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Aemilianus (Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus; c. 210 – September 253), also known as Aemilian, was
Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a variety of different titles throughout history. Often when a given Roman is described as becoming "emperor" in English, it r ...
for three months in 253. Commander of the
Moesia Moesia (; Latin: ''Moesia''; el, Μοισία, Moisía) was an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River. It included most of the territory of modern-day Central Serbia, Kosovo and the northern pa ...
n troops, he obtained an important victory against the invading
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe. In his book ''Getica'' (c. 551), the ...
and was, for this reason, acclaimed emperor by his army. He then moved quickly to
Roman Italy (the Latin and Italian name for the Italian Peninsula) was the homeland of the Romans and metropole of Rome's empire in classical antiquity. According to Roman mythology, Italy was the ancestral home promised by Jupiter to Aeneas of Troy and his ...

Roman Italy
, where he defeated Emperor
Trebonianus Gallus Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus (206 – August 253) was Roman emperor from June 251 to August 253, in a joint rule with his son Volusianus. Early life Gallus was born in Italy, in a family with respected Etruscan senatorial background. He had tw ...
at the
Battle of Interamna Nahars The Battle of Interamna Nahars is a conflict that took place in 253 AD. The Roman Emperor Trebonianus Gallus and his son Volusianus were defeated by Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus in a battle near the town of Interamna Nahars on the Flaminian Way. The ...
in August 253, only to be killed by his own men a month later when another general, Valerian, proclaimed himself emperor and moved against Aemilian with a larger army.


Origins

(or Supra), was the wife of Aemilianus. Legend: CORNEL. SVPERA AVG. / VESTA Aemilian was born in the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled by a ...
of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of it ...
. According to the 4th century source ''
Epitome de Caesaribus The ''Epitome de Caesaribus'' is a Latin historical work written at the end of the 4th century. It is a brief account of the reigns of the Roman emperors from Augustus to Theodosius the Great. It is attributed to Aurelius Victor, but was written b ...
'', he was born at ''Girba'' (modern
Djerba Djerba (; ar, جربة, Jirba ), Italian: Meninge or Girba, also transliterated as Jerba or Jarbah, is, at , is a Tunisian island and the largest island of North Africa, located in the Gulf of Gabès, off the coast of Tunisia. It had a populatio ...
, an island off the coast of
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , coordinates = , official_languages = Arabic Translation by the Uni ...

Tunisia
) and was a
Moor Moor or Moors may refer to: Nature and ecology * Moorland, a habitat characterized by low-growing vegetation and acidic soils. Ethnic and religious groups * Moors, Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during th ...
; a reference in the same source hints that he was born around 207. The 12th-century historian Joannes Zonaras, who calls him a Libyan (that is, coming from western Egypt-eastern Libya) rather than a Moor,Joannes Zonaras, ''Epitome Historiarum'', 12.21. and another chronicle of the 13th century hold that he was forty at the time of his death in 253.Joannes Zonaras, ''Epitome Historiarum'', 12.22. Regarding his lineage, there are two versions, both exaggerated: while Eutropius (historian), Eutropius and his translator Paeanius probably defame a failed usurper when they say that he was from an insignificant family, John of Antioch (chronicler), John of Antioch may refer to Aemilian's propaganda when he says that the usurper used his ancestry to take power.John of Antioch (chronicler), John of Antioch, fr. 150. Aemilian married Cornelia Supera, a woman of African origin; the year of their marriage is unknown, but since both were from the same place, it is possible they married before Aemilian left Africa.Banchich.


Military career

During the reign of
Trebonianus Gallus Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus (206 – August 253) was Roman emperor from June 251 to August 253, in a joint rule with his son Volusianus. Early life Gallus was born in Italy, in a family with respected Etruscan senatorial background. He had tw ...
and his son Volusianus (251–253), Aemilian was sent to the Balkans to command an army. His primary responsibility was to assure peace along the Danube frontier, which had been subject to several attacks by the
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe. In his book ''Getica'' (c. 551), the ...
led by king Cniva. Gallus secured the throne after the death of Emperor Decius at the hands of Cniva in the Battle of Abrittus (251), and later had to manage an outbreak of Bubonic plague, plague that devastated Rome. He was not popular with the army, mainly due to humiliating treaties signed in 251 with the Goths and King Shapur I of Persia who attacked Syria (Roman province), Syria. According to John of Antioch, upon his appointment to the Moesian command, Aemilian was already envious of Gallus and plotted treachery against him. He was also an opponent of the Roman Senate, and his seditious plans are confirmed by Jerome and Jordanes.


