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Palladius (Caesar)

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Caesar of the Roman Empire
Reign17 March – 31 May 455 AD (under Petronius Maximus)
c.415/425 AD
Died31 May 455
FatherPetronius Maximus
Motherpossibly Eparchia

Palladius (c. 415/425 – May 455) was caesar of the Western Roman Empire for two months in 455, together with his father Petronius Maximus. He was born between 415 and 425 AD and may have held the position of Praetorian Prefect during the 450's. After his father, Petronius Maximus, assassinated Emperor Valentinian III and seized power, Palladius was elevated to caesar. He was married to Eudocia, to add to the legitimacy of his father's rule, however this broke the treaty made by Valentinian III and the Vandal king Genseric, in which they arranged the marriage of Eudocia to Huneric, Genseric's son. The Vandals invaded and sacked Rome, which led Petronius Maximus and Palladius to flee on 31 May 455, however, they were caught by a mob of peasants and killed, either by the mob themselves or palace servants.


Coin bearing the image of Petronius Maximus, Palladius' father.

Palladius was born between 415 and 425 AD, to Petronius Maximus. His father, Maximus, was an extremely wealthy senator, who was twice consul. He had held numerous public offices under Emperors Honorius and Valentinian III.[1][2] According to Mommaerts and Kelley, his mother was Eparchia, sister of Avitus.[3] Palladius may have been a Praetorian Prefect at some point during the 450's.[4]

Maximus became the Western Roman Emperor on 17 March 455, after assassinating Valentinian III. Palladius was then elevated to caesar, or designated heir, by Maximus,[5] although no coins were struck bearing his image.[6] Maximus married the wife and daughter of Valentinian III, members of the imperial Theodosian dynasty, into his family to establish legitimacy. Maximus married Licinia Eudoxia, and Palladius married Eudocia, the daughter of Valentinian III.[7][8] The marriages violated the terms of a treaty made between Valentinian III and Genseric, the king of the Vandals, wherein they had arranged the marriage of Eudocia to Huneric, the son of Genseric. Genseric then assembled a fleet to lead an expedition to Rome. Maximus' failure to make any preparations led the nobles to flee the city of Rome en masse, however, the peasants were not allowed to leave without governmental permission. As the Vandal fleet approached Rome, Maximus gave the order that any person wishing to flee could do so. On May 31 Maximus and Palladius attempted to flee the city of Rome, however, they were stopped by a mob of peasants. There are two accounts of this event. The first is that the palace servants killed both, probably to try to win the favor of the rioting peasants. The second is that they were struck by stones while on horseback, and torn apart.[9][10]

Very little is recorded of Maximus and Palladius' shared rule. Ferdinand Gregorovius says that the marriages of Maximus and Palladius, and the elevation of Palladius to caesar were the only two significant actions of their c. 77 day reign.[11] The sole contemporary historian who discusses the life of Palladius is Hydatius.[12]




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