Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Valens, emperor
|←Valens, Arian bp. of Mursa|| Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century
Valens (5), emperor, a.d. 364–378, the brother of Valentinian I. and born c. 328. By his wife, Albia Dominica, he had a son, Galates, and two daughters, Anastasia and Carosa. Made emperor of the East in Mar. 364, he immediately displayed sympathy with Arian doctrines, and was actively hostile to the Athanasian party. For his secular history see D. of G. and R. Biogr. He was baptized in 368 by the Arian Eudoxius, patriarch of Constantinople. In 370 he is credited by all the historians (Socr. iv. 16; Soz. vi. 14; Theod. iv. 24) with an act of atrocious cruelty. Eighty ecclesiastics, led by Urbanus, Theodorus, and Mendemus, were sent by the orthodox party of Constantinople to protest against the conduct of the Arians there. Valens is said to have sent them all to sea, ordering the sailors to set fire to the ship and then to abandon it. They all perished off the coast of Bithynia, and are celebrated as martyrs on Sept. 5 (Mart. Rom.). In 371 he made a tour through his Asiatic province. At Caesarea in Cappadocia he came into conflict with St. Basil, whose letters (Migne, Patr. Gk. t. xxxii.) afford a very lively picture of the persecution of Valens. He proposed to send St. Basil into exile. Just then his only son fell sick. Valens had recourse to the saint, who promised to heal him if he received orthodox baptism. The Arians were, however, allowed to baptize the young prince, who thereupon died. Basil and the orthodox attributed his death to the judgment of heaven on the imperial obstinacy. In 374 Valens raised a persecution against the neo-Platonic philosophers, and put to death several of their leaders, among them Maximus (25) of Ephesus, the tutor and friend of the emperor Julian, Hilarius, Simonides, and Andronicus. His anger was excited at this period against magical practices by a conspiracy at Antioch (Socr. H. E. iv. 19; Soz. vi. 35) for securing the succession of Theodorus, one of the principal court officials. Numerous acts of persecution at Edessa, Antioch, Alexandria, and Constantinople are attributed to Valens, in all of which Modestus, the pretorian prefect, was his most active agent, save in Egypt, where Lucius, the Arian successor of Athanasius, endeavoured in vain to terrify the monks into conformity. The last year of Valens's life was marked by a striking manifestation of monkish courage. In 378 he was leaving Constantinople for his fatal struggle with the Goths at Adrianople. As he rode out of the city an anchorite, Isaac, who lived there, met the emperor and boldly predicted his death. The emperor ordered his imprisonment till his return, when he would punish him—a threat at which the monk laughed. See Clinton's Fasti, i. 476, ii. 119, for the chronology of Valens. Tillemont's Emp. (t. v.) and De Broglie's L’Eglise et l’Empire Romain (t. v.) give good accounts of the career and violence of Valens.