Fravitta

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Flavius Fravitta (died 402/403) was a chieftain of the Visigoths, who entered in the Eastern Roman army, rising to its highest ranks.

Biography[edit]

Fravitta was a member of the Visigoth aristocracy. He was also a Pagan, and for this reason he was praised by Eunapius, a Greek historian of the 4th-5th century.

In 382, the Visigoths had signed a treaty with Roman Emperor Theodosius I, according to which the Visigoths were allowed to live in the Roman territory at the mouth of the Danube, with the rank of foederati, thus providing the Roman army with troops. However, within the Goths there were two parties, which grew more and more hostile each other. One was formed by the Arian Christian majority, the "Gothic party", led by Eriulf and opposed to the assimilation of the Goths in the Roman culture. Fravitta, on the other side, led those Goths who wanted to stay faithful to the treaty and who wanted to be assimilated in the Roman culture. In 391, while Eriulf and Fravitta were both dining with Theodosius, they quarrelled, and Fravitta killed Eriulf, and only the imperial guards could save his life by the revenge of Eriulf's followers; while his support among the Goths decreased, his position at court was strengthened. Later he married a Roman woman of high rank, thus helping his own assimilation in the Roman society, as well as his people's.

He was loyal to the Roman Empire for all of his life, and rose through the ranks of the Roman army, until he reached the office of Magister militum, with the task of suppressing the revolts in the East (395).

According to Zosimus, Fravitta was responsible for having "freed the entire East, from Cilicia to Phoenicia and Palestine, from the plague of brigands".[1]

In 400 he led the fleet of the Eastern Roman Emperor Arcadius and defeated decisively the rebel Arian Goth Gainas, in Thrace: he sank the vessels of the rebel while they were trying to pass to Asia Minor. As a reward, he asked to be allowed to worship the Pagan gods freely: the Emperor granted him his wish and designated him as consul for the following year.

After his consulate in 401, however, he rapidly fell out of favour because of several intrigues in the Eastern court, as the imperial policy towards the Goths changed because of the rebellion of Gainas: Fravitta was unjustly accused of treachery and put to death.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Wolfram, Herwig, History of the Goths, University of California Press, 1998, ISBN 0-520-06983-8, pp. 146–147, 149.
  • Arnold Hugh Martin Jones, John Martindale, John Morris, Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, volume 1, Cambridge 1971, p. 372.
  • E. W. Brooks, "Le province dell'oriente da Arcadio ad Anastasio", Storia del mondo medievale, volume I, 1999, pp. 445–479
  • M. Manitius, "Le migrazioni germaniche 378-412", Storia del mondo medievale, volume I, 1999, pp. 246–274

References[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Stilicho,
Aurelianus
Consul of the Roman Empire
401
with Flavius Vincentius
Succeeded by
Arcadius,
Honorius