He was chosen emperor in his forty-third year by the officers of the army at Nicaea in Bithynia in 364, and shortly afterwards named his brother Valens colleague with him in the empire.
Spain, the Gauls, Britain and Africa, leaving to Valens the eastern half of the Balkan Peninsula, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor as far as Persia.
In Egypt, if not even before leaving Italy, he had become intimately acquainted with Melania, a wealthy and devout Roman widow; and when she removed to Palestine, taking with her a number of clergy and monks on whom the persecutions of the Arian Valens had borne heavily, Rufinus (about 378) followed her.
Far from being ambitious or scheming, he was lazy and selfindulgent, fond of eating and drinking, and owed his elevation to the throne to Caecina and Valens, commanders of two legions on the Rhine.
During his brief administration Vitellius showed indications of a desire to govern wisely, but he was completely under the control of Valens and Caecina, who for their own ends encouraged him in a course of vicious excesses which threw his better qualities into the background.
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).
He restored the aqueduct built by Valens and destroyed by the barbarians.
Basil of Caesarea, throwing over the cause of Eustathius, championed that of Meletius who, when after the death of Valens he returned in triumph to Antioch, was hailed as the leader of Eastern orthodoxy.
When Valens met his death fighting against the Goths near Adrianople on the 9th of August in the same year, the government of the eastern empire devolved upon Gratian, but feeling himself unable to resist unaided the incursions of the barbarians, he ceded it to Theodosius (January 379) With Theodosius he cleared the Balkans of barbarians..
The bishops of the East, however, under the direction of St Basil, were involved in a struggle with the emperor Valens, whose policy was favourable to the council of Rimini.
Valens Acidalius >>
He was not ordained presbyter until 365, and his ordination was probably the result of the entreaties of his ecclesiastical superiors, who wished to use his talents against the Arians, who were numerous in that part of the country and were favoured by the Arian emperor, Valens, who then reigned in Constantinople.
At the accession of Valens (364) he retired to his estate at Lesbos, but soon returned to Constantinople, where he died in 367.
He held the office of secretary (magister memoriae) at Constantinople, accompanied Julian on his expedition against the Persians (363), and was alive during the reign of Valens (364-378), to whom he dedicates his history.
But the arrival of Fabius Valens altered the aspect of affairs.
The Christian Byzantine and Roman emperors, from Valens onwards, enacted strict laws against the Manichaeans.
The Goths, who had already invaded Moesia in 250, hard pressed by the Huns, again crossed the Danube during the reign of Valens (376), and with his permission settled in Moesia.
But quarrels soon took place, and the Goths under Fritigern defeated Valens in a great battle near Adrianople (378).
Then followed the negotiations with the emperor Valens, the general adhesion of the Visigoths under Frithigern to Arian Christianity, the crossing of the Danube by himself and a host of his followers, and the troubles which culminated in the battle of Adrianople and the death of Valens (378).
It may have been he who, as a "presbyter christiani ritus," conducted negotiations with Valens before the battle of Adrianople; but that he headed a previous embassy asking for leave for the Visigoths to settle on Roman soil, and that he then, for political motives, professed himself a convert to the Arian creed, favoured by the emperor, and drew with him the whole body of his countrymen - these and other similar stories of the orthodox church historians appear to be without foundation.
The death of Valens, followed by the succession and the early conversion to Catholicism of Theodosius, dealt a fatal blow to the Arian party within the empire.
She did so, but complained that this heathen writer said nothing about ecclesiastical affairs and stopped with the accession of the emperor Valens in 364; consequently Paulus interwove extracts from the Scriptures, from the ecclesiastical historians and from other sources with Eutropius, and added six books, thus bringing the history down to 553.
Arianism, which had lifted up its head again under the emperor Valens, was thereby thrust out of the state church.
Athanaric waged, from 367 to 369, an unsuccessful war with the emperor Valens, and the peace by which the war was ended was ratified by the Roman and Gothic rulers meeting on a barge in mid-stream of the Danube.
