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Stephen J. Harrison

Urbanus, Virgilian scholar (see virgil) frequently cited by *Servius in his Vergilian commentary. He wrote between the 2nd and late 4th cent. ce; his work on the Aeneid, probably a commentary, showed interest in legal and historical matters as well as textual criticism.

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Valens, Roman emperor (364–78 ce), the younger brother of *Valentinian I, who proclaimed him emperor of the eastern empire. He lacked his brother's military ability and forceful personality, but was an obedient colleague. His principal achievement was to reduce taxation by careful economy. Unlike his brother, he was a baptized Arian (see arianism) and half-heartedly persecuted the eastern Catholics. After surviving a rebellion led by *Julian's kinsman Procopius (365–6), he was able to impose terms upon the *Goths (369) and to intervene successfully in *Armenia (from 371), thanks to the competent generals he had inherited. However, when the Goths sought refuge from the *Huns in 376, they were allowed to cross the Danube and settle under Roman supervision. This policy led to disaster, for when the Goths rebelled, Valens' attempts to coerce them ended in the battle of Adrianople (9 August 378), in which he and two-thirds of his army were killed. His body was never recovered.

Article

Valentinian I, Roman emperor (364–375ce), born in 321 at Cibalae in *Pannonia. In February 364 when *Jovian died, he was commanding a guards regiment, and at Nicaea the generals and civil dignitaries elected him emperor. At Constantinople in March he proclaimed his brother *Valens, and took the west for himself. Here he concentrated on frontier defence. The *Alamanni who invaded Gaul were destroyed, and their homeland was devastated; fortifications on the Rhine and Danube were reconstructed for the last time. In Britain and Africa order was brutally restored by his general *Theodosius(1). In 375 Valentinian left Gaul because Pannonia had been invaded, and while berating a delegation of those responsible, he suffered a stroke and died at *Brigetio (17 November).This fit of rage was characteristic, but Valentinian was a conscientious administrator who tried to control abuses and over-taxation, failing notably in *Illyricum where Petronius Probus (see probus (2), sextus claudius petronius) was praetorian prefect (see praefectus praetorio).

Article

Valentinian II, Roman emperor (375–92 ce), was the son of *Valentinian I. Born in 371, he was upon his father's death elevated by the troops at *Aquincum, but without the consent of *Valens and *Gratian. Technically ruler of Italy, Africa, and Illyricum, he seems to have been kept well under the control of Gratian, upon whose death at the hands of the usurper *Magnus Maximus in 383, he succeeded as legitimate western emperor.

Article

Valentinian III, western Roman emperor (425–55 ce), born in 419, was the son of *Constantius III and Galla *Placidia. Expelled by a usurper, he was restored in 425 by his cousin, the eastern emperor *Theodosius (3) II, whose daughter, Eudoxia, he married in 437. Unmilitary and ineffectual, his reign was dominated first by Placidia and, after 433, by the general Flavius *Aetius, who campaigned vigorously in Gaul, supported by Hunnic auxiliaries. Without a navy, Valentinian's Italy came under Vandal attack from the sea and the emperor could do no more than urge local militias to defend themselves (Novella9). His 36 surviving laws (novellae) cover matters ranging from murder and tomb violation to property, taxes, the status of tenants, episcopal courts, and the supremacy of the bishop of Rome. In 454 Valentinian murdered Aetius with his own hand but was himself killed by two followers of Aetius in 455.

Article

Vandals  

Peter Heather

Vandals, a Germanic people or confederation of peoples (see germans) met with in *Pliny(1) and *Tacitus(1) as the Vandili, an overall designation which seems to have included later independent groups such as *Goths and *Burgundians. The extent of the confederation may possibly be identified with the Przeworsk culture dating from the early centuries ce found on the territory of modern Poland. By c.ce 200 some Vandals had moved south to lands north-east of the Tisza, a movement associated with the Marcomannic wars (see marcomanni). At this date, they were already divided into at least two groups: Hasdings and Silings. Vandals seem to have played no major role in the 3rd-cent. invasions, although contact with the Roman empire was plentiful. On 31 December 406, however, they crossed the Rhine near Mainz along with *Alans and *Suebi. After three years of widespread devastation in Gaul, they moved over the Pyrenees, and in 411 the invaders divided the Spanish provinces between them.

Article

Vatican  

Bryan Ward-Perkins

Vatican, an extramural area of the city of Rome, on the right bank of the *Tiber around the mons Vaticanus. In the early empire the Vatican was the site of an imperial park (the horti Agrippinae); and of entertainment structures, the Naumachiae (see naumachia), where mock sea-battles were exhibited, and the Vatican *circus, where *Gaius(1) set up a great obelisk from Heliopolis and which was traditionally the site of the martyrdom of St Peter. There was also an important shrine of *Cybele (or the Magna Mater) attested in inscriptions; and along the two roads that crossed the area, the via Cornelia and the via Triumphalis, were cemeteries. A group of mausolea on the foot-slopes of the mons Vaticanus were excavated under St Peter's in the 1940s, and within this cemetery (directly under the high altar of St Peter's) was found a small 2nd-cent. shrine, marking the probable burial-site of Peter, apostle and first bishop of Rome.

