Child Emperor Rule in the Late Roman West, AD 367- 455

ISBN : 9780199664818

Meaghan A. McEvoy
380 Pages
162 x 241 mm
Pub date
May 2013
Oxford Classical Monographs
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In this book, McEvoy explodes the myth that the remarkable phenomenon of the late Roman child-emperor reflected mere dynastic sentiment or historical accident. Tracing the course of the frequently tumultuous, but nevertheless lengthy, reigns of young western emperors in the years AD 367-455, she looks at the way in which the sophistication of the Roman system made their accessions and survival possible. The book highlights how these reigns allowed for individual generals to dominate the Roman state and in what manner the crucial role of Christianity, together with the vested interests of various factions within the imperial elite, contributed to a transformation of the imperial image - enabling and facilitating the adaptation of existing imperial ideology to portray boys as young as six as viable rulers. It also analyses the struggles which ensued upon a child-emperor reaching adulthood and seeking to take up functions which had long been delegated during his childhood. Through the phenomenon of child-emperor rule, McEvoy demonstrates the major changes taking place in the nature of the imperial office in late antiquity, which had significant long-term impacts upon the way the Roman state came to be ruled and, in turn, the nature of rulership in the early medieval and Byzantine worlds to follow.


List of Abbreviations
Introduction: Spes Rei Publicae: the hope of the State?

Part One
1: The Emperor in the Late Roman World
2: Gratian and Valentinian II: Setting the Precedent
3: Long-term Success and Failure
4: Adjusting the Imperial Image

Part Two: Honorius
5: An Accident of Power?
6: The Regime of Stilicho
7: The Interregnum and the Rise of Flavius Constantius

Part Three: Valentinian III
8: The Struggle for Power
9: The Regime of Aetius
10: Valentinian III: Child-turned-Adult Emperor?
Primary Sources

About the author: 

Meaghan A. McEvoy is a research scholar at the British School in Rome, a research fellow in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collections in Washington DC, and since 2010 has held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

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