Contents - Previous Article - Next Article

Constantius I

Roman Emperor A. D. 293 - 306

Appointed Caesar by Diocletian in A. D. 293, Constantius I was one of the original four Tetrarchs and was destined to replace Maximianus as emperor after twenty years. Diocletian's plan was for there to be two Augusti, or emperors and two Caesars, or emperors in training. Each of the four would make his headquarters in a different city, two in the eastern half of the empire, two in the western half.

Constantius' first major task after becoming Caesar was to deal with the rebellion of Carausius. He first retook all of Carausius' territory in Gaul, leaving him only Britain. The island of Britain was a different matter altogether. Carausius knew that the key to its defense lay in a strong fleet, and, having been a naval commander and then a renegade pirate before he became emperor, he knew all about strong fleets and had one of the best at his disposal. Britain would not be easy to retake. One of Carausius’ commanders, a man by the name of Allectus, saved Constantius considerable trouble by murdering Carausius and ascending the throne of Britain. Constantius gathered a fleet of ships to oppose Allectus' powerful navy. Constantius struck in the midst of a heavy fog, landing half his forces on the beach to the south and the other half at Rutupiae (Modern Richborough). Allectus was defeated and killed near the site of the modern town of Hampshire. A beautiful gold medallion was struck depicting Constantius coming ashore at London astride a horse while the citizens of the town cheer him as their liberator.

Constantius was raised to the rank of Augustus upon the abdication of Diocletian and Maximianus. He ruled the Western half of the empire with Severus II as his Caesar for about a year before contracting an illness and dying at the Roman military city of York.

Go to next article on Severus II
Go back to previous article on Emperor Galerius

Return to Roman Emperors Table of Contents