Theodosius I

Theodosius I

Overview
Theodosius I also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 halves of the Roman Empire
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....

. During his reign, the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 secured control of Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

 after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland south of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 within the empire's borders. He also issued decrees that effectively made Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 the official state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 of the Roman Empire.

He is recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 as Saint Theodosius.
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Timeline

380   Theodosius I makes his ''adventus'', or formal entry, into Constantinople.

393   Roman Emperor Theodosius I proclaims his nine year old son Honorius co-emperor.

394   Battle of the Frigidus: The Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius I defeats and kills the pagan usurper Eugenius and his Frankish ''magister militum'' Arbogast.

1896   In Athens, the opening of the first modern Olympic Games is celebrated, 1,500 years after the original games are banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I.

 
Encyclopedia
Theodosius I also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 halves of the Roman Empire
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....

. During his reign, the Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 secured control of Illyricum
Illyricum (Roman province)
The Roman province of Illyricum or Illyris Romana or Illyris Barbara or Illyria Barbara replaced most of the region of Illyria. It stretched from the Drilon river in modern north Albania to Istria in the west and to the Sava river in the north. Salona functioned as its capital...

 after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland south of the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 within the empire's borders. He also issued decrees that effectively made Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 the official state religion
State religion
A state religion is a religious body or creed officially endorsed by the state...

 of the Roman Empire.

He is recognized by the Eastern Orthodox Church
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 as Saint Theodosius. He defeated the usurpers Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

 and Eugenius
Eugenius
Flavius Eugenius was an usurper in the Western Roman Empire against Emperor Theodosius I. Though himself a Christian, he was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.-Life:...

 and fostered the destruction of some prominent pagan temples: the Serapeum
Serapeum
A serapeum is a temple or other religious institution dedicated to the syncretic Hellenistic-Egyptian god Serapis, who combined aspects of Osiris and Apis in a humanized form that was accepted by the Ptolemaic Greeks of Alexandria...

 in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, the Temple of Apollo in Delphi
Delphi
Delphi is both an archaeological site and a modern town in Greece on the south-western spur of Mount Parnassus in the valley of Phocis.In Greek mythology, Delphi was the site of the Delphic oracle, the most important oracle in the classical Greek world, and a major site for the worship of the god...

, and the Vestal Virgins in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. After his death, Theodosius' 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....

 inherited the East and West halves respectively, and the Roman Empire was never again re-united.

Career




Theodosius was born in Cauca
Coca, Segovia
Coca is a municipality in the province of Segovia, central Spain, part of the autonomous community of Castile-Leon. It is located 50 kilometres northwest of the provincial capital city of Segovia, and 60 kilometres from Valladolid. Coca is known for its 15th Century Mudéjar castle...

 or Italica
Italica
The city of Italica was founded in 206 BC by the Roman general Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus in order to settle Roman soldiers wounded in the Battle of Ilipa, where the Carthaginian army was defeated during the Second Punic War...

, Hispania
Hispania
Another theory holds that the name derives from Ezpanna, the Basque word for "border" or "edge", thus meaning the farthest area or place. Isidore of Sevilla considered Hispania derived from Hispalis....

, to senior military officer 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...

. He accompanied his father to Britannia
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

 to help quell the Great Conspiracy
Great Conspiracy
The Great Conspiracy is a term given to a year-long war that occurred in Roman Britain near the end of the Roman occupation of the island. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus described it as a barbarica conspiratio that capitalized on a depleted military force in the province brought about by...

 in 368. He was military commander (dux
Dux
Dux is Latin for leader and later for Duke and its variant forms ....

) of Moesia
Moesia
Moesia was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans, along the south bank of the Danube River. It included territories of modern-day Southern Serbia , Northern Republic of Macedonia, Northern Bulgaria, Romanian Dobrudja, Southern Moldova, and Budjak .-History:In ancient...

