The Age of Gallienus
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Gallienus was co-emperor with his father Valerian from 253, then ruled alone after his father's capture by Parthia in 260. Ruling during the Crisis of the Third Century that nearly caused the collapse of the empire, he repelled wave after wave of barbarian invaders, but he was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. Gallienus presided over a late flowering of Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers. He was assassinated by his own soldiers in 268 while besieging Milan.
Also see: ERIC - GALLIENUS
Besly, E. & R. Bland. The Cunetio Treasure: Roman Coinage of the Third Century AD. (London, 1983).
Bourdel, B. Les Antoniniens emis sous le regne conjoint des empereurs Valerien et Gallien, Mariniane, Salonine, Valerien II, Salonin (253-260 Apr. J.-C.). (2017).
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Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
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|GALLIENUS (Publius Licinius), the son of Valerianus, by that emperor's first wife, whose name is not recorded; but probably his mother's name was Galliena. Born in the year of Rome 971 (A.D. 218) he owed his own fortunes to his father, by whom, when, on the death of Trebonianus and of Aemilianus, he had obtained the sovereignty, Gallienus was chosen as his colleague in the empire. Victor asserts that he was created Caesar by the Senate.--"On the truth of this statement, say Eckhel (vii. 389), I will not decide. At any rate, no coins have yet been discovered with the title of Caesar only; but all pronounce him Augustus."|
A.D. 253, his father Valerian, assumed the title of Augustus, and the Tribunicia Potestus, and nominated himself consul for the following year.--He made his son Gallienus particeps imperii.
A.D. 254.--Gallienus proceeded consul, in colleagueship with his father (Consul II), Aemilianus dying at Spoletum, Valerian and Gallienus were acknowledged as Augusti, and as consuls for the year.
A.D. 255.--Gallienus proceeded consul for the second, with his father consul for the third, time. Valerian, intent on his operations in the East, entrusted to Gallienus the European armies; and the conduct of the campaigns against the Franci, the Alamanni, and various other rebellions tribes.
A.D. 256.--It is probable that, in this year, Gallienus was engaged int he war with the Germani, from which he derived his military honors.
A.D. 257.--Consul for the third time. His repeated victories in Germania obtained for him, as well as for his father, the surname of Germanicus.
A.D. 258.--Postumus invaded and took possession of the Gallic portion of the empire.
A.D. 259.--Postumus having got possession of Saloninus, and, to his own inexpiable dishonor, put him to death, Gallienus contented himself with placing his murdered son in the rank of the gods!
A.D. 260.--This year, it is believed, Valerian was made prisoner by the Persians.--Gallienus proceeded consul for the fourth time.
A.D. 261.--During the captivity of Valerian, several military governors in different provinces usurped the sovereign authority.--Amongst them was Ingenuus in Moesia, who, however was taken and decapitated by Gallienus. Also Regalianus in Illyrieum; Macrianus and his sons in the East; and other pretenders of less importance.
Balista, prefect of the praetorians under Valerian, in conjunction with Odenathus, King of Palmyra, drove Sapor from Syria into Persia, and re-established, or at least sustained for a time, the Roman power in the East.
A.D. 262.--Gallienus, consul for the fifth time, celebrated a triumph over the Persians conquered by Odenathus. As one set of usurpers fell, others rose to assume the purple.
A.D. 262.--Returning to Rome, Gallienus fulfilled the vota decennalia. Trebellius relates that this emperor, having taken Byzantium, and in spite of his promise to the contrary, put its garrison to the sword, returned in all haste to Rome, as though he had accomplished a great and laudable work, and there celebrated the decennalia.
A.D. 264.--Gallienus, consul for the sixth time, invested Odenathus, for his victories over the Persians, with all the honors of an Augustus.
A.D. 265.--Valerianus junior, brother of Gallienus, proceeded consul, in colleagueship with Macro Lucullus Rufinianus.
A.D. 266.--Gallienus consul for the seventh time. To this year Tillemont refers the destructive invasion of Bithynia, and a large portion of Asia Minor, by the Scythiana.
