Justa Grata Honoria

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Image:Solidus-Honoria-RIC 2022.jpg
Honoria crowned Augusta by the hand of God.

Justa Grata Honoria was the sister of the Western Roman Emperor Valentinian III. Coins of her attest that she was granted the title of Augusta.

One of several striking examples, in which Late Antique history seems to abound, of strong women whose scope of action was restricted by her gender, she seems to have despised her brother for his weakness and lack of energy, and attempted to do away with him using as an instrument her lover, the palace comptroller Eugenius. When found out, she was hurriedly betrothed to Flavius Bassus Herculanus, a senatorial nonentity: at which point she achieved her greatest notoriety, writing a letter to Attila the Hun in spring 450 asking him to save her from the unwanted marriage. Taking the letter — which came with her ring as proof it was sent by her — as a betrothal and thus an invitation to invade the Western Roman Empire, he used the letter as his excuse and "asking for half of the western Empire as dowry", Attila ravaged Gaul and Italy from 451 to 453.

Image:Galla Placidia (rechts) und ihre Kinder.jpg
Honoria (in the middle), with her brother Valentinian III and her mother Galla Placidia.

Only the influence of their mother Galla Placidia convinced Valentinian to exile, rather than kill, Honoria, after the emperor discovered his sister's plan.

The sources for Honoria's life are Flavius Merobaudes, Carmina, I; Priscus, fragments 2, 7, 8, De legibus gentium; John of Antioch, frag. 84 De insidiis; and Jordanes, Get. 223‑224, Rom. 328.

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Justa Grata Honoria

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