1. GRATIANUS FUNARIUS, father of the emperors Valentinian I. and Valens, was born at Cibalae or Cibalis, in Pannonia, of an obscure family.
He obtained the name of Funarius (" the rope-man") because, when carrying about some rope (funis) for sale, he successfully resisted the efforts of five soldiers to wrest it from him.
This circumstance led to his enlisting in the army, and he became distinguished for bodily strength and for skill in military wrestling.
He rose through the rank of Protector and Tribunus to be Comes, and, as we understand Ammianus Marcellinus, Magister Militum in Africa; but lost that appointment through being suspected of peculation. However, after a long interval, he obtained the same rank in Britain; and at last returned, with a good reputation, to his birth-place, to end his days in privacy.
He suffered the confiscation of all his property by the emperor Constantius II., " because he was said to have hospitably entertained Magnentius, who was hastening through the place of his residence to the fulfilment of his purpose " (Amm. Marc. 30.7
), i. e. apparently when hastening to encounter Constantius in the battle of Mursa, A. D. 351. Heis thought to have held the office of praefectus praetorio, but this is not certain.
He was very popular with the soldiers, whose regard for him, even after his death, is said to have contributed to the elevation of his son Valentinian to the empire.
The senate of Constantinople decreed to him a statue of brass about the time of the accession of Valens, A. D. 364. (Amm. Marc. 30.7
; Aurel. Vict. Epit.
100.45; Paulus Diaconus, de Gest. Roman.
lib. xi ; Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.