The Historia

Seeking Veracity

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



"Indeed, events shewed the profound suspicion and mistrust which underlay fair-seeming concord.  Bauto was still holding the Alpine passes when the Junthungi, a branch of the Alemanni, entered Rhaetia to rob and plunder.  Bauto desired that domestic pillage should recall the tribesmen to their homes.  And at his instigation, the Huns and Alans who were approaching Gaul were diverted and fell upon the territory of the Alemanni.  Maximus complained that hordes of marauders were being brought to the confines of his territory, and Valentinian was forced to purchase the retreat of his own allies." - 18,  p.  241

It is interesting to see what Gregory of Tours says about the events around the time Maximus left Trier.  He tells us that the German Franks were still at war with Rome.  His account  from "The History of the Franks" follows:

                        FRANKS PLUNDER GAUL & DESTROY THE JOVIAN LEGION - 388 

"Many people do not even know the name of the first King of the Franks.  The Historia of Sulpicius Alexander (it has been lost) gives many details about them, while Valentinus does not name their first King but says that they were ruled by war-leaders.  What Sulpicius Alexander says about the Franks seems to be worth quoting.  He tells how Maximus gave up all hope of the imperial throne, lost his reason and went to live in Aquileia.  Then he adds:" (in red)

'At that time the Franks invaded the Roman province of Germania under their leaders Genobaud, Marcomer and Sunno.  As these Franks crossed the frontier, many of the inhabitants were slaughtered and they ravaged the most fertile areas.  The townsfolk of Cologne were terrified: and, when this news reached Trier, Nanninus and Quintinus, who commanded the Roman armies and to whom Maximus had entrusted his infant son and the defense of Gaul, collected their troops together and marched to that city.  The enemy, who were heavily laden with booty, for they had pillaged the richest parts of the province, crossed back over the Rhine, but left many of their men behind in Roman territory, where they were planning to continue their ravaging.  The Romans found it easy to deal with these, and a great number of Franks were cut down in the forest of Charbonniére.  After this success, the Roman leaders held a meeting to decide whether or not they should cross into Frankish territory.  Nanninus refused to do so, for he knew that the Franks were waiting for them and that on their own soil they would undoubtedly be much the stronger.  This did not meet with the approval of Quintinus and the other military leaders, and so Nanninus retreated to Mainz.  Quintinus crossed the Rhine somewhere near the fortress of Neuss with his army.  After two days' march away from the river, he attacked a number of dwellings abandoned by their inhabitants and a few townships of no mean size, which were, however, deserted.  The Franks had pretended to retire in panic and had withdrawn into the remote woodland regions, all round which they had erected barricades of forest trees.  The Roman soldiers burned down all the houses, imagining in their cowardly stupidity that by doing so they had gained a conclusive victory: then they spent an anxious night without daring to take off their heavy equipment.  At first light they marched out into the woods, with Quintinus to lead them in battle.  By about mid-day they had lost themselves completely in a maze of pathways and had no idea where they were.  They ran up against an endless barricade solidly constructed from huge tree-trunks, and then they tried to break out over the marshy fields which bordered the forests.  Here and there enemy troops showed themselves, standing on the boles of trees or climbing about on the barricades as if on the ramparts or turrets.  They kept shooting arrows as if from war-catapults, and these they smeared with poisons distilled from plants, so that wounds which did little more than graze the skin and touched no vital organ were followed by death against which there was no protection.  Then the Roman army, now surrounded by the main force of the enemy, rushed desperately into the open meadows, which the Franks had left unoccupied.  There the cavalry was bogged down in marshland and the bodies of men and animals, all mixed up together, were borne to the ground in one common catastrophe.  Such infantry as was not trodden under foot by the heavy horses was caught in thick mud from which the men had difficulty in lifting one foot after the other.  With fear in their hearts they rushed back to hide in the very woodlands out of which they had marched only a short time before.  As the legions were cut down the ranks were broken.  Heraclius, tribune of the Jovinian Legion, and almost all the officers were wiped out.  Darkness and the deep recesses of the forests offered safety and refuge to a few survivors.'

That is what Sulpicius Alexander had to say in Book III of his Historia. - 21,  p.  120

"He says that these events occurred at a time when the Franks were ruled by war-leaders.  Then he continues:" - 21,  p.  122

'A few days later there was a short parley with Marcomer and Sunno, the royal leaders of the Franks.  Hostages were insisted upon, as was the custom, and then Arbogast retired into winter quarters in Trier.'


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