|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||19 January 379 – 15 May 392 (emperor in the East);|
15 May 392 – 17 January 395 (whole empire)
|Predecessor|| Valens in the East |
Gratian in the West
Valentinian II in the West
|Successor|| Arcadius in the East;|
Honorius in the West
|Co-emperors|| Gratian (Western Emperor, 379–383)|
Valentinian II (Western Emperor, 379–392)
Magnus Maximus (Western Emperor, 384–388)
Flavius Victor (Western Emperor, 384–388)
|Born||11 January 347|
Coca or Italica, modern Spain
|Died||17 January 395 (aged 48)|
Mediolanum, modern Italy
|Spouse||1) Aelia Flaccilla (?–385)|
2) Galla (?–394)
|Issue|| Arcadius |
|Father||Theodosius the Elder|
Theodosius I (Flavius Theodosius Augustus; : Θεοδόσιος Αʹ; 11 January 347 – 17 January 395), also known as Theodosius the Great, was a Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. On accepting his elevation, he campaigned against Goths and other barbarians who had invaded the Empire. His resources were not sufficient to destroy them or drive them out, which had been Roman policy for centuries in dealing with invaders. By treaty, which followed his indecisive victory at the end of the Gothic War, they were established as foederati , autonomous allies of the Empire, south of the Danube, in Illyricum, within the Empire's borders. They were given lands and allowed to remain under their own leaders, a grave departure from Roman hegemonic ways. This turn away from traditional policies was accommodationist and had enormous consequences for the Western Empire from the beginning of the fifth century, as the Romans found themselves with the impossible task of defending the borders and dealing with unruly federates within. Theodosius I was obliged to fight two destructive civil wars, successively defeating the usurpers Magnus Maximus in 387–388 and Eugenius in 394, though not without material cost to the power of the Empire.Greek
He issued decrees that effectively made Nicene Christianity the official state church of the Roman Empire.He neither prevented nor punished the destruction of prominent Hellenistic temples of classical antiquity, including the Temple of Apollo in Delphi and the Serapeum in Alexandria. He dissolved the Order of the Vestal Virgins in Rome. In 393, he banned the pagan rituals of the Olympics in Ancient Greece. After his death, Theodosius's young sons Arcadius and Honorius inherited the east and west halves of the empire respectively, effectively partitioning the Roman Empire in two for the next 80 years.
Theodosius is considered a saint by the Armenian Apostolic Church and Eastern Orthodox Church,and his feast day is on January 17.
Flavius Theodosius was born in Cauca, Carthaginensis, Hispania (according to Hydatius and Zosimus)or in Italica, Baetica, Hispania (according to Themistius, Claudius Claudianus, or Marcellinus Comes), to a senior military officer, Theodosius the Elder and his wife Thermantia. Theodosius learned his military lessons by campaigning on his father's staff in Britannia where he went to help quell the Great Conspiracy in 368.
In about 373, Theodosius was given the title dux Moesiae Primae (military governor of Upper Moesia) replacing his father who was sent to put down a revolt in Africa.In 374, the Quadi and their allies the Sarmatians overran the province of Valeria in Illyricum. Theodosius drove the Sarmatians out of the Roman territory and then defeated the Quadi. He is reported to have defended his province with marked ability and success.
The death of emperor Valentinian I in 375 created political pandemonium. The sudden disgrace and execution of Theodosius' father, Theodosius the Elder, in 376 remains unexplained. At about the same time Theodosius abruptly retired to his family estates in the province of Gallaecia (present day Galicia, Spain and northern Portugal) where he adopted the life of a provincial aristocrat. The reason for his retirement, and the relationship (if any) between it and his father's death is uncertain, though probable.
From 364 to 375, the Roman Empire had been governed by two co-emperors, the brothers Valentinian I and Valens; when Valentinian died in 375, his sons, Valentinian II and Gratian, succeeded him as rulers of the Western Roman Empire. In 378, after the disastrous Battle of Adrianople where Valens was killed, Gratian invited Theodosius to take command of the Illyrian army. As Valens had no successor, Gratian's appointment of Theodosius amounted to a de facto invitation for Theodosius to become co-Augustus of the eastern half of the Empire. After Gratian was killed in a rebellion in 383, Theodosius appointed his own elder son, Arcadius, to be his co-ruler in the East.
