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Theodosius II
Emperor of the
Roman Empire
Theodosius II Louvre Ma1036.jpg
Bust of Theodosius II
Reign 408 - July 28 450
(His sister acted as regent 408 - 416)
Full name Flavius Theodosius
Born 10 April 401
Died July 28, 450 (aged 49)
Predecessor Arcadius
Successor Marcian
Wife Aelia Eudocia
Offspring Licinia Eudoxia
Father Arcadius
Mother Aelia Eudoxia
Solidus minted in Thessalonica to celebrate the marriage of Western Emperor Valentinian III to Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of the Theodosius II. On the reverse, the three of them in wedding dress.

Flavius Theodosius (10 April 401 – 28 July 450), called the Calligrapher, known in English as Theodosius II, was a Eastern Roman Emperor (408-450). He is mostly known for promulgating the Theodosian law code as well for the Theodosian Walls of Constantinople. He also presided over the outbreak of two great christological controversies.

Contents

Life

Theodosius was born in 401 as the only son of Emperor Arcadius and his Frankish-born wife Aelia Eudoxia. In 408, his father died and the seven-year-old boy became Emperor of the Eastern parts of the Roman Empire.

Government was at first by the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius, under whose supervision that the Theodosian land walls of Constantinople were constructed.

In 414, Theodosius' older sister Pulcheria was proclaimed Augusta and assumed the regency. By 416 Theodosius was capable of ruling himself, but his sister remained a strong influence on him. She also assisted her brother in procuring marriage to the Athenian Aelia Eudocia in June 421. The two had a daughter named Licinia Eudoxia.

In 423, the Western Emperor Honorius, Theodosius' uncle, died and the primicerius notariorum Joannes was proclaimed Emperor. Honorius' sister Galla Placidia and her young son Valentinian fled to Constantinople to seek Eastern assistance and after some deliberation in 424 Theodosius opened the war against Joannes. In May 425, Valentinian III was installed as Emperor of the West, with his mother acting as regent. To strengthen the ties between the two parts of the Empire, Theodosius' daughter Licinia Eudoxia was betrothed to Valentinian.

University and Law Code

In 425, Theodosius founded the University of Constantinople with 31 chairs (15 in Latin and 16 in Greek). Among subjects were law, philosophy, medicine, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, music and rhetoric.

In 429, Theodosius appointed a commission to collect all of the laws since the reign of Constantine I, and create a fully formalized system of law. This plan was left unfinished, but the work of a second commission that met in Constantinople, assigned to collect all of the general legislations and bring them up to date was completed, and their collection published as the Codex Theodosianus in 438. The law code of Theodosius II, summarizing edicts promulgated since Constantine, formed a basis for the law code of Emperor Justinian I in the following century.

Wars with Huns, Vandals and Persians

The Eastern Empire was also plagued by short raiding attacks by the Huns. The Huns arrived at Athyra (Büyükçekmece) and Anatolius agreement took place with Eastern Roman empire in 447. The Emperor chose to pay tribute which amounted to 350 Roman pounds (ca. 114.5 kg) of gold until 435 and 700 Roman pounds after that.

When Roman Africa fell to the Vandals in 439, both Eastern and Western Empirors sent forces to Sicily, to launch an attack at the Vandals at Carthage, but this project failed. Seeing the imperial borders without significant forces, the Huns and Persia declared war. During 443 two Roman armies were defeated and destroyed by the Huns. In the subsequent peace agreement Roman tribute was tripled to 2,100 Roman pounds (ca. 687 kg) in gold after which the Huns withdrew into the interior of their empire.

Theological disputes

During a visit to Syria, Theodosius met the preacher Nestorius and appointed him Patriarch of Constantinople in 428. Nestorius quickly became involved in the disputes of two theological factions, which differed in their Christology. Nestorius tried to find a middle ground between those that, emphasizing the fact that in Christ God had been born as a man, insisted on calling the Virgin Mary Theotokos ("birth-giver of God"), and those that rejected that title because God as an eternal being could not have been born. Nestorius suggested the title Christotokos ("birth-giver to Christ"), but did not find acceptance by either faction and was accused of detaching Christ's divine and human natures from each other, a heresy later called Nestorianism. Though initially supported by the Emperor, Nestorius found a forceful opponent in Patriarch Cyril of Alexandria. With the consent of the Emperor and Pope Celestine I, an Ecumenical Council convened in Ephesus in 431, which affirmed the title Theotokos and condemned Nestorius, who was then exiled by the Emperor.

Almost twenty years later, the theological dispute broke out again, this time caused by the Constantinopolitan abbot Eutyches, whose Christology mingled Christ's divine and human nature into one. Eutyches was condemned by Patriarch Flavian of Constantinople but found a powerful friend in Cyril's nephew and successor Dioscurus of Alexandria. Another council convoked to Ephesus in 449, deemed "robber synod" because of its tumultuous circumstances, restored Eutyches and deposed Flavian, who was mistreated and died shortly afterwards. Pope Leo I of Rome and many other bishops protested against the outcome, but the Emperor supported it. Only after his death in 450 would the decisions be reversed at the Council of Chalcedon.

Death

Theodosius died in 450 as the result of a riding accident. In the ensuing power struggle, his sister Pulcheria, who had recently returned to court, won out against the eunuch Chrysaphius. She married the general Marcian, thereby making him Emperor.

