Martinian (emperor)

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Nominal Augustus of the Western Roman Empire
Follis of Martinian, 324.jpg
Follis of Martinian He is shown wearing the 'radiate crown' associated with solar deities. The reverse shows the god Jupiter holding a winged victory. This is a visual example of the conservative political and religious stance of the Licinian regime.
Emperor of the Roman Empire

(Unrecognized in the West)
ReignJuly – September 18, 324 (nominally as Augustus in the west, with Licinius as Augustus in the east)
PredecessorConstantine I
SuccessorConstantine I
Cappadocia, Pontus
Full name
Sextus Marcius Martinianus
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Sextus Marcius Martinianus Augustus
16th century image of Martinian

Martinian (in full Latin form: Sextus Marcius Martinianus), who died in 325, was Roman Emperor from July to September 18, 324. He had been appointed co-emperor by Licinius.


In 324, as the second civil war between Licinius and Constantine I was at its height, the situation for Licinius was not promising. Following his defeat at the Battle of Adrianople, he decided to replace Constantine (in name only) as western Augustus. As his replacement he named Martinian co-emperor, as he had previously appointed Valens[1] during his earlier war with Constantine. Prior to his elevation, which took place some time after the Battle of Adrianople (July 3, 324), Martinian was serving as magister officiorum at Licinius' court.[2] Licinius lacked the aid of a loyal deputy that Constantine possessed in the person of his eldest son Crispus; Licinius appointed Martinian, though not a relative, to make up this deficiency.[3]

Military activities[edit]

In the wake of his defeat at Adrianople Licinius sent Martinian, with an army including Visigothic auxiliaries,[4] to Lampsacus (on the Asiatic shore of the Hellespont or Dardanelles) to prevent Constantine from using his fleet to effect a crossing from Thrace into Mysia and Bithynia in Asia Minor. A naval battle in the Hellespont resulted in the destruction of Licinius' navy by Constantine's son Crispus.[5] Following this defeat Licinius withdrew his forces from Byzantium, which was being besieged by Constantine, to Chalcedon on the Asiatic shore of the Bosphoros. Constantine then crossed the Bosphoros to Asia Minor, using a flotilla of light transports he had built independently from his main fleet on the Hellespont, in order to evade the forces of Martinian.[6] Licinius recalled Martinian from Lampsacus to reinforce his main army.[7][8] It is not clear whether Martinian's forces reached Licinius before September 18 when Licinius was defeated for the last time at the Battle of Chrysopolis.[9]


Due to the intervention of Flavia Julia Constantia, Constantine's sister and also Licinius' wife, both Licinius and Martinian were initially spared, Licinius being imprisoned in Thessalonica, Martinian in Cappadocia; however, Constantine seems to have soon regretted his leniency as both former emperors were subsequently executed. Martinian was probably executed in the spring of 325, in Cappadocia.[10]


  1. ^ Grant (1993), pp. 42–43. Gaius Aurelius Valerius Valens was raised by Licinius to the position of Augustus in 316, following his defeat Licinius appeased Constantine by deposing and executing Valens.
  2. ^ Jones, pg. 563
  3. ^ Lenski, p.76
  4. ^ Grant (1993), p. 57
  5. ^ DiMaio, Michael, "Licinius (308 – 324 A.D.)"
  6. ^ Grant (1985), p. 236
  7. ^ Grant (1993), pp. 46–47
  8. ^ Odahl, p. 180
  9. ^ Lenski, p. 76
  10. ^ Grant (1993), pp. 47–48


  • DiMaio, Michael, "Licinius (308 – 324 A.D.)", DIR (1997).
  • Grant, Michael (1985), The Roman Emperors: A biographical Guide to the Rulers of Imperial Rome 31 BC-AD 476, London. ISBN 0-297-78555-9
  • Grant, Michael (1993), The Emperor Constantine, London. ISBN 0-7538-0528-6
  • Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Vol. I: AD260-395, Cambridge University Press, 1971
  • Lenski, Noel E. (2011) The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine, Cambridge University Press.
  • Odahl, C.M., (2004) Constantine and the Christian Empire, Routledge 2004. ISBN 0-415-17485-6
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Licinius
Succeeded by
Constantine I