He was baptized and officially reigned as Constantine Herakleios, but the diminutive nickname Heraklonas ("little Herakleios") became established in Byzantine texts and has become standard in historiography.
Heraklonas was probably born at Lazica while his father was on campaign against Khusrau II of the Sassanid Empire. He was probably the fourth son of Martina and Herakleios, but the first one born free of physical deformity and eligible for the throne.
Towards the end of Herakleios' reign he obtained through his mother’s influence the title of Augustus on July 4, 638, and after his father’s death was proclaimed joint emperor with his older half-brother Constantine III (Herakleios Constantine).
The premature death of Constantine III, in May 641, left Heraklonas sole ruler. But a suspicion that he and Martina had murdered Constantine led soon after to a revolt under the general Valentinus, who forced Heraklonas to accept his young nephew Constans II as co-ruler. Martina intended to balance this setback with the coronation of her younger son the Caesar David (Tiberios) as emperor.
But this merely irritated the supporters of Constans II, and Valentinus spread rumors that Martina and Heraklonas intended to eliminate Constans and his supporters. The revolt which ensued toppled the Heraklonas and his mother, who were subjected to mutilation and banishment. This was the first time a reigning emperor had been subjected to mutilation, which was a practise probably borrowed from the Persians; in this case, Martina's tongue was cut out, as was Heraklonas' nose was cut off. Nothing further is known about Heraklonas after his removal and exile to Rhodes. He is presumed to have died later that year. Constans II, the son of Constantine III, became sole emperor.
- The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.