Roman Emperors Dir Gallus Caesar

An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

map DIR Atlas

Gallus Caesar (15 March 351 - 354 A.D.)

Thomas M. Banchich

Canisius College

Coin with the image of Gallus (c)1998 CGB numismatique, Paris

Almost all we know of Gallus (PLRE I, pp. 224-225, s.v. Fl. Claudius Constantius Gallus 4) derives from literary sources, each of which brings with it its own problems. For example, the testimony of Julian, Gallus' half-brother, comes mostly from the Letter to the Athenians, an apology of sorts for Julian's proclamation as Augustus and for his subsequent march against Constantius, while much of the detail of the church historians Socrates and Sozomenus stems from Libanius' Or. 18, a work hardly immune from rhetorical embellishment. Libanius' letters and autobiographical Or. 1 are perhaps more trustworthy, when allowance is made for the relentless solipsism of their author. The fragments of the homoiousian ecclesiastical historian Philostorgius and the derivative Passio Artemii (both edited in J. Bidez and F. Winckelman, Philostorgius Kirchengeschichte2 [Berlin 1972]), also provide extremely valuable information, though they often reflect Philostorgius' theological interests. However, Ammianus Marcellinus' account is by far the most detailed. Yet, at the same time, it is the most problematic due to the transparent identification of Ammianus with the interest of the senatorial class of Antioch; to his literary and rhetorical techniques and their employment in the presentation of the story of Gallus as an example of the workings of hybris, ate, and nemesis/adrasteia; and to Ammianus' wish to excuse the role of his superior officer Ursicinus in the treason trials that are the focal point of his narrative.

Gallus' Youth

Gallus, the youngest of three children of Julius Constantius 7 (PLRE I, p. 226) and Galla 1 (PLRE I, p. 382), was born in 325/6 at Massa in Etruria (Ammianus Marcellinus 14.11.27). Ammianus describes him as handsome, with blonde hair, but "differing from the temperate character of his brother Julian" (14.11.28. Cf. Eutropius 10.13 and John of Antioch fr. 174, Müller FHG IV, p. 604). His mother died prior to 331, by which time Julius Constantius' second wife, the young Basilina (PLRE I, p. 148), had died after giving birth to Julian. His sister (PLRE I, p. 1037, s.v. Anonyma 1) had become the first wife of Constantius II around 335 (Julian 272 D, Athanasius Hist. Ar. 69, Eusebius Vit. Const.4.49), and her passing may have facilitated Gallus' fall in 353/4.Unlike his elder brother (Julian Ep. ad. Ath. 270 D), Gallus escaped the slaughter that followed the death of Constantine in 337, purportedly because he was suffering at the time from what was thought to be a fatal illness (Libanius Or. 18.10. Cf. Socrates Hist. eccl. 3.1; Sozomenus Hist. eccl. 5.2.9; Theophanes AM 5831, A.D. 338/9, ed. de Boor) or, perhaps more likely, because he was Constantius' brother-in-law (Athanasius, Hist. Ar. 69.1). Julian (Ep. ad Ath. 271 B) mentioned years later that he and Gallus were told repeatedly that Constantius' actions were the result of a combination of misinformation and pressure from the soldiery, and that the emperor had come to regret his actions, which, in his mind, he linked to his childlessness and to military misfortunes on the Persian front.[[1]]

It is often assumed on the basis of Ammianus 22.9.4, which refers only to Julian, that both Gallus and his half-brother were entrusted to the care of Eusebius, Bishop of Nicomedia (who was in some way related to Julian) in that same city. If so, they may have moved to Constantinople in 340, in which year Eusebius became her bishop. After Eusebius' death in 341, Constantius, perhaps on the occasion of his journey to Constantinople in 342, sent the youths to Macellum in Cappadocia.[[2]] However, such an extended period of contact between Gallus, Julian, and Eusebius is by no means certain, for, according to Socrates (Hist. eccl. 3.1), before the transfer to Macellum Gallus had studied in Ephesus, in the neighborhood of which he had inherited considerable property, while Julian (Ep. ad Ath. 271 B) writes of Gallus' summons to Macellum "from exile in Tralles.".[[3]] From the date of the move to Macellum until March 15, 351, when he became Caesar, Gallus was with Julian.

Sozomenus (Hist. eccl. 5.2) paints the situation at Macellum as a pleasant one:

... this imperial post was near Mount Argeus, and not far from Caesarea; it contained a magnificent palace and was adorned with baths, gardens, and perennial fountains. Here they [Gallus and Julian] were cultured and educated in a manner corresponding to the dignity of their birth; they were taught the sciences and bodily exercises befitting their ages, by masters of languages and interpreters of the Holy Scriptures, so that they were enrolled among the clergy, and read the ecclesiastical books to the people. Their habits and actions indicated no dereliction from piety. They respected the clergy and other good people and persons zealous for doctrine; they repaired regularly to church and rendered due homage to the tombs of the martyrs.

Some of Sozomenus' picture most likely derives from Gregory Nazianzus' Or. 4., in which (23, pp. 116-118, ed. Bernardi) Gregory asserts that Gallus and Julian:

...had masters in all branches of learning, their uncle and sovereign causing them to be instructed in the complete and regular course of education; they studied also, and still more extensively, our own kind of philosophy, that which deals not with words alone, but which conveys piety by means of moral training: living in intercourse with the most excellent of men, and in the exercise of the most pleasant of occupations, and which offers a great field for the display of virtue: for both brothers offered and enrolled themselves amongst the clergy; reading aloud the sacred books to the people, thinking that this tended not a little to their glory, and that piety was a greater decoration than all things else.

