Jeroen H de Lange
Spare time research on Roman Late Antiquity, especially on the life and times of Galla Placidia:
Born in Constantinople as a daughter of Emperor Theodosius (Hispania Tarraconensis native) and granddaughter of Emperor Valentinian (from Pannonia, nowadays Croatia). She was send to Milan and raised by her steph-nice Serena and moved to Ravenna and Rome. As a child she was bethothed within her household and as a adolescent held hostage by the Visigoths as a key to succession to the throne of the Western Empire. They led her to Gallia Narbonensis where she married their king Athaulf five years later and gave birth to a son Theodosius Germanicus in Barcino (Barcelona) who died the same year. In her mid-twenties her husband was betrayed, killed and she was sold back to the romans and returned to the court of her half-brother and West-Emperor Honorius in Ravenna who forced her into marriage to Constantius (III) with whom she had a daughter, Justa Grata Honoria, and a son Valentinian (III). Nearly 30 years of age she was made Augusta together with her husband by Honorius. Soon her husband died and Galla fled to her imperial family in Contantinople several months later after quarrel, intrigues and popularity disputes at Honorius' court in Ravenna. Two years later Honorius died. Another two years later Galla Placidia and her children returned to Ravenna with help from Eastern-Emperor Theodosius II (grandson of Theodosius) who destroyed usurper Iohannes. In Rome her son Valentinian III was proclamed emperor by the age of 6, so Galla Placidia was a Regent-Empress at the age of 33 for 12 years until he turned 18. Galla Placidia had her first son already reburied in Rome in the same church where she was buried at the age of 58.
She travelled all over the Roman Empire from east to west and must have multiple cultural influences through the background of father (Spain) and grandfather (Pannonia), the places she grow up (Constantinople, Milan, Ravenna and Rome) and where she lived (Narbo and Barcino, Gallia) at the Visigothic court (originally Baltic?). Fascinating.
Facts of Power
1. During her life the (Catholic) Church already was made state religion by her father Theodosius, but Arianism was popular amongst the nobility. The Visigoths also were Arians.
2. Goths and Vandals took prominent positions in the Roman Army. They were also the main advisors of the Emperor. In fact, they were the administrators of the Empire. While the Senate of Rome was still effective, but most of the time by ceremonial agreement.
3. Usurpators rose and fell. The empire was hard to control. In fact: Who was? When she was not yet 20 the Visigoths allready sacked Rome. It was just a matter of time.
4. 26 years after her death the Western Roman Empire ended (according to Gibbon)
Sources that I'm rereading and combining are:
- Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Edward Gibbon)
- Galla Placidia Augusta (Stewart Irvin Oost)
- Galla Placidia (Hagith Sivan)
- AD 410 (Sam Moorhead & David Stuttard)
- Ravenna a study (Edward Hutton)
- Fall of the Roman Empire (Peter Heather)
- Theodosian Empresses (Kenneth G Holum )
- Stilicho (Ian Hughes)
- The life of Galla Placidia (Stefania Salti)
- Some problems in the history of Galla Placidia (Stewart Irvin Oost)
- Gratian, a son of Theodosius and the birth of Galla Placidia (Stefan Rebenich)
- Gratianus redivivus (Stefan Rebenich)
Classical History, Culture and Languages (University of Amsterdam)
Performance Improvement Consultant (process and ICT)