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, Russian grand duke
Constantine (Konstantin Pavlovich) (kənstəntyēnˈ pävˈləvĭch), 1779–1831, Russian grand duke, second son of Czar Paul I and brother of Alexander I and Nicholas I. On the death of Alexander I (1825), Constantine was next in line for succession to the throne. However, in 1822 he had secretly renounced his claim in favor of Nicholas in return for Alexander's permission to divorce his first wife and marry a Polish countess. The arrangement was not made public and some confusion resulted concerning the succession. A group known as the Decembrists took advantage of the situation and attempted to seize power under the slogan “Constantine and Constitution.” Nicholas quelled the uprising. During the entire episode Constantine remained in Poland, where he had been commander in chief and virtual governor since 1815. The severity of his administration there led to the Polish uprising of 1830. Constantine died before the rebellion was suppressed.


, Roman general
Constantine, d. 411, Roman general. He was proclaimed emperor by the Roman troops in Britain in 407 and led a revolt in Gaul and Spain against the Western emperor Honorius. He conquered part of Gaul and, through his son Constans, took Spain. Constantine forced recognition from Honorius as joint emperor, but his triumph was short. The counterrevolt of Gerontius halted him, and he was defeated by Honorius' general Constantius (later Emperor Constantius III). Constantine was beheaded. His withdrawal of Roman troops from Britain had greatly weakened the Roman hold on that island.


, city, Algeria
Constantine (kŏnˈstəntēn), ancient Cirta, city, capital of Constantine dept., NE Algeria, on the gorge of the Rhumel River. A major inland city, it is the railhead of a prosperous and diverse agricultural area. Constantine is also a center of the grain trade and has flour mills, a tractor factory, and industries producing textiles and leather goods. Products made by local artisans are economically important. Founded by Carthaginians (who called it Sarim Batim), Constantine became the capital and commercial center of Numidia and was named Cirta [the city]. Under Roman rule it was a major grain-shipping point and one of the wealthiest cities of Africa. Destroyed (A.D. 311) during the war preceding the accession of Constantine I, it was rebuilt by Constantine himself and renamed in his honor. The city was pillaged by the Vandals in the 5th cent. and later became an object of contention among various Muslim dynasties. The Turks captured it in the 16th cent. and made it a provincial capital. By the time of the French conquest in 1837 the district governor of Constantine had become virtually independent of the Ottoman Empire. Modern Constantine is the seat of a Roman Catholic bishop, a university, and a Muslim school of higher education.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



In Byzantium. The most important were:

Constantine IV (in some sources he is given the surname Pogonatus, the “bearded”). Born in the middle of the seventh century; died September 685. Emperor from 668.

Constantine IV abandoned the attempt of his father, Constans II, to move the center of the state to the West and returned the capital of the empire from southern Italy (the residence of Con-stans II was the city of Syracuse) to Constantinople. In the years 674—678 he repulsed an Arab attack on Byzantium, and he was able to secure a 30-year peace treaty that was advantageous for the empire. Hoping to bolster the empire’s position in the Balkans, he led an army against the Bulgars who had crossed the Danube. However, he was defeated in 680 and forced to conclude a peace treaty (681) in which he recognized the First Bulgarian Kingdom. He had the Sixth Ecumenical Council (680–681) condemn the monothelites, thus strengthening orthodoxy in Byzantium, and he promoted efforts aimed at improving relations with the pope.


Constantine V. Born 719; died Sept. 14 or 23, 775. Emperor from 741. From the Isaurian dynasty.

Constantine V carried out a policy that benefited the provincial aristocracy. In 743 he suppressed a rebellion of the aristocracy in the capital, headed by Artabasdus. He strengthened the military might of Byzantium by putting in order the theme organization of the empire. He won brilliant victories over the Arabs (in 746 and 752) and over the Bulgars (at Anchialos on June 30, 763, and in a number of other battles). He strengthened the economic position of Byzantium: he helped stimulate trade in the empire and raised the capital’s crafts production by bringing artisans in from the provinces. He also increased the tax burden. A zealous iconoclast, Constantine V had a church council condemn the veneration of icons in 754. (The council met in a suburb of Constantinople.) He fought monks who opposed him by closing monasteries and confiscating their wealth. His tolerance toward heresies, including the Paulicians, increased the hatred of the iconodules. This hatred was reflected in the treatment given his actions in the writing of contemporaries.


Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. Born May 17 or 18, 905, in Constantinople; died there Nov. 9, 959. Emperor from 913. From the Macedonian dynasty.

Until 920, Constantine VII was under the guardianship of regents. From 920 to 945 he was only the nominal ruler; all power was concentrated in the hands of the usurper Romanus I Lecapenus, who was proclaimed the co-ruler. While ruling independently (after 945), Constantine VII basically expressed the interests of the officials in the capital, but he replenished their ranks with representatives of the provincial aristocracy, appointing the latter to the highest state posts. He opposed the centrifugal tendencies of the provincial aristocracy and prevented the transfer of peasant lands to the dynatoi. (He wanted to preserve the peasantry for fiscal and military reasons.) With respect to foreign policy, Constantine VII initiated military actions against the Arabs: Byzantine troops reached the Euphrates (after capturing Simokata in 958). He won the most fame for being the sponsor, initiator, and organizer of encyclopedia-like compilations. Constantine VII himself wrote several works, including On the Themes and On the Administration of the Empire, which are valuable sources on the history of Byzantium.


In Russian translation:
Sochineniia. Moscow, 1899.
Constantine XL Born Feb. 8, 1405; died May 29, 1453, in Constantinople. The last Byzantine emperor. Emperor from 1449.
Constantine XI was the son of Manuel II Palaeologus and the Serbian princess Helen of Dragas. From 1428 he was despot in the Morea (together with his brothers). In 1429 or 1430, he captured Pátrai, an important center of the Latin principality of Achaea. After becoming emperor, he tried to organize opposition to the Turks. He sought help in the West. In December 1452 he recognized the union with the Catholic Church. He died during the storm of Constantinople by Turkish troops.
In a number of historical works, he is referred to not as Constantine XI but as Constantine XII. The authors of these works consider Constantine Lascaris, who was proclaimed emperor in 1204 but apparently was not crowned and definitely did not rule, to be Constantine XI.



In Greece:

Constantine I. Born Aug. 2, 1868, in Athens; died Jan. 11, 1923, in Palermo. King from 1913 to 1917 and from 1920 to 1922. From the Gliicksburg dynasty.

During the Greco-Turkish War of 1897 and again during the Balkan Wars of 1912–13, Constantine I commanded the Greek Army. In 1913, Emperor William II gave him the title field marshal of the German Army. Constantine opposed Greece’s participation in World War I on the side of the Entente. In June 1917, he abdicated in favor of his son Alexander on the demand of the supreme commissar of the Entente in Salonika (which had been occupied by English and French troops from October 1915). He returned to the throne after the death of Alexander. A rebellion in the army in September 1922 and widespread discontent after the defeat of the Greek troops in the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–22 forced Constantine to abdicate (September 1922).

Constantine II. Born June 2, 1940, in Athens. King from Mar. 6, 1964. From the Gliicksburg dynasty.

Constantine II studied at the aristocratic College of Anavryta and the faculty of law of the University of Athens. From 1956 to 1958 he underwent military training in academies in Greece. In 1958–59 he was in the United States. He won a gold medal in yachting at the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960. He was proclaimed king on the death of his father King Paul I. After an unsuccessful attempt to drive out the military junta, which limited his prerogatives, he fled to Rome on Dec. 13, 1967.



emperors in ancient Rome.

Constantine I, or Constantine the Great (Flavius Valerius Constantinus Magnus). Born circa A.D. 285 in Naissus; died 337 in Achyrona. Emperor from 306 to 337.

Constantine I was the son of Constantius Chlorus. After the death of his father, he was proclaimed Augustus (in 306) by the British legions and ruled in Gaul. In 311, after the death of Caesar Galerius, a struggle for power broke out among four augusti—Licinius, Maxentius, Maximinus Daia, and Constantine. In 312, Constantine defeated Maxentius at Milvian Bridge in Rome. In 313, Maximinus died after being defeated by Licinius. An alliance concluded between Constantine and Licinius in 313 at Mediolanum (Milan) proved to be unstable; in 324, Constantine defeated Licinius.

