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Rulers of the Western Roman Empire: Constantius III and Valentinian III

When it came to ruling ancient Rome, family ties proved very strong in determining who would take to the throne after an emperor’s passing. In ancient times, it was not uncommon to see influential military heads and young boys being installed as the rule of the Western or Eastern Roman Empire. In this article, you will learn of a father and son, who once ruled ancient Rome.

Flavius Constantius

Flavius Constantius (later known as Constantius III) was an general, politician, and later emperor during ancient Roman times. Ruling for the majority of the 410s, he also briefly shared the throne for control of the Western Empire in 421 with Honorius.

Born in modern-day Serbia, Constantius made his mark as a soldier and later served as a magister militum under Honorius. His ability to successfully defend the Western Roman Empire gained quite a name for himself. It was he who was able to push back barbarian invasions and put an end to the revolt of the usurper Constantine III. These deeds earned him title of Patrician, which allowed him to greatly influence the weaker Honorius. In 417, he took Honorius’ sister, Galla Placidia, as his wife and with this move, he became co-Emperor in 421. It was then that he efficiently ruled over the West.

However, he was met with opposition, which came from Honorius’ nephew, Theodosius II, who was the Eastern Roman Emperor. Denying recognition of his’ imperial status, Constantius wished to launch a campaign against the Eastern Empire for the recognition of his rights, but before any of these plans materialized, he suddenly died in September, less than seven months after he was made emperor.
Constantius and Galla Placida had two children, a daughter known for her strong will (Justa Grata Honoria) and a son Valentinian III, who would later become Emperor.

Valentinian III

As the only son of Galla Placidia and Flavius Constantius (former emperor), it was only natural that Valentinian III (born Flavius Placidus Valentinianus in 419) would follow in his father’s political footsteps. In 425, Valentinian would join the ranks as one of the last Western Roman Emperors.

When Valentinian was less than two years old, his father was appointed co-emperor , an honor that would only last seven months. Over the years, many family ties were created within the circle of emperors. Interestingly, Valentinian was at one point , the son, grandson, great-grandson, cousin, and nephew of Roman emperors. After the death of Constantius, Valentinian traveled to Constantinople with his mother and sister. His mother had broken ties with her half-brother, Honorius and decoded to live at the court of Theodosius II.

When Honorius died in 423, the usurper Joannes came into power. Theodosius denounced this exchange of power and nominated Valentinian Caesar of the west in 424. He gave his daughter Licinia to Valentinian, which he would marry in 437. Johannes was defeated in 425 while in war, which opened up the throne for Valentinian to take hold. He was six years old when he was installed as Western Emperor in Rome.