Europe 411: Downfall of Constantine III

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 27 Apr 411 (Theodosian Dynasty: Downfall of Constantine III), showing the following events: Edobich on the Rhine; Death of Alaric; Mucking; Death of Constans II; Siege of Arles.

After sacking Rome, Alaric marched into southern Italy, but died there of fever just months later. Meanwhile, in early 411, the rebel general Gerontius crossed the Pyrenees into Gaul and, after killing Constantine III’s son Constans at Vienne, besieged Constantine himself in Arelate (Arles).

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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

410?–411 Edobich on the Rhine

In late 410 or early 411 Constantine III sent his magister militum Edobich to the Rhine to secure treaties with the Germanic tribes who had overrun northern Gaul. After successfully recruiting a force of Franks and Alemanni, Edobich headed back south only to discover that Constantine was besieged in Arelate (Arles). Marching to break the siege, Edobich was caught between the armies of Honorius’ generals Flavius Constantius and Ulfilas and routed. In desperation he sought asylum with his old friend Ecdicius, but was betrayed and murdered. in wikipedia

410 Death of Alaric

After the sack of Rome (August 410), Alaric and his Goths marched south through Italy, ravaging Campania and Lucania as they passed. By fall they had reached Bruttium, where they began preparing to cross the Strait of Messina to Sicily—and from there sail to Africa—when storms broke out and devastated their fleet. Despondent at this reverse, Alaric turned back north but soon fell ill and died. He was buried in secret near Cosentia (Cosenza) and succeeded as King of the Goths by his brother-in-law Athaulf. in wikipedia

410? Mucking

By the first decades of the 5th century, Anglo-Saxons appear to have established a settlement at Mucking, near the mouth of the Thames in Britain, resurrecting a site which had been abandoned by the Romano-Britons for over a century. Although these new settlers seem to have traded with their Romano-British neighbors, it is uncertain whether they were foederati—essentially being employed to help defend Britain against invasion—or something else altogether. in wikipedia

411 Death of Constans II

In early 411 Gerontius crossed the Pyrenees into Gaul, alarming Constantine III, who promptly dispatched his son Constans II north to Vienne. Here it was hoped that Constans would be able to rendezvous with the general Edobich, returning from the Rhine with a freshly-recruited force of Franks and Alemanni. However, Gerontius outmaneuvered them all and, reaching Vienne before Edobich, captured and killed Constans. in wikipedia

411 Siege of Arles

After killing Constans II at Vienne in early 411, the rebel general Gerontius marched south to besiege Constans’ father Constantine III at Arelate (Arles). However, not long after the siege started, Honorius’ general Flavius Constantius arrived outside the city with an army from Italy and put Gerontius to flight. Constantius then took over the siege, with most of Gerontius’ troops joining him. in wikipedia