Europe 351: Battle of Mursa Major

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 28 Sep 351 (The Constantinian Dynasty: Battle of Mursa Major), showing the following events: Abdication of Vetranio; Constantius Gallus; Jewish Revolt against Gallus; Battle of Mursa Major.

In late 350 Constantius II marched west to face the usurpers and quickly gained Vetranio’s surrender. He then turned on Magnentius and in September 351 narrowly defeated him at Mursa Major. However, with combined casualties of some 54,000, the battle—one of the bloodiest in Roman history—left both sides severely weakened.

Main Events

25 Dec 350 Abdication of Vetranio

Proclaiming that the murder of his brother Constans must be avenged, Constantius II rejected Magnentius’ and Vetranio’s requests for recognition, and in December 350 marched his army into Serdica. Vetranio immediately backed down and was stripped of his imperial regalia by his troops, who joined Constantius’ ranks. In return, Constantius granted him a palace in Prusa (Bursa), where he lived out the remaining six years of his life in wikipedia

15 Mar 351 Constantius Gallus

As he prepared to face Magnentius in the West, Constantius II appointed his 24-year-old cousin Constantius Gallus, the son of Constantine I’s brother Julius Constantius, to the rank of Caesar. Gallus was married to Constantius’ sister Constantina and sent to govern the Prefecture of the wikipedia

May 351–?? 352 Jewish Revolt against Gallus

At around the time Constantius Gallus arrived in Antioch in May 351, Isaac of Diocaesarea and the messianic figure Patricius launched a Jewish rebellion in Palestine, seizing control of much of the region. The revolt was put down the following year by Gallus’ general Ursicinus, who razed a number of the rebel towns and killed thousands of Jews of all ages. Ursinicus subsequently installed a permanent garrison in wikipedia

28 Sep 351 Battle of Mursa Major

In early 351 Magnentius ambushed and destroyed Constantius II’s reconnaissance force near the Italian border, encouraging him to invade Pannoniae. Assembling an army upwards of 60,000-strong, Constantius finally intercepted Magnentius, now with only 36,000 men, while the latter was besieging Mursa (Osijek) in September. The battle that ensued was long and brutal—Constantius lost 30,000 and Magnentius 24,000—but by nightfall Constantius had prevailed and his opponent fled west into Italy, narrowly avoiding capture on the wikipedia