Hypatius (consul 500)

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Flavius Hypatius (Greek: Ὑπάτιος; died 532) was a Byzantine noble of Imperial descent who held the position of commander in the East during the reign of Justin I, and was chosen by the mob as Emperor during the Nika riots against Justinian I.

Life[edit]

Hypatius was the nephew of Emperor Anastasius I, who ruled before Justin, and he was also associated by marriage to the noble Anicii clan, which gave him a serious claim to the imperial diadem; however, Hypatius showed no such ambition, and he and the other nephews of Anastasius were well-treated by both Justin and his successor to the Byzantine throne, Justinian I.

In the height of the Nika riots, Hypatius, along with his brother Pompeius and Probus (another nephew of Anastasius), were among the prime candidates for the Imperial Throne. As it became clear that the mob wanted a new Emperor, Probus fled the city and Hypatius and Pompeius took shelter in the Imperial Palace, along with Justinian and the rest of the Byzantine Senate. They did not wish to rebel against Justinian, fearing they would have too little popular support.

Nevertheless, Justinian fearing treachery, expelled the Senate from the Palace, thus ushering the two brothers into the mob's arms. Hypatius was dragged away from his house, despite the efforts of his wife to prevent this, and was proclaimed Emperor by the rioting mob at the Hippodrome. Hypatius seems to have thereafter overcome his initial reluctance, and began to play up to the part of Emperor.

However, the riots were soon successfully (if bloodily) quelled by the Imperial Guard, and Hypatius was captured by Justinian's men. Justinian is reported to have wanted to spare Hypatius's life, but his wife Theodora prevailed upon him to see the punishment meted out, and the involuntary usurper was executed.

Bibliography[edit]

Preceded by
Fl. Iohannes Gibbus
Consul of the Roman Empire
500
with Patricius
Succeeded by
Fl. Avienus Iunior,
Fl. Pompeius