Byzantine Empire /
Flavius Iulius Valens
(Ca. 328-378) Roman Emperor 364-378. He is listed as the 5th ruler of the Byzantine Empire, even if his brother, Valentian 1, often is placed between him and the previous emperor, Jovian, in the line of rulers.
Valens' reign was one of indecisive battles on all fronts. Internal conflicts and conflicts over Armenia, in a challenge with Persia and its Sassanid Dynasty, dominated his 14 years in power. Towards the end of his reign, the empire was attacked by Goths in the southeastern corner of Europe.
Upon his death, the eastern parts of the Roman Empire was in a state of disintegration, lacking both political leadership and with an army heavily reduced from years of fighting.
Valens' inability to solve his challenges was not so much a matter of his weakness, as the increased strength of the empire's neighbours. But his reign does involve one very important watershed; the Gothic War (377-382) came to prove that the Romans infantry no longer was the strongest army structure. The Gothic cavalry proved to be stronger and more efficient, and the Gothic example would produce numerous more attacks from other peoples. These attakcs would eventually lead to the fall of the western part of the Roman Empire.
Valens was a Christian of the Arian orientation. He persecuted Catholics but left all involved in Roman religions at peace. With his death, Arianism would be close to its end. His successor, Theodosius 1, came to endorse the Nicene Creed (see Council of Nicaea).
328: Born Cibalae (modern Croatia).
364 February 17: Emperor Jovian dies, and was succeeded a few days later by Valentian 1.
March 28: Valens is appointed co-emperor, given control of the eastern part of the empire (the eastern half of the Balkan peninsula, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Asia Minor as far east as Persia).
December: Valens has himself securely installed in Constantinople.
365 September 28: Procopius, cousin of Julian, proclaims himself emperor, challenging Valens who was at that time involved in a reconquest of territories lost to Persia.
May 27: Procupius, deserted by many of this troops, is defeated by Valens, and beheaded.
367: Goes to war against the Goths.
369: Peace with the Goths, making the Danube River the border of the Roman Empire.
371: Wages war aginst Persia over the control of Armenia.
372: Wins an important military victory over the Persians.
377: Goths, forced from their homes by the Huns further north, start pressing south on the regions of the Danube River. By this, the Gothic War begins; it would last until 382.
378 August 9: Dies at the Battle of Adrianople (corresponding to modern Edirne, Turkey). Following this, no new emperor took after him, control was instead passed to Rome for a year. In 379, Theodosius 1 was crowned new emperor in the east.