Patriciate of Petronius Maximus as evidence for the political alliance between Flavius Aetius and Petronius Maximus reconsidered



Year of publication 2019
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In the 440s, the predominant military figure of the Western Roman imperial court was patricius et magister utriusque militiae Flavius Aetius. In 1970, B. L. Twyman has in his study (Aetius and the Aristocracy) presented an elaborate and lengthy interpretation of some evidence that put, in the 440s, Flavius Aetius in a political alliance with one of Rome’s most influential senators and twice consul, the future emperor of the Western Roman Empire, Petronius Maximus. According to Twyman, Flavius Aetius and Petronius Maximus were working together in order to diminish the power of influential members of Italian landed aristocracy, who had gradually become sole owners of land (and thus wealth) in Italy and were in opposition to Flavius Aetius. The presented paper identifies one of Twyman’s key evidence as inaccurately interpreted and proposes a different interpretation of it. The evidence in question is specifically the way Twyman explains circumstances surrounding the granting of the rank of patricius to Petronius Maximus by emperor Valentinian III, sometime before December 8th 445, and to several other high-ranking officials of great influence on the Western Roman imperial court. Supported by several examples and evidence that are contrary to Twyman’s interpretation, the presented paper offers a different interpretation of the possible/plausible/probable/actual political alliance between Flavius Aetius and Petronius Maximus in light of the grant of patriciate honour to the latter (and several other individuals) in the 440s and 450s.
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