Roman Emperors Dir Flavius Victor

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Flavius Victor (384-388 A.D.)

Walter E. Roberts

Emory University

A coin with the image of Flavius Victor (c)1998, Princeton Economic Institute

Flavius Victor was the infant son of Magnus Maximus. After Maximus failed to achieve a peaceful accomodation with Valentinian II and Theodosius I in 384, he proclaimed Victor as his co-Augustus. This is attested to by Prosper Tiro and the coinage issues, especially the AE 2 SPES ROMANORUM series. When Maximus invaded Italy in 387, he left Victor in Trier under the care of the generals Quintinus and Nannienus. After Maximus' defeat, Theodosius sent Arbogastes to slay Victor.

Victor's brief reign is important for several reasons. Most importantly it shows Maximus' changing strategy with regards to asserting his legitimacy. When Valentinian II and Theodosius refused to recognize his claim as a legitimate emperor, Maximus forced the issue by co-opting Victor. Making their eldest son a member of the imperial college during their lifetime was a standard practice among emperors in the fourth century. Valentinian I had done this with Gratian and Theodosius did the same with Arcadius. By making his son an Augustus, Maximus gave the appearance that he was a lawful emperor. This may have been one of the reasons that Theodosius finally recognized Maximus from 386 until his invasion of Italy in 387.

Primary Sources

Consularia Constantinopolitana. T. Mommsen ed.,MGH AA 9. Berlin, 1892. Repr. 1961.

Gregory of Tours. Decem libri historiarum. B. Krusch and W. Levison eds., MGH SRM 1.1. Hanover, 1951.

Orosius. Adversus paganos historiarum libri septem. Z. Zangemeister ed., CSEL 5. Vienna, 1882.

Prosper Tiro. Epitoma Chronicon. T. Mommsen ed., MGH AA 9. Berlin, 1892. Repr. 1961.

Sextus Aurelius Victor. Liber de Caesaribus. F.R. Pichlmayr and R. Gruendel eds. Berlin, 1961.

Zosimus. Nova Historia. Ronald T. Ridley ed. and trans., Zosimus: New History. Sydney, 1982.

Secondary Sources

Jones, A.H.M., J.R. Martindale, and J. Morris eds. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume I A.D. 260-395. s.v. "Fl. Victor 14." Cambridge, 1971.

Matthews, John F. Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court A.D. 364-425. Oxford, 1975.

Pearce, J.W.E. The Royal Imperial Coinage Volume 9: Valentinian I to Theodosius I. Harold Mattingly, C.H.V. Sutherland, and R.A.G. Carson eds. London, 1972.

Roberts, Walter. "Magnus Maximus: Portrait of a Usurper." M.A. Thesis, University of South Carolina, 1997.

Seeck, Otto. Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt. Volume 5, 1920. Repr. Stuttgart, 1966.

Stein, Ernest. Histoire du Bas-Empire. Amsterdam, 1968.

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