Aurelianus (consul)

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This article is about the Eastern-Roman politician and consul. For the Roman Emperor, see Aurelian. For other uses, see Aurelian (disambiguation).

Aurelianus (floruit 393-416), also known as Aurelian, was a prominent politician of the Eastern Roman Empire.


Aurelianus was the son of the Consul of 361, Taurus, and brother of Caesarius; he had a son called Taurus, Consul in 428. Aurelianus was a Christian, and erected a church to protomartyr Stephen.

Aurelianus was Praefectus urbi of Constantinople between 393 and 394. When the Gothic Magister militum Gainas rose to power at the court of Emperor Arcadius, he had all supporters of his enemy Eutropius removed; he chose Aurelianus as Praetorian prefect of the East (August 399), replacing Eutychianus, Eutropius' choice.[1] Aurelianus, therefore, became the most powerful civilian official and was involved in the trial against Eutropius, which started at Chalcedon in September of that year and culminated in the latter's execution.[2] He was appointed consul for the year 400, but his colleague in the West, the magister militum Stilicho, did not recognize him in an act of open confrontation with the Eastern court and particularly with Gainas. He was still Prefect at the beginning of 400, when he received the order to confiscate the properties of Eutropius and destroy his statues.[3]

In mid-April 400, Gainas, who had rebelled with his Goths, went to Constantinople, where he forced Arcadius to hand over Aurelianus and Saturninus; Aurelian was exiled (and possibly deposed), but his property were not confiscated.[2] After the defeat of the Goths at Constantinople (July 12 400), Aurelianus made a triumphant return to the capital. It is known from the laws sent to him and preserved in the Theodosian Code that he was Praetorian prefect of the East a second time between the 414 and 416.

He was an important figure in the Senate until late in life and the Senate dedicated him a statue in gold.

Aurelianus in literature[edit]

The character of Osiris in the work Aegyptus sive de providentia by Synesius of Cyrene has been identified with Aurelianus; in this work Osiris is opposed to Typhon, representing Caesarius[4] or Eutychianus,[5] while Horus should represent Taurus.


  1. ^ Burns, p. 171.
  2. ^ a b Burns, p. 172.
  3. ^ Burns, p. 172, while Jones, Martindale and Morris have Eutychianus again Praetorian prefect of the East from December 11, 399 to July 12, 400.
  4. ^ Burns, p. 345.
  5. ^ Jones, Martindale and Morris.


Political offices
Preceded by
Mallius Theodorus
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Stilicho
Succeeded by
Flavius Vincentius
Preceded by
Praetorian prefect of the East
399, August 17 – October 2
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Praetorian prefect of the East
Succeeded by