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Fausta

Wife of Constantine

Fausta was the second wife of the Roman emperor Constantine. She would probably have been forgotten in history except for the fact that she brought tragedy to the house of Constantine and her own death as well by committing an act of the lowest form of treachery.

Fausta was a young woman, not too many years older than Constantine's first - born son Crispus. Though Crispus' mother was one of Constantine's concubines, he had won the army's abiding affection because he was a popular and successful commander. Fausta evidently fell in love with the young man and tried to have an affair with him. When he refused her advances, she became indignant at his rejection of her and told Constantine that Crispus was the one who was making the improper advances.

Constantine became enraged and did not bother to check out the truth of the matter. He could not very well have Crispus executed in public because he was so popular, so Constantine had his son murdered in secret.

Helena, Constantine's mother suspected that Fausta was lying and had falsely accused Crispus of unfaithfulness. There were also rumors that Fausta was having an illicit affair with a slave. After she used her influence with her son to convince Constantine that he had acted hastily, the old emperor began to see that he had been lied to and had unjustly put his son to death.

Constantine now compounded the tragedy by having Fausta murdered. He instructed his servants to lock her in her bath and heat the water so much that she either boiled to death or was suffocated by the steam.

Fausta had borne three boys, all of whom were much younger than Crispus. Some historians have suggested that she had wanted to get Crispus out of the way so that her own sons would be in line for the throne, but, if this was true, she surely chose a dangerous way to eliminate Crispus' competition.

Fausta's sons Constantius II, Constantine II, and Constans all became emperors of different parts of the empire after Constantine's death. The last emperor of the house of Constantine was Constantius II, who died in A. D. 361.


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