A.D. 267.--The Goths this year again laid waste Moesia and the Heruli ravaged Greece and Asia. Gallienus set out for Greece, to fight these barbarians.
A.D. 268.-- Recalled into Italy by the sedition of Aureolus, who had declared himself emperor, and whilst besieging in Milan the new competitor, Gallienus was assassinated by conspirators, in the month of March, in the 50th year of his age. He had married Cornelia Salonina, by whom he had Saloninus.
Such, observes the judicious Eckhel--such was the end of Gallienus, an emperor, to whom historians have ascribed every vice imaginable, and whose proper vocation seemed to be, not the government of a State, but the indulgence of sloth and unbounded licentiousness; and this at a juncture when an empire divided among so many usurpers; the incursions of barbarians hordes from every side; the renewed ravages of the plague which commenced in the reign of Trebonianus--demanded a prince endowed with moral [he was not deficient in physical] courage, magnanimity, and decision. Of the cruelty and vindictiveness of his character, we may gather some notion from the epistle, in which he enjoins Celer Verianus to destroy the partisans of the usurper Ingenuus; 'mutilate them,' he says, 'kill and exterminate them; you understand my mind respecting them; make your own the rage of him who writes these orders with his own hand.' With such perverted feelings, it is no matter of surprise that to his other delinquencies he should have added the almost incredible impiety of looking on unmoved at the captivity and ignominious treatment of his father by the Persians; and that this was the only injury which remained unavenged by one, who in every other case, behaved with implacable severity. There is, however, the best reason for supposing that he preferred his father's captivity to his freedom, inasmuch as Valerian's strict morals were a perpetual reproach to his own enormities. Consequently, it is not so much to be wondered at, that this unworthy prince was cut off at last by his own subjects, as that so long a time elapsed before a Hercules appeared to suppress such a monster.--D.N.V. vii. 394.
The brass coins of Gallienus are for the most part common; so are those in billon; gold and pure silver very rare. On these he is styled IMP. C. LICIN. GALLIENVS PIVS FELIX AVG. and sometimes GERMANICVS MAX.
Gallienus appears on some of his coins with Valerianus, Salonina, and Saloninus. Amongst the money struck by this emperor are to be noted the pieces which he caused to be restored, in honor of many of his predecessors, who had been placed, by consecration, in the rank of the gods, from Augustus down to Alexander Severus.
It deserves here to be remarked that from the reign of Sept. Severus to Gallienus the standard of the silver coinage was successively reduced. These pieces are customarily designated as being of silver, although the metal had progressively been alloyed into billon of a very low standard. From the age of Gallienus, silver money becoming more and more debased, and yet some coins of pure silver having occasionally been struck, the billon pieces are classed separately. To take the date from Claudius Gothicus, these coins were no better than copper washed with silver. Under Diocletian a coinage of fine silver was re-established.--See Hennin, Manuel, vol. ii p. 432, Nomenclature.
MINTAGES OF GALLIENUS
No pagan prince, perhaps, testified his devotion to so many divinities as Gallienus did on his coins. There are reverses in his mint which respectively exhibit the images of Jupiter, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, Diana, Minerva, the Sun, Vulcan, Bacchus, Victoria, Hercules, Deus Augustus, and above all the rest, Apollo, whom the coins of this emperor depicted in various attire. It would seem indeed that, amidst the surrounding perils and calamities of his time, from pestilence, from earthquakes, and from the slaughter of wars threatening him and the empire itself with destruction, Gallienus was accustomed to invoke almost all the dii majores for his conservation.
The following are among the rarest reverse:
CHOES. (sic.) TERTIA PRETORIA. Emperor standing in military habit, holding the hasta pura, in the midst of four military engines. (Valued by Mionnet at 300 francs).
FIDEI EQVITVM. (Small medallion, brought £3 9s. 0d. at the Brummell sale).
FIDES MILITVM. Woman and two ensigns. Double aureus. (Valued by Mionnet at 200 fr. Brought £14 at the Thomas sale).
IMP. VI. COS. V. Emperor on horseback, holding a lance, preceded by a soldier, and followed by a Victory that crowns him.--(Mt. 400 fr.)
