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Priscus Attalus
as Augustus  AD 409 - 410; 414 - 415

AD 409 - 410 - First reign
AD 414 - 415 - Second reign as Usurper
Paralel ruler of Eastern Roman Empire:
Theodosius II (AD 408 - 450)

Priscus Attalus was a wealthy senator and a puppet emperor in the West, set up on the throne by the all-powerful Visigothic leader Alaric. Alaric found himself free to dictate the affairs of the empire after the execution of Stilicho in 408 and decided it will do best to have his own man on the throne. Given that his request came after he had occupied Portus Augusti at Rome, the Senate could not but honor it. Ironically, to mark his accession, Priscus issued coins and a medallion celebrating the “Unconquerable Eternal Rome.” In fact, Rome remained unconquerable for about a year thereafter, for in 410 Alaric took and thoroughly sacked the city. Honorius was cognizant of the Visigoth’s strength and kept quiet about Attalus. Following the fall of Rome, Alaric withdrew, taking with himself Honorius’s sister, Galla Placidia, and Attalus. He contemplated an invasion of Africa but died before putting his plan into execution. His successor, Ataulf, kept Attalus as a pawn in his own political game and in the face of Honorius’s refusal to come to terms to the Visigoths. After attempting alliances with several usurpers of the title, Ataulf decided that his best move was to reinstall Attalus as emperor. His decision proved decisive for the latter. Hard pressed by Honorius’s forces under Constantius III, Ataulf soon abandoned Attalus, who was captured, mutilated to make him ineligible for the imperial office, and then exiled.

Mints: Narbo Martius, Rome.

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