, a Roman province on the lower Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

, in 374. However, shortly thereafter, and at about the same time as the sudden disgrace and execution of his father, Theodosius retired to Spain. The reason for his retirement, and the relationship (if any) between it and his father's death is unclear. It is possible that he was dismissed from his command by the emperor 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....

 after the loss of two of Theodosius' legions to the Sarmatians
Sarmatians
The Iron Age Sarmatians were an Iranian people in Classical Antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD....

 in late 374.

The death of Valentinian I in 375 created political pandemonium. Fearing further persecution on account of his family ties, Theodosius abruptly retired to his family estates in the province of Gallaecia
Gallaecia
Gallaecia or Callaecia, also known as Hispania Gallaecia, was the name of a Roman province and an early Mediaeval kingdom that comprised a territory in the north-west of Hispania...

 (present day Galicia, Spain) where he adapted to the life of a provincial aristocrat.

From 364 to 375, the Roman Empire was governed by two co-emperors, the brothers 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....

 and Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

; when Valentinian died in 375, his sons, Valentinian II
Valentinian II
Flavius Valentinianus , commonly known as Valentinian II, was Roman Emperor from 375 to 392.-Early Life and Accession :...

 and Gratian
Gratian
Gratian was Roman Emperor from 375 to 383.The eldest son of Valentinian I, during his youth Gratian accompanied 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...

, succeeded him as rulers of the Western Roman Empire. In 378, after Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 was killed in the Battle of Adrianople, Gratian invited Theodosius to take command of the Illyrian army. As Valens
Valens
Valens was the Eastern Roman Emperor from 364 to 378. He was given the eastern half of the empire by his brother Valentinian I after the latter's accession to the throne...

 had no successor, Gratian's appointment of Theodosius amounted to a de facto invitation for Theodosius to become co-Augustus for the East. Gratian was killed in a rebellion in 383, Theodosius then appointed his elder son, 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...

, his co-ruler for the East. 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
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....

 Augustus as his co-ruler for the West (Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

, on 23 January 393) and by defeating the usurper Eugenius
Eugenius
Flavius Eugenius was an usurper in the Western Roman Empire against Emperor Theodosius I. Though himself a Christian, he was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.-Life:...

 on 6 September 394, at the Battle of the Frigidus
Battle of the Frigidus
The Battle of the Frigidus, also called the Battle of the Frigid River, was fought between September 5–6 394, between the army of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I and the army of Western Roman ruler Eugenius....

 (Vipava
Vipava, Slovenia
Vipava is a small town in western Slovenia with 1500 inhabitants. It is the center of a municipality with 5,185 people. Vipava is built near the numerous sources of the Vipava River, in the upper Vipava Valley, 102 m above sea level...

 river, modern Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

) he restored peace.

Family


By his first wife, the probably Spanish Aelia Flaccilla
Aelia Flaccilla
Aelia Flavia Flaccilla , 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...

 Augusta, he had two 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....

 and a daughter, Aelia Pulcheria
Pulcheria (daughter of Theodosius I)
Aelia Pulcheria was the daughter of Roman Emperor Theodosius I and Roman Empress Aelia Flaccilla. This Pulcheria apparently died in childhood and is not to be confused with her more famous niece of the same name....

; 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
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....

 and his second wife Justina. Theodosius and Galla had a son Gratian, born in 388 who died young and a daughter Aelia Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Aelia Galla Placidia , daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, was the Regent for Emperor Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life...

 (392–450). Placidia was the only child who survived to adulthood and later became an Empress.

Diplomatic policy with the Goths


The Goths
Goths
The Goths were an East Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin whose two branches, the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths, played an important role in the fall of the Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe....

 and their allies (Vandali
Vandals
The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe that entered the late Roman Empire during the 5th century. The Vandals under king Genseric entered Africa in 429 and by 439 established a kingdom which included the Roman Africa province, besides the islands of Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia and the Balearics....

, Taifalae
Taifals
The Taifals, Taifali, Taifalae, Tayfals, or Theifali were a people settled by the late Roman Empire in Poitou in the fourth century. They served as dediticii and laeti in the Roman and subsequently Merovingian militaries...

