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The Whole North Into Gaul
Thanks Justin!

I updated it with a new draft today.

Justin Swanton, I mentioned your interpretation of "Concluderent" in one of my footnotes. I added your name to my (very long) list of contributors too.
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(05-28-2016, 02:40 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Thanks Justin!

I updated it with a new draft today.

Justin Swanton, I mentioned your interpretation of "Concluderent" in one of my footnotes. I added your name to my (very long) list of contributors too.

Thanks Evan.

Tell me, do you have the Latin text of the Vita Sanctae Genovefae? There are five versions and I am especially interested in the oldest one. I have the Golden Legend of Bishop Caxton but nothing beats the original language.

One other point:

Quote:Umm... Aegidius and Childeric were allies, but Childeric killed Paul and vassalized Syagrius in 465, and then Syagrius revolted against Childeric in 486, retook Soissons, and then was defeated and his lands absorbed into the Frankish kingdom.

Do you have any textual evidence for this from the primary sources? My own understanding of the situation in Roman Gaul rests on Gregory of Tours and Remigius.

Gregory:

Now Childeric fought at Orleans and Odoacer came with the Saxons to Angers. At that time a great plague destroyed the people. Egidius died and left a son, Syagrius by name. On his death Odoacer received hostages from Angers and other places. The Britanni were driven from Bourges by the Goths, and many were slain at the village of Déols. Count Paul with the Romans and Franks made war on the Goths and took booty. When Odoacer came to Angers, king Childeric came on the following day and, with count Paul slain, took the city. In a great fire on that day the house of the bishop was burned. 

After this war was waged between the Saxons and the Romans but the Saxons fled and left many of their people to be slain, the Romans pursuing. Their islands were captured and ravaged by the Franks, and many were slain. In the ninth month of that year, there was an earthquake. Odoacer made an alliance with Childeric, and they subdued the Alamanni, who had overrun a part of Italy. – History of the Franks, II, 18 & 19

I interpret this paragraph as follows:

The Visigothic army under the leadership of Frederic, the brother of king Theuderic, attacked the Roman territory north of the Loire. At the same time one of Ricimer’s lieutenants, Odoacer (who would eventually replace Ricimer as Magister Militum of Italy) with the support of a force of Saxon federates sailed up the Loire and attacked Angers. This whole business was arranged by the Emperor Libius Severus to bring Roman Gaul back into line.

The Visigothic army was defeated by Aegidius’s Roman troops, reinforced by Franks, near Orleans, and Frederic was killed. Aegidius himself died shortly after this victory. After Aegidius’s death, one of his lieutenants, Paulus, assumed his title, took command of his army and invaded Visigothic territory south of the Loire, aided by the Franks under Childeric and a force of Britons – the latter most likely Auxilia.

At the news of Aegidius’s death Angers and the surrounding region submitted to Odoacer as the legitimate imperial representative, giving him hostages as surety. Faced with this crisis of authority, Paulus broke off his campaign against the Visigoths and hurried to Angers with his Roman troops and the Frankish federates. The Britons, without support, were beaten by the Visigoths at Bourges and Déols.

Childeric, realising that Paulus was politically on his way out, switched sides and killed his former ally on their arrival at Angers. Odoacer, now the new Magister Militum in Gaul, was able to defeat his Saxon federates when they rebelled against him, using Aegidius’s Roman troops to crush them decisively at Angers whilst the Franks finished the job of teaching them manners in their homeland in the ‘islands’ – possibly Holland. As Odoacer’s new federate, Chideric later helped him subdue the Alamanni in Italy.

