Guide Aetius: Attilas Nemesis

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On the other hand, there are several factors which can be used to claim this epithet for Belisarius. Only later did the region come under the rule of Constantinople. Finally, as a native Latin speaker Belisarius followed in the tradition begun in the Roman Republican period of having Latin-speaking commanders leading Latin-speaking troops, and as such he would have been acknowledged as an heir by the Roman commanders of old.

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Less than fifty years after the reign of Justinian the emperor Heraclius, r. Consequently, later commanders spoke Greek. Ian Hughes is an historian who specialises in late Roman history. Find out more or adjust your settings. This website uses cookies so that we can provide you with the best user experience possible. Cookie information is stored in your browser and performs functions such as recognising you when you return to our website and helping our team to understand which sections of the website you find most interesting and useful.

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If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again. Bonifacius was given the rank of patrician and made the senior comes et magister utriusque militiae , while Aetius was stripped of his military command.

Aetius, believing his fall now imminent, marched against Bonifacius and fought him at the Battle of Rimini. Boniface won the battle but was mortally wounded, dying a few months later. Aetius escaped to Pannonia and traveled to the court of his friend, Rua, the king of the Huns. With their help he returned to power, receiving the title of comes et magister utriusque militiae. Aetius then had Bonifacius' son-in-law, Sebastianus, who had succeeded Bonifacius as magister militum , exiled from Italy to Constantinople, bought the properties of Bonifacius, and married his widow Pelagia.

From to , Aetius was the dominant personality in the Western Empire, obtaining the rank of magnificus vir parens patriusque noster 5 September and playing the role of "protector" of Galla Placidia and Valentinian III while the Emperor was still young. At the same time he continued to devote attention to Gaul. In , the Burgundians of King Gundacar were defeated and obliged to accept peace by Aetius and Avitus; however, the following year he sent Hunnic foederati to destroy them. Allegedly 20, Burgundians were killed in a slaughter which probably became the basis of the Nibelungenlied, a German epic.

That same year Aetius was probably in Armorica with Litorius to suppress a rebellion of the Bacaudae under a certain Tibatto. Year saw his second consulship and the wedding of Valentinian and Licinia Eudoxia in Constantinople; it is probable that Aetius attended at the ceremony that marked the beginning of the direct rule of the Emperor. At that time his general Litorius had broken the siege of Narbona and had turned the war in favor of the Romans.

The following two years were occupied by a campaign against the Suebi and by the war against the Visigoths; in Aetius won a major battle probably the Battle of Mons Colubrarius , but in the Visigoths defeated and killed his general Litorius and his Hunnic Foederati. Aetius returned to Gaul after Vetericus had stabilized the situation, and defeated the Visigoths and obtained a treaty.

Flavius Aetius

On his return to Italy, he was honoured by a statue erected by the Senate and the People of Rome by order of the Emperor; this was probably the occasion for the panegyric written by Merobaudes. His most pressing concern in the s was with problems in Gaul and Iberia, mainly with the Bacaudae. He settled the Alans around Valence in and along the Loire including Aurelianum in to contain unrest in Armorica.

In Spain, Aetius was slowly losing his grip on the situation. He was recalled and Merobaudes defeated the Bacaudae of Aracellitanus in In the Romans had the Vandals attack Turonium in Gallaecia, followed by Vitus who campaigned with a combined force of Romans and Goths in , but was ultimately defeated. The Bacaudae in Armorica revolted again in or , and were put down by the Alans of Goar.

As a result, the leader of the revolt Eudoxius fled to the court of Attila the Hun. The Suebi also entered Tarraconensis to assist Basilius and his revolt. In Majorian defeated a Frankish siege of Turonum, which was followed by a Frankish attack under Clodio in the region of Atrebatum, in Belgica Secunda.

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The foederati were stopped in an ambush near Vicus Helena , where Aetius directed the operations while his commander Majorian later Emperor fought with the cavalry. However, by Aetius had already returned to good terms with the Franks. In Chlodio died, and the patricius supported his younger son Merovaeus's claim to the throne.

