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Theodosius I

Theodosius I the Great, also known as Flavius Theodosius, Roman emperor (born Spain around 346; died at Milan, January 17, 395). He was the son of Count Theodosius. Theodosius was, briefly, the last ruler of a united Roman Empire - after the division between his heirs it was never again ruled by a single man.

The emperor Gratianus appointed Theodosius Co-augustus for the East in 378 after the death of the emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople (378). After the death of Valentinian II in 392, whom he had supported against a variety of usurpations, Theodosius ruled as sole emperor defeating the usurper Eugenius on September 6, 394, at the Battle of Frigidus.

By his first wife, Aelia Flacilla, he had two sons, Arcadius and Honorius and a daughter, Pulcheria. Both Pulcheria and Aelia Flacilla died in 385. By his second wife, Galla, daughter of the emperor Valentinian I, he had a daughter, Galla Placidia, the mother of Valentinian III.

Orthodox Christianity becomes the State Religion

Theodosius was raised in a Catholic (to be understood not in the modern sense, but in the non-Arian, "universal" sense) family. He was baptized in 380 during a severe illness, as was common in the early Christian world. In February of the same year, he and Gratian published an edict that all their subjects should profess the faith of the Bishops of Rome and Alexandria (Theodosian Code, XVI, I, 2). The law recognized both the primacy of those two sees and the problematic theology of many of the patriarchs of Constantinople, who, because they were under the direct eye of the emperors, were sometimes deposed and replaced by more theologically pliable successors. The bishop of Constantinople in 380 was an Arian.

Theodosius ended the subsidies that had still trickled to some remnants of Greco-Roman civic paganism and closed temples. Taking the auspices and practicing witchcraft were to be punished. Pagan members of the Senate in Rome appealed to him to restore the Altar of Victory in the Senate House; he refused.

Theodosius had two notable disagreements with Ambrose, bishop of Milan.

the synagogue
  • Thessaloniki -- where he order the slaughter of 7,000 non Christians citizens in the Hippodrome and which led to his excommunication

  • the Theodosian women--
    Galla Placidia
    Justa Grata Honoria

    Preceded by:
    Roman emperors
    Byzantine emperors
    Followed by:
    Honorius (west)
    Arcadius (east)