Gregory also records (4.25-26, pp. 118-120) the brothers' contest with respect to a shrine of the martyrs, noting that an earth tremor caused the collapse of the portion built by Julian. Sozomenus (5.2) again echoes Gregory, though adding a precise identification of the structure as a martyrium of St. Mamas..[[4]] Julian's version of his six years at Macellum contradicts much of the above. At Ep. ad Athen. 271 C-D he maintains (unconvincingly) that Gallus possessed a violent streak attributable to the forced stay a Macellum. Neither he nor his brother, Julian alleges, was allowed the companionship of freeborn youths his own age. Perhaps George, Athanasius' successor as bishop of Alexandria, supervised some aspects of the upbringing and education of the pair, for Julian (Ep. 107, ed. J. Bidez, pp. 185-186 ) comments on his access to George's library. Probably in 347, Constantius, while journeying from Ancyra to Hieropolis, visited Macellum (Julian Ep. ad Athen. 274 A).[[5]]

The acclamation in Gaul of Flavius Magnus Magnentius (PLRE I, p. 532) as Augustus on 18 January 350, forced Constantius to launch a campaign in the west. In order to maintain the imperial presence in the east during this expedition, he, being childless, decided to elevate Gallus to the rank of Caesar. They would share the consulship three times, in 352, 353, and 354. For the ceremony of accession, which occurred on March 15, 351 (Consularia constantinopolitana, sub annum 351, p. 237, ed. Burgess), Gallus, perhaps accompanied by Julian, traveled to Sirmium. As Caesar, he was renamed Constantius (Theophanes AM 5842, A.D. 349/50) and wedded Constantina, Constantius' eldest sister (Zonaras 13.8.4, ed. Buttner-Wobst), to whom Constantine the Great had given the title "Augusta" (Philostorgius 3.22 and 28) and who had some sixteen years earlier -- from 335 to 337 -- been the wife of Hannibalianus 2 (PLRE. I, p. 407), whom Constantine had created "King of Kings and Ruler of the Pontic Tribes" (Anonymus Valesianus 36). Gallus was twenty-five or twenty-six at the time. The Passio Artemii 12 alleges that the marriage was meant to ensure Gallus' loyalty but it may have had at least as much to do with Constantina who, besides having known power as Constantine's daughter and Hannibalianus' wife, had prompted the opposition of Vetranio 1 (PLRE I, p. 954) to Magnentius, and whose hand had been sought from Constantius by ambassadors of Magnentius himself (Peter the Patrician fr. 16, Müller FHG IV, p. 190). The marriage, besides benefiting Constantius, extricated her from a dangerous situation in the west and placed her in a position from which she might control the younger and inexperienced Caesar. On the other hand, it is possible that Constantius saw the marriage as a way to remove his intrusive -- perhaps treasonous -- sister from the volatile west.[[6]] If the mention in the Passio Artemii (11) of letters from Constantina to her brother preserves a genuine tradition, it is possible Constantina even initiated the proposal that she marry Gallus, whose union with her would produce a daughter, whose name and fate are unknown (Julian Ep. ad Ath. 272 D).

Julian alleges that Constantius' jealousy of Gallus began from the moment he proclaimed him Caesar. If Philostorgius (4.1) is to be trusted, relations between Constantius and Gallus were uneasy from the beginning, for a certain Theophilus (perhaps Theophilus 1, PLRE I, p. 907, consularis Syriae in 354) acted as mediator of a mutual non-aggression pact between them and, again following Philostorgius, managed through his initiative to keep peace between them. The Passio Artemii 12 states specifically that Gallus was not allowed to select his own ministers, noting specifically Constantius' appointments of Thallasius 1 (PLRE I, p. 886) as Praetorian Prefect and Montius Magnus (PLRE I, pp. 535-536) as quaestor sacri palatii. A fragment of an oration delivered (perhaps slightly later) by Himerius to Constantius (Photius Bibl. Cod. 243, ed. Henry, IV, pp. 102-103) likely reflects Constantius' official position regarding the new Caesar.

Gallus as Caesar

After becoming Caesar, Gallus, while traveling from Sirmium to Antioch, visited Julian at Nicomedia (Libanius Or. 18.17, Ammianus Marcellinus 15.2.7). There Gallus may have summoned Julian to appear with him in the theater, an action which may explain the suspicions the rendezvous of the half-brothers aroused in Constantius.[[7]] Gallus arrived in Antioch on May 7, 351. Socrates (Hist. eccl. 2.28.2) says his adventus was marked by the appearance of a cross in the sky.[[8]] Probably early in his residence at Antioch Gallus moved the relics of the martyr Babylas into the precinct of Apollo at Daphne (Cf. John Chrysostom Homily on St. Babylas 101 and Sozomenus 5.19.12-13). Zonaras 13.12 says that Julian later attributed Gallus' death to the desecration of Apollo's shrine by means of Babylas' remains. Ammianus, whose account commences with events of the winter of 353/4, does not mention the transfer, an omission which suggests that the act occurred during the first year or so of Gallus' stay. During the same period may fall a series of incidents related by Philostorgius (3.27), who alleges that accusations against the anomian theologian Aetius by his rivals Basil and Eustathius prompted Gallus to order Aetius' execution. However, Philostorgius continues, Leontius, Bishop of Antioch, interceded on Aetius' behalf and the latter quickly became a favorite of the Caesar, while Gallus ultimately appointed Aetius to be director of the religious education of Julian, with the express aim of recalling him from impiety (paganism or Christian heresy?). Aetius' role with respect to Julian may have something to do with events in 350, when Flavius Philippus 7 (PLRE I, pp. 696-697) escorted George -- perhaps Julian's instructor in religious matters and who had ordained Aetius as a deacon -- toward Alexandria to replace Athanasius (Hist. Ar. 51). If so, when Athanasius maintained his see in Alexandria, George may have returned to Macellum. This, in turn, might have meant Aetius' return to Antioch, where he is later linked to the ruin of Domitianus and Montius in 353/4.[[9]]

