Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Augustus Gratianus

From volume XI of the work.
See also the Project Disclaimer.

GRATIANUS, Augustus (359-383), Roman emperor, son of Valentinianus I,, was born in 359. In the ninth year of his age he received from his father the title of Augustus, but on his father's death in 375 he was compelled to share the Western empire with his infant brother, Valentinianus II., of whom he was appointed guardian, while his uncle Valens ruled over the Eastern empire. In 378 he gained a victory over the Alemanni near the site of the present town of Colmar. Through the death of Valens in the same year, there devolved upon him the government of the Eastern empire, but feeling himself unable to resist unaided the incursions of the barbarians, he ceded it to Theodosius, January 19, 379. For some years Gratianus conducted the government of his empire with energy and success, but gradually he sank into indolence and occupied himself chiefly with the pleasures of the chase. By adopt ing as the guards of his person a body of the Alani, and appearing in public in the dress of a Scythian warrior, he awakened the contempt and resentment of his Roman troops. A Roman named Maximus took advantage of this feeling to raise the standard of revolt in Britain, and invaded Gaul with a large army, upon which Gratianus, who was then in Paris, being deserted by his troops, fled to Lyons, where, through the treachery of the governor, he was delivered over to one of the rebel generals and assassinated, August 25, 383.