Valentinian Dynasty: the family of the emperor Valentinian I, which ruled (parts of) the Roman Empire from 363 until 392 CE.
Valentinian I rose to power after the defeat and death of Julian the Apostate, the last member of the Constantinian Dynasty. After the brief reign of Jovian (r.363-364), Valentinian became ruler and appointed his brother Valens as co-emperor. Valentinian strengthened his claim to the throne by marrying Justina, the widow of an earlier emperor named Magnentius.note[Zosimus, New History 4.19.1 and 4.43.1.]
The dynasty had two branches:
- Valentinian I (364-375)
- Gratian (375-383)
- Valentinian II (375-392)
- Valens (364-378)
After Valens was killed in action in the battle of Adrianopel, Gratian and Valentinian II recognized Theodosius as new emperor in the east. He founded the Theodosian Dynasty.
The Valentinian emperors fortified the frontiers and tried to remain neutral in the religious conflicts of their age. After the defeat at Adrianopel, however, Gratian (who had already refused the pontificatenote[Zosimus, New History 4.36.5.]) put an end to the state support of the pagan cults; as a consequence, paganism collapsed.