In 351 or 352, the magister peditum Ursicinus 2 (PLRE I, pp. 985-986, which fails to mention Ursicinus' role in the Palestinian campaign), crushed a Jewish insurrection in Palestine centered, according to Socrates (Hist. eccl. 2.33) and Sozomenus (Hist. eccl. 4.7) in Diocaesarea.[[10]] Jerome records -- for the year 352 but immediately following his notice of Gallus' proclamation as Caesar -- : " Through the murders of many thousands of men -- even those too young to pose a threat -- Gallus suppressed the Jews, who, having murdered soldiers at night, had seized arms for the purpose of rebellion ["arma ad rebellandum invaserant," which allows that the insurrection may have begun in the preceding year], and he put to the torch their cities Diocaesarea, Tiberias, and Diospolis and many towns" (Chronica, ed. Helm, p. 238.15-21), to which may be compared Theophanes AM 5843, A.D. 350/1: "In this year, the Jews in Palestine revolted. They killed many other nationalities, both Hellenes and Samaritans. They and their whole race were slaughtered by the Roman army, and their city Diocaesarea was razed to the ground."[[11]] Perhaps the brief power vacuum between Constantius' move west and before Gallus' arrival in Antioch convinced the discontents in Palestine that the time was right for rebellion. Socrates alone (Hist. ecc. 2.34) alleges that successes in Palestine prompted Gallus to consider a coup against Constantius.

John Zonaras (13.8.25-31) offers immediately following his description of the battle of Mursa (September 28, 351), a detailed account of a plot by Magnentius to assassinate Gallus:

He sent out one of his servants to Antioch to kill Gallus so as to surround the emperor with cares and to divert his attention to other matters. In order to remove suspicion from himself, the envoy lodged in the hut of a certain old lady. This hut was built by the Orontes River. The Orontes was once called the Ophites, as some write; afterwards, however, it was called the Orontes because the son of Cambyses, King of the Persians, fell in. His name was Orontes. Magnentius' assassin prepared the plot against Gallus. He attached to himself many heavily armed men of the place. In the evening, with some of the conspirators, he had dinner at the house of the old lady and conversed with them fearlessly about his plan. He despised the old lady because he thought she was too old to understand what was being discussed. Since she was a lady of a steady nature, as it turned out, she seemed not even to hear what was said and kept everything to herself. When her guest, heavy with wine, fell asleep, she secretly left her hut and went to the town; she revealed everything to the Caesar. He sent some men to arrest the plotter, who, when he was under pressure, revealed the whole affair. Having escaped it, Gallus punished him and those who knew about the conspiracy (trans. DiMaio).

Ammianus 14.7.4 may provide a parallel: "... his [Gallus'] propensity for doing harm was inflamed and incited by a worthless woman, who, on being admitted to the palace (as she had demanded) had betrayed a plot that was secretly being made against him by some soldiers of the lowest condition. Whereupon Constantina, exulting as if the safety of her husband were now assured, gave her a reward, and seating her in a carriage, sent her out through the palace gates into the public streets, in order that by such inducements she might tempt others to reveal similar or greater conspiracies." Zonaras' account may reflect rhetorical elaboration rather than access to informed sources, while that of Ammianus seems to mirror public knowledge of the incident as the result of the presentation of the informant to the populace of Antioch. There seems no need to posit any common literary source. At any rate, the incident seems to fall soon after Gallus' arrival in Antioch, when the assassination could divert Constantius and, if Ursicinus was then active in Palestine, the Caesar would perhaps have been more vulnerable to attack.

Gallus and the Persians

Philostorgius (Hist. eccl. 3.28) maintains that Gallus scored victories on the Persian front. However, it is dangerous to base too much on the Arians' testimony, for it survives only in the epitome of Photius, who may not represent accurately Philostorgius' point. Furthermore, Passio Artemii 12, deriving much of its historical detail from Philostorgius, does not attribute any actual victories to Gallus but says only that his reputation cowed the Persians. Zosimus (3.1) makes the same point, perhaps reflecting an inference of Eunapius, whose History he closely followed, to explain Persian quietude during Gallus' reign. Since Philostorgius, too, seems to have known Eunapius' History, it seems likely that Zosimus 3.1 and Passio Artemii 12 reflect Eunapius, which, if so, gives added weight to the hypothesis that Photius' epitome inaccurately represents his exemplar.

In addition, there are other obstacles to positive modern assertions about Gallus' military successes in the east. In 350, upon his departure for the west, Constantius had placed Lucillianus 3 (PLRE I, pp. 517-518) in charge of anti-Persian operations (Zosimus 2.45.2 and 3.8.2). Revolution may already have been smoldering in Palestine, and perhaps the need for Ursicinus, Lucillianus' superior in rank, to turn his attention to the rebels explains Lucillianus' appointment. Indeed, Sapor, upon the conclusion of a truce with the Romans, had withdrawn from Nisibis in 350 after suffering heavy losses in order to check nomadic incursions (Ammianus 14.3.1 and 14.9.3, Zonaras 13.713-14) This seems to have changed the tactical situation vis-à-vis Persia from high intensity to low intensity threats (cf. Ammianus 16.9.1, Julian Or. 1.28 D and Or. 2.66 D). There seems, then, to have been neither the need nor the opportunity for the Caesar himself at the head of a field army to engage the enemy.

