Biography of Flavio Aecio de Mesia (ca. 390-454)

Roman general. He/She was born at Durostorum, Illyria, around the year 390 and died in Ravenna from September 21, 454. He/She performed the duties of the head of State during the reign of the Emperor Valentinian III. He/She was appointed consul three times (432, 437 and 446). In 451 he/she managed to stop the advance of Attila in the battle of Catalaunicos fields. Procopio referred to him as "the last Roman", while Ammianus Marcellinus described him as "the great salvation of the Western Empire". Its latin name was Flavius Aëtius.

Son of a magister equitum of Scythian origin. When I was still very young he/she was delivered hostage to the leading Visigoth Alaric and subsequently the Huns, which allowed him to be a connoisseur of barbarian peoples. In 424, after being released, he/she returned to Italy leading an army of barbarians, which supported the usurper of the throne of Juan, who had been Secretary of the Emperor Honorius. Juan assigned the command of the army of Gaul with the rank of comes. He/She faced supporters of continuing the dynasty, so it fought against Galla Placidia and Constantius. When Theodosius II, Emperor of Byzantium, proclaimed himself emperor his cousin Valentinian III and recognized to Gala Placidia as Augusta, Aécio withdrew its support to Juan and joined the troops who supported the new emperor. Next to the General Felix and Bonifacio became one of the main supports of the emperor. At 425 became the first priest quaestor which reached the degree of illustriis. He/She obtained several victories with his army against the Visigoths and the Franks, who forced to evacuate a territory situated on the left bank of the Rhine.

In 428 he/she concluded a pact with the Franks, among those who already began to emerge of the Merovingian family; the agreement allowed them to occupy the region of Artois, located in the North of Gaul. In 429 the Vandals, led by Genseric, revolted in Africa, so Bonifacio had to ask for help to the Emperor, who sent Aetius.

In 430, he/she conspired with Gala Placidia to kill Felix, who ruled in the name of his son until his death in Ravenna in the year 450. He/She was named in the 432 by Gala Placidia tutor of the Emperor and magister equitum praesentalis. With the death that year of his great rival, Belisario count of Africa, became the most powerful character of the Empire. In 433, he/she received the title of patricius and was promoted to Commander of the army of the Western Empire (magister utriusque militiae). In this way until the death of Gala Placidia became the true head of State of the Western Empire and the maintainer of the imperial authority. Valentinian III and his mother sent him to Gaul, where to put brake to the incursions of the Frank King Clodion. I had to go twice in relief of the city of Arles, he/she was besieged by the Visigoths. During one of these battles took him prisoner to the Visigothic warlord Anaolfo.

Put into practice a policy of Alliance with the Germanic peoples, which slowed the decline of the Empire. He/She tried to avoid the barbarian kingdoms unite among themselves and they maintained good relations with Ravenna, headquarters of the emperor. It allowed the Huns to settle in Pannonia. Granted the sovereignty of Africa, the territory of Mauritania and Numidia part the Vandals in 435, thanks to the truce of Trigezio and in Exchange for an annual tribute to the emperor. Peace with the Vandals broke into the 439 when they occupied the city of Carthage. The following year they took over Sicily. While he/she was encamped in the vicinity of the Rhine, he/she received an Embassy from Galician towns, seeking their support against the suevi. He/She had to face in 435 a revolt of Gallic peasants, the bagaudae, who defeated thanks to the help of the Huns. In 437, Aetius established an alliance with the Huns that allowed him to defeat the Burgundians, who in the year 435 had broken its stronghold and had attacked the province of Belgium, in the battle of Worms. That same year, his general Litorio crushed the rebel tribes of the Armorica.

In 439 got halt Visigothic advance in Gaul. Aecio returned to Italy in 440, shortly after establishing a new Pact that allowed them to settle in the Sapaudia (Savoy) with the Burgundians. On his return to Gaul established to Alans in the surroundings of Valence and Orleans, so they interpusiesen between the Burgundians and the Visigoths. Broken its alliance with the Huns joined Theodoric I, King of the Visigoths, who were recognized as sovereign people and received part of the province of Novem Populi. The Alliance was made possible through the mediation of the Visigothic Avitus, future emperor, and who then was perfect in the praetorium of Gaul. Aecio instructed in 442 Roman troops leave the province of Britannia, which could not defend when the Saxons in the 446 invaded the province, by what is put an end to the Roman domination on the island. When Attila attempted to take possession of the Diocese of Gaul, Aetius brought a powerful army formed by Romans, Visigoths, Franks and Burgundians. Thanks to this force defeated the King of the Huns at the battle of Catalaunicos fields.

After the death of Gala Placidia, Emperor Valentinian felt that Aetius interior management had been poor. Accused Aëtius of not wanting to destroy any barbarian population and having had a defensive attitude. He/She could not help that the Huns invade Italy in 453, but with a reduced number of troops got that Attila not ravaging the North of Italy. The Visigoths threatened to join the Huns to consider that Aetius had not fulfilled the promises they had made them. The personally managed to appease Theodoric II by sending him a source of gold, adorned with precious stones. A conspiracy led by the eunuch Heraclius caused him to lose the favor of Valentinian III. In 454 he/she requested for his son Gaudentius the hand of the eldest daughter of the Emperor, the Princess Eudoxia, as promised you. Valentinian III, fearful of the growing power of Aetius and at the behest of Petronio maximum, future emperor, commanded him to kill. His supporters, angry with the Emperor, projected a conspiracy against Valentinian, who killed March 16, 455.

Bibliography

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JONES, A. H. M.: The decline of the ancient World, London: Longman, 1966.

MAIER, F.G.: Transformations of the Mediterranean world, s III-VIII, Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1972.

REMONDON, r.: The crisis of the Roman Empire, Marcus Aurelius to Anastasio, Barcelona: Labor, 1973.

TILE, r.: The time the Valentinianos and Theodosius, Madrid: Akal, 1990.

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