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Valentinian I

Emperor A. D. 364 - 375

After the death of the Roman Emperor Jovian, Valentinian was raised to the throne by the soldiers at Nicaea. In the interest of future stability, the army made it a condition of Valentinian's elevation that he appoint a Co-emperor to help him rule. Accordingly, Valentinian chose his brother Valens to rule the East about a month later. Unlike the all to common tale of brothers sharing the empire and continuously plotting against each other in bitter hatred and contention, (see Geta, Caracalla, Constans, and Constantine II). Valens and Valentinian got along wonderfully and shared a true affection for each other.

Valentinian spent much of his reign defending the Rhine frontier against Sarmatians, Quadi, and Goths. There was also trouble in Britain. Picts, Scots, Saxons, and Franks had all but taken over the island province, and Valentinian had to send his capable general Theodosius to deal with these barbarians. It took him two years to chastise the barbarians and chase them back across the frontiers. Theodosius was the father of the first emperor by the same name. History has not preserved the details, but evidently the elder Theodosius later fell out of favor with Valentinian and was executed and his family disgraced. His son was nevertheless able to forgive Valentinian’s young son Gratian in his hour of need and become his co-emperor and protector when asked to do so.

Valentinian died in the year A. D. 375 after having received a deputation of Quadi to discuss making a treaty. The insolent behavior so enraged the emperor that he had a fit and died of a stroke. His fifteen year old son Gratian was appointed emperor in his place.

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