The Ancient Library

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brother's elevation, and Zonaras adds that he severely rebuked the troops for their share in the A dkraiai* o£ tha provinces of 'the

West was made Betweeir fire ftrotfrers, tfeoagk the greater age of Gratian gave him pre-eminence. As the eastern provinces remained subject to Valens, brother and colleague of Valentinian I., the part immediatety subject to the government of Gratian comprehended Gaul, Spain, and Britain. But there is some doubt both as to the time when the pro­vinces of the West were partitioned, and as to the authority, if any, which Gratian retained or exer­cised in the provinces of his brother. (See Tille-mont and Gothofredus, Not. ad Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 9. s. 4, 5.) Treviri, now Treves, seems to have been his usual residence.

In the early part of his reign hostilities were fiercely carried on along the Danubian provinces and in Illyricum, where Frigeridus, Gratian's general, defeated the Taifali ; and Gratian him­self was preparing to march into Thrace to assist his uncle Valens against the Goths, but was de­tained in the West by an incursion of the Len-tienses, who formed part of the great confederation of the Alamanni. The invading host, to the number of 40,000 (some accounts, probably exag­gerated, make them 70,000), was encountered and cut to pieces by the army of Gratian, under his generals Nannienus and Mellobaudes the Frank, who held the office of Comes Domesticorum at Argentovaria or Argentaria (at or near Colmar, in Alsace), about May, a.d. 378 or according to some authorities in 377. Whether Gratian was present at the battle does not appear ; but he conducted his army in person across the Rhine, and compelled the Lentienses to submit. He afterwards advanced towards or into the eastern empire, where the Goths, who had defeated and killed Valens near Adrianople (Aug. 378), were committing great devastation. By the death of his uncle, Valens, the eastern empire had devolved upon him ; but his consciousness of his inadequacy to this increased charge led him to send for Theodosius [theodo-§ius I. aug.] from Spain, and after appointing him in the first instance general against the Goths, he soon after (Jan. 19, 379), at Sirmium, raised him to be his colleague in the empire, and com­mitted the East to him.

For some time after this the pressure of affairs compelled Gratian to exert himself. He sanctioned the settlement jn Pannonia and Upper Maesia of some German nations, who were pressing upon the frontier of the empire; perhaps thinking thus to repair the waste of population in the Gothic war, or to raise up a barrier against further invasion. His generals, the Franks, Bauto and Arbogastes, with their army, were sent to assist Theodosius ; and Gratian himself, if we may trust an obscure expression of Idatius, gained a victory over some hostile army, "but of what nation is not said. He also, during the illness of Theodosius, arranged or strengthened a treaty with the Goths. After these transactions, which may be referred to the year 380 at latest, we hear little of any warlike or other transactions in which Gratian was engaged.

Historians, Pagan and Christian, are agreed as to the character of this prince. In person he was well made and good looking ; in his disposition gentle and docile ; submissive, as a youth, to his instructors, possessed of a cultivated understanding and of a ready and pleasing eloquence. Even in


the camp he cultivated poetry; and the flattering panegyric of Ausonius declares that Achilles had found in him a Roman Homer. He was pious, ^chaste, and temperate ; but his character was too 'yie!dB%raaBil.^ian,t, it wanted force; and the influ­ence of others fed Mot to severities that were foreign to his own character; e|jf Ike instigation of his mother, he had, at the commencemettfe olkia reign* put to death Maximus, praefectus praetorit* in Gaul, Simplicius, and others of his father's officers. It is difficult to determine how far he is answerable for the death of Count Theodosius, father of the emperor, who was put to death at Carthage soon after Gratian's accession, unless we could ascertain whether the partition of the western provinces had then been made ; and if so, whether Gratian retained any authority in the provinces allotted to his brother. His piety and reverence for ecclesiastics, especially for Ambrose of Milan, rendered him too willing a party to the persecu­tions which the Christians, now gaming the ascen­dancy, were too r£ady to exercise, whether against the heathens or against heretics of their own body. Valentinian I. had wisely allowed religious liberty; but under Gratian this was no longer permitted. (Cod. Theod. 16. tit. 9. s. 4,5, with the notes, of Gothofredus.) He refused to put on the insignia of Pontifex Maximus, on the plea that a Christian could not wear them; and herein he only acted consistently, Tillemont, on the authority of Am­brose, ascribes to him the removal of the Altar of Victory at Rome, and the confiscation of its re­venues ; and the prohibition of legacies of real pro­perty to the Vestals, with the abolition of their other privileges, steps of which the justice is more questionable. Ambrose also ascribes to him the prohibition of heathen worship at Rome, and the purging of the church from all taint of sacrilegious heresy—vague expressions, but indicative of the persecuting spirit of his government. The Priscil-lianists indeed are said to have obtained readmis-sion into the church by bribing the officers of his court; and during the short time after Valens' death that he held the Eastern empire, he con­tented himself with relieving the orthodox party from persecution, and tolerated the Arians, probably from the conviction that in the critical period of the Gothic war, it would not do to alienate so powerful a body. The Eunomians, Photinians, and Mani-chaeans were not, however, tolerated even then. (Suidas, s. v. TpanavSs^ and notes of Gothofredus to Cod. Theod. I. c.) Sulpicius Severus intimates that at one time he issued an edict for the banishment of all heretics; but it is difficult to believe that this could have been effected or even attempted. The religious meetings of heretics were, however, interdicted by him, (Cod. Theod. I. c.) After these indications of his zeal, we do not wonder that Am­brose addressed to him his treatise De Fide.

While these persecuting measures were cooling the attachment of those of his subjects who were exposed to his severity, his constant engagement in field sports, to the neglect of more serious matters, incurred contempt. The indulgence and flattery of his councillors and courtiers allowed and induced him to devote himself to amusement. Night and day, says Aurelius Victor, he was thinking of no­thing else than arrows, and considered that to hit the mark was the greatest of pleasures arid the perfection of art. So sure was his aim, that his arrows were said to be endowed with intelligence.

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