Europe 364: Valentinian and Valens

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 23 Dec 364 (Valentinianic Dynasty: Valentinian and Valens), showing the following events: Restoration of Christianity; First Austoriani Raid; Raids on Roman Britain; Reign of Valentinian I; Reign of Valens; Valentinian–Valens Biarchy.

After returning to Roman territory in late 363, Jovian restored Nicene Christianity as the dominant religion of the Empire but died early the next year en route to Constantinople. He was succeeded as emperor by the general Valentinian, who appointed his own brother Valens as co-emperor. The two emperors then divided administration of the Empire between them, with Valens taking the East and Valentinian the rest.

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Main Events

Sep 363 Restoration of Christianity

Returning from the Persian front, the Roman emperor Jovian was met at Edessa by a group of bishops in September 363. There he restored the formerly exiled Nicene bishop Athanasius, who accompanied him to Antioch, where he made further acts of restoration. By the end of the month, Jovian had revoked Julian’s edicts against Christians and restored the labarum (“Chi-Rho”) as the army’s standard. However, although he supported the Nicene Creed, the emperor also issued an edict of toleration, allowing Arians and non-Christians to continue their practices. in wikipedia

364? First Austoriani Raid

During the reign of Jovian (363–4), in retaliation for the execution of one of their number for crimes committed in Roman Africa, the Austoriani ended a period of peaceful co-existence with the Romans and invaded the province of Tripolis. After raiding the fertile region around Leptis Magna and killing many peasants, they returned south with large quantities of booty and the local magistrate. Alarmed by this event, the people of Leptis called on Count Romanus, the commanding general for Africa, but the corrupt count refused to act unless provided with vast quantities of provisions and camels. in wikipedia

364 Raids on Roman Britain

In 364, possibly taking advantage of Roman turmoil following the death of Julian, the Picts, Scoti, Saxons, and Attacotti launched a number of attacks on Roman Britain. Little is known about the newly-emerged Attacotti, except that they had a reputation for cannibalism and would later be recruited into four Roman auxiliary units. However, a number of modern historians believe that they were emigrants from Ireland who inhabited the Isle of Man and parts of western Scotland. in wikipedia

26 Feb 364–17 Nov 375 Reign of Valentinian I

In the wake of the death of Jovian, the 43-year-old Valentinian was appointed emperor by the Roman army in February 364 and in the following month raised his brother Valens to be co-emperor. The founder of the Valentinianic dynasty and the last emperor to campaign across both the Rhine and Danube rivers, Valentinian fought numerous successful wars against the many tribes neighboring the empire during his 11-and-a-half-year reign. He died in November 375, having suffered a stroke while angrily berating some envoys from the Quadi. in wikipedia

28 Mar 364–9 Aug 378 Reign of Valens

The 38-year-old Valens was appointed as co-emperor by his elder brother Valentinian at Constantinople in late March 364 and assigned control of the region covered by Praetorian Prefecture of the East. Although he was a capable administrator, Valens’ rule was made difficult due to continuous internal and external threats. His reign came to an abrupt end in August 378, when he was killed in battle against the Goths at Adrianople. in wikipedia

364 Valentinian–Valens Biarchy

After the end of winter 363–4, Valentinian and Valens traveled to Sirmium, where they divided command over the Roman Empire between them. By this agreement, Valentinian, as the senior Augustus, would preside over the prefectures of Gaul, Italy, and a (briefly) restored Illyricum, while Valens would preside over the East. The two emperors then took up their posts—in Mediolanum for Valentinian and in Constantinople for Valens—in time to assume their consulships at the beginning of 365. in wikipedia