Generalissimos of the Western Roman Empire (Classical) by John Michael O'Flynn

By John Michael O'Flynn

John Micheal O'Flynn strains the improvement of the location of the generalissimo, or emperor's commander of the army forces, within the western a part of the Roman Empire in the course of the first century advert. From the conceited barbarian Arbogast, who taken care of the younger emperor Valentinian as his puppet, to Odovacar, who disregarded the final western emperor and was once suggested king of Italy in 476, the generalissimos' seizure of strength resulted in dissolution and chaos from which might emerge the political styles of medieval and sleek Europe.

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In any event, whether it is true that Arcadius demanded the return of the troops, or Stilicho sent them on his own initiative, or both versions together, for there may be some validity in both of them, Stilicho lost half his army without having achieved his goal. Now he was left with the western troops alone, the remnant of the army that Theodosius had defeated at the Frigidus, and his first concern was recruiting more troops. For this purpose, he made an expedition along the Rhine in 396. According to the accounts of Claudian, everything between the Ocean and the Danube trembled, and the fierce tribes of Germany prostrated themselves in fear at his very approach.

Stilicho's career had been from the beginning a military one. 5 His father had commanded a squadron of cavalry in the time of of Valens,6 presumably a Vandal squadron. 7 Moving up the ranks he first became, presumably, tribune, and then tribune and notary,8 which attached him directly to the imperial general staff. 9 Following the successful completion of this mission, the marriage of Stilicho with Serena took place. 10 After the marriage, however, Stilicho's career was assured, for Theodosius evidently set about to raise his son-in-law steadily to the level of Serena.

In addition, after 395 Stilicho's difficulty in obtaining an adequate and fully coherent force of reliable troops hindered his military efforts and made him reluctant to engage in major battles until the time came when he was forced to fend off invasions of Italy itself. 26 I Generalissimos of the Western Roman Empire The promotions and honors heaped upon Stilicho after his marriage with Serena did not, for quite some time, include an opportunity to lead an army in an actual campaign. It seems as if Theodosius wished to keep Stilicho close at hand in honorific and palatine positions.

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