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Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (; c. 218 – September 268) was
Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Politica ...
with his father Valerian from 253 to 260 and alone from 260 to 268. He ruled during the
Crisis of the Third Century The Crisis of the Third Century, also known as Military Anarchy or the Imperial Crisis (235–284 AD), was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed. It ended due to the military victories of Aurelian and with the ascension of Dioclet ...
that nearly caused the collapse of the empire. He won a number of military victories against usurpers and Germanic tribes, but was unable to prevent the secession of important provinces. His 15-year reign was the longest in half a century. Born into a wealthy and traditional
senatorial
senatorial
family, Gallienus was the son of Valerian and
MarinianaImage:RteMariniana Antoninianus.jpg, Antoninianus of Mariniana Egnatia Mariniana was probably the wife of Roman Emperor Valerian (emperor), Valerian and mother of Emperor Gallienus. Several coins bearing the legend DIVAE MARINIANAE date back to the ...
. Valerian became Emperor in September 253 and had the Roman senate elevate Gallienus to the ranks of
Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman people, Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey Caesar's C ...
and
Augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first 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 through ...
. Valerian divided the empire between him and his son, with Valerian ruling the east and his son the west. Gallienus defeated the usurper
Ingenuus Ingenuus was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of ...

Ingenuus
in 258 and destroyed an
Alemanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in anci ...
army at
Mediolanum Mediolanum, the ancient city where Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a pop ...
in 259. The defeat and capture of Valerian at
Edessa Edessa (; grc, Ἔδεσσα, Édessa) was an ancient city (''polis'') in Upper Mesopotamia, founded during the Hellenistic period by King Seleucus I Nicator (), founder of the Seleucid Empire. It later became capital of the Kingdom of Osroene ...
in 260 by the
Sasanian Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...

Sasanian Empire
threw the Roman Empire into the chaos of civil war. Control of the whole empire passed to Gallienus. He defeated the eastern usurpers
Macrianus Major
Macrianus Major
and Lucius Mussius Aemilianus in 261–262 but failed to stop the formation of the breakaway
Gallic Empire The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rh ...
under general
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus ...

Postumus
.
Aureolus Aureolus (died 268) was a Roman Empire, Roman Roman army, military commander and would-be usurper. He was one of the so-called Thirty Tyrants (Roman), Thirty Tyrants who populated the reign of the Emperor Gallienus. Of humble Daco-Roman origins, h ...

Aureolus
, another usurper, proclaimed himself emperor in
Mediolanum Mediolanum, the ancient city where Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a pop ...

Mediolanum
in 268 but was defeated outside the city by Gallienus and besieged inside. While the siege was ongoing, Gallienus was assassinated, stabbed to death by the officer Cecropius, as part of a conspiracy.


Early life


Youth and family

The exact birth date of Gallienus is unknown. The 6th-century Greek chronicler
John Malalas John Malalas ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Malálas'';  – 578) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late ...
and the ''Epitome de Caesaribus'' report that he was about 50 years old at the time of his death, meaning he was born around 218. He was the son of Emperor Valerian and
MarinianaImage:RteMariniana Antoninianus.jpg, Antoninianus of Mariniana Egnatia Mariniana was probably the wife of Roman Emperor Valerian (emperor), Valerian and mother of Emperor Gallienus. Several coins bearing the legend DIVAE MARINIANAE date back to the ...
, who may have been of senatorial rank, possibly the daughter of
Egnatius Victor MarinianusEgnatius Victor Marinianus (fl. 3rd century AD) was a Roman Empire, Roman military officer and Senate of the Roman Empire, senator who was appointed Roman consul, suffect consul around AD 230. Biography Egnatius Marinianus was a member of the third ...
, and his brother was
Valerianus Minor Licinius Valerianus (died 268 AD) was the son of Roman emperor Valerian (emperor), Valerian and his second wife Cornelia Gallonia, and half-brother of Gallienus. Sometime between 253 and 264 AD he was made Roman consul, suffect consul, and was appoi ...
. Inscriptions on coins connect him with
Falerii Falerii (now Fabrica di Roma) was a city in southern Etruria, 50 km (31 mi) northeast of Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of R ...
in
Etruria Etruria () was a region of Central Italy Central Italy ( it, Italia centrale or just ) is one of the five official statistical regions of Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ) ...

