Sunday, May 31, 2020

Hold My Beer – In the Late Roman Empire

Hold My Beer – In the Late Roman Empire

            Valentinian III was a truly horrible Roman Emperor (and in that group it is hard to stand out). His greatest claim to fame is to have ordered the execution of Flavius Aetius.  It was Flavius who, in concert with the Visigothic Empire, it under the command of Theodoric I, won the Battle of Chalons, thereby halting Atilla the Hun.  Gibbons called Flavius the “Last of the Romans.”

Three years after Flavius’ assignation, Valentinian III was in turn killed.  Succeeding him in the Imperial Dignity was Petronius Maximus, a Roman Senator who essentially bought the office.  Moving to consolidate power, he forced Valentinian’s widow (Licinia Eudoxia) to marry him, and forced Valentinian’s daughter, Eudocia, to marry Palladius, Petronius’ son. Except he failed to account for the fact that Eudocia was already engaged to Huneric, as in Huneric the son of Geiseric, the King of the Vandals.  The Vandals controlled North Africa and were in possession of a significant army.  When Geiseric learned of the breaking of the engagement he and his army put to sea with the aim of attacking Rome.  Which they did and very well.  The city would be horribly sacked after essentially no defense was staged.

Petronius, on May 31, 455, would be killed by a mob as he fled Rome, having been Emperor for seventy-five days.

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