Skip to main content

Arcadius, Roman Emperor


Ruled from 383 to 408; b. c. 377; d. Constantinople, 408. Flavius Arcadius was the eldest son of Emperor theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla. Proclaimed Augustus by his father in 383, he was left in Constantinople as sole ruler in the East in 394. Upon the death of Theodosius I (395), the administration of the empire was shared by Arcadius, who retained the East, and his younger brother, honorius i, in the West. Lacking both energy and judgment, Arcadius submitted to the schemes of his wife, Eudoxia (d. 404), whom he had married in 395, and those of two ministers, the prefect Rufinus (murdered in 395) and the eunuch Eutropius (executed in 399). Growing friction with the Western imperial administration and increasing ifficulties with the barbarians troubled his reign. From 395 to 396 the Visigoth Alaric devastated Greece, while Gothic troops led by Gainas were in open revolt from 399 to 400 in support of the Arians in Constantinople.

Orthodox in his ecclesiastical policies, Arcadius prohibited assemblies of heretics, ordered the confiscation of pagan temples, and banished Apollinarians, (see appollinarianism); however, his religious zeal was motivated by caesaropapism. When the Patriarch of Constantinople, john chrysostom, denounced the frivolity of the court and of the empress, the quarrel led to the disgrace and banishment of the patriarch and to a temporary success of Eudoxia's Arian policies. The banishment furthered the subordination of the patriarch to the emperor in the East. Arcadius was succeeded by his only son, theodosius ii.

Bibliography: e. stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, tr. j. r. palanque 1:225253. a. fliche and v. martin, Histoire de l'église depuis les origines jusqu'á nos jours 4:145159. j. b. bury, A History of the Later Roman Empire 2 v. (London 1923; repr. New York 1957) v.1. e. demougeot, De l'unité à la division de l'Empire romain 395410 (Paris 1950). c. baur, John Chrysostom and His Time, tr. m. gonzaga 2 v. (Westminster, Md. 196061).

[j. brÜckmann]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Arcadius, Roman Emperor." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 24 Apr. 2019 <>.

"Arcadius, Roman Emperor." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (April 24, 2019).

"Arcadius, Roman Emperor." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 24, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.