His management of the Empire was marked by heavy tax exactions, by the compulsory establishment of Christianity, by a court in which "everything was for sale", and by victories in two disastrous civil wars. After the death in 392 of Valentinian II, whom Theodosius had supported against a variety of usurpations, Theodosius ruled as sole Emperor, appointing his younger son Honorius Augustus as his co-ruler of the West (in Milan, on 23 January 393) and by defeating the usurper Eugenius on 6 September 394, at the Battle of the Frigidus (Vipava river, modern Slovenia) he restored peace. A few months later he died, leaving the Empire nominally in the hands of his two incapable sons.
By his first wife, the probably Spanish Aelia Flaccilla Augusta, he had two sons, Arcadius and Honorius, and a daughter, Aelia Pulcheria; Arcadius was his heir in the East and Honorius in the West. Both Aelia Flaccilla and Pulcheria died in 385.
His second wife (but never declared Augusta) was Galla, daughter of the emperor Valentinian I and his second wife Justina. Theodosius and Galla had a son, Gratian, born in 388 and who died young, and a daughter, Aelia Galla Placidia (392–450). Placidia was the only child who survived to adulthood and later became an Empress.
The Goths and their allies (Vandals, Taifals, Bastarnae and the native Carpians) entrenched in the provinces of Dacia and eastern Pannonia Inferior consumed Theodosius's attention. The Gothic crisis was so dire that his co-Emperor Gratian relinquished control of the Illyrian provinces and retired to Trier in Gaul to let Theodosius operate without hindrance. A major weakness in the Roman position after the defeat at Adrianople was the recruiting of barbarians to fight against other barbarians. In order to reconstruct the Roman Army of the East, Theodosius needed to find able bodied soldiers and so he turned to the most capable men readily at hand: the barbarians recently settled in the Empire. This caused many difficulties in the battle against barbarians since the newly recruited fighters had little or no loyalty to Theodosius. It did not help that Theodosius himself was dangerously ill during many months after his elevation, being confined to his bed in Thessalonica during much of 379.
Gratian suppressed the incursions into dioceses of Illyria (Pannonia and Dalmatia) by Alathaeus and Saphrax in 380.He succeeded in convincing both to agree to a treaty and be settled in Pannonia. Theodosius was able finally to enter Constantinople in November 380, after two seasons in the field, having ultimately prevailed by offering highly favorable terms to the Gothic chiefs. His task was rendered much easier when Athanaric, an aged and cautious leader, accepted Theodosius's invitation to a conference in the capital, Constantinople, and the splendor of the imperial city reportedly awed him and his fellow-chiefs into accepting Theodosius' offers. Athanaric himself died soon after, but his followers were impressed by the honorable funeral arranged for him by Theodosius, and agreed to defending the border of the empire. The final treaties with the remaining Gothic forces, signed 3 October 382, permitted large contingents of barbarians, primarily Thervingian Goths, to settle in Thrace south of the Danube frontier. The Goths now settled within the Empire would largely fight for the Romans as a national contingent, as opposed to being fully integrated into the Roman forces.
In 390 the population of Thessalonica rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The garrison commander was killed in the violence, so Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus as retaliation; Theodoret, a contemporary witness to these events, reports:
... the anger of the Emperor rose to the highest pitch, and he gratified his vindictive desire for vengeance by unsheathing the sword most unjustly and tyrannically against all, slaying the innocent and guilty alike. It is said seven thousand perished without any forms of law, and without even having judicial sentence passed upon them; but that, like ears of wheat in the time of harvest, they were alike cut down.
Theodosius was excommunicated by the bishop of Milan, Saint Ambrose, for the massacre.Ambrose told Theodosius to imitate David in his repentance as he had imitated him in guilt; Ambrose readmitted the emperor to the Eucharist only after several months of penance.
In the last years of Theodosius's reign, one of the emerging leaders of the Goths, named Alaric, participated in Theodosius's campaign against Eugenius in 394, only to resume his rebellious behavior against Theodosius's son and eastern successor, Arcadius, shortly after Theodosius' death.
In 383, the usurper Magnus Maximus had deposed and executed Gratian, proclaiming himself emperor of the west. Theodosius, unable to do much about Maximus due to his still inadequate military capability, opened negotiations with the Sasanid Emperor Shapur III.In an attempt to curb Maximus's ambitions, Theodosius appointed Flavius Neoterius as Praetorian Prefect of Italy.
