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Martina (empress)

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Martina
Augusta
Heraclius Constantine and Martina.png
Half-siliqua minted under Heraclius, depicting Heraclius's son Heraclius Constantine (left) and Martina (right)
Empress of the Byzantine Empire
Tenure613–641
Born6th century
Diedafter 641
Rhodes
SpouseHeraclius
Issue
more...
Heraklonas
DynastyHeraclian Dynasty
FatherMartinus
MotherMaria

Martina (Greek: Μαρτίνα; died after 641) was an empress of the Byzantine Empire, the second wife of her uncle the emperor Heraclius, and regent in 641 with her son. She was a daughter of Maria, Heraclius' sister, and a certain Martinus.[1] Maria and Heraclius were children of Heraclius the Elder and his wife Epiphania according to the chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor.

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Greek alphabet

Greek alphabet

The Greek alphabet has been used to write the Greek language since the late 9th or early 8th century BCE. It is derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the earliest known alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. In Archaic and early Classical times, the Greek alphabet existed in many local variants, but, by the end of the 4th century BCE, the Euclidean alphabet, with 24 letters, ordered from alpha to omega, had become standard and it is this version that is still used for Greek writing today.

Byzantine Empire

Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine Empire, also 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 the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire remained the most powerful economic, cultural, and military force in Europe. The terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" were coined after the end of the realm; its citizens continued to refer to their empire as the Roman Empire, and to themselves as Romans—a term which Greeks continued to use for themselves into Ottoman times. Although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from its earlier incarnation because it was centered on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity.

Heraclius

Heraclius

Heraclius, was Eastern Roman emperor from 610 to 641. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.

Regent

Regent

A regent is a person appointed to govern a state pro tempore because the monarch is a minor, absent, incapacitated or unable to discharge the powers and duties of the monarchy, or the throne is vacant and the new monarch has not yet been determined. One variation is in the Monarchy of Liechtenstein, where a competent monarch may chose to assign regency to their of-age heir, handing over the majority of their responsibilities to prepare the heir for future succession. The rule of a regent or regents is called a regency. A regent or regency council may be formed ad hoc or in accordance with a constitutional rule. Regent is sometimes a formal title granted to a monarch's most trusted advisor or personal assistant. If the regent is holding their position due to their position in the line of succession, the compound term prince regent is often used; if the regent of a minor is their mother, she would be referred to as queen regent.

Heraclius the Elder

Heraclius the Elder

Heraclius the Elder was a Byzantine general and the father of Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Generally considered to be of Armenian origin Heraclius the Elder distinguished himself in the war against the Sassanid Persians in the 580s. As a subordinate general, Heraclius served under the command of Philippicus during the Battle of Solachon and possibly served under Comentiolus during the Battle of Sisarbanon. In circa 595, Heraclius the Elder is mentioned as a magister militum per Armeniam sent by Emperor Maurice to quell an Armenian rebellion led by Samuel Vahewuni and Atat Khorkhoruni. In circa 600, he was appointed as the Exarch of Africa and in 608, Heraclius the Elder rebelled with his son against the usurper Phocas. Using North Africa as a base, the younger Heraclius managed to overthrow Phocas, beginning the Heraclian dynasty, which would rule Byzantium for a century. Heraclius the Elder died soon after receiving news of his son's accession to the Byzantine throne.

Theophanes the Confessor

Theophanes the Confessor

Theophanes the Confessor was a member of the Byzantine aristocracy who became a monk and chronicler. He served in the court of Emperor Leo IV the Khazar before taking up the religious life. Theophanes attended the Second Council of Nicaea in 787 and resisted the iconoclasm of Leo V the Armenian, for which he was imprisoned. He died shortly after his release.

Empress

Eudokia, the first wife of Heraclius, died on 13 August 612. According to the Chronographikon syntomon of Ecumenical Patriarch Nikephoros I of Constantinople, the cause of death was epilepsy.

According to Theophanes, Martina married her maternal uncle not long after, placing the marriage in 613 at the latest. However, Nikephoros places the marriage during the wars with the Eurasian Avars which took place in the 620s.

The marriage was considered to fall within the prohibited degree of kinship, according to the rules of Chalcedonian Christianity concerning incest. This particular case of marriage between an uncle and a niece had been declared illegal since the time of the Codex Theodosianus. Thus the marriage was disapproved by the people of Constantinople and the Church. The unpopularity of the marriage was further exacerbated by the populace's adoration for the previous empress.

