- Peter Heather
ExtractAetius, Flavius (d. ce 454), Roman patrician and general, ruler of the western Empire c. 432 to 454. In the 410s he served lengthy periods as a hostage among both the Visigoths (see *goths) and Huns, and a relationship with the Huns provided the cornerstone of his career. Hunnic military support first allowed him to survive the civil war which put *valentinian III on the western throne (Aetius had initially supported a usurper), and then enabled him to defeat rival generals Felix and Boniface and establish a domination over the young emperor manifest in his unprecedented three consulships (432, 437, 446). Subsequently, Aetius also used the Huns to defeat internal rebels and hold in check the centrifugal forces within the western empire represented by internal rebels and outside groups such as the Visigoths (campaigns 433 and esp. 436–9) and *burgundians (435). When the Huns under *attila mounted massive invasions of the western Empire, he was forced to draw on Gothic and Burgundian support to defeat them at the Catalaunian Plains in 451.
- Late Antiquity