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Article

Edward Arthur Thompson and J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

Minister of the emperor *Arcadius (2) and a *eunuch, he was the most influential man in the east from 395 to 399 ce, when he became consul, the first eunuch to hold the office. See eunuchs (secular). To maintain the independence of the east against *Stilicho, effectively ruler of the west, he allied with *Alaric the Goth.

Article

Blossom Stefaniw

A deacon, ascetic teacher, and prolific writer, Evagrius Ponticus lived from c. 345 to 399ce. Within some strands of late ancient Christianity, his teachings were no longer considered orthodox later in his life or after his death, although the Armenian and Syrian churches continued to cherish his writings. As a young man, Evagrius contributed to the doctrinal campaign of Gregory Nazianzus at the 1st Council of Constantinople in 381, a position which prevailed as orthodox at that time. Around 382, Evagrius left the capital and joined a monastic community in Jerusalem led by Rufinus of Aquileia and Melania the Elder, who were learned ascetics. In 383, while still in Jerusalem, Evagrius committed himself to asceticism and eventually travelled to Egypt. Until his death in 399, Evagrius studied and taught and wrote on the ascetic life, developing a meticulous taxonomy of evil thoughts, their origins, and the physical experiences associated with them. He arranged his works in an ascetic curriculum for the training of monks, monitored and counseled more junior monks in their practice, and provided handbooks on the ascetic practices or biblical texts which were best suited to neutralize specific evil thoughts.

Article

Evagrius was born in the Syrian city of Epiphania into a wealthy family that could support the extended legal study necessary to qualify as a scholasticus. This education enabled him to pursue a career in the patriarchate of Antioch, where he ended up as legal advisor to the Chalcedonian Patriarch, Gregory I, whom he helped to rebut an accusation of sexual misconduct. He is known for composing an Ecclesiastical History, which continued the work of Socrates Scholasticus, and to a lesser extent those of Sozomen and Theodoret, and is the last classical example of this genre. He also compiled a collection of documents, speeches, and other material issued by Gregory and a work celebrating the birth of Emperor Maurice’s son Theodosius in 584, neither of which survives. Emperor Tiberius had awarded him the honorary rank of quaestor in return for a literary work, and Maurice that of prefect, probably for the work on Theodosius (6.24).

Article

Antony Spawforth

Felix, Flavius, Latin poet of senatorial rank. His verses, often unclassical in quantity, include a poem on baths built by Thrasamond, *Vandal king in Africa ( 496–523ce).

Article

Aelia Flavia Flaccilla was the first wife of the emperor Theodosius I, and the mother of his two surviving sons, Arcadius (b. c. 377 ce) and Honorius (b. 383 ce), as well as of a daughter named Pulcheria, who predeceased both her parents.1 Flaccilla is generally believed to have been a native of Spain, and her marriage to Theodosius probably occurred some two or three years prior to his elevation as emperor, perhaps during his temporary retirement from military service to family properties in Spain, after the sudden execution of his father, the comes Theodosius, in 375/376 ce.2

Flaccilla’s location at the time of her husband’s elevation as emperor in January 379 ce is unknown; however, when Theodosius entered the city of Constantinople for the first time as Augustus in November 380 ce, he was accompanied by his wife, the empress, and his young son Arcadius.

Article

follis  

Michael Crawford

A bag for coins, then—by the late 3rd or early 4th cent. ce—a bag containing a fixed number of coins, then a unit of account; the value of this unit of account varied over the centuries from the Tetrarchic period onwards. There is no clear evidence in practice that the term applied to an individual coin before the reforms of Anastasius (491–518ce), though the metrological writers contain some confused statements which may be interpreted in this way.

