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Chapter XII.—Of the death of Gratianus and the sovereignty of Maximus

Gratianus in the midst of his successes in war and wise and prudent government ended his life by conspiracy. 861 He left no sons to inherit the empire, and a brother of the same name as their father, Valentinianus, 862 who was quite a youth. So Maximus, 863 in contempt of the youth of Valentinianus, seized the throne of the West.



Gratianus made himself unpopular (i) by his excessive addiction to sport, playing the Commodus in the “Vivaria,” when not even a Marcus Aurelius could have answered all the calls of the Empire. (Amm. xxxi. x. 19) and (ii) by affecting the society and customs of barbarians (Aur. Vict. xlvii. 6). The troops in Britain rose against him, gathered aid in the Low Countries, and defeated him near Paris. He fled to Lyons, where he was treacherously assassinated Aug. 25, 383. He was only twenty-four. (Soc. v. 11.)


Valentinianus II., son of Valentinianus I. and Justina was born c. 371.


Magnus Maximus reigned from 383 to 388. Like Theodosius, he was a Spaniard.

Next: Of Justina, the wife of Valentinianus, and of her plot against Ambrosius.