Europe 378: Mavia’s Revolt

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 07 Apr 378 (Valentinianic Dynasty: Mavia’s Revolt), showing the following events: Battle of Ad Salices; Battle of Dibaltum; Defeat of Farnobius; Attack of the Lentienses; Mavia’s Revolt.

In early 378, just as Valens was preparing to march west to face the Goths in Thrace, the Tanukhids and other Arab tribes rose in revolt under the leadership of Queen Mavia. After suffering a number of defeats at Arab hands, Valens agreed to placate them by granting them their own bishop in return for their support against the Goths.

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Main Events

377 Battle of Ad Salices

In late 376 Valens learned of the extent of the Gothic rebellion in Thrace and, as he was still in Antioch confronting Persia over Armenia, dispatched the generals Profuturus and Trajanus to deal with the situation. The two generals arrived in Thrace in 377 and, joined by Gratian’s general Richomeres, advanced to the vicinity of Marcianople, where they found the Goths in an immense wagon circle near Ad Salices (the Willows). The next morning battle broke out, but, after a day’s fighting in which both sides suffered heavy casualties, neither was able to gain an advantage or hold the field. Each shaken by their own losses, the Romans withdrew to Marcianople while the Goths remained in their wagons for a week. in wikipedia

377 Battle of Dibaltum

After the Battle of Ad Salices in 377, the Romans managed to trap many of the Tervingi Goths in the Haemus range (Balkan Mountains), threatening them with starvation. However, the Romans were soon weakened by the recall of Richomeres and his western troops to Gaul and, when the Goths called on the Huns and Alans for support, the new Roman leader Saturninus hurriedly abandoned the mountains for the cities. With the mountain passes cleared, the Goths swept out across Thrace, attacking and slaughtering Barzimeres, tribunum scutariorum (Commander of the Guards), and his troops near Dibaltum (Burgas). in wikipedia

377 Defeat of Farnobius

In the fall of 377 the Western Roman emperor Gratian ordered his general Frigeridus back into Thrace to build fortifications and support the Eastern Empire against the Goths. Realizing that the Goths were attempting to surround him, Frigeridus began withdrawing through the Succi Pass (or Gate of Trajan) when he encountered a large force of Goths and Taifals under the Greuthungi chieftain Farnobius. Taking the offensive, Frigeridus killed Farnobius and many of his followers, then deported the surviving Taifals to Italy. in wikipedia

Feb 378 Attack of the Lentienses

Learning that Gratian was intending to march east to support Valens against the Goths, the Lentienses, a tribe of the Alemanni, seized the opportunity to break their treaty with Rome. In February 378 they attempted to cross the frozen Rhine into Gaul but were beaten back by the Celtic legions and the elite Petulantes of the magister peditum. in wikipedia

378 Mavia’s Revolt

In spring 378 Queen Mavia, widow of the late King Al-Hawari, led the Tanukhids and other Arab tribes in revolt against the Romans. Attacking from their desert bases, Mavia’s forces defeated a number of Roman armies while raiding Roman territory as far as Arabia, Palestine, and the edges of Egypt. Unwilling to commit any more troops to the region while the Goths were at large in Thrace, Valens agreed to Mavia’s demands to appoint the Nicene monk Moses as the first Arab bishop of the Arabs in return for Tanukhid support against the Goths. in wikipedia