Valentinian III

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Valentinian III
Emperor of the Western Roman Empire
Image:Galla Placidia (rechts) und ihre Kinder.jpg
Valentinian (on the left), with his sister Justa Grata Honoria and his mother Galla Placidia.
Reign 423-424 (Caesar in the west);
425 - 16 March 455 (emperor in the west)
Full name Flavius Placidius Valentinianus
Born 2 July 419
Died 16 March 455
Predecessor Honorius
Successor Petronius Maximus
Wife/wives Licinia Eudoxia
Issue Daughter, married to Aëtius
Dynasty Valentinian
Father Constantius III
Mother Galla Placidia

Flavius Placidius Valentinianus (July 2, 419March 16, 455), known in English as Valentinian III, was Western Roman Emperor (425-455).


[edit] Life

Born in western capital of Ravenna, Valentinian was the only son of later Emperor Constantius III and Galla Placidia, daughter of the Emperor Theodosius I and granddaughter of Emperor Valentinian I. After the death of his father (421), he followed his mother and his sister (Justa Grata Honoria) to Constantinople, when Galla broke with her brother, Emperor Honorius, and went at the court of Theodosius II.

Image:Solidus ValentinianIII-wedding.jpg
Solidus minted in Thessalonica to celebrate Valentinian III's marriage to Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of the Eastern Emperor Theodosius II. On the reverse, the three of them in their wedding costume.

In 423, Honorius died, and usurper Joannes took the power in Rome. To counter this menace, Theodosius nominated Valentinian Caesar of the west (October 23, 424), and bethrothed him to his own daughter Licinia Eudoxia (Valentinian would marry her in 437). In 425, after Joannes had been defeated in war, Valentinian was installed Western Emperor in Rome, on October 23, at the age of six.

Given his minority, the new Augustus ruled under the control first of his mother, and then, after 433, of the Magister militum Flavius Aëtius. Valentinian's reign is marked by the dismemberment of the Western Empire; the conquest of the province of Africa by the Vandals in 439; the final abandonment of Britain in 446; the loss of great portions of Spain and Gaul, in which the barbarians had established themselves; and the ravaging of Sicily and of the western coasts of the Mediterranean Sea by the fleets of Genseric.

As an off-set against these calamities, there was the great victory of Aëtius over Attila the Hun in 451 near Chalons, and his successful campaigns against the Visigoths in southern Gaul (426, 429, 436), and against various invaders on the Rhine and Danube (428-431).

The burden of taxation became more and more intolerable as the power of Rome decreased, and the loyalty of its remaining provinces was seriously impaired in consequence. Ravenna was Valentinian's usual residence; but he fled to Rome on the approach of Attila, who, after ravaging the north of Italy, died in the following year (453).

In 454 Aëtius, whose son had married a daughter of the emperor, was treacherously murdered by Valentinian. On March 16 of the following year, however, the emperor himself was assassinated in Rome, by two of the barbarian followers of Aëtius. These retainers may have been put up to the act by Petronius Maximus, a wealthy senator who the following day March 17 had himself proclaimed emperor by the remnants of the Western Roman army after the paying of a large donative. He was not as prepared as he thought to take over and restabilize the depleted empire, however; after a reign of eleven weeks, Maximus was murdered by a Roman mob. King Gaiseric and his Vandals captured Rome a few days later and sacked it for two weeks.[citation needed]

Valentinian not merely lacked the ability to govern the empire in a time of crisis, but aggravated its dangers by his self-indulgence and vindictiveness.

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[edit] Secondary sources

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Preceded by:
Western Roman Emperor
Succeeded by:
Petronius Maximus
ca:Valentinià III

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Valentinian III

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