Rise

In 253, the
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people who played a major role in the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the emergence of Medieval Europe. In his book ''Getica'' (c. 551), the ...
, led by king Cniva, claimed they had not received the tribute due from the Romans according to the treaty of 251. They crossed the border and attacked Cappadocia, Pessinus, and Ephesus. Modern historians believe that this missing payment was not a change in Roman policy, and the Goths were more likely trying to capitalize on their military prowess. Aemilian had command of the army assigned to defend the area, but the recent defeat at the Battle of Abrittus put his troops on edge. Aemilian exhorted them, reminding them of Roman honor (according to Zosimus) and promising tribute from the Goths (according to Zonaras). The Romans took the Goths by surprise, killing most of them, followed by an invasion of Goth territory resulting in booty and the liberation of prisoners. The Roman soldiers, gathered by Aemilian, acclaimed him emperor. Jordanes claims, however, that Aemilian's troops plundered Roman territory, rather than keep the tribute of the Goths. , here in purple, divided into two branches next to modern Terni; Aemilian, who was descending from north upon Rome, defeated
Trebonianus Gallus Gaius Vibius Trebonianus Gallus (206 – August 253) was Roman emperor from June 251 to August 253, in a joint rule with his son Volusianus. Early life Gallus was born in Italy, in a family with respected Etruscan senatorial background. He had tw ...
on the eastern branch. With his few men, Aemilian left his province unguarded and moved quickly towards Rome to meet the legitimate emperor, Gallus, before the latter could receive reinforcements. While Aemilian descended upon Rome along the Flaminian Way, Gallus and Volusianus had him proclaimed "enemy of the State" by the Roman senate,Varner, Eric, ''Mutilation and Transformation'', Brill Academic Publishers, 2004, , p. 209. then exited Rome to meet the usurper. This strategy suggests that Aemilian's army was smaller than theirs, as they probably did not expect reinforcements to come in time but trusted their larger army to win the clash. The two armies met at the
Battle of Interamna Nahars The Battle of Interamna Nahars is a conflict that took place in 253 AD. The Roman Emperor Trebonianus Gallus and his son Volusianus were defeated by Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus in a battle near the town of Interamna Nahars on the Flaminian Way. The ...
near modern Terni, at the southern end of the eastern branch of the Flaminia, and Aemilian won the battle; Gallus and Volusianus fled to the north with a few followers, probably as a delay tactic before the arrival of reinforcements, but, in August 253, at ''Forum Flaminii'' (modern San Giovanni Profiamma), on the western branch of the Flaminia, they were killed by some of their own guards, who thought that their betrayal could earn them a reward. Image:Antoninianus Aemilianus-RIC 0015.jpg, left, 300px, Coin of Aemilian, showing at the obverse the god of war Mars (god), Mars, a reference to the military virtues of the emperor. Legend: IMP. CAES. AEMILIANVS AVG. P. F. AVG. / MARTI PACIF. Aemilian continued towards Rome. The Roman senate, after a short opposition, decided to recognize him as emperor. According to some sources, Aemilian then wrote to the Senate, promising to fight for the Empire in Thrace and against Persia, and to relinquish his power to the Senate, of which he considered himself a general. Aemilian received the titles of ''Pius'', ''Felix'' and ''Pater Patriae'', the ''tribunicia potestas'', and was elevated to the rank of ''pontifex maximus''; he was not, however, elevated to consulate (possibly a hint of his non-senatorial birth).Richard Beale
"Roman Imperial Coins of 249–253 A.D."
His coinage shows that his propaganda focused on his capability as a military commander—he defeated the Goths when nobody thought this possible, and thus he was the right man for the job of restoring the power of the Roman Empire.


Fall

Valerian, governor of the Rhine provinces, was on his way south with an army which, according to Zosimus, had been called in as a reinforcement by Gallus. But modern historians believe this army, possibly mobilized for an incumbent campaign in the East, moved only after Gallus' death to support Valerian's bid for power. Emperor Aemilian's men, fearful of a civil war and Valerian's larger force, mutinied. They killed Aemilian at SpoletiumPotter (2004), p. 252 or at the ''Sanguinarium'' bridge, between ''Oricoli, Oriculum'' and ''Narnia'' (halfway between Spoletium and Rome), and recognized Valerian as the new emperor. After Aemilian's death, which happened between late July and mid-September, a ''damnatio memoriae'' against him was declared. It is possible that the usurper Silbannacus was an officer left by Aemilian in Rome before moving against Valerian, who later tried to become emperor but then was killed.Estiot, Sylviane, "L'empereur Silbannacus. Un second antoninien", in ''Revue numismatique'', 151, 1996, pp. 105–117. The troubled administration of emperor Aemilian was perhaps best summed up by Eutropius (historian), Eutropius:


Notes


References

* Banchich, Thomas
"Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus (ca. July – ca. September, 253)"
''De Imperatoribus Romanis'' * Potter, David S., ''The Roman Empire at Bay AD 180–395'', Routledge, 2004.


External links

{{DEFAULTSORT:Aemilianus 210 births 253 deaths Year of birth uncertain 3rd-century murdered monarchs Crisis of the Third Century Murdered Roman emperors Romans from Africa 3rd-century Roman emperors Aemilii, Aemilianus, Marcus Roman emperors to suffer posthumous denigration or damnatio memoriae Romans from Moesia