Despite his disapproval and attempts to convince Heraclius to repudiate Martina, Patriarch Sergius I of Constantinople performed the ceremony himself and crowned Martina in the Augustaeum after she was proclaimed augusta by Heraclius. Even the members of the imperial family voiced their objections, with Heraclius' brother (and Martina's uncle) Theodore continually criticizing Heraclius by pointing out that his sin 'is continually before him' in reference to Martina and their offspring.[2]

The emperor and the empress were, however, clearly a close couple: Martina accompanied her husband in his most difficult campaigns against the Sassanid Empire. She was also at his side at Antioch when the news was received of the serious defeat by the Arabs at the river Yarmuk in August 636. These defeats would haunt Martina through her regency and make her increasingly unpopular.[3] Her unpopularity with the people of Constantinople may have possibly led to her removal from coinage in 629.[4] However, other scholars advise caution against such a view, as her disappearance in coinage came at the same time as Heraclius' major monetary reform.[5]

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Epilepsy

Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a group of non-communicable neurological disorders characterized by recurrent epileptic seizures. Epileptic seizures can vary from brief and nearly undetectable periods to long periods of vigorous shaking due to abnormal electrical activity in the brain. These episodes can result in physical injuries, either directly such as broken bones or through causing accidents. In epilepsy, seizures tend to recur and may have no immediate underlying cause. Isolated seizures that are provoked by a specific cause such as poisoning are not deemed to represent epilepsy. People with epilepsy may be treated differently in various areas of the world and experience varying degrees of social stigma due to the alarming nature of their symptoms.

Pannonian Avars

Pannonian Avars

The Pannonian Avars were an alliance of several groups of Eurasian nomads of various origins. The peoples were also known as the Obri in chronicles of Rus, the Abaroi or Varchonitai, or Pseudo-Avars in Byzantine sources, and the Apar to the Göktürks. They established the Avar Khaganate, which spanned the Pannonian Basin and considerable areas of Central and Eastern Europe from the late 6th to the early 9th century.

Prohibited degree of kinship

Prohibited degree of kinship

In law, a prohibited degree of kinship refers to a degree of consanguinity and sometimes affinity between persons that results in certain actions between them being illegal. Two major examples of prohibited degrees are found in incest and nepotism. Incest refers to sexual relations and marriage between closely related individuals; nepotism is the preference of blood-relations in the distribution of a rank or office.

Christianity

Christianity

Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the world's largest religion with roughly 2.38 billion followers representing one-third of the global population. Its adherents, known as Christians, are estimated to make up a majority of the population in 157 countries and territories and are a minority in all others. All Christians believe that Jesus is of immense importance, the most common reason being that Jesus is the Son of God, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and chronicled in the New Testament.

Incest

Incest

Incest is human sexual activity between family members or close relatives. This typically includes sexual activity between people in consanguinity, and sometimes those related by affinity, adoption, or lineage. It is strictly forbidden and considered immoral in most societies, and can lead to an increased risk of genetic disorders in children.

Codex Theodosianus

Codex Theodosianus

The Codex Theodosianus was a compilation of the laws of the Roman Empire under the Christian emperors since 312. A commission was established by Emperor Theodosius II and his co-emperor Valentinian III on 26 March 429 and the compilation was published by a constitution of 15 February 438. It went into force in the eastern and western parts of the empire on 1 January 439. The original text of the codex is also found in the Breviary of Alaric, promulgated on 2 February 506.

Constantinople

Constantinople

Constantinople was the capital of the Roman Empire, and later, the Eastern Roman Empire, the Latin Empire (1204–1261), and the Ottoman Empire (1453–1922). Following the Turkish War of Independence, the Turkish capital then moved to Ankara. Officially renamed Istanbul in 1930, the city is today the largest city and financial centre of the Republic of Turkey (1923–present). It is also the largest city in Europe.

Theodore (brother of Heraclius)

Theodore (brother of Heraclius)

Theodore was the brother of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, a curopalates and leading general in Heraclius' wars against the Persians and against the Muslim conquest of the Levant.

Antioch

Antioch

Antioch on the Orontes was a Hellenistic, and later, a Biblical Christian city, founded by Seleucus I Nicator in 300 BC. This city served as the capital of the Seleucid Empire and later as regional capital to both the Roman and Byzantine Empire. During the Crusades, Antioch served as the capital of the Principality of Antioch, one of four Crusader states that were founded in the Levant. Its inhabitants were known as Antiochenes; the city's ruin lies on the Orontes River, near Antakya, the modern city in Hatay Province of Turkey (Türkiye), to which the ancient city lends its name.

