Augustus AD 253 - 260
Publius Licinius Valerianus (ca. AD 194 - 260):
Husband of Mariniana;
Father of Gallienus;
Grandfather of Valerian II and Saloninus.
AD 253 - 260 - Augustus with his son Gallienus.
Publius Licinius Valerianus held the command of the Upper Rhine at the time of the death of Trebonius Gallus, and the request of the latter marched to Italy against Aemilian. Hearing on the march of the death of Gallus, Valerian's soldiers proclaimed him Augustus, and after the murder of Aemilian the Senate ratified their decision. Once in Rome, Valerian adopted his son Gallienus as full partner in imperial power. Having inherited fearsome military situations on the empire's frontiers, Valerian set about stabilizing the limes but could not achieve much. In the first several years of his reign he and his son were fully occupied on the northern frontiers, the main threat came from elsewhere. The Black Sea became a Gothic lake, with Gothic seamen ravaging the Balkan and Anatolian coastline at will. Moving with parts of his army to Asia Minor to protect the inland, Valerian found himself facing a much larger danger, the Persians under Shapur I. His armies overrun Mesopotamia, Syria, Armenia, and Cappadocia. Shapur even installed a puppet emperor, Mareades, in Antioch, but he was burned alive after the Persians withdrew and the Romans returned. With an army exhausted, much reduced by plague, and turning mutinous, Valerian requested a truce. Shapur agreed on conditions of a personal meeting. Setting to attend it with a small company, Valerian was surprised and captured by the Persians. Taken to Persia, he soon died from grief and shame. Legend has it that his stuffed skin hung for a long time in a major temple. He seems to have been a well-intentioned man with a lot of bad luck. Being also a determined pagan, later Christian authors attributed his fate to God's vengeance.
Mints: Antioch, Lugdunum, Mediolanum, Rome, Viminacium.
List all Valerian I coins in the Catalog.