Gildo

Gildo

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Gildo was a Roman
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 general in the province of Mauretania
Mauretania
Mauretania is a part of the historical Ancient Libyan land in North Africa. It corresponds to present day Morocco and a part of western Algeria...

. He revolted against Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
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 the eastern emperor Arcadius....

 and the western empire (Gildonic revolt
Gildonic revolt
The Gildonic revolt was a rebellion in the year 398 AD led by Comes Gildo against Roman Emperor Honorius. The revolt was subdued by Flavius Stilicho, the magister militum of the Western Roman empire.-Background:...

) but was defeated and committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

.

Gildo was a Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 by birth. Being a son of military officer Nubel, he was brother to Firmus
Firmus (4th century usurper)
Firmus was a Roman usurper under Valentinian I.Firmus was the son of the Moorish prince Nubel, a powerful Roman military officer, as well as a wealthy Christian...

. When Firmus revolted against Valentinian I
Valentinian I
Valentinian I , also known as Valentinian the Great, was Roman emperor from 364 to 375. Upon becoming emperor he made his brother Valens his co-emperor, giving him rule of the eastern provinces while Valentinian retained the west....

 (375), Gildo stayed loyal to his emperor and, at the suppression of the revolt, was awarded with the immense patrimony confiscated from his brother. His name means ruler in the Lybico-Berber language and is connected to the modern-Berber word for king, Agellid.

In 386, Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 appointed Gildo Comes
Comes
Comes , plural comites , is the Latin word for companion, either individually or as a member of a collective known as comitatus, especially the suite of a magnate, in some cases large and/or formal enough to have a specific name, such as a cohors amicorum. The word comes derives from com- "with" +...

 Africae
Africa Province
The Roman province of Africa was established after the Romans defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day northern Tunisia, and the small Mediterranean coast of modern-day western Libya along the Syrtis Minor...

and Magister utriusque militiae per Africam, as reward for his support to his father Theodosius the Elder
Count Theodosius
Flavius Theodosius or Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western Roman Empire. He achieved the rank of Comes Britanniarum and as such, he is usually referred to as Comes Theodosius...

 in the suppression of Firmus' revolt. The Africa Province
Africa Province
The Roman province of Africa was established after the Romans defeated Carthage in the Third Punic War. It roughly comprised the territory of present-day northern Tunisia, and the small Mediterranean coast of modern-day western Libya along the Syrtis Minor...

 was ruled by Gildo with some sort of independence, and oppressed by every species of tyranny.

After the death of Theodosius and the rise to the throne of his sons, Arcadius
Arcadius
Arcadius was the Byzantine Emperor from 395 to his death. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the Western Emperor Honorius...

 and Honorius
Honorius (emperor)
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 the eastern emperor Arcadius....

, Gildo saw an increase in his importance: the Africa Province, in fact, became entrusted with the grain supply to the city of Rome
Grain supply to the city of Rome
In classical antiquity, the grain supply to the city of Rome could not be met entirely from the surrounding countryside, which was taken up by the villas and parks of the aristocracy and which produced mainly fruit, vegetables and other perishable goods...

, a role played by Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 until the split of the Empire into two halves. Incited by the political machinations of the eunuch Eutropius
Eutropius (Byzantine official)
Eutropius was a fourth century Eastern Roman official.He began his career as a eunuch in the palace of Theodosius I. After Theodosius' death in 395 he successfully arranged the marriage of the new emperor, Arcadius, to Aelia Eudoxia, having blocked an attempt by Arcadius' chief minister, Rufinus,...

, Gildo seriously entertained the notion of joining the Eastern Roman Empire by pledging fidelity to Arcadius. The possibility of losing the granary of Rome led to civil turmoil in the city, and acting on an appeal by Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

, the Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

 declared Gildo an "enemy of the State" and started a war against him.

At the same time, Gildo had a quarrel with his brother Mascezel, who was obliged to flee to the court of Honorius; Gildo took revenge on his brother by killing his two sons. Mascezel was entrusted by Stilicho with the command of the war against Gildo and given the command of a chosen body of Gallic veterans, who had lately served under the standard of Eugenius. Landed with his few troops in Africa, he camped in front of a large Moorish camp. Despite its superiority, Gildo's army melted in front of the superior discipline of Mascezel's army.

After the defeat, Gildo was obliged to flee in a small boat, hoping to reach the friendly shores of the Eastern Roman Empire. However, unfavourable winds drove the vessel back to the harbour of Tabraca, where the inhabitants were eager to display their new loyalty by throwing Gildo in the dungeons. To avoid the revenge of his brother, Gildo committed suicide
Suicide
Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair or attributed to some underlying mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, or drug abuse...

by hanging.