Anatolius (consul)

Anatolius (fl. 421–451) was a diplomat and general of the Eastern Roman Empire and Consul in 440. He was very influential during the reign of Theodosius II, and held command of the Empire's eastern armies for 13 years and led negotiations with Attila the Hun on several occasions.


In 421, Anatolius led one Roman army in Persian Armenia during the war against the Sassanids.

Anatolius was magister militum per Orientem from 433 to 446, reaching the consulate in 440, which he held with the Western Emperor Valentinian III as a colleague.


In his capacity as magister militum, he built the fortress of Theodosiopolis along the border with Persarmenia in the mid-430s. In 440, he directed some works at Heliopolis of Phoenicia and rebuilt the walls of Gerasa in Arabia. In 440,[1] the Sassanid king Yazdegerd II attacked the Romans. Theodosius II sent Anatolius to parley with the Great King. Anatolius reached the Sassanid army, dismounted and advanced on foot. Yazdegerd, informed that he was the Roman general, was baffled by such a demonstration of respect and retired to his camp with the whole army. He received the envoy of Theodosius, treating him with honor and accepted peace.

In 443, Anatolius managed to conclude a truce for one year with Attila the Hun. In 446 ended his service as magister militum per Orientem; the following year is already attested as patricius. In 448 Anatolius concluded a peace agreement with Attila, agreeing to pay an annual tribute of 2100 pounds of gold. In 450, however, Attila was again at war against the Roman Empire, using as a pretext that the Emperor was harbouring fugitives from the Hunnic realm. To an offer of parley, Attila replied that he would deal only with the ambassadors of consular rank, and mentioned the names of Nomus, Senator and Anatolius. Anatolius, who by then had become magister militum praesentalis (a position he held until at least next year), and his friend went to meet Attila, who treated them badly at the beginning, but later succumbed to their oratorical arts and the gifts they had brought: Attila would accept the terms of the peace of 448, he would stop attacking the Emperor Theodosius II and give up the strip of land south of the Danube obtained with the peace of 448; it seems that the granting of the release of many prisoners to the Romans was even a concession made personally to the two prestigious guests.

In 451 Anatolius participated in various sessions of the Council of Chalcedon as dean of the imperial representatives.

At the beginning of the reign of Marcian, Florentius and Anatolius dissuaded the Emperor to support the uprising of the Armenians against the Sassanid Empire.

In 442 Anatolius had donated to the church of Edessa a silver reliquary for the bones of Thomas the Apostle. He built a church at Antioch who took the name of "Basilica of Anatolius". He received several letters from Theodoret, with requests for help.


  1. This episode, told by Procopius in the Persian Wars, I.2.11-15, could be placed in 421, during the previous war against the Sassanids (Michael H. Dodgeon, Samuel N. C. Lieu, Geoffrey Greatrex, The Roman Eastern Frontier and the Persian Wars, Part 2, CRC Press, 2002, ISBN 0-203-99454-X, p. 259).


Preceded by
Imp. Caesar Flavius Theodosius Augustus XVII,
Fl. Festus
Consul of the Roman Empire
with Imp. Caesar Placidus Valentinianus Augustus V
Succeeded by
Fl. Taurus Seleucus Cyrus
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