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Roman Emperor - Honorius

Updated on November 2, 2009

Flavius Honorius (384 A.D. - 423 A.D.), Roman emperor, who inherited the western half of the empire from his father Theodosius I in 395. Initially, like his brother Arcadius in the East, the child-ruler was emperor in name only.

From 395 to 408 real power rested with the regent, the Vandal Stilicho. In 408 enemies at court undermined Stilicho's position and persuaded Honorius to order his execution.

Two years later, in 410, the Visigoths under Alaric, angered by Honorius' refusal to negotiate peace, sacked the city of Rome and appointed a rival emperor. The ineffective Honorius was saved from disaster by his resilient generals. Through their efforts Italy was secured, pretenders in Gaul and Africa were suppressed, and the various barbarian invaders were either contained or resettled in semi-autonomous kingdoms in Gaul. But this apparent success was temporary.

In creating these kingdoms, Honorius accelerated a process of political disintegration that his unfortunate successors could scarcely reverse.

Honorius died in Ravenna on August 15, 423 A.D.

The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883.
The Favorites of the Emperor Honorius, by John William Waterhouse, 1883.


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