The Historia

Seeking Veracity

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


PROLOGUE (Note, my comments will be in blue)

The first historical mention of the name "Arbogast" occurs when the Eastern Roman Emperor,Theodosius, is rescued by some of the Western Roman Emperor, Gratian's, legionary forces commanded by the Frankish born, Roman military officers, Bauto and Arbogast.  They were said to stand as father and son to one another.  It is implied that these men came from "beyond the Scheldt" river, which would further imply that their Frankish heritage was Salian in nature.  These were the Franks that for many years had lived in the marshes near the coast of Belgium, or West of the Maas river in Holland.  These were the Franks that formed a sort of truce with the Roman Emperor Julian and became "Fedorati".  This meant that the Franks could occupy these new lands in Gaul without being harassed by Roman military action if they would supply Rome with recruits for the legions.  These "barbarians" undoubtedly had "spilled over the Rhine" in earlier times and were directly related to the Germanic tribes that existed on the right bank of the Rhine in the 4th century, namely the Sicambri, the Bructeri, the Chamavi, the Chatti, the Usipii, the Marsi and the Ampsivarii to mention a few.  They were also undoubtedly the ancestors of the many Frankish kings to come, including Charlemagne in the 8th century.

We can only guess at the story of Arbogast prior to history's first mention of him in the year 380 AD.  One could speculate that he was a tribal leader or perhaps more likely the son of such an important Frank.  When history first comments, he must have been . . . say, between 20 to 30 years old.  This would have made him 34 to 44 years old at the time of his death.  If we assume he was 40 at the time of his death, he would have been born about 354 AD.  Assuming Bauto to be in his 20's at the time of Arbogast's birth, Bauto would have been born about, say . . . 330 AD.  Nothing in the historical accounts describes Arbogast's physical stature.  The only personal comments are about his character, his obvious success as a warrior against his barbarian forbearers and his magnetism as a leader of tough Roman Army troops as well as the general population of Gaul.

In 358 AD, Julian, "the Apostate" began his campaigns to stop the Germanic tribes from plundering and raiding in Gaul - 12,  p. 108.  Both, the northern and eastern boundaries of Gaul were in jeopardy.  Julian was first able to make a treaty with the Salian Franks where they had been dwelling for a long time between the Maas river and southeast of the Rhine "delta", perhaps just to the east of where Rotterdam and Dordrecht are now located.  After this, Julian decided to "evict" the Chamavi who had recently settled close by the salii on the west bank of the Rhine.  A Frankish barbarian named Charietto, who had been inducted into Roman military service was instrumental in forcing the Chamavi to leave their settlement.  Barbaric and brutal campaigns led by this Frank leader forced the Chamavi to retreat back to Germany from where they came.  His exact origin is unknown, but it could have come from the Salii, or the Oxnard who had by now made peace with Rome.  It is possible that Bauto could have been one of these "Federati" also.  He would have been a young man, probably a tribal "war-leader", and . . . father of the little boy, Arbogast, who could have recently been born.  It is conceivable that Arbogast could have actually been brought up as what some might today call , a "military brat".  While Bauto progressed through the ranks to very high levels and even became a trusted military advisor to the Imperial Court in Italy, Arbogast was brought up to be a soldier and was nurtured and trained in Roman military traditions for his entire young life.  Certainly Bauto, his father, could have been a powerful influence.  It is written that the Franks, an amalgamation of several tribes, migrated down the Rhine and were so-called “Ripaurian Franks”.  Arbogast’s grandfather was Mallobaudes, king of the Franks in Worms.  His father, Malaric, was also a king of the Franks in Toxandria.  His father and grandfather, respectively, were Merogais and Genebaud who were kings of the Ripaurian Franks.  History also indicates that Richomer, who was Arbogast's uncle, son of Mallobaudes, and Bauto's “brother-in-law”, rose to be a very high ranking military officer in the service of Rome and later a top officer in the Eastern Roman Army.  So, the family examples for the young Arbogast to follow were indeed supportive, clear and compelling.  He must have received special insights and had the opportunity to develop the special skills required to lead half of the Roman Empire as he did later for several years.

So the historical part of the story begins with both Bauto and Arbogast, now experienced military officers in the Roman Army of Gaul, being sent by Gratian, the Emperor of the West, with troops to reinforce the efforts of Theodosius, the Emperor of the East, against the Goths who were "spilling" over the Alps into Yugoslavia and down the Greek penninsula.


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