Perhaps there were substantial clashes in 352 or 353, but, if the opening of the surviving portion of Ammianus' Res Gestae is an accurate guide, Gallus does not seem to have played any important role in the soldier-historian's account of affairs prior to the campaigning season of 353/4. That leaves only 353/4 as a time when Gallus himself might have personally engaged the Persians. Probably in early spring 354 Gallus was going to lead troops from Antioch to Hieropolis, a regular jumping-off point for invasion of Mesopotamia. It is unknown whether he ever reached Hieropolis or, if he did, whether the march was meant as a show of force or involved an actual engagement with Persian forces. Ammianus (14.7.5) refers to the matter with contempt. Gallus' expedition is connected by some modern scholars to an aborted attempt at a surprise attack on Batne in Osdroene by the Persian commander Nohodares. However, Ammianus synchronizes this with an early-September fair at Batne, which would seem to rule out any connection to Gallus' march to Hieropolis. Late in 354 Gallus sent from Antioch the comes Orientis Nebridius 1 (PLRE I, 619), who must have only recently replaced Honoratus 2 (PLRE I, pp. 438-439) to relieve the city of Seleucia, then under Isaurian attack. Ursicinus seems then to have been on the eastern frontier, perhaps in Nisibis, whence he had returned from presiding over the treason trials in Antioch. Shortly before Gallus' fall in 354, Constantius summoned Ursicinus to Milan, where he had taken winter quarters, on the pretext of discussing how best to check Persian threats (Ammianus 14.11.4).

In sum, regardless of Ammianus' undeniable manipulation of events in his account of Gallus' reign, there is little reason to credit the Caesar with martial successes.[[12]]

The Death of Theophilus

As would be the case later with his half-brother Julian, Gallus ran afoul of the senatorial class of Antioch as a result of his attempt to reduce the price of grain, which, due to drought or perhaps as a result of diversions to the military, was in short supply. Ammianus (14.7.2) credits Honoratus with the salvation of the senators of Antioch, all of whom Gallus had sentenced to death in recompense for their opposition to this policy (did this episode figure in the replacement of Honoratus by Nebridius?). The resentment of the lower classes at their perception of the role of the wealthy in the grain crises was clearly very high, and, either through his wish to provide a scapegoat or in consequence of his sincere judgment, Gallus -- as he prepared to depart Antioch for Hieropolis and the Persian frontier -- turned the anger of the people against the consularis Syriae Theophilus (PLRE I, p. 907). Ammianus vividly describes Theophilus' death, the mishandling of his body, and the burning of the home of the decurion Eubulus (14.7.5-7), while Julian (Misopogon 370 C) recalls the burning of the houses of the powerful and calls this, along with Theophilus' murder, the result of the justified but excessive anger of the populace[[13]] Libanius (Or. 19.47) adds details: "After the death of Theophilus which that fine governor suffered at the hands of five copper-smiths at the chariot races quite contrary to his deserts, ... ." At Or. 1.103, Libanius describes how a mob outraged Theophilus' corpse, sought the sophist and decurion Eubulus 2 (PLRE I, p. 287) and his son, and, unsuccessful, burned their home.

Libanius (Or. 1.96) speaks of Gallus' murderous anger and records the arrest, followed by the release, of Zenobius, one of Libanius' mentors. On the next day, Libanius performed before Gallus, who then requested and received a panegyric. Libanius says that he delivered this panegyric in fear and that in it he mentioned that Zenobius, who, according to Libanius, was actually present, had often extolled Gallus' eloquence. Libanius describes (Or. 1.97) how Gallus "was delighted and stretched out his hand in token of reconciliation, and he did obeisance and kissed it, while we applauded, as you would expect in such a case when the emperor had freed an old teacher from fear" (cf. Or. 1.91 and 96-97). But subsequently a rival sophist encouraged a student to bring before Gallus charges of magic against Libanius, in anticipation that Gallus would execute him. Gallus directed the accuser to take the case before the courts, which he chose not to do. However, Libanius adduces this as the explanation for the cool treatment he thereafter often received in public from Gallus, at Or. 1.99-100 saying that Gallus actually recommened that he leave Antioch and take an appointment in Thrace.[[14]] Ammianus' relentlessly hostile portrayal of Gallus and Constantina recounts how, with the help of informants, the royal couple destroyed a series of innocent victims on charges of conspiracy or the practice of magic. Besides executions, there was a series of confiscations of property. Ammianus even alleges that Gallus roamed the streets of Antioch at night incognito soliciting the views of passersby on their Caesar (14.1.1-9). Gallus also appears to have spent much time at the hippodrome, where he would have had a chance to woo the populace(Julian Misopogon 340 A).

Ammianus (14.1.10) condemns the praetorian prefect Thalassius for his failure to check Gallus' alleged violent streak but allows that he did keep Constantius secretly informed of the Caesar's behavior. Upon Thalassius' death in 353 by natural causes, Constantius appointed Domitianus to replace him and sent him to Gallus' court at Antioch, according to Ammianus with instructions to convince Gallus to come to Italy, something that Ammianus remarks Constantius had often urged upon Gallus (14.7.9: ... Gallum quem crebro acciverat ... . Cf. Passio Artemii 13). Constantius also, according to Ammianus (14.7.9), began to reduce the number of troops actually with Gallus (as opposed to troops stationed in the east under military commanders). This reduction fits nicely with Zonaras' assertion (13.9) that Constantius sent Domitianus east to check Gallus, whose excesses he feared would precipitate a rebellion in Antioch at a time when Constantius still faced a difficult situation in the west. Domitianus snubbed Gallus, plotted his downfall, and, when finally he came before Gallus, imperiously commanded him to depart for Italy or face an embargo of supplies for the palace at Domitianus' order. Gallus ordered his guardsmen to arrest of Domitianus, to whose defense came the quaestor Montius. In response, perhaps (as Ammianus records) urged on by Gallus and, once events were underway, by the curator urbis Luscus (not in PLRE), the soldiers brutalized and killed both men.