Etruria
, which may have been his birthplace; it has yielded many inscriptions relating to his mother's family, the Egnatii. Gallienus married
Cornelia Salonina Julia Cornelia Salonina (died 268, Mediolanum) was an '' Augusta'' of the Roman Empire, married to Roman Emperor Gallienus and mother of Valerian II, Saloninus, and Marinianus. Life Julia Cornelia Salonina's origin is unknown. One modern theory ...
about ten years before his accession to the throne. She was the mother of three princes:
Valerian II Publius Licinius Cornelius Valerianus (died 258), also known as Valerian II, was the eldest son of Roman Emperor Gallienus and ''Augusta (honorific), Augusta'' Cornelia Salonina who was of Greeks, Greek origin and grandson of the Emperor Valerian ...
, who died in 258;
Saloninus Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus Valerianus (c. 242 – 260), typically just called Saloninus, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, t ...
, who was named co-emperor but was murdered in 260 by the army of general Postumus; and Marinianus, who was killed in 268, shortly after his father was assassinated. Gallienus' niece might have been Basilla of Rome, who was beheaded for her Christian faith under Valerian's reign.


Emperor


Rise to power

When Valerian was proclaimed emperor in September 253, he asked the
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

Senate
to ratify the elevation of Gallienus to caesar and
augustus Caesar Augustus (23 September 63 BC19 August AD 14) was the first 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 through ...
. He was also designated
Consul Ordinarius A consul held the highest elected political office of the Roman Republic (509 to 27 BC), and ancient Romans considered the consulship the highest level of the ''cursus honorum'' (an ascending sequence of public offices to which politicians aspired ...
for 254. As
Marcus Aurelius Marcus Aurelius Antoninus ( ; 26 April 121 – 17 March 180) was a Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial period (starting in 27 BC). The emperors used a vari ...

Marcus Aurelius
and his adopted brother
Lucius Verus Lucius Aurelius Verus (15 December 130 – January/February 169) was Roman emperor from 161 until his death in 169, alongside his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty. Verus' succession together with ...

Lucius Verus
had done a century earlier, Gallienus and his father divided the Empire. Valerian left for the East to stem the Persian threat, and Gallienus remained in Italy to repel the Germanic tribes on the
Rhine ), Surselva Surselva Region is one of the eleven administrative districts Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many s ...

Rhine
and
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
. Division of the empire had become necessary due to its sheer size and the numerous threats it faced, and it facilitated negotiations with enemies who demanded to communicate directly with the emperor.


Early reign

Gallienus spent most of his time in the provinces of the Rhine area (
Germania Inferior Germania Inferior ("Lower Germania") was a Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Rom ...
,
Germania Superior Germania Superior ("Upper Germania Germania ( , ), also called Magna Germania (English: ''Great Germania''), Germania Libera (English: ''Free Germania'') or Germanic Barbaricum Barbaricum (from the gr, Βαρβαρικόν, "foreign", "bar ...
,
Raetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, firs ...

Raetia
, and
Noricum Noricum () is the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of t ...
), though he almost certainly visited the
Danube The Danube ( ; ) is the List of rivers of Europe#Longest rivers, second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central Europe, Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. It ...

Danube
area and
Illyricum Illyricum may refer to: * Illyria In classical antiquity, Illyria ( grc, Ἰλλυρία, ''Illyría'' or , ''Illyrís''; la, Illyria, ''Illyricum'') was a region in the western part of the Balkan Peninsula inhabited by numerous tribes of peopl ...
in the years from 253 to 258. According to Eutropius and Aurelius Victor, he was particularly energetic and successful in preventing invaders from attacking the German provinces and Gaul, despite the weakness caused by Valerian's march on Italy against
Aemilianus Aemilianus (Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus; c. 210 – September 253), also known as Aemilian, was Roman emperor for three months in 253. Commander of the Moesian troops, he obtained an important victory against the invading Goths and was, for this ...

Aemilianus
in 253. According to numismatic evidence, he seems to have won many victories there, and a victory in
Roman Dacia Roman Dacia ( ; also known as Dacia Traiana, "Trajan Dacia", or Dacia Felix, "Fertile/Happy Dacia") was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , count ...

Roman Dacia
might also be dated to that period. Even the hostile Latin tradition attributes success to him at this time. In 255 or 257, Gallienus was made Consul again, suggesting that he briefly visited Rome on those occasions, although no record survives. During his Danube sojourn (Drinkwater suggests in 255 or 256), he proclaimed his elder son
Valerian II Publius Licinius Cornelius Valerianus (died 258), also known as Valerian II, was the eldest son of Roman Emperor Gallienus and ''Augusta (honorific), Augusta'' Cornelia Salonina who was of Greeks, Greek origin and grandson of the Emperor Valerian ...
caesar and thus official heir to himself and Valerian I; the boy probably joined Gallienus on campaign at that time, and when Gallienus moved west to the Rhine provinces in 257, he remained behind on the Danube as the personification of Imperial authority.