Penny MacGeorge in Late Roman Warlords proposes that there were two Odoacers, evidenced by two different spellings of his name in this passage. But that doesn't wash for a second. Gregory's Latin spelling was notoriously bad - he has two substantially divergent spellings for the name of the Visigothic king Euric, but it's obvious he is talking about the same person. What stands out from this passage is that the Emperor reasserts direct control over northern Gaul in the person of Odoacer, whilst Childeric switches allegiance from Paulus to Odoacer when it becomes clear who the real imperial authority is. He then serves Odoacer and the empire by helping defeat the Alamans in Italy. There is no hint here that Childeric renounces his federate status. Something else to note: Syagrius does not immediately succeed his father, but only later on at some undetermined date. Coins continued to be struck in the name of the reigning emperor, first the Western emperors, and when they were gone, the Eastern emperor Zeno. It seems at least likely that Syagrius took up the governorship of Roman Gaul initially in genuine submission to Rome.

Then Remigius's letter to Clovis on his accession in 481:

Rumor ad nos magnum pervenit, administrationem vos Secundum Belgice suscepisse. Non est novum, ut coeperis esse, sicut parentes tui semper fuerunt.

Word of great import has reached us that you have received the administration of Belgica Secunda. This is not a new thing, that you should begin to be what your forefathers always were.

I put in the Latin to underscore two points about this passage. First Clovis does not take absolute control of Belgica Secunda, he is given the administration - administrationem - of it. This clearly implies a superior authority who delegates the governance to him. Secondly, he receives the administration of a Roman province. Belgica Secunda was one of four provinces that made up northern Roman Gaul in the latter half of the 5th century. Here's a map:

[Image: roman%20gaul.jpg]

If Clovis simply asserted his power over all the territory formerly controlled by Syagrius, why 'administration' and why 'Belgica Secunda'?

Then back to  Gregory of Tours:

In the fifth year of his reign Siagrius, king of the Romans, son of Egidius, had his seat in the city of Soissons which Egidius, who has been mentioned before, once held. And Clovis came against him with Ragnachar, his kinsman, because he used to possess the kingdom, and demanded that they make ready a battlefield. And Siagrius did not delay nor was he afraid to resist. And so they fought against each other and Siagrius, seeing his army crushed, turned his back and fled swiftly to king Alaric at Toulouse.
– History of the Franks, II, 27

It is worth noting that 'kingdom' is rendered as regnum in Latin, the primary meaning of which is 'authority', 'rule', 'dominion' - not necessarily a kingdom as such. Tying this in with the previous passages, what we have is Syagrius revoking Clovis's administrative title to Belgica Secunda and reoccupying Soissons to underscore the point. Clovis responds by creating an alliance among the Salian Franks and meeting Syagrius in battle. Notice that Syagrius 'did not delay nor was he afraid to resist' which implies he had a strong army - rather odd for the vassal of a barbarian chieftain - and was quite confident he could beat Clovis.
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You have some interesting thoughts.

Odoacer and the Romans were not allied, as Odoacer had been left in Gaul by Attila with his Scirii (whom Gregory mistakes for Saxons) in 451. He was defeated by the Alans in 452, hence Jordanes "second battle of Chalons", but remained a nuisance keeping Roman control of north Gaul at a minimum.

Childeric switched allegiance from Paul to Odoacer because Childeric and Odoacer were already allies, as both had been princes of Attila. Attila invaded Gaul in 451 to place Childeric on the throne of the Franks and vassalize the Rhine, while simultaneously intending to defeat the militarily potent Western Roman Field army. However, the failed siege of Orleans ended his plan, which was further complicated by the disastrous Battle of Chalons. Going off of Hughes' suggestion that Attila had split off a small force to harass Frankish territory and Kim's suggestion that Attila left Odoacer behind to establish dominance in North Gaul, it seems likely that Odoacer had led his Scirii into Frankish territory during that campaign and was unable to meet up with Attila before the Battle of Chalons, trapping him in Gaul.