, Bastarnae
Bastarnae
The Bastarnae or Basternae were an ancient Germanic tribe,, who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the eastern Carpathian mountains and the Dnieper river...

 and the native Carpi
Carpians
The Carpi or Carpiani were an ancient people that resided, between not later than ca. AD 140 and until at least AD 318, in the former Principality of Moldavia ....

) entrenched in the province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

s of Dacia
Dacia
In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians or Getae as they were known by the Greeks—the branch of the Thracians north of the Haemus range...

 and eastern Pannonia Inferior
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 consumed Theodosious' attention. The Gothic crisis was so dire that his co-Emperor Gratian relinquished control of the Illyria
Illyria
In classical antiquity, Illyria was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by the Illyrians....

n provinces and retired to Trier
Trier
Trier, historically called in English Treves is a city in Germany on the banks of the Moselle. It is the oldest city in Germany, founded in or before 16 BC....

 in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

 to let Theodosius operate without hindrance. A major weakness in the Roman position after the defeat at Adrianople was the recruiting of barbarian
Barbarian
Barbarian and savage are terms used to refer to a person who is perceived to be uncivilized. The word is often used either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage...

s to fight against other barbarians. In order to reconstruct the Roman Army of the West, 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.
Theodosius was reduced to the costly expedient of shipping his recruits to 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...

 and replacing them with more seasoned Romans, but there were still switches of allegiance that resulted in military setbacks. Gratian sent generals to clear the diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

s of Illyria (Pannonia
Pannonia
Pannonia was an ancient province of the Roman Empire bounded north and east by the Danube, coterminous westward with Noricum and upper Italy, and southward with Dalmatia and upper Moesia....

 and Dalmatia
Dalmatia (Roman province)
Dalmatia was an ancient Roman province. Its name is probably derived from the name of an Illyrian tribe called the Dalmatae which lived in the area of the eastern Adriatic coast in Classical antiquity....

) of Goths, and Theodosius was able finally to enter Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 on 24 November 380, after two seasons in the field. The final treaties with the remaining Gothic forces, signed 3 October 382, permitted large contingents of primarily Thervingi
Thervingi
The Thervingi, Tervingi, or Teruingi were a Gothic people of the Danubian plains west of the Dnestr River in the 3rd and 4th Centuries CE. They had close contacts with the Greuthungi, another Gothic people from east of the Dnestr River, as well as the Late Roman Empire...

an Goths to settle along the southern Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 frontier in the province
Province
A province is a territorial unit, almost always an administrative division, within a country or state.-Etymology:The English word "province" is attested since about 1330 and derives from the 13th-century Old French "province," which itself comes from the Latin word "provincia," which referred to...

 of Thrace
Thrace
Thrace is a historical and geographic area in southeast Europe. As a geographical concept, Thrace designates a region bounded by the Balkan Mountains on the north, Rhodope Mountains and the Aegean Sea on the south, and by the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara on the east...

 and largely govern themselves.

The Goths now settled within the Empire had, as a result of the treaties, military obligations to fight for the Romans as a national contingent, as opposed to being fully integrated into the Roman forces. However, many Goths would serve in Roman legions and others, as foederati
Foederati
Foederatus is a Latin term whose definition and usage drifted in the time between the early Roman Republic and the end of the Western Roman Empire...

,
for a single campaign, while bands of Goths switching loyalties became a destabilizing factor in the internal struggles for control of the Empire.

In 390 the population of Thessalonica rioted in complaint against the presence of the local Gothic garrison. The garrison commander
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

 was killed in the violence, so Theodosius ordered the Goths to kill all the spectators in the circus as retaliation
Massacre of Thessaloniki
The Massacre of Thessalonica was a retaliatory action by the Roman Emperor Theodosius I in 390 against the inhabitants of Thessalonica, who had risen in revolt....

; Theodoret
Theodoret
Theodoret of Cyrus or Cyrrhus was an influential author, theologian, and Christian bishop of Cyrrhus, Syria . He played a pivotal role in many early Byzantine church controversies that led to various ecumenical acts and schisms...

