Europe 411: Revolt of Jovinus

Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean on 18 Sep 411 (Theodosian Dynasty: The West Besieged: Revolt of Jovinus), showing the following events: Battle of Arles; Siege of Arles; Death of Gerontius; Barbarian partition of Spain; Athaulf’s march to Gaul; Revolt of Jovinus; Sack of Trier.

In spring 411 Honorius’ newly appointed commander Flavius Constantius crossed the Alps into Gaul and, after putting Gerontius to flight, captured Constantine III in Arelate (Arles). These actions—the first significant displays of authority by the Western Roman regime in over three years—provoked an immediate revolt on the Rhine, where Jovinus was proclaimed emperor with Burgundian support.

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Main Events

411 Battle of Arles

In early 411 Honorius’ newly appointed magister militum, the competent Flavius Constantius, crossed the Alps from Italy into Gaul, accompanied by a barbarian general named Ulfilas (perhaps a commander of the Hunnic forces requested by Honorius in 409). Constantius arrived outside Arelate (Arles) shortly after Gerontius began his siege and quickly won over most of the rebel general’s army. His cause lost, Gerontius fled to Spain, while Constantius continued the siege that he had started. in wikipedia

411 Siege of Arles

Having expelled Gerontius in mid 411, Honorius’ magister militum Flavius Constantius continued the siege of Constantine III in Arelate (Arles), defeating Constantine’s general Edobich when he tried to relieve his master with a force of German recruits from the Rhine. After four months of the siege—and concerned by reports of Jovinus’ revolt in northern Gaul—Constantius launched a full-on assault of the city, convincing the people of Arelate to open their gates and surrender Constantine, who had attempted to escape punishment by ordaining himself as a priest. Dispatched as captives into Italy, Constantine and his son Julian were then killed by agents of Honorius on the Mincio river, and on 18 September 411 had their heads displayed on spikes in Ravenna. in wikipedia

411 Death of Gerontius

Having fled from Flavius Constantius in Gaul in mid 411, the rebel general Gerontius took refuge in Hispaniae only for his Spanish troops to also turn against him. Besieged in his own estate in Tarraco, he held out against an overnight attack until early the next morning when his enemies set his house ablaze. With all hope now lost, Gerontius killed his wife and his Alan companion, then fell on his own dagger. in wikipedia

411 Barbarian partition of Spain

After the fall of Gerontius in mid 411, his appointed emperor Maximus fled into western Hispaniae and took refuge with the Hasding Vandals. In that same year, the Hasdings joined Gerontius’ other barbarian foederati—who had settled in areas determined by lots—in partitioning the provinces of the diocese among themselves, with the Hasdings and Suebi taking Gallaecia, the Siling Vandals Baetica, and the Alans Lusitania and Carthageniensis. This seems to have secured some degree of peace in the region, with local provincial elites resuming governance under barbarian domination after three years of civil war and turmoil. in wikipedia

411–412 Athaulf’s march to Gaul

After succeeding Alaric as king of the Goths around the end of 410, Athaulf marched back north through southern Italy, returning to Rome sometime in 411. At this point, or probably in one of the earlier sieges of Rome, the Goths captured Galla Placidia—the daughter of Emperor Theodosius I and sister of Honorius—who Athaulf would later marry. The Goths then followed the coastal route on into Gaul, which they seem to have reached in the spring of 412. in wikipedia

411 Revolt of Jovinus

In the summer of 411, while Constantine III was being besieged in Arelate (Arles), a revolt broke out on the Rhine and Jovinus, a local nobleman, was proclaimed emperor in the town of Mundiacum (probably Mogontiacum/Mainz). Strongly supported by the Burgundian king Gundahar and the Alan general Goar, Jovinus quickly gathered a force of Burgundians, Alemanni, Franks, and Alans, before marching south to threaten the army of Honorius in southern Gaul. However, he was unable to stop Honorius’ general Constantius from either capturing Arelate (Arles) or launching a reprisal against Jovinus’ supporters in the southern Gallic province of Aquitania II. in wikipedia

411 Sack of Trier

In 411, possibly in support of the proclamation of Jovinus as emperor, the Franks attacked Augusta Treverorum (Trier), the Roman administrative center of the Diocese of Galliae and former capital of the Praetorian Prefecture of Gaul. They were let into the city by a man named Lucius, who may have fallen out with the local commander (according to one tradition, he sought revenge against a certain Acritus, who had seduced Lucius’ wife). Upon capturing Trier, the Franks sacked the city and burned it. in wikipedia