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Marcus Aurelius Probus (; 19 August 232 – September 282) 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 ...
from 276 to 282. Probus was an active and successful general as well as a conscientious administrator, and in his reign of six years he secured prosperity for the inner provinces while withstanding repeated invasions of barbarian tribes on almost every sector of the frontier. After repelling the foreign enemies of the empire Probus was forced to handle several internal revolts, but demonstrated leniency and moderation to the vanquished wherever possible. In his reign the facade of the constitutional authority of the
Roman Senate
Roman Senate
was fastidiously maintained, and the conqueror, who had carried his army to victory over 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
, professed himself dependent on the sanction of the Senate. Upon defeating the Germans, Probus re-erected the ancient fortifications of emperor
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
between the Rhine and Danube rivers, protecting the
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 ...
, and exacted from the vanquished a tribute of manpower to resettle depopulated provinces within the empire and provide for adequate defense of the frontiers. Despite his widespread popularity, Probus was killed in a mutiny of the soldiers while in the middle of preparations for the Persian war, which would be carried out under his successor
Carus Marcus Aurelius Carus (c. 222 – July or August 283) was Roman emperor from 282 to 283, and was 60 at ascension. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is Europe's List o ...

Carus
.


Early life

Probus was born between 230 and 235 (exact date of birth unknown) in
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
(modern day
Sremska Mitrovica Sremska Mitrovica (; sr-Cyrl, Сремска Митровица, hu, Szávaszentdemeter, la, Sirmium) is a city A city is a large .Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., ed ...

Sremska Mitrovica
),
Pannonia Inferior Pannonia Inferior, lit. Lower Pannonia, was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, firs ...
, the son of Dalmatius. According to the Alexandrian Chronicle, he was born sometime in the year 232.


Military career

Probus entered the army around 250 upon reaching adulthood. He rose rapidly through the ranks, repeatedly earning high military decorations. Appointed as a
military tribune A military tribune (Latin ''tribunus militum'', "tribune of the soldiers") was an officer of the Roman army The Roman army (: ) was the armed forces deployed by the Romans throughout the duration of , from the (to c. 500 BC) to the (500– ...
by the emperor Valerian, at a very young age, in recognition of his latent ability, he justified the choice by a distinguished victory over the Sarmatians on the
Illyria In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...
n frontier. During the chaotic years of the reign of Valerian, Illyria was the only province, generaled by such officers as
Claudius Claudius ( ; Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 1 August 10 BC – 13 October AD 54) was the fourth Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the History of the Roman Empire, imperial p ...
,
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
and Probus, where the barbarians were kept at bay, while
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
was overrun by the
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
,
Rhaetia Raetia ( ; ; also spelled Rhaetia) was a Roman province, province of the Roman Empire, named after the Rhaetian (''Raeti'' or ''Rhaeti'') people. It bordered on the west with the country of the Helvetii, on the east with Noricum, on the north ...

Rhaetia
by the
Alemans The Alemanni (also ''Alamanni''; ''Suebi'' "Swabians") were a confederation of Germanic tribes * * * on the Upper Rhine River. First mentioned by Cassius Dio in the context of the campaign of Caracalla of 213, the Alemanni captured the in 26 ...
,
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
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...

Mediterranean
by the
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 the east 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 ...
. Probus became amongst the highest placed lieutenants of Aurelian, reconquering
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
from
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
in 273 A.D. Emperor
Tacitus Publius Cornelius Tacitus ( , ; – ) was a Roman historian and politician. Tacitus is widely regarded as one of the greatest Roman historians by modern scholars. He lived in what has been called the Silver Age of Latin literature Classi ...
, upon his accession in 275, appointed Probus supreme chief of the east, granting him extraordinary powers in order to secure a dangerous frontier. Though the details are not specified, he is said to have fought with success on almost every frontier of the empire, before his election as emperor by the troops upon Tacitus' death of old age in 276, in his camp in
Asia Minor Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula A peninsula ( la, paeninsula from 'almost' and 'island') is a landform A landform is a natural or artificial feature of ...

Asia Minor
.


As emperor

Florian, the half-brother of Tacitus, also proclaimed himself emperor, and took control of Tacitus' army in Asia Minor, but was killed by his own soldiers after an indecisive campaign against Probus in the mountains of
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
.Zosimus, 1:32 In contrast to Florian, who ignored the wishes of the senate, Probus referred his claim to
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg , map_caption = The te ...

