Birth of Future Roman Emperor Valentinian III, Under Whose Reign the Empire Will Shrink Hot

Birth of Future Roman Emperor Valentinian III, Under Whose Reign the Empire Will Shrink

Emperor Valentinian III

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Roman emperor Valentinian III (Flavius Placidius Valentinianus Augustus) is born in Ravenna. Descended from both Theodosius I and Valentinian I, Valentinian III is a son, grandson, great-grandson, cousin, and nephew of Roman emperors. He becomes emperor in 425 when he is six years old and reigns until 455.

The primary characteristic of the reign of Valentinian III is the dissolution of the Roman Empire. By the end of his time as Western Roman emperor, almost all of of North Africa, all of western Spain and most of Gaul will no longer be Roman.

Valentinian III also furthers the antisemitism of the Christian Roman Empire: in the 430s, he will begin expelling all Jews from the Roman army based on the belief that they will corrupt the Christians they serve with.

Valentinian III will be described as very pious and faithful to Christianity, but not such a great administrator and not very interested in maintaining Roman political power across the entire empire.

According to Edward Gibbon, Valentinian III was an unimpressive emperor:

"He faithfully imitated the hereditary weakness of his cousin and his two uncles, without inheriting the gentleness, the purity, the innocence, which alleviate in their characters the want of spirit and ability. Valentinian was less excusable, since he had passions without virtues: even his religion was questionable; and though he never deviated into the paths of heresy, he scandalised the pious Christians by his attachment to the profane arts of magic and divination."

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Emperors of Rome: Valentinian III

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