The armies of Theodosius and Maximus fought at the Battle of the Save in 388, which saw Maximus defeated. On 28 August 388 Maximus was executed.Now the de facto ruler of the Western empire as well, Theodosius celebrated his victory in Rome on June 13, 389 and stayed in Milan until 391, installing his own loyalists in senior positions including the new magister militum of the West, the Frankish general Arbogast.
Trouble arose again, after Valentinian quarreled publicly with Arbogast, and was found hanging in his room. Arbogast announced that this had been a suicide. Arbogast, unable to assume the role of Emperor because of his non-Roman background, elected his creature Eugenius, a former teacher of rhetoric whom he had made Valentinian's master of offices. Eugenius made some limited concessions to the Roman religion; like Maximus he sought Theodosius's recognition in vain. In January 393, Theodosius gave his son Honorius the full rank of "Augustus" in the West, citing Eugenius' illegitimacy.
Theodosius gathered a large army, including the Goths whom he had settled in the Eastern empire as Foederati, as well as Caucasian and Saracen auxiliaries, and marched against Eugenius. The two armies faced at the Battle of Frigidus in September 394.The battle began on 5 September 394, with Theodosius' full frontal assault on Eugenius's forces. Theodosius was repulsed on the first day, and Eugenius thought the battle to be all but over. In Theodosius's camp, the loss of the day decreased morale. It is said that Theodosius was visited by two "heavenly riders all in white" who gave him courage. The next day, the battle began again and Theodosius's forces were aided by a natural phenomenon known as the Bora, which produces cyclonic winds. The Bora blew directly against the forces of Eugenius and disrupted the line.
Eugenius's camp was stormed; Arbogast committed suicide and Eugenius was captured and soon after executed.Thus Theodosius became sole Emperor.
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Theodosius oversaw the removal in 390 of an Egyptian obelisk from Alexandria to Constantinople.It is now known as the obelisk of Theodosius and still stands in the Hippodrome, the long racetrack that was the center of Constantinople's public life and scene of political turmoil. Re-erecting the monolith was a challenge for the technology that had been honed in the construction of siege engines. The obelisk, still recognizably a solar symbol, had been moved from Karnak to Alexandria with what is now the Lateran obelisk by Constantius II.
The Lateran obelisk was shipped to Rome soon afterwards, but the other one then spent a generation lying at the docks due to the difficulty involved in attempting to ship it to Constantinople. Eventually, the obelisk was cracked in transit. The white marble base is entirely covered with bas-reliefs documenting the imperial household and the engineering feat of removing it to Constantinople. Theodosius and the imperial family are separated from the nobles among the spectators in the imperial box, with a cover over them as a mark of their status. The naturalism of traditional Roman art in such scenes gave way in these reliefs to conceptual art: the idea of order, decorum and respective ranking, expressed in serried ranks of faces. This is seen as evidence of formal themes beginning to oust the transitory details of mundane life, celebrated in Roman portraiture.
The Forum Tauri in Constantinople was renamed and redecorated as the Forum of Theodosius, including a column and a triumphal arch in his honour.
In 325, Constantine I convened the Council of Nicaea, which affirmed the doctrine that Jesus, the Son, was equal to God the Father and "of one substance" with the Father ( homoousios in Greek). The Council condemned the teachings of Arius, who believed Jesus to be inferior to the Father.
Despite the council's ruling, controversy continued for decades, with several christological alternatives to the Nicene Creed being brought forth. Theologians attempted to bypass the Christological debate by saying that Jesus was merely like (homoios in Greek) God the father, without speaking of substance (ousia). These non-Nicenes were frequently labeled as Arians (i.e., followers of Arius) by their opponents, though not all would necessarily have identified themselves as such.
The Emperor Valens had favored the group who used the homoios formula; this theology was prominent in much of the East and had under Constantius II gained a foothold in the West, being ratified by the Council of Ariminum, though it was later abjured by a majority of the western bishops (after Constantius II's death in 361). The death of Valens damaged the standing of the Homoian faction, especially since his successor Theodosius steadfastly held to the Nicene Creed which was the interpretation that predominated in the West and was held by the important Alexandrian church.
On 27 February 380, together with Gratian and Valentinian II, Theodosius issued the decree "Cunctos populos", the so-called Edict of Thessalonica, recorded in the Codex Theodosianus xvi.1.2. This declared the Nicene Trinitarian Christianity to be the only legitimate imperial religion and the only one entitled to call itself Catholic; but the other religions or those who did not support the Trinity, he described as "foolish madmen".He also ended official state support for the traditional polytheist religions and customs.
