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Flavius Stilicho

Stilicho, Flavius (flāˈvēəs stĭˈlĭkō) [key], d. 408, Roman general, a Vandal. He was the chief general of Theodosius I, whose niece he married. By order of Theodosius, he served after Theodosius' death (395) as the regent for Honorius in the West. In 395 he was summoned from Italy to defend the Eastern Empire against the Visigoths under Alaric I; but after his arrival in Greece he withdrew without fighting, under orders from Arcadius, who was influenced by his enemy and rival, Rufinus. In 397 he returned and drove Alaric into the mountains but permitted him to escape. His position was strengthened by the marriage of his daughter to Honorius. He was responsible for putting down a revolt (397) in Africa. Subsequently he campaigned in Rhaetia against the Vandals and other barbarians (401–2), fought Alaric at Pollentia (402) and at Verona (403), and crushed Radagaisus near Fiesole (405). In 408, Honorius, influenced by an ambitious favorite, had Stilicho arrested and executed for high treason. Stilicho did not resist, although it was in his power to do so. Rumor accused him of planning the assassination of Rufinus, of plotting to make his son emperor, of making secret agreements with Alaric, and of inviting (406) the barbarians into Gaul; but evidence to support the charges is lacking. Stilicho is highly regarded in the verse of the poet Claudian.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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