Revolts and usurpers


Ingenuus revolt

Sometime between 258 and 260 (the exact date is unclear), while Valerian was distracted with the ongoing invasion of
Shapur I Shapur I (also spelled Shabuhr I; pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩, Šābuhr ) was the second of . The dating of his reign is disputed, but it is generally agreed that he ruled from 240 to 270, with his father as co-regent until the death ...
in the East, and Gallienus was preoccupied with his problems in the West,
Ingenuus Ingenuus was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of ...

Ingenuus
, governor of at least one of the Pannonian provinces, took advantage and declared himself emperor. Valerian II had apparently died on the Danube, most likely in 258. Ingenuus may have been responsible for Valerian II's death. Alternatively, the defeat and capture of Valerian at the
battle of Edessa The Battle of Edessa took place between the armies of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can re ...
may have been the trigger for the subsequent revolts of Ingenuus,
Regalianus
Regalianus
, and
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus ...

Postumus
. In any case, Gallienus reacted with great speed. He left his son
Saloninus Publius Licinius Cornelius Saloninus Valerianus (c. 242 – 260), typically just called Saloninus, was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, t ...
as caesar at
Cologne Cologne ( ; german: Köln ; ksh, Kölle ) is the largest city of Germany, Germany's most populous States of Germany, state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and the List of cities in Germany by population, fourth-most populous city and one of t ...

Cologne
, under the supervision of Albanus (or Silvanus) and the military leadership of Postumus. He then hastily crossed the
Balkans The Balkans ( ), also known as the Balkan Peninsula, are a geographic area in southeastern Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rathe ...

Balkans
, taking with him the new cavalry corps (''comitatus'') under the command of
Aureolus Aureolus (died 268) was a Roman Empire, Roman Roman army, military commander and would-be usurper. He was one of the so-called Thirty Tyrants (Roman), Thirty Tyrants who populated the reign of the Emperor Gallienus. Of humble Daco-Roman origins, h ...

Aureolus
and defeated Ingenuus at
Mursa Osijek () is the fourth largest city in Croatia with a population of 108,048 in 2011. It is the largest city and the economic and cultural centre of the eastern Croatian region of Slavonia, as well as the administrative centre of Osijek-Baranja C ...

Mursa
or
Sirmium Sirmium was a city in the Roman Empire, Roman province of Pannonia (Roman province), Pannonia, located on the Sava river, on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in central Serbia. First mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by ...

Sirmium
. Ingenuus was killed by his own guards or committed suicide by drowning himself after the fall of his capital, Sirmium.


Alemanni invasion

A major invasion by the
Alemanni The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribe This list of ancient s is an inventory of ancient Germanic cultures, tribal groupings and other alliances of Germanic tribes and civilisations in anci ...
and other Germanic tribes occurred between 258 and 260 (it is hard to fix the precise date of these events), probably due to the vacuum left by the withdrawal of troops supporting Gallienus in the campaign against Ingenuus.
Franks The Franks ( la, Franci or ) were a group of whose name was first mentioned in 3rd-century Roman sources, and associated with tribes between the and the , on the edge of the . Later the term was associated with Germanic dynasties within the ...

Franks
broke through the lower Rhine, invading
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
, some reaching as far as southern Spain, sacking Tarraco (modern
Tarragona Tarragona ( , also , , ; Phoenician Phoenician may refer to: * Phoenicia, an ancient civilization * Phoenician alphabet * Phoenician language * List of Phoenician cities * Phoenix, Arizona See also * Phoenix (mythology) * Phoenicia (disambigu ...

Tarragona
).A. Watson (1999), p. 34 The Alemanni invaded, probably through
Agri Decumates The ''Agri Decumates'' or ''Decumates Agri'' ("Decumatian Fields") were a region of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post ...
(an area between the upper Rhine and the upper Danube), likely followed by the
Juthungi Memorial stone from Augsburg The Juthungi (Greek: ''Iouthungoi'', Latin: ''Iuthungi'') were a Germanic tribe This list of ancient Germanic peoples is a list of groups and alliances of ancient Germanic peoples in ancient times. These reports begin ...
.A. Watson (1999), p. 34 After devastating Germania Superior and Raetia (parts of southern
France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses ...

France
and
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
), they entered Italy, the first invasion of the Italian peninsula, aside from its most remote northern regions, since
Hannibal Hannibal (; xpu, 𐤇𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋, ''Ḥannibaʿl''; 247 – between 183 and 181 BC) was a Carthaginian general and statesman who commanded the forces of Carthage Carthage was the capital city of the ancient , on the eastern ...

