Pollentia, known today as Pollenzo, was an ancient city on the left bank of the Tanaro. It is now a frazione of Bra in the Province of Cuneo, northern Italy. During the Antiquity Pollentia belonged to the Ligurian Statielli, Augusta Bagiennorum being 16 km to the south, its position on the road from Augusta Taurinorum to the coast at Vada Sabatia, at the point of divergence of a road to Hasta gave it military importance. Decimus Brutus managed to occupy it an hour before Mark Antony in 43 BC. Here Stilicho on April 6, 402, fought the Battle of Pollentia with Alaric I, which though undecided led the Goths to evacuate Italy; the place was famous for its brown pottery. Today it is home to the University of Gastronomic Sciences which offers undergraduate and masters programs focused on gastronomy and food tourism. According to the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica considerable remains of ancient buildings, including an amphitheater, a theater and a temple were still in existence, although the so-called temple of Diana was more a tomb.
Pollentia: la Pollenzo romana, from the website of the Comune of Bra, gives a short history of Pollentia, covering both the Roman town and its subsequent history. This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Pollentia". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Arcadius was Eastern Roman Emperor from 395 to 408. He was the eldest son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, brother of the Western Emperor Honorius. A weak ruler, his reign was dominated by a series of powerful ministers and by his wife, Aelia Eudoxia. Arcadius was born in Hispania, the elder son of Theodosius I and Aelia Flaccilla, brother of Honorius, who would become the first Western Roman Emperor, his father declared him an Augustus and co-ruler for the eastern half of the Empire in January 383. His younger brother was declared Augustus in 393, for the Western half; as emperors, both Theodosius' sons are famous for their extraordinarily weak wills and pliancy to ambitious ministers. At the death of their father, Honorius was under the control of the Romanized Vandal magister militum Flavius Stilicho while Arcadius was dominated by the Praetorian Prefect of the East, Rufinus. Stilicho, alleged by some to have aspired to control both Emperors, set off to the east shortly after beginning his reign, leading back the Gothic mercenaries whom Theodosius had taken west in the civil war with Arbogastes and Eugenius.
Stilicho complied and sent his army on under the command of its general, secretly his ally. When Rufinus greeted Gainas with his army before Constantinople, he was assassinated on the parade ground by the Goths. Arcadius had been on the verge of marrying Rufinus' daughter, when the palace eunuchs under the influence of Eutropius, apprehensive of this increase of the Prefect's power, conspired to switch the bride with the daughter of Bauto, a Frankish general, called Aelia Eudoxia. Aside from the indignity to Rufinus, not informed of the change in Arcadius' plans, and, caught off guard in the middle of the marriage ceremony, when the nuptial procession went to Eudoxia's residence rather than his own, this change hinted at his fall from another aspect, since Eudoxia had been raised, after her father's death, in the home of a general murdered by Rufinus. Subsequently, the eunuch Eutropius and Arcadius' wife, Aelia Eudoxia, would assume Rufinus' place as advisors, or guardians, of the emperor.
Eutropius' influence lasted four years, but he became as unpopular as Rufinus. Claudian, the court poet of Honorius, alleges that the eunuch sold the governorships of the provinces, the civil magistracies, to the highest bidders. New treason laws were enacted under his auspices, by which the thought was not separated from the execution of the crime, by which the sons of the guilty were excluded from the rights of citizenship; the last straw came in 399 when Eutropius, a eunuch and former slave, had himself nominated to the consulship, an unprecedented act. In the same year the Ostrogoths, settled in Asia Minor by Theodosius I revolted, Gainas, Eutropius' personal enemy, appointed to suppress the insurrection after Eutropius' appointees failed persuaded the emperor to give in to their demands, which included, inter alia, the dismissal of Eutropius. Eudoxia, sensing Eutropius' perilous situation deserted her former ally, convinced her husband to give in to the Ostrogoths' demands. Subsequently, Eudoxia alone would have influence over the emperor.
