January 12, 2010

Gratian, real name Flavius Gratianus (AD 359-83), Roman Emperor, 375-83, son of Valentinian I and Severa, born at Sirmium in Pannonia. In 366 he was made consul, and the following year received the title of Augustus. On the death of his father in 375 the troops proclaimed Valentinian II, his half-brother, emperor.

In 378 Gratian defeated the Lentienses at Argentaria, and in 379, with the help of Theodosius, drove the barbarians out of the Balkans. The first years of his rule were marked by energy and success, but later in life he became indolent and pleasure seeking. This aroused the contempt of the Roman troops, and they elected Maximus, who was then in Britain, as emperor. He at once crossed to Gaul and defeated Gratian near Paris. Gratian fled to Italy, but was overtaken near Lyons and killed.

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