Hannibal
500 years before. When invaders reached the outskirts of Rome, they were repelled by an improvised army assembled by the Senate, consisting of local troops (probably praetorian guards) and the strongest of the civilian population.J. Bray (1997), p. 79 On their retreat through northern Italy, they were intercepted and defeated in the battle of Mediolanum (near present-day
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
) by Gallienus' army, which had advanced from Gaul, or from the Balkans after dealing with the Franks.J. Bray (1997), p. 79 The battle of Mediolanum was decisive, and the Alemanni did not bother the empire for the next ten years. The Juthungi managed to cross the Alps with their valuables and captives from Italy.A. Watson (1999), p. 34 A historian in the 19th century suggested that the initiative of the Senate gave rise to jealousy and suspicion by Gallienus, thus contributing to his exclusion of senators from military commands.


Regalianus revolt

Around the same time,
Regalianus
Regalianus
, who held some command in the Balkans, was proclaimed emperor. The reasons for this are unclear, and the ''
Historia Augusta The ''Historia Augusta'' (English: ''Augustan History'') is a late Roman collection of biographies A biography, or simply bio, is a detailed description of a person's life. It involves more than just the basic facts like education, work, r ...
'' (almost the sole resource for these events) does not provide a credible story. It is possible the seizure can be attributed to the discontent of the civilian and military provincials, who felt the defense of the province was being neglected. Regalianus held power for some six months and issued coins bearing his image. After some success against the
Sarmatians The Sarmatians (; Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
, his revolt ended when the
Roxolani 300px, The Roman empire under Hadrian (ruled 117–138), showing the location of the Roxolani Sarmatians in the Wallachian plain (Romania) The Roxolani or Rhoxolāni were a Sarmatians, Sarmatian people documented between the 2nd century BC and the ...
invaded
Pannonia Pannonia (, ) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as ...

Pannonia
and killed Regalianus in taking the city of
Sirmium Sirmium was a city in the Roman Empire, Roman province of Pannonia (Roman province), Pannonia, located on the Sava river, on the site of modern Sremska Mitrovica in central Serbia. First mentioned in the 4th century BC and originally inhabited by ...

Sirmium
. There is a suggestion that Gallienus invited the Roxolani to attack Regalianus, but other historians dismiss the accusation. It is also suggested that the invasion was finally checked by Gallienus near
Verona Verona ( , ; vec, Verona or ''Veròna'') is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia' ...

Verona
and that he directed the restoration of the province, probably in person.


Capture of Valerian

In the East, Valerian was confronted with serious troubles. Bands of " Scythai" began a naval raid of Pontus, in the northern part of Asia Minor. After ravaging the province, they moved south into
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past eventsZosimus Zosimus, Zosimos, or Zosimas may refer to: People * John Zosimus (Ioane-Zosime), 10th-century Georgian monk and hymnist * Pope Zosimus Pope Zosimus was the bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418. He was born in Meso ...
, this army was infected by a plague that gravely weakened it. In that condition, this army had to repel a new invasion of the province of
Mesopotamia Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris–Euphrates river system, in th ...

Mesopotamia
by
Shapur I Shapur I (also spelled Shabuhr I; pal, 𐭱𐭧𐭯𐭥𐭧𐭥𐭩, Šābuhr ) was the second of . The dating of his reign is disputed, but it is generally agreed that he ruled from 240 to 270, with his father as co-regent until the death ...
, ruler of the
Sassanid Empire The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (, ''Ērānshahr The Sasanian () or Sassanid Empire, officially known as the Empire of Iranians (Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its ...
. The invasion occurred probably in the early spring of 260. The Roman army was defeated at the
Battle of Edessa The Battle of Edessa took place between the armies of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can re ...
, and Valerian was taken prisoner. Shapur's army raided
Cilicia Cilicia (); el, Κιλικία, ''Kilikía''; Middle Persian Middle Persian or Pahlavi, also known by its endonym Pārsīk or Pārsīg (𐭯𐭠𐭫𐭮𐭩𐭪) in its later form, is a Western Middle Iranian language which became the litera ...

Cilicia
and
Cappadocia Cappadocia (; also ''Capadocia''; grc, label=Ancient Ancient history is the aggregate of past events
(in present-day
Turkey Turkey ( tr, Türkiye ), officially the Republic of Turkey, is a country located mainly on Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula in Western Asia an ...

Turkey
), sacking, as Shapur's inscriptions claim, 36 cities.


