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Placidia
Placidia
IPA: [pɫa'kɪdɪa] was the wife of Olybrius, Unrecognized Western Roman Emperor. Her full name is uncertain. The Chronicle of the Roman Emperors: The reign by reign record of the rulers of Imperial Rome
Rome
(1995) by Chris Scarre gives her name as Galla Placidia
Placidia
Valentiniana or Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
the Younger, based on naming conventions for women in ancient Rome.[1]

Contents

1 Family 2 Marriage 3 Vandal captivity 4 Empress 5 Children 6 Ancestry 7 References 8 External links

Family[edit] Placidia
Placidia
was the second daughter of Valentinian III
Valentinian III
and Licinia Eudoxia, younger sister of Eudocia, who became the wife of Huneric, son of Gaiseric, king of the Vandals. Both were named for their grandmothers: Eudocia for the maternal, Aelia Eudocia, and Placidia for the paternal, Galla Placidia.[2] Placidia
Placidia
is estimated to have been born between 439 and 443.[3] Marriage[edit] In 454 or 455, Placidia
Placidia
married Anicius Olybrius, a member of the Anicii family.,[3] a prominent family with known members active in both Italia and Gaul. The exact relation of Olybrius
Olybrius
to other members of the family is not known as his parents are not named in primary sources. Several theories exist as to their identity.[4] Originally Emperor Valentinian intended to marry Placidia
Placidia
to a young man named Majorian
Majorian
(the future emperor), whom Oost describes as having "distinguished himself in a subaltern capacity fighting in Gaul against the Franks under Aëtius' own command."[5] Doing so, according to Roman customs, would instantly link Majorian
Majorian
to the Imperial family and put him in line to succeed Valentinian. Once Flavius Aetius learned of this plan, he rusticated Majorian
Majorian
to his estates at some date before 451, and he was recalled to Rome
Rome
only after Aetius' death. Aetius also attempted to consolidate his position "by compelling the Emperor to swear to friendship with him and to agree to betroth Placidia
Placidia
to his own younger son Gaudentius."[6] Mommaerts and Kelley have proposed a theory that Petronius Maximus, the successor of Valentinian III
Valentinian III
on the Western Roman throne in 455, was behind the marriage of Placidia
Placidia
to Olybrius. They argue that Olybrius
Olybrius
was likely a son of Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
himself, reasoning that Petronius, once on the throne, would be unlikely to promote distant relatives as potential successors. According to Hydatius, Petronius arranged the marriage of his eldest stepdaughter Eudocia to Palladius, his eldest son and Caesar. They suggest that he followed suit in arranging the marriage of Placidia
Placidia
to one of his own younger sons, thus making the marriage of Placidia
Placidia
and Olybrius
Olybrius
the third marriage between a member of the Theodosian dynasty and a member of the extended Anicii family within the same year.[4] Vandal captivity[edit] According to the chronicler Malchus, "Around this time, the empress Eudoxia, the widow of the emperor Valentinian and the daughter of the emperor Theodosius and Eudocia, remained unhappily at Rome
Rome
and, enraged at the tyrant Maximus because of the murder of her spouse, she summoned the Vandal Gaiseric, king of Africa, against Maximus, who was ruling Rome. He came suddenly to Rome
Rome
with his forces and captured the city, and having destroyed Maximus and all his forces, he took everything from the palace, even the bronze statues. He even led away as captives surviving senators, accompanied by their wives; along with them he also carried off to Carthage
Carthage
in Africa the empress Eudoxia, who had summoned him; her daughter Placidia, the wife of the patrician Olybrius, who then was staying at Constantinople; and even the maiden Eudocia. After he had returned, Gaiseric
Gaiseric
gave the younger Eudocia, a maiden, the daughter of the empress Eudoxia, to his son Huneric
Huneric
in marriage, and he held them both, the mother and the daughter, in great honor"(Chron. 366).[7] Eudoxia was presumably following the example of her sister-in-law Justa Grata Honoria
Justa Grata Honoria
who had summoned Attila the Hun
Attila the Hun
for help against an unwanted marriage. According to the chronicler Prosper of Aquitaine, Maximus was in Rome
Rome
when the Vandals
Vandals
arrived. He gave anyone who could permission to flee the city. He attempted to flee himself but was assassinated by the imperial slaves. He had reigned for seventy-seven days. His body was thrown into the Tiber
Tiber
and never recovered. Victor of Tonnena agrees, adding that Pope Leo I
Pope Leo I
negotiated with Gaiseric
Gaiseric
for the security of the city's population.[7] Hydatius attributes the assassination to revolting troops of the Roman army, enraged at Maximus' attempted flight. The Chronica Gallica of 511 attributes the assassination to a rioting crowd. Jordanes identifies a single assassin as "Ursus, a Roman soldier". Sidonius Apollinaris makes a cryptic comment about a Burgundian whose "traitorous leadership" led the crowd to panic and to the slaughter of the Emperor. His identity is unknown, presumably a general who failed to face the Vandals
Vandals
for one reason or the other. Later historians have suggested two high-ranking Burgundians
Burgundians
