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Theodosius II - Eastern Emperor From 408-450


Theodosius II

Theodosius II

© Trustees of the British Museum, produced by Natalia Bauer for the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

Name: Flavius Theodosius Junior Augustus
Dates: April 10, 401 - July 28, 450
Reign: 408 - 450
Parents: Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia
Occupation: Emperor and law-giver

Theodosius II codified the laws of Rome, signed a 100-year peace treaty with Persia, and gave tremendous concessions to the barbarian Vandals and Huns, virtually emptying the treasury at Constantinople.

Theodosius was born in 401 to the eastern emperor Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia, became Augustus the next year, and sole Augustus in the East in 408 when his father died.

He came to power when too young to rule alone, and so was influenced heavily by others, notably his sister Aelia Pulcheria (399-453). She arranged for him to marry Athenais (Aelia Eudocia) in June of 421. Under Pulcheria's influence, he banned pagans from holding office and in another anti-pagan event, Hypatia was murdered in Alexandria at this time. Two Christian councils were held at Ephesus, one to set an opinion on the Nestorian theological position and a second, known as the Robber Council in which the position was taken that there was one nature of Christ (monophysite). This was the beginning of the break between the Church in the East and West.

Theodosius gave away Roman lands to the Vandals and went from paying the Huns 350 pounds of gold annually to 2100.

In February 438, Theodosius II published a collection of the Roman laws known as the Codex Theodosianus. He more aggressively collected rents on imperial policy, and tried to strengthen the central administration, among other reforms.

Theodosius died as the result of a riding accident on July 28, 450, possibly indicating Marcian as his successor.

Source: DIR Theodosius II


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