VIRTVS GALLIENI AVGVSTI. Emperor, holding in each hand a labarum. (Mt. 200 fr.)
OB. CONSERVATOREM PATRIAE--OB. CONSERVATOREM SALVTIS--OB. REDDIT. LIBERT. (Mt. 72 fr. each.)
MONETA AVG. (Mt. 100 fr. A specimen at the Campana sale brought £1 3s.)
PIETAS FALERI. (Mt. 300 fr.)
ADVENTVS AVGG. Three emperors on horseback, preceded by Victory, and followed by several soldiers. (Mt. 300 fr.)
ADVENTVA AVG.--Obv. Gallienus and Salonina. (Mt. 100 fr.)
CONCORDIA AVGG. (100 fr. Brought £8 15s. at the Trattle sale).
CONCORDIA EXERCIT.--DEO AVGVSTO--FELICITAS SAECVLI--FIDEI PRAET (Mt. 100 fr. each).
FELICITAS AVGG. Half aureus. (Brummell sale, £1 13s.)
FIDES MILIT. (Brought at the Campana sale £3 3s.)
FORTVNA REDVX--IOVI VLTORI--PIETAS AVG.--ORIENS AVG.--LIBERTAS AVGG.--VBERITAS AVG.--and VENVS VICTRIX. (Mt. 48 fr. each).
IANO PATRI. (Mt. 120 fr.)
INDVLGENT. AVG. Quinarius. (£2 9s. Thomas).
IOVI CONSERVA. (£5 7s. 6d. Trattle).
IOVIS STATOR. (£1 9s. Trattle.)
LAETITIA AVGG. (£4 2s. Thomas).
LIB. AVG. T.--LIBERALITAS AVG.--MARTI PROPVGNATORI--and SECVRITAS ORBIS. (60 fr. each).
LIBERAL. AVG. (£1 9s. Trattle).
OB. LIBERTAT. REC. A. half aureus. (Mt. 120 fr. Brought at the Thome £2 5s.)
PAX AVGG. Quinarius (£1 5s. Trattle).
TR. P. VII. COS. IIII> The emperor and two rivers. (Mt. 150 fr. £1 10s. Trattle).
PROVIDENTIA AVGG. (72 fr.)
SECVRIT PERPET. Lion within crown. (100 fr.)
S.P.Q.R. Lion with eagle. (150 fr.)
TRIB. POT. Mars and Venus. (150 fr.)
VBIQVE PAX.--Obv. GALLIENAE AVGVSTAE. (200 fr.)
VICTORIA AVG. Emperor crowned by Victory. Engraved in Akerman, ii. pl. ix. No. 5, p. 31. (£3 18s. Thomas sale).
VICTORIA GALL. AVG. (72 fr.)
VIRT GALLIENI AVG (Mt. 100 fr. £1 3s. Trattle).
VIRTVS AVG. (100 fr. A doubtful specimen brought £2 19s. at the Devonshire sale).
VOTIS DENENNALIBVS. (100 fr.)
ABVNDANTIA AVG. (Mt. 20 fr.)
INVICTVS. The Sun. (60 fr.)
LIBERALITAS AVG. (60 fr.)
SISCIA AVG. (20 fr.)
Amongst the restitutions under Gallienus in billon are--
Augustus.--IVNONI MARTIALI (100 fr.)
Trajan.--VIA TRAIANA. (150 fr.)
ADVENTVS AVGG. Two emperors on horseback, Victory and a soldier.
ADLOCVTIO AVGG. Fine portrait and allocution. Engraved in Iconographie, pl. lii. (Mt. 72 fr.).
SALONINA head of. (72 fr.)
FIDES EXERCITVS. (100 fr.)
VICTORIA GERMANICA. (50 fr.)
Gallienus and Salonina--LIBERALITAS AVGVSTORUM--ADVENTVS AVGG.--CONCORIDIA AVGG. with reverse of Liberalitas. (150 fr. each.)
MONETA AVG. (72 fr.)
VICTORIA AVGVSTORUM. (100 fr.)
See Historia Augusta - The Two Gallieni: http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Historia_Augusta/Gallieni_duo*.html