He advanced into Italy at the head of a licentious and ruffianly soldiery, and Rome became the scene of riot and massacre, gladiatorial shows and extravagant feasting.
He is also to be credited with the abolition of the gladiatorial shows in 404 (although there is said to be evidence of their existence later), a reduction of the taxes, improvements in criminal law, and the reorganization of the defensores civitatum, municipal officers whose duty it was to defend the rights of the people and set forth their grievances.
Among contemporaries he passed for one of the most formidable polemical or gladiatorial rhetoricians; and a considerable section of his extant works are invectives.
The sale of slaves (male and female) for immoral and gladiatorial purposes was forbidden; the custom of putting all the household to death when their master was murdered was modified.
They protested against the multiplication of slaves from motives of vanity in the houses of the great, against the gladiatorial combats (ultimately abolished by the noble self-devotion of a monk) and against the consignment of slaves to the theatrical profession, which was often a school of corruption.