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Usurper of the Western Roman Empire
Solidus Johannes-s4283.png
Joannes on a solidus.
Reign 20 November 423 – May 425, against Valentinian III
Died June or July 425
Place of death Aquileia

Ioannes, known in English as Joannes, was a Roman usurper (423–425) against Valentinian III.

On the death of the Emperor Honorius (August 15, 423), Theodosius II, the remaining ruler of the House of Theodosius hesitated in announcing his uncle's death. In the interregnum, Honorius's patrician at the time of his death, Castinus, elevated Joannes as emperor.


Joannes was a primicerius notariorum or senior civil servant at the time of his elevation. Procopius praised him as "both gentle and well-endowed with sagacity and thoroughly capable of valorous deeds."[1] Unlike the Theodosian emperors, he tolerated all Christian sects.

From the beginning, his control over the empire was insecure. In Gaul, his praetorian prefect was slain at Arles in an uprising of the soldiery there.[2] And Bonifacius, Comes of the Diocese of Africa, held back the grain fleet destined to Rome.[3]

"The events of Johannes' reign are as shadowy as its origins," writes John Matthews, who then provides a list of the ruler's known actions in a single paragraph. Joannes was proclaimed at Rome and praetorian games were provided at the expense of a member of the gens Anicia. Johannes then moved his base of operations to Ravenna, knowing full well that the Eastern Empire would strike from that direction. There is a mention of an expedition against Africa, but its fate, presumed unsuccessful, is unrecorded. In Gaul, he appears to have caused offense by submitting clerics to secular courts. And that is all.[4]

Joannes had hoped that he could come to an agreement with the Eastern Emperor, but when Theodosius II elevated the young Valentinian III, first to Caesar, then to co-emperor as an Augustus (undoubtedly influenced by Valentinian's mother Galla Placidia), he knew he could only expect war. Late in 424, he gave to one of his younger and most promising followers, Aëtius, an important mission. Aëtius, Governor of the Palace at the time, was sent to the Huns, with whom he had lived as a hostage earlier, to seek military help.[5]

While Aëtius was away, the army of the Eastern Empire left Thessalonica for Italy, and soon camped in Aquileia. Although the primary sources state that Ravenna fell to their assault – John of Antioch states that a shepherd led the army of Aspar safely through the marshes that protected the city[6]– Stewart Oost believes that Aspar's father, Ardaburius, who had been captured by Joannes' soldiers, convinced the garrison of Ravenna to betray the city.[7] The fallen emperor was brought to Aquileia where first his hand was cut off, then he was paraded on a donkey in the Hippodrome to the insults of the populace, then after further insults and injuries, he was finally decapitated in June or July 425.[8]

Three days after Joannes's death, Aëtius returned at the head of a substantial Hunnic army. After some skirmishing, Placidia, regent to her son, and Aëtius came to an agreement that established the political landscape of the Western Roman Empire for the next thirty years. The Huns were paid off and sent home, while Aetius received the position of magister militum (commander-in-chief of the Roman army).[9] The historian Adrian Goldsworthy writes that "it took a hard-fought campaign by strong elements of the East Roman army and navy, in addition to a fair dose of betrayal," to defeat Joannes.[10]


  1. ^ Procopius, De Bellus III.3.6. Translated by H.B. Dewing, Procopius (Cambridge: Loeb Classical Library, 1979), vol. 2 p. 25
  2. ^ Stewart Oost Galla Placidia Augusta: A biographical essay (Chicago: University Press, 1968), p. 186
  3. ^ Olympiodorus, fragment 40. Translated by C.D. Gordon, Age of Attila: Fifth Century Byzantium and the Barbarians (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1966), pp. 44f
  4. ^ John Matthews, Western Aristocracies and Imperial Court AD 364 - 425 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), pp. 379f
  5. ^ Renatus Frigeridus, cited in Gregory of Tours, Decem Libri Historiarum, II.8; translated by Lewis Thorpe, History of the Franks (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1974), pp. 118f
  6. ^ John of Antioch, fragment 195; translated by C.D. Gordon, Age of Attila, p. 47
  7. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta, pp. 188f
  8. ^ Procopius, III.3.9; translated by Dewing, pp. 75ff
  9. ^ Oost, Galla Placidia Augusta, pp. 189f
  10. ^ Adrian Goldsworthy, The Fall of the West: The Slow Death of the Roman Superpower, Orion Books Ltd, Paperback Edition 2010, London, pp. 305 and 436

External links[edit]

  • Hugh Elton, "Ioannes", from De Imperatoribus Romanis"
Political offices
Preceded by
Flavius Castinus,
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Flavius Theodosius Augustus and Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Caesar
Succeeded by
Flavius Theodosius Augustus,
Flavius Placidus Valentinianus Caesar

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joannes — Please support Wikipedia.
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934 news items


Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:00:00 -0700

Op 26 augustus werd een herdenkingstocht voor pastoor-martelaar Joannes Wouters georganiseerd vertrekkende aan zijn vroegere geboortehuis. Norbertijn Joannes Wouters werd in september 1908 tot pastoor benoemd van de Verbrande Brug. Hij werd er ...
Green Bay Press Gazette
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 18:40:59 -0700

Appleton resident Aubrey Disch, 5, cheers on the Green Bay Bullfrogs in their final game of the season against the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters at Joannes Stadium in Green Bay Wis. on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. Disch's brother Nathan is a pitcher for the team ...
Het Nieuwsblad
Sat, 30 Aug 2014 06:59:35 -0700

Christopher Mivis en Hugues Joannes hebben zich vrijdag in Ballymena niet kunnen plaatsten voor de eindfase van het North Ireland Open Challenge golftoernooi (Challenge Tour/170.000 euro). Joannes zette voor de tweede dag op rij een ronde neer in 73 ...
Green Bay Press Gazette
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 14:23:28 -0700

Cheese Curdfest gets into full swing at noon, Saturday in Joannes Stadium, 1450 E. Walnut St., complete with samples from local cheese vendors and awards for the top curds. Hosted by the Green Bay Bullfrogs, the free event is open to the public,and ...
Green Bay Press Gazette
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 17:55:02 -0700

The city also operates the Resch Aquatic Center at 1058 Reed St. and the Joannes Aquatic Center at 1430 E. Walnut St., as well as several wading pools and splash pads for younger kids. The operating budget for all such facilities is about $550,000 a year.
Green Bay Press Gazette
Fri, 08 Aug 2014 21:19:47 -0700

Green Bay jumped out to a 2-0 lead but the Kenosha Kingfish rallied late for a 5-2 win over the Bullfrogs Friday night at Joannes Stadium. The Kingfish scored three in the eighth and added two more runs in the ninth. Brian Celsi and Johnny Bekakis ...


Wed, 13 Aug 2014 04:12:09 -0700

LENNIK – De lokale politie heeft vandaag een helikopter van de federale politie ingezet in de zoektocht naar de 78-jarige Joannes Boelaert, die op 31 juli verdween. Het zijn uiteindelijk twee wandelaars die het lichaam aantroffen in het struikgewas ...
Het Nieuwsblad
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 18:00:24 -0700

Het parket laat ook weten dat de identiteitsdocumenten van Joannes Boelaert bij het lichaam werden teruggevonden. Om elke twijfel uit te sluiten en de doodsoorzaak van Boelaert te kunnen vaststellen werd woensdag een autopsie uitgevoerd. Daarbij ...

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