Konstantinos 7

Prosopography of the Byzantine Empire
FloruitE/M VIII
Dates718 (n.) / 775 (ob.)
PmbZ No.3703
Variant NamesConstantinus;
Constantine V
LocationsHoly Apostles (Church of the, Constantinople) (burialplace);
Hieria (Constantinople);
Hagia Sophia (Constantinople);
Melitene (Armenia);
Theodosiopolis (Armenia);
Constantinople (residence);
Constantinople (officeplace)
TitlesAugustus (office);
Emperor (office)
Textual SourcesBar Hebraeus, Chronographia, tr. E. A. W. Budge, The Chronography of Abu 'l-Faraj (London, 1932; repr. Amsterdam, 1976) (history);
Chronicon Anonymi ad annum 1234 pertinens, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot, I = CSCO 81-82 (Paris, 1916-20), II = CSCO 109 (Louvain, 1937) (chronicle);
Chronicon anonymi ad annum 813 pertinens, Fragmenta, ed. E. W. Brooks, CSCO 6, Scriptores Syri 6 (Louvain, 1907; repr 1960), pp. 183-196 (chronicle);
Chronique de Denys de Tell-Mahré, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot (Paris, 1895); tr. A. Palmer, The Seventh Century in West-Syrian Chronicles (Liverpool, 1993), pp. 54-65 (chronicle);
Constantine Porphyrogenitus, De Ceremoniis Aulae Byzantinae Libri II, ed. J. J. Reiske, CSHB (Bonn, 1829); also ed. (in part) A. Vogt (Paris, 1935, repr. 1967) (history);
Elias Barshinaya, Chronicle (Eliae metropolitae Nisibeni, Opus chronologicum, pars prior, ed. and tr. E. W. Brooks, CSCO 62 and CSCO 63 (1910) (chronicle);
Michael the Syrian, Chronicle, ed. and tr. J.-B. Chabot, La chronique de Michel le Syrien (Paris, 1899-1904) (chronicle);
Nicephorus, Breviarium Historiae, ed. C. Mango, Nikephoros, Patriarch of Constantinople: Short History; prev. ed. C. de Boor Nicephori ArchiepiscopiConstantinopolitani Opuscula Historica Leipzig 1880 (history);
Scriptor Incertus de Leone Armenio, ed. I. Bekker, Leo Grammaticus (Bonn, 1842), pp. 335-362; app. crit., R. Browning, Byz 35 (1965), pp. 391-41; ed. with comm. and tr., Fr. Iadevaia (Messina, 1987) (history);
Theophanes Confessor, Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1883-85, repr. Hildesheim/NewYork, 1980); tr. and comm. C. Mango and R. Scott, The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor, Oxford 1997 (chronicle);
Vita Nicetae Hegoumeni Medicii, Auctore Theostericto (BHG 1341), AASS April I, Appendix, pp. xviii-xxviii (hagiography);
Vita Stephani Iunioris, by Stephanus Diaconus (BHG 1666), ed. M.-F. Auzépy, La Vie d'Etienne le Jeune par Étienne le diacre. Introduction, édition et traduction (Aldershot, 1997); PG 100. 1069-1186 (hagiography);
Zonaras = Ioannis Zonarae Epitome Historiarum, libri XIII-XVIII, ed. Th. Büttner-Wobst, (Bonn, 1897) (history)

Konstantinos 7 was an Isaurian; he bore the nickname Kaballinos: Scriptor Incertus 350 (Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ Ἰσαύρου τοῦ καὶ Καβαλλίνου), 360, Const. Porph., Cer. II 42 (Reiske, 645).

Son of the emperor Leo III (Leo 3), Konstantinos 7 was born in 718: Nic. Brev. de Boor 55, Mango 56, Theoph. AM 6211 (τῷ δυσσεβεῖ βασιλεῖ Λέοντι ὁ δυσσεβέστερος αὐτοῦ υἱὸς Κωνσταντῖνος), Zon. XV 2.12, Vita Steph. Iun. 119, 15-18 (1109D), Const. Porph., Cer. II 42 (Reiske, 645). His mother was Maria 3: Theoph. AM 6211 (ἡ αὐγούστα Μαρία ἀνέκαμψε σὺν τῷ υἱῷ βεβαπτισμένῳ), Zon. XV 2. 12. Brother of Anna 1: Theoph. AM 6232 (καὶ Ἀρταυάσδῳ κουροπαλάτῃ καὶ κόμητι τοῦ Ὀψικίου προστεθῆναι γαμβρῷ τε αὐτοῦ ὄντι ἐπ'ἀδελφῇ Ἄννῃ). He was brother also of Kosmo 1 and Eirene 12: Const. Porph., Cer. II 42 (Reiske 645). Brother-in-law of Artabasdos 1: Theoph. AM 6221 (Κωνσταντῖνος γὰρ μετὰ τὴν τοῦ γαμβροῦ αὐτοῦ Ἀρταυάσδου), AM 6232 (καὶ Ἀρταυάσδῳ κουροπαλάτῃ καὶ κόμητι τοῦ Ὀψικίου προστεθῆναι γαμβρῷ τε αὐτοῦ), Chron. 1234, §167 (p. 313).