Aetius adopted him as his own son and sent him from Rome, where he had been an ambassador, to the Frankish court with many presents. Before Aetius had signed an agreement with the Huns, allowing some of them to settle in Pannonia, along the Sava River; he also sent to Attila, the king of the Huns, a man called Constantius as a secretary. In , Attila was angry for an alleged theft of a golden plate, and Aetius sent him an embassy under Romulus to calm him; Attila sent him as a present a dwarf, Zerco, whom Aetius gave back to his original owner, Aspar.

However, the good terms between Romans and Huns did not last, as Attila wanted to attack Gaul; he knew that Aetius was a serious obstacle to his enterprise, and tried to have him removed, but in , when the Huns attacked, Aetius was still the commander of the Roman army in Gaul. The large Hunno-German army captured several cities, and proceeded towards Aurelianum.

Aetius, with the help of the influential Gallo-Roman senator Avitus, convinced the Visigoths of king Theodoric I to join him against the external menace; he also succeeded in persuading Sambida who is falsely accused as having been planning to join the Huns , the Armoricans, the Salian Franks, some of the Saxons, and the Burgundians of Sapaudia to join his forces.

Then the joint Roman and Visigothic army moved to relieve the besieged city of Aurelianum, forcing the Huns to abandon the siege and retreat to open country. Theodoric died in the battle, and Aetius suggested his son Thorismund retreat to Tolosa to secure his throne, as well as persuading Merovaeus to return to the lands of the Franks; for this reason it is said that Aetius kept all of the battlefield loot for his army.

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Attila returned in to again press his claim of marriage to Honoria; Aetius was unable to block Attila's advance through the Julian Alps. Instead, he chose to garrison Aquileia against Attila's onslaught.

Attila invaded and ravaged Italy, sacking numerous cities and razing Aquileia completely, allegedly leaving no trace of it behind. Valentinian III fled from the court at Ravenna to Rome; Aetius remained in the field but lacked the strength to offer battle, instead positioning his army at Bononia to block the roads through the Apennines to Ravenna and Rome. Gibbon however says Aetius never showed his greatness more clearly in managing to harass and slow Attila's advance with only a shadow force.

Attila finally halted at the Po, where he met an embassy including the prefect Trygetius, the ex-consul Gennadius Avienus, and Pope Leo I. After the meeting he turned his army back, having gained neither Honoria's hand nor the territories he desired. Ancient and medieval historians tended to give Pope Leo and supernatural forces credit for halting Attila, but a number of practical factors may have also induced Attila to retreat: his army was unable to obtain sufficient food and was suffering from disease, Aetius' army was busy harassing the Huns, and finally Marcian had sent forces north of the Danube to attack the homelands of the Huns and their vassals under a separate Aetius.

Although in Aetius had been able to betroth his son Gaudentius to Valentinian's daughter Placidia, Valentinian felt intimidated by Aetius, who had once supported Joannes against him and who, Valentinian believed, wanted to place his son upon the imperial throne. The Roman senator Petronius Maximus and the chamberlain Heraclius were therefore able to enlist Valentinian in a plot to assassinate Aetius.

The ancient historian Priscus of Panium reports that on September 21, , while Aetius was at court in Ravenna delivering a financial account, Valentinian suddenly leaped from his seat and declared that he would no longer be the victim of Aetius's drunken depravities. Valens on the other hand, fares less well. By tracing the careers of both men in tandem, it is possible to compare their achievements and analyse the extent to which they deserve the contrasting reputations handed down by history.

Aetius: Attila's Nemesis Book Reviews

Patricians and Emperors offers concise comparative biographies of the individuals who wielded power in the final decades of the Western Roman Empire, from the assassination of Aetius in to the death of Julius Nepos in The book is divided into four parts. The first sets the background to the period, including brief histories of Stilicho and Aetius , explaining the nature of the empire and the reasons for its decline.

The second details the lives of Ricimer and his great rival Marcellinus by focusing on the stories of the numerous emperors that Ricimer raised and deposed. The third deals with the Patricians Gundobad and Orestes , as well as explaining how the barbarian general Odoacer came to power in The final part outlines and analyses the Fall of the West and the rise of barbarian kingdoms in France, Spain and Italy. You see that Constantine? Five Years? A Film Buff? Adopt an Orca? Why do I play football? Categories Uncategorized. This site uses cookies: Find out more.