Rome
in a respectful dispatch. The senate enthusiastically ratified his pretensions. Probus next travelled west, defeating the Goths along the lower Danube in 277, and acquiring the title of ''Gothicus''. However, the Goths came to respect his ability and implored a treaty with the empire. In 278, Probus campaigned successfully in
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
against the
Alamanni 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 Longiones; both tribes had advanced through the
Neckar The Neckar () is a river in Germany, mainly flowing through the southwestern States of Germany, state of Baden-Württemberg, with a short section through Hesse. The Neckar is a major right tributary of the Rhine. Rising in the Schwarzwald-Baar- ...

Neckar
valley and across the Rhine into Roman territory. Meanwhile, his generals defeated the
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
and these operations were directed to clearing
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
of Germanic invaders (
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
and
Burgundians The Burgundians ( la, Burgundiōnes, Burgundī; on, Burgundar; ang, Burgendas; grc-gre, Βούργουνδοι) were an early Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by their use of the Germa ...
), allowing Probus to adopt the titles of ''Gothicus Maximus'' and ''Germanicus Maximus''. Reportedly, 400,000 barbarians were killed during Probus' campaign, and the entire nation of the
Lugii The Lugii (or ''Lugi'', ''Lygii'', ''Ligii'', ''Lugiones'', ''Lygians'', ''Ligians'', ''Lugians'', or ''Lougoi'') were a large tribal confederation mentioned by Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = F ...
were extirpated. After the defeat of the Germanic invaders in Gaul, Probus crossed 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
to campaign successfully against the Barbarians in their homeland, forcing them to pay homage. In the aftermath of the campaign, Probus repaired the ancient fortifications erected by
Hadrian Hadrian (; la, Caesar Traianus Hadrianus ; 24 January 76 – 10 July 138) was Roman emperor from 117 to 138. He was born into a Roman Italo-Hispanic family, which settled in Spain from the Italian city of Atri, Abruzzo, Atri in Picenum. Hi ...

Hadrian
in the vulnerable space between the 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
, in the territory of
Swabia Swabia ; german: Schwaben , colloquially ''Schwabenland'' or ''Ländle''; archaic English also Suabia or Svebia is a cultural, historic History (from Greek , ''historia'', meaning "inquiry; knowledge acquired by investigation") is the stud ...

Swabia
. More significantly, Probus, by forcing from the vanquished tribes a tribute of manpower, established the precedent of settling barbarians within the empire as auxiliaries on a large scale. The provinces were depopulated by war, disease and the chaotic administration, heavy taxation, and extensive army recruitment, during the crisis of the Third century, and the barbarian colonies, at least in the short term, helped to restore frontier defense and the practice of agriculture. The army discipline which
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
had repaired was cultivated and extended under Probus, who was however more shy in the practice of cruelty. One of his principles was never to allow the soldiers to be idle, and to employ them in time of peace on useful works, such as the planting of vineyards in Gaul, Pannonia and other districts, in order to restart the economy in these devastated lands. In 279–280, Probus was, according to
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 ...
, in
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
,
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 ...
and
Lycia Lycia ( Lycian: 𐊗𐊕𐊐𐊎𐊆𐊖 ''Trm̃mis''; el, Λυκία, ; tr, Likya) was a geopolitical region in Anatolia Anatolia,, tr, Anadolu Yarımadası), and the Anatolian plateau. also known as Asia Minor, is a large peninsula ...
, where he fought the
Vandals The Vandals were a Germanic peoples, Germanic people who first inhabited what is now southern Poland. They established Vandal Kingdom, Vandal kingdoms on the Iberian Peninsula, Mediterranean islands, and North Africa in the fifth century. The ...
. In the same years, Probus' generals defeated the
Blemmyes The term Blemmyes ( grc, Βλέμμυες, 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. Thr ...

Blemmyes
in
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identi ...

Egypt
. Either then, or during his previous command in Egypt, he ordered the reconstruction of bridges and canals along the Nile, where the production of grain for the Empire was centered. In 280–281, Probus put down three usurpers,
Julius Saturninus Sextus (possibly Gaius) Julius Saturninus (died 280) was a Roman usurper against Emperor Marcus Aurelius Probus, Probus.Vagi, p. 375 Julius Saturninus was a Gaul by birth (others have him as a Moors, Moor) and was a friend of Emperor Probus. He w ...
,
Proculus Proculus (died c. 281) was a Roman usurper Roman usurpers were individuals or groups of individuals who obtained or tried to obtain power by force and without Legitimacy (political), legitimate legal authority. Usurpation was endemic during the R ...

