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Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus (died November 284), known in English as Numerian, was a Roman Emperor (December 283 – November 284), together with his brother Carinus. They were sons of Carus, a Gaul raised to the office of praetorian prefect under Emperor Probus in 282.[1]



In 282, the legions of the upper Danube in Raetia and Noricum proclaimed Numerian's father, the praetorian prefect Marcus Aurelius Carus, emperor, beginning a rebellion against the emperor Probus.[2] Probus' army, stationed in Sirmium (Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia), decided they did not wish to fight Carus, and assassinated Probus instead.[3] Carus, already sixty, wished to establish a dynasty;[4] and immediately elevated Carinus and Numerian to the rank of Caesar.[5]

In 283, Carus raised Carinus to the title Caesar,[6] left him in charge of the West, and moved with Numerian and his praetorian prefect Arrius Aper to the East, to wage war against the Sassanid Empire. (The Sassanids had been embroiled in a succession dispute since the death of Shapur, and were in no position to oppose Carus' advance.)[7] According to Zonaras, Eutropius, and Festus, Carus won a major victory against the Persians, taking Seleucia and the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon (near modern Al-Mada'in, Iraq), cities on opposite banks of the Tigris.[8] In celebration, Numerian, Carus, and Carinus all took the title Persici maximi.[9] Carus died in July or early August,[1] reportedly due to a strike of lightning.[10]

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