Disturbed peace in the West
Gratian ruled the Western Roman Empire, with a large amount of success, for
a long period of time, but his abilities were eventually weakened. Some historians
have said that he was a mere figurehead while the general Merobaudes actually
wielded power behind the scenes. In any event, Gratian began to become unpopular
with the Senate, and the reason for this was because of his attack on paganism.
Another mistake made by Gratian was removing his title of Pontifex Maximus.
In addition to this, he also lost the favour with his own troops. Theodosius
chose his elder son Arcadius to be next in line for the Roman throne. Arcadius
was only a young boy at the time and did not have the ability to rule.
The other three rulers during this time were Theodosius, Gratian, and Valentinian
II. A number of problems occurred during this time. General Magnus Maximus was
given the title of Augustus by his troops, and they rebelled against Gratian.
He attempted to flee the region, but Gratian was captured and executed in the
year 383. Once Maximus gained power, he begins the process of persecuting people
for acts that he defined as being heresy. He was scrutinized by Pople Siricius,
who felt that he should not have a say in issues that dealt with the church.
Once Maximus declared his son emperor, there were five Augusti in Rome.
Original Authors: Stephen Palmer
Edit Update Authors: Ryan Norfolk
Updated On: 01/12/2006