, a contemporary witness to these events, reports:
In the last years of Theodosius' reign, one of the emerging leaders of the Goths, named Alaric
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

, participated in Theodosius' campaign against Eugenius
Eugenius
Flavius Eugenius was an usurper in the Western Roman Empire against Emperor Theodosius I. Though himself a Christian, he was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.-Life:...

 in 394, only to resume his rebellious behavior against Theodosius' son and eastern successor, 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...

, shortly after Theodosius' death.

Civil wars in the Empire


After the death of Gratian
Gratian
Gratian was Roman Emperor from 375 to 383.The eldest son of Valentinian I, during his youth Gratian accompanied 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 383, Theodosius' interests turned to the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

, for the usurper Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus
Magnus Maximus , also known as Maximianus and Macsen Wledig in Welsh, was Western Roman Emperor from 383 to 388. As commander of Britain, he usurped the throne against Emperor Gratian in 383...

 had taken all the provinces of the West except for Italy. This self-proclaimed threat was hostile to Theodosius' interests, since the reigning emperor Valentinian II
Valentinian II
Flavius Valentinianus , commonly known as Valentinian II, was Roman Emperor from 375 to 392.-Early Life and Accession :...

, Maximus' enemy, was his ally. Theodosius, however, was unable to do much about Maximus due to his still inadequate military capability and he was forced to keep his attention on local matters. However when Maximus began an invasion of Italy in 387, Theodosius was forced to take action.

The armies of Theodosius and Maximus met in 388 at Poetovio and Maximus was defeated. On 28 August 388 Maximus was executed. Trouble arose again, after Valentinian was found hanging in his room. It was claimed to be a suicide by the magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

, Arbogast
Arbogast (general)
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...

.

Arbogast, unable to assume the role of Emperor because of his non-Roman background, elected Eugenius
Eugenius
Flavius Eugenius was an usurper in the Western Roman Empire against Emperor Theodosius I. Though himself a Christian, he was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.-Life:...

, a former teacher of rhetoric. Eugenius started a program of restoration of the Pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 faith, and sought, in vain, Theodosius' recognition. In January 393, Theodosius gave his son 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....

 the full rank of "Augustus" in the West, citing Eugenius' illegitimacy.

Theodosius campaigned 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' forces. Theodosius was repulsed on the first day, and Eugenius thought the battle to be all but over. However, in Theodosius' 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' forces were aided by a natural phenomenon known as the Bora
Bora (wind)
Bora or Bura is a northern to north-eastern katabatic wind in the Adriatic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, and Turkey....

, which produces cyclonic winds. The Bora blew directly against the forces of Eugenius and disrupted the line.

Eugenius' camp was stormed, and Eugenius was captured and soon after executed. Thus Theodosius became the only emperor.

Art patronage


Theodosius oversaw the removal in 390 of an Egyptian obelisk
Obelisk
An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

 from Alexandria to Constantinople. It is now known as the obelisk of Theodosius
Obelisk of Theodosius
The Obelisk of Theodosius is the Ancient Egyptian obelisk of Pharaoh Tutmoses III re-erected in the Hippodrome of Constantinople by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in the 4th century AD.-History:The obelisk was first set up by Tutmoses III to the south of the seventh pylon...

 and still stands in the Hippodrome
Hippodrome of Constantinople
The Hippodrome of Constantinople was a circus that was the sporting and social centre of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire. Today it is a square named Sultanahmet Meydanı in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with only a few fragments of the original structure surviving...

, 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 engine
Siege engine
A siege engine is a device that is designed to break or circumvent city walls and other fortifications in siege warfare. Some have been operated close to the fortifications, while others have been used to attack from a distance. From antiquity, siege engines were constructed largely of wood and...

s. The obelisk, still recognizably a solar symbol
Helios
Helios was the personification of the Sun in Greek mythology. Homer often calls him simply Titan or Hyperion, while Hesiod and the Homeric Hymn separate him as a son of the Titans Hyperion and Theia or Euryphaessa and brother of the goddesses Selene, the moon, and Eos, the dawn...