In Philostorgius' version, Constantius, jealous of Gallus' great success against Sapor, sent Domitianus to prevent the Caesar's triumphal entry into Antioch. The haughty Domitianus enraged Gallus, who ordered Montius to see to Domitianus' death. When Montius objected that Domitianus' execution would exceed the bounds of Gallus' authority, Constantina "dragged down Montius from his judgement-seat with her own hands" (3.28) and, with Gallus' consent, both Montius and Domitianus were slaughtered. In what may be nothing more than an anti-Eunomian smear, Gregory of Nyssa, also mentioning Theophilus, complains that Aetius' participation in the ruin of Domitianus and Montius went unpunished.[[15]] Theophanes AM 5846, A.D. 353/4, perhaps reflects popular perception or propaganda in accusing Gallus of plotting a coup and then murdering Domitianus and Montius, both of whom had revealed Gallus' plan.

The Treason Trials

Montius, as he died, had called the names Epigonus and Eusebius, which led to the arrests of Epigonus 2 of Cilicia, a philosopher (PLRE I, p. 280), and Eusebius 10, an orator from Emesa (PLRE I, p. 302). In a cryptic comment (14.7.18), Ammianus observes that the Epigonus and Eusebius to whom Montius had referred were actually tribuni fabricarum, that is, officers in the arms workshops, "who had promised weapons if a revolution should be gotten underway" (promittentes armorum, si novae res agitari coepissent). Was Gallus possibly the target of a faction of emperor-makers in the east? Perhaps so, for Domitianus had recently sent his son-in-law Apollinaris 2 (PLRE I, pp. 83-84), who had been in charge of the management of the palace at Antioch, to Mesopotamia, where there were large concentrations of Roman troops, then in winter quarters. In addition, after the discovery in Tyre of a royal robe secretly produced, the rector of the province of Phoenice, none other than Apollinaris 1 (PLRE I, p. 83), father of Apollinaris 2, was brought to trial together with his son, who had been arrested in Constantinople, to which he had fled via Lesser Armenia after learning the fate of Domitianus and Montius. Both father and son were condemned to exile, but were, in fact, murdered, presumably on Gallus' orders, once they had reached their family villa at Craterae, located very specifically by Ammianus twenty-four miles from Antioch (14.9.8).

The trials of the Apollonares provide the context for the recall from Nisibis to Antioch by Gallus of the magister equitum Ursicinus 2 (PLRE I, pp. 985-986), with whom came Ammianus (14.9.1). Ammianus represents Ursicinus as fearful of Gallus' temperament and in close contact with Constantius. It was Ursicinus himself who presided over the trials of Epigonus and Eusebius. Both were mercilessly tortured (Ammianus alleges on the orders of Gallus and Constantina ), Epigonus, though innocent, confessing under duress, Eusebius maintaining his innocence to the end. Attention turned next to the royal vestment from Tyre. Among those tortured were employees of the dye works and a Christian deacon Maras, none of whom confessed to wrongdoing. A letter from Maras, mentioned by Ammianus (14.9.7), may be the correspondence referred to by Libanius (Or. 18.24). Many died, says Ammianus, before attention turned toward the Apollinares.

Gallus' Fall

In the spring of 354, while at Valentia, Constantius was informed of the trials at Antioch by a protector domesticus Herculanus 1 (PLRE I, p. 420), a son of Hermogenes I (PLRE I, pp. 422-423), a former magister equitum in the east and possibly a native of Tyre, where he owned a home (Libanius Ep. 828).[[16]] This, in turn, Ammianus says led Constantius to attempt to undermine the position of his praetorian prefect Vulcacius Rufinus 25 (PLRE I, pp. 782-783, with stemma 26, p. 1145), the half-brother of Gallus' mother Galla Indeed, Volusianus Lampadius 5 (PLRE I, 978-980) about this time replaced Rufinus and is named by Zosimus (2.55.3) as one of the prime instigators of Gallus' arrest and execution


It was only after Constantius had concluded a peace with the Alamanni and withdrawn to his winter quarters at Milan that affairs came to a head. However, he had already summoned Julian to the west in 353 and kept him there for spring of 354 during the campaigns against the Alamanni. Zosimus (2.55) connects Gallus' fate to the desire of court sycophants for position and personal gain, indicting by name Dynamius 2 (PLRE I, p. 275), Picentius (PLRE I, p. 701), and Lampadius (properly C. Ceionius Rufius Volusianus 5, PLRE I, pp. 978-980). Ammianus (14.11.1-5) describes secret meetings at with the emperor discussed with his confidants how to destroy Gallus. Flavius Arbitio 2 (PLRE I, pp. 94-95), Constantius' magister equitum, and the praepositus cubiculi, the eunuch Eusebius 11 (PLRE I, 302-303) argued against summoning Gallus until Ursicinus, whom they charged had designs on the throne, had been brought to the west. They argued that agents of Ursicinus had incited Gallus in the hope that his resultant unpopularity would open the way to the throne for the sons of the magister equitum himself. Whether this is an accurate picture or not, Constantius called Ursicinus to Milan on the pretext of planning for a campaign against the Persians and sent to the east as an interim commander with the title dux his vicar Prosper (PLRE I, p. 751). Ammianus comments that he himself accompanied Ursicinus to Milan (14.11.5: Mediolanum itineribus properavimus magnis).

