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Valentinian Ii

VALENTINIAN II After the death of VALENTINIAN I, his son, Valentinian II, an infant of four years of age, with his half-brother Gratian (q.v.) a lad of about seventeen, became the emperors of the West. They made Milan their home; and the empire was nominally divided between them, Gratian taking the trans-Alpine provinces, whilst Italy, Illyricum in part, and Africa were to be under the rule of Valentinian, or rather of his mother, Justina. Justina was an Arian, and the imperial court at Milan pitted itself against the Catholics, under the famous Ambrose, bishop of that city. But so great was his popularity that the court was decidedly worsted in the contest, and the emperor's authority materially shaken. In 387 Magnus Maximus (q.v.), who had commanded a Roman army in Britain, and had in 383 (the year of Gratian's death) made himself master of the northern provinces, crossed the Alps into the valley of the Po and threatened Milan. The emperor and his mother fled to Theodosius, the emperor of the East and husband of Galla, Valentinian's sister. Valentinian was restored in 388 by Theodosius, through whose influence he was converted to Orthodox Catholicism. Four years later he was murdered at Vienne in Gaul, probably at the instigation of his Frankish general Arbogast, with whom he had quarrelled.

See Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 27; Schiller, Geschichte der romischen Kaiserzeit, bk. iii. vol. iv. pp. 32, 33 ; L. Ranke, Weltgeschichte, bk. iv. vol. i. chap. 6 ; and especially H . Richter, Das westromische Reich unter den Kaisern Gratian, Valentinian II. und Maximus (Berlin, 1865), pp. 577-650, where full references to authorities are given.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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