, had been moved from Karnak
Karnak
The Karnak Temple Complex—usually called Karnak—comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II . Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some...

 to Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 with what is now the Lateran obelisk
Obelisks in Rome
The city of Rome harbours the most obelisks in the world. There are eight ancient Egyptian and five ancient Roman obelisks in Rome, together with a number of more modern obelisks; there was also formerly an ancient Ethiopian obelisk in Rome....

 by Constantius II
Constantius II
Constantius II , was Roman Emperor from 337 to 361. The second son of Constantine I and Fausta, he ascended to the throne with his brothers Constantine II and Constans upon their father's death....

).

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
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 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
Conceptual art
Conceptual art is art in which the concept or idea involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions...

: 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 Pagan portrait
Portrait
thumb|250px|right|Portrait of [[Thomas Jefferson]] by [[Rembrandt Peale]], 1805. [[New-York Historical Society]].A portrait is a painting, photograph, sculpture, or other artistic representation of a person, in which the face and its expression is predominant. The intent is to display the likeness,...

ure. Christianity had only just been adopted as the new state religion.

The Forum Tauri in Constantinople was renamed and redecorated as the Forum of Theodosius
Forum of Theodosius
The Forum of Theodosius was an area in Constantinople. It was originally built by Constantine I and named the Forum Tauri...

, including a column and a triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 in his honour.

Nicene Christianity becomes the state religion


Theodosius promoted Nicene
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 Trinitarian Christianity within the Empire. On 27 February 380, he declared "Catholic Christianity" the only legitimate Imperial religion, ending state support for the traditional Roman religion
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

.

Nicene Creed


In 325, Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 facilitated the Church's bishops to convene the Council of Nicea
First Council of Nicaea
The First Council of Nicaea was a council of Christian bishops convened in Nicaea in Bithynia by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in AD 325...

, which affirmed the prevailing view that Jesus, the Son, was equal to the Father, one with the Father, and of the same substance (homoousios
Homoousian
Homoousian is a technical theological term used in discussion of the Christian understanding of God as Trinity. The Nicene Creed describes Jesus as being homooúsios with God the Father — that is, they are of the "same substance" and are equally God...

in Greek). The council condemned the teachings of the heterodox theologian Arius
Arius
Arius was a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt of Libyan origins. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father's divinity over the Son , and his opposition to the Athanasian or Trinitarian Christology, made him a controversial figure in the First Council of...

: that the Son was a created being and inferior to God the Father, and that the Father and Son were of a similar substance (homoiousios in Greek—a difference of one iota
Iota
Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. In the system of Greek numerals it has a value of 10. It was derived from the Phoenician letter Yodh . Letters that arose from this letter include the Roman I and J and the Cyrillic І , Yi , Je , and iotified letters .Iota represents...

) but not identical (see Nontrinitarian). Despite the council's ruling, controversy continued. By the time of Theodosius' accession, there were still several different Church factions that promoted alternative Christology
Christology
Christology is the field of study within Christian theology which is primarily concerned with the nature and person of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament. Primary considerations include the relationship of Jesus' nature and person with the nature...

.

Arians


While no mainstream churchmen within the Empire explicitly adhered to Arius
Arius
Arius was a Christian presbyter in Alexandria, Egypt of Libyan origins. His teachings about the nature of the Godhead, which emphasized the Father's divinity over the Son , and his opposition to the Athanasian or Trinitarian Christology, made him a controversial figure in the First Council of...

