through a passage which only the emperor or other members of the imperial family could use; the Hippodrome Boxes, which had four statues of horses in gilded copper on top, stood at the northern end. These four gilded horses, now called the Horses of Saint Mark, whose exact Greek or Roman ancestry has never been determined, were looted during the Fourth Crusade in 1204 and installed on the façade of St Mark's Basilica in Venice; the track was lined with other bronze statues of famous horses and chariot drivers, none of which survive.
The hippodrome was filled with statues of gods and heroes, among them some famous works, such as a Heracles by Lysippos and Remus with their wolf and the Serpent Column of the Plataean tripod. In his book De Ceremoniis, the emperor Constantine Porphyrogenitus described the decorations in the hippodrome at the occasion of the visit of Saracen or Arab visitors, mentioning the purple hangings and rare tapestries. Throughout the Byzantine period, the Hippodrome was the centre of the city's social life. Huge amounts were bet on chariot races, four teams took part in these races, each one financially sponsored and supported by a different political party within the Roman/Byzantine Senate: The Blues, the Greens, the Reds and the Whites; the Reds and the Whites weakened and were absorbed by the other two major factions. A total of up to eight chariots, powered by four horses each, competed on the racing track of the Hippodrome; these races were not simple sporting events, but provided some of the rare occasions in which the Emperor and the common citizens could come together in a single venue.
Political discussions were made at the Hippodrome, which could be directly accessed by the Emperor through a passage that connected the Kathisma with the Great Palace of Constantinople. The rivalry between the Blues and Greens became mingled with political or religious rivalries, sometimes riots, which amounted to civil wars that broke out in the city between them; the most severe of these was the Nika riots of 532, in which an estimated 30,000 people were killed and many important buildings, such as the second Hagia Sophia Church, were destroyed. The current Hagia Sophia was built by Justinian following the Nika Revolt. Constantinople never recovered from its sack during the Fourth Crusade and though the Byzantine Empire survived until 1453, by that time, the Hippodrome had fallen into ruin, pillaged by the Venetians who took the four horses now in San Marco from a monument there; the Ottoman Turks, who captured the city in 1453 and made it the capital of the Ottoman Empire, were not interested in racing and the Hippodrome was forgotten, although the site was never built over.
The hippodrome was used as a source of building stone, however. The Hippodrome was used for various occasions such as the lavish and days-long circumcision ceremony of the sons of Sultan Ahmed III. In Ottoman miniature paintings, the Hippodrome is shown with the monuments still intact. Although the structures do not exist anymore, today's Sultanahmet Square follows the ground plan and dimensions of the now vanished Hippodrome. To raise the image of his new capital and his successors Theodosius the Great, brought works of art from all over the empire to adorn it; the monuments were set up in the middle of the spina. Among these was the Tripod of Plataea, now known as the Serpent Column, cast to celebrate the victory of the Greeks over the Persians during the Persian Wars in the 5th century BC. Constantine ordered the Tripod to be moved from the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, set in middle of the Hippodrome
Constans II called Constantine the Bearded, was emperor of the Byzantine Empire from 641 to 668. He was the last emperor to serve as consul, in 642. Constans is a nickname given to the Emperor, baptized Herakleios and reigned as Constantine; the nickname has become standard in modern historiography. Constans was the son of Constantine Gregoria. After the death of Constantine III's father Heraclius, Constantine ruled with his half-brother Heraklonas through Heraclius' second marriage to Martina. Due to rumors that Heraklonas and Martina poisoned Constantine III, Constans II was named co-emperor; that same year his uncle was deposed, Constans II was left as sole emperor. Constans owed his rise to the throne to a popular reaction against his uncle and to the protection of the soldiers led by the general Valentinus. Although the precocious emperor addressed the senate with a speech blaming Heraklonas and Martina for eliminating his father, he reigned under a regency of senators led by Patriarch Paul II of Constantinople.
In 644 Valentinus failed. Under Constans, the Byzantines withdrew from Egypt in 642, Caliph Uthman launched numerous attacks on the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and Aegean Sea. A Byzantine fleet under the admiral Manuel occupied Alexandria again in 645, the Alexandrians hailed him as a liberator, since the caliphate levied heavier taxes and showed less respect for their religion, but Manuel squandered his time and popularity in plundering the countryside, the Arab army managed to force him to embark for home. The situation was complicated by the violent opposition to Monothelitism by the clergy in the west and the related rebellion of the Exarch of Carthage, Gregory the Patrician; the latter fell in battle against the army of Caliph Uthman, the region remained a vassal state under the Caliphate until civil war broke out and imperial rule was again restored. Constans attempted to steer a middle line in the church dispute between Orthodoxy and Monothelitism by refusing to persecute either and prohibiting further discussion of the natures of Jesus Christ by decree in 648.