That same year, on 13 July, Arcadius issued an edict ordering that all remaining non-Christian temples should be demolished. After Eutropius' fall, Gainas joined the rebel Ostrogoths, forced Arcadius to make him Magister Militum, or chief general of the Roman armies, therefore the most powerful minister in the state. Additionally, he demanded place for settlement for his troops in Thrace. Arcadius consented, but the Ostrogoths' Arianism and hostile attitude brought them into conflict with the populace of Constantinople, Gainas' garrison in the capital was overpowered and massacred in a general riot. Gainas reacted by declaring open war on Arcadius, advanced on Constantinople before realising it was too strong for him to take. After this the Goths attempted to recross the Hellespont and invade Asia, but were defeated by Fravitta, a loyal Goth in the Roman service who replaced Gainas; the latter fled to the Danube with his remaining followers, intending to establish an independent kingdom in Scythia, but was defeated and killed by Uldin the Hun.
Eudoxia's influence was opposed by John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople, who felt that she had used her family's wealth to gain control over the Emperor. Eudoxia used her influence to have Chrysostom deposed in 404, but she died that year. Eudoxia gave to Arcadius four children: three daughters, Pulcheria and Marina, one son, the future Emperor Theodosius II. Arcadius was dominated for the rest of his rule by Anthemius, the Praetorian Prefect, who made peace with Stilicho in the West. Arcadius himself was more concerned with appearing to be a pious Christian than he was with political or military matters, he died, only nominally in control of his Empire, in 408. In this reign of a weak Emperor dominated by court politics, a major theme was the ambivalence felt by prominent individuals and the court parties that formed and regrouped round them towards barbarians, which in Constantinople at this period meant Goths. In the well-documented episode that revolved around Gainas, a number of Gothic foederati stationed in the capital were massacred, the survivors fleeing
Siege of Hippo Regius
The Siege of Hippo Regius was a siege from June 430 to August 431, carried out by the Vandals under their king Genseric against Roman defenders under Boniface, Count of Africa. Having command of the sea, Boniface was able to keep the city well provisioned and, after 14 months, Genseric was the one short on supplies; the Vandals lifted the siege. However, Boniface abandoned the city by sea to meet with reinforcements from the eastern empire. Among those who died during the siege was St. Augustine
Battle of the Nervasos Mountains
The Battle of the Nervasos Mountains occurred in the year 419 and was fought between a coalition of Suebi, led by King Hermeric together with allied Roman Imperial forces stationed in the Province of Hispania, against the combined forces of the Vandals and Alans who were led by their King Gunderic. This battle occurred in the context of a contemporary Germanic invasion of the Iberian Peninsula; the battle took place in what is today the Province of León, resulted in a Roman/Suebian Victory. Between the years 409 and 411, the Germanic peoples of the Vandals and the Suebi like the Iranian Alans, migrated into the Iberian Peninsula via the Pyrenees Mountains after having conquered the Gallo-Roman province of Gaul and subjected it to a three-year system of plunder and pillage. Seeing that the forces of the Western Roman Empire were unable to respond to new threats due to local uprisings led by Maximus of Hispania and Gerontius, the Germanic tribes saw an opportunity to invade the peninsula and carve out territory for themselves, starting the period of the Germanic Invasion of Iberia.
The invaders divided amongst themselves, the territories of Hispania, taking the whole of Hispania Tarraconensis from the Romans without encountering any significant opposition. The Silingi Vandals gained control over the Roman province of Hispania Baetica, the Alans took over administration of Lusitania and Hispania Carthaginensis, whilst the Suebi and the Hasdingi Vandals took over Gallaecia; the Suebi continued on with the original Roman Conventus iuridicus Lucense, maintaining a capital in Lucus Augusti, with the Bracarense with its capital at Bracara Augusta. The Hasdingi Vandals maintained the Roman structure dating back from the Augustan and Claudian emperors, their Roman Conventus Asturicensus maintained its capital at Asturica Augusta. In 416, King of the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse, entered the Iberian Peninsula as a Roman general to fight the invading barbarian tribes; the Germanic tribes were unable to unite against their common enemy and by 418, the Silingi Vandals had been completely annihilated and the Alans were dispersed after the fighting death of their king, Attaces.
