Front Page Titles (by Subject) 12.: THE TYRANT CONSTANTINE — ( P. 178 ) - The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5
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12.: THE TYRANT CONSTANTINE — ( P. 178 ) - Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 5 
The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ed. J.B. Bury with an Introduction by W.E.H. Lecky (New York: Fred de Fau and Co., 1906), in 12 vols. Vol. 5.
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THE TYRANT CONSTANTINE — (P. 178)
The best account of the rise, reign, and fall of the tyrant Constantine, ruler of Britain, Gaul, and Spain, will be found in Mr. Freeman’s article, “Tyrants of Britain, Gaul and Spain,” in English Historical Review, vol. i. (1886) p. 53 sqq.
At first, in 407, Constantine’s Gallic dominions “must have consisted of a long and narrow strip of eastern Gaul, from the Channel to the Mediterranean, which could not have differed very widely from the earliest and most extended of the many uses of the word Lotharingia.” That he was acknowledged in Trier is proved by the evidence of coins (Eckhel, 8, 176). Then he moves down to the land between Rhone and Alps, which becomes the chief theatre of operations, and Arelate becomes his capital. His son Constans he creates Caesar, and a younger son Julian nobilissimus. Early in 408 Sarus is sent against him by Stilicho. Sarus gains a victory over Constantine’s officer (Justinian); and lays siege to Valentia, in which Constantine secured himself. But he raises the siege on the seventh day, on account of the approach of Constantine’s able general Gerontius, from whom he with difficulty escapes (by coming to an understanding with the Bagaudae, who appear to act as a sort of national militia) into Italy.
Constantine’s next step is to extend his rule over the rest of the Gallic prefecture, — Spain. We are left quite in the dark as to his relations with the Barbarians who in these years (407-9) were ravaging Gaul. Spain at first submitted to those whom Constantine sent; but very soon the influential Theodosian family organised a revolt against it. The main part of the resistance came from Lusitania, where the four Theodosian brothers had most influence. The rustic army that was collected was set to guard the Pyrenees. To put down the rising, Constantine sent troops a second time into Spain — this time under the Caesar Constans, who was accompanied by Gerontius and by Appollinaris (grandfather of the poet Sidonius), who accepted the office of Praetorian Prefect from Constantine. The Theodosian revolt was suppressed; Constans set up his court in Caesar-augusta (Zaragoza), but soon returned to Gaul, leaving Gerontius to defend Spain.
The sources for this story are Orosius, Sozomen, and Zosimus. For the Spanish events we have no fragments of Olympiodorus. “On the other hand the local knowledge of Orosius goes for something, and Sozomen seems to have gained, from some quarter or other, a singular knowledge of detail of some parts of the story” (Freeman, p. 65). It is practically certain that Sozomen’s source (as well as that of Zosimus) was Olympiodorus (cp. above, vol. ii. Appendix 10, p. 365).
Thus master of the West, Constantine forces Honorius, then ( 409) too weak to resist, to acknowledge him as his colleague and legitimate Augustus. Later in the year he enters Italy with an army, avowedly to help Honorius against Alaric (so Olympiodorus), his real motive being to annex Italy to his own realm (Soz. ix. 12). At this time he probably raised Constans to the rank of Augustus. It appears that Constantine was in league with Allobich, the general of Honorius, to compass his treasonable designs. They were discovered, Allobich was cut down, and then Constantine, who had not yet reached Ravenna, turned back.
Meanwhile the revolt of Gerontius in Spain had broken out, and Constans went to put it down. Gibbon’s account of the revolt is inadequate, in so far as he does not point out its connection with the invasion of Spain by the Vandals, Sueves, and Alans. There is no doubt that Gerontius and Maximus invited them to cross the Pyrenees. (Cp. Olymp.; Oros. 7, 28; Sozom. ix. 113; Zos. 6, 5; Renatus, in Gregory of Tours, 2, 9; Freeman, p. 74: “The evidence seems to go for direct dealings between Gerontius and the invaders, and his treaty with them is more likely to have followed the proclamation of Maximus than to have gone before it.”) The dominion of Maximus was practically confined to the northwestern corner; the seat of his rule was Tarraco. As for the relation of Maximus to Gerontius, it is very doubtful whether παɩ̂δα in Olympiodorus is to be interpreted son and not rather servant or retainer.
The rest of the episode of Constantine’s reign — the sieges of Vienna (which, some have suspected, is a mistake for Narbo) and Arelate — have been well told by Gibbon. These events must be placed in the year 411; for Constantine’s head arrived at Ravenna on 18th September (Idatius ad ann.), and it was in the fourth month of the siege of Arelate that Edobich’s troops came on the scene (Renatus ap. Greg. Tur. ii. 9).
Mr. Freeman thus contrasts the position of Constantine with that of contemporary tyrants: —
“Constantine and Maximus clearly leagued themselves with the barbarians, but they were not mere puppets of the barbarians; they were not even set up by barbarian help. Each was set up by a movement in an army which passed for Roman. But the tyrants who appear in Gaul in the following year, Jovinus, Sebastian, and Attalus — Attalus, already known in Italy, is fresh in Gaul — are far more closely connected with the invaders of the provinces. Attalus was a mere puppet of the Goths, set up and put down at pleasure; his story is merely a part of the marches of Ataulf in Gaul and Spain. Jovinus was set up by Burgundian and Alan help; his elevation to the Empire and the earliest Burgundian settlement in Gaul are simply two sides of one event. Even Maximus was not in this way the mere creature of the invaders of Spain, though he found it convenient at least to connive at their invasion.”