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Theodosius II





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THEODOSIVS (Flavius), junior, or II [Theodosius II], grandson of the above, being the son of Arcadius and Eudoxia, was born at Constantinople, A.D. 401; declared Augustus the following year; and in A.D. 408, became Emperor of the East.


During his minority the administration of affairs devolved, first to the prefect Anthemius and afterwards to Pulcheria, sister of Theodosius II, under whose influence he, in 421, married the celebrated Athenais (Eudocia or Aelia Eudoxia). The same year he gained by his generals a victory over Persians; and the peace which they concluded with the Romans after that defeat, lasted twenty-four years. On the decease of Honorius, becoming sovereign of the west, he conferred that division of the empire on his cousin-german Valentinian III, and sent him at the head of an army, in 423, to expel the usurper Johannes, who had possessed himself of Italy, Gaul, and Spain. Theodosius II engaged Attila to renew the treaty subsisting between the Huns and the Romans by conditioning an annual tribute of seven hundred pounds weight of gold to that barbaric chieftain, and by other humiliating concessions. In 438 he caused the publication of that code of laws which has come down to us under his name. After failing in an attempt to effect the assassination of Attila, who had broken the peace made between them; and who devastated many provinces of the empire, Theodosius II ended his days at Constantinople, dying either from disease, or in consequence of a fall from his horse, A.D. 450, in the 49th or 50th year of his age. He was a prince whose personal qualities and intellectual attainments are described to have been such as would have rendered him most estimable as an individual; but his monastic turn of piety and pusilanimity of disposition totally disqualified him for the position he occupied and for the times in which he lived; whilst his timid, temporising policy was ruinous to the empire, which he governed only to sacrifice its independence and dishonour its renown.

His gold coins of the usual size are common: but the quinarii are rare; the silver extremely rare; but silver medallions less so; and small brass very uncommon. His style is D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG. But, as has already been observed, it is difficult to recognise the difference between the medals of the Second [Theodosius II] and those of the First Theodosius [Theodosius I].- On this subject Eckhel expresses himself to the following effect:- Of the coins of both the Theodosii, it should be remarked, that, even in the majority of instances no safe decision can be come to, whether they are referred to the elder or the younger, the same legend on the obverse above quoted appearing on the coins of each, and there being no clue afforded in that age by the lineaments of the countenance. This circumstance presented such difficulties to Bandurii (ii,' p. 558) that he preferred to give the point up, and in the classification of the respective coins, to rest on the opinion of others rather than his own. For myself, adds Eckhel, having noticed that on certain coins of the younger Theodosius there usually occurs a full-faced bust helmeted, with spear and buckler (a type which does not appear on coins of Theodosius the grandfather), I have ascribed these without exception to the younger; and the rest, with the diademed head, to the elder; except where obvious reasons induced me to think that some even of these should be assigned to the junior.- See Mus. Cas. Vind. ii., p. 523.

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