1902 Encyclopedia > Flavius Stilicho

Flavius Stilicho
Roman soldier
(c. 365 - 408)

FLAVIUS STILICHO, Roman general and statesman, was of Vandal origin, and was born about 359 A.D. At an early age he entered the imperial army, where his father before him had served under Valens; and he speedily attained high promotion. He had already become magister equitum when in 384 he was sent by Theodosius as his ambassador to Persia; his mission was very successful, and soon after his return he was made comes domesticus and commander-in-chief, receiving also in marriage Serena, the emperor's niece and adoptive daughter. Theodosius, when dying, made Stilicho and Serena the guardians of Honorius and his other children. Honorius, in 398, was married to Stilicho's daughter Maria, and in 408 to her sister Thermantia. It was by Stilicho that Alaric in 396 was compelled to quit the Peloponnesus (see ALARIC), and that in 398 the revolt of the Mauretanian prince Gildo was repressed. Stilicho again encountered Alaric at Pollentia in 402, and at Verona in 403, compelling his retreat into Illyria, and was rewarded with a triumph on his return to Borne. In 405 he almost annihilated the army of Radagaisus, the leader of the Ostrogoths, at Fiesole. The arrangements into which he subsequently entered with Alaric (see ALARIC) were made use of by his enemies to alienate the emperor from him, and when at last revolt was the only course that might possibly have saved him his continued loyalty proved fatal. Abandoned by his troops he fled to Ravenna, and, having been induced by false promises to quit the church in which he had taken sanctuary, he was beheaded on August 23, 408. Stilicho is the hero of much of the poetry of CLAUDIAN (q.v.).

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