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Marcian
Augustus (Estern Roman Empire)  AD 450 - 457

Flavius Valerius Marcianus (ca. AD 392 - 457):
Husband of Aelia Pulcheria;
Father of Aelia Euphemia
Father-in-law of Anthemius;
Son-in-law of Arcadius and Aelia Eudoxia
Brother-in-law of Theodosius II;
Grandfather of Alypia.

Paralel rulers of the Western Roman Empire:
Valentinian III (AD 425 - 455)
Petronius Maximus - Usurper (AD 455)
Avitus (AD 455 - 456)

Marcian, the son of a Thracian or Illyrain soldier, had a long and successful military career on the eastern frontiers. He rose through the ranks to become Aspar, Theodosius IIís principal general and was liked by the latter and by Theodosiusís powerful sister, Pulchria. Upon Theodosiusís death, Pulcheria nominated him as an emperor and, given that he was a widower at the time, agreed to become his second wife while preserving her oath of virginity. Surrounded by his advisors, among whom influential churchmen, Marcian presided over the council of Chalcedon, the all-important church gathering that asserted the fundamental Christian dogma of Christ as perfect God and perfect Man, known in two natures but with one essence. The council also enlarged the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of Constantinople and established his precedence over the other eastern bishops, acts that alienated the Roman see, and Pope Leo I felt compelled to object. Valentinian III, the emperor in the West, also resented the elevation of Marcian, but later acquiesced. Marcianís own realm, however, was largely peaceful and undisturbed by external enemies during his seven years in the purple, a fact which made some later authors to refer back in nostalgia to his rule as the Golden Age of the East. Despite his minor concessions to the Persians, Marcian was no pushover, however, and his policy of appeasement in the east seems to have been dictated by the need to have resources on the ready in order to confront possible threat by the Huns on the Empireís European frontiers. All in all, Marcianís time was one of doctrinal clarification, economic prosperity, and military stability. When the emperor fell ill and died in 457, he was greatly regretted and mourned by the nobility and crowd of Constantinople.

Mints: Antioch, Cyzicus, Heraclea, Mediolanum, Nicomedia, Ravenna, Thessalonica.

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