The survivors of these groups sheltered themselves with the Hasdingi Vandals. The King of the Suebi, for his part, was able to sign a treaty with the Emperor Honorius, gaining his tribe the legal status of Foederati, for which the Hispano-Romans were obliged to cede them land, they established a garrison at Braga. The disgrace felt by the Hispano-Romans at having to cede their lands to the Suebi would be felt painfully in the future during the conflicts between the natives and the colonizers; the following periods would be marked with failed peace treaties and the sending of a native embassy to solicit the help of the Gallo-Roman general Flavius Aetius by Bishop Hydatius that would end in failure. In his alliance with the Romans, Hermeric was swayed by the expansionist desires of his kingdom and would enter into conflict with his neighboring Vandals, the closest other German tribe occupying Hispania; the details of the confrontation between the two tribes are not clear, but it is possible to deduce that it was the Suebi who took the initiative in commencing hostilities seeing as the Nervasos Mountains, due to their imprecise location, could have been situated in the region of El Bierzo in today's Province of Leon the conventus iuridicus asturicensis, which under the pact of 409-411, belonged to the Hasdingi Vandals under Gunderic.
During the invasion of the Vandal lands and his army are surrounded in the Nervasos Mountains by the forces of Gunderic, only being saved from a disastrous defeat by timely Roman intervention. The Roman comes Hispanorum, Asterius, at the head of a powerful Roman army, lifted the Suebi siege and obliged the Vandals to retreat; the Roman campaign continued and Asterius obliged the Vandals to retreat south to Bracara Augusta, where he had pre-arranged a pincer movement together with his vicarius, who commanded another sizable Roman force. They routed them. Having been defeated, the king Gunderic guided his tribe in search of new settlement in Hispania Baetica. Between 421 and 422, they routed the imperial army of General Castinus, sent to reconquer former Roman lands in that area; the Vandals built a grand fleet which they used to gain naval dominance in the region and were able to conquer a large portion of southeastern Spain, sacking the cities of Carthago Nova and Hispalis amongst others. In 428, Gunderic dies and is succeeded to the throne by his half brother Genseric, who decides that best place for his people to settle would be North Africa, being ravaged by internal disputes which would nullify the Roman resistance.
Genseric began preparations to cross the Straits of Gibraltar with over 80,000 people, 15,000 of whom were soldiers, however he was attacked from the rear by a large force of Suebi under the command of Heremigarius who had managed to take Lusitania. This Suebi army was defeated near Mérida and its leader Hermigario drowns in the Guadiana River while trying to flee; the following year, the Vandals disembarked in Ceuta, from which in a few years they would control all of Roman North Africa before being swept from history by Belisarius, a general of Justinian I. The Suebi would remain in Gallaecia until their conquest by the Visigoths under Liuvigild in the year 585 sharing the same fate
Fall of Ravenna
The Fall of Ravenna, capital of the Western Roman Empire, occurred in early September 476 after a minor confrontation between the Heruli under their King Odoacer and the remnants of the Western Roman Army in Italy. The Roman Empire had been in relative decline since the beginning of the barbarian invasions and Rome, the symbolical heart and largest city of the Western Empire, was sacked in 410 by the Visigoths and in 455 by the Vandals. By 476 the Roman Emperor was little more than a warlord having little de facto control of any territory outside of Italy; the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was not recognized as a legitimate ruler outside of Italy. Herulians were foederati of the Western Roman Empire, they envied the fortune of their brethren in Gaul and Africa, whose victorious arms had acquired an independent and perpetual inheritance. Orestes, the father of Emperor Romulus Augustus, rejected their demand - causing their revolt. From all the camps and garrisons of Italy the confederates flocked to the standard of Odoacer, their leader.
