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Flavius Etius the last Roman general


He was born in Durusturum, Moesia Inferior (modern Bulgaria) in 390 son of Gaudentius, a magister equitum of Shiite origin and of a noble and rich woman Italic; he began his career as a Praetorian and only 19 years old was already praetorian prefect. He was of average build but by energetic ways; knew several languages: the greek, Latin, Gothic and Hun because from 405 to 408 was given as a hostage to Alaric I, king of the Goths, from whom he learned to deal with the barbarians in peace and war and then sent to Rua chief Huns. The years passed between the Goths and the Huns fostered friendships with those people with whom later will partner or will face in battle.
Human, military and policies events of Flavius Etius can be understood only in the historical context of the Western Roman Empire disintegration.
He was a vir militaris, legions officer now composed of men enrolled in the provinces, some of whom had never seen Rome; was an army that didn't know the discipline of the Republican legions and whose expectations were more related to the looting that to pay and did not understand the value that fight for their country had for the Roman citizen.
The legions, composed of men of the conquered peoples had as official their leaders, after they had made the oath of obedience to Rome. He was Theodosius the Great to start the new political course; to maintain the unity of the empire went down to compromises with the barbarian peoples who lived in the Empire allowing them to maintain not only their customs and traditions, but also their leaders.
A leader foederatus, then a magister militum was Alaric the Visigoth king who obtained the assignment by Arcadius and was sent with all his people in Illyria waiting to be spent. But Alaric needed land for his people and in the year 400, marched towards Italy and Milan, the capital of the West, to force the young emperor Honorius to assign him the land, perhaps in Gaul. After initial uncertainty, the legions under the command of Stilicho managed to stop Alaric near Verona. Alaric came to terms with Stilicho that would not destroy him perhaps waiting for being able to use to regain the East. It was at the end of this first Gothic war that Flavius Etius was given as hostage to Alaric; It was an ancient Roman custom to send at the enemy the young people of important and wealthy families as hostages-guests at the enemy with whom peace was reached.
Etius remained there until 408, and not only learned the language, but also became friends with the chief of the barbarians. Alaric sacked Rome in 410, when he left the city and he brought hostages - including Galla Placidia and her Aunt Serena - he wanted Etius but Honorius did not want him to be given.
In those convulsive years Etius continued his military career as well that brought him nearby the Visigoths when they settled in Aquitaine and there married a woman, related to the royal family and they had their first child, Carpilione.
In 425 was precisely Carpilione instrument in agreement with Rua and his Huns which Etius convinced to came down in Italy under his leadership; Carpilione was left as hostage to the Huns to whom was promised dominion over the province of Pannonia that in any case they in fact had occupied already.
With an army of 60,000 Huns collided in Aquileia with the troops of Aspar but immediately Galla Placida, regent for the little Valentinian, preferred to agree with Etius and gave him command of the army in Gaul (comes et magister mitlitum per Galliam)...



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by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 08/12/2016)