Flavius Valentinianus had risen to the position of
Praetorian Prefect under Emperor Jovian. After
Jovian’s death, he was raised to the throne by
the soldiers in Bithynia. One of his first acts as
emperor was to promote his brother Valens to
the rank of co-Augustus to rule the Eastern half
of the Empire. However, the transition of power
was complicated by the fact that the army was
marching back from Jovian’s aborted invasion of
Persia. Taking advantage of the power vacuum in
the capital, an opportunistic relative of Jovian,
Procopius, rushed ahead of the army back to
Constantinople where he was declared emperor.
Valentinian left Valens to deal with the usurper
while his set off to establish control in the west.
Valentinian set up court in Milan and spent the
majority of his reign fending off the increasingly
powerful German attacks along the Rhine. After
falling seriously ill in 367 A.D., Valentinian
appointed his young son Gratian as Augustus. By
374 A.D., Valentinian was forced to stem a new
series of German assaults across the Danube.
Valentinian eventually passed away after
suffering a stroke in 375 A.D., apparently
brought on by his frustration.