VALERIAN II - An Error from the Gallic Mint


Valerian II (P Cornelius Licinius Valerianus)was the eldest son of Gallienus and Salonina. Shortly after Gallienus' elevation to the role of joint emperor with Valerian Senior the younger Valerian (II) was accorded the title Caesar, probably during 255AD. Coins began to be issued in his name with the idea of establishing an Imperial dynasty extending to a third generation, something not seen in the Roman world for many years. Unfortunately the younger Valerian was murdered some time around 257AD, possibly at the hands of his protector, Ingenuus.

Gallienus raised his next son, Saloninus (P Licinius Cornelius Saloninus Valerianus) to the rank of Caesar and issued coins in his name only for him to perish in the revolt of Postumus in Gaul.

This rare coin from the Gallic Mint (Trier?) illustrated above shows the reverse type of the sacrificial implements with the legend PIETAS AVGG. The type was struck during the lifetime issues of both Valerian II and Saloninus. However, examination of the obverse legend on this coin shows it to read DIVO VALERIANO CAES and would appear to be an error on behalf of the mint workers pairing a deified obverse of Valerian II with a concurrent lifetime issue of Saloninus. The error may have come about due to Saloninus using an abbreviated form of the name Valerianus in his own titles.

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2000 RJB