Emperor Valentinian I

Emperor Valentinian is known as the last of the Warrior Emperors. He was born in AD 321 in Cibalis (Vinkovci). His father, Gratian, rose through the ranks of the army ending up as Comes Britanniae (Companion of Britain), before coming under a cloud and being stripped of his power and estates for his support of Magnentius.

 

Valentinian followed his father into the army, but he too was stripped of power by the Emperor Constantius, before returning to active service under the Emperor Jovian. When Jovian died on the 17th February 364 AD, Valentinian’s name was put forward as a potential replacement – although not as the first choice. He won the support of the army (who had marched to Nicaea) as the original candidates Aequitius and Januarius were dismissed as either too brutal (Aequitius) or too far away (Januarius).

Valentinian arrived in Nicaea on 24 February 364, the bisextile day (the Roman equivalent of a leap year), and – as it was considered unlucky to consider new business on this twice counted day – Valentinian  held off until the 25th of February before accepting the Emperorship. He made his acceptance speech on the 26th, in which he calmed the army’s fear as to where his loyalties lie.

In a stunningly clever move, and in order to prevent a repeat of the chaos which followed the deaths of Julian (the last Neo-Flavian) and Jovian , Valentinian named a co-augustus  (his brother Valens) on the 24th March, giving him  day to day control over the eastern empire.

In 365 the Alamanni invaded Gaul and Procopius began his revolt against Valens. However, instead of going to his brother’s aid, Valentinian remained in Gaul; a move which cemented his support in the region.

It also set his reputation as a warrior; an emperor not afraid of conflict. It had to. There were conflicts in Britain, Africa and amongst the Quadi in Germany – all of which were dealt with successfully. Not surprisingly during this time, the senate lost power to the army and the Imperial Court became more of a military tribunal and vehicle for social mobility, than at any previous point in its history.

The jury is out on the reputation of Emperor Valentinian. On the plus side the fragmentation of the empire halted but on the  down side, under his rule the empire fractured; society polarised and regionalism intensified. However, Valentinian is generally regarded as an exceptionally able emperor, who assumed the mantle of imperial rule with boldness. Certainly, he was an emperor determined not only to be in charge but be seen to be in charge.

Married twice: his first wife, Severa died in childbirth in 359 (his son Gratian survived), Valentinian,  who died  from a strokein 375AD,  was survived by his second wife, Justina, mother of his other three children – Valentinian II and two daughters  Galla and Justa.

Part of me can’t quite believe that Valentinian died after  losing his temper. It’s too mundane for this lesser known, warrior emperor.

As for why is his post here and not on the other blog? Oh that would be telling 🙂

The Secret Of Aldwych Strand: – Where it all started

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These are the shots Lucy was after the day she persuaded her BF Mark to help her with a school history project. Like me, Lucy knew that simply re-hashing the history of the pier would not nail her the A*. After all, everyone knows:

  • It started life as a 300 foot (ft) wooden pier which opened in 1830
  • It got into financial difficulties and was sold in 1846 for £17000
  • By 1848 it was the longest pier in Europe (7,000 ft)
  • The iron replacement pier was designed by Scots engineer Sir James Brunless.
  • Although not completed until 1889, the new pier actually opened to the public in the summer of 1887
  • The first extension opened in 1898 as a response to the increased number of steam boats visiting the pier.
  • The upper deck opened in 1908 (one year after the opening of the doomed Aldwych Strand Station)
  • Further extensions opened in 1927
  • The Prince George Extension opened in1929, making Southend the Longest Pleasure Pier in the world at 1.34 miles.
  • The electric railway was extended to its present run in 1931
  • on the 27th June 1931 – Ernest Turner ( on a works outing from the Ansell’s Brewery Birmingham) fell off the tram and died instantly.
  • It celebrated its centenary in 1935
  • It’s been beset by fires 1913/14 (allegedly), 1976, 1995 & 2005
  • During WW2 it was closed and became part of HMS Westcliff

Of course, Lucy and Mark can’t possibly explain why there’s a link between Southend Pier and Aldwych Strand Station; nor can they explain time travel. But hey: they’re doing a History Project – Not a science experiment