 (a presbyter from Alexandria, Egypt) or his teachings, there were those who still used the homoiousios formula, as well as those who attempted to bypass the debate by merely saying that Jesus was like (homoios in Greek) God the Father, without speaking of substance (ousia). All these non-Nicenes were frequently labeled as Arians (i.e., followers of Arius) by their opponents, though they would not have identified themselves as such.
The Emperor Valens had favored the group who used the homoios formula; this theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

 was prominent in much of the East and had under the sons of Constantine the Great gained a foothold in the West. Theodosius, on the other hand, cleaved closely to the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 which was the interpretation that predominated in the West and was held by the important Alexandrian church
Church of Alexandria
The Church of Alexandria in Egypt is the particular church headed by the Patriarch of Alexandria. It is one of the original four Apostolic Sees of Christianity, with Rome, Antioch and Jerusalem ....

.

Establishment of Nicene Orthodoxy


On 27 February 380 he, together with Gratian
Gratian
Gratian was Roman Emperor from 375 to 383.The eldest son of Valentinian I, during his youth Gratian accompanied 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...

 and Valentinian II
Valentinian II
Flavius Valentinianus , commonly known as Valentinian II, was Roman Emperor from 375 to 392.-Early Life and Accession :...

 published the so called "Edict of Thessalonica
Edict of Thessalonica
The Edict of Thessalonica, also known as Cunctos populos, was delivered on 27 February 380 by Theodosius I, Gratian, and Valentinian II in order that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria...

" (decree "Cunctos populos", Codex Theodosianus
Codex Theodosianus
The Codex Theodosianus was a compilation of the laws of the Roman Empire under the Christian emperors since 312. A commission was established by Theodosius II in 429 and the compilation was published in the eastern half of the Roman Empire in 438...

 xvi.1.2) in order that all their subjects should profess the faith of the bishops of Rome and Alexandria (i.e., the Nicene faith). The move was mainly a thrust at the various beliefs that had arisen out of Arianism, but smaller dissident sects, such as the Macedonians
Macedonians (religious group)
The Macedonians were a Christian sect of the 4th century, named after Bishop Macedonius I of Constantinople. They professed a belief similar to that of Arianism, but apparently denying the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and regarding the substance of Jesus Christ as being the same in kind as that of...

, were also prohibited.

On 26 November 380, two days after he had arrived in Constantinople, Theodosius expelled the non-Nicene bishop, Demophilus of Constantinople
Demophilus of Constantinople
Demophilus was bishop of Berea and bishop of Constantinople from 370 until expelled in 380.-Biography:Born of good family in Thessalonica, he was elected by the Arians to the bishopric of Constantinople. The opinion of the populace, however, were much divided...

, and appointed Meletius
Meletius of Antioch
Saint Meletius of Antioch was a Christian bishop, or Patriarch of Antioch, from 360 until his death. There were contrasting view about his theological position: on the one hand, he was exiled three times under Arian emperors; on the other, he was strongly opposed by those faithful to the memory...

 patriarch of Antioch, and Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus
Gregory of Nazianzus was a 4th-century Archbishop of Constantinople. He is widely considered the most accomplished rhetorical stylist of the patristic age...

, one of the Cappadocian Fathers
Cappadocian Fathers
The Cappadocian Fathers are Basil the Great , who was bishop of Caesarea; Basil's brother Gregory of Nyssa , who was bishop of Nyssa; and a close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus , who became Patriarch of Constantinople...

 from Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 (today in Turkey), patriarch of Constantinople. Theodosius had just been baptized, by bishop Acholius of Thessalonica, during a severe illness, as was common in the early Christian world.

In May 381, Theodosius summoned a new ecumenical council at Constantinople (see First Council of Constantinople
First Council of Constantinople
The First Council of Constantinople is recognized as the Second Ecumenical Council by the Assyrian Church of the East, the Oriental Orthodox, the Eastern Orthodox, the Roman Catholics, the Old Catholics, and a number of other Western Christian groups. It was the first Ecumenical Council held in...

) to repair the schism between East and West on the basis of Nicean orthodoxy. "The council went on to define orthodoxy, including the mysterious Third Person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who, though equal to the Father, 'proceeded' from Him, whereas the Son was 'begotten' of Him." The council also "condemned the Apollonarian and Macedonian heresies, clarified jurisdictions of the state church of the Roman Empire
State church of the Roman Empire
The state church of the Roman Empire was a Christian institution organized within the Roman Empire during the 4th century that came to represent the Empire's sole authorized religion. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches claim to be the historical continuation of this...

 according to the civil boundaries of dioceses and ruled that Constantinople was second in precedence to Rome."

