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The Valentinian Enigma
#1
Theophanes Confessor
AM 5855 (AD 362/3)

Valentinian, at that time tribune (Τριβοΰνος) of a tagma (τάγματος), in the numerus (νουμέρου) known as the Cornuti, not only disregarded his rank, but was driven into exile.

(Chronicon Paschale 548. 12 – 549. 11 ; Hypoth. Arian 36 ; Sokrates IV.1 Ambrose De ob. Val. 55 Theodoret HE III.16)

Philostorgios
Book 7.7

The Apostate did everything possible to make Valentinian, an officer who had charge of a military unit (τάγματοϲ έπάρχουτα ϲτρατιωτικοΰ), abandon his faith (he held the rank of count (κόμηϲ) of the so-called Cornuti), but when he failed, he stripped him of his rank and banished him to Thebes in Egypt.

Zonaras
Book XIII. 15

Valentinian came from Paeonia. He was pious in matters concerning God. As a result, Julian condemned him to exile, then, after he had been recalled, made him tribunus of a unit. (τριβοΰνον άριϑμοΰ)

Sources:

Philostorgios Kirchengeschichte ; Bruno Bleckmann, Markus Stein ; Kleine und fragmentarische Historiker der Spätantike (KFHist), E7.

Philostorgius: church history ; Philip R. Amidon ; Writing from the greco roman world, 23

The History of Zonaras, from Alexander Severus to the death of Theodosius the Great, translation by Thomas M.Banchich and Eugene N.Lane

The Chronicle of Theophanes Confessor; byzantine and near eastern history AD 284-813, translated with introduction and commentary by Cyril mango and roger scott with the assistance of Geoffrey greatrex

Let’s research. What I find interesting is that a tagma seems to be a specific unit in a numerus.
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#2
Hello Julian,

No offense meant, but I would not place Valentinian on too high a "pious" pedestal. As Emperor, he did not act like a man of the Christian faith, either Arian or Orthodox. Among other things, he had a cruelty streak and tossed miscreants to his pet bear, Innocence. Cool
Alan J. Campbell

member of Legio III Cyrenaica and the Uncouth Barbarians

Author of:
The Demon's Door Bolt (2011)
Forging the Blade (2012)

"It's good to be king. Even when you're dead!"
             Old Yuezhi/Pazyrk proverb
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#3
(05-18-2017, 02:15 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Theophanes Confessor
AM 5855 (AD 362/3)
Let’s research. What I find interesting is that a tagma seems to be a specific unit in a numerus.

from memory doesn't Sozomen place him in Gaul as a tribune of the Ioviani et Herculiani? Valentinian's early career is notoriously hard to reconstruct- David Woods has given it a belt though...
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#4
(05-19-2017, 11:18 AM)markhebb Wrote: Valentinian's early career is notoriously hard to reconstruct

It certainly looks that way! Was he discharged from the army once, or twice? Was he tribune of the Cornuti or the Ioviani, or both (or even the Ioviani Cornuti)? Or was it Valens who commanded the Ioviani, or did Valentinian just invent that story to make his earlier discharge look better?

Ammianus (16.11.6) has him as commander of a cavalry unit when he was (first?) discharged in 357 - this would be the 'Cornuti' mentioned in later sources. The idea that this was the Equites Cornuti, as suggested by Lenski and Hughes, seems pretty reasonable.


(05-18-2017, 02:15 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Theophanes Confessor - Valentinian, at that time tribune (Τριβοΰνος) of a tagma (τάγματος), in the numerus (νουμέρου) known as the Cornuti

Chronicon Paschale 548. 12 – 549. 11...

Philostorgios - he held the rank of count (κόμηϲ) of the so-called Cornuti

The passage of the Chronicon Paschale apparently says "Valentinian also, who at that time was tribune of a brigade in the so-called cohort of the Cornuti, distinguished himself in confession of Christ." (from Hughes Imperial Brothers p.14, as above)

The 'so called' expression (what would that be in Greek?) seems to link this with the earlier account by Philostorgios; 'known as' in Theophanes could be the same phrase. Are 'brigade' and 'cohort' actually translations of τάγματος and νουμέρου?

If so, it looks like the 9th-century churchman Theophanes has taken his wording from the 7th-century Chronicon Paschale, which in turn used the 5th-century Philostorgius as a source.

In which case it's hard to know what 'a tagma in the numerus' means - it mixes Latin and Greek for a start! Perhaps the compiler of the Chron.Pasch reckoned that the Equites Cornuti were actually the cavalry component of the numerus of Cornuti (on the mixed foot/horse model of the 'Perge Legion' maybe?), and therefore called them a 'tagma'? This might have been the case once, although both were probably independent numeri by Valentinian's day.

But why does Philostorgius call Valentinian a comes at the time? Valentinian was later tribune of the Schola Secunda Scutariorum (Amm 25.10.9) - was it the case that, by the early 5th century, tribunes of the scholae were ranked as comites? Could Philostorgius have mixed up the later title with the earlier one?
Nathan Ross
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#5
Many good questions that I don't have answers for...I will say however that I don't buy the Woodsian 'our sources really meant Valens when talking about Valentinian' argument for one minute. My reasons will no doubt be obvious.
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#6
(05-20-2017, 05:57 AM)markhebb Wrote: I don't buy the Woodsian 'our sources really meant Valens when talking about Valentinian' argument for one minute.

