Ablabius (consul 331)

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Flavius Ablabius[1][2] also known as Ablabius[3] or Ablavius[4] (flourished 4th century, died 338) was a high official of the Roman Empire.

Family and early life[edit]

Ablabius was a Greek from the island of Crete and a man of humble birth.[5] When his mother was pregnant with him, she allegedly received a prophecy from an Egyptian astrologer about him, that she would almost have borne an Emperor.[5]

His date of birth is unknown, the identities of his parents are unknown, and it is unknown whether he had any known siblings or relatives and little is known on his early life. Ablabius was of a non-aristocratic and non-senatorial background,[6][7][8]

He was at birth a pagan who converted later to Christianity. Ablabius became one of the officials of the Roman Governor of Crete.[5] At some point, Ablabius left Crete and travelled to Constantinople to make his fortune.[5]

Constantine I and his family[edit]

After arriving at Constantinople, Ablabius by chance acquired great influence over the Roman emperor Constantine I and became one of the most important Roman Senators of Constantinople.[9][8]

Ablabius served as vicarius of the Diocese of Asia; held the praetorian prefecture of the East from 329 to 337/338 and served as ordinary consul in 331.[10] Ablabius was active in the Roman East and West[7] and during his political career, he was based at Antioch.[2]

Considering his provincial background,[7] Ablabius seemed to be attached to Constantine I, making him one of a small number of Easterners who held high offices[11] throughout the Roman Empire.

Ablabius once succeeded to convince Constantine I that the lack arrival of the grain supplies for Constantinople had been caused by the magical arts of the pagan sage, Sopater of Apamea, who had verbally attacked the Emperor and Ablabius for their dissolute behaviour. Constantine I followed the advice of Ablabius and had Sopater put to death. In 333 Constantine I, addressed a letter to Ablabius[5] which is still preserved, in which Constantine I decreed that each party in a trial could appeal to a bishop’s judgement.

In 336, Constantine I ordered a Greek inscription carved on a pedestal of a statue representing himself in Antioch, where Ablabius is named with the fellow senators Lucius Papius Pacatianus, Valerius Felix, Annius Tiberianus and Nestorius Timonianus.[2] Constantine I also made Ablabius tutor and preceptor of his son Constantius II.[12]

When Constantine I died in May 337, Constantius II succeeded him. Later in 337, Ablabius sided with Athanasius of Alexandria, the Nicene Bishop of Alexandria who had powerful enemies at the court of the pro-Arian Constantius II. Due to Ablabius’ support for Athanasius, Constantius II dismissed him from the imperial court, and Ablabius retired to his estates in Bithynia.[12] In 338, Constantius II condemned Ablabius to death following false accusations of intending to usurp the throne; the emperor had Ablabius executed in front of his own house.[12] His house in Constantinople later belonged to the Empress Galla Placidia.[12]

Family[edit]

Ablabius had married an unnamed noblewoman by whom he had two known children:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, pp.100, 302
  2. ^ a b c Millar, The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337, p.210
  3. ^ a b Nordgren, The Well Spring Of The Goths: About The Gothic Peoples in The Nordic Countries And On The Continent, p. 385
  4. ^ a b c Budge, Paradise of the Holy Fathers Part 1, p.163
  5. ^ a b c d e Jones, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 1, AD 260-395, p.3
  6. ^ Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, pp. 100–101
  7. ^ a b c Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, p.100
  8. ^ a b Coon, That Gentle Strength: Historical Perspectives on Women in Christianity, p.28
  9. ^ Eunapius, The Life of Philosophers and Sophists, Book VI. Three. 1-7
  10. ^ Jones, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 1, AD 260-395, pp.3-4
  11. ^ Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, p. 302
  12. ^ a b c d Jones, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 1, AD 260-395, p. 4
  13. ^ Hovannisian, The Armenian People From Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, p.89
  14. ^ Faustus of Byzantium, History of the Armenians, Book IV, Chapter 15
  15. ^ Jones, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 1, AD 260-395, Parts 260-395, pp. 3, 4 & 818
  16. ^ Moret, Sertorius, Libanios, iconographie: a propos de Sertorius, journée d'étude, Toulouse, 7 avril 2000 [suivi de] autour de Libanios, culture et société dans l'antiquité tardive : actes de la table ronde, Avignon, 27 avril 2000, p.207

Sources[edit]

  • Faustus of Byzantium, History of the Armenians, 5th Century
  • A.H.M. Jones, J.R. Martindale & J. Morris, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire: Volume 1, AD 260-395, Parts 260-395, Cambridge University Press, 1971
  • L.L. Coon & K.J. Haldane, That Gentle Strength: Historical Perspectives on Women in Christianity, The University Press of Virginia, 1990
  • F. Millar, The Roman Near East, 31 B.C.-A.D. 337, Harvard University Press, 1993
  • G. Halsall, Humour, History and Politics in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, 2002, p.p. 64–65
  • M.R. Salzman, The Making of a Christian Aristocracy: Social and Religious Change in the Western Roman Empire, Harvard University Press, 2002
  • E.A. Wallis Budge, Paradise of the Holy Fathers Part 1, Kessinger Publishing, 2003
  • P. Moret & B. Cabouret, Sertorius, Libanios, iconographie: a propos de Sertorius, journée d'étude, Toulouse, 7 avril 2000 [suivi de] autour de Libanios, culture et société dans l'antiquité tardive : actes de la table ronde, Avignon, 27 avril 2000, Presses Univ. du Mirail, 2003
  • D.S. Potter, The Roman Empire at Bay: Ad 180-395, Routledge, 2004, p.p. 424&479
  • I. Nordgren, The Well Spring Of The Goths: About The Gothic Peoples in The Nordic Countries And On The Continent, iUniverse, 2004
  • R.G. Hovannisian, The Armenian People From Ancient to Modern Times, Volume I: The Dynastic Periods: From Antiquity to the Fourteenth Century, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004
  • S. Parvis, Marcellus of Ancyra And the Lost Years of the Arian Controversy 325-345, Oxford University Press, 2006, p.p. 138–140
Preceded by
Gallicanus,
Aurelius Valerius Tullianus Symmachus
Consul of the Roman Empire
331
Served alongside: Junius Annius Bassus
Succeeded by
Lucius Papius Pacatianus,
Maecilius Hilarianus
Preceded by
Constantius
Praetorian prefect of the East
329-337/338
Succeeded by
Septimius Acindynus