as possible candidates, Gondioc and his brother Chilperic. Both joined Theodoric II in invading Hispania
Hispania
later in 455.[7] Olybrius
Olybrius
was in Constantinople
Constantinople
at the time of the siege of Rome
Rome
as noted by John Malalas. He was separated from his wife for the duration of her captivity. He reportedly visited Daniel the Stylite
Daniel the Stylite
who predicted that Eudoxia and Placidia
Placidia
would return.[8] Empress[edit] Priscus
Priscus
and John of Antioch report that Gaiseric
Gaiseric
entertained the idea of placing Olybrius
Olybrius
on the throne of the Western Roman Empire, at least as early as the death of Majorian
Majorian
in 461. Due to his marriage to Placidia, Olybrius
Olybrius
could be considered both an heir to Theodosian dynasty and a member of the Vandal royal family through marriage. In 465, Libius Severus died and Gaiseric
Gaiseric
again promoted Olybrius
Olybrius
as his candidate for the Western throne. Procopius
Procopius
report that Olybrius maintained a decent relationship with his Vandal supporter.[8] According to the accounts of Priscus, Procopius, John Malalas, Theodorus Lector, Evagrius Scholasticus, Theophanes the Confessor, Joannes Zonaras and Cedrenus, Placidia
Placidia
can be estimated to have stayed a prisoner in Carthage
Carthage
for six to seven years. In 461 or 462, Leo I, Eastern Roman Emperor, paid a large ransom for Eudoxia and Placidia. Placidia
Placidia
seems to have spent the rest of her life in Constantinople.[3] In 472, the Western Roman Emperor Anthemius
Anthemius
was involved in a civil war with his magister militum and son-in-law Ricimer. According to John Malalas, Leo decided to intervene and send Olybrius
Olybrius
to quell the hostilities. Olybrius
Olybrius
had also been instructed to offer a peace treaty to Geiseric on his behalf. However, Leo had also send Modestus, another messenger, to Anthemius
Anthemius
asking him to arrange the deaths of both Ricimer
Ricimer
and Olybrius. But Ricimer
Ricimer
had placed Goths
Goths
loyal to him at the ports of Rome
Rome
and Ostia Antica
Ostia Antica
and they intercepted Modestus, delivering him and his message to Ricimer
Ricimer
himself. Ricimer
Ricimer
revealed the contents of the message to Olybrius
Olybrius
and the two men formed a new alliance against their former masters.[9] In April or May 472, Olybrius
Olybrius
was proclaimed emperor [8] and the civil war proper begun. John of Antioch claims that Anthemius
Anthemius
was supported by most of the Romans while Ricimer, by the barbarian mercenaries. Odoacer, leader of the foederati, joined the cause of Ricimer, and also Gundobad, his nephew of Ricimer. According to John Malalas and John of Antioch, Gundobad managed to slay Anthemius
Anthemius
and end the conflict. They claim that Anthemius
Anthemius
had been abandoned by his last followers and sought refuge in a church, but Gundobad killed him anyway. But the two chroniclers differ on the location of the event. Malalas places it in the Old St. Peter's Basilica
Old St. Peter's Basilica
while the Antiochean places it in Santa Maria in Trastevere. However Cassiodorus, Marcellinus Comes and Procopius
Procopius
report that Anthemius
Anthemius
was killed by Ricimer
Ricimer
himself. The Chronica Gallica of 511 mentions both theories, uncertain of which of the two men had done the deed.[9] With Anthemius
Anthemius
dead, Olybrius
Olybrius
became the sole Western Roman Emperor by default. Placidia
Placidia
became his Empress without actually leaving Constantinople, remaining there with their daughter. On 18 August, 472, Ricimer
Ricimer
died of a "malignant fever". Paul the Deacon
Paul the Deacon
reports that Olybrius
Olybrius
next appointed Gundobad as his Patrician.[8] On 22 October or 2 November, 472, Olybrius
Olybrius
himself died. John of Antioch attributes his death to dropsy. Cassiodorus
Cassiodorus
and Magnus Felix Ennodius report the death without noting a cause. All report on how brief the reign was.[8] In 478, Malchus reported that "ambassadors came to Byzantium from Carthage, under the leadership of Alexander, the guardian of Olybrius' wife [sc. Placidia]. He formerly had been sent there by Zeno with the agreement of Placidia
Placidia
herself. The ambassadors said that Huneric
Huneric
had honestly set himself up as a friend of the emperor, and so loved all things Roman that he renounced everything that he had formerly claimed from the public revenues and also the other moneys that Leo had earlier seized from his wife [sc. Eudocia]... He gave thanks that the emperor had honored the wife of Olybrius..."[10] Placidia
Placidia
is last mentioned c. 484.[3] Placidia
Placidia
was probably the last Western Roman Empress
Roman Empress
whose name is still known. Glycerius
Glycerius
and Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
are not known to have been married. Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
had married a niece of Verina
Verina
and Leo I, whose name is not mentioned in surviving records.[11] Children[edit] Her only known daughter was Anicia Juliana, born c. 462, who spent her life at the pre- Justinian
Justinian
court of Constantinople. Juliana was considered "both the most aristocratic and the wealthiest inhabitant".[12] Oost comments that "through her the descendants of Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
[Placidia's grandmother] were among the nobility of the Eastern Empire."[13] Ancestry