Macrianus revolt

It took a rally by an officer named
Callistus
Callistus
(Balista), a fiscal official named
Fulvius Macrianus
Fulvius Macrianus
, the remnants of the Roman army in the east, and
Odenathus Septimius Odaenathus (Palmyrene Palmyrene may refer to: * an inhabitant of ancient Palmyra, Syria * Palmyrene alphabet * Palmyrene Aramaic * Palmyrene Empire * Palmyrene (Unicode block) {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation ...
and his
Palmyrene Palmyrene may refer to: * an inhabitant of ancient Palmyra, Syria * Palmyrene alphabet * Palmyrene Aramaic * Palmyrene Empire * Palmyrene (Unicode block) {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation pages ...

Palmyrene
horsemen to turn the tide against Shapur. The Sassanids were driven back, but Macrianus proclaimed his two sons
Quietus Titus Fulvius Junius Quietus (died 261) was a Roman usurper against Roman Emperor Gallienus. History Quietus was the son of Macrianus Major, Fulvius Macrianus and a noblewoman, possibly named Junia. According to ''Historia Augusta'', he was ...
and Macrianus (sometimes misspelled Macrinus) as emperors. Coins struck for them in major cities of the East indicate acknowledgement of the usurpation. The two Macriani left Quietus, Ballista, and, presumably, Odenathus to deal with the Persians while they invaded Europe with an army of 30,000 men, according to the ''Historia Augusta''. At first they met no opposition. The Pannonian legions joined the invaders, being resentful of the absence of Gallienus. He sent his successful commander Aureolus against the rebels, however, and the decisive battle was fought in the spring or early summer of 261, most likely in Illyricum, although
ZonarasJoannes or John Zonaras ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Zōnarâs''; fl. 12th century) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces d ...
locates it in Pannonia. In any case, the army of the usurpers was defeated and surrendered, and their two leaders were killed. In the aftermath of the battle, the rebellion of Postumus had already started, so Gallienus had no time to deal with the rest of the usurpers, namely Balista and Quietus. He came to an agreement with Odenathus, who had just returned from his victorious Persian expedition. Odenathus received the title of ''dux Romanorum'' and besieged the usurpers, who were based at
Emesa ar, حمصي, HimsiHimsi or Homsi is an Arabic locational surname, which means a person from Homs, Syria.Abu Assali, Sarah. (2012)"The Eye of the Beholder" ''Syria Today Magazine'', October 10. Retrieved on 25 January 2016. The name may refer to ...
. Eventually, the people of Emesa killed Quietus, and Odenathus arrested and executed Balista about November 261.


Postumus revolt

After the defeat at Edessa, Gallienus lost control over the provinces of Britain, Spain, parts of Germania, and a large part of Gaul when another general,
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus ...

Postumus
, declared his own realm (usually known today as the
Gallic Empire The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rh ...
). The revolt partially coincided with that of
Macrianus
Macrianus
in the East. Gallienus had installed his son Saloninus and his guardian,
Silvanus Silvanus or Sylvanus may refer to: *Silas (Silvanus), disciple, mentioned in four New Testament epistles * Abba Silvanus, one of the Desert Fathers *Silvanus of the Seventy, a traditional figure in Eastern Orthodox tradition assumed to be one of the ...
, in Cologne in 258. Postumus, a general in command of troops on the banks of the Rhine, defeated some raiders and took possession of their spoils. Instead of returning it to the original owners, he preferred to distribute it amongst his soldiers. When news of this reached Silvanus, he demanded the spoils be sent to him. Postumus made a show of submission, but his soldiers mutinied and proclaimed him emperor. Under his command, they besieged Cologne, and after some weeks the defenders of the city opened the gates and handed Saloninus and Silvanus to Postumus, who had them killed. The dating of these events was long uncertain, but an
inscription Epigraphy () is the study of inscriptions, or epigraphs, as writing; it is the science of identifying graphemes, clarifying their meanings, classifying their uses according to dates and cultural contexts, and drawing conclusions about the writi ...
discovered in 1992 at
Augsburg Augsburg ( , , ; bar, Augschburg, links=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swabian_German, label=Swabian German) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, ...