This live-and-let-live compromise satisfied few passionate participants in the dispute. Meanwhile, the advance of the Caliphate continued unabated. In 647 they had entered sacked Caesarea Mazaca. In the same year, they killed Gregory. In 648 the Arabs raided into Phrygia, in 649 they launched their first maritime expedition against Crete. A major Arab offensive into Cilicia and Isauria in 650–651 forced the Emperor to enter into negotiations with Caliph Uthman's governor of Syria, Muawiyah; the truce that followed allowed a short respite and made it possible for Constans to hold on to the western portions of Armenia. In 654, Muawiyah renewed his raids by sea, plundering Rhodes. Constans led a fleet to attack the Muslims at Phoinike in 655 at the Battle of the Masts, but he was defeated: 500 Byzantine ships were destroyed in the battle, the Emperor himself was killed; the sea battle was so devastating that the emperor escaped only by trading clothes with one of his men. Before the battle, chronicler Theophanes the Confessor says, the Emperor dreamed of being at Thessalonika.
Caliph Uthman was preparing to attack Constantinople, but he did not carry out the plan when the first Fitna broke out in 656. In 658, with the eastern frontier under less pressure, Constans defeated the Slavs in the Balkans, temporarily reasserting some notion of Byzantine rule over them and resettled some of them in Anatolia. In 659 he campaigned far to the east, taking advantage of a rebellion against the Caliphate in Media; the same year he concluded peace with the Arabs. Now Constans could turn to church matters once again. Pope Martin I had condemned both Monothelitism and Constans' attempt to halt debates over it in the Lateran Council of 649. Now the Emperor ordered his Exarch of Ravenna to arrest the Pope. Exarch Olympius excused himself from this task, but his successor, Theodore I Calliopas, carried it out in 653. Pope Martin was brought to Constantinople and condemned as a criminal being exiled to Cherson, where he died in 655. Constans grew fearful that his younger brother, could oust him from the throne.
Constans' sons Constantine and Tiberius had been associated on the throne since the 650s. However, having attracted the hatred of citizens of Constantinople, Constans decided to leave the capital and to move to Syracuse in Sicily. From there, in 663, he launched an assault against the Lombard Duchy of Benevento, which encompassed most of Southern Italy. Taking advantage of the fact that Lombard king Grimoald I of Benevento was engaged against Frankish forces from Neustria, Constans disembarked at Taranto and besieged Lucera and Benevento. However, the latter resisted and Constans withdrew to Naples. During the journey from Benevento to Naples, Constans II was defeated by Mitolas, Count of Capua, near Pugna. Constans ordered Saburrus, the commander of his army, to attack again the Lombards, but he was defeated by the Beneventani at Forino, between Avellino and Salerno. In 663 Constans visited Rome for twelve days—the only empero
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
The title vir illustris is used as a formal indication of standing in late antiquity to describe the highest ranks within the senates of Rome and Constantinople. All senators had the title vir clarissimus; the custom of Roman senators of late antiquity appending the title of vir clarissimus to their names developed over the first two centuries. During the fourth century, the senatorial order increased in number, so that the title became more common and new titles were devised to distinguish senators of a higher dignity, namely vir spectabilis and vir illustris; the first instance of vir illustris occurred in AD 354 with its use by the Praefectus praetorio. For some decades it was used inconsistently, but more perhaps in connection with a formal codification of honours by Emperor Valentinian I in AD 372; the offices that had a right to the title varied with time. The Notitia Dignitatum of the early AD fifth century attached it to the offices of the: Praefectus praetorio, Praefectus urbi, Magister militum, Praepositus sacri cubiculi, Magister officiorum, Comes sacrarum largitionum, Comes rerum privatarum, Comes domesticorum equitum sive peditum.
Beyond these, the title is frequently given to consuls to lower offices. In these cases the title may show a broadening of the criteria or may be an honorary grant to an individual; the Illustres soon were regarded as the active membership of the Senate. By the reign of Emperor Justinian I, all senators were considered Illustres. At the same time the title of "illustris" had been devalued below that of "clarissimus" in the AD fourth century, high officials were indicated with the titles of "vir gloriosus" or "gloriosissimus" and "vir magnificus". In ancient inscriptions and manuscripts, the spelling "inlustris" is more frequent; because the illustres were a subset of the clarissimi, the title is written as "vir clarissimus et illustris" in official documents. The shorter title was abbreviated "v. i.", "v. inl.", or "vir inl." and the longer title as "v. c. et inl."In Merovingian and Carolingian times, the spellings vir inluster and viri inlustres were common. Berger, A.'Illustris', R. E. IX, 1070-1085.