The death of Valens, the Arians' protector, probably damaged the standing of the Homoian faction.

Death of Western Roman Emperor Valentinian II


On 16 May 392, Valentinian II
Valentinian II
Flavius Valentinianus , commonly known as Valentinian II, was Roman Emperor from 375 to 392.-Early Life and Accession :...

 was found hanged in his residence in the town of Vienne
Vienne
Vienne is the northernmost département of the Poitou-Charentes region of France, named after the river Vienne.- Viennese history :Vienne is one of the original 83 departments, established on March 4, 1790 during the French Revolution. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Poitou,...

 in Gaul
Gaul
Gaul was a region of Western Europe during the Iron Age and Roman era, encompassing present day France, Luxembourg and Belgium, most of Switzerland, the western part of Northern Italy, as well as the parts of the Netherlands and Germany on the left bank of the Rhine. The Gauls were the speakers of...

. The Frankish soldier and Pagan Arbogast
Arbogast (general)
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...

, Valentinian's protector and magister militum
Magister militum
Magister militum was a top-level military command used in the later Roman Empire, dating from the reign of Constantine. Used alone, the term referred to the senior military officer of the Empire...

, maintained that it was suicide. Arbogast and Valentinian had frequently disputed rulership over the Western Roman Empire, and Valentinian was also noted to have complained of Arbogast's control over him to Theodosius. Thus when word of his death reached Constantinople, Theodosius believed, or at least suspected, that Arbogast was lying and had engineered Valentinian's demise. These suspicions were further fueled by Arbogast's elevation of Eugenius
Eugenius
Flavius Eugenius was an usurper in the Western Roman Empire against Emperor Theodosius I. Though himself a Christian, he was the last Emperor to support Roman polytheism.-Life:...

, from pagan official, to the position of Western Emperor. Plus, Ambrose
Ambrose
Aurelius Ambrosius, better known in English as Saint Ambrose , was a bishop of Milan who became one of the most influential ecclesiastical figures of the 4th century. He was one of the four original doctors of the Church.-Political career:Ambrose was born into a Roman Christian family between about...

, the Bishop of Milan, spoke some veiled accusations against Arbogast, in his funeral oration for Valentinian II.

Valentinian II's death sparked a civil war between Eugenius and Theodosius, over the rulership of the west, resulting in the Battle of the Frigidus
Battle of the Frigidus
The Battle of the Frigidus, also called the Battle of the Frigid River, was fought between September 5–6 394, between the army of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius I and the army of Western Roman ruler Eugenius....

. The resultant eastern victory there led to the final brief unification of the Roman Empire under Theodosius, and the ultimate irreparable division of the empire after his death.

Proscription of Paganism




The Christian persecution of paganism under Theodosius I began in 381, after the first couple of years his reign in the Eastern Roman Empire. In the 380s, Theodosius I reiterated Constantine's ban on Pagan sacrifice, prohibited haruspicy on pain of death, pioneered the criminalization of Magistrates who did not enforce anti-Pagan laws, broke up some pagan associations and destroyed Pagan temples.

Between 389-391 he promulgated the infamous "Theodosian decrees," which establed a practical ban on paganism; visits to the temples were forbidden, remaining Pagan holidays abolished, the eternal fire
Sacred fire of Vesta
The sacred fire of Vesta was a holy fire in Ancient Rome. The Vestal Virgins were selected by lot and served for thirty years, tending the holy fire and performing other rituals connected to domestic life—among them were the ritual sweeping of the temple on June 15 and the preparation of...

 in the Temple of Vesta
Vesta (mythology)
Vesta was the virgin goddess of the hearth, home, and family in Roman religion. Vesta's presence was symbolized by the sacred fire that burned at her hearth and temples...

