Maldives Minicoy Mahl Dhivehi
Roman Maldivian

Constantius II
Constantius II

Theophilus, sent by the Roman Emperor Flavius Julius Constantius Augustus (Constantius II), about AD 354, on a mission to Arabia Felix and Abyssinia, was likely to be the first Maldive doctor to have practised in Europe.

He had been sent when very young a hostage a Divoeis, by the inhabitants of the Maldives (the Divaeans, pronounced Divians), to the Romans in the reign of Emperor Constantinus Maximus Augustus (Constantine the Great).

Constantine the Great
Constantinus Maximus

His travels were recorded by Philostorgius, an Arian Greek historian, who relates that Theophilus, after fulfilling his mission to the Homerites, sailed to his island home known as Divus, allegedly a group of islands off the Western coast of India. Some modern sources refer to it as the Maldives.

It is likely that Theophilus spent most of his career in the Roman city of Antioch in what is now Turkey.

This was not just an isolated case of Maldive contact with Rome at that time and before.

Another Roman source, Amianus Marcellinus courtier to the Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus wrote in AD 362 about Maldive (Divi) envoys who came to the emperor's court. Julianus was the last pagan emperor of Rome.

A ceremonial vessel excavated from a buried Buddhist temple on the island of Toddu in Ari Atoll contained a Roman Republican denarius of Caius Vibius Pansa that was minted in 90 BC and went out of circulation about 200 years later.

Julianus Imperator Gaius Vibius Pansa
Emperor Julianus
Caius Vibius Pansa
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