By Noel Lenski
Failure of Empire is the 1st complete biography of the Roman emperor Valens and his afflicted reign (a.d. 364-78). Valens will continuously be remembered for his extraordinary defeat and dying by the hands of the Goths within the conflict of Adrianople. This singular misfortune received him a front-row seat between history's nice losers. by the point he was once killed, his empire were coming unglued for numerous years: the Goths had overrun the Balkans; Persians, Isaurians, and Saracens have been threatening the east; the economic climate was once in disarray; and pagans and Christians alike have been exiled, tortured, and achieved in his non secular persecutions. Valens had now not, although, fullyyt failed in his activity as emperor. He used to be an admirable administrator, a devoted defender of the frontiers, and a ruler who confirmed amazing sympathy for the wishes of his subjects.
In full of life variety and wealthy aspect, Lenski contains a wide diversity of latest fabric, from archaeology to Gothic and Armenian resources, in a examine that illuminates the social, cultural, non secular, monetary, administrative, and armed forces complexities of Valens's realm. Failure of Empire bargains a nuanced reconsideration of Valens the fellow and exhibits either how he utilized his strengths to satisfy the expectancies of his global and the way he eventually failed in his efforts to check restricted capacities to unlimited calls for.
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Extra info for Failure of Empire. Valens and the Roman State
On Varronian as comes domesticorum, see Zos. 4 and Zon. 14. See also Lenski 2000, 507 n. 89, contra Woods 1995a, 43, 53–54, who argues that Varronian was rather comes Iovianorum et Herculianorum. 14 Moreover, Jovian’s family had suffered directly from Julian’s wrath. 16 It is thus reasonable to assume that Julian’s cuts provoked a response among the remaining or former guards that led them to agitate for their corps after the emperor’s death. It was apparently they who foisted Jovian—the poster boy for their plight—on the consistorium.
The same experience and knowledge are reﬂected in their economic measures. Valentinian and Valens spent the ﬁrst years of their administration crawling out from under the economic problems bequeathed them by Julian. Their extreme exactions in this period helped provoke the Procopius revolt but eventually gave way to policies much more beneﬁcial to the taxpaying masses. Valens, in particular, cut the tribute by one-quarter and planned even deeper cuts, which he seems not to have been able to implement.
This would be the last time in Roman history that the west was given precedence over the east. 81 They would never see each other again. 82 The imperial ceremonies of accession and adventus, both inextricably intertwined in the fourth century, dictated the august pace of this grand procession. 83 Rewards for this enthusiasm were distributed in the form of 1D solidus “Fest-aurei” that Valentinian issued from the mints of Aquileia and Milan on his way westward (ﬁg. 84 These bore an image of the emperor as he would have appeared on his arrival, riding on horseback in military garb, with his right hand raised in greeting.