Yarmouk River

Yarmouk River

The Yarmuk River, is the largest tributary of the Jordan River. It runs in Jordan, Syria and Israel, and drains much of the Hauran plateau. Its main tributaries are the wadis of 'Allan and Ruqqad from the north, Ehreir and Zeizun from the east. Although it is narrow and shallow throughout its course, at its mouth it is nearly as wide as the Jordan, measuring thirty feet in breadth and five in depth. The once celebrated Matthew Bridge used to cross the Yarmuk at its confluence with the Jordan.

Regent

On his deathbed in 641, Heraclius left the empire to both his son from the first marriage, Heraclius Constantine and Heraklonas (as Heraclius II), his son with Martina, granting them equal rank. Martina was to be honoured as empress and mother of both of them.

Heraclius died on 11 February 641 of an edema which Nikephoros considered a divine punishment for his sinful marriage. Three days later Martina took the initiative in announcing the contents of Heraclius' will in a public ceremony. The authority for such a ceremony typically belonged to the succeeding emperor, not to the empress. Martina was attempting to establish her own authority over the two co-emperors.

The ceremony took place in the Hippodrome of Constantinople. Present were members of the Byzantine Senate, other dignitaries and the crowds of Constantinople. Absent were both Constantine and Heraklonas. Martina read the contents of the will and claimed the senior authority in the Empire for herself. However the crowd instead acclaimed the names of the two emperors and not her own, thus objecting to her assumption of imperial authority. She was forced to return to the palace in defeat.

Relations of Martina and her stepson were always difficult. When Heraclius Constantine died suddenly of tuberculosis only four months later, the common belief was that the empress poisoned him to leave Heraklonas as sole ruler. However historians like Herren and Garland have stated that this is most likely not true.[6] Martina began immediately to exile the prominent supporters of Constantine and with the help of Patriarch Pyrrhus I of Constantinople, one of her primary advisors, revived the policy of monothelitism. She recalled Bishop Cyrus of Alexandria and sent him to Egypt after his exile, showing her dedication to the policy of monothelitism.[7]

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Edema

Edema

Edema, also spelled oedema, and also known as fluid retention, dropsy, hydropsy and swelling, is the build-up of fluid in the body's tissue. Most commonly, the legs or arms are affected. Symptoms may include skin which feels tight, the area may feel heavy, and joint stiffness. Other symptoms depend on the underlying cause.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease usually caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) bacteria. Tuberculosis generally affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body. Most infections show no symptoms, in which case it is known as latent tuberculosis. Around 10% of latent infections progress to active disease which, if left untreated, kill about half of those affected. Typical symptoms of active TB are chronic cough with blood-containing mucus, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It was historically referred to as consumption due to the weight loss associated with the disease. Infection of other organs can cause a wide range of symptoms.

Monothelitism

Monothelitism

Monothelitism, or monotheletism, is a theological doctrine in Christianity, that holds Christ as having only one will. The doctrine is thus contrary to dyothelitism, a Christological doctrine that holds Christ as having two wills. Historically, monothelitism was closely related to monoenergism, a theological doctrine that holds Jesus Christ as having only one energy. Both doctrines were at the center of Christological disputes during the 7th century.

Cyrus of Alexandria

Cyrus of Alexandria

Cyrus of Alexandria was a Melchite patriarch of the see of Alexandria in the 7th century, one of the originators of monothelitism and the last Byzantine prefect of Egypt. He died in Alexandria on March 21, 642.

Downfall and deposition

Her actions and the rumors of poisoning Heraclius Constantine caused the people and the Senate to turn against Martina and her son. The Armenian Valentinus with the troops from Asia Minor, marched to Chalcedon and a frightened Heraklonas named Constans II, son of late Heraclius Constantine, a co-emperor.

After September 641 there was a huge revolt and the army ransacked the harvest on the Asiatic side of the Bosphoros. That month, Martina lost the support of one of her devout followers, Pyrrhus of Constantinople, who abandoned the city after being repeatedly assaulted and followed. This left her vulnerable to the Senate who despised her.[8]

In November 641, their downfall was completed as the army marched on Constantinople and captured Martina and her three sons, Heraklonas, David and Marinos. Martina's tongue was slit, her sons had their noses cut off, and her youngest sons were castrated. Eventually they were sent to Rhodes.[9]

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Analysis

Lynda Garland completed a comprehensive study of Byzantine empresses, covering Martina extensively. She summarised that Empress Martina was a 'scapegoat' for the failure against Arab expansion as well as the continuation of her husband's policies of monothelitism.[10] Martina's ambition for her family did cause resentment amongst the people of Constantinople.[11] However, she continued the legacy of providing and fighting for her heirs, similarly to many other Byzantine empresses.

