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The Shields of the Empire: Eastern Roman Military Elites during the Reigns of the Emperors Theodosiu

Ebook The Shields of the Empire: Eastern Roman Military Elites during the Reigns of the Emperors Theodosiu Łukasz Pigoński

Łukasz Pigoński
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Opis treści

When the emperor Valentinian III murdered the general Flavius Aetius, it has been observed that he had ‘cut his right hand with his left’, and the story of the fall of the ‘last Roman’ has been put in the greater context of the subsequent dissolution of the Roman Empire in the West. However, a similar deed committed by the emperor Leo in the East in 471, when he ordered the killing of the general Aspar, certainly did not gain such a legendary status. The underappreciated story of the survival of the Eastern Roman Empire in the turmoil of the fifth century is however no less dramatic, and the role that powerful military leaders played in those events was certainly paramount.
This publication aims to reconstruct the involvement of the Eastern Roman military elite in various matters of the state on the wider background of political history marked by the reigns of the emperors Theodosius II (408-450), Marcian (450-457), and Leo I (457-474). On its pages, the author presents the history of the numerous wars in which the Empire found itself entangled in during that uneasy time, as well as the periods of conflict and cooperation between the generals and the emperors. The focus is not only on the military elite as a group, but also on outstanding individuals, such as generals Plintha, Flavius Zeno, Aspar or Zeno-Tarasikodissa, the aforementioned emperors and their civilian advisors. The result is a comprehensive study and a novel interpretation of the nearly seven decades of turmoil that, contrary to what happened in the West, curiously did not result in the collapse of the Eastern Roman state, perhaps, as the author argues, in no small part due to those military leaders, who were serving and protecting it.

Spis treści ebooka The Shields of the Empire: Eastern Roman Military Elites during the Reigns of the Emperors Theodosiu

Introduction 9

Chapter I. The Military in the Fifth Century 13
Who Constitutes ‘Military Elites’? 13
An Overview of the Sources 15
The Roman Army 20
The Foederati 23
Commanding the Roman Army 24
The Prerogatives of Magistri Militum 27
Sources of Power and Influence 29

Chapter II. The Military Elite during the Reign of Theodosius II 33
The Regime of Anthemius 34
The Fall of Anthemius and the New Regime of Pulcheria 40
The War with Persia 43
The Campaign against the Usurper John 49
The First Vandal Expedition 52
Plintha and the Huns in the Twenties and the Thirties 55
The Second Vandal Expedition (441) 60
The Developments in the East 64
The War against the Huns of 441–442 65
The Road to the Next War 68
The War of 447: A Conflict Shrouded in Mystery 69
The Course of the War 71
The Peace of 447 77
The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back: The Conflict over the Hunnic Question 79
The Curious Case of Berichus 81
The Developments of 448–450 83
Conclusion 85

Chapter III. The Military Elite during the Reign of Marcian 87
The Perception of Marcian by his Contemporaries and in the Scholarship 87
Accession to the Throne… 89
… and Its Presentation 90
The Month of Power Struggle 92
Aspar’s Right Hand Man 94
All Marcian’s Men 96
The Wars of Marcian 101
The War of 452 104
The Conclusion of the Hunnic Problem 108
The Northern Border and the Career of Procopius Anthemius 111
The Problem of the Vandals 113
The Eastern Policy of Marcian 116
The Arab Raids 117
The Blemmyes and Nobades 118
The Expeditions to Lazica 119
The Soldier Emperor 121
The Emperor of the Soldiers 121
The Puzzling Last Years of Marcian’s Reign 122
Conclusion 126

Chapter IV. The Military Elite during the Reign of Leo I 127
The Question of Succession 127
The Role of Aspar in the Succession 129
A Dangerous Precedent 130
Leo, the comes et tribunus Mattiariorum 131
The Influence of Aspar 133
Leo’s Own Ambitions 134
The Ostrogoths and Marcellinus of Dalmatia 135
Timothy Ailuros and the Religious Unrest in Alexandria 138
463: the Birth of Leo’s Dynastic Ambitions? 139
Behind Every Great Man… The Role of Verina 141
The Turn to the West 143
The Arrival of Tarasikodissa and the Situation in the East 145
The Conflict between the Goths and the Sciri 147
The War with Dengizich 149
Aspar’s Opposition 155
The Expedition of Basiliscus 156
The Aftermath of the Defeat 161
The Campaign of Heraclius and Marsus 163
The Revolt of Anagastes 166
Aspar’s Return to Power 169
Leo the Butcher 171
A Pyrrhic Victory 173
Conclusion 174

Conclusion 177
Ethnicity: Solidarity and Division 177
Kinship and Family Matters 180
Faith and Religious Policy 182
The Question of Identity: Becoming Byzantine? 183
Closing Thoughts 185

Appendix 1 189
The Question of the Illyrian Command 190
Tenures of Magistri Militum 192

Appendix 2 195

List of Abbreviations 201

Bibliography 203
Primary Sources 203
Secondary Literature 207

Index of People 217

Index of Ethnic and Geographic Names 223

Abstract 227

Maps 229

Szczegóły ebooka The Shields of the Empire: Eastern Roman Military Elites during the Reigns of the Emperors Theodosiu

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Łukasz Pigoński
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