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Theodosius

emperor, empire and gratian

THEODOSIUS (surnamed THE GREAT), Roman emperor: b. Spain, about 346; d. Milan, 17 Jan. 395. At a very early age he obtained a separate command; but on the execution of his father he sought retirement, until selected by the Emperor Gratian, in 379, for his partner in the empire. To his care were submitted Thrace and the eastern provinces, which he delivered from an invasion of the Goths, whom he signally defeated in two battles, concluding a peace with them in 382. On the defeat and _ _ death of Maximus at Aquileia (388) he became the sole head of the empire, Gratian having been previously killed in the war against Maxi mus. He administered the affairs of the West in the name of Valentinian, the son of Gratian, then a minor. He entered Rome in triumph in 389, and passed three years in Italy. In 390 a sedition took place in Thessalonica, which resulted in the murder of the governor and several of his officers. The resentment of Theo dosius was natural and merited; but the manner in which he displayed it was in the highest de gree detestable and inhuman. An invitation was given in the emperor's name to the people of Thessalonica to an exhibition at the circus, and when a great concourse of spectators had as sembled they were massacred by a body of barbarian soldiery to the number, according to the lowest computation, of 7,000.- Theodosius

was at this time at Milan, of which Saint Am brose was bishop, and this prelate, on account of such an atrocious proceeding, resolutely re fused him communion for eight months. About this time the emperor crowned his merits, as a foe to paganism, by demolishing the celebrated temple of Serapis and all the other heathen temples of Egypt, and he issued a final edict prohibiting the ancient worship altogether. On the murder of Valentinian by Arbogastes and the advancement of Eugenius in his place (392), the emperor carried on a war against the latter, which finally terminated in his defeat and death. Theodosius did not long survive this success. Consult Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Ro man Empire' (London 1912) ; Hodgkin, T., 'Italy and her Invaders> (Oxford 1892).