So large a proportion of the population had taken religious vows that under Valens it became necessary to abolish the privilege of monks which exempted them from military service.
His successor, Valens, who endowed Antioch with a new forum having a statue of Valentinian on a central column, reopened the great church, which stood till the sack of Chosroes in 538.
The remainder of the Visigoths, under Alavivus and Fritigern, now began to seek, and ultimately were successful in obtaining (376), the permission of the emperor Valens to settle in Thrace; Athanaric meanwhile took refuge in Transylvania, thus abandoning the field without any serious struggle to the irresistible Huns.
Valens had been attached to Julian's bodyguard, but he did not inherit the military ability of his father, Gratian of Pannonia, who had risen from the ranks to a high position.
In the year 366 Valens at one stroke reduced the taxes of the empire by one-fourth, a very popular measure, though one of questionable policy in the face of the threatening attitude of the Goths on the lower Danube.
Before venturing on a campaign against them, Valens received baptism from Eudoxus, the bishop of Constantinople and the leader of the Arian party.
After some small successes over the Goths, won by his generals (367-9), Valens concluded a peace with them, which lasted six years, on a general understanding that the Danube was to be the boundary between Goths and Romans.
On his return to Constantinople in 369-70 Valens began to persecute his orthodox and Catholic subjects, but he lacked the energy to carry out his edicts rigorously.
In the years 371 to 377 Valens was in Asia Minor, most of the time at the Syrian Antioch.
It seems that Valens 1 crossed the Euphrates in 373, and in Mesopotamia his troops drove back the king of Persia to the farther bank of the Tigris.
Valens returned to Antioch, wherein the winter of 373-4 he instituted a persecution of magicians and other people whom he foolishly believed to imperil his life.
Valens, who had now returned to Constantinople, left the capital in May 378 with a strong and well-officered army.
Of Germany in Alsace, Valens attacked the enemy at once, although his troops had to go into action heated and fatigued by a long march on a sultry August day.
Valens either perished on the field, or, as some said, in a cottage fired by the enemy.
This all but led to a new war; but in 374 Valens sacrificed Pap and, had him killed in Tarsus.
The subsequent invasions of the Goths, in battle with whom Valens fell at Adrianople (375), definitely precluded Roman intervention; and the end of the Armenian troubles was that (c. 390) Bahram IV.
Constantius, and even Julian - not Valens, it is true - are estimated very fairly.
The exactions of the Roman governors, however, soon led to a quarrel, which ended in the total defeat and death of Valens at Adrianople in the year 378.
In 378 the Goths won the great battle of Adrianople, and after this Theodosius the Great, the successor of Valens, made terms with them in 381, and the mass of the Gothic warriors entered the Roman service as foederati.
Shortly after (376), the elder Theodosius was put to death by order of Valens, probably through fear lest he should be the Theodosius or Theodore whom a magician had indicated as the future emperor.
In the spring of 365, after the accession of Valens to the throne, troubles again arose.
From the heroine who is, in a phrase of Dryden's, "one of the coolest and most insignificant" heroines ever drawn, to the undignified Valens, the termagant Marcelle, and the peevish Placide, there is hardly a good character.
Eventually he settled in Rome, where, at an advanced age, he wrote (in Latin) a history of the Roman empire from the accession of Nerva to the death of Valens (96-378), thus forming a continuation of the work of Tacitus.
His strict orthodoxy on the subject of the Trinity and the Incarnation, together with his vigorous eloquence, combined to make him peculiarly obnoxious to the Arian faction, which was at that time in the ascendant through the protection of the emperor Valens; and in 375, the synod of Ancyra, convened by Demetrius the Arian governor of Pontus, condemned him for alleged irregularities in his election and in the administration of the finances of his diocese.
In 376 he was deprived of his see, and Valens sent him into exile, whence he did not return till the publication of the edict of Gratian in 378.
Deliverance when attacked by the Goths, after the terrible defeat of Valens at Adrianople, A.D.