Aegidius became Magister Militum per Gallias in 457 under Majorian, being elevated from the prior position of Dux Belgicae Secundae that he had been given by Aetius some time in the 440's (possibly 443 when Ricimer came into service under Aetius after the treaty with the Burgundians, it is likely he held the title of Comes Foederatorum). However, upon Majorian's death in 461, Ricimer reinstated Agrippinus as Magister Militum per Gallias (who had replaced Majorian with that title in 452 when Aetius removed Majorian from power). Upon his death in 464, Aegidius did not hold the title of Magister Militum per Gallias, and neither did his successor Paulus. Paulus, based out of Adecavus (Angers), most likely held the titles of Comes Tractus Aremoriciani, and Dux Belgicae Secundae. Paulus served as a regent over Syagrius (like Stilicho over Honorius and Aetius over Valentinian), who was still a child.

Meanwhile, in 457 Childeric had succeeded his brother Merovech as king of the Salian Franks. Aegidius, still somewhat militarily potent with Roman Limitanei forces at his disposal as well as the Alans of Orleans, allied himself with Childeric, who was in turn allied with Odoacer. However, Aegidius was a part of the Roman Empire, even if he wasn't necessarily loyal to Emperors not considered legitimate, like Avitus or Libius Severus who had been appointed by Barbarian Kingdoms (Avitus by the Goths and Libius Severus by Ricimer who was a Burgundian). In Aegidius' eyes, they were not legitimate emperors and so he owed no loyalty to them, unlike Majorian who was a Roman from Egypt and appointed by the Senate, and approved by the Eastern Emperor in Constantinople.

When Aegidius died in 464, the treaties between the Franks, Goths, and Scirii and the Romans would have expired, meaning they had to be rewritten. Exchange of hostages was customary of such treaties with foreign peoples. Having reestablished treaties with Childeric (who Sidonius hints had been defeated by Aegidius in 457 and established a treaty with) and Odoacer, Paulus marched with both of them against the Goths near Aurelianum (Orleans). However, after defeating the Visigoths, the three armies turned on each other, with the Romans defeating Odoacer. Childeric then slew Paul in Angers, and became regent over Syagrius, vassalizing him. Odoacer returned to the Scirii on the Danube and would later ally himself with Childeric when he formed the Kingdom of Italy in 476 (Gregory here has his dates mixed up).

In 481, as you propose, it seems likely Clovis acquired Soissons and the Dux Belgicae Secundae title, which would have held sway over the local Roman population. He then must have gifted it to Ragnachar. In 486 Syagrius drove Ragnachar out of Novidunum in revolt, as Gregory mentions that "Clovis came against him with Ragnachar, his kinsman, because he used to possess the kingdom, and demanded that they make ready a battlefield." Syagrius was defeated and Ragnachar returned to his seat in Novidunum, and Syagrius later captured and executed, which relinquished the rest of his territories to Clovis to do with as he wished.

The passage regarding the Britanni refers to events that take place in 470, not 465. It is unrelated. The Armoricans still nominally considered themselves part of the Roman Empire, even if they operated independently.

As for the potency of the Roman army in the latter half of the 5th century, that's hard to say. Aetius' army suddenly disappeard in 454, and later we find chunks of it under the Comes Dalmatiae Marcellinus (who revolted against Valentinian in 454). It's possible some of it ended up under the control of Aegidius, but unlikely. Aegidius's military forces would have come from the local Limitanei regiments and the Romanized Alans of Sangiban on the Loire, which combined may have numbered around 10,000 men (just a rough guess glancing at the N.D.). He would have been supplemented by the Salian Frankish Foederati of Merovech, until Childeric came to power in 457. At that point Sidonius hints that the Franks and Romans engaged in combat and Aegidius maintained the treaty, but Gregory hints that like Odoacer, the Franks seem to gain the "Socius et Amicus" status of an independent kingdom in 464.

