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Galla Placidia

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Who Was Galla Placidia?:

Galla Placidia was an important figure in the Roman Empire in the first half of the fifth century. She was first a Gothic hostage and then the wife of a Gothic king. She was made "augusta" or empress, and she served actively as regent for her young son when he was named emperor.

Dates of Galla Placidia:

The birth date of Galla Placidia is not known, but was some time between A.D. 388 and 393. She died in Rome on November 27, 450.

Family of Origin of Galla Placidia:

Galla Placidia was the daughter of the Roman Emperor Theodosius I (379-395) and his second wife, Galla, the daughter of Valentinian I. Placidia's half-brothers were the Roman emperors Honorius and Arcadius.

Serena, wife of general Stilicho, was Placidia's cousin and was adopted by her father, Theodosius, so was her sister.

Placidia was also the aunt of Theodosius II.

Family by Marriage:

Galla Placidia married the Gothic king Athaulf in 414, had a child who died shortly thereafter, and after Athaulf was murdered in 415, she married Flavius Constantius (Emperor Constantius III), with whom she had 2 children, the future emperor Valentinian III (born July 3, 419), and a headstrong daughter named Justa Grata Honoria who tried to initiate a correspondence with Attila the Hun.

When Constantius was made co-emperor on February 8, 421, Placidia received the title of "Augusta". Constantius died a few months later (September 2, 421).

Galla Placidia as Regent:

When Placidia's son Valentinian became emperor on October 23, 425, he was very young, and Placidia acted as regent. Placidia was involved in the power struggle between Felix, Boniface, and Aetius from which Aetius emerged as leader.

The Mausoleum of Galla Placidia:

Galla Placidia was the daughter of an orthodox Christian father and was herself devout. She contributed to the building of churches and the mausoleum in which she was supposed to have been buried, a mausoleum in Ravenna (built between 425 and 433). It is generally believed that she was buried where she died, in Rome.

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