Augsburg
indicates that Postumus had been proclaimed emperor by September 260. Postumus claimed the consulship for himself and one of his associates, Honoratianus, but according to D.S. Potter, he never tried to unseat Gallienus or invade Italy. Upon receiving news of the murder of his son, Gallienus began gathering forces to face Postumus. The invasion of the Macriani forced him to dispatch Aureolus with a large force to oppose them, however, leaving him with insufficient troops to battle Postumus. After some initial defeats, the army of Aureolus, having defeated the Macriani, rejoined him, and Postumus was expelled. Aureolus was entrusted with the pursuit and deliberately allowed Postumus to escape and gather new forces. Gallienus returned in 263 or 265 and surrounded Postumus in an unnamed Gallic city. During the siege, Gallienus was severely wounded by an arrow and had to leave the field. The standstill persisted until his later death, and the
Gallic Empire The Gallic Empire or the Gallic Roman Empire are names used in modern historiography for a breakaway part of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rh ...
remained independent until 274.


Aemilianus revolt

In 262, the mint in
Alexandria Alexandria ( or ; ar, الإسكندرية ; arz, اسكندرية ; Coptic language, Coptic: Rakodī; el, Αλεξάνδρεια ''Alexandria'') is the List of cities and towns in Egypt, third-largest city in Egypt after Cairo and Giza, ...

Alexandria
started to again issue coins for Gallienus, demonstrating that Egypt had returned to his control after suppressing the revolt of the Macriani. In spring of 262, the city was wrenched by civil unrest as a result of a new revolt. The rebel this time was the prefect of Egypt,
Lucius Mussius Aemilianus
Lucius Mussius Aemilianus
, who had already given support to the revolt of the Macriani. The correspondence of bishop
Dionysius of Alexandria Dionysius the Great was the 14th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria from 28 December 248 until his death on 22 March 264. Most information known about him comes from his large surviving correspondence. Only one original letter survives to this day; ...
provides a commentary on the background of invasion, civil war, plague, and famine that characterized this age. Knowing he could not afford to lose control of the vital Egyptian granaries, Gallienus sent his general Theodotus against Aemilianus, probably by a naval expedition. The decisive battle probably took place near Thebes, and the result was a clear defeat of Aemilianus. In the aftermath, Gallienus became Consul three more times in 262, 264, and 266.


Herulian invasions

In the years 267–269,
Goths The Goths ( got, 𐌲𐌿𐍄𐌸𐌹𐌿𐌳𐌰, translit=''Gutþiuda''; la, Gothi) were a Germanic people The Germanic peoples were a historical group of people living in Central Europe Central Europe is an area of Europe between West ...
and other barbarians invaded the empire in great numbers. Sources are extremely confused on the dating of these invasions, the participants, and their targets. Modern historians are not even able to discern with certainty whether there were two or more of these invasions or a single prolonged one. It seems that, at first, a major naval expedition was led by the
Heruli The Heruli (or Herules) were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germanic languages ** List of ancient Germanic peoples and tribes * Germanic languages :* Proto-Ger ...
starting from north of the
Black Sea , with the skyline of Batumi Batumi (; ka, ბათუმი ) is the second largest city of Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia ( ka, საქართველო; ''Sakartvelo''; ) is a country locat ...

Black Sea
and leading to the ravaging of many cities of Greece (among them,
Athens , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article. rect 15 15 985 460 Acropolis of Athens rect 15 475 48 ...

Athens
and
Sparta Sparta (Doric Greek Doric or Dorian ( grc, Δωρισμός, Dōrismós) was an . Its variants were spoken in the southern and eastern as well as in , , , , , some islands in the southern and some cities on the south east coast of ...

Sparta
). Then another, even more numerous army of invaders started a second naval invasion of the empire. The Romans defeated the barbarians on sea first. Gallienus' army then won a battle in
Thrace Thrace (; el, Θράκη, Thráki; bg, Тракия, Trakiya; tr, Trakya) or Thrake is a geographical and historical region in Southeast Europe, now split among Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey, which is bounded by the Balkan Mountains to th ...
, and the emperor pursued the invaders. According to some historians, he was the leader of the army who won the great
Battle of Naissus The Battle of Naissus (268 or 269 CE) was the defeat of a Gothic coalition by the Roman Empire under Emperor Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus (; c. 218 – September 268) was Roman emperor The Roman Emperor was the ruler of t ...
, while the majority believes that the victory must be attributed to his successor,
Claudius II Marcus Aurelius Claudius "Gothicus" (10 May 214 – January 270), also known as Claudius II, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεί ...
.


Aureolus revolt

In 268, at some time before or soon after the battle of Naissus, the authority of Gallienus was challenged by
Aureolus Aureolus (died 268) was a Roman Empire, Roman Roman army, military commander and would-be usurper. He was one of the so-called Thirty Tyrants (Roman), Thirty Tyrants who populated the reign of the Emperor Gallienus. Of humble Daco-Roman origins, h ...