Proculus
and Bonosus. The extent of these revolts is not clear, but there are clues that they were not just local problems (an inscription with the name of Probus erased has been found as far as Spain). Following this, Probus then put down a revolt by an unnamed rebel in Britain with the assistance of a certain Victorinus, who was later made consul in 282. During the winter of 281, the emperor was in Rome, where he celebrated his well-deserved triumph. Probus was eager to start his eastern campaign, delayed by the revolts in the west. He left Rome in 282, travelling first towards Sirmium, his birth city.


Assassination

Different accounts of Probus's death exist. According to
Joannes 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 ...
, the commander of the
Praetorian Guard The Praetorian Guard (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 o ...
had been proclaimed, more or less unwillingly, emperor by his troops. Probus sent some troops against the new usurper, but when those troops changed sides and supported Carus, Probus' remaining soldiers assassinated him at Sirmium (September/October 282). According to other sources, however, Probus was killed by disgruntled soldiers, who rebelled against his orders to be employed for civic purposes, like draining marshes. Allegedly, the soldiers were provoked when they overheard him lamenting the necessity of a standing army. Carus was proclaimed emperor after Probus' death and avenged the murder of his predecessor.


Legacy

According to the favorable treatment of
Gibbon Gibbons () are ape Apes (Hominoidea ) are a branch of Old World tailless simians native to Africa and Southeast Asia Southeast Asia or Southeastern Asia is the United Nations geoscheme for Asia#South-eastern Asia, southeastern sub ...

Gibbon
(whose account is largely derived from the ''Augustan History''), Probus was the last of the benevolent constitutional emperors of Rome. While his successor
Carus Marcus Aurelius Carus (c. 222 – July or August 283) was Roman emperor from 282 to 283, and was 60 at ascension. During his short reign, Carus fought the Germanic tribes and Sarmatians along the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is Europe's List o ...

Carus
(Imp. 282–284) simply disdained to seek the senate's confirmation of his title, the latter's successor
Diocletian Diocletian (; la, Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus; born Diocles; 22 December c. 244 – 3 December 311) was from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in , Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become a commander of ...
(Imp. 284–305) took active measures to undermine its authority, and established the autocratic nature and divine derivation of the Imperial power. Never again, after Diocletian's reforms, would the Roman senate play an active role in the management of the empire. On the military sphere, Probus' victories continued the succession of martial
Illyria In classical antiquity Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) is the period of cultural history History (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Gre ...

Illyria
n emperors begun by
Claudius Gothicus Marcus Aurelius Claudius "Gothicus" (10 May 214 – January 270), also known as Claudius II, was Roman emperor from 268 to 270. During his reign he fought successfully against the Alemanni and decisively defeated the Goths at the Battle of Naissu ...
, which restored the military supremacy of Rome after defeats sustained 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 ...
.Gibbon, p. 282


Family tree


References


Sources


Primary sources

*
Aurelius Victor Sextus Aurelius Victor (c. 320 – c. 390) was a historian and politician of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post- period o ...

Epitome de Caesaribus
* Eutropius
Breviarium ab urbe condita
*
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 ...

Life of Probus
*
Joannes 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 ...
, Compendium of Histor
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



* Dennis, Anthony J., "Antoniniani of the Roman Emperor Probus", Vol. 9, No. 11 The Celator November, 1995. * * * * * Southern, Pat. The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine, Routledge, 2001 * Gibbon. Edward ''Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire'' (1888) * Attribution: *


External links

*
Probus
article at NumisWiki {{DEFAULTSORT:Probus, Marcus Aurelius 232 births 282 deaths 3rd-century murdered monarchs 3rd-century Roman emperors Probus, Marcus
Crisis of the Third Century {{Cat main The Crisis of the Third Century#REDIRECT Crisis of the Third Century {{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from other capitalisation ... was a prolongued series of civil wars, barbarian invasions, usurpation, and (attempted) secession that ...
Deified Roman emperors Gothicus Maximus Imperial Roman consuls Roman emperors murdered by the Praetorian Guard People from Sirmium Roman pharaohs