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Age of Antiquity » 300 AD/CE » 395 AD/CE

Emperor Honorius

When: 395 - 423 AD/CE
Where: Rome, Roman Empire, Europe

Honorius resided in Ravenna, sharing the role of Emperor with his brother, Arcadius, who lived in Constantinople.

At this time, the bulk of the power was held by ministers Rufinus, of Gallic origins, and Stilicho "the Vandal".

The Visigoths found one of Theodosius' officers, Alaric, to be a suitable leader. Alaric eventually persuaded them to revolt, resulting in the defeat of Stilicho at Aquileia.

In 408 AD Honorius become distrustful of Stilicho and had him executed.

Upon hearing this news, Alaric planned his final invasion into Rome. During this campaign, food supplies for Rome were cut off, weakening the city. All this time Honorius remained safe in Ravenna.

Romans were dying by the thousands, and sought to surrender. Eventually, Alaric accepted a payoff: 5,000 pounds of gold, 30,000 pounds of silver, and 3000 animal hides.

Alaric, moved on to Etruria to negotiate with Honorius. He requested that he be given a high military command, with a generous salary, and to be made ruler of the lands near the head of the Adriatic. Honorius refused.

Alaric then moved maneuvered his forces to Ostria, the port which provided Rome much of its food supply. After capturing the port, Alaric was able to persuade the Roman senate to accept a new emperor appointed by himself. Many surrounding territories remained loyal to Honorius, including the count of Africa, who refused to send corn to Rome given the situation. Alaric again tried to negotiate with Honorius, and again this failed.

Alaric and the Visigoths then captured the city of Rome in 410 AD, and proceeded to burn houses and kill many of the Romans.

Alaric proceeded south, towards Africa, and lost much of his fleet in a storm. He fell ill shortly after this and died.

The Burgundians, another race contemplating future conquests, was placated by Honorius in the early fifth century. They were granted lands west of the Rhine, anchored by the city of Worms. They did manage to extend their holdings further south, but suffered major losses in battles with the Romans, led by Aetius, in 437 AD. The remaining Burgundians settled near Lake Geneva, and lived there until they were conquered by the Franks in 534 AD.

Honorius is often blamed for the 410 AD sacking of Rome. During his reign, he rarely stepped foot in the city. His obsession with his pet birds was well known. One story which depicts his aloofness:
A Roman soldier informs him that "Rome has Fallen". Honorius appears shocked ... but is the relieved to find the CITY OF ROME had fallen, not his PET CHICKEN.

Honorius was born in 384 AD and died in 423 AD.

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History Fact of the Month
Did you know ...

The Origin of Valentine's Day?

Valentines day dates back to Roman times, when a holiday called The Feast of Lubercus was celebrated to protect shepherds and their flocks from wolves. During this time of year, goddess Juno Februata was honored by pairing boys and girls and denoting them 'partners' for a year.

Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day around 497 AD, in an effort to replace pagan holidays with Christian tradition. Although the pairing ritual was banished, romance remains the distinctive attribute of this holiday.

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