In 325, after the execution of Licinius, Constantine began to rule alone. He strove to stabilize the social order by carrying out a thorough centralization of the state apparatus and suppressing the opposition of the masses. At the same time, he used a distorted form of the social program advanced in the third century by opposition groups (including Christianity). He declared that imperial power was the protector of universal equality, justice, and freedom; in reality, by his legislation he defended the obsolete slaveholding order and tied the estates to their place of residence or to their given occupation. The capital was moved to Constantinople in 330, but the city and its institutions were imitations of the old capital, Rome. Constantine supported the Christian church and conferred on it a number of privileges. But at the same time he also protected the pagan cults, including the clan cult of the Flavians. His government was successful in that the status of cities was improved, the currency was stabilized, and the onslaught of the barbarians was repelled (the victory over the Goths in 332).

Church tradition places Constantine on a level with the apostles and attributes to him the radical turn from persecuting Christianity to patronizing it as the new religion of the realm. However, Constantine’s predecessors (Galerius, Maxentius, and Licinius) had already paved the way. Constantine adopted Christianity only shortly before his death (in the form of Arianism). While still a pagan, Constantine actively interfered in the affairs of the Christian church and engaged in theological disputes. He presided over the Council of Nicea of 325 and took the side of the Christian church in its struggle against the Donatists.


Vogt, J. Constantin der Grosse und sein Jahrhundert, 2nd ed. Munich [1960].
MacMullen R. Constantine. London, 1970.
Krawczuk, A. Konstantyn Wielki. Warsaw, 1970.


Constantine II (Flavius Claudius Constantinus). Born A.D. 317 in Arelate; died 340 in Aquileia. Emperor (Augustus) from 337 to 340 (Caesar from 317). Son of Constantine I the Great.

Constantine II ruled in Gaul from 326. After the death of his father in 337, the empire was divided among him and his two brothers, and he received Gaul, Spain, and Britain. Dissatisfied with his share, he began a struggle against his brother Constans and was killed in battle.



a city northeast of Algiers; third largest city in the country; the administrative center of the wilaya (department) of Constantine. Population, 255,000 (1970, estimate). Major junction of railroads and highways connecting the eastern part of the Tell Atlas with the central and southern regions of the country.

Constantine is a major commercial and industrial center with traditional markets in grain and other agricultural produce. The city has a large food-processing industry (flour mills, sugar refineries, and breweries). There is also textile manufacturing and a metalworking industry. In 1973 construction on a tractor-producing complex was begun, including foundries and diesel-engine plants. A significant part of the population works in cottage industries, such as carpet weaving, home fabric manufacture, shoemaking, and preparation of other leather goods. The waterfalls of the Rhumel River operate large mills and a hydroelectric station. The airport of al-Khroub is located 16 km south of Constantine.

The city has been well known since early antiquity. From the end of the third to the middle of the first century B.C., it was the capital of the Numidian Kingdom and was called Cirta. It reached its zenith in the second century B.C. under King Massinissa, who ruled from 201 to 149 B.C. After the Romans conquered Numidia in 46 B.C., it was the administrative center of the Roman province of New Africa (later Numidia). The city received the name Constantine in A.D. 313 in honor of the Roman emperor Constantine the Great, who ruled from 306 to 337. In the fifth century it was conquered by the Vandals and in the sixth century, by the Byzantines. In the seventh century Constantine was subjugated by the Arabs. From the 16th to the early 18th century it was under the control of the Turks. From 1837 to 1962 it was part of the French colony of Algeria. From the 1920’s though the early 1960’s it was one of the centers of the Algerian liberation movement. After Algeria won its independence in 1962, it became the administrative center of the department of the same name (from 1969, of the wilaya).

The historical core of Constantine, which contains about one-fifth of its population, is situated on a huge cliff with a sheer drop to the Rhumel River. It is made up of two parts—the old Arab city, with its crooked little streets and low buildings with flat roofs, and a modernized Arab city with elements of regular layout and multistory houses. This part of the city is joined by the al-Kantara (1792, 1863, and mid-20th century) and the Sidi M’Cid bridges to the new residential districts located to the southwest on an adjacent plateau, with the center around the Place Nemours. The bridges form picturesque links over the deep ravine. Among the main architectural monuments are the remains of Roman buildings, the casbah (citadel) of Turkish times, the Souk al-Ghezel Mosque (1730, rebuilt as a cathedral), a madrasa, mausoleums, and the palace of Hadj-Ahmed (1826–35). The Gustave Mercier Museum has sections dealing with archaeology, medieval and contemporary art, and exhibitions of decorative and applied art, as well as folk art.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a walled city in NE Algeria: built on an isolated rock; military and trading centre. Pop.: 482 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005