Konstantinos 7 was baptised on 25 December 718, by the patriarch Germanos 8 in Hagia Sophia: Theoph. AM 6211. Konstantinos 7 defecated in the font as he was being baptised and the patriarch Germanos 8 "declared prophetically" that great harm would befall the Christians and the Church because of Konstantinos 7: Theoph. AM 6211. He was supposedly given the nickname Kopronymos after relieving himself in the font during the ceremony, an event interpreted by the patriarch as portending the harm which he would later cause the Church: Zon. XV 2. 12-14, cf. Passio Andreae in Crisei 3.

Konstantinos 7 was crowned emperor at Easter 720 (indiction 3) (on 25 March: Nic.; but Easter was on 31 March in 720, cf. Grumel, Chronologie, p. 248) in the Tribunal of the Nineteen Akkoubita, by his father in the presence of the patriarch Germanos 8: Nic. Brev. de Boor 57, Mango 58, Theoph. AM 6212 (ἐστέφθη Κωνσταντῖνος ὑπὸ Λέοντος, τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ), Zon. XV 2. 20.

In 730 Konstantinos 7 was betrothed by his father to the daughter of the khagan of the Khazars (Anonymus 178), and in 741 on the death of his father he succeeded to the throne: Nic.Brev. de Boor 59, Mango 63-64. He succeeded to the throne on the death of his father on 18 June 741 (indiction nine) and reigned for thirty-four years, three months, two days, dying on 14 September 775 (indiction fourteen): Theoph. AM 6232, AM 6267 (which gives thirty-four years, two months, twenty-six days), cf. Zon. XV 8. 25 (reigned for thirty-four years, three months, including the two years of Artabasdos 1's reign), Chron. 1234, §167 (p. 313) (succeeded his father). The early years of his reign were spent fighting a civil war against Artabasdos 1; see Artabasdos 1.

