In 392 AD, the Roman tactic of taking their enemies into service, letting them have a more active role in Roman affairs, slowly began to backfire as Emperor Valentinian II, age 21, was murdered while advancing into Gaul against the Frankish usurper Arbogast, leaving Theodosius I as the last sole Emperor to ever rule the whole Empire.
With Valentinian out of the way, Arbogast nominated Eugenius, a Roman teacher of rhetoric, as the next emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
Meanwhile, Theodosius I, reinforced the persecution of pagans by banning any kind of item not related to Christianity that could be used at home for pagan worship, such as spiritual figures, symbols, and incense.
In 393 AD, Theodosius I ignored Arbogast’s request and instead proclaimed his son Honorius, age 8, as co-ruler of the Western Roman Empire, which, considering the boy’s age, was quite the insult towards the usurper.
In that year of 393, Theodosius I also abolished the Greek Olympic Games, thus ending a thousand years of festivals, celebration, and entertainment for the pleb. It was done as part of the general Christian policy to establish universal Christian worship in accordance with the doctrines set forth in the Nicene Creed. The next Olympic Games would not be held until 1896.
Also, the re-writing and transformation of the original Christianity into that of the Satanic Roman Catholic version continued, as a council at Hippo Regius (Algeria) was hosted by the Church where the bishops approved a canon of Sacred Scripture that corresponded to the Roman Catholic Church.
In 394 AD, Emperor Theodosius defeated and killed Eugenius, the usurper who was proclaimed Emperor by Arbogast. After the devastating defeat, the Frankish general Arbogast allegedly committed suicide.
Historical records (the Notitia Dignitatum) also boasted that the late Roman Army at this time consisted of an impressive 200,000 soldiers guarding the borders with a reserve force of 50,000 available for deployment. However, the majority of these forces consisted of non-Roman soldiers from Germanic tribes such as the Alamanni, Franks, Goths, Saxons and Vandals.
During the winter, the Huns crossed the frozen Danube and destroyed most of the villages built by the Goths. Theodosius, who had fallen ill, sent no reinforcements to defend the northern frontier.
In January of 395 AD, Emperor Theodosius I, age 48, died of disease in Milan. The Roman Empire was divided for the final time into an eastern and a western half. The Eastern Roman Empire was centered in Constantinople under Arcadius, son of Theodosius, and the Western Roman Empire in Mediolanum under his young brother Honorius.
Alaric, the Visigothic leader of the Foederati, renounced Roman fealty and was declared king by his people. He immediately waged war against both parts of the Roman Empire, ending a 16-year period of peace.
Towards the end of the year, the Huns began their large-scale attack on the Eastern Roman Empire. They invaded Armenia, Cappadocia, and entered parts of Syria, threatening Antioch. Meanwhile, the Goths led by Alaric I took advantage of the Huns advancement and invaded Thrace and Macedonia.
Meanwhile, Augustine, age 40, became bishop of Hippo Regius (present-day Algeria.) His assignment was to fully establish and strengthen the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa, primarily focusing on the Donatist movement led by Primianus of Carthage.
In 396 AD, the Visigoths, led by Alaric I, rampaged through Greece and plundered Corinth, Argos and Sparta. They destroyed the Temple of Eleusis.
The Roman general Stilicho, who controlled the young emperor Honorius and was seen as the actual ruler of the Western Roman Empire, made peace with some of the Gothic tribes and allowed them land in Epirus (Balkans.) He also enlisted the Alemanni and the Franks to defend the Rhine frontier.
In 397 AD, Stilicho trapped the Visigoths under King Alaric in the Peloponnese, but then decided to abandon the campaign, allowing King Alaric to escape north to Epirus with his loot. Most likely, this action by Stilicho was due to the news of a rising rebellion in northern Africa.
In Rome, Emperor Honorius passed a law that made ‘barbarian’ styles of clothing and appearance illegal in the city of Rome. In short, it became illegal to wear boots, trousers, animal skins, and for men to have long hair.
In late August, during the Council of Carthage, the biblical canon was definitely declared, fully influenced by the Roman Catholic Church.
Also, the Scottish missionary Ninian established a church (Candida Casa) at Whithorn, and began his work among the Picts.
In 398 AD, the Gildonic Revolt took place in northern Africa, where Gildo took much of North Africa and cut off the grain supply to Rome. However, the revolt was quickly subdued as Stilicho sent the brother of Gildo, Mascezel, together with some 5,000 Gallic veterans to join the 70,000 Roman legions already present in Africa.
In 399 AD, the boy Emperor Honorius, only 15 at the time and under the influence of Stilicho, closed the gladiatorial schools in Rome, and legally ended the munera, the gladiator games.
In the East, Gainas, a Gothic leader, was made magister militum and formed an alliance with deserters of Tribigild along the Bosphorus. He proclaimed himself co-regent (usurper) and installed his forces in Constantinople. Gainas had all anti-Gothic officials killed, including Eutropius, the imperial advisor.