Hirschfeld, O.'Die Rangtitel der römischen Kaiserzeit', Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademie, 579-610, reprinted in Kleine Schriften, 657-71. Jones, A. H. M; the Later Roman Empire 284-602, A Social and Administrative Survey Löhken, H. Ordines Dignitatum Näf, B. Senatorisches Standesbewusstsein in spätrömischer Zeit
Constantius II was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. His reign saw constant warfare on the borders against the Sasanian Empire and Germanic peoples, while internally the Roman Empire went through repeated civil wars and usurpations, culminating in Constantius' overthrow as emperor by his cousin Julian, his religious policies inflamed domestic conflicts. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, Constantius was made Caesar by his father in 324, he led the Roman army in war against the Sasanian Empire in 336. A year Constantine I died, Constantius became Augustus with his brothers Constantine II and Constans, he promptly oversaw the massacre of eight of his relatives. The brothers divided the empire with Constantius receiving the eastern provinces. In 340, his brothers Constantine and Constans clashed over the western provinces of the empire; the resulting conflict Constans as ruler of the west. The war against the Sasanians continued, with Constantius losing a major battle at Singara in 344. In 350, Constans was assassinated in 350 by the usurper Magnentius.
Unwilling to accept Magnentius as co-ruler, Constantius waged a civil war against the usurper, defeating him at the battles of Mursa Major in 351 and Mons Seleucus in 353. Magnentius committed suicide after the latter battle, leaving Constantius as sole ruler of the empire. In 351, Constantius elevated his cousin Constantius Gallus to the subordinate rank of Caesar to rule in the east, but had him executed three years after receiving scathing reports of his violent and corrupt nature. Shortly thereafter, in 355, Constantius promoted his last surviving cousin, Gallus' younger half-brother Julian, to the rank of Caesar; as emperor, Constantius promoted Arian Christianity, persecuted pagans by banning sacrifices and closing pagan temples and issued laws discriminating against Jews. His military campaigns against Germanic tribes were successful: he defeated the Alamanni in 354 and campaigned across the Danube against the Quadi and Sarmatians in 357; the war against the Sasanians, in a lull since 350, erupted with renewed intensity in 359 and Constantius traveled to the east in 360 to restore stability after the loss of several border fortresses to the Sasanians.
However, Julian claimed the rank of Augustus in 360, leading to war between the two after Constantius' attempts to convince Julian to back down failed. No battle was fought, as Constantius became ill and died of fever on 3 November 361 in Mopsuestia, naming Julian as his rightful successor before his death. Constantius was born in 317 at Pannonia, he was the third son of Constantine the Great, second by his second wife Fausta, the daughter of Maximian. Constantius was made Caesar by his father on 13 November 324. In 336, religious unrest in Armenia and tense relations between Constantine and king Shapur II caused war to break out between Rome and Sassanid Persia. Though he made initial preparations for the war, Constantine fell ill and sent Constantius east to take command of the eastern frontier. Before Constantius arrived, the Persian general Narses, the king's brother, overran Mesopotamia and captured Amida. Constantius promptly attacked Narses, after suffering minor setbacks defeated and killed Narses at the Battle of Narasara.
Constantius captured Amida and initiated a major refortification of the city, enhancing the city's circuit walls and constructing large towers. He built a new stronghold in the hinterland nearby, naming it Antinopolis. In early 337, Constantius hurried to Constantinople after receiving news that his father was near death. After Constantine died, Constantius buried him with lavish ceremony in the Church of the Holy Apostles. Soon after his father's death Constantius ordered a massacre of his relatives descended from the second marriage of his paternal grandfather Constantius Chlorus, though the details are unclear. Eutropius, writing between 350 and 370, states that Constantius sanctioned “the act, rather than commanding it”; the massacre killed two of Constantius' uncles and six of his cousins, including Hannibalianus and Dalmatius, rulers of Pontus and Moesia respectively. The massacre left Constantius, his older brother Constantine II, his younger brother Constans, three cousins Gallus and Nepotianus as the only surviving male relatives of Constantine the Great.
Soon after, Constantius met his brothers in Pannonia at Sirmium to formalize the partition of the empire. Constantius received the eastern provinces, including Constantinople, Asia Minor, Syria and Cyrenaica. Constantius hurried east to Antioch to resume the war with Persia. While Constantius was away from the eastern frontier in early 337, King Shapur II assembled a large army, which included war elephants, launched an attack on Roman territory, laying waste to Mesopotamia and putting the city of Nisibis under siege. Despite initial success, Shapur lifted his siege after his army missed an opportunity to exploit a collapsed wall; when Constantius learned of Shapur's withdrawal from Roman territory, he prepared his army for a counter-attack. Constantius defended the eastern border against invasions by the aggressive Sassanid Empire under Shapur; these conflicts were limited to Sassanid sieges of the major fortresses of Roman Mesopotamia, including Nisibis and Amida. Although Shapur seems to have been vict