), one of the officers of Honorius.
He is first noticed (A. D. 408) as the person who with his own hand put Stilicho to death, and received, as the reward of that service, the office of Comes Africae. Zosimus says that he succeeded Bathanarius, who had married the sister of Stilicho, and whom Honorius put to death; but Tillemont has noticed that, according to the Chronicon
of Prosper Tiro, Joannes or John was Comes Africae A. D. 408, and was killed by the people. If this notice is correct, Heraclian was the successor, not of Bathanarius, but of Joannes. Orosius, indeed, states that Heraclian was not sent to Africa till A. D. 409, after Attalus had assumed the purple. Heraclian rendered good service to Honorius during the invasion of Italy by Alaric, and the usurpation of Attalus. [ALARICUS ; ATTALUS.
] He secured the most important posts on the African coast by suitable guards, and laid an embargo on the ships which carried corn from his province to Rome, thereby producing a famine in that city. Attalus, misled by prophecies or jealous of the Visigothic soldiers, who were his chief military support, sent Constans, without any troops, to supersede Heraclian, counting apparently either on the submission of the latter or the revolt of the provincials.
He was disappointed: Constans was killed; and those whom Attalus sent with a sum of money to support him appear to have fallen into the hands of Heraclian, who sent to Honorius at Ravenna a seasonable pecuniary supply, derived probably from the captured treasure. Alaric, who saw the importance of obtaining Africa, proposed to send Drumas or Druma with the Visigoths, whom he commanded, to attack Heraclian, but Attalus would not consent, and Alaric, dissatisfied with Attalus, compelled him to resign the purple (A. D. 410).
The military force of Heraclian appears to have been trifling, if we may judge from the force which Alaric would have sent against him, and which consisted of only about 500 men.
But he had probably secured the fidelity of the provincials, by the wise measure of toleration to the Donatists, which Honorius (at the suggestion, as Baronius thinks, of Heraclian) granted about this time, A. D. 410. When the danger was over, the persecuting spirit revived, and a later edict of the same year, addressed to Heraclian, recalled the liberty which had been granted.
The important services of Heraclian secured for him the honour of the consulship.
It is probable that he was only consul designatus for the year 413, and that he never exercised the functions of the office.
He appears to have received the notice of his appointment in the earlier part of 412; and the same year, elated with pride, and instigated, as we gather from Orosius, by Sabinus, an intriguing and unquiet man, whom he had raised from some post in his household to be his son-in-law, he revolted against Honorius, and assumed the purple. His first step was to stop the corn ships, as in the revolt of Attalus; his second, to collect ships and troops for the invasion of Italy.
An edict of Honorius, dated from Ravenna, Non. Jul., A. D. 412, denounces sentence of death against him and his followers, as public enemies, and enables us to fix the date of his revolt. Gothofredus would, indeed, correct the date of this edict to the next year, but we think without reason.
The threatened invasion of Italy did not take place till the next year (A. D. 413). Heraclian had a great force with him, though the numbers are differently stated.
The enterprise failed; but the particulars of the failure are variously stated.
According to Orosius and Marcellinus, he landed in Italy, and was marching toward Rome, when, alarmed by the approach of Count Marinus, who was sent against him, he forsook his army, and fled to Carthage, where he was immediately put to death.
According to Idatius, he was defeated at Utriculum (Ocriculum, in Umbria, between Rome and Ravenna?), in a battle in which 50,000 men fell; and, fleeing into Africa, was put to death in the temple of Memoria, at Carthage, by executioners sent by Honorius. Possibly the battle was fought by his army when deserted by their leader. Sabinus, son-in-law of Heraclian, fled to Constantinople; but, being sent back after a time, was condemned to banishment.
The name of Heraclian does not appear in the Fasti Consulares, an edict of Honorius having declared the consulship defiled by him, and abolished his name and memory; but it is probable that Prosper Tiro is correct in making him colleague (or intended colleague) of Lucianus or Lucius, who appears in the Fasti as sole consul for A. D. 413. (Zosim. 5.37, 6.7-11; Sozomen, H. E.
9.8; Philostorg. H. E.
12.6; Oros. 7.29
; Idatius, Chron.
Prosper Aquit. Chron.;
Prosper Tiro, Chron.;
Olympiod. apud Phot. Bibl.
Cod. 80; Cod. Theod. 9. tit. 40.21; 15. tit. 14.13; 16. tit. 5.51; Gothofred. Prosop. Cod. Tlweodos.;
Tillemont, Hist. des Emp.
vol. v.; Gibbon, 100.30, 31.)