"The air was filled with blood and smoke. The Roman Empire was divided, from the pillars of Hercules to the far reaches of the Adriatic, the Western Roman Empire stretched. Sacred earth where men of greatness conquered, but those who followed neglected Rome..." This was the situation the new Emperor of the west found himself in 395 CE, the Western Empire was in tatters, much of her army lay dead on the river banks of the Frigidus, her economy was ruined by the overburden of state taxes, and her borders were teaming with barbarian migrants. The Emperor was about ten years old so power rested in a small circle of advisors, the most prominent of which was a half Vandal-half Roman general named Stilicho. Theodosius I's corspe was not yet cold in the ground when major problems began to spring up; King Alaric of the visigoth tribe had broken the treaty that the goths has signed with Theodosius I way back in 381 to remain on Roman land in exchange for supplying men to fight in the legions. The goths soon went amok in the middle Empire and Stilicho led the still mobilized and battered Western legions against them in Pannonia and Thrace. The Romans fought numerous pitched battles and inflicted heavy casualties on the barbarians, though none were decisive and Alaric lived to fight another day. The Eastern court, also led by a german, did not take kindly to Stillicho marching around in Macedonia and ordered him to stay in his own territory or risk open war. Stillicho complied and returned to Mediolanum( Milan) in 397. The following year it was reported that Stillicho left Italy for Britannia to help defend it against scottish and saxon incursions. We know almost nothing of the affair and our only sources are a few lines from two panegyrics written by the Western court Poet, Claudian- "the Saxon conquered, the Ocean calmed, the Pict broken, and Britain secure." If true then Stilicho's campaign would be the last time that the western court would see Britannia as a priority; Imperial rule would end in Roman Britain a decade later. In 402 while Stilicho and the main contingent of the Western Army were away dealing with barbarian raiders, Alaric and his goths invaded Italy. Emperor Honorius was caught of guard by the quick advance of the barbarians in northern Italy and fled the capital with the intention of reaching Arles, unfortunately he discovered that the visigoths had blocked the alpine pass to gaul. The court of Honorius panicked and rushed to the nearest fortified city with the visigoths hot on their tails. When Stillicho heard that the Western Roman Emperor was being besieged by goths in a small Italian town, he ordered most Western Comitatenses (field armies) to follow him down into Italy and crush the goths. Stilicho found the goths besieging the hapless Emperor and fell upon them, many escaped and regrouped at Pollentia. Stilicho and Alaric fought two more costly battles though the results of these engagements were more decisive, Alaric fled Italy without his wife and many of his german brethren. Shortly after peace was made with the visigoths and Alaric was left in the balkans to heal his wounds, while Stilicho looked to the crumbling defenses in the West. Also worthy of mention is that during this interlude Stillicho moved the capital of the Western Roman empire from Mediolanum to Ravenna in response to how easily the barbarians had overrun northern Italy. In 405 a massive barbarian army led by Radagaisus invaded Italy, Stilicho is reported to have stripped the Rhine frontier of most combat units, enrolled slaves in the army, and asked the suebians and huns for troops, to crush the hoard. All in all his mixed force numbered around 30,000 troops, a mere shadow of the West's former glory. Stilicho's motley army fell upon the numerically superior barbarian confederation at Florence and mauled them. Claudian reports that 1/3rd of the barbarian army was exterminated while many others were sold into slavery, Claudian goes on to say that the number of barbarian slaves were so numerous that the slave market collapsed! After the campaign Stilicho and Honorius celebrated a magnificent triumph in Rome, it was to be the last one of its kind as events in the West would soon go from bad to worse. Most of you know how this story ends so I'll stop here and let Stilicho enjoy the fruits of his labour in Rome. Now for the coins! I probably won't purchase any more coins until the summer do to the large expenditures of these, but in my opinion it's worth it. Honorius AR Siliqua Honorius. 393-423 AD. AR Siliqua (18mm, 1.34g). Struck 395-408 AD. Pearl-diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right / VOT / X / MVLT / XX in four lines; all within wreath; CONS. (mint of Constantinople). RIC IX, pg 235, #87c. Good Fine, toned Interestingly enough this particular issue was struck by Honorius's older brother in Constantinople, that must explain why these are so scarce! Magnus Maximus AE-4 Magnus Maximus Æ4. Arles, A.D. 383-388. (13mm, 1.01g) DN MAG MAXIMVS PF AVG, Diademed, draped, and cuirassed bust right. / SPES ROMANORVM, Campgates with two turrets. RIC IX 29a. I picked this beauty up for $9 USD, not bad eh? I am certain that the patches of dull green on the reverse are not BD so I am a happy camper. Constantius II Siliqua Silver Siliqua 17mm (1.91 grams) Arles mint: 355-360 A.D. Reference: RIC 261; C 343 D N CONSTAN - TIVS P F AVG, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right. VOTIS / XXX / MVLTIS / XXXX, within laurel wreath; below, PCON. I'll admit that this one was an accident! I purchased this coin while intoxicated a few nights ago, moral of the story: stay the hell away from Ebay while drunk!! Not a bad coin though, perhaps it's clipped, I don't know but at least it is nice to look at! Pics Stilicho stands to the right and to the left his wife Serena and son Eucherius. Honorius in military attire. Sources The Vandal who Saved Rome by Ian Hughes Legions of Rome: The Definitive History of Every Imperial Roman Legion by Steven Dando-Collins All in all not a bad lot of coins for my birthday! Please post any coins that you think are relevant.