Valerianus, Publius Licinius
VALERIANUS, PUBLIUS LICINIUS, Roman emperor from A.D. 253 to 260. He was of noble family, and in 238 was princeps senatus. 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. After the death of Decius Valerian retained the confidence of his successor, Trebonianus Callus, who sent him to fetch troops to quell the rebellion of Aemilianus, governor of Moesia and Pannonia. The soldiers in Raetia, however, proclaimed Valerian emperor; and marching slowly towards Rome he found both his rivals dead, slain by their own soldiers. Valerian was about sixty-three years of age, and had scarcely the vigour to deal with the enemies that threatened every frontier of the empire. Taking his son Gallienus as colleague, he left the wars in Europe to his direction, under which matters went from bad to worse and the whole West fell into disorder. Valerian chose for his own part the war in the East, where Antioch had fallen into the hands of a Persian vassal and Armenia was occupied by Shapur (Sapor) I., while in 258 the Goths ravaged Asia Minor. Valerian recovered Antioch, fought in Mesopotamia with mixed success and finally was taken captive. It is said that he was subjected to the greatest insults by his captors, and that after his death his skin was stuffed with straw and preserved as a trophy in the chief Persian temple. Owing to imperfect and contradictory authorities, the chronology and details of this reign are very uncertain.
See Trebellius Pollip, Life of Valerian (frags.); Aurelius Victor, Caesares, 32; Eutropius ix. 6; Ammianus Marcellinus xxiii. 5; Zosimus i. 27; Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 10; H. Schiller, Geschichte der romischen Kaiserzeit, i. pt. 2.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)