Europe 369: Valens’ First Gothic War

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 27 Aug 369 (Valentinianic Dynasty: Valens’ First Gothic War), showing the following events: First overthrow of Saurmag II; Siege of Artogerassa; Valentinus; Noviodunum Campaign; Mount Pirus incident.

During the revolt of Procopius (365–6), the Tervingi Goths had supported the usurper and sent forces into Thrace. In retaliation, Valens fought a three-year war against them, ultimately defeating both the Tervingi and their allies, the Greuthungi Goths, in 369. To secure a lasting peace, the emperor formally restored the trans-Danubian territory of Gothia to the Tervingi, who agreed to become Roman clients.

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Main Events

368 First overthrow of Saurmag II

Shortly after the capture of Arsaces II of Armenia, Shah Shapur II of Persia turned on the Roman client kingdom of Iberia and drove out its king, Saurmag (Sauromaces) II. In his place, the Persians crowned their own client, Aspacures II. in wikipedia

368–370 Siege of Artogerassa

In late 368 a Persian army, led by Armenian turncoats, besieged the Armenian fortress of Artogerassa, where Prince Pap and his mother, Queen Pharantzem, had taken refuge with the treasury. Daunted by the weather and inspired by the queen, the Armenian generals promptly switched sides, allowing their army to be slaughtered and the prince to escape to the Roman Empire. Outraged by this betrayal—and Pap’s later return to northern Armenia with some Roman support—Shah Shapur II sent a huge new Persian army against Artogerassa in 369, capturing the fortress, the treasury, and the queen early the following year. in wikipedia

369 Valentinus

While Count Theodosius was engaged against the barbarian invaders of Britain, Valentinus, a Roman exile in Britain, attempted to organize a rebellion. However, the plot was discovered shortly before it was to be carried out and Theodosius had Valentinus and his nearest associates executed. The count then set to work restoring and extending Britain’s defenses, establishing the new province of Valentia—named after the emperor Valentinian—in recovered territory. in wikipedia

??–Sep 369 Noviodunum Campaign

In 369 Valens crossed the Danube at Noviodunum by a bridge of boats and marched across Gothic territory into the lands of the Greuthungi, who he defeated in battle. He then turned against the Tervingi and, after a number of clashes, routed their iudex Athanaric. Having humbled the two Gothic tribes, the emperor retired to Marcianoplis for the winter. in wikipedia

369 Mount Pirus incident

In 369 Valentinian fortified the length of the Rhine, from Rhaetia to the North Sea, and even diverted part of the Neckar to secure some defensive works. Towards the end of the year he sent a force across the river to construct a fortress on Mount Pirus (Heiligenberg, near Heidelberg) in what had been agreed by treaty to be Alemannic land. After their initial protests were ignored, the Alemanni attacked the works and massacred all the soldiers involved, leaving only the secretary Syagrius to inform Valentinian of the disaster. in wikipedia