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On this page: Honoria – Honorius



Rtiinart's Historia Pcrsecutionis Vandalicae, 8vo. Paris, 1694, pt. ii. c. 4. p. 433. [W. R.]

HONORIA. [grata, No. 2.]

HONORIUS. 1. This name is given by Au-relius Victor (Epit. 48) to the father of the em­peror Theodosius I. the Great; but all other writers call him Theodosius. [theodosius.]

2. A brother of the emperor Theodosius the Great, died before A. d. 384. He left by his wife, who is thought to be the Maria mentioned by Claudian (Laus Seren. 69), two daughters, Ther-• mancia and Serena, the former married to a military officer, whose name is not known, the latter to Stilicho. [serena ; stilicho.] (Zosim. v. 4.; Claudian, Laus Serenae. passim ; Ducange, Fam. Byzant. p. 75; Tillemont, Hist, des Emp. vol. v. p. 190.)

3. flavius honorius augustus (reigned a.d. 3^5-423), was the second son of Theodosius the Great, by his first wife, Aelia Flacilla. [flacilla.] Honorius was born, according to the most trust­worthy accounts, 9th Sept. a. d. 384. There is some difference in the ancient authorities, but we agree with Tillemont, who has discussed the matter in a careful note, that Constantinople was his (Claudian. In IV. Consulat. Honorii, 121 —140.) He was made consul a. d. 386, and ap­pears in the Fasti of Idatius with the designation of Nobilissimus, and in the Chronicon of Prosper Aquitanicus of Nobilissimus Puer ; but in the Chronicon of Marcellinus and the Chronicon Pas-chale with that of Caesar. In a. d. 388 or 389, most probably the latter, at any rate after the usurper Maximus had been defeated, Honorius was sent for from Constantinople into Italy by his fa­ther, whom he accompanied (a. d. 389) when with Valentinian II. he made his triumphal entry into Rome.

In a. d. 393, while his father was preparing for the war against Eugenius, he was declared Augustus, or, according to Marcellinus, Caesar. But Marcellinus is in this instance not consistent with himself, having designated Honorius Caesar in his first consulship. The time of year at which Honorius was declared Augustus has been disputed, and is discussed very minutely by Tillemont; but he is misled in his decision, we think, by identify­ing the darkness, " tenebrae," which is said by MarcelliHiis and Prosper to have occurred at the time of his; inauguration, with an eclipse of the sun, which the description of Claudian (In IV. Consulat. Honor. 172, &c.) shows it was not, but simply an unusually thick darkness from clouds or fog. The inauguration took place at the palace or justice court, Hebdomum ("E§8o^toi/), near Constantinople. (Comp. Ducange, Constantinop. Christian, ii. 6. § 3.) The statement of the Chronicon Paschale that Theodosius had crowned Honorius Augustus (els £a<nA.ea) at Rome, on occasion of their triumphal entry in A. D. 389, must be rejected, as inconsistent with the recognised right of Valentinian II. (then living) to the dominion of the West. It is pro­bable that the error arose from the circumstance, that Theodosius, after his victory over Eugenius, the successor of Valentinian II., A. d. 394, again sent for Honorius, who was consul for the second time that year, into Italy, and at Milan (or, ac­cording to Zosimus, at Rome) solemnly declared him emperor of the West, assigning to him Gaul, Spain, Italy, and Africa, of which he had now come into undisputed possession, and appointing Stilicho



to be commander-in-chief in the West. Theodosius died shortly after making this arrangement, Jan. 17. 395, and Honorius succeeded to the possession of the West, under the energetic guardianship of Stilicho, who had married Serena, daughter of Ho­norius, the late emperor's brother [see above, No. 2], and therefore first cousin to the young emperor.

Honorius was but little more than ten years old at his father's death, and his tender years com­bined with his natural inertness of character to render him a mere cipher in the state. Milan was for some years his place of residence, while Stilicho was negotiating with the Franks on the Rhenish frontier, or attempting to engross the management of aifairs in the Eastern as well as in the Western empire. [stilicho.] The exemption from tribute was granted at the commencement of his reign to a considerable district of Campania; the acts of grace towards the partisans of Eugenius, and the pay* ment of the legacies bequeathed by. Theodosius to individuals, are to be ascribed less to Honorius than to his ministers, though consistent enough with the generally mild and humane disposition of the young emperor. In a.d. 396 he was consul for the third time, and still remained at Milan, while Stilicho was engaged in Greece, carrying on the war against Alaric, king of the Visi-Goths. [alaricus.] In a. d. 398 he was consul for the fourth time. This year was distinguished by the war against Gildo, who, being taken and imprisoned, destroyed himself [gildo] ; and, by the marriage of Honorius, who espoused Maria, the daughter of Stilicho and of Serena, the cousin of Honorius. The marriage was a marriage of form only, for the bridegroom was not yet fourteen, and the bride apparently still younger. Claudian composed two poems (De Nuptiis Ho-norii et Mariae, and Fescennina in Nuptias Honor, et Mar.) in honour of the nuptials of these children; but the regal progeny which he foretold was to spring from the union never appeared. Maria died a virgin long before the year 408 ; but the exact year of her death does not seem to be known. (Zosim. v. 28.) About the close of the year 398 Honorius appears to have had some transactions at Milan, under the guidance of Stilicho, with the envoys of the Germanic nations, but the nature of them can hardly be ascertained from the vague pa­negyric of Claudian. (In Eutrop. i. 378, &c.) In 399 Honorius left Milan, apparently for the first time since his accession ; and the Theodosian Code enables us to trace his progress. His first journey was in February to Ravenna, from whence he re­turned to Milan ; his subsequent journeys were in June and the following months to Brixia (Brescia), Verona, Patavium (Padua), and Altinum (Al-tino).

The year 399 was distinguished by the rigorous persecution of paganism. From Constantine to Valentinian I., with the exception of the short reign of Julian, the Christian religion had indeed been supported by the example and countenance of the emperors ; but direct persecution appears to have been avoided. The decay of paganism had perhaps been somewhat retarded by the patronage of the Roman senate (Zosim. iv. 59), jealous of the favour which the Christian emperors had shown to Constantinople, Milan, and Treves; and increasing by their opposition in religious matters the repug­nance of the emperors to Rome as a permanent residence. Under Gratian [gratianus], and still more under Theodosius, the force of' prohibitory


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