Europe 376: Hunnensturm
Having overrun the Alans and Greuthungi, the Huns turned on the Tervingi Goths, who they overwhelmed by 376. Fleeing to the Danube with remnants of the Greuthungi, many of the surviving Tervingi asked for asylum within the Roman Empire.
Dec 374 Treaty of Mogontiacum▲
In the fall of 374 Valentinian was building fortifications in conquered Alemannic land near Basel, when news reached him of the Quadi and Sarmatian invasion of Pannoniae. Determined to march on the Quadi in spring, the emperor summoned the Alemannic leader Macrian to meet him near Mogontiacum (Mainz) to negotiate peace. Macrian willingly obliged, agreeing a treaty of friendship with Rome which he would hold to until his death in c. 380.
375 Valens’ Second Isaurian War▲
In 375, while Valens was at Antioch confronting the Persians over Armenia, the bandits of Isauria ended their seven-year truce and began raiding into Lycia and Pamphylia. Even more importantly, the Isaurian attacks soon neared the Roman military route between Constantinople and Caesarea (Kayseri), threatening the emperor’s connection with the capital. Valens hurriedly dispatched troops to the region and by the end of the year had suppressed the revolt.
Sep–Oct 375 Valentinian’s Quadian Campaign▲
In mid-spring 375 Valentinian departed Augusta Treverorum (Trier) for the Danube, where he dismissed a deputation of Sarmatians begging for peace. Reaching the ruined city of Carnuntum, he decided against investigating the allegations of Roman crimes against the Quadi and instead spent the summer preparing for war. That fall the Romans crossed the Danube in two columns—one from Carnuntum led by Merobaudes and Count Sebastianus, and one from Aquincum under the emperor himself—and devastated the lands of the Quadi, killing anybody unable to escape to the mountains, before returning south for the winter.
17 Nov 375–25 Aug 383 Reign of Gratian▲
Gratian, the eldest son of Valentinian I, was elevated to Augustus in August 367, but it was his father’s death in November 375 that, at age 16, that made him primary ruler of the western Roman Empire, with his four-year-old half-brother Valentinian II as co-Augustus. His uncle Valens, the eastern emperor, remained senior Augustus until he was killed at the Battle of Adrianople in 378, after which Gratian appointed Theodosius to rule in the East. A staunch promoter of Nicene Christianity over traditional Roman religion, Gratian nonetheless alienated the army and in August 383 he was murdered at Lugdunum (Lyon), following the usurpation of Magnus Maximus.
22 Nov 375 Accession of Valentinian II▲
In late 375 Valentinian settled into Brigetio for the winter and was soon met by envoys of the Quadi, who begged for peace and denied involvement in the previous year’s raids. Enraged at their excuses, the emperor furiously berated them until he was suddenly struck with apoplexy and died. As Valentinian’s young son and co-emperor Gratian, still in Gaul, was too far away to prevent a succession crisis, the magister peditum Merobaudes convinced the army to proclaim Valentinian’s even younger son and namesake as Valentinian II. When he learned of this, Gratian accepted the situation and continued his rule in the Prefecture of Gaul while the four-year-old Valentinian II, under a guardian, took command in the Prefecture of Italy.
375?–376 Hunno-Tervingian War▲
Learning that the defeated Greuthungi Goths, under Alatheus and Saphrax, had fled across the Dniester, Athanaric of the Tervingi Goths marched there with his forces, dispatching a contingent to observe the movements of the Huns. However, the Huns outsmarted him by crossing the Dniester at night and, in a swiftly attack on his main army, forced the Goths back to the mountains. Attempting to rally, Athanaric set to work on fortifications to block the Hunnic advance, but in early 376 he was surprised and decisively defeated by the Huns, who became so laden down with plunder that they called a halt to their pursuit.
376 Fritigern vs Athanaric▲
After Athanaric’s final defeat by the Huns in 376, the bulk of the Tervingi Goths turned against him in favor of Fritigern and Alavivus, who advocated migrating to a new region. Athanaric and those Tervingi loyal to him fled to the Carpathian mountains, where they continued to resist the invaders. These loyalists, along with perhaps other Tervingi who remained north of the Danube, would become known as the Thuringii by the early fifth century.
376 Gothic Embassy to Valens▲
In 376 the Tervingi Goths of Fritigern and Alavivus, along with the Greuthungi Goths of Alatheus and Syphrax, decided to escape from the Huns by taking refuge in Thrace. Arriving on the Danube, probably near Durostorum (Silistra), they asked the local Roman commanders for permission to cross into the Empire. As this matter required the approval of the emperor, the Goths sent embassies to Valens, who was at that point in Antioch.