Arcadius, Roman Emperor

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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]