Sunday, October 28, 2007

Theodosius the Great (347-395 CE)

The fearsome Huns from the Asiatic steppes of South Russia, riding on their fat-headed, peculiar-looking plains horses, swept down on the Ostrogoths living north and east of the Black Sea. In one of the few genuine examples of ‘billiard-ball history’ this set in motion a chain reaction as the Ostrogoths fled in panic westward against the Visigoths who were driven hard against Rome’s Danubian frontier...

In the meantime some Ostrogoths, who did not have permission to cross the river, did so anyway, and to add to the confusion the Roman Field Marshal of Thrace, Lupicinus, killed some of the followers of Fritigern and Alavivus [the Visigothic chiefs] during a truce. This was more than the barbarians could bear, and they began to ravage the area...

Finally, in the autumn of 382, the emperor agreed to terms with the Visigoths that set the standard for barbarian settlement in the Empire for the next hundred years, until the fall of Rome in the West. In the words of historian A. H.M. Jones, ‘The settlement was, in fact, a grave breach with precedent’. Essentially, Theodosius the Great and Gratian agreed to allow the Visigoths to settle in Moesia in the northern Thracian diocese along the Danube, and the native inhabitants of the region, insofar as it was still inhabited, were probably required to provide food, clothing, and housing for them.
- Quotations by historian Arther Ferrill in The Fall of the Roman Empire adapted from from George W. Bush, an American Theodosius by Steven LaTulippe

Books from Alibris: Theodosius the Great

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