Article

Franks  

John Frederick Drinkwater

Franks (Franci), a Germanic people who conquered Gallia (*Gaul), and made it Francia (France). Their adoption of Gallo-Roman Catholic culture was the seed of French civilization and, hence, that of medieval and modern western Europe. Despite their great importance, their first appearance is late (c. 260 ce), their name (‘the bold’, ‘the fierce’) suggesting a coalition of *German tribes on the middle and lower Rhine. From then to the end of the 4th cent. they caused the empire frequent trouble, though they also gave it loyal generals and soldiers. Indeed, 4th-cent. emperors allowed some Frankish settlement on Roman soil in return for military service. However, during the early 5th cent., when the Rhine frontier weakened and the German occupation of Gaul began in earnest, the Franks, like the *Alamanni, seemed destined to be eclipsed by relative newcomers. There was some movement across the Rhine into Belgica Secunda, but it was not until the late 5th and early 6th cents. that the various Frankish groups were united by the Salians Childeric and Clovis, and moved south to break the *Visigoths and *Burgundians.

Article

Peter Heather

Fritigern, leader of the *Gothic Tervingi, who seized power c. 376ce in the crisis provoked by the arrival of the *Huns; championed a policy of seeking asylum inside the Roman empire, and seems to have wanted a negotiated peace. He nevertheless fought and won the battle of Hadrianople (378). Still in power c.

Article

H. D. Jocelyn and Gregory Hays

A 6th-cent. Christian writer from North Africa, possibly Carthage, credited with four extant works. The Mythologiae, in three books, is a set of allegorical interpretations of pagan myths, preceded by a prosimetrical preface. The Expositio Vergilianae continentiae secundum philosophos moralis offers an allegorical interpretation of the Aeneid, narrated by the shade of *Virgil himself. The Expositio sermonum antiquorum gives explanations of about 70 obsolete words illustrated by citations of authors ranging from Naevius to *Martianus Capella. It includes a number of fragments from *Petronius. Some of the citations are from otherwise unknown authors or are suspect for other reasons. The De aetatibus mundi et hominis is a summary of world history, sacred and profane, originally in 23 chapters, of which only the first 14 are preserved. It is 'lipogrammatic' in form: each chapter corresponds to a letter of the alphabet and employs only words that do not include that letter. All four works are marked by an extremely ornate style, clearly influenced by *Apuleius.

Article

In 429 he transported his followers from Spain to North Africa, and by 439 had conquered *Carthage. In the 430s, 441–2, and the late 460s he survived major Roman attempts to overthrow him. His most famous exploit was the sack of Rome in June 455, when the city was stripped of many treasures, but the sack was part of a broader bid to a role in imperial politics, including support for Olybrius' claims to the throne and marrying his son Huneric to Eudocia, a daughter of *Valentinian III.

Article

J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

Galerius (Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus; perhaps originally named Maximinus), of a peasant family of Dacian origin, was born in about 260 on the Danube at a place he later renamed Romuliana (modern Gamzigrad) after his mother Romula. Before he joined the army, he herded sheep from which he earned the nickname “Armentarius”. He rose high in that ranks and may have become praetorian prefect of *Diocletian. He married Diocletian’s daughter Valeria, perhaps as early as 289. In 293, Diocletian proclaimed him Caesar (293) along with *Constantius I. He was in Egypt from 293–5, putting down a revolt in the Thebaid, and commencing reconstruction of the limes in the Eastern Desert. Defending the frontier with Persia against an attack by *Narses, he was severely defeated in Syria (297) but, raising reinforcements from the Balkans, he attacked through *Armenia, marched down the Tigris to *Ctesiphon, and returned up the Euphrates, gaining total victory (298).

Article

Along with his half-brother *Julian, he survived the massacre of most of his kinsmen in 337ce, to be appointed Caesar in the east by *Constantius II in 351. Based at *Antioch (1), he successfully resisted the incursions of Persian satraps and a local Jewish rebellion, but his civilian government was seen as harsh and repressive. He clashed with the councillors of Antioch and with imperial officials, and was eventually (354) recalled to Constantius' court in Milan. On the way he was deposed and executed near Pola (Amm. Marc. 14. 11).

Article

Gelimer, the last *Vandalking of Africa (530–4 ce), was the great-grandson of *Gaiseric. He deposed his pro-Roman cousin Hilderic in 530, but in 533 an east Roman army led by *Belisarius landed in Africa and occupied *Carthage. Gelimer was defeated and taken prisoner, having failed in a bid to escape to Spain, and was sent to *Constantinople (534).

