Theodosius: The Empire at Bay

Front Cover
Yale University Press, Apr 1, 1998 - History - 238 pages
Theodosius I, a towering figure in the history of the late Roman Empire and the early Church, was the last Roman emperor to rule a unified empire of East and West. His reign from 379 to 395 represents a turning point in the policies and fortunes of the late Roman Empire. In this fascinating biography, Stephen Williams and Gerard Friell examine Theodosius's life and character, placing the military, religious, and political struggles of his reign in the context of the troubled times of the empire.

Drawing on literary, archaeological, and numismatic evidence, the authors describe how Theodosius was summoned to the throne after the disastrous Roman defeat by the Goths at Adrianople and was called upon to rebuild the armies and put the shattered state back together. They show how Theodosius instituted a new policy toward the barbarians, in which diplomacy played a larger role than military might at a time of increasing frontier dangers and acute manpower shortages, and how a series of political misfortunes led to the separation of the Eastern and Western empires despite his efforts. They also discuss Theodosius's importance in the Christian Church. Baptized in 380, Theodosius established the Apostolic Catholic Church as the only State religion; unlike Constantine and the other Christian emperors, he suppressed both heresy and paganism and enforced orthodoxy by law.

By fully exploring these various facets of Theodosius's life and reign, Williams and Friell present a new and absorbing picture of this important emperor.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

List of plates
9
The Burdens of Empire
23
Imperial Divisions
36
Catholic Ascendancy
47
S Victory in the West
61
The Changed Background
73
from Laeti to Foederati
91
The Topheavy Empire
103
The Unravelling
141
The Inevitable?
159
Appendices
176
The Roman Army in the Later Fourth Century
182
Valentinian and Theodosius
189
References and Notes
195
Bibliography
227
Index
235

Confrontation
117
IO Triumph and Death
134

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Bibliographic information