Constantius next prevailed upon Gallus and Constantina to journey to his court. Libanius (Or. 12.35) cryptically alludes to letters of warning sent by Julian to Gallus. When Constantina died of a fever at Caeni Gallicani in Bithynia and Gallus hesitated in Antioch, the tribunus scutariorum Scudilo (PLRE I, pp. 810-811) enticed him with news that Constantius planned to raise him to the rank of Augustus and to engage with him in some cooperative operation in the "northern provinces" (Arctoae provinciae). En route, Gallus, apparently in a formal adventus, entered Constantinople, staged horse races, and crowned a champion charioteer. This demonstration so worried Constantius that he stripped of troops the towns on Gallus' itinerary and sent a string of officials to Gallus, ostensibly on matters of business, but in reality to observe the Caesar's actions.[[17]] Ammianus (14.11.15) provides interesting evidence of the support of the army for Gallus in an anecdote which described how some Theban legions, wintering in the area, encouraged Gallus to remain in Thrace under their protection.

Letters from Constantius eventually caused him to continue west to Petobio in Noricum, where picked troops led by Barbatio (PLRE I, pp. 146-147), accompanied by the agens in rebis Apodemius 1 (PLRE I, p. 82), surrounded his palace. Barbatio, whom Ammianus (14.11.24) accuses of contriving charges against Gallus before Constantius, stripped Gallus of his imperial robes, assured him that no harm would come to him, and transferred him under guard to Pola. There Eusebius 11 (PLRE I, pp. 302-303), Pentadius 2 (PLRE I, p. 687), and Mallubaudes (PLRE I, p. 539) interrogated him about the treason trials at Antioch. Ammianus alleges that in response Gallus attempted to place on Constantina the responsibility for the deaths of those executed. This, Ammianus relates, so enraged Constantius that he dispatched Serenianus 2 (PLRE I, p. 825), who, together with Pentadius and Apodemius, informed Gallus that he had been sentenced to death. Zonaras (13.9.20) records that Constantius changed his mind but Eusebius prevented news of this from reaching the executioners. Libanius (Or. 18.152), in describing the trials at Chalcedon under Julian, states that Eusebius was primarily responsible for Gallus' death The Caesar's hands were bound, and he was summarily beheaded. Libanius (Or. 12.35 and 18.24), though on what actual grounds it is hard to tell, alleges that Gallus was allowed no defense, and that his face and head were mutilated. Gallus had been Caesar for four years and at the time of his death was twenty-nine..[[18]]

Libanius (Or. 18.26) says that Julian concealed his grief in order not to provide Constantius with an excuse to execute him. Julian (Ep. ad Ath. 271 A) suggests that Gallus suffered damnatio memoriae. Though his name has indeed been obliterated from an inscription from Cyprus (Dessau ILS 738), it does appear on other inscriptions..[[19]]


[[1]]Though the date and circumstances of the death of Anonyma 1 are unknown, Constantius' second marriage, to Eusebia (PLRE I, p. 300-301) in Germany in 353/4, suggests that she may have died shortly before that date. Note Constantius' marriage to Faustina (PLRE I, p. 326) shortly after Eusebia's death.

For a discussion of the purges of 337, the sources that treat them, and the various scholarly theories surrounding them, see Michael DiMaio, Jr, and Duane W.-H. Arnold, "Per Vim, Per Caedem, Per Bellum: A Study of Murder and Ecclesiatical Politics in the Year 337 A.D.," Byzantion, 62 (1992), 158ff.

[[2]] John Vanderspoel, Themistius and the Imperial Court (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995), p. 116, suggests the transfer coincided with Constantius' journey to Constantinople in 342.

[[3]]Perhaps the lands bequeathed to the church of Ephesus by Gallus' stepmother Basilina. Cf. Palladius Dial. p. 83, line 27 - p. 84, line 2, ed. Coleman-Norton and Photius Bibl. Cod. 96, ed. Henry, II, p. 55, lines 17-19) reflect these holdings.

[[4]]Cf. Sozomenus Hist. eccl. 5.2; Rufinus Hist. eccl. 10.35; Theodoret Hist. eccl. 3.1; and Theophanes AM 5831. On the location of the martyrium, see A. Hadjinicolaou, "Macellum, lieu d'exil de l'empereur Julien," Byzantion 21 (1951), pp. 15-22).

[[5]]J. Bidez, La Vie de l'Empereur Julien (Paris: Société d'édition "Les Belles Lettres," 1930), p. 24, with n. 6.

[[6]]So Vanderspoel, p. 85, n. 58. T. D. Barnes, "Himerius and the Fourth Century," Classical Philology 82 (1987), p. 209, cautiously suggests Julian's presence at both Gallus' proclamation and wedding. However, Julian (Ep. ad Ath. 274 A ) says that prior to 355 he had seen Constantius only twice, once in Cappadocia ,i.e., at Macellum, and again in Italy.

