dynastie valentinienne Valentinian Dynasty
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The Valentinian Dynasty

Hi to all of you ! How are you ? Last week we saw the Constantinian Dynasty. We are therefore going to talk about the continuation of Roman history with the Valentinian Dynasty. We will see here, of whom it was composed, at what time did it exist…. Now let’s get to the heart of the matter and, above all, good reading.

Context of the appearance of the Valentinian dynasty

The Valentinian dynasty appeared just after that of the Constantinians in a divided empire. It was created by the successor of Jovien (the last member of the Constantinian dynasty) Valentinien I. This one will give his name to this dynasty which will be born. This was short: about 30 years, with only four emperors. Moreover, it was the penultimate Roman dynasty, the next being the Theodosian dynasty (but that we will see in the next article).

Who did the Valentinian Dynasty consist of?

This dynasty consisted of Valentinian I (February 364 AD – November 375 AD), Valens (March 364 AD – August 378 AD), Gratien (August 367 AD – August 383 AD) and Valentinian II (November 375 AD – May 392 AD).

Now that we know the makeup and background surrounding the Valentinian dynasty, let’s see what happened during this short time.

The History of the Valentinian Dynasty

The Valentinian dynasty began with the reign of Valentinian I. He ruled the West, at first alone and then later, from AD 367, he was accompanied by his son Gratien. During his reign, he concentrated on defending the borders of the Western Roman Empire by fighting the various peoples who led the raids. Thus, he fought in particular the Alamans in Germany or the Moors in Africa. In addition, he had fortifications rebuilt in Europe and strengthened the army. He also made extensive use of his General Theodosius the Elder to counter revolts and repel invaders. Valentinien I died in a war in Pannonia.

At the same time as Valentinian I, Valens ruled the East of the Roman Empire. During his reign he improved the economy and lowered taxes. Also, with regard to the military part of his reign, he began it by leading campaigns in the eastern part of his territory. But during this time, an usurper by the name of Procopius seizes power in Constantinople which was the capital of the Roman East. So Valens returned to the capital, crushed Procopius’s army and executed the latter. Subsequently, he fought several times against the Goths and died in the battle of Adrianople against them.

Also at the same time, Gratien ruled the West with his father Valentinian I. From AD 367 to AD 375, Gratien had somewhat the same background as his father since he followed him. Following the death of this denarius, Gratien led campaigns against the Alamans. Also, he appointed Theodosius Emperor of the Eastern Empire (but that we will see in the next article) to replace Valens who had died. Finally, he will limit the pagan religion in particular by removing a statue representing Victory in the Senate. Then, he will fight Maxime (future emperor of the West) but will be killed by this money.

Valentinian II was the longest reigning emperor under the Valentinian dynasty. However, he began to reign when he was 4 years old. As a result, he was under the control of his mother: Justine. In 387 AD, at the age of 16, Valentinian II was driven out of Rome by Maximus, who then took control of the city. Then, Theodosius I intervened and defeated Maximus which allowed Valentinian II to return. Then, in 392 AD, he returned to Vienna, his capital, but was assassinated by Arbogast a Roman officer.


This period was short and marked by several things. First, the Romans had to fight the barbarian invasions which left bad omen for the future. Then there are no great advances: whatever the Romans won, they lost. Finally, the emperors struggled to gain respect as can be seen with the example of Procopius who stole the throne of Valens. In the end, this period was well established in the slow decline of the Roman Empire and heralded the rest.

Here is this article is now finished. Hope you enjoyed it, if so please let me know in the comments space and also tell me what topic you would like me to talk about in a future post. In fact, for the next article, we will continue to talk about Roman history with “The Theodosian Dynasty.” Ah yes ! Next week there will be no article as I am going on a trip to Rome (by the way, this will be the subject of an article). But don’t worry, I’ll be back in two weeks. So, see you in two weeks!

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