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lothia

Life and times of Flavius Arbogast

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Ave Civitas,

I am researching for my fouth novel in the "Bandit King" series.

This novel includes Master-General Flavius Arbogastes.

If I am going to create a character (and so a character profile) that could be historically accurate, I need to know what kind of person he was in real life.

In researching his history, and trying to create a character profile for Arbogast, I found (in Wikipedia) that Arbogast resided within the Frankish domain ( so probably not a domain as I would think of one) as a native of Galatia Minor until the later 370s when he was expelled.    It does state that he lived in Galatia Minor, which I think was renamed Lycaonia by Diocletain.

That made me wonder.  What type of person was he who could do something to get himself expelled (rather than imprisoned or executed)?

As always, thank you for your help.

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...not much on Arbogastes but interesting as it fits your time period...

I recently stumbled upon this pdf

http://arizona.openrepository.com/arizona/bitstream/10150/317966/1/AZU_TD_BOX44_E9791_1966_383.pdf

...of course @sonic written several books on this time period, so he should be able to add a word or two :)

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Thanks.  Stilicho is also in the novel I am working on as well as Aetius's father.

I just downloaded the file and will take a look at it after my morning coffee.

Tom

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Just read the Wikipedia page on Arbogastes.  That is a very odd entry and I'm not convinced of its accuracy.  I'm unsure as to Arbogastes being a 'native of Galatia', as apart from Socrates this is not mentioned.  As to 'Resided within the Frankish domain as a native of Galatia Minor', this makes no sense at all to me.  It just seems to be accepting Socrates' statement at face value and attempting to shoehorn information into a single sentence.  The entry reads: 

[Talking about Eugenius]  ‘For associating with himself Arbogastes, a native of Galatia Minor, who then had the command of a division of the army, a man harsh in manner and very bloodthirsty, he determined to usurp the sovereignty.’  (Socrates 5.25

 

Socrates in translation

I know of no reason for him being 'expelled' from anywhere for any misdemeanour.  On the contrary, he is highly praised by Eunapius (frg. 53) and Zosimus (4.33.1-2, 53.1) for his military qualities and his contempt for money (PLRE2).

In reality, Arbogast was a Frank who served under Gratian in the West, then Theodosius in the East, before being made Western magister militum by Theodosius after the defeat of Maximus in 388.  He later supported Eugenius in the West against Theodosius. 

You might be interested to note that although a 'Frank', in Gaul he conducted expeditions against the Franks (e.g. Paulin. V Amb. 30).

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in the german wiki entry it says that he was the son of Baudogast (according to John of Antioch) and they lived east of the Rhine at the non occopied part of Germania, nothing about Galatia...

...also something that doesnt come across as clear in english is that in german the fact that he was non christian, but had excellent contact with Ambrosius and other high ranking christians. He also benefited that at the time high ranking romans like  Symmachus und Nicomachus Flavianus where non christians themselves, and that Eugenius even though christian was very tolerant towards pagans...

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arbogast_der_Ältere

 

 

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5 hours ago, sonic said:

this makes no sense at all to me.

Sonic,

Yes, me neither.  That was one of the reasons I posted the question.

Thank you very much for your response.

Viggen,

Very helpful article on Arbogast.  I am not so sure about Arbogast the Younger being the Elder's son.  There is a lot of years between the two.  Perhaps his grandson?

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Quote

That made me wonder.  What type of person was he who could do something to get himself expelled (rather than imprisoned or executed)?

Prison in Roman times was not a punishment per se, rather a place to hold someone until a punishment was ordered (and usually relatively quickly). It might be instructive to learn that prison was not a punishment in its own right in Britain until legislation was passed in the 1860's to establish a basis for rehabilitation of a criminal. IF a man is exiled rather than executed it generally occurs because he is classed as honestiores, or basically, an upper class Roman. Humiliories, the lower classes, could not expect such leniency. As for character, ambitious career Romans tended to be opportunistic. Patricians sometimes got involved in some shady schemes on the quiet. Remember that the 'public face' of important Romans was something endemic in roman society. Even if someone were not actually guilty, rumour, gossip, information, or blatant accusation were common means of getting a rival into trouble. Accusations of witchcraft were taken very seriously. Poisonings and social misdemeanours like involvement in commerce might also be used as condemnation if enough witnesses could be found. Sometimes it was merely petty intrigue with lots of sneering and insults to destroy a man's reputation. It was such a situation that under Roman law, slaves could not offer evidence unless they had been tortured to obtain it, because their owners might have instructed them as to what to say.

 

Edited by caldrail

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          Caldrail,

Thanks for the information about prisons.  That is interesting about the "public face" .  One of the characters in my novel will be Rufinus, the MoA.  I am sure he used that tactic against his enemies and I assume his enemies would have used it against him.  But now I wonder, how does someone defend against that?

I will think on this for a while and then, if I can't find an answer somewhere, post it here to get opinions.

By the way, you guys are great.

Thanks.

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The best defence of an elite Roman is to have friends, allies, spies, or if you like, just be better at petty intrigue than your opponents.

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