Posts Tagged ‘January 17’

Son of Obituary

Posted in General, On This Day on January 17th, 2010 by Eugene Finerman – 2 Comments

January 17th A.D. 395: the Emperor Theodosius definitely had a bad day.

However, he was one of the few Roman Emperors to die of natural causes.

Theodosius might be considered the true father of the Byzantine Empire. Until him, the Roman Empire had been considered one realm, even if it often had co-emperors to rule (and plot against each other). Theodosius decided simply to divide the empire in two, and it just so happened that he had a son for each half. His son, Arcadius the affable dolt, received the eastern half. It became the Byzantine Empire. His son, Honorius, the degenerate dolt, received the western half. It became a ruin. (Theodosius did have a reasonably bright child, but the Empire wasn’t ready for an Empress. She had the “consolation” of being the mother of an emperor, Honorius’ successor. Unfortunately, her son Valentinan III was just as degenerate as his uncle.)

Theodosius was also the first emperor to enforce the new religion on the Empire. Banning the Olympics was just one of his ways of suppressing the remaining institutions of paganism. Temples, and any of their assets, were seized. Some were converted into churches; many of the oldest churches today quite literally have pagan foundations. The other pagan buildings were used as quarries for their marble and columns; their material ended up in churches, too.

Theodosius’ polices incited a pagan rebellion in western Europe. The pagans’ choice for an Emperor was a grammarian named Eugenius. Since the annals do not record an Emperor Eugenius, you can guess who won.