An early supporter of Christianity, Gratian vigorously and
systematically rooted out paganism wherever he could and went so far as to
refuse the title of Pontifex Maximus, the highest religious position, feeling
that it belonged to a true religious leader. His early career was marked by his
competent dealing with the troublesome barbarians north of Italy while later in
his career he withdrew somewhat from his duties to spend his time hunting
instead. He died at the hands of his own soldiers to avert a bloody civil war
against Magnus Maximus who was fast approaching.