The strength of Syagrius' army could have come from a lot of places: Franks and Armoricans supporting his bid for power, the remnants of the Loire Alans, and the remnants of the Roman Limitanei. Certainly the local Roman aristocracy may have supported him over Clovis, as it would have possibly returned to them some of their farmlands which were being managed by Barbarians under Frankish law (IIRC in Frankish law 2/3rds of the estate of Roman landlord was to be given to a Frank to manage).
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(05-30-2016, 04:11 PM)Justin Swanton Wrote: ... the Franks finished the job of teaching them manners in their homeland in the ‘islands’ – possibly Holland.

That would be The Netherlands, or Zeeland if you want the province. Wink
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
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(05-30-2016, 05:38 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: Odoacer and the Romans were not allied, as Odoacer had been left in Gaul by Attila with his Scirii (whom Gregory mistakes for Saxons) in 451.
He might have become an ally though. Everyone was switching sides at some point and eventually even Odoacer received a Roman command. Childeric became a Roman ally so why not Odoacer?
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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True, but he didn't ally with the Romans at the point Justin suggests. Although not loyal to Libius Severus, Aegidius was a part of the Empire still and I doubt the Romans would have mounted a military expedition against him when Ricimer had other threats like the Visigoths. After all, it was the Romans in Italy who sent those Britons against the Goths at Bourges and Deols.
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(05-31-2016, 12:14 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: True, but he didn't ally with the Romans at the point Justin suggests. Although not loyal to Libius Severus, Aegidius was a part of the Empire still and I doubt the Romans would have mounted a military expedition against him when Ricimer had other threats like the Visigoths. After all, it was the Romans in Italy who sent those Britons against the Goths at Bourges and Deols.

In the Life of St Severinus Odoacer visits the saint in Noricum, who tells him: "Go forth!" said Severinus, "Go forth to Italy! Now clad in wretched hides, thou shalt soon distribute rich gifts to many." - Chapter 7

St Severinus himself came to Noricum "at the time of the death of Attila, king of the Huns",. i.e. about 453. When Odoacer sees him he himself is called a iuvenis, that is, a man between the age of about 20 and 40. He was born in 433, so he could easily have visited Severinus in the latter half of the 450's and then done as the saint bade and gone to Italy, becoming part of Ricimer's entourage several years before his mission in Gaul.

Your previous post is interesting, but I would like to see your references to the primary sources.
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However it is very difficult to date many of the chapters of Severinus of Noricum. The revolt of Comagenis in Chapters I and II can be safely dated to 454 or 455, where these federates revolted on Aetius' or Valentinian III's death (as, with the way federate treaties worked at the time, they were often void when the nation's leader died). However Chapter XX is dated to 476.

The passage on Odoacer occurs after the events of the rise of King Flaccitheus and the founding of the independent kingdom of the Rugii in 467, meaning it could not have occurred prior to then. Procopius states he was part of the Protectores Domestici (which at this time consisted of officials earmarked for military service). John of Antioch in fragment 209 states he had sided with Ricimer in 472 against Anthemius, which is when most scholars first place him in Italy.

As for the events regarding the Britons, see Jordanes 45.237-239

Quote:(237) Now Eurich, king of the Visigoths, perceived the frequent change of Roman Emperors and strove to hold Gaul by his own right. The Emperor Anthemius heard of it and asked the Brittones for aid. Their King Riotimus came with twelve thousand men into the state of the Bituriges by the way of Ocean, and was received as he disembarked from his ships. (238) Eurich, king of the Visigoths, came against them with an innumerable army, and after a long fight he routed Riotimus, king of the Brittones, before the Romans could join him. So when he had lost a great part of his army, he fled with all the men he could gather together, and came to the Burgundians, a neighboring tribe then allied to the Romans. But Eurich, king of the Visigoths, seized the Gallic city of Arverna; for the Emperor Anthemius was now dead.

