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33. Pawns in the Power Game

ConstantineIIICoin PriscusAttalusCoin MaxAugustusCoin ConstantiusIIICoin JovinusCoin SebastianusCoin GallPlacidia IoannesCoin TheodosiusII AeliaPulcheriaCoin AeliaEudociaCoin Attila ValentinianIII BonifatiusCoin JGrataHonoriaCoin MAPHonoriusEmpire MAPEvents406 MAPValentinianEmpire

Proclaimed emperor in Britain, Constantine III  took the remaining  troops from the island. He contested Honorius in Western provinces fallen into chaos in the wake of barbarian invasion from across the frozen Rhine.

Sad pawn in a power struggle, Priscus Attalus was elevated to Augustus in 409 by the Roman senate to appease Alaric, stripped of his position, reinstated, and finally deposed by Honorius.

Maximus, declared co-Augustus by the rebellious Magister Militum Gerontius.

Constantius III died of pleurisy only months after becoming co-Augustus with Honorius.

The Gallic noble Jovinus (left) seized power in Mainz in 411, and made his brother Sebastianus (right) co-Augustus. Two years later their severed heads lay at Honorius’s feet.

Galla Placidia, half-sister of Honorius, wife of Constantius III, and through him mother of  Valentinian III, who became co-Augustus to Theodosius II in 425 at the age of six.

The usurper Joannes, a clerk and probably the puppet of  Honorius’s magister militum, was put to death at Ravenna after 18 months.

Theodosius II was studious and weak. Secluded in a court dominated by the pursuit of religion, he was content to leave the running of affairs of state to his strong-willed sister Aelia Pulcheria (coin above right).

Aelia Eudocia, pagan Athenaïs before her baptism into the Church, was chosen for Theodosius as his wife by his sister Aelia Pulcheria.

Attila, whose horde swept the European mainland in an orgy of destruction that would test the empire to its limits. No known image of him exists; this is how a contemporary relief depicted him—the devil incarnate.

Intellectually challenged, weak-willed Valentinian III was utterly dominated by his redoubtable mother, Galla Placidia.

Bonifacius, Comes Africae, was an able warrior who fell foul of power politics and intrigue at court in Italy, and was ultimately forced to relinquish the Roman holdings in Africa to the Vandals.

Attila’s pretext for war on the West: Justa Grata Honoria, Valentinian III’s sister, placed into solitary confinement after having been caught in delicto flagrante with a servant, smuggled a ring to the Hun and asked him to be her champion.

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Illustrations © Oliver Frey; Maps © Roger M. Kean    © 2010–2016 Reckless Books, England