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A History Of The Church In Seven Books by Socrates

NEARLY synchronous with the holding of these Synods at Constantinople, the following events occurred in the Western parts. Maximus coming from the island of Britain, invaded the Roman empire, and took arms against Gratian, who was then engaged in a war with the Alemanni. In Italy, Valentinian being still a minor, Probus, a man of consular dignity, had the chief administration of affairs, and was at that time præfect of the Prætorium. Justin a, the mother of the young prince, who entertained Arian sentiments, had been unable to molest the Homoousians during her husband’s life; but going to Milan after the emperor’s decease, she manifested great hostility to Ambrose the bishop, and commanded that he should be banished. While the people from their excessive attachment to Ambrose, were offering resistance to those who were charged with the execution of this order, intelligence was brought that Gratian had been assassinated by the treachery of the tyrant Maximus. Andragathius, a general under Maximus, having concealed himself in a litter resembling a couch, which was carried by mules, ordered his guards to spread a report before him that the litter contained the emperor Gratian’s wife. They met the emperor near the city of Lyons in France just as he had crossed the river: who believing it to be his wife, and not suspecting any treachery, fell into the hands of his enemy as a blind man into the ditch; for Andragathius suddenly springing forth from the litter, slew him. Gratian thus perished in the consulate of Merobaudes and Saturninus, in the twenty-fourth year of his age, and the fifteenth of his reign. This incident repressed the empress Justina’s indignation against Ambrose. Afterwards Valentinian most unwillingly, but constrained by the necessity of the time, admitted Maximus as his colleague in the empire. Probus alarmed at the power of Maximus, resolved to retreat into the regions of the East: leaving Italy therefore, he proceeded to Illyricum, and fixed his residence at Thessalonica a city of Macedonia.








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