Head of Emperor Constans (r. 337–50)

Date: ca. 337–40

Culture: Byzantine

Medium: Marble

Dimensions: Overall: 10 5/8 x 6 7/8 x 7 3/8 in. (27 x 17.5 x 18.8 cm)
with base: 15 x 6 x 6 in. (38.1 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Base: 4 3/4 x 6 x 6 in. (12.1 x 15.2 x 15.2 cm)
Diameter of Neck: 7 3/8 in. (18.7 cm)

Classification: Sculpture-Vessels

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1967

Accession Number: 67.107


The first Christian Roman emperor, Constantine, had four sons. This classically styled head probably represents Constans, the youngest. The head, meant for a statue, is crowned with a pearl-bordered diadem of the type worn by Constantine's family.

A devout Christian, Constans became ruler of part of the Western Roman Empire–including Italy, Africa, and much of Greece–in 337, at about age seventeen; he took command of the remainder of the western half of the empire in 340. He defeated the Franks and was the last emperor to visit Britain. In 350, before he was thirty, Constans was killed by the usurper Magnentius (r. 350—53). By the end of the fourth century, most of the Western Roman Empire was no longer under the control of Constantinople.