Theodosius II, Byzantine Emperor

views updated


Reigned 408 to 450; b. 401. He succeeded his father arcadius while still a child (408), was inclined to intellectual pursuits rather than to politics or war and lived under the tutelage of regents and of strong personalities: the Praetorian Prefect Anthemius, his own sister the Empress pulcheria, and his minister Chrysaphius. In 421 he married Athenais Eudocia. The marriage of their daughter Licinia Eudoxia to her Western cousin valen tinian iii in 437 was an expression of the good relations between the two parts of the empire. Theodosius founded the University of Constantinople c. 425 and authorized

the Theodosian Code of 438, which codified Roman law from 312 to 437 and had particular importance in the West. He fortified Constantinople and defended the empire with partial success against the Huns and Germans.

Theodosius played an important role in the religious controversies concerned with nestorianism and mo nophysitism. In 431, he summoned the Council of ephe sus, which condemned Nestorianism, supported its decisions with imperial decrees in 435 and in 448, and facilitated the reconciliation between cyril of alexan dria and john of antioch in 433. Theodosius favored the Archimandrite eutyches against Flavian, the Archbishop of Constantinople and in 449 convoked a council at Ephesus over which dioscorus of alexandria presided, upholding its judgment despite the protests of Pope leo i, who called it a "Robber Synod" (Latrocinium). The death of Theodosius brought his sister Pulcheria and her husband Marcian to the imperial throne and cleared the way for the condemnation of Monophysitism at the Council of Chalcedon.

Bibliography: e. stein, Histoire du Bas-Empire, tr. j. r. pa lanque, 2 v. in 3 (Paris 194959). r. v. sellers, The Council of Chalcedon (London 1953). Codex Theodosianus, The Theodosian Code and Novels, ed. and tr. c. pharr et al. (Princeton 1952).

[r. h. schmandt]

About this article

Theodosius II, Byzantine Emperor

Updated About content Print Article