Sidonius Apollinaris in his letters (Letter 7, Section 5) states that Arvandus had sent a letter to Euric saying the Britons beyond the Loire should be attacked in 468 AD. The events described in Jordanes (and referenced in Gregory) are typically thought to have taken place inbetween 470 and 472 AD.
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Compliments Evan, your level of research has increased a lot since the start of your project.
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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Quote:The passage on Odoacer occurs after the events of the rise of King Flaccitheus and the founding of the independent kingdom of the Rugii in 467, meaning it could not have occurred prior to then.

I would be interested in the sources for the founding of the Rugian kingdom in 467 (no really, I would!). The Rugians broke with the Huns after the death of Attila and moved to the Danube north of Noricum some time after 454, but what is special about 467?
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The Rugii appear on the Danube before 454, actually.

The dating of 467 was done by modern historians. I can't read German though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaccitheus

Although just reading through Severinus, if we assume the first few chapters take place from 453-455, and chapter 5 and 6 are concurrent, then the 12 year span in chapter 6 would place events regarding Flacittheus between 465-467.
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(06-01-2016, 06:59 PM). Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: The Rugii appear on the Danube before 454, actually.

The dating of 467 was done by modern historians. I can't read German though.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flaccitheus

Although just reading through Severinus, if we assume the first few chapters take place from 453-455, and chapter 5 and 6 are concurrent, then the 12 year span in chapter 6 would place events regarding Flacittheus between 465-467.

Interesting. So there doesn't seem to be any actual date in the primary sources themselves. I notice the wiki article and other sites say 'by' 467, which can mean any time between Attila's death and 467.

Here is the Latin from that part of Chapter 6:

Post haec autem quidam Rugus genere per annos duodecim incredibili ossium dolore contritus omni caruerat incolumitate membrorum, cuius cruciatus intolerabilis circumquaque vicinis factus erat, ipsa diuturnitate notissimus.

A better translation is this:

"After this, a certain Rugian by birth, afflicted for twelve years by an extraordinary pain of the bones, lacked all soundness of the limbs, the intolerable agony of which became well-known by all who lived near him due to its long duration."

So the Latin doesn't make clear when the Rugian's infirmity began, just that it had lasted twelve years before the saint cured him.

This being the case, one need not allow more than a year or two after Severinus's arrival before Flaccitheus saw him, followed very soon by the cure of the sick Rugan - "after this"- and no more than a few months later for the arrival of Odoacer, say somewhere in the late 450's.

This gives Odoacer plenty of time to heed the saint's advice, go to Italy and join Ricimer's entourage. Ricimer became magister militum praesentalis after his victory over the Vandals in 456, early enough to receive the young Odoacer into his favour and use him several years later against Aegidius. That then ties in neatly with Gregory of Tours' account of Odoacer.
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Quote:So the Latin doesn't make clear when the Rugian's infirmity began, just that it had lasted twelve years before the saint cured him.

This being the case, one need not allow more than a year or two after Severinus's arrival before Flaccitheus saw him, followed very soon by the cure of the sick Rugan - "after this"- and no more than a few months later for the arrival of Odoacer, say somewhere in the late 450's.

his gives Odoacer plenty of time to heed the saint's advice, go to Italy and join Ricimer's entourage. Ricimer became magister militum praesentalis after his victory over the Vandals in 456, early enough to receive the young Odoacer into his favour and use him several years later against Aegidius. That then ties in neatly with Gregory of Tours' account of Odoacer.

Remistus was Magister Utriusque Militiae in 455-456. Ricimer and Majorian hold the title at the same time in 456-457, both appointed by Leo I. The best reconstruction, by Ian Hughes, is that Majorian was the senior Master of Soldiers and Ricimer was the junior under Avitus. They revolted against Avitus, killed Remistus, and Majorian was proclaimed emperor, and he elevated Ricimer to the senior command in 457, appointing Nepotianus as the junior Master of Soldiers that same year.

As for the rise of Flaccitheus, I can't tell you whether or not that date of 467 is true. You're only looking at a couple chapters of Severinus. The dates of many of these events are given by the man who wrote them down in the letter that preceded it, which isn't included in that online version. It could also be written down later in the text, or furthermore from another primary source document. I couldn't tell you without reading the secondary sources discussing it and I cannot read German.