On 26 November 380, two days after he had arrived in Constantinople, Theodosius expelled the Homoian bishop, Demophilus of Constantinople, and appointed Meletius patriarch of Antioch, and Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the Cappadocian Fathers from Cappadocia (today in Turkey), patriarch of Constantinople. Theodosius had just been baptized, by bishop Ascholius of Thessalonica, during a severe illness.[ citation needed ]
In May 381, Theodosius summoned a new ecumenical council at Constantinople to repair the schism between East and West on the basis of Nicene orthodoxy.The council went on to define orthodoxy, including the Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, as equal to the Father and 'proceeding' from Him, whereas the Son was 'begotten' of Him. The council also "condemned the Apollonarian and Macedonian heresies, clarified jurisdictions of the bishops according to the civil boundaries of dioceses and ruled that Constantinople was second in precedence to Rome."
The persecution of pagans under Theodosius I began in 381, after the first couple of years of his reign in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 380s, Theodosius I reiterated Constantine's ban on some practices of Roman religion, prohibited haruspicy on pain of death, decreed magistrates who did not enforce laws against polytheism were subject to criminal prosecution, broke up some pagan associations and tolerated attacks on Roman temples.
Between 389–392 he promulgated the Theodosian decrees 116 which removed non-Nicene Christians from church office and abolished the last remaining expressions of Roman religion by making its holidays into workdays, banning blood sacrifices, closing Roman temples, confiscating Temple endowments and disbanding the Vestal Virgins. The practices of taking auspices and witchcraft were punished. Theodosius refused to restore the Altar of Victory in the Senate House, as asked by non-Christian senators. :115(instituting a major change in his religious policies), :
In 392 he became sole emperor. From this moment till the end of his reign in 395, while non-Christians continued to request toleration,he ordered, authorized, or at least failed to punish, the closure or destruction of many temples, holy sites, images and objects of piety throughout the empire.
In 393 he issued a comprehensive law that prohibited any public non-Christian religious customs,and was particularly oppressive to Manicheans. He is likely to have discontinued the ancient Olympic Games, whose last record of celebration was in 393, though archeological evidence indicates that some games were still held after this date.
Theodosius died, after suffering from a disease involving severe edema, in Milan on 17 January 395. Ambrose delivered a panegyric titled De Obitu Theodosiibefore Stilicho and Honorius in which Ambrose praised the suppression of paganism by Theodosius. Theodosius was finally buried in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople on 8 November 395, in a porphyry sarcophagus that was described in the 10th century by Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus in the De Ceremoniis .
Theodosius's army rapidly dissolved after his death, with Gothic contingents raiding as far as Constantinople. As his heir in the Eastern Roman Empire he left Arcadius, who was about eighteen years old,and in the Western Roman Empire Honorius, who was ten. Neither ever showed any sign of fitness to rule, and their reigns were marked by a series of disasters. As their guardians Theodosius left Stilicho, who ruled in the name of Honorius in the Western Empire, and Flavius Rufinus who was the actual power behind the throne in the East. Several historians mark the day of Theodosius' death as the beginning of the Middle Ages.
Honorius was Western Roman Emperor from 395 to 423. He was the younger son of emperor Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of Arcadius, who was the Eastern Emperor from 395 until his death in 408. In 410, during his reign, Rome was sacked for the first time in almost 800 years.
Galla Placidia, daughter of the Roman emperor Theodosius I, was regent to Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life. She was queen consort to Ataulf, king of the Visigoths from 414 until his death in 415, and briefly empress consort to Constantius III in 421.
The 380s decade ran from January 1, 380, to December 31, 389.
The 390s decade ran from January 1, 390, to December 31, 399
The 370s decade ran from January 1, 370, to December 31, 379.
Fritigern was a Thervingian Gothic chieftain whose decisive victory at Adrianople during the Gothic War (376–382) led to favourable terms for the Goths when peace was made with Gratian and Theodosius I in 382.
Gratian was Roman emperor from 367 to 383. The eldest son of Valentinian I, Gratian accompanied, during his youth, his father on several campaigns along the Rhine and Danube frontiers. Upon the death of Valentinian in 375, Gratian's brother Valentinian II was declared emperor by his father's soldiers. In 378, Gratian's generals won a decisive victory over the Lentienses, a branch of the Alamanni, at the Battle of Argentovaria. Gratian subsequently led a campaign across the Rhine, the last emperor to do so, and attacked the Lentienses, forcing the tribe to surrender. That same year, his uncle Valens was killed in the Battle of Adrianople against the Goths. He favoured Christianity over traditional Roman religion, refusing the office of Pontifex maximus and removing the Altar of Victory from the Roman Senate.
