The Historia

Seeking Veracity

Historical Excerpts on the 4th & 5th Century  Arbogast  Family Origins



"Promotus, who had recently annihilated a host of Greutungi under Odothaeus upon the Danube (386), commanded the cavalry and Timasius the infantry; among the officers were Richomer and Arbogast.  In June Theodosius with Valentinian marched towards the West; he could look for no support from Italy, for Rome had fallen into the hands of Maximus during the preceding January, and the usurper's fleet was cruising in the Adriatic." - 18,  p.  242


" - 18,  p.  242


"His (Maximus') fleet was defeated off Sicily, and Victor who had been left as Augustus in Gaul was slain by Arbogast." - 18,  p.  243


"Bauto, as we have seen, having been apparently for some years dead, the chief command of the western armies and the chief place in the Imperial Councils was assigned to that other valiant Frankish captain, Arbogast, who had shared in the command of the army of Gratin in the Pannonian campaign of 380, of the Theodosian army in the campaign against Maximus, and who had put to death the young and vanquished Victor in Gaul after the downfall of the usurper.  This man, now practically chief ruler of Europe west of the Adriatic, belonged apparently to a sort of clan of fortunate barbarians.  If the information given us by a somewhat late historian may be depended upon, he was himself the son of Count Bauto and the nephew of Count Richomer."  Note:

   'I have not there alluded to the fact, mention below, that according the statement of Johannes Antiochenus, Bauto and Arbogast stood to one another in the relation of father and son. . . . . Late, comparatively, as is the date of Johannes Antiochenus (the seventh century probably), we know that he drew from some good contemporary sources, and as these statements of his are not contradicted by any other historian, they seem to me deserving of more attention than they have hitherto received. (They were unknown to Tillemont when he prepared his admirable digest of materials for history.)  Perhaps the greatest difficulty is in connection with Richomer, who on this theory, was about to be appointed by Theodosius to the command of the expedition against his own nephew, Arbogast, when his career was closed by his death.'

"He (Arbogast) was still probably in the vigour of early manhood, a man of reckless courage, a master of the art of war, 'flame-like' in his all-conquering energy, and adored by his men, not merely for his other soldierly qualities, but especially because they saw that this rugged Frank cared not for gold and was quite inaccessible to all those paltry bribes which were continually soiling the hands of the Generals of Roman extraction.  But with many good qualities the man was still a hard, rough, barbarian at heart, intensley fond of power, and impatient of the deference which Imperial etiquette required him to pay to the young and delicately nurtured Augustus, his nominal master.  Perhaps, too, even the domestic virtues of Valentinian II, his piety, his chastity, his affection for his sisters, earned for him contempt rather than respect from this hard-featured son of the forest and the camp."

"In Book IV, when he is describing the murder of Victor, the son of the tyrant Maximus, he says:" - 21,  p.  121

'At that time Charietto and Sirus, appointed in the place of Nanninus, were stationed in the province of Germania with an army collected to oppose the Franks.'

"A little further on, after stating that the Franks had gone home laden with booty from Germania, he goes on:" - 21,  p.  121

'Arbogast, who would brook no delay, urged the Emperor to inflict due punishment on the Franks unless they immediately restored all the plunder which they had seized the previous year when the legions were slaughtered, and unless they surrendered the warmongers who had been responsible for such a treacherous violation of peace.'

"On the fall of Victor, Arbogast remained, under the vague title of Comes or Count, the virtual ruler of Gaul, while Charietto (the son of Julian's Charietto in 358? . . . or old Charietto himself?) and Syrus succeeded as magistri militum the nominees of Maximus.  Arbogast on his arrival counseled a punitive expedition, but it would seem that Theodosius did not accept the advice.  A peace was concluded, Marcomir and Sunno gave hostages, and Arbogast himself retired to winter quarters in Trier." - 18,  p.  243

"Emperor (Valentinian II) was now (388) seventeen years of age: his mother, Justina, had died apparently on the eve of Theodosius's victory (over Maximus), and he governed, or tried to govern, alone." - 19,  p.  128

"The position in which the young Emperor was left when his mentor and colleague returned within the limits of the Eastern Empire was doubtless a difficult one.  He never had yet really ruled.  First Justina, and then Theodosius, had guided the helm of the State, while he sat on deck under a silken canopy.  Nor had Theodosius intended that the real stress of administration or of war should fall as yet on those boyish shoulders. - 14,  p.  550


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