The Historia

Seeking Veracity

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



" . . . the Emperor, Theodosius II, reigning in the East, was the son of Arcadius and Eudoxia, herself the daughter of a Frank named Bauto although one suspects her mother was Roman." - 15,  p.  133


"The (Salic) law is never mentioned by the earlier Frank chroniclers Gregory or Fredegarius, and it is only in the Gesta Francorum that we hear that, while the Franks were still on German soil near the mouth of the Rhine, after the election of Pharamond, their law was framed by four sages, Wisovast, Wisogast, Ar(b?)ogast, and Salegast, representing four cantons of the tribe." - 4,  p.  43

"The renowned nation of the Franks, the chosen of God, strong in battle, wise in council, mighty by their union, noble and virtuous, of surpassing stature, bold vigorous, and firm, caused the Salic law to be drawn up, while they were yet pagans, by the chiefs by whom they were at that period governed.  Four men were chosen from among the elders, named Wysogast, Bodogast, Salogast and Windogast, who came from the countries then called Salagheven, Bodogheven, and  Windogheven.  These four men met three times in the Malberg, weighed the origin and peculiarities of all the laws, and then laid them down in writing." - 21,  p.  122


"A curious postscript to the history of the family of Arbogastes attests its survival for a further two generations with local influence in the region of Trier.  His grandson, also named Arbogastes II (the son of Arigius), was addressed as comes Treverorum both by Sidonius Apollinaris and by the bishop of Toul, Auspicius.  In his poem to Arbogastes II, Auspicius praised him as no less distinguished than his great ancestor, and in one crucial respect superior; he had abandoned paganism for Christianity." - 8,  p.  247

"Soon there was no further hope of maintaining a frontier on the Rhine.  About 460 Köln and Mainz seem to have been in Frankish hands.  Trier lasted longer, but ultimately came under the control of the Rhineland Franks, and by the end of the century was part of Clovis' kingdom.  For a time, however, it was in the hands of one Arbogast II, descendent of the Arbogast II of the late 4th century.  Though Frankish, he bore the title of comes, a title which shows that he claimed to represent Roman authority, and he may have worked in conjunction with Syagrius, who until 486 maintained under Roman rule an enclave based on Soissons.  Moreover, we know that he was a man of Roman education, for Sidonius Apollinaris, writer, landowner and bishop, corresponded with him, and addressed him as an orator and man of letters.  Bishop Auspicius of Toul wrote for him an epistle in verse, congratulating Trier on its ruler, addressing Arbogast II in most flattering terms and declaring that his Christian faith made him superior even to his famous ancestor.  It has been suggested that on his mother's side he may have been descended from one of the high-ranking families of 4th century Trier: in any case, he stands as the last known representative of Roman rule in the Mosel valley." - 9,  p. 70


"It has been seen that despite invasions, there was no complete disruption in the life of town or countryside in the 5th century to mark the effective end of Roman rule, and that it is not even easy to point to an exact date at which Roman rule may be said to have ended.  Salvianus tells us that there were still noble families with some pretensions to culture living in the city, and Arbogast II had been educated in the Roman manner. - 9,  p.  250


"This does not of course mean that life in the city was continuing as before.  There must have been an enormous drop in living standards, and a fall in population resulting from not only the actual victims of war but also from an exodus of all people who had, or thought they could find, a means of livelihood elsewhere.  This exodus had started at the end of the fourth century, when Trier ceased to house the praefectus praetorio Galliarum and his entourage, and there is every reason to suppose it continued.  Arbogast II himself may eventually have left, for it is probable that he is the same man as the like-named bishop of Chartres attested for the 480's." - 9,  p.  250


"Franks in large numbers were apparently not allowed into the Mosel valley region, which suggests that the campaigns of Constantius, later on Aëtius and Aëgidius, did result in an effective measure of control in this area.  Arbogast II, whether appointed by Roman authority or himself putting forward a claim which was subsequently recognized, must have continued this policy of keeping the status quo as far as possible: he may well have had close relations with Syagrius and Childeric, the first trying to retain Roman control, the second loyal to his federate status.  Arbogast II's presumed departure from Trier about 480 could be linked with an expansion of the power of Clovis, Childeric's son, or some other Frankish leader from the lower Rhineland. - 9,  p.  251


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