Valentinian II, was Roman Emperor from AD 375 to 392.
Flavius Eugenius was a usurper in the western Roman Empire (392–394) against Emperor Theodosius I. He was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.
The Western Roman Empire is the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court; in particular, this term is used in historiography to describe the period from 395 to 476, where there were separate coequal courts dividing the governance of the empire in the Western and the Eastern provinces, with a distinct imperial succession in the separate courts. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire were coined in modern times to describe political entities that were de facto independent; contemporary Romans did not consider the Empire to have been split into two separate empires but viewed it as a single polity governed by two separate imperial courts as an administrative expediency. The Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, and the Western imperial court in Ravenna was formally dissolved by Justinian in 554. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453.
Victor was a Western Roman Emperor from either 383/384 or 387 to August 388. He was the son of the Magister militum per Gallias Magnus Maximus, who later became an usurper of the Western Roman Empire, in opposition to Gratian. Maximus rose up in 383, and was recognized as the legitimate emperor in the west by Theodosius I. Victor was elevated to augustus of the Western Roman Empire in either 383/384 or mid-387, making him co-emperor with his father. Maximus invaded Italy, in 387, to depose Valentinian II, the brother and successor of the late Gratian. Because of Maximus' invasion, Theodosius invaded the Western Roman Empire in 388. Theodosius defeated Maximus in two battles in Pannonia, before crushing his army at Aquilea, and capturing Maximus. Maximus was executed on 28 August 388. His death was followed quickly by Victor's, who was executed where he had stayed in Trier by the Frankish General Arbogast.
The Theodosian dynasty was a Roman family that rose to eminence in the waning days of the Roman Empire.
The office of Roman Emperor underwent significant turbulence in the fourth and fifth centuries, particularly under the period of the Dominate. In the West, where the fall of the Western Roman Empire was underway, its holders became puppets of a succession of barbarian kings. In the East, it began to assume autocratic trappings.
Aelia Flavia Flaccilla, was a Roman empress and first wife of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I. She was of Hispanian Roman descent. During her marriage to Theodosius, she gave birth to two sons – future Emperors Arcadius and Honorius – and a daughter, Aelia Pulcheria. She was titled Augusta, as her coinage shows.
The Battle of the Frigidus, also called the Battle of the Frigid River, was fought between 5–6 September 394, between the army of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I and the army of Western Roman ruler Eugenius in the eastern border of Regio X in Roman Italia.
Justina was the second wife of the Roman Emperor Valentinian I and the mother of Valentinian II, Galla, Grata and Justa.
Flavius Arbogastes, or Arbogast, was a Frankish general in the Roman Empire. It has been stated by some ancient historians that he was the son of Flavius Bauto, Valentinian II's former magister militum and protector before Arbogast, but modern scholars largely discount this claim.
Flavia Galla was an empress of the Roman Empire and a princess of the Western Roman Empire. She was the second empress consort of Theodosius I. She was the daughter of Valentinian I and his second wife Justina.
The Edict of Thessalonica, issued on 27 February AD 380 by three reigning Roman Emperors, made Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. It condemned other Christian creeds such as Arianism as heresies of madmen, and authorized their persecution.
The Eastern Roman Empire was ruled by the Theodosian dynasty from 379, the accession of Theodosius I, to 457, the death of Marcian. The rule of the Theodosian dynasty saw the final East-West division of the Roman Empire, between Arcadius and Honorius in 395. Whilst divisions of the Roman Empire had occurred before, the Empire would never again be fully reunited. The reign of the sons of Theodosius I contributed heavily to the crisis that under the fifth century eventually resulted in the complete collapse of Roman control in the West.
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| Roman Emperor |
Served alongside: Gratian, Valentinian II, Arcadius and Honorius
Arcadius and Honorius
Quintus Clodius Hermogenianus Olybrius
| Consul of the Roman Empire |
| Consul of the Roman Empire |
with Maternus Cynegius and Magnus Maximus
| Consul of the Roman Empire |
with Eugenius and Abundantius
Imp. Caesar Arcadius Augustus III,
Imp. Caesar Honorius Augustus II,
Virius Nicomachus Flavianus