Coins of Valerian

Roman Emperor (AD 253-260)

Publius Licinius Valerianus was born c. AD 200 to a patrician family and was married to Egnatia Mariniana, by whom he had two sons, Egnatius Gallienus and Valerianus Minor. The emperor Decius nominated him as censor, but he refused the post and was instead assigned to govern the provinces of Noricum and Raetia. The next emperor, Trebonianus Gallus, trusted him enough to ask him for reinforcements against Aemilianus, who was attempting to take the throne. However, when both Gallus and Aemilianus were killed by their own troops, