Europe 406: Radagaisus

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 14 Jul 406 (Theodosian Dynasty: Radagaisus), showing the following events: Radagaisus; Vandal–Frankish War; Siege of Florence; Niall of the Nine Hostages in Britain; Marcus of Britain.

In late 405 the pagan Gothic king Radagaisus crossed the Danube and marched through the Alps into Italy with a huge army. Here he remained at large until August 406, when Stilicho—having gathered reinforcements from the Rhine legions, Alans, and Uldin’s Hunsdecisively defeated him outside Florence.

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Akatziri and the “Scythian Kingdom” (Kuban Huns)

Little is known about the region north and east of the Black Sea in the first half of the fifth century, except that in c. 400 a “Scythian King” (almost always assumed to be a Hun) lived in the Kuban region and by the 440s a Hunnic people known as the Akatziri lived east of the Dniester. Although fragmented, the Akatziri were powerful enough that, when the Eastern Romans aligned with all but one of their kingdoms in 447, it took over a year for Attila’s armies to crush them and install his son as their king. After this, Attila contemplated invading Persia, implying that suppressing the Akatziri had bought the periphery of his empire close to the Caucasus. All this suggests that the Akatziri may have extended into the North Caucasus and that the “Scythian King” may have been part of the Akatziri, although this is of course conjecture.

Main Events

405 Radagaisus

In late 405 Radagaisus, a pagan ‘King of the Goths’ of uncertain origins, crossed the Danube with a force allegedly 200–400 thousand strong—a number considered improbable by most modern historians, who suggest around 20,000 warriors and 80,000 noncombatants. Advancing across the Western Roman provinces of Pannonia, Noricum, and Raetia, Radagaisus and his Goths moved through the Alpine passes to enter northern Italy by the end of the year. Here they split into three armies, while the Western generalissimo Stilicho, with an outnumbered Roman force at Ticinum, called on the Rhine legions, the Alans, and the Huns of Uldin for support. in wikipedia

? ??–31 Dec 406 Vandal–Frankish War

In 406 the Vandals and Alans advanced from the Danube region along the Main towards the Rhine, driving many Burgundians from their lands in the process. While Goar, one of the two Alanic kings, reached the Rhine and was accepted into Roman service, the Vandals faced fierce opposition from the Roman-allied Franks, who killed the Vandal king Godigisel and an alleged 20,000 of his followers. However, the Vandals were saved by the timely intervention of Respendial, the other Alanic king, who wheeled back from the Rhine and drove off the Frankish onslaught. in wikipedia

??–Aug 406 Siege of Florence

In the spring of 406 Radagaisus and the Goths under his command moved south from the Po Valley to besiege the small city of Florentia (Florence). Meanwhile, Stilicho assembled thirty numeri (perhaps 15,000 Roman troops), along with Alan and Hunnic auxiliaries, and marched to the city’s rescue. Arriving just as Florentia’s supplies were about to give out, Stilicho caught Radagaisus by surprise and drove him into flight, reportedly without suffering a single Roman casualty. in wikipedia

406? Niall of the Nine Hostages in Britain

In around 405 or 406, possibly under the leadership of the semi-historical Niall Noígíallach (a.k.a. Niall of the Nine Hostages), the Scoti raided the southern coast of Roman Britain, which by now was depleted of imperial forces. This raid seems to coincide with the last dated coins of the Stanchester Hoard, one of the largest Roman hoards found in Great Britain and the last dated example of Roman coins found in Wiltshire. Perhaps in response to this attack, the Roman client kingdom of Dumnonia occupied the nearby region of Dorset at about this time. in wikipedia

406 Marcus of Britain

In mid 406 the Roman legions in Britain revolted and proclaimed Marcus, an otherwise unknown high-ranking officer, as Emperor. What caused the insurrection is also unknown, but it may have been linked to barbarian threats to the region. Regardless, Marcus failed to please the army and was killed a few months later, to be replaced by another usurper, Gratian. in wikipedia