[[7]]Misopogon 351 B, where the archon may be Gallus. PLRE I, pp. 1023-1024, s.v. Anonymus 120, suggests Procopius 1 or 2 (PLRE I, p. 742)

[[8]]See T. D. Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993), p. 316, n. 54. Passio Artemii 11 describes a celestial cross visible over Jerusalem during Pentecost of 351 and vaguely synchronizes its appearance with the onset of Constantius' campaign against Magnentius. Note, too, Consularia constantinopolitana sub annum 351, ed. Burgess, p. 237, and the star on Antiochene coinage struck perhaps in commemoration of Gallus' adventus, Roman Imperial Coinage 8, p. 505, together with Otto Seeck, Regesten der Kaiser und Päpste (Stuttgart: J. B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1919), p. 198, sub annum 351, January 1 and March 15.

[[9]]For these complicated events, see Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius, pp. 102-105.

[[10]]The Book of the Title of the tenth-century Melkite bishop Agapius of Hieropolis (or Mahbub ibn Qustantin), Kitab al-Unvan , Patrologia orientalis 7, fascicle 4 (1910), ed. and trans. by A. Vasiliev, p. 571, sets the rebellion in the eighteenth and third years of Constantius and Gallus, respectively, which seems impossible. For a French translation, see Bidez and Winckelman, Philostorgius Kirchengeschichte2, p. 222, lines 24-26. Michael the Syrian's twelfth-century Chronicle 268. 16 f., ed. and trans. by J. -B. Chabot, Chronique, 4 vols. (Paris: 1899-1924), which regularly follows Agapius, is of no independent value. John Cedrenus 1.524, ed. I. Bekker, CSBH (Bonn, 1838) also mentions the revolt.

[[11]]Theophanes' specific mention of Hellenes and Samaritans, together with the failure of the ecclesiastical historians to mention Christian victims, suggests that the rebels purposely avoided killing Christians, perhaps in the hope of mitigating the anger of the Christian rulers of the empire. Aurelius Victor (Liber de Caesaribus 42.11, p. 128, ed. Pichlmayr) gives the bare notice that the rebels raised a certain Patricius "to a kind of kingship" (in regni speciem) and prompted from Andre Piganiol the question of whether this was a "crise messianique?" L'Empire Chretien (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1972), p. 103. Michael Avi-Yonah, The Jews under Roman and Byzantine Rule (Corrected Reprint of 1976 ed.; New York: Schocken Books, 1984), pp. 174-181, is by far the best account of the rebellion, its prelude, and its aftermath. Especially valuable is treatment (with map, p. 177, and dependent in part on Hebrew sources almost never mentioned in modern accounts written by classically trained ancient historians) of Ursicinus' campaign. For other modern literature see Barnes, Athanasius and Constantius, p. 316, n. 55.

[[12]]E. A. Thompson, The Historical Work of Ammianus Marcellinus (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947), pp. 56-59, and Roger Blockley, "Constantius Gallus and Julian as Caesars of Constantius II," Latomus 31 (1972), pp. 441-443, and Ammianus Marcellinus: A Study of His Historical and Political Thought, Coll. Latomus 141 (Brussels, 1975), argue that Gallus has been underrated as a commander. In general, see John Matthews, The Roman Empire of Ammianus (London: Duckworth, 1989) and Timothy D. Barnes' forthcoming study of Ammianus. For Ammianus' chronology, see Otto Seeck, "Zur Chronologie und Quellenkritik des Ammianus Marcellinus," 41 (1906), pp. 494-499; For diplomatic and military context, Michael H. Dodgeon and Samuel N. C. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363), (London and New York: Routledge, 1991); for drought rather than the supply of troops as the cause of food shortages in Antioch, Glanville Downey, A History of Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conflict (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961), p. 365.

[[13]]Ammianus (14.7.7) contrasts Theophilus' fate with that of Sevenianus 2 (PLRE I, 825). The latter, while dux Phoenices sometime before 354 had allowed the city Celse to be pillaged and, in addition, was supposed to have employed a combination of magic and the consultation of an unnamed prophetic temple to attempt to discover whether he would realize his ambition to become emperor. Unlike Theophilus, who died undeservedly, Severianus escaped his due. However, all would come right in the end (at least in Ammianus' view), when none other than Severianus himself would execute Gallus.

[[14]]About 360 Libanius delivered in private an invective against Gallus and the jeopardy in which he had put Libanius' uncle Phasganius, on whom see Otto Seeck, Die Briefe des Libanius (Reprint of 1906 ed.; Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1966), pp. 234-235.. Cf. Libanius Ep. 64, trans. A. F. Norman, Autobiography and Selected Letters II, p. 45-49


[[15]]Contra Eunomium I, Migne PG 54 (1858), col. 264. But note Libanius' allegation that Constantius repeatedly urged Strategius Musonianus (PLRE I, pp. 611-612), praetorian prefect after Domitianus, to moderation in his investigation of the incident.

[[16]]Hermogenes had been killed by a mob ca. 342 in Thrace, where Constantius had sent him from Antioch to expel the newly elected bishop of Constantinople, Paul.

[[17]]Ammianus 14.13.14 names Flavius Leontius 22 (PLRE I, p. 503) Lucillianus 3 (PLRE I, pp. 517-518) and Bainobaudes 1 (PLRE I, p. 145).

[[18]]Philostorgius, who fails to mention the treason trials, links Gallus' fall to the fates of Domitianus and Montius. Upon learning of their deaths, Constantius, according to Philostorgius (Hist. eccl. 4.1) summoned Gallus and his wife to the west; Constantina died en route in Bithynia, while Gallus, together with Theophilus the Indian (not in PLRE), eventually reach Noricum. There Barbatio, who had been sent from Milan, attempted on Constantius' orders to strip Gallus of his rank and to transport him under arrest to an island in Dalmatia. When Theophilus objected, Constantius had him exiled and Barbatio proceeded to carry out his mission. Constantius was next swayed by the machinations of his eunuch Eusebius to order Gallus' execution. Though Constantius withdrew this sentence of death, Eusebius, Philostorgius charges, kept the pardon from reaching Gallus' executioners in time.