Aureolus
, commander of the cavalry stationed in
Mediolanum Mediolanum, the ancient city where Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a pop ...
(
Milan Milan (, , Milanese: ; it, Milano ) is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the List of cities in Italy, second-most populous city proper in Italy after Rome. The city proper has a population of about 1.4 million, while its ...

Milan
), who was supposed to keep an eye on
Postumus Marcus Cassianius Latinius PostumusJones & Martindale (1971), p. 720 was a Roman commander of Batavian origin who ruled as Emperor in the West. The Roman army in Gaul threw off its allegiance to Gallienus Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus ...

Postumus
. Instead, he acted as deputy to Postumus until the very last days of his revolt, when he seems to have claimed the throne for himself. The decisive battle took place at what is now Pontirolo Nuovo near Milan; Aureolus was clearly defeated and driven back to Milan. Gallienus laid siege to the city but was murdered during the siege. There are differing accounts of the murder, but the sources agree that most of Gallienus' officials wanted him dead. According to the Historia Augusta, an unreliable source compiled long after the events it describes, a conspiracy was led by the commander of the guard Aurelius Heraclianus and Lucius Aurelius Marcianus. Marcianus's role in the conspiracy is not confirmed by any other ancient source.


Assassination

Cecropius, commander of the Dalmatians, spread the word that the forces of Aureolus were leaving the city, and Gallienus left his tent without his bodyguard, only to be struck down by Cecropius. One version has Claudius selected as emperor by the conspirators, another chosen by Gallienus on his death bed; the Historia Augusta was concerned to substantiate the descent of the
Constantinian dynasty The Constantinian dynasty is an informal name for the ruling family of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican R ...
from Claudius, and this may explain its accounts, which do not involve Claudius in the murder. The other sources (
Zosimus Zosimus, Zosimos, or Zosimas may refer to: People * John Zosimus (Ioane-Zosime), 10th-century Georgian monk and hymnist * Pope Zosimus Pope Zosimus was the bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418. He was born in Meso ...
i.40 and
ZonarasJoannes or John Zonaras ( el, , ''Iōánnēs Zōnarâs''; fl. 12th century) was a Byzantine The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces d ...
xii.25) report that the conspiracy was organized by Heraclianus, Claudius, and
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
. According to Aurelius Victor and Zonaras, on hearing the news that Gallienus was dead, the Senate in Rome ordered the execution of his family (including his brother Valerianus and son Marinianus) and their supporters, just before receiving a message from Claudius to spare their lives and deify his predecessor. The tomb of Gallienus is thought to be located to the south of Rome, at the IXth mile of the
Via Appia The Appian Way (Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of ...

Via Appia
.


Legacy


Historiography

Gallienus was not treated favorably by ancient historians, partly due to the secession of Gaul and
Palmyra Palmyra (; Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: 𐡶𐡣𐡬𐡥𐡴 () ''Tadmor''; ar, تَدْمُر ''Tadmur'') is an ancient Semitic people, Semitic city in present-day Homs Governorate, Syria. Archaeological finds date back to the Neolithic pe ...

Palmyra
and his inability to win them back; at the time of Gallienus' death, Palmyra was still nominally loyal to Rome, but, under the leadership of
Odaenathus Septimius Odaenathus (Palmyrene Palmyrene may refer to: * an inhabitant of ancient Palmyra, Syria * Palmyrene alphabet * Palmyrene Aramaic * Palmyrene Empire * Palmyrene (Unicode block) {{Disambiguation Language and nationality disambiguation ...
, was independent in nearly every other respect. Palmyra would formally secede after Odaenathus' death and the ascension of his widow
Zenobia Septimia Zenobia (Palmyrene dialect, Palmyrene: 𐡡𐡶𐡦𐡡𐡩 () ''Btzby''/''Bat-Zabbai''; 240 – c. 274 AD) was a third-century queen of the Palmyrene Empire in Syria (region), Syria. Many legends surround her ancestry; she was probab ...

Zenobia
. It was not until the reign of
Aurelian Aurelian ( la, Lucius Domitius Aurelianus; 9 September 214c. October 275) was Roman emperor from 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire after it had practically disintegrated ...

Aurelian
several years later that the breakaway provinces were truly brought back into the Roman fold. According to modern scholar Pat Southern, some historians now see Gallienus in a more positive light. Gallienus produced some useful reforms.


Coins

About 40 rare gold coins of Gallienus have been discovered as part of the Lava Treasure in
Corsica Corsica (, Upper , Southern , ; french: link=no, Corse ; lij, link=no, Còrsega) is an island in the Mediterranean Sea The Mediterranean Sea is a connected to the , surrounded by the and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north ...

