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The Famous Stilicho Diptych - Actually Depicts Aetius
#1
https://www.academia.edu/8782362/THE_POR...14_p._7-21

Although a few historical facts are wrong, possibly in part due to translation, this is a very good critical review of the diptych.
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#2
I'll wait until more academics weigh in on this one before declaring for either the Stilicho or Aetius camps.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#3
Knowing 5th Century art and militaria very, very well, I have long suspected that the Stilicho identification has always been wrong, but accepted it. The sword and belt typology didn't fit in with Early 5th Century Roman or Germanic. It was obvious they were Hunnic (there are similar Hunnic belts from the Ukraine, although I'm somewhat iffy on the sword, the hilt typology doesn't fit examples like Altlussheim although it does exhibit central Asian influence).

His dating is spot on too for the date of the Diptych. Although not for the date of Gaudentius' birth (Which coincided with a pangeyric in 441 written by Merobaudes). It definitely cannot have been after Valentinian III assumed control of the Empire in 438 or after Aetius remarried to Pelagia. However, a 437 date is possible, as Pelagia could be depicted, but unlikely since I doubt the child of a previous marriage would be depicted alongside Aetius' current wife.

Looking at a hi-res photo though, his interpretation of the medallion is by-and-large correct. Istvan Bona's identification of the military equipment as Hunnic is also correct.
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#4
However, we know that the Late Romans began employing Huns as early as 400AD, so ruling out Hunnic influences on equipment cannot be ruled out at an earlier date than your suggesting Evan.
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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#5
True, the Romans began employing Huns under Theodosius in the 380's. However Stilicho did not spend ~10 years of his life with the Huns like Aetius did.
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#6
(08-24-2016, 01:46 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: https://www.academia.edu/8782362/THE_POR...14_p._7-21

Although a few historical facts are wrong, possibly in part due to translation, this is a very good critical review of the diptych.

There are indeed a few mistakes (why is the shield on the diptych 'round'?) but there was never any doubt that the persons on the diptych were unidentified. I mean it could be Stilicho but no-one could ever be sure. Why not Arbogast while we're at it? Why not Ricimer?
And yes, it could be Aetius as well, I see no reason to exclude him whatsoever.

The article certainly goes into detail. Some of which I don't agree with.
 - shield medallion: the author states that Arcadius and Honorius can't be on the same 'bildnismedallion' because the empire was already split and at odds. However, Stilicho did claim at several points to be the legal guardian for both boys, and this could just be the thing to show that claim. Also, we know of coins minted by Constantine III showing him and the other two augusti - showing his claim to be a colleage of them. Nobody knows for sure who the stylistic faces really are. But there is nothing strange with the medallion and it does in no way exclude a dating c. 400.
- fibulae. The author does not discuss these (whereas he discusses hairstyles and tiaras at length). The fibuale are telling however, because both the man and the boy wear what looks like a type 13 (Keller type 6), which are dated 350-450. Of course that does not exclude Aetius, but in my opinion it is more typical of Stilicho's floruit.
- Huns. Stilicho did for sure have relations with the Huns. They were at least part of the coaltion forces which he lead against Radagais in 406. Which means he must have had relation with Hunnic groups before that date. If the sword is indeed Hunnic (and I have found no corroboration for that) it would not change the dating of the diptych.

Everything else written in the article is about the persons being Aetius, his wife and son. Which are, as I said already, one of the possibilities. However I do not see any reason to exclude Stilicho from these on the evidence presnted.

Added: high res image of the Monza diptych
   
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Robert Vermaat
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#7
He focuses a lot of his argument on the dress of the Aristocratic Woman.

The Sword - yes, it is probably of Hun origin. Most Hunnic swords in Europe lack pommels but there are contemporary swords from Sogdia/etc. with pommels of a generally similar shape meaning it could only have been transmitted by the Huns.

The belt I'm suddenly not so sure on. Originally I thought it was a series of thin plates decorating the belt of which I have images of similar Hun examples of. Now it appears to be stitching, maybe?
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#8
Like I said, even if - it does not exclude Stilicho.
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#9
It doesn't, but if his argument about women's dress is correct then it must date to the reign of Valentinian III.
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#10
He does not even propose that the lady could be nothing else but an empress (thereby excluding Serena), does he? There's a lost of stuff about tiaras, pendants and cornuls but nothing solid. The best he can come up with is a 'most probably'. And he (wisely) stays away from the fibula as well.
Nothing solid, nothing new.
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Robert Vermaat
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#11
No, Robert, he argues the medallion could be nothing less than an empress (which, judging by its condition, I can see how both interpretations are valid). The Woman and child depicted in the diptych, not on Aetius' shield, he argues are Carpilio and Aetius' first wife.

The Volnikovka Treasure from the 5th Century has a similar sword hilt:

https://www.academia.edu/25199890/THE_BU...0%98%D0%98
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#12
(08-27-2016, 03:04 AM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: No, Robert, he argues the medallion could be nothing less than an empress (which, judging by its condition, I can see how both interpretations are valid). The Woman and child depicted in the diptych, not on Aetius' shield, he argues are Carpilio and Aetius' first wife.

No, I meant the women on the dyptich. If he had found evidence that she could only be an empress, the Stilicho camp would have been in serious trouble. He talks a lot about imperial jewellery style so I had expect him to go for the women to be identified with an empress or something. 

His arguments about the shield medallion I find totally unconvincing, all the more because a lot of his case rests upon that detail.
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Robert Vermaat
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THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#13
I can see his argument for the headdress on the medallion, but most of his arguments about women's dress can't be applied to the medallion (although some can be applied to the wife).
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#14
(08-28-2016, 05:41 PM)Flavivs Aetivs Wrote: I can see his argument for the headdress on the medallion

I can't - because the medallion itself is too small and too worn to conclude anything from with any certainty. It could be aliens from outer space - I recognise that dude from Babylon 5! Wink
   
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Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Roman Society
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#15
Yes, they could well be Londo Molari and G'Kar!
Adrian Coombs-Hoar
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