 in the Roman Forum
Roman Forum
The Roman Forum is a rectangular forum surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city of Rome. Citizens of the ancient city referred to this space, originally a marketplace, as the Forum Magnum, or simply the Forum...

 extinguished, the Vestal Virgins disbanded, auspices and witchcraft
Witchcraft
Witchcraft, in historical, anthropological, religious, and mythological contexts, is the alleged use of supernatural or magical powers. A witch is a practitioner of witchcraft...

ing punished. Theodosius refused to restore the Altar of Victory
Altar of Victory
The Altar of Victory was located in the Roman Senate House bearing a gold statue of the goddess Victory. The altar was established by Octavian in 29 BC in honor of the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium. The statue depicted a winged woman, holding a palm and descending to present a laurel...

 in the Senate House, as asked by Pagan Senators
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...

.

In 392 he became Emperor of the whole Empire (the last one to do so). From this moment till the end of his reign in 395, while Pagans remained outspoken in their demands for toleration, he authorized or participated in the destruction of many temples, holy sites, images and objects of piety throughout the Empire. participated in actions by Christians against major Pagan sites.

He issued a comprehensive law that prohibited any Pagan ritual even within the privacy of one's home, and was particularly oppressive of Manicheans. Paganism was now proscribed, a "religio illicita". He is likely to have suppressed the Ancient Olympic Games, whose last record of celebration is from 393.

Death


Theodosius died, after suffering from a disease involving severe edema
Edema
Edema or oedema ; both words from the Greek , oídēma "swelling"), formerly known as dropsy or hydropsy, is an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body that produces swelling...

, in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

 on 17 January 395. Ambrose organized and managed Theodosius's lying in state in Milan. Ambrose delivered a panegyric
Panegyric
A panegyric is a formal public speech, or written verse, delivered in high praise of a person or thing, a generally highly studied and discriminating eulogy, not expected to be critical. It is derived from the Greek πανηγυρικός meaning "a speech fit for a general assembly"...

 titled De Obitu Theodosii before 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...

 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....

 in which Ambrose detailed the suppression of heresy and paganism by Theodosius. Theodosius was finally buried in Constantinople on 8 November 395.

See also

  • Galla Placidia
    Galla Placidia
    Aelia Galla Placidia , daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I, was the Regent for Emperor Valentinian III from 423 until his majority in 437, and a major force in Roman politics for most of her life...

    , daughter of Theodosius
  • Saint Fana
    Saint Fana
    Saint Fana was an Egyptian Christian hermit. A monastery in the diocese of Mallawi, Upper Egypt, is named after him.Saint Fana was born to a Christian family in Memphis...

  • Serena
    Serena (Roman)
    Serena was a noblewoman of the late Western Roman Empire.She was the adopted daughter of Theodosius. Theodosius adopted her as his daughter, and in 384 arranged her marriage to a rising military officer, Stilicho...

    , niece of Theodosius and wife of Flavius Stilicho
  • Zosimus
    Zosimus
    Zosimus was a Byzantine historian, who lived in Constantinople during the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius I . According to Photius, he was a comes, and held the office of "advocate" of the imperial treasury.- Historia Nova :...

    , Pagan historian from the time of Anastasius I
    Anastasius I (emperor)
    Anastasius I was Byzantine Emperor from 491 to 518. During his reign the Roman eastern frontier underwent extensive re-fortification, including the construction of Dara, a stronghold intended to counter the Persian fortress of Nisibis....

  • Roman emperors family tree
    Roman Emperors family tree
    This is a family tree of the Roman Emperors, showing only the relationships between the emperors.- 27BC-AD192 :The emperors from Augustus to Commodus can be organised into one large family tree with one non-related emperor...


Further reading


  • Brown, Peter, The Rise of Western Christendom, 2003, p. 73–74
  • Williams, Stephen and Gerard Friell, Theodosius: The Empire at Bay, Yale University Press, 1994.


External links