Rome's Christian Empress
Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire
Johns Hopkins University Press 2015
New Books in BiographyNew Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Gender StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Italian StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books Network August 6, 2017 Mark Klobas
The daughter of the emperor Theodosius I, Galla Placidia successfully navigated the tumultuous politics of the late Roman Empire to rule as regent for her son Valentinian III. In Rome’s Christian Empress: Galla Placidia Rules at the Twilight of the Empire (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015), Joyce Salisbury details the extent of this accomplishment by situating it within the context of her time. Orphaned at an early age, Placidia grew up in the household of Stilicho, a Vandal general who had established himself as the most powerful figure in the western Empire. The sacking of Rome in 410 made her the captive of the victorious Goths, eventually marrying their leader Ataulf. After the tragic death of their son and Ataulf’s subsequent assassination brought her hopes of establishing a Romano-Gothic dynasty to an end, she was forced by her ruling half-brother Honorius to marry his general Constantius III. With Constantinus and Honorius’s deaths leaving her son Valentinian as emperor, Placidia became regent for the boy, in which capacity she dealt with the problems of barbarian invasions, rebellious commanders, and the many other challenges of an empire in decline.