Arcadius

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Flavius Arcadius (Greek: Ἀρκάδιος; 377/378 – 1 May 408) was Eastern Roman Emperor from 395 to his death. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the western emperor Honorius. A weak ruler, his reign was dominated by a series of powerful ministers and by his wife, Aelia Eudoxia.

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History

Arcadius was born in Hispania, the elder son of Theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of Honorius, who would become a Western Roman Emperor. His father declared him an Augustus and co-ruler for the Eastern half of the Empire in January, 383. His younger brother was also declared Augustus in 393, for the Western half.

As emperors, Honorius was under the control of the Romanized Vandal magister militum Flavius Stilicho while Arcadius was dominated by one of his ministers, Rufinus. Stilicho is alleged by some to have wanted control of both emperors, and is supposed to have had Rufinus assassinated by Gothic mercenaries in 395; though definite proof of Stilicho's involvement in the assassination is lacking, the intense competition and political jealousies engendered by the two figures compose the main thread of the first part of Arcadius' reign. Arcadius' new advisor, the eunuch Eutropius, simply took Rufinus' place as the power behind the Eastern imperial throne.

Arcadius was also dominated by his wife Aelia Eudoxia, who convinced her husband to dismiss Eutropius, who was holding the consulate, at the height of his power, in 399. That same year, on the 13th July, Arcadius issued an edict ordering that all remaining non-Christian temples should be immediately demolished.

Eudoxia's influence was strongly opposed by John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who felt that she had used her family's wealth to gain control over the emperor. Eudoxia used her influence to have Chrysostom deposed in 404, but she died later that year. Eudoxia gave to Arcadius four children: three daughters, Pulcheria, Arcadia and Marina, and one son, Theodosius, the future Emperor Theodosius II.

Arcadius was dominated for the rest of his rule by Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect, who made peace with Stilicho in the West. Arcadius himself was more concerned with appearing to be a pious Christian than he was with political or military matters, and he died, only nominally in control of his empire, in 408.

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