Corsica
, France, in the 1980s. Image:Antoninianus Gallienus 260-leg 2 Italica.jpg, Antoninianus issued to celebrate LEG II ITAL VII P VII F, "Legio II Italica, Legio II ''Italica'' seven times faithful and loyal." Image:Antoninianus Gallienus 260-leg 3 Italica.jpg, Antoninianus issued to celebrate LEG III ITAL VI P VI F, "Legio III Italica, Legio III ''Italica'' six times faithful and loyal." Image:Antoninianus-Gallienus-l5macedonica-RIC 0345-Bj-.jpg, Antoninianus issued to celebrate LEG VII MAC VI P VI F, "Legio V Macedonica, Legio VII ''Macedonica'' six times faithful and loyal." File:Gallienus legio VII Claudia.jpg, Antoninianus issued to celebrate LEG VII CLA VI P VI F, "Legio VII Claudia, Legio VII ''Claudia'' six times faithful and loyal."


Military reforms

He contributed to military history as the first to commission primarily cavalry units, the Comitatenses, that could be dispatched anywhere in the Empire in short order. This reform arguably created a precedent for the future emperors Diocletian and Constantine I. The biographer Aurelius Victor reports that Gallienus forbade Roman Senate, senators from becoming military commanders. This policy undermined senatorial power, as more reliable Eques (ancient Rome), equestrian commanders rose to prominence. In Southern's view, these reforms and the decline in senatorial influence not only helped Aurelian to salvage the Empire, but they also make Gallienus one of the emperors most responsible for the creation of the Dominate, along with Septimius Severus, Diocletian, and Constantine I.


Decree of Toleration

The capture of Valerian in the year 259 forced Gallienus to issue the first official declaration of tolerance with regard to the Christians, restoring their places of worship and cemeteries, therefore implying a recognition of the property of the Church. However, the edict did not turn Christianity into an official religion.


In popular culture


Films

Gallienus was played by Franco Cobianchi in the 1964 film ''The Magnificent Gladiator''.


Novels

*He appears in Harry Sidebottom's historical fiction novel series ''Warrior of Rome''. *David Drake's novel ''Birds of Prey (Drake novel), Birds of Prey'' takes place during Gallienus' reign.


Family tree of Licinia gens


See also

* Little Peace of the Church * Thirty Tyrants (Roman) * Gallienus usurpers


Citations


References


Primary sources

* Aurelius Victor
Epitome de Caesaribus
* Eutropius (historian), Eutropius
Breviarium ab urbe condita
* Augustan History, Historia Augusta (Augustan History)
The Two Gallieni
* Joannes Zonaras, ''Epitome Historiarum''
extract: Zonaras: Alexander Severus to Diocletian: 222–284
*
Zosimus Zosimus, Zosimos, or Zosimas may refer to: People * John Zosimus (Ioane-Zosime), 10th-century Georgian monk and hymnist * Pope Zosimus Pope Zosimus was the bishop of Rome from 18 March 417 to his death on 26 December 418. He was born in Meso ...

Historia Nova


Secondary sources

*Lukas de Blois. ''The policy of the emperor Gallienus'', Brill, Leiden, 1976, *Bray, John. ''Gallienus : A Study in Reformist and Sexual Politics'', Wakefield Press, Kent Town, 1997, *Drinkwater, John F. ''The Gallic Empire. Separatism and Continuity in the North-Western Provinces of the Roman Empire A.D. 260–274''. Franz Steiner Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1987. *Jean-Pierre Isbouts, Isbouts, Jean-Pierre "The Biblical World: An Illustrated Atlas" copyright 2007 National Geographic Society. *Ivar Lissner, Lissner, Ivar. "Power and Folly; The Story of the Caesars". Jonathan Cape Ltd., London, 1958. * * *Pat Southern, Southern, Pat. ''The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine'', Routledge, London and New York, 2001. *Ronald Syme, Syme, Ronald. ''Ammianus and the Historia Augusta'', The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1968. *Syme, Ronald. ''Historia Augusta Papers'', The Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1983. *Watson, Alaric. ''Aurelian and the Third Century'', Routledge, Oxon, 1999.


External links


"Valerian and Gallienus"
at ''De Imperatoribus Romanis''.

{{Authority control 210s births 268 deaths 3rd-century murdered monarchs 3rd-century Roman emperors Crisis of the Third Century Deified Roman emperors Egnatii Eponymous archons Imperial Roman consuls Licinii Murdered Roman emperors Year of birth uncertain Sons of Roman emperors Roman pharaohs