Battle of Frigidus - Emperor Theodosius I Defeats Eugenius, Uniting Roman Empire Hot

Battle of Frigidus - Emperor Theodosius I Defeats Eugenius, Uniting Roman Empire

Theodosius I
Source: Erine

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Battle of the Frigidus: Also known as the Battle of the Frigid River, this battle is fought today and tomorrow along the Frigid River in modern-day Slovenia.

Theodosius I the Great, Roman emperor who established Christianity as the official religion and persecuted the pagans, defeats the pagan Western emperor Eugenius and his commander, the Frankish magister militum Arbogast.

Theodosius' victory allows him to reunite the Eastern and Western empires and put all of the Roman Empire under the command of a single ruler for the last time in history.

Eugenius is the last pagan leader in Rome to use military force to challenge the Christianization of the Roman Empire, so his defeat means that Christianity will continue to grow and dominate Europe. His predecessor as ruler of the Western Roman Empire, Valentinian II, had been favoring Christians and suppressing pagans before he died suddenly — something Arbogast reported as suicide, but which Theodosius found suspicious.

Arbogast was the one who ensured that Flavius Eugenius became emperor. Eugenius' early reign was characterized by appointing pagans to high-ranking positions in the imperial government, something which made the tensions between the eastern and western Roman empires even worse. This apparent pagan revival, centered in Rome itself, upset Theodosius and helped make war between the two halves of the empire almost inevitable.

The latest date that Theodosius could have decided for certain on an invasion of the West was January 393, when he named his son Honorius as augustus of the West; since then, he has been organizing his forces for an attack on the increasingly paganized Romans of the West.

The religious nature of this conflict is made unambiguous by the fact that Arbogast and Eugenius erect a large statue of Jupiter at the edge of the battlefield and put images of Hercules on the Roman battle standards. The message is clear: they are defending the old pagan religious traditions, and their army is being supported by the pagan gods themselves, just as the Roman armies were in the old days.

On the first day the Western Roman army under Eugenius and Arbogast is successful, but a storm in the following days affects them worse than the Eastern Roman forces, and the army is scattered. Christian historians and court attendants will depict this as the Christian god acting on behalf of Theodosius in order to ensure the Christianization of Europe.

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Theodosius I the Great Roman Emperor 379-395AD Biography

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