Europe 395: Division of the Roman Empire

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 17 Jan 395 (Theodosian Dynasty: Division of the Roman Empire), showing the following events: Death of Arbogast; Hunnic Trans-Danubian raid; Division of the Roman Empire.

On 17 January 395, shortly after reuniting the Roman Empire by defeating Arbogast, Theodosius I died. The empire fell to his two sons Arcadius and Honorius, but as they were still young, real power resided in the hands of their guardians, the Eastern prefect Rufinus and the Western general Stilicho. This effectively split the empire into two halves, even though officially unity would continue.

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Main Events

8 Sep 394 Death of Arbogast

Following his defeat at the Frigidus, Arbogast fled to the mountains where, unable to shake his pursuers, he killed himself with his own sword two days later. With no opposition remaining in the West, Theodosius I marched on to Mediolanum and restored relations with the Roman Senate, pardoning them for their support of Eugenius. This briefly reunited the Roman Empire under Theodosius’ rule; the last time the entire classical empire would be ruled by just one emperor. in wikipedia

394–395 Hunnic Trans-Danubian raid

Taking advantage of an unusually cold winter and the deployment of much of the Eastern Roman army to Italy, the Huns crossed the frozen Danube in 394–395 to mount their first major raid on the Roman Empire. Facing little opposition, the Hunnic offensive fell particularly hard on the farms and families of the Gothic foederati, who had been settled in the region by the Treaty of 382. in wikipedia

17 Jan 395 Division of the Roman Empire

Possibly because of the strains of the war with Arbogast and Eugenius, Theodosius I fell ill towards the end of 394, dying in Mediolanum (Milan) on 17 January 395. He was succeeded in the West by his ten-year-old son Honorius and in the East by his teenage son Arcadius, at that time in Constantinople and under the influence of the prefect Rufinus. However, the most powerful person in the Empire was now Honorius’ guardian Stilicho, who had not only been Theodosius’ magister militum praesentalis, but was married to the late emperor’s niece Serena and currently held command over both the Western and Eastern armies in Italy. Stilicho claimed that he had also been given guardianship of Arcadius, but this was rejected in the East, causing tension between the two regimes. in wikipedia