Although I sincerely doubt the late 450's would be any time to get embroiled in Roman politics especially the like of Ricimer's. The late 450's was dominated by the breakup of the western half of the Hunnic empire, which would mean Edeco (the King of the Scirii at the time) and Odoacer would have been embroiled in the politics of it. Ardaric's revolt/bid for the Hunnic throne (depending on who you read), the Ostrogoths break away a couple years later in about 456/457. And Odoacer may still have been dealing with the leftovers of the situation in North Gaul after Chalons, and the rise of the Merovingian Franks.
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Quote:Remistus was Magister Utriusque Militiae in 455-456. Ricimer and Majorian hold the title at the same time in 456-457, both appointed by Leo I. The best reconstruction, by Ian Hughes, is that Majorian was the senior Master of Soldiers and Ricimer was the junior under Avitus. They revolted against Avitus, killed Remistus, and Majorian was proclaimed emperor, and he elevated Ricimer to the senior command in 457, appointing Nepotianus as the junior Master of Soldiers that same year.

Fine. That puts him on the scene to take an Odoacer under his wing in the late 450's/early 460's.

Quote:As for the rise of Flaccitheus, I can't tell you whether or not that date of 467 is true.

Flaccitheus enters the picture shortly after having established his kingdom. IMHO that puts him in the 450's rather than the 460's as there is no reason for him not establishing a kingdom once his former overlords the Huns were off the scene, and they were off the scene soon after the battle of Nedao in 454.

Quote:Although I sincerely doubt the late 450's would be any time to get embroiled in Roman politics especially the like of Ricimer's. The late 450's was dominated by the breakup of the western half of the Hunnic empire, which would mean Edeco (the King of the Scirii at the time) and Odoacer would have been embroiled in the politics of it. Ardaric's revolt/bid for the Hunnic throne (depending on who you read), the Ostrogoths break away a couple years later in about 456/457. And Odoacer may still have been dealing with the leftovers of the situation in North Gaul after Chalons, and the rise of the Merovingian Franks.

My impression is that Odoacer had very little besides his princely title when he visited Severinus. It would be an ideal time for him to try his luck in Italy. Ricimer was establishing his power base and needed lieutenants he could rely on. Someone like Odoacer would have been perfect for his purposes - prestige of birth and military experience, but materially dependent on his benefactor.

(05-31-2016, 10:34 AM)Robert Vermaat Wrote:
(05-30-2016, 04:11 PM)Justin Swanton Wrote: ... the Franks finished the job of teaching them manners in their homeland in the ‘islands’ – possibly Holland.

That would be The Netherlands, or Zeeland if you want the province. Wink

Of course! Blush
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Even then, it would have taken a long time for Odoacer to rise through the ranks in Roman politics to the point that he would have gotten a military command. It took Aetius 20 years to become head of the palace guard (Cura Palatii) and an army of Huns to become Magister Militum.

We know Odoacer was a Protector Domesticus thanks to Procopius, but what that rank means is that he was earmarked for future promotion. He has a foederati command under Ricimer in 472, but doesn't advance higher than that until he actually fights Orestes after demanding settlement in Italy, becoming Rex Italiae and deposing Augustulus. Unlike Severinus, who gives no real indication of Date, Procopius, Jordanes, and John of Antioch (who usually draws from Priscus) all do.

The best interpretation is that Odoacer didn't become embroiled in Roman court politics until the late 460's. Prior to that, he was serving Childeric and of course his father Edeco, returning after his defeat on the Loire and becoming king of the Scirii after Edeco's death some time in the late 460's (possibly at the Battle of Bolia in 469). The defeat of the Scirii at Bolia, actually, would be a good excuse for them to become foederati involved in the Roman military establishment.
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