[[19]]E.g., those cited in Roger S. Bagnall, Alan Cameron, Seth R. Swartz, and Klass A. Worp, Consuls of the Later Roman Empire (Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1987), pp. 239-243), and Dessau ILS 737.


Translations of some of the literary sources important for Gallus' reign exist only in fairly new or in old hard-to-find editions. Cyril Mango, Roger Scott, and Geoffrey Greatrex, The Chronicle of Theophanes the Confessor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), now provide an authoritative translation with sparse notes; Samuel Lieu and Dominic Montserrat, From Constantine to Julian (London and New York: Routledge, 1996) contains an annotated translation of much of the Passio Artemii. For Zonaras, see Michael DiMaio, Zonaras' Account of the Neo-Flavian Emperors (Ph.D. diss., University of Missouri, 1977; Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 78-914112). A. F. Norman's four Loeb volumes of Libanius (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1969-1992) contain much relevant to Gallus. J. C. Rolfe has a translation and text of the Anonymus Valesianus in Vol. III of his Loeb Ammianus (Revised reprint of 1939 ed.; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964). Edward Walford's translation of Photius' Epitome of Philostorgius appears with a translation of Sozomenus in the old Bohn series (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855). Michael H. Dodgeon and Samuel N. C. Lieu, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363), (London and New York: Routledge, 1991), has annotated translations of an impressive range of material. A Select Library of Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church contains translations of patristic sources. One important exception is Gregory's Or. 4, translated (unevenly) into English by C. W. King, Julian the Emperor (London: George Bell and Sons, 1888), and into French by Jean Bernardi, Gregoire de Nazianze, Discours 4-5 (Paris: Les éditions du Cerf, 1983). P. Henry's Bude of Photius Bibliotheca (Paris: Société d'édition "Les Belles Lettres," 1959-1991) gives a French translation. Richard Burgess, The Chronicle of Hydatius and the Consularia Constantinopolitana (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), supersedes for the Consularia Mommsen's Monumenta Germaniae Historica edition, Chronica minora I (Berlin, 1892).


Avi-Yonah, Michael. The Jews under Roman and Byzantine Rule. (Corrected Reprint of 1976 ed.; New York: Schocken Books, 1984).

Bagnall, Roger S., Cameron, Alan, Swartz, Seth R., and Worp, Klass A. Consuls of the Later Roman Empire. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1987.

Barnes,Timothy D. Athanasius and Constantius. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993.

Bidez, Joseph. La Vie de l'Empereur Julien (Paris: Société d'édition "Les Belles Lettres," 1930).

Bleckmann, Bruno. "Constantina, Vetranio, und Gallus Caesar." Chiron 24 (1994), pp. 29-68.

Blockley, Roger. "Constantius Gallus and Julian as Caesars of Constantius II," Latomus 31 (1972), pp. 441-443.

__________. Ammianus Marcellinus: A Study of His Historical and Political Thought, Coll. Latomus 141. Brussels, 1975.

Brennecke, Hanns Christof. Studien zur Geschichte der Homoer. Vol. 73 of Beiträge zur historischen Theologie. Edited by Johannes Wallmann. Tubingen: J. C. B. Mohr, 1988.

DiMaio, Michael Jr, and Duane W.-H. Arnold, "Per Vim, Per Caedem, Per Bellum: A Study of Murder and Ecclesiatical Politics in the Year 337 A.D.." Byzantion, 62 (1992), pp.158ff.

Dodgeon, Michael H. and Lieu, Samuel N. C. The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars (AD 226-363). London and New York: Routledge, 1991.

Downey, Glanville. A History of Antioch in Syria from Seleucus to the Arab Conflict. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1961.

Geiger, J. "Ammianus Marcellinus and the Jewish Revolt under Gallus." Liverpool Classical Monthly 4 (1979), p. 77.

__________. "The Last Jewish Revolt against Rome: A Reconsideration." Scripta Classica Israelica 5 (1979/80), pp. 250-257.

Hadjinicolaou, A. "Macellum, lieu d'exil de l'empereur Julien," Byzantion 21 (1951), pp. 15-22.

Jones, A. H. M., Martindale, J. R., and Morris, J. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol I. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971.

Kent, J. P. C. The Family of Constantine I, A.D. 337-364. Vol. VIII of Roman Imperial Coinage. Edited by C.H.V Sutherland and R. A. G. Carson. London: Spink and Son, Ltd., 1981, pp. 137, 174, 200, 242-244, 313, 345-346, 382, 398-399, 428, 443-444, 467, 487, 504-507, 536-537.

Lieu, Samuel N. C. and Montserrat, Dominic. From Constantine to Julian. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.

Matthews, John. The Roman Empire of Ammianus. London: Duckworth, 1989.

Seeck, Otto. "Zur Chronologie und Quellenkritik des Ammianus Marcellinus," Hermes 41 (1906), pp. 481-539.

Thompson, E. A. The Historical Work of Ammianus Marcellinus. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1947.

Vanderspoel, John. Themistius and the Imperial Court. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1995.

Copyright (C), Thomas M. Banchich This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

For more detailed geographical information, please use the DIR/ORBAntique and Medieval Atlas below. Click on the appropriate part of the map below to access large area maps.

 Clickable Image S-EN-O/N-WS-O/S-WN-E

Return to the Imperial Index