TDISH: The Emperor in the Bathtub

In 668 CE, the Byzantine Emperor Constans II was far away from his capital trying to deal with a threat that had been menacing his borders for his entire reign – advancing armies of Muslim warriors coming out of the deserts of Arabia.  Constans had been thrust into power at the tender age of 11 in the year 641, a mere five years after Muslim armies started sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa.  The young emperor, however, was not having much success in maintaining his empire and his subjects were beginning to tire of the challenges and hardships that the prolonged war caused.  On September 14, Constans took what was supposed to be a nice relaxing bath before a long day helping to run the defense of his empire from the port city of Syracuse on Sicily.  One of Constans’ disgruntled subjects was his own chancellor who snuck into the bathroom and picked up a large, heavy soap dish and smashed it over the head of his monarch.  The blow knocked Constans out and caused him to sink below the waters in the tub.  He would never rise again.

Featured Image: “Hexagram of Constans II.” By Classical Numismatic Group, Inc., CC BY-SA 3.0.
Source: Brownworth, Lars. “A Soap Dish That Changed History.Wall Street Journal. 24 October 2009.

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