Valerian (emperor)

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Publius Licinius Valerianus[1] (193/195/200 – 260 or 264), commonly known as Valerian or Valerian the Elder, was Roman Emperor from 253 to 260. He was taken captive by Persian king Shapur I after the Battle of Edessa, becoming the only emperor to do so and causing wide range instability across the empire.



Origins and rise to power

Unlike the majority of the pretenders during the Crisis of the Third Century, Valerian was of a noble and traditional senatorial family. Details of his early life are elusive, but for his marriage to Egnatia Mariniana, who gave him two sons: later emperor Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus and Valerianus Minor.[citation needed]

He was Consul for the first time either before 238 as a Suffectus or in 238 as an Ordinarius. In 238 he was princeps senatus, and Gordian I negotiated through him for Senatorial acknowledgement for his claim as emperor. In 251, when Decius revived the censorship with legislative and executive powers so extensive that it practically embraced the civil authority of the emperor, Valerian was chosen censor by the Senate, though he declined to accept the post. Under Decius he was nominated governor of the Rhine provinces of Noricum and Raetia and retained the confidence of his successor, Trebonianus Gallus, who asked him for reinforcements to quell the rebellion of Aemilianus in 253. Valerian headed south, but was too late: Gallus' own troops had killed him and joined Aemilianus before his arrival. The Raetian soldiers then proclaimed Valerian emperor and continued their march towards Rome. At the time of his arrival in September or October, Aemilianus' legions defected, killing him and proclaiming Valerian emperor. In Rome, the Senate quickly acknowledged him, not only for fear of reprisals, but also because he was one of their own.

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