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Bill Thayer

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Book I
Chapter 18

This webpage reproduces a section of
Italy and Her Invaders

Thomas Hodgkin

published by the Clarendon Press

The text, and illustrations except as noted,
are in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Book I
Chapter 19

Book 1 (continued)

Vol. I
Note K

Usurpers in the Western Empire
during the reign of Honorius

Orosius remarks that the fall of all the five usurpers by whom Honorius was attacked was a manifest proof of Divine favour, and a reward for his zeal in persecuting the heretics who disturbed the unity of the African church (VII.42). It may be convenient to have a short summary of these obscure and complicated transactions. The five tyrants were: —

(1) Constantine, proclaimed Emperor in Britain in 407: conquered Gaul in that year, Spain in 408 (death of Didymus and Verenianus); defeated by Gerontius in 411; taken prisoner by Constantius at Arles, and slain in the neighbourhood of Ravenna in the same year.

(2) Maximus, proclaimed Emperor in Spain by his patron Gerontius (rebelling against Constantine) in 409. In the year 411 Gerontius took to flight on hearing of the approach of the victorious Constantius. His soldiers mutinied, and he committed suicide as related in the text. Maximus, hearing the news, escaped to the barbarian auxiliaries in Spain. In the year 417, when Orosius wrote, he was still wandering about in Spain a needy exile. He is said, but on the rather doubtful authority of Marcellinus, to have been brought to Ravenna and executed in the year 422.

(3) Attalus, proclaimed at Rome by Alaric in 409. Dethroned the same year; restored (possibly) in 414; surrendered to Honorius in 416; punished by the loss of a hand, but not slain.

(4) Jovinus, a general of troops on the Rhine, proclaimed at Mentz in 412 by Goar, a chief of the Alans, and Guntiar, a chief of the Burgundians. He associated his brother Sebastian with him. Ataulfus slew Sebastian and sent Jovinus a prisoner to Ravenna in 413.

(5) Heraclianus, Count of Africa, proclaimed Emperor, invaded Italy, was defeated, fled to Carthage, and was put to death, all in the same year, 413.

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Page updated: 4 May 20