Article

Gildas  

Antony Spawforth

British author of The Ruin and Conquest of Britain (De excidio et conquestu Britanniae), a moralizing work attacking the local leaders held responsible for *Britain's troubles following the Roman withdrawal and the coming of the *Saxons. Apart from his *Christianity, very little is known about the author, and the date of composition is controversial, most scholars placing it c.

Article

Gildo  

J. H. W. G. Liebeschuetz

Gildo, son of King Nubel of *Mauretania, served as a Roman officer, and 386–98 ce held the extraordinary and very powerful command of comes et magister militum utriusque militiae per Africam (see comites; magister militum), supplementing the authority of a Roman commander with that of a native prince. His daughter Salvina married a nephew of the empress Flacilla. In 397 he revolted from the western government, and declared his allegiance to the east.

Article

Glaucus (6) (origin unknown), author of a work on the antiquities of *Arabia (Ἀραβικὴ Ἀρχαιολογία), used by *Stephanus of Byzantium.

Article

Goths  

Peter Heather

Goths, a Germanic people, who, according to Jordanes' Getica, originated in Scandinavia. The Cernjachov culture of the later 3rd and 4th cents. ce beside the Black Sea, and the Polish and Byelorussian Wielbark cultures of the 1st–3rd. cents. ce, provide evidence of a Gothic migration down the Vistula to the Black Sea, but no clear trail leads to Scandinavia. In the mid-3rd. cent. ce, Goths from the Black Sea region (see heruli) launched heavy attacks upon Asia Minor and the Roman Balkans. These were eventually halted by the victories of *Gallienus, *Claudius II (Gothicus), and *Aurelian. The Goths have usually been viewed as from this date divided into two—Visigoths and Ostrogoths—but the Gothic world of the 4th cent. probably comprised a number of chieftainships; how many is unknowable. Visigoths and Ostrogoths were actually the product of a later convulsion occasioned by the inroads of the *Huns.

Article

Raymond Davis

Gratian (Flavius Gratianus), son of *Valentinian I who made him Augustus when aged 8 (367 ce). Ruling the west from 375 he made his tutor *Ausonius praetorian prefect, and (379) appointed *Theodosius (2) I emperor in the east. Based at Milan (Mediolanum), he was much influenced by St *Ambrose, dropped the title pontifex maximus and had the statue of Victory removed from the Roman senate-house, despite protests from *Symmachus (2).

Article

Christa Gray

Hagiography is a problematic yet widely used term with varying connotations; it resists narrow definition. Outside the hagiographa of the Hebrew Bible (i.e., the books other than the Law and the Prophets), the concept is based on a core of Christian Greek and Latin works, from the 2nd to 5th century ce, which range from martyr accounts to monastic and episcopal biographies. A significant factor motivating their composition and reception is the cult of saints. Biblical heroes, especially Elijah, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself are the primary models, but non-Christian literary traditions, especially biographical and novelistic, are also important influences.Coined originally to indicate a group of books of the Old Testament (cf. TLL s.v. (h)agiographus, VI.3.2513.22–29), since the 19th century the term hagiography has been used for writings associated with and promoting the cult of saints, and more particularly for the biographical literature on ascetics, which took its starting point from .

Article

E. D. Hunt

Helena Augusta, mother of *Constantine I. Born of humble origins at Drepanum in Bithynia, she became c. ce 270 the first wife (or perhaps concubine) of the future emperor Constantius I. On Constantius’ later dynastic marriage to Theodora, Helena lapsed into obscurity, returning to prominence after her son's elevation as emperor in 306; she followed Constantine in adopting Christianity. In 324 she was given the title Augusta, and c.327 made a celebrated imperial progress through the eastern provinces as far as Jerusalem, where she engaged in charitable activities and was associated with the building of Constantine's new churches at the holy places. In Christian tradition her journey became a model of Holy Land pilgrimage, and by the later 4th cent. she was believed to have discovered relics of the True Cross.