Fausta, Flavia Maximiana

Fausta, Flavia Maximiana daughter of the emperor Maximianus Herculius and Eutropia, was the second wife of Constantine the Great, to whom she bore three sons, Constantinus, Constantius, and Constans, and two daughters, Constantina and Helena. She was born about A.D. 289, was married in 307, and put to death in 326, if the general opinion in regard to her end be correct. She gained great influence over the mind of her husband by her devotion in revealing to him a plot, formed by her own father; to assassinate him, though with filial tenderness she covenanted fot the life of her parent, who was notwithstanding put to death. This confidence and affection as is alleged by some, she abused so as to instigate the death of Crispus, Constantine's son by his first wife Minervina, a youth of rare promise and great popularity, because, as some say, he stood in the way of her own sons, or, according to others, of his refusal to reciprocate her illicit love. Helena, the mother of the emperor, however, avenged the fate of her grandson, and Fausta, whose perfidy and infidelity were made known, was suffocated in a hot bath. Other accounts, however, hold Fausta innocent of the death of Crispus, which, together with her own and that of the Caesar Licinius, is attributed to the cruel suspiciousness of Constantine, engendered by success-that insolentia rerum secundarum, as Eutropius styles it, which perverted his nature and led to deeds of cruelty. The vague and contradictory statements in regard to her conduct, and to the time, cause, and manner of her death, leave the whole matter in doubt. In one account she is made to survive the death of her son Constantine, who was slain three years after his father's death, and in another is represented as the " most pious of queens." Her conversion to Christianity is also a matter of doubt, though she probably followed her husband in that respect.-Hoefer, Nouv. Biogr. Generale, s.v.; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, ii, 162-3 (N. Y. Harpers', 1852, 6 vols. 12mo); Tillemont, Hist. des Emp. vol. 4:art. lxii, p. 224, and Notes sur Constantin, xvii; Eckhel, Doctrina Nummorum, 8:98;

Eutropius, 10:6; Lactantius, De Morte Persecut. 27; Julian, Orat. i; Zosimus, ii, 10, 29; Philostorgius, Hist. Eccles. ii, 4. (J. W. M.)

 
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