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Artavasde or Artabasdus (*)Arta/basdos

Emperor of Constantinople, was probably descended from a noble Armenian family. During the reign of Constantine V. Copronymus (A. D. 741-775), he was appointed Curopalatus, and married Anna, a daughter of this emperor. Constantine, as his nick-name Caballinus indicates, would havc made an excellent groom, but was a bad emperor; excited by fanaticism, he was active in the destruction of images in the churches, and thus acquired the name of the new Mohammed. Artavasdes, an adherent of the worship of images, profited from the discontent of the people against Constantine, and during a campaign of the emperor against the Arabs, prepared a revolt in Phrygia. Constantine, doubtful of his fidelity, demanded the sons of Artavasdes as hostages for the good conduct of their father, who refused to give them up, and suddenly surprised his master at the head of an army. Constantine was defeated, and fled into Phrygia Pacotiana, where he assembled his troops. Meantime, the rebel had won over the patrician Theophanes Monotes and Anastasius, the patriarch of Constantinople, to his cause. Both these men had great influence among the people, whom they persuaded that Constantine was dead; and thus Artavasdes was proclaimed emperor. He and Constantine both tried to obtain the aid of the Arabs: but they assisted neither, and shewed hostility to both. Artavasdes re-established the worship of images. He conferred the title of emperor upon his eldest son, Nicephorus; and he sent his second son, Nicetas, with an army into Armenia. Constantine found assistance among the warlike inhabitants of Isauria, and early in 743 opened a campaign against Artavasdes, which terminated in the fall of the usurper. In May, 743, Artavasdes was defeated near Sardis; and in August, 743, his son Nicetas was routed at Comopolis in Bithynia : in this battle fell Tigranes, a noble Armenian, the cousin of Artavasdes. The usurper fled to Constantinople, where he was besieged by the imperial forces; and while this city was exposed to the horrors of famine, Nicetas was taken prisoner near Nicomedeia. On the 2nd of November, 743, the besiegers took Constantinople by storm. Artavasdes, his sons, and his principal adherents, had their eyes put out, were conducted through the city on asses, with the tails in their hands, and were afterwards all put to death. Artavasdes was recognized as emperor by pope Zacharias. (Cedrenus, i. pp. 796-8, ed. Bonn.; Zonaras, ii. pp. 107, 108, ed. Paris; Procopius, de Bell. Pers. 1.2, &c.; Theophanes, pp. 347-50, ed. Paris.)

[W.P]

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