Article

Michael B. Charles

Vegetius Renatus was a Latin author writing in the Late Empire. He wrote the Epitoma rei militaris, which deals with ways to improve Rome’s flagging military prowess—including revival of the antiqua legio (“old-fashioned legion”) and reduction of reliance on barbarian mercenaries—and the Digesta artis mulomedicinae, which deals with animal husbandry and the care of horses in particular. Vegetius appears to have been a Christian and likely occupied a senior post in the Roman imperial bureaucracy. It is uncertain when Vegetius was active. Vegetius dedicated the Epitoma to an unnamed emperor. Traditionally, this has been assumed to have been Theodosius I (reign, 379–395 ce) because of presumably later manuscript dedications, but the context of the text arguably suits a fifth-century date better (especially one after 425 ce). Valentinian III (425–455 ce) or Theodosius II (408–450 ce) have emerged as the most likely candidates. Given that a certain Eutropius amended the manuscript of the Epitoma in 450 ce, it is clear that Vegetius must have written before that year.

Article

Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus (c. 540cec. 600), Christian Latin poet, born near Treviso in northern Italy and educated at Ravenna, he left Italy in 565 and later lived at Poitiers, where he knew St Radegunda and ultimately became bishop. He is best known for his numerous poems on secular and especially religious themes, including the great Passion hymns, Pange lingua and Vexilla regis, and is arguably both the last classical and the first medieval Latin poet.

Article

David Paniagua

Vibius Sequester is the author of the De fluminibus, fontibus, lacubus, nemoribus, paludibus, montibus, gentibus per litteras, a short repertoire of geographical names mentioned by Virgil, Silius, Lucan and Ovid. The text, written at the end of the 4th or in the 5th century ce for the author’s son, Vergilianus, was likely intended to be used at school as an instrument providing basic information about the collected toponyms and ethnonyms. Despite the occasional mistakes in the text, Sequester’s repertoire represent a fine instance of school culture in Western Late Antiquity. The work was much appreciated by Italian humanists, which explains that it was copied in nearly 50 recentiores manuscripts; all of them, however, descend from a second-half of the 9th century manuscript (Vat. Lat. 4929).Vibius Sequester was the author of a short alphabetic repertoire of geographical names mentioned in Latin poetry, probably compiled at the end of the 4th or in the 5th century .

Article

R. S. O. Tomlin

During the first two cents. ce, vicarius meant a substitute for an absent or deceased provincial governor. In the 3rd cent. vicarii were the equestrian *procurators of provinces who were specially appointed by the emperor to take the place of the regular senatorial governors. When *Diocletian grouped the provinces into twelve dioceses, each diocese (see dioecesis) was entrusted to a vicarius, so called because he was officially the deputy of the praetorian prefects (vices agens praefectorum praetorio).

Article

John Frederick Drinkwater

Praetorian prefect (see praefectus praetorio) of the Gallic usurper, *Postumus, whom he succeeded in 269 AD after the ephemeral reign of Marius. Though he abandoned *Spain and lost eastern Narbonensis (see gaul (transalpine)) to *Claudius II Gothicus, he successfully resisted other efforts to undermine his regime and suppressed a major revolt at Autun (*Augustodunum).

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A commander of the body-guard and imperial secretary, he was probably forced to retire into monastic life after the failure of the conspiracy to make Anna Comnena empress in 1118 ce. Living in exile on an island far from the capital he devoted himself to writing. He composed an authoritative commentary to Byzantine canon law, commentaries on the poems of *Gregory(2) of Nazianzus and on the terminology of religious poetry. Various other exegetic books and lives of saints go under his name; he is also the author of at least one religious poem. As a historian he wrote a universal history from the creation to ce 1118. Zonaras never claimed to be more than a compiler. For Greek history he mainly used *Herodotus(1), *Xenophon(1), *Plutarch, and *Arrian. For Roman history to the destruction of *Carthage he excerpted Plutarch and the first twenty-one books of *Cassius Dio, for which he is our only important source.

Article

Zosimus  

John F. Matthews

Zosimus, Greek historian. Little is known of his life except that he had been advocatus fisci (see fiscus) and obtained the dignity of comes (see comites). His identification with either the sophist Zosimus of Ascalon or the sophist Zosimus of Gaza is very unlikely (see second sophistic). He wrote a history (Historia nova) of the Roman empire from *Augustus reaching as far as ce 410, where his extant text terminates just before the sack of Rome by *Alaric. He completed his work after 498, if indeed he refers to the abolition of the auri lustralis collatio (2. 38; see collatio lustralis), and c.518, since the work is quoted in the chronicle of Eustathius of Epiphania, written apparently in the early years of Justin II. Book 1 summarizes the history of the first three centuries of the empire (the section of *Diocletian is lost); in books 2–4 he gives a more precise account of the 4th cent.