See also

External links

References

  • S. Crogiez-Pétrequin, P. Jaillette, J.-M. Poinsotte (eds.), Codex Theodosianus V. Texte latin d'après l'édition de Mommsen. Traduction, introduction et notes, Brepols Publishers, 2009, ISBN 978-2-503-51722-3
  • Fergus Miller: A Greek Roman Empire: Power and Belief Under Theodosius II. University of California Press, Berkeley 2006.
  • Vasiliki Limberis, Divine Heiress: The Virgin Mary and the Creation of Christian Constantinople (London: Routledge, 1994) has a significant section about Theodosius II and his sister Pulcheria.
Theodosius II
Born: April 401 Died: 28 July 450
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Arcadius
Roman Emperor
408-450
Succeeded by
Marcian
Political offices
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Arcadius Augustus V,
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus V
Consul of the Roman Empire
403
with Flavius Rumoridus
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus VI,
Aristaenetus
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Arcadius Augustus VI,
Flavius Anicius Petronius Probus
Consul of the Roman Empire
407
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus VII
Succeeded by
Flavius Philippus,
Anicius Auchenius Bassus
Preceded by
Flavius Philippus,
Anicius Auchenius Bassus
Consul of the Roman Empire
409
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus VIII
Imp. Caesar Flavius Claudius Constantinus Augustus
Succeeded by
Varanes,
Tertullus
Preceded by
Varanes,
Tertullus
Consul of the Roman Empire
411
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus IX,
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus V
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus IV
Consul of the Roman Empire
412
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus IX
Succeeded by
Flavius Lucius,
Heraclianus
Preceded by
Flavius Constantius,
Flavius Constans
Consul of the Roman Empire
415
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus X
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus VII,
Flavius Iunius Quartus Palladius
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus X,
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus VI
Consul of the Roman Empire
416
with Flavius Iunius Quartus Palladius
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus XI,
Flavius Constantius II
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus XI,
Flavius Constantius II
Consul of the Roman Empire
418
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus XII
Succeeded by
Flavius Monaxius,
Flavius Plinta
Preceded by
Flavius Monaxius,
Flavius Plinta
Consul of the Roman Empire
420
with Flavius Constantius III
Succeeded by
Flavius Eustathius,
Flavius Agricola
Preceded by
Flavius Eustathius,
Flavius Agricola
Consul of the Roman Empire
422
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Honorius Augustus XIII
Succeeded by
Flavius Asclepiodotus,
Flavius Avitus Marinianus
Preceded by
Flavius Castinus,
Flavius Victor
Consul of the Roman Empire
425
with Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Caesar
Imp. Caesar Iohannes Augustus (only in Rome)
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus XII,
Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus II
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus XI,
Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Caesar,
Imp. Caesar Iohannes Augustus (only in Rome)
Consul of the Roman Empire
426
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus II
Succeeded by
Flavius Hierius,
Flavius Ardaburius
Preceded by
Flavius Florentius,
Flavius Dionysius
Consul of the Roman Empire
430
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus III
Succeeded by
Flavius Anicius Auchenius Bassus,
Flavius Antiochus
Preceded by
Flavius Aetius,
Flavius Valerius
Consul of the Roman Empire
433
with Petronius Maximus
Succeeded by
Flavius Ardaburius Asparus,
Flavius Areobindus
Preceded by
Flavius Ardaburius Asparus,
Flavius Areobindus
Consul of the Roman Empire
435
with Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus IV
Succeeded by
Flavius Anthemius Isidorus Theophilus,
Flavius Senator
Preceded by
Flavius Aetius II,
Flavius Sigisvultus
Consul of the Roman Empire
438
with Anicius Acilius Glabrio Faustus
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus XVII,
Flavius Rufius Postumius Festus
Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus XVI,
Anicius Acilius Glabrio Faustus
Consul of the Roman Empire
439
with Flavius Rufius Postumius Festus
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus V,
Anatolius
Preceded by
Petronius Maximus II,
Flavius Paterius
Consul of the Roman Empire
444
with Flavius Caecina Decius Aginatius Albinus
Succeeded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Augustus VI,
Flavius Nomus
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

THEODOSIUS II. (401-450) succeeded his father Arcadius as emperor of the East in 408. During his minority the empire was ably ruled by the praetorian prefect Anthemius and Pulcheria, who became her brother's guardian in 414. Under his sister's care the young emperor was trained in divers accomplishments which won him the name of Calligraphes (" the Penman"), but grew up into a weak though amiable character. Through his generals Ardoburius and Aspar he waged two fairly successful wars against the Persians (421 and 441), and after the failure of one expedition (431) by means of a gigantic fleet put an end to the piracies of the Vandal Genseric. A Hunnish invasion in 408 was skilfully repelled, but from 441 the Balkan country was repeatedly overrun by the armies of Attila, whose incursions Theodosius feebly attempted to buy off with everincreasing payments of tribute. His internal administration, though not sufficiently rigorous to check abuses, was upright and thoughtful. Among its chief events may be mentioned the endowment of the university of Constantinople (425), the conciliatory council of Ephesus (434) and the publication of the Codex Theodosianus (438), a collection of imperial constitutions for the benefit of public officials, which is our chief source of information about the government of the empire in the 5th century. In 450 Theodosius died of injuries sustained through a fall from his horse.

See E. Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (ed. Bury, London, 1896), iii. pp. 3 81 -444; A. GUldenpenning, Geschichte des ostromischen Reiches enter den Kaisern Arkadius and Theodosius II. (Halle, 1885), pp. 172 sqq.; T. Mommsen and P. Meyer, Theodosii libri XVI. (Berlin, 1904-5).


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