Aegidius (died 464 or 465) was ruler of the
Kingdom of Soissons
Kingdom of Soissons from
461–464/465 AD. Before his ascension, he became magister
militum in Gaul, serving under Aetius, in 458 AD. An ardent
supporter of Majorian,
Aegidius rebelled against
Ricimer when he
Aegidius launched several campaigns against the
Visigoths from northern Gaul, forming the
Kingdom of Soissons
Kingdom of Soissons from the
lands he conquered. He died suddenly after a major victory against the
Visigoths, and was succeeded by his son Syagrius.
3.1 Primary sources
Kingdom of Soissons
Kingdom of Soissons is shown as the upper green territory in
France, while the lower green territory shows the Western Roman
Aegidius was born in Gaul. It is believed that he came from the
aristocratic Syagrii family, based upon the name of his son, Syagrius.
While this evidence is not absolute, modern historians consider a
connection to the family likely, by birth or marriage. Aegidius
served under Aetius during the latter's time as magister militum,
alongside the future emperor Majorian.
Aegidius was either a founding
Majorian and Ricimer's faction, or else he quickly joined
Majorian secured the throne,
Aegidius was granted the title
of magister militum per Gallias (Master of the Soldiers for Gaul) in
458, as a reward for his loyalty. In the same year,
troops at the Battle of Arelate.
Aegidius is credited with being
the primary cause for Theodoric II's defeat.
Ricimer assassinated Emperor
Majorian and replaced him with
Libius Severus, in 461,
Aegidius refused to recognize his rule.
Libius Severus was not recognized by the Senior Emperor Leo I.
Aegidius may have pledged his allegiance directly to Leo I, in order
to legitimize his independence from the Western Roman Empire, and his
retention of the Gallic Legions.
Aegidius threatened to invade
Italy, however he never did so. Some historians have said that this
was due to pressure from the Visigoths, whereas others assert that he
was unable or unwilling to march to Italy, leaving
Gaul exposed. It
is known that during this time,
Lyons to the
Narbonne and most of
Narbonensis Prima to the
Visigoths, in exchange for alliances.
Ricimer probably appointed a
replacement for Aegidius, despite the fact that
Aegidius retained most
or all of his Gallic forces. The two people most likely to have been
given the title of magister militum per Gallias were the Roman general
Agrippinus, or the Burgundian King Gundioc, who was Ricimer's
brother-in-law. Around this time
Aegidius sent embassies to the
Vandal king Gaiseric, probably in an effort to form an alliance to
oppose Ricimer. According to some primary sources, Childeric I
was exiled at some point after 457, and the Franks then elected
Aegidius to elect them. The sources go on to say that
them for eight years, before Childeric was recalled and reinstated as
king. This story is considered fictional by most modern
historians. Another narrative given by primary sources is that
Childeric formed an alliance with Aegidius, although this has slim
historical evidence, and is directly opposed by archeological
evidence, which supports the theory of
Soissons containing the
expansion of the Franks.
Aegidius recaptured Lyon from the
Burgundians in 458 and repulsed
an invasion by the
Visigoths in 463, routing them at the Battle of
Orleans. In this battle,
Aegidius killed the Visigoth
general Frederic, who was also the brother of Visigoth King Theodoric
II. Some sources say that Aegidius' forces were bolstered by Frankish
Aegidius also won a minor engagement against
Visigoths near Chinon, at an unknown date. Despite these
victories, he did not take the offensive against the Visigothic
position in Aquitaine, possibly due to lack of resources, or due
to threats from Comes Paulus, Burgundian King Gundioc, and the Western
Roman generals Arbogast and Agrippinus.
Aegidius is recorded to have died suddenly, in either late 464 or late
465. Primary sources of the time say he was either
assassinated or poisoned, but the person doing so, or allegedly doing
so, is not given. Modern historians consider it possible that he died
a natural death. After his death, he was succeeded by his son
Syagrius. It is also reported that the news of his death led to an
invasion by the Visigoths, which historians have tentatively located
as having occurred in the
Syagrius is reported to
have moved his seat of government to Soissons, which would later give
Aegidius and Syagrius' breakaway government the historiographic name
of the Kingdom of Soissons. The Franks defeated
Soissons in the 480s.
Aegidius was referred to by numerous titles in primary sources, many
of which were contradictory. In the
Historia Francorum by Gregory of
Tours, he is twice called magister militum (Master of Soldiers),
although Gregory describes him as being elected rex (king) of the
Franks. Even more confusingly, Gregory does not give him any title
while mentioning his death.The
Liber Historiae Francorum refers to him
initially as rex, but later twice calls him principem Romanorum (the
Roman emperor). In the 'A' version of the Liber Historiae Francorum,
he is called Romanorum rex (King of the Romans) at the time of his
death, while the 'B' version calls him Romanorum tirannus (Roman
tyrant), implying that he was a usurper. The Chronicle of Fredegar
calls him comes (count). Based on the two references from the Liber
Historiae Francorum which refer to him as emperor, and the occasional
usage of the title of rex to refer to an emperor, some have asserted
that he was in fact an emperor, although this is based upon shaky
evidence, and is considered very unlikely by most historians.
Modern historians give three possibilities for his actual status: The
first possibility is that he declared himself king, and was called
such by both his own kingdom, and external barbarians. The second
is that he was never called king within his own lifetime, but later
folk or epic traditions gave him the title. The third is that he was
referred to by a Roman title by his subjects, but called rex by
barbarians, as it was analogous to the titles of their own rulers.
History of Byzantium by Priscus.
Excerpta de Legationibus.
Chronicle by Hydatius.
Chronica Gallica of 511.
Chronicon Imperiale by Marius Aventicensis.
Historia Francorum by Gregory of Tours.
Chronicle of Fredegar.
Liber Historiae Francorum.
Life of St. Martin by Paulinus of Périgueux.
Life of Saint Lupicinus.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 99.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 100.
^ a b MacGeorge 2003, p. 101.
^ Bunson 1994, p. 6.
^ Anderson 1936, p. 110.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 14.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 114.
^ MacGeorge 2003, pp. 114–115.
^ Anderson 1936, p. xxv.
^ a b MacGeorge 2003, p. 111.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 66.
^ MacGeorge 2003, pp. 111–125.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 134.
^ Mitchell 2007, p. 208.
^ a b MacGeorge 2003, p. 65.
^ a b c d e f g MacGeorge 2003, p. 94.
^ a b c MacGeorge 2003, p. 115.
^ Kulikowski 2002, p. 180.
^ Mitchell 2007, p. 119.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 117.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 118.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 120.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 125.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 126.
^ Mitchell 2007, p. 211.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 151.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 152.
^ MacGeorge 2003, pp. 152–153.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 153.
^ a b c MacGeorge 2003, p. 93.
^ MacGeorge 2003, p. 105.
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Letters, Book I-II. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Bunson, Matthew (1994). Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire. New York:
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MacGeorge, Penny (2003). Late Roman Warlords. Oxford: Oxford
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Mitchell, Stephen (2007). A History of the Later Roman Empire. Oxford:
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Kulikowski, M. (2002). "Marcellinus 'of Dalmatia' and the Dissolution
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JSTOR 44172752. access-date= requires url= (help)
Ruler of the Kingdom of Soissons
Magister militum of Gaul