Gratian the Elder
Gratian the Elder (//; Latin: Gratianus Funarius; Gratianus Major, "Gratian the Elder") was an Illyrian soldier of the Roman Empire who flourished in the 4th century. He was the father of Roman Emperors, Valentinian I and Valens, founders of the Valentinianic Dynasty.
Gratianus originated from the town of Cibalae (Vinkovci), in southern Pannonia Secunda (modern Croatia), possibly in the 280s. During his youth, Gratianus obtained the cognomen Funarius //, meaning "the rope-man" because he was a rope salesman. Gratianus joined the army and rose through the ranks to become protector domesticus during the reign of Constantine the Great. A protector domesticus named "...atianus" is attested at Salona (Split) during this time, leading some to think Gratianus could have been stationed there. Gratianus' first independent command was as a tribunus, probably in the mobile field army of Constantine. During the late 320's or early 330's he was made comes of Africa, possibly to supervise the frontier. However, Gratianus was soon accused of embezzlement and was forced to retire. Gratianus was recalled during the early 340s and was made comes of Britannia. He may have been recalled to command a unit of comitatenses under emperor Constans I during his campaign on the island in the winter of 342/3. After his military career ended, Gratianus returned to his birthplace and lived as a private citizen with good reputation.
In Gratianus' retirement, Roman Emperor Constantius II (reigned 337–360) confiscated all of his estates because of his suspected support of Roman usurper Magnentius. Gratianus was kept in high regard with fellow soldiers due to his popularity within the army; this could have contributed to the elevation of his sons and his descendants in becoming Roman Emperors. When Valens became Emperor, the Roman Senate in Constantinople decreed a brass statue of him. His son became emperor on February 26, 364.
Valentinian family tree (partial)
- Lenski, Noel Emmanuel (2002). Failure of empire: Valens and the Roman state in the fourth century A.D.. University of California Press. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-520-23332-4. Retrieved 12 October 2010.
- Tomlin, R. (1973). The Emperor Valentinian I. p. 2.
- Tomlin, R. (1973). The Emperor Valentinian I. p. 3.
- Tomlin, R. (1973). The Emperor Valentinian I. p. 4.
- Tomlin, R. (1973). The emperor Valentinian I. p. 5.