Princess Placidia


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He attacked again in , but was once more convinced to withdraw from the city. Finally, in , King Alaric and the Visigoths besieged Rome for one last time, with no intention of withdrawing from the city. Instead, they looted the city for three days, stealing wealth and harassing the locals, but keeping most of the city remarkably intact.

Around this time, or perhaps during the earlier sieges, the Visigoths captured Galla Placidia.

King Alaric hoped he could use the princess as leverage in his negotiations with Emperor Honorius. Alaric, however, had miscalculated—Honorius and Galla Placidia were not friendly siblings.

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It was around this time that Majorian became besties with a German general called 'Herr' Ricimer. The latter had ambitions to become a master-manipulator and schemed to make Majorian an emperor one day.

Galla Placidia, Empress of Rome

Majorian wanted to become part of the imperial ruling family and fixed his attention on Princess Placidia, the youngest daughter of Emperor Valentinian. The only catch was she had barely started primary school.

Majorian would have to wait a few years before Placidia became a woman. However Majorian's marital and social climbing ambitions were thwarted by Emperor Valentinian's murder. In the aftermath, the new emperor Petronius Maximus gave Placidia to one of his relatives, a Roman aristocrat called Olybrius. Majorian judged it would be a good time to disappear and with the help of his friend Ricimer, was re-assigned out of Rome in a dead end job.


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But this was a stroke of fortune. Shortly after Majorian made himself scarce, the Vandals arrived in Rome under their king Genseric. Breaking through the walls, the Vandals lived up to their name. What they couldn't seize, they crashed and smashed. In addition, Genseric helped himself to the Imperial Roman family, carting off Placidia with her mother and elder sister and killing the rest.

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Regretfully to Majorian that didn't include Olybrius who was on a business trip to Constantinople. Once the Vandals eventually woke up from their breaking and entry party and went home, a Gallic Roman called Avitus was installed by the Visigoths as the new Roman Emperor in the West. He was opposed by Ricimer who instead proposed his friend Majorian as emperor. Avitus was eventually persuaded to retire and take up religion as a new hobby he was enthroned bishop of Placentia in Italy.

Ricimer was now the top banana in what was left of the Western Roman Empire.


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Majorian would get the imperial job but first he would have to 'tidy up something'. This was to make sure Avitus had no imperial encore. Majorian strangled Avitus whilst he was at work listening to confessions.

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Majorian was now emperor. He immediately wrote to the Vandal king asking him to return the imperial family to Rome but received a message in crude German which told him to stuff his head up his own arse. Genseric also informed Majorian that Princess Placidia had left Carthage for Constantinople where she was to be re-united with her husband Olybrius. What was left of the Roman Empire in the West was distinctly a very sick puppy. When Honorius died suddenly in , John, a notary of whom we've previously heard nothing was raised to the throne.

Galla fled with her two children to Constantinople, returning two years later with an Eastern army, and her son, the six-year-old Valentinian, was proclaimed emperor.

Portrait of the Byzantine princess Galla Placidia...

Galla, as regent, was now de facto ruler of the Western empire. Her year regency was remembered as a period of peace, although it is a judgement hard to square with fairly continuous wars and civil mayhem. Self-inflicted damage included Boniface, now commander of the Western armies, who fought a battle near Rimini in against his chief rival, the Roman general Aetius, winning the battle but losing his life.

Mortally wounded, Boniface inexplicably urged his wife Pelagia, a Gothic princess to marry Aetius. Aetius enjoyed Boniface's wife and property until , when Valentinian III threw a spear at him; frustratingly, we're not told if it hit the target, but Valentinian certainly murdered him that year, whether having personally skewered him or otherwise. A year later, Valentinian was slain by Petronius Maximus, a senator who seized both the throne and the emperor's wife, Augusta Licinia Eudoxia, daughter of Theodosius II, the senior Eastern emperor.

After two months, Licinia revenged herself by inviting Geiseric the Vandal from Libya to sack Rome - "a perfect literary paradigm", as Sivan says, "to account for the end of an era".

Princess Aelia Galla Placida of the Roman Empire : Family tree by comrade28 - Geneanet

Still, Galla has the splendid mausoleum in Ravenna to her eternal credit. If I were Galla, I wouldn't complain. The end was already nigh.

Eldridge & Co. - Naomi Chase: "The Journals of Empress Galla Placidia"

Constant checks on their presence and bureaucratic curbs on their movement leave international students feeling like security threats, says Alexander Mack. Equality and Human Rights Commission data show staff complaints take longer to investigate and are less likely to lead to redress. Skip to main content.

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