Europe 350: Magnentian Revolt
Constans had taken control of Gaul after the killing of his brother Constantine II in 340, but remained unpopular there. In January 350 Magnentius, a commander of the imperial guard, proclaimed himself emperor at Augustodunum (Autun) and quickly gained support across the region.
347 Prefecture of Illyricum▲
In 347, or possibly 343, the Roman emperor Constans established the Praetorian Prefecture of Illyricum to facilitate the administration of the dioceses of Pannoniae, Daciae, and Macedoniae, which had until then been part of the Prefecture of Italy. The prefecture would be abolished by the emperor Julian in 361, then revived and abolished on various occasions between 375 and 391, before finally assuming a more permanent form in 395.
347?–348 Expulsion of Ulfila▲
In 341 Constantius II and the imperial bishop Eusebius—both Arians or ‘semi-Arians’—had appointed Ulfila as bishop of the Christians in Gothia. Ulfila encouraged the spread of the Arian creed among the Tervingi Goths until 347/8, when the Goths turned on the Christians, probably as part of a rebellion against Roman authority. Constantius welcomed Ulfila and his Gothic followers into the Roman Empire, settling them near Nicopolis ad Istrum in Moesia.
350? Advent of the Huns▲
In the 340s increasingly harsh winters in the Altai mountains may have pushed the Xwn—remnants of the people that the Chinese called the ‘Xiongnu’—and their horse herds westwards into what is now Kazakhstan. It has long been argued that the Huns that later invaded Europe were an offshoot of these people and, although this theory was largely rejected in the mid-20th century, it has become more popular in recent years and genetic studies now show that European Huns had mixed European and East Asian ancestry. Whatever the truth to the matter, in c.350 a number of different peoples traditionally identified as Huns appeared in Central Asia and quickly became dominant in the region.
350? Last Kushanshah▲
In c.350, according to contemporary sources, a new people called the Chionites (‘chion’ being derived from the Persian word for ‘Hun’) began living among the Kushano-Sasanians and became a threat to Persia. At about the same time, the Kushano-Sasanian ruler Varahran Kushanshah started minting coins which incorporated the Kidarite tamga, suggesting that he was now under the power of the Kidarites, or Kidara Huns. It is uncertain whether or not the Kidarites were separate from the Chionites at this point, but, going by ancient texts, they were probably still a subtribe.
18 Jan 350 Magnentian Revolt▲
Constans’ corrupt rule proved especially unpopular in Gaul and by 350 a conspiracy had formed around Magnentius, commander of the Herculian and Jovian imperial guard units. In January, while Constans was away hunting, Magnentius held a great feast, attended by many high ranking officers, in Augustodunum (Autun) to celebrate the birth of a son. Late that evening he emerged in imperial regalia and surrounded by guards, and was quickly proclaimed emperor by all his guests.