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Child Emperor Rule in the Late Roman West, AD 367-455$
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Meaghan A. McEvoy

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199664818

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199664818.001.0001

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Gratian and Valentinian II: Setting the Precedent

Gratian and Valentinian II: Setting the Precedent

(p.48) 2 Gratian and Valentinian II: Setting the Precedent
Child Emperor Rule in the Late Roman West, AD 367-455

Meaghan A. McEvoy

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 provides detailed analysis of the circumstances in which the first two western child-emperors, Gratian and Valentinian II, were acclaimed as co-Augusti. It examines the political crises which led to their accessions in 367 and 375, the different aims of the key players involved, such as the general Merobaudes, the senator Petronius Probus, and Gratian’s former tutor Ausonius. It highlights the ways in which both boys experienced a ‘phantom’ accession, after which they remained little more than ‘sleeping partners’ in government until a further political crisis brought about their ‘real’ accessions as ruling Augusti. The early attempts of those involved in these accessions at both stages to build support for the young emperors among the senate and the military are examined, and the essential differences between the regimes built up around Gratian and Valentinian II are investigated.

Keywords:   Gratian, Valentinian I, Valentinian II, Augustus, Merobaudes, Petronius Probus, Ausonius, accessions, senate, military

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