Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Constans I.
Constans I., the youngest of the three sons of Constantine the Great, was born c. 320 and made Caesar in 333; he reigned as Augustus 337‒350 when he was killed by the conspiracy of Magnentius. [ Constantinus II.] De Broglie (iii. pp. 58, 59) in his character of him remarks: "As far as we can discriminate between the contradictory estimates of different historians, Constans was of a simple, somewhat coarse, nature, and one without high aims though without malice. As regards the inheritance of his father's qualities, while Constantius seemed to have taken for his share his political knowledge, his military skill, and his eloquence (though reproducing a very faint image of them), Constans had only received great personal courage and a straightforwardness that did him honour. He was, besides, a lover of pleasure: he was suspected of the gravest moral irregularities. . . . He had firm, though certainly unenlightened, faith, and frequently gave proofs of it by distributing largesses to the churches and favours to the Christians" (cf. Eutrop. Brev. x. 9, Vict. Caes. 41, Epit. 41). Zosimus (ii. 42) gives him a worse character than do the others. Libanius in 348 delivered a panegyric on Constans and Constantius, called βασιλικὸς λόγος, vol. iii. ed. Reiske, pp. 272‒332. St. Chrysostom in the difficult and probably corrupt passage of his 15th Homily on the Philippians, p. 363, ed. Gaume, speaks of him as having children and as committing suicide, statements elsewhere unsupported. The most favourable evidence for Constans is the praise of St. Athanasius (Apol. ad Constantium, 4 sqq.; cf. the letter of Hosius in Hist. Arian. ad Monachos, 44). His conduct with respect to the Arian and Donatist controversies gained him the esteem of Catholics. He was a baptized Christian; his baptism is referred to in Ap. ad C. 7.