HISTORICAL SKETCH OF CONSTANTINOPLE.
murdered his predecessor Mauricius, and decapitated him and his five children: he was
himself assassinated by his successor Hera-
clius. He is represented as a monster among
the emperors: his person small and deformed ; his hair and eyebrows red and
shaggy; and his cheeks disfigured with scars;
his temper was savage ; his pleasures brutal;
and he was grossly ignorant, not only of
letters, but his own profession—war. From
the time of Justinian, the pleadings of the
courts had been in Latin, but from the reign
of Phocas, they were held in Greek, and
the writings formed a barbarous mixture of
Greek and Latin characters.
Family of Heraclius.
Flavius Heraclius, son of the preefect of Africa,
sailed to Constantinople, and having put
Phocas to death, was crowned in 610. He
died in 641, of dropsy, after a reign of thirty
years and five months. He was distinguished
for his conquests over the Persians, and for his
pilgrimage to Jerusalem to restore the true
cross ; the ceremony resulting from it is still
called " the Elevation of the Cross." In his
reign Mohammed fled from Medina to Mecca,
and the era of the Hegira commenced.
Flavius Heraclius II. or Constantinus III.
• was born in 612 ; and died by poison in 641;
having reigned but one hundred and three
days. He was associated in the empire with
his brother Heracleonas.
Flavius Heraclius Constans II. was born in
630; and was smothered in a bath in 668;
after a reign of twenty-seven years.
Flavius Constantinus IV., (Pogonatus,) died
in 685 ; after a reign of seventeen years. He
was called Pogonatus, or u the Bearded,"
because when he went against the tyrant of
Sicily to avenge his brother's death, he would
not suffer his beard to be cut till he had
effected his purpose. In his reign the city
was besieged by the Saracens, and their fleet
destroyed by the Greek fire.
Flavius Justinianus II., (Rhinometus,) was
born about the year 670, and was killed
in 711; he reigned first ten years. He was
called Rhinometus because he was seized by
his enemy Leontius, who cut off his nose. After
a reign of seven years he was deposed, and
then restored, and reigned six more. With
him and his young son was extinguished the
race of Heraclius, after enjoying the sovereignty for one hundred years.
Filepicus Bardanes, was blinded, and deposed
one year and six months after his coronation.
Anastatius II., (Artemius,) was crowned in
713 ; resigned ; and was put to death by Leo
Isaurus, when he attempted again to recover
Theodosius III. was crowned in 715 ; resigned.
His sanctity in retirement was such, that he
was reputed to work miracles.
Family of Leo Isaurus.
Flavius Leo III., called Conon, died of a
dropsy in 741; after a reign of twenty-four
years and eleven months. He was called the
Isaurian, from the country whence his family
came to Constantinople. He began the first reformation in the Greek church, by causing all
images to be pulled down, and excluded from
places of worship as idolatrous.
Flavius Constantinus V., (Copronimus,) was
born, 719; and died, 775; after a reign of
thirty-five years and eleven months. He was in
derision called Copronimus, because he defiled
the font at his baptism. During his long reign
he followed up the reformation of his father,
and was seconded by the people, who formed
themselves into associations, called Iconoclasts
or " image breakers," and destroyed every
such idolatrous representation. He also suppressed monasteries. The writers of the Latin
church represented Copronimus as " chained
with demons in the infernal abyss ;" while the
Greeks venerated his tomb, and prayed before it
as that of a heaven-directed saint. In his reign,
historians first dated from the birth of Christ.
Flavius Leo IV., (Chazarus,) was born at Constantinople in 750 ; and died of a fever in 780,
after a reign of five years. He followed up
the reformation, and the Latin writers affirm
that he sacrilegiously took a crown with precious stones, from the church of Santa Sophia,