Chapter XVIII.—Of the Empress Placilla. 880
Yet other opportunities of improvement lay within the emperors reach, for his wife used constantly to put him in mind of the divine laws in which she had first carefully educated herself. In no way exalted by her imperial rank she was rather fired by it with greater longing for divine things. The greatness of the good gift given her made her love for Him who gave it all the greater, so she bestowed every kind of attention on the maimed and the mutilated, declining all aid from her household and her guards, herself visiting the houses where the sufferers lodged, and providing every one with what he required. She also went about the guest chambers of the churches and ministered to the wants of the sick, herself handling pots and pans, and tasting broth, now bringing in a dish and breaking bread and offering morsels, and washing out a cup and going through all the other duties which are supposed to be proper to servants and maids. To them who strove to restrain her from doing these things with her own hands she would say, “It befits a sovereign to distribute gold; I, for the sovereign power that has been given me, am giving my own service to the Giver.” To her husband, too, she was ever wont to say, “Husband, you ought always to bethink you what you were once and what you have become now; by keeping this constantly in mind you will never grow ungrateful to your benefactor, but will guide in accordance with law the empire bestowed upon you, and thus you will worship Him who gave it.” By ever using language of this kind, she with fair and wholesome care, as it were, watered the seeds of virtue planted in her husbands heart.
She died before her husband, and not long after the time of her death events occurred which showed how well her husband loved her.
Valesius remarks on this “Vera quidem sunt quæ de Flaccilæe Augustæ virtutibus hic refert Theodoretus. Sed nihil pertinent ad hunc locum; nam Flacilla diu ante cladem Thessalonicensium ex hac luce migraverat, et post ejus obitum Theodosius Gallam uxorem duxerat.”
Ælia Flacilla Augusta, Empress and Saint, is Plakilla in Greek historians, Placida in Philostorgius. She died at Scotumis in Thrace, Sept. 14, 385. The outbreak at Thessalonica occured in 390.