They seem to have been burned by Stilicho shortly after 400.
Here Stilicho was slain; here Honorius and his sister Placidia caressed and quarrelled; here Valentinian III.
FLAVIUS (?-408) STILICHO, Roman general and statesman, was the son of a Vandal who had served as an officer in the army of the emperor Valens (364-378).
Stilicho and Serena were named guardians of the youthful Honorius when the latter was created joint emperor in 394 with special jurisdiction over Italy, Gaul, Britain, Spain and Africa, and Stilicho was even more closely allied to the imperial family in the following year by betrothing his daughter Maria to his ward and by receiving the dying injunctions of Theodosius to care for his children.
Rivalry had already existed between Stilicho and Rufinus, the praetorian praefect of the East, who had exercised considerable influence over the emperor and who now was invested with the guardianship of Arcadius.
Consequently in 395, after a successful campaign against the Germans on the Rhine, Stilicho marched to the east, nominally to expel the Goths and Huns from Thrace, but really with the design of displacing Rufinus, and by connivance with these same barbarians he procured the assassination of Rufinus at the close of the year, and thereby became virtual master of the empire.
That Stilicho was plotting with Alaric and with Germans in Gaul and taking other treasonable steps in order to make his own son Eucherius emperor.
The principal sources for the life of Stilicho are the histories of Zosimus and of Orosius and the flattering verses of Claudian.
The history of the first thirteen years of the reign of Honorius is inseparably connected with the name of Stilicho (q.v.), his guardian and father-in-law.
After the downfall and murder of Stilicho (408), the result of palace intrigues, the emperor was under the control of incompetent favourites.
Honorius was one of the feeblest emperors who ever occupied the throne, and the dismemberment of the West was only temporarily averted by the efforts of Stilicho, and, later, of Constantius, a capable general who overthrew the usurpers and was rewarded with a share in the government.
The count of the stable, originally the imperial master of the horse, developed into the "illustrious" commander-in-chief of the imperial army (Stilicho, e.g., bore the full title as given above), and became the prototype of the medieval constable.
The ministers of Arcadius desired to annex Dalmatia to his portion, while the general Stilicho, who was supreme in the west, wished to wrest from the eastern realm the prefecture of Illyricum or a considerable part of it.
Chief minister of the eastern, and Stilicho, the virtual regent of the western empire, and the murder of the former by his rebellious soldiers.
Stilicho, who had come.
After spreading desolation through North Italy and striking terror into the citizens of Rome, Alaric was met by Stilicho at Pollentia (a Roman municipality in what is now Piedmont), and the battle which then followed on the 6th of April 402 (Easter-day) was a victory, though a costly one for Rome, and effectually barred the further progress of the barbarians.
Alaric was an Arian Christian who trusted to the sanctity of Easter for immunity from attack, and the enemies of Stilicho reproached him for having gained his victory by taking an unfair advantage of the great Christian festival.
The estrangement between the eastern and western courts had in 407 become so bitter as to threaten civil war, and Stilicho was actually proposing to use the arms of Alaric in order to enforce the claims of Honorius to the prefecture of Illyricum.
The sum which he named was a large one, 4000 pounds of gold (about f160,000 sterling), but under strong pressure from Stilicho the Roman senate consented to promise its payment.
Three months later Stilicho himself and the chief ministers of his party were treacherously slain in pursuance of an order extracted from the timid and jealous Honorius; and in the disturbances which followed the wives and children of the barbarian foederati throughout Italy were slain.
He accordingly crossed the Julian Alps, and in September 408 stood before the walls of Rome (now with no capable general like Stilicho to defend her) and began a strict blockade.
300 as part of a scheme of land-defence against the Saxon pirates; repaired, probably by the great Stilicho, about A.D.
In the year 406 they moved westward, according to some writers at the instigation of Stilicho, who is himself said to have been of Vandal origin, and crossing the Rhine at Mainz proceeded towards Gaul.
He witnessed the chequered career of Stilicho as actual, though not titular, emperor of the West; he saw the hosts of Radagaisus rolled back from Italy, only to sweep over Gaul and Spain; the defeats and triumphs of Alaric; the three sieges and final sack of Rome, followed by the marvellous recovery of the city; Heraclian's vast armament dissipated; and the fall of seven pretenders to the Western diadem.
Perhaps the most interesting lines in the whole poem are those in which Rutilius assails the memory of "dire Stilicho," as he names him.
Stilicho, "fearing to suffer all that had caused himself to be feared," annihilated those defences of Alps and Apennines which the provident gods had interposed between the barbarians and the Eternal City, and planted the cruel Goths, his "skinclad" minions, in the very sanctuary of the empire.
May Nero rest from all the torments of the damned, that they may seize on Stilicho; for Nero smote his own mother, but Stilicho the mother of the world!
The relations, however, between Alaric and Stilicho had been closer and more mysterious than those between Alaric and Theodosius, and men who had seen Stilicho surrounded by his body-guard of Goths not unnaturally looked on the Goths who assailed Rome as Stilicho's avengers.
It is noteworthy that Rutilius speaks of the crime of Stilicho in terms far different from those used by Orosius and the historians of the lower empire.
They believed that Stilicho was plotting to make his son emperor, and that he called in the Goths in order to climb higher.
The Christian historians assert that Stilicho designed to restore paganism.
This crime of Stilicho alone is sufficient in the eyes of Rutilius to account for the disasters that afterwards befell the city, just as Merobaudes, a generation or two later, traced the miseries of his own day to the overthrow of the ancient rites of Vesta.
His Italian campaigns fall into two great divisions, that of 402-3, when he was driven back by Stilicho, and that of 408-10, after Stilicho's death.