Valentinian II (22nd November AD 375 - 15th May AD 392)
Flavius Valentinianus was born to Emperor Valentinian I and his second wife, Justina. He was the half-brother of Valentinian’s other son, Gratian, who had shared the imperial title with his father since 367. The elder Valentinian died on campaign in 375. Instead of merely acknowledging Gratian as his father’s successor, Valentinian I’s generals acclaimed the four-year old boy augustus on 22 November 375. ]Gratian, forced to accommodate the generals who supported his half-brother, governed the trans-alpine provinces (including Gaul, Hispania, and Britain), while Italy, part of Illyricum, and Africa were under the rule of Valentinian. In 378, their uncle, the Emperor Valens, was killed in battle with the Goths at Adrianople, and Gratian invited the general Theodosius to be emperor in the East. As a child, Valentinian II was under the influence of his Arian mother, the Empress Justina, and the imperial court at Milan. In 383, Magnus Maximus, commander of the armies in Britain, declared himself Emperor and established himself in Gaul and Hispania. Gratian died while fleeing him. For a time the court of Valentinian, through the mediation of Ambrose, came to an accommodation with the usurper, and Theodosius recognized Maximus as co-emperor of the West. However, in 387, Maximus crossed the Alps into the Po valley and threatened Milan. Valentinian II and Justina fled to Theodosius in Thessalonica. The latter came to an agreement, cemented by his marriage to Valentinian’s sister Galla, to restore the young emperor in the West. In 388, Theodosius marched west and defeated Maximus. He then proceeded to marginalise the restored Valentinian, while still remaining theoretically loyal to the dynasty of Valentinian I. Valentinian was strangled by order of his general Arbogastes who had undermined the authority of the young emperor on May 15th, 392.