Pavia was subsequently pillaged and Orestes was executed. The decisive battle was fought on September 2, 476 near Ravenna, the capital of the Western Roman Empire: it saw the Foederati defeat the depleted Roman garrison; the city, defended by Paulus was captured easily. Two days the sixteen year old Emperor Romulus Augustulus was forced to abdicate by Odoacer, ending twelve-hundred years of Roman rule in Italy beginning with the Roman Kingdom in 753 BC. Romulus was sent into retirement in Campania
Western Roman Empire
In historiography, the Western Roman Empire refers to the western provinces of the Roman Empire at any time during which they were administered by a separate independent Imperial court. The terms Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire are modern descriptions that describe political entities that were de facto independent; the Western Roman Empire collapsed in 476, the Western imperial court was formally dissolved in 480. The Eastern imperial court survived until 1453. Though the Empire had seen periods with more than one Emperor ruling jointly before, the view that it was impossible for a single emperor to govern the entire Empire was institutionalised to reforms to Roman law by emperor Diocletian following the disastrous civil wars and disintegrations of the Crisis of the Third Century, he introduced the system of the tetrarchy in 286, with two separate senior emperors titled Augustus, one in the East and one in the West, each with an appointed Caesar. Though the tetrarchic system would collapse in a matter of years, the East–West administrative division would endure in one form or another over the coming centuries.
As such, the Western Roman Empire would exist intermittently in several periods between the 3rd and 5th centuries. Some emperors, such as Constantine I and Theodosius I, governed as the sole Augustus across the Roman Empire. On the death of Theodosius I in 395, he divided the empire between his two sons, with Honorius as his successor in the West, governing from Mediolanum, Arcadius as his successor in the East, governing from Constantinople. In 476, after the Battle of Ravenna, the Roman Army in the West suffered defeat at the hands of Odoacer and his Germanic foederati. Odoacer became the first King of Italy. In 480, following the assassination of the previous Western emperor Julius Nepos, the Eastern emperor Zeno dissolved the Western court and proclaimed himself the sole emperor of the Roman Empire; the date of 476 was popularized by the 18th century British historian Edward Gibbon as a demarcating event for the end of the Western Empire and is sometimes used to mark the transition from Antiquity to the Middle Ages.
Odoacer's Italy, other barbarian kingdoms, would maintain a pretence of Roman continuity through the continued use of the old Roman administrative systems and nominal subservience to the Eastern Roman court. In the 6th century, emperor Justinian I re-imposed direct Imperial rule on large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, including the prosperous regions of North Africa, the ancient Roman heartland of Italy and parts of Hispania. Political instability in the Eastern heartlands, combined with foreign invasions and religious differences, made efforts to retain control of these territories difficult and they were lost for good. Though the Eastern Empire retained territories in the south of Italy until the eleventh century, the influence that the Empire had over Western Europe had diminished significantly; the papal coronation of the Frankish King Charlemagne as Roman Emperor in 800 marked a new imperial line that would evolve into the Holy Roman Empire, which presented a revival of the Imperial title in Western Europe but was in no meaningful sense an extension of Roman traditions or institutions.
The Great Schism of 1054 between the churches of Rome and Constantinople further diminished any authority the Emperor in Constantinople could hope to exert in the west. As the Roman Republic expanded, it reached a point where the central government in Rome could not rule the distant provinces. Communications and transportation were problematic given the vast extent of the Empire. News of invasion, natural disasters, or epidemic outbreak was carried by ship or mounted postal service requiring much time to reach Rome and for Rome's orders to be returned and acted upon. Therefore, provincial governors had de facto autonomy in the name of the Roman Republic. Governors had several duties, including the command of armies, handling the taxes of the province and serving as the province's chief judges. Prior to the establishment of the Empire, the territories of the Roman Republic had been divided in 43 BC among the members of the Second Triumvirate: Mark Antony and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus. Antony received the provinces in the East: Achaea and Epirus, Bithynia and Asia, Syria and Cyrenaica.
These lands had been conquered by Alexander the Great. The whole region the major cities, had been assimilated into Greek culture, Greek serving as the lingua franca. Octavian obtained the Roman provinces of the West: Italia, Gallia Belgica, Hispania; these lands included Greek and Carthaginian colonies in the coastal areas, though Celtic tribes such as Gauls and Celtiberians were culturally dominant. Lepidus received the minor province of Africa. Octavian soon took Africa while adding Sicilia to his holdings. Upon the defeat of Mark Antony, a victorious Octavian controlled a united Roman Em