Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. III:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
The Ecclesiastical History, Dialogues, and Letters of Theodoret.: Of the reign of Valentinianus, and how he associated Valens his brother with him.
Chapter V.—Of the reign of Valentinianus, and how he associated Valens his brother with him.
When the troops had become acquainted with the emperors sudden death, they wept for the departed prince as for a father, and made Valentinian emperor in his room. It was he who smote the officer of the temple 676 and was sent to the castle. He was distinguished not only for his courage, but also for prudence, temperance, justice, and great stature. He was of so kingly and magnanimous a character that, on an attempt being made by the army to appoint a colleague to share his throne, he uttered the well-known words which are universally repeated, “Before I was emperor, soldiers, it was yours to give me the reins of empire: now that I have taken them, it is mine, not yours, to take counsel for the state.” The troops were struck with admiration at what he said, and contentedly followed the guidance of his authority. Valentinian, however, sent for his brother from Pannonia, and shared the empire with him. Would that he had never done so! To Valens, 677 who had not yet accepted unsound doctrines, was committed the charge of Asia and of Egypt, while Valentinian allotted Europe to himself. He journeyed to the Western provinces, and beginning with a proclamation of true religion, instructed them in all righteousness. When the Arian Auxentius, bishop of Milan, who was condemned in several councils, departed this life, 678 the emperor summoned the bishops and addressed them as follows: “Nurtured as you have been in holy writ, you know full well what should be the character of one dignified by the episcopate, and how he should rule his subjects aright, not only with his lip, but with his life; exhibit himself as an example of every kind of virtue, and make his conversation a witness of his teaching. Seat now upon your archiepiscopal throne a man of such character that we who rule the realm may honestly bow our heads before him and welcome his reproofs,—for, in that we are men, it needs must be that we sometimes stumble,—as a physicians healing treatment.”
Vide page 101. “Valentinian belongs to the better class of Emperors. He was a soldier like Jovian, and held the same rank at his election. He was a decided Christian like Jovian, and, like him, free from the stain of persecution. Jovians rough good humour was replaced in Valentinian by a violent and sometimes cruel temper, but he had a sense of duty, and was free from Jovians vices.” Gwatkin, Arian Cont. 121.110:677
“Valens was timid, suspicious, and slow, yet not ungentle in private life. He was as uncultivated as his brother, but not inferior to him in scrupulous care for his subjects. He preferred remitting taxation to fighting at the head of the legions. In both wars he is entitled to head the series of financial rather than unwarlike sovereigns whose cautious policy brought the Eastern Empire safely through the great barbarian invasions of the fifth century.” Gwatkin, p. 121.110:678
Vide note on page 81.
Next: Of the election of Ambrosius, the Bishop of Milan.
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