Yeah, Sozomen's quite explicit about that - I'm curious about this 'ancient Roman law' that supposedly says 'the leader of the Joviani and Herculiani (that is to say, the legions of soldiers who have received this appellation in honour of Jupiter and of Hercules) should always accompany the emperor as his bodyguard' (HE 6.6) - particularly as these units had only been in existence for less than a century at the time (I assume Soz was using 'ancient' in terms of his own era, not Julian's?)

Interesting that both units seem to have one commander though.

Stranger still, Theodoret (III.12) claims that Valentinian 'was at that time a Tribune and commanded the Hastati quartered in the palace.'
Nathan Ross
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#7
other versions of Soz. Story place the temple incident at Antioch....much more likely...
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#8
(05-20-2017, 10:42 AM)markhebb Wrote: other versions of Soz. Story place the temple incident at Antioch....much more likely...

I would say so.

Going back to [Philostorgius: Chronicon Paschale: Theophanes] - I would guess that the Cornuti were still in existence at the time Philostorgius was writing (early 5th century - CIL 06, 32963 has them in Rome c.AD408), and quite a famous military unit. But by the time of the Chronicon they would have been ancient history, which is perhaps why the compiler tries to explain Valentinian's command (confusingly) as a 'tagma in the numerus known as Cornuti'. Theophanes, apparently, just copied the phrase from the Chronicon.
Nathan Ross
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#9
Chronicon Paschale P 297

(Trans. A) Among these Valentinian also, who was at that time a tribune of a brigade in the so-called cohort of the Cornuti, distinguished himself in confession of Christ.

(Trans. B) During this time Valentinian, who was then tribune of the Cornuti legion, as the unit was called, distinguished himself by his confession of Christ.


Εν τούτοις και Ούαλεντινιανός, τριβούνος τότε ών τάγματος κορνούτων οΰτω λεγομένω νουμέρω,…

Sources:

Imperial Brothers: Valentinian, Valens and the Disaster at Adrianople Ian Hughs
Philostorgius: church history ; Philip R. Amidon ; Writing from the greco roman world, 23
Chronicon Paschale, Volume 1 Ludwig August Dindorf
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#10
(05-20-2017, 05:08 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: (Trans. A) Among these Valentinian also, who was at that time a tribune of a brigade in the so-called cohort of the Cornuti, distinguished himself in confession of Christ.

(Trans. B) During this time Valentinian, who was then tribune of the Cornuti legion, as the unit was called, distinguished himself by his confession of Christ.

Looks like a good example of why we should never rely on translations! Neither 'brigade', 'cohort' nor 'legion' appear in the original text...


(05-20-2017, 05:08 PM)Julian de Vries Wrote: Εν τούτοις και Ούαλεντινιανός, τριβούνος τότε ών τάγματος κορνούτων οΰτω λεγομένω νουμέρω,…

Hmm, from what I can work out, it might be "tribune of the tagmatos cornouton, as the noumero was called" - is that right?

I would guess tagmatos cornouton is none other than the Equites Cornuti.
Nathan Ross
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#11
Sozomenos HE 6.6

He had not long returned from banishment; for it is said that Julian, immediately on his accession to the empire, erased the name of Valentinian from the Jovian legions, as they were called (συνταγματάρχην αύτόν όντα τοΰ καταλόγου τών καλουμένων ‘Ιοϐιανών) , and condemned him to perpetual banishment, under the pretext that he had failed in his duty of leading out the soldiers under his command against the enemy. The true reason of his condemnation, however, was the following: When Julian was in Gaul, he went one day to a temple to offer incense. Valentinian accompanied him, according to an ancient Roman law, which still prevails, and which enacted that the leader of the Jovians and the Herculeans (τόν ήγούμενον τών ‘Ιοϐιανών και ‘Ερκουλιανών) (that is to say, the legions of soldiers who have received this appellation in honor of Jupiter and of Hercules (τάγματα δε ταύτα τών εν λόγω στρατιωτών) should always attend the emperor as his body-guard(φύλακας).

Sources:
Sozomenus Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, II (New York, 1890) Christian Classics Ethereal Library
Hermias Sozomenos Ecclesiastica Historia (MPG 0067 0843 1724) Migne Patrologia Graeca
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#12
What I find intriguing: it seems Sozomenos says that Valentinian was a suntagmatarches of the Jovian katalogos/oi.

Procopius (BG II.23.2 and 1.7.34) states a 500 men infantry katalogos in 539 AD

Agathias (II.20.8) states a 500 men katalogos (?) in 554 AD


The fragment of Urbicius states that a suntagma = 250 soldiers


Sources:

http://www.academia.edu/3677107/_Campido...07_395-409

http://www.academia.edu/3677003/_The_Ety...07_193-224
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#13
(05-21-2017, 10:41 AM)Julian de Vries Wrote: it seems Sozomenos says that Valentinian was a suntagmatarches of the Jovian katalogos/oi.

It seems he does. The problem here, as with the other excerpts, is that we don't know whether or to what extent these later Greek writers are accurately translating 4th century Latin military terms into their own language, or whether they are using terms from their own era to stand in for earlier ones.

In the case of the Ioviani, we have contemporary evidence (the ND, Ammianus, Vegetius) that this was a palatine legion, and therefore commanded by a tribune. But apparently it could also, like other military units of the day, be called a numerus (CIL 03, 10232 - numero Iovianorum - unless this refers to the auxilia unit of the Iovii?).

Rance's paper is very interesting, and rewards a second read. His discussion, on the first page, of Maurikios's division of the arithmos into two subunits, and the possible connection with the 300 and 500-strong select detachments mentioned occasionally by Ammianus (note 3) is intriguing. It's tempting to imagine that this sort of split might have some relevance to the seniores/iuniores division - although that's a whole other question!
Nathan Ross
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