Ancestors of Placidia

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Royal titles

Preceded by Marcia Euphemia Western Roman Empress
Roman Empress
consort 472 Succeeded by Wife of Julius Nepos

References[edit]

^ R. B. Stewart, "My Lines: Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Valentiniana the younger" ^ Stewart I. Oost, Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Augusta: A biographical essay (Chicago: University Press, 1968), p. 247 ^ a b c d Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, vol. 2 ^ a b T.S. Mommaerts and D.H. Kelley, "The Anicii of Gaul
Gaul
and Rome," in John Drinkwater and Hugh Elton, Fifth-century Gaul: A Crisis of Identity? (Cambridge: University Press, 1992), p. 119 ^ Oost, Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Augusta, pp. 286f ^ Oost, Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Augusta, p. 287 ^ a b c Ralph W. Mathisen, Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
(17 March 455 - 22 May 455) ^ a b c d e Ralph W. Mathisen, Anicius Olybrius
Olybrius
(April/May 472 -- [11 July 472] -- 22 October or 2 November 472) ^ a b Ralph W. Mathisen, " Anthemius
Anthemius
(12 April 467 - 11 July 472 A.D.)" ^ Malchus, fr. 13; translated by C.D. Gordon, Age of Attila: Fifth Century Byzantium and the Barbarians (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1966), p. 125) ^ Ralph W. Mathisen, Julius Nepos
Julius Nepos
(19/24 June 474 - [28 August 475] - 25 April/9 May/22 June 480) ^ Maas, Michael. The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian. Cambridge University Press, 2005. Page 439. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia
Galla Placidia
Augusta, p. 307

External links[edit]

Her profile in the Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire Cawley, Charles, Her profile, Medieval Lands database, Foundation for Medieval Genealogy  Discussion of Petronius Maximus
Petronius Maximus
and his relations in "F

.