Theodosius I was a Roman Emperor from 379 until his death in 395. During his reign, Theodosius was forced to lead two bloody civil wars. Theodosius made the Edict of the year 380, in which Nicene Christianity was proclaimed the only official religion of the Roman Empire. He banned pagan rituals, like Olimpic games. Theodosius essentially divided the Roman Empire into two parts. East and West.

Early Life

Theodosius was born on January 11, 347 in the city of Kauka as the son of Theodosius Elderly and his wife Thermantia. His father was a military commander in the service of Emperor Valentine I, and the emperor appointed him as the supreme commander of the Roman cavalry in the western part of the empire. Theodosius’ youth and education are not widely known, but it is assumed that he had a Christian background. In the period when his father reached the peak of his military career, Theodosius received a command over the military detachments of the province of the First Mezia where he was celebrated for his victory over the Sarmatians. Theodosius married Elia Flavius, who gave birth to his first daughter Pulcheria (who died young), and his two sons Arkadius and Honorius.

Gratian, the emperor of the Western Roman Empire, on January 19, 379 in front of the army, named Theodosius, the son of the recently executed military leader, Theodosius Elderly, the Еmperor оf the East Roman Empire. Theodosius was chosen for his military ability and the religion that he followed. Gracian and Theodosius agreed to allow Goths to settle in the empire. Theodosius soon began to dominate his weak colleague.

Upon arrival in the Balkans, Theodosius put his headquarters in Thessaloniki. He, with the help of the selected officers, began to reassemble and train the mobile army of the Roman Balkans, which especially suffered during the battle of Adrianople. By the end of the 379th, the army was at least numerically recovered by the rigorous recruitment of the Roman population, the arrival of the detachments from far-off Egypt, and the receipt of Gothic and other barbaric mercenaries and deserters. The first few smaller conflicts with the Goths ended unfavorably to the Romans, but even the Goths who rushed to Macedonia and Thessaly could not take fortified cities of Rome. On the other hand, Gracian rejected the attack by another Gothic group, in the autumn of 380 two Emperors discussed future joint actions against Goths in Sirmium. In order to raise his own reputation and faith in his ultimate success, Theodosius entered the city of Constantinople, the Eastern Roman capital, for the first time.

At the beginning of the war, 381. Gracian military commanders pushed Goths from Ilirika and Macedonia back to Thrace. In the course of the year 382, the Goths were pushed into the already devastated parts of Thrace, where, because of the shortage of food and resources, eventually accepted negotiations with the Roman authorities. Theodosius and Gracian did not succeed in destroying or expelling Goths by military means, which, given the Roman policy of recruiting barbarians, may have been too costly and on the military side irrational considering the constant need of the Imperial army for new recruits. The Goths, who were only formally in a subordinate position, concluded in 382 a Treaty with Theodosius. Contrary to the practice, which implied that the defeated barbers partly split up in colonies, partly sold into slaves, the Goths became Roman allies, and within the empire, they were given the right to form their own community within which they could continue to live under their superiors and in accordance with their customs. In return, from the Gothic leaders who swore loyalty to the Emperor, they were expected to send their military forces in the war on the Roman side if it is necessary.

Death and Division of the Empire

Theodosius, 390, after the Massacre in Thessaloniki, decided to completely eliminate pagans. After several violent clashes, on November 8, 392, a law was passed that banned pagan religion. After the death of Emperor Valentine II in unclear circumstances, Arbogast, who had probably been the cause of Valentinian II’s murder or suicide, elevated Eugenius to the throne. When Theodosius refused to recognize him, Eugenius embraced pagans in Rome. But this last “pagan reaction” was short-lived: in 393, Theodosius abolished the Olympic Games, and in 394 by winning the Battle of the Frigidus, he was the victor in the conflict. After long civil wars, Theodosius once again managed to unify the empire, but again to divide the country with his death. His intention was to appoint his son Honorius, as a warden in the west, and to send his elder son Arkadi back to the east, however, Theodosius’s sudden death in 395 accelerated the division of the empire.

Theodosius successfully dealt with the Gothic danger, though taking the risk, and managed to conceive the dynasty and impose a strict religious orthodoxy. Compromise and Peace with the Persians gave Rome a small part of Armenia in 387, where Theodosius founded Teodosopolis. He survived two usurpers in the west. These military successes, however, were achieved with the help of the army in which the barbarians made the majority, and that was not a good sign.

The Second Ecumenical Council was held from May to July in 381 in Constantinopolis. It was convened by Emperor Theodosius I. It established Orthodox teachings about the coming of the Holy Spirit from the Father and were proclaimed for the heresy the belief that the Holy Spirit is more inferior to the Father and the Son. In addition, the status of the Episcope of Constantinople was established as the bishop of New Rome, the second after honor after the Roman Bishop, bypassing the bishop of Alexandria, until then regarded as the first in the East, the bearer of the title “Pope.” The outcome was the so-called pentarchy – five of the main bishops of the Christian world: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem. 186 bishops participated.  Theodosius finally made Roman Empire into the Christian state and his rule secured the future of the eastern part of the Empire.