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Roman Empire

Ruler: Valerian I
Reigned: 253 - 260 AD
Denomination: AR Antoninianus
Mint: Viminacium
Date of Issue: 253-255 AD
Obverse: Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust, right. "IMP. VALERIANVS P. AVG."
Reverse: Providentia standing left holding ensign and pointing with baton to globe at her feet. "PROVID. AVGG."
Reference: RCVM 9963, RSC 173, RIC 247
Weight: 3.7 gms
Diameter: 19.7 mm

VALERIAN (Publius Licinius Valerianus)

  • Publius Licinius Valerianus was born c. 195, from one of the most distinguished old Roman families.
  • In 253, he was entrusted by Trebonianus Gallus with the raising of troops for operations on the Upper Danube.
  • When the Goths broke their peace agreement with Gallus, they were defeated by Aemilianus, who was then proclaimed emperor by his legions. Gallus was murdered by his own troops at Interamna.
  • When Valerianus learned of Gallus's murder he had himself proclaimed emperor, and marched on Italy.
  • Aemilianus was killed by his own army near Spoleto in October 253, after a reign of only 88 days.
  • Valerian was now emperor.He had his elder son Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, who was 40 years old, elevated to joint ruler on their arrival in Rome in October 253. Gallienus was to defend the west while Valerian took defended the east.
  • Valerian headed for Syria where many cities, including Antioch, had been sacked during the Persian invasion of Shapur I.
  • Arriving in Antioch in 254 he had to suppress the rebellion of Uranius Antoninus, who had defeated the Persian force attacking Emesa.
  • Valerian continued the campaigns against the Persians with some success, while Gallienus was winning victories against the Germans in the west.
  • In the early summer of 260 Valerian's army was decimated by plague and besieged by the Persians at Edessa.
  • Valerian was trapped into going to meeting Shapur for negotiations, accompanied by only a small retinue. They were all taken prisoner by Shapur.
  • Valerian ended his days as a human mounting block, crouching down so that Shapur could step on his back when mounting his horse. When he died, his skin was removed, dyed with vermilion, and placed in a temple where it would be shown in later years to visiting Romans.

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