Bronze coin bearing the profile of Honorius
Flavius Augustus Honorius (September 9, 384–August 15, 423) was Emperor of the Western Roman Empire from 395 until his death. He was the younger son of Theodosius I and his first wife Aelia Flaccilla, and brother of the Eastern emperor Arcadius.
Honorius was declared Augustus in 393 by his father and became western emperor at the age of 10, following his father's death in January 395. For the first part of his reign he depended on the military leadership of the Vandal general Stilicho. To strengthen his bonds to the young emperor, Stilicho married his daughter Maria to him.
At first Honorius based his capital in Milan. When the Visigoths entered Italy in AD 402, Honorius moved his capital to Ravenna, which was protected by a ring of marshes.
The most notable event of his reign was the assault and sack of Rome on August 24, 410 by the Visigoths under Alaric. The city had not been under the control of a foreign force since an invasion of Gallic Celts some seven centuries before. The shock of this event reverberated from Britain to Jerusalem, and inspired Augustine to write his magnum opus, The City of God.
There is a story that when he heard the news that Rome had "perished", Honorius was initially shocked; thinking the news was in reference to a favorite chicken he had named "Rome", he recalled in disbelief that the bird was just recently feeding out of his hand. It was then explained to him that the Rome in question was the city.
His reign of twenty-eight years was one of the most disastrous in the Roman annals; the weakness and timidity of the emperor combined with the attacks of the Visigoths and Vandals contributed to the rapid disintegration of the empire. His influence on the current of events was purely negative.