Europe 395: Alaric’s Rebellion

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 21 Oct 395 (Theodosian Dynasty: Alaric’s Rebellion), showing the following events: Alaric’s rebellion; Hunnic invasion of the East; Stilicho’s first Gothic campaign; Stilicho’s Danubian War; Siege of Ziatha.

In early 395 Stilicho dismissed the Goths from his service, only for them to revolt under their leader Alaric while returning home across the Balkans. Stilicho—who still controlled both the Eastern and Western Roman field armies after the Battle of the Frigidus—immediately marched against Alaric, but was soon compelled to abandon the campaign when the Eastern emperor Arcadius asked for his army back.

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Main Events

395 Alaric’s rebellion

In early 395 Stilicho dismissed the Gothic troops and other foederati, allowing them to return home to the Balkans. Already resentful over the casualties they had suffered in the Battle of the Frigidus and over their perceived lack of rewards, these troops soon revolted and, marching on Constantinople, called for recompense and their leader Alaric’s promotion to a magisterium. However, their negotiations with Rufinus, guardian of the Eastern emperor Arcadius, soon broke down, persuading Alaric to turn southwest and begin plundering Macedonia. in wikipedia

Jul 395–?? 396 Hunnic invasion of the East

In the summer of 395 a large force of Huns crossed the Caucasus via the Caspian Gates (Darial Gorge) and, after passing through Armenia, invaded the eastern Roman Empire. Plundering Cappadocia, Cilicia, and Syria, the Huns took thousands of captives before, sometime after the return of the eastern Roman army from Italy in November, they moved into the Persian Empire and threatened Ctesiphon. However, the arrival of the Persian army checked their invasion and, after being routed in battle, the remaining Huns fled back north over the Derbent Pass. in wikipedia

??–Nov 395 Stilicho’s first Gothic campaign

In response to Alaric’s rebellion in 395, Stilicho—who still commanded both the Western and Eastern field armies after the Battle of Frigidus—marched into Macedonia and chased the Goths south into Thessaly. Here, he managed to surround them in the valley of the Pineus, when the Eastern emperor Arcadius, persuaded by his guardian Rufinus, ordered the recall of the Eastern field army. Stilicho promptly complied, then withdrew from the Balkans with the Western field army, leaving Alaric unopposed in the region. in wikipedia

395–399 Stilicho’s Danubian War

As he marched east to confront Alaric in 395, Stilicho reinforced the garrisons of Noricum and Pannonia, but these efforts failed to deter the tribes of the Middle Danube. Soon after he passed the Marcomanni, Quadi, and Sarmatians invaded, along with the Hasdingi Vandals—some of whom may have even been part of the garrisons Stilicho established—and plundered the Diocese of Illyricum from Pannonia to Dalmatia. Preoccupied with issues elsewhere, it took the Romans some four years to completely suppress the raiders, many of whom were resettled within the Empire. in wikipedia

395 Siege of Ziatha

In 395 the Huns, invading the eastern Roman Empire from the Caucasus, ravaged the lands of Sophene, Armenia, and Roman Mesopotamia. Fleeing the onslaught, many locals took refuge in the three fortresses of Ziatha near the Tigris, but were quickly besieged by the invaders. Seizing the gates and aqueducts, the Huns starved the defenders into surrender, then razed the fort to the ground and either killed or enslaved the survivors. With the fall of Ziatha, the Huns fanned out across the Roman East, advancing as far as Cilicia, Antioch, and Edessa by the time Roman reinforcements arrived. in wikipedia