Children

Martina and Heraclius had at least 10 children, though the names and order of these children are questions for debate:

Of these at least two were disabled, which was seen as punishment for the illegality of the marriage and may have been a consequence of inbreeding.

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Caesar (title)

Caesar (title)

Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, a Roman dictator. The change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman emperors can be traced to AD 68, following the fall of the Julio–Claudian dynasty.

Paralysis

Paralysis

Paralysis is a loss of motor function in one or more muscles. Paralysis can also be accompanied by a loss of feeling in the affected area if there is sensory damage. In the United States, roughly 1 in 50 people have been diagnosed with some form of permanent or transient paralysis. The word "paralysis" derives from the Greek παράλυσις, meaning "disabling of the nerves" from παρά (para) meaning "beside, by" and λύσις (lysis) meaning "making loose". A paralysis accompanied by involuntary tremors is usually called "palsy".

Deaf-mute

Deaf-mute

Deaf-mute is a term which was used historically to identify a person who was either deaf and used sign language or both deaf and could not speak. The term continues to be used to refer to deaf people who cannot speak an oral language or have some degree of speaking ability, but choose not to speak because of the negative or unwanted attention atypical voices sometimes attract. Such people communicate using sign language. Some consider it to be a derogatory term if used outside its historical context; the preferred term today is simply deaf.

Political mutilation in Byzantine culture

Political mutilation in Byzantine culture

Mutilation was a common method of punishment for criminals in the Byzantine Empire, but it also had a role in the empire's political life. By blinding a rival, one would not only restrict his mobility but also make it almost impossible for him to lead an army into battle, then an important part of taking control of the empire. Castration was also used to eliminate potential opponents. In the Byzantine Empire, for a man to be castrated meant that he was no longer a man—half-dead, "life that was half death". Castration also eliminated any chance of heirs being born to threaten either the emperor’s or the emperor's children's place at the throne. Other mutilations were the severing of the nose (rhinotomy), or the amputating of limbs.

Rhodes

Rhodes

Rhodes is the largest and the historical capital of the Dodecanese islands of Greece. Administratively, the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean administrative region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. In 2022 the island has population of 124,851 people. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens. Rhodes has several nicknames, such as "Island of the Sun" due to its patron sun god Helios, "The Pearl Island", and "The Island of the Knights", named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who ruled the island from 1310 to 1522.

Martinus (son of Heraclius)

Martinus (son of Heraclius)

Martinus or Marinus was caesar of the Byzantine Empire from c. 638–September/October 641. Martinus was the son of Emperor Heraclius and Empress Martina. Under Heraclius, Martinus was elevated to caesar in c. 638. Heraclius left the Byzantine Empire to two of Martinus' brothers, Constantine III and Heraklonas; Constantine soon died of tuberculosis, though some of his partisans alleged that he was poisoned by Martina. One such partisan, Valentinus, led troops to Chalcedon to force Martina to make Constans II, the son of Constantine, co-emperor. Valentinus seized Constantinople regardless in September/October 641, and deposed Martina, Heraklonas, and Martinus, and cut off Martinus' nose and emasculated him, before exiling him to Rhodes.

Inbreeding

Inbreeding

Inbreeding is the production of offspring from the mating or breeding of individuals or organisms that are closely related genetically. By analogy, the term is used in human reproduction, but more commonly refers to the genetic disorders and other consequences that may arise from expression of deleterious or recessive traits resulting from incestuous sexual relationships and consanguinity. Animals avoid incest only rarely.

Source: "Martina (empress)", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 30th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martina_(empress).

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References
  1. ^ Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. 3
  2. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 63.
  3. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge.
  4. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses: Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 63.
  5. ^ Brubaker, Leslie; Tobler, Helen (2000). "The Gender of Money: Byzantine Empresses on Coins (324–802)". Gender & History. 12 (3): 587, 594. doi:10.1111/1468-0424.00201. S2CID 54713911.
  6. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 72.
  7. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 67.
  8. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 68.
  9. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 70.
  10. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 71.
  11. ^ Garland, L (2002). Byzantine Empresses : Women and Power in Byzantium AD 527-1204. Routledge. p. 71.
Bibliography
External links
Royal titles
Preceded by Byzantine Empress consort
c. 613–641
Succeeded by

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