Byzantine Empire /
(718-775) Byzantine emperor 741-775.
Constantine was an able leader, both in civil and military administration. He undertook the reorganizing of the military districts, the themes, and created new army divisions called tagmata. The real intent was to avoid possible revolts, as it had happened early on, when Artabasdus made himself emperor.
He enjoyed advances both into Bulgarian territory, as well as into Muslim lands.
He continued the most provocative politics of his father, Leo 3, to outlaw and destroy Christian icons (see Christian iconoclasm). Central in this struggle was to suppress monasteries, which both were centres of icon cults and well as the places where the iconoclast politics was most fiercely opposed. He forced monks and nuns to marry, he relocated to foreign land and expropriated monastic property. Towards the end of his reign, the extremity of his politics had come to define prayers to saints as heretical.
718: Born as son of Emperor Leo 3.
720: 2-year old Constantine is crowned as co-emperor, but this has no real function except securing the future transferring of power.
733: Is married Constantine to Tzitzak, daughter of the Khagan of the Khazars (Crimea) as a way of securing an important alliance. Tzizak is renamed Irene.
741 April 19: Leo 3 dies, and Constantine becomes new emperor.
On his way to fight the Umayyads, Constantine is attacked and defeated by his father's closest ally, Artabasdus.
Constantine seeks refuge in Amorion; Artabasdus goes to Constantinople and has himself crowned new emperor.
743 May: Battle between Artabasdus and Constantine, in which Constantine wins.
August: Battle between Constantine and Artabasdus' son, Niketas.
November 2: Constantine comes to Constantinople, and has himself restored as ruler of an undivided empire.
746: Invades Umayyad territory, profiting from the disintegration of the caliphate under Marwan 2.
747: Destroys the Umayyad fleet off Cyprus.
751: The Exarchate of Ravenna in Italy is lost.
752: Attacks the new caliphate, under the Abbasids, capturing Theodosiopolis (modern Erzurum, Turkey) and Melitene (modern Malatya, Turkey).
754 February: Conveys a synod at Hieria attended only by bishops sympathetic to his iconoclast line. He used the decisions here to continue his programme to destroy icon worship.
War against Bulgaria, Bulgaria reaches all the way down to the Anastasian Wall. Then the situation changes, and the Byzantines launches a number of successful attacks on the Bulgars. This would go on for about a decade.
775 September 14: Dies during a campaign against the Bulgars. He is succeeded by his son, Leo 4.