In 400 AD, Emperor Arcadius gave his wife Aelia Eudoxia the official title of Augusta. She was allowed to wear the purple paludamentum and was also depicted on Roman currency.
In Constantinople, by the orders of Arcadius, as great riot broke out and the Great palace was burnt to the ground. In the chaos, Gainas, the Gothic leader, attempted to evacuate his 7,000 soldiers, but most of them were trapped and killed. After the massacre, Gainas led the remaining Goths back to their homeland across the Danube. However, as they made their way home, they came across the Huns and were defeated. The Hunnic chieftain Uldin had Gainas beheaded and sent his head to Arcadius in Constantinople as a diplomatic gift.
In 401 AD, Emperor Arcadius, in appreciation of the Huns victory over Gainas and the Goths, sent several gifts to the Hunnish chieftain Uldin, which formed the beginning of a new alliance.
In late November, king Alaric I of the Visigoths returned and invaded northern Italy.
By 402 AD, the Visigoths advanced on Mediolanum (present-day Milan) and besieged Asti in Liguria. King Alaric I sent envoys to negotiate peace, but the Roman government refused to make deals with “barbarians.”
Stilicho recalled troops from Britain and the Rhine frontier to defend Italy. He then decided to attack the Goths on Easter Sunday, April 6, and managed to capture Alaric’s wife and children.
In 403 AD, King Alaric I once again invaded Italy. Stilicho, with an army of 30,000 men, defeated the Goths north of Verona. Alaric made truce, and withdrew eastward to Illyricum.
In 405 AD, Stilicho ordered the Sibylline Books to be burned. He then went to crush a coalition of Asding Vandals, Ostrogoths and Quadi with an army raised from forces amassed along the Rhine frontier, which left that sector dangerously weakened.
King Radagaisus took advantage and led an invasion force of 20,000 men. He spent the winter in the Po Valley and was observed by Stilicho, who lacked sufficient forces to prepare an offensive against the invading German tribes. Meanwhile the immigration continued and nearly 100,000 people crossed into Roman territory, including Alans, Burgundians, Goths, Vandals, and other smaller tribes.
In 406 AD, Roman Forces managed to push back Radagaisus, and when he tried to escape, he was captured and executed. Another 12,000 “barbarians” were then incorporated into the Roman army, or sold as slaves.
After Stilicho’s withdrawal of troops from Britain to protect Italy, several usurpers proclaimed themselves as emperors. And by 407 AD, Constantine III, a general, declared himself Emperor and took all remaining Roman garrisons from Britain and crossed the English Channel to extend his dominion to Gaul and Spain. This campaign by Constantine III was generally seen as the end of Roman rule in Britain. After 360 years of occupation, the local regional British-Roman leaders raised their own levies for defence against the Saxons.
In 408 AD, the Roman usurper Constantine III established his headquarters at Arles (Southern Gaul) and elevated his eldest son, Constans, to the rank of Caesar. Meanwhile in Constantinople, Emperor Arcadius died.
Due to the uprising of Constantine III as a result of Stilicho’s withdrawal of troops from Britain, and also by rumors of Stilicho wanting to put his son as Emperor after the death of Arcadius, he was accused of treason against Honorius and was decapitated at Ravenna. His Hun bodyguard was also killed and mass murders of Vandal soldiers followed. This action weakened the military mindset of the Roman Empire as they lost a lot of experienced generals and soldiers, leaving the ’boy emperor’ to rule the western Empire by himself.
In September, King Alaric I of the Visigoths once again invaded Italy and managed to besiege Rome, where Gothic auxiliaries deserted the Roman army to join Alaric’s forces. After much bargaining, the Senate agreed to pay him a ransom of 5,000 pounds of gold, 30,000 pounds of silver, 4,000 silken tunics, 3,000 hides dyed scarlet, 3,000 pounds of pepper, as well as releasing more than 30,000 slaves.
As a note, pepper was valued due to its toxic properties that could be used to force sickly people into a heavy detox or stop their healing process, giving the illusion of curing them. It was also used to disguise the taste of spoiled meat, making it easier to feed the troops during long marches and sieges.
As Emperor Arcadius died earlier in the year in his palace in Constantinople, the temporary peace with the Huns also died and the Huns, under the command of Uldin, crossed the lower Danube and attacked the Eastern Roman Empire. However, after failed negotiations and a stalemate, the Huns were forced back across the Danube and an exchange of child hostages took place.
In 409 AD, king Alaric I laid siege to Rome a second time, bringing the inhabitants close to starvation. Emperor Honorius, who was safe in inaccessible Ravenna, refused to negotiate for peace. Instead, Alaric came to terms with the Senate and proclaimed a rival emperor, Priscus Attalus.
As a result of the ongoing invasion of Italy and the influx of Germanic tribes, food shortages became widespread in Hispania, Gaul and the Italian Peninsula, resulting in famine and revolts among the peasants.