He married the daughter of the khagan in 732, when she was given the name Eirene on becoming a Christian (see Eirene 3): Theoph. AM 6224, Zon. XV 4. 11, Chron. 1234, §164 (p. 310). She bore him a son, Leo IV (Leo 4), in 750, but evidently died soon afterwards as he married a second wife, Maria 1, who herself died in 752: Nic. Brev. de Boor 64-65, Mango 69-70. His son Leo 4 was born on 25 January 750, by the daughter of the khagan: Theoph. AM 6241 (ἐτέχθη τῷ βασιλεῖ Κωνσταντίνῳ υἱός, ὃν ἐπωνόμασε Λέοντα, ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Χαγάνου τῆς Χαζαρίας θυγατρός), Zon. XV 8. 2, Chron. 1234, §177 (p. 325). He is said to have remained unmarried for three years after his (first) wife's death, refraining from taking a second wife; only when his son Leo 4 had been proclaimed emperor did he marry again: Chron. 1234, §183 (p. 336). He had his son Leo 4 crowned as emperor at Pentecost 751 (6 June), by the patriarch Anastasios 2: Theoph. AM 6241 (τῇ ἑορτῇ τῆς ἁγίας πεντηκοστῆς, ἔστεψε Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ δυσσεβὴς βασιλεὺς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ υἱὸν Λέοντα εἰς βασιλέα δι'Ἀναστασίου). After the death of Maria 1 he married Eudokia 1, and had five more sons, Niketas 5 (born in 763), Anthimos 1 (born in 768/769), Christophoros 1, Nikephoros 5 and Eudokimos 1: Theoph. AM 6284 (τοῦτο γνοὺς Κωνσταντῖνος, ἀποστείλας ἐξήγαγεν ἀμφοτέρους τοὺς υἱοὺς Κωνσταντίνου, τοῦ πάππου αὐτοῦ, ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ Μάμαντι: καὶ τὸν μὲν Νικηφόρον ἐτύφλωσεν, Χριστοφόρον δὲ καὶ Νικήταν, Ἄνθιμόν τε καὶ Εὐδόκιμον ἐγλωσσοκόπησεν), Nic. Brev. de Boor 70, Mango 78, de Boor 76, Mango 86, de Boor 77, Mango 87. His three wives are alluded to insultingly in Vita Steph. Iun. 121, 2-3 (1112C) (ὁ τρισὶ γυναιξὶ παρανόμως εἰσδεχθείς). Two of his sons by Eudokia (probably Christophoros 1 and Nikephoros 5, who were the eldest) were baptised by the patriarch Konstantinos 4, whom he ultimately deposed and executed: Theoph. AM 6259. On 1 April 769 (indiction 7), he crowned his third wife Eudokia Augusta (Eudokia 1) and then on the next day (Easter Sunday) made his sons by her Christophoros 1 and Nikephoros 1 Caesars and the youngest one Niketas 5 he made nobilissimus: Theoph. AM 6260 (ἔστεψεν ὁ βασιλεὺς τὴν ἑαυτοῦ γυναῖκα Εὐδοκίαν ὁ τρίγαμος τρίτην οὖσαν αὐγούσταν ... καὶ τοὺς ἐξ αὐτῆς δύο υἱοὺς αὐτοῦ, Χριστοφόρον καὶ Νικηφόρον ... προεβάλετο καίσαρας ... καὶ Νικήταν, τὸν ἔσχατον ἀδελφὸν αὐτῶν, ποιήσας νοβελίσιμον), Nic.Brev. de Boor 77, Mango 87, Zon. XV 8. 2. In December 769 he married his son Leo 4 to Eirene 1 and crowned her Augusta: Nic.Brev. de Boor 77, Mango 88, Theoph. AM 6261. Grandfather of Konstantinos 8 (Constantine VI): Theoph. AM 6262 (Κωνσταντίνου τοῦ πάππου αὐτοῦ), AM 6284 (τοὺς υἱοὺς Κωνσταντίνου, τοῦ πάππου αὐτοῦ). Through the marriage of the sister of his wife Eudokia 1 he was brother-in-law (σύγγαμβρος) of Michael 4, a member of the family of the Melissenoi: Scriptor Incertus 359-360.

As emperor he continued and intensified the iconoclast policy of his father, to which is attributed the revolt against him of his brother-in-law Artabasdos 1: Theoph. AM 6232. The vigour with which he persecuted those who opposed iconoclasm is noted in Theoph. AM 6258, AM 6259, and in the later iconophile tradition in Vita Nicetae Medicii 28, in Passio Andreae in Crisei 3-14, and in Vita Steph. Iun. 119, 20-120, 12 (1109D-1112A); cf. also Zon. XV 7. 14-20. He summoned a council of bishops at Hieria in 754 which confirmed the orthodoxy of the doctrine of opposition to the veneration of icons: Theoph. AM 6245, and see Basilios 29, Gregorios 38, Theodosios 3, Theodosios 14 and Sisinnios 27. In a Syriac source he is said to have discussed doctrine with persons from Claudia near Melitene and found their views in harmony with his own; he contemplated union with the Church in Syria: Mich. Syr. II 523-524.

He fell ill while on campaign against the Bulgars in 775 and died on board ship after putting in at the fort of Strongylon on his return: Theoph. AM 6267, Zon. XV 8. 16-17. Konstantinos 7 was succeeded by his son, Leo IV (Leo 4): Theoph. AM 6267.

For his imperial seals, see Zacos and Veglery 35 bis, 36a-c (a = Seyrig 4), Seibt, Bleisiegel I 16, Konstantopoulos, JIAN 9, 275, 3 and 4.

In AH 123 (Nov. 740/Nov. 741) = 1052 Sel. (740/741) Konstantinos 7 became emperor of the Romans on the death of his father Leo (Leo 3): Elias, Chron., pp. 168, 25-169, 2 = p. 80. In AH 124 (Nov. 741/Nov. 742) = 1053 Sel. (741/742) the unnamed son of Leo 3 (i.e. Konstantinos 7) encountered invading Arab forces under Sulaiman ibn Hisham (Sulayman 2): Elias, Chron., p. 169, 8-12 = pp. 80ff. In AH 133 (Aug. 750/July 751) = 1061 Sel. (749/750) Konstantinos 7 laid siege to Melitene, which was in the hands of the Arabs, and captured it: Elias, Chron., pp. 172, 22-173, 5 = p. 82. In AH 140 (May 757/May 758) = 1068 Sel. (756/757) Konstantinos 7 attacked and captured the Armenian city of Qaliqale (Q'lynql', i.e. Theodosiopolis; see below), and returned after plundering it and taking the inhabitants captive: Elias, Chron., p. 175, 15-21 = p. 82. In AH 158 (Nov. 774/Oct. 775) = 1086 Sel. (774/775) Konstantinos 7 died and was succeeded by his son Leo 4: Elias, Chron., p. 182, 9-13 = p. 86.

Artabas (Artabasdos 1) was said to be his son-in-law: Pseudo-Dion., Chron., p. 171, 16ff. = p. 129. Konstantinos 7 and his troops were engaged in fighting enemies and they left Artbas (sic) in charge of the defence of Constantinople; the event is placed under the year 1045 Sel. (733/734): Pseudo-Dion., Chron., pp. 171, 6-172, 9 = pp. 129ff. In the year 1052 (740/741) the king of the Romans, Leo 3, died and was succeeded by his son Konstantinos 7, who reigned for thirty-five years: Pseudo-Dion., Chron., p. 175, 21-23 = p. 133. In the year 1061 (749/750) Konstantinos led an expedition against Melitene; he captured it and expelled the inhabitants before destroying the wall and the houses and returning to the land of the Romans: Pseudo-Dion., Chron., p. 207, 10-16 = p. 161. In the year 1065 (753/754) Konstantinos 7 7 appointed Kushan (Kusan 1) an army commander: Pseudo-Dion., Chron., p. 208, 9-15 = p. 162.

Son of the emperor Leo 3, Konstantinos 7 was married by his father to the daughter of the khagan of the Khazars (cf. Anonymus 178 and Eirene 3); after she had received baptism he was crowned co-emperor by his father: Mich. Syr. II 506, Bar Hebr., p. 110. He succeeded his father as emperor in the year 1053 Sel. (741/742) and reigned for thirty-four years; when the rebel Artabas (Artabasdos 1) seized Constantinople, he fled to the troops of the Anatolikoi and after spending the winter at Amorion defeated Artabasdos 1: Bar Hebr., pp. 110-111. He is said to have divided the kingdom after the defeat of Artabasdos 1: Bar Hebr., p. 112. Father of Leo 4 by the daughter of the khagan: Mich. Syr. II 506, Bar Hebr., p. 112. His wife, the daughter of the khagan, died in the year 1063 Sel. (751/752) and he remained single for three years in spite of advice that he remarry; instead he crowned his son Leo 4 co-emperor; he went on an expedition against Melitene, which he took, sparing the inhabitants by agreement, but carried into captivity the people from Claudia and the villages of Arman dhe-Arba: Bar Hebr., p. 113, Mich. Syr. II 517-518. In the year 1066 Sel. (754/755) = AH 135 (July 752/July 753) he captured and destroyed Theodosiopolis in Armenia and left it in ruins, and placed a garrison in the fortress of Kamak: Mich. Syr. II 521 ("Theodosiopolis of the Armenians, which the Armenians themselves call Garnoikagak, the Arabs Erzerum and the Greeks call it Qaloniqala"), Bar Hebr., p. 113 ("Kalonikala which is Arzan-ar-Rum"). He died shortly before the death of the caliph Abu Jafar (al-Mansour 1) and was succeeded by his son Leo 4: Bar Hebr., p. 115. He died on 19 September in the year 1087 Sel. after reigning for thirty-four years and five months, and twenty-five days before the death of al-Mansour 1: Mich. Syr. II 527.

King of the Romans, Konstantinos 7 died some time between the years 1083 and 1089 Sel. (771/778) and was succeeded by his son Leo 4: Chron. 813, p. 248, 22-24 = p. 188. He was originally buried in the Mausoleum of Justinian at the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople, like his father (Leo 3), his sisters Kosmo 1 and Eirene 12, his (first) wife Eirene 3 and another wife (Maria 1 or Eudokia 1), and his son Leo 4 with his wife Eirene 1; his body was later removed by Michael III (Michael 11) and Theodora 2 and burnt; the sarcophagus was removed and cut up and the slabs used in the construction of the Church of the Theotokos of the Pharos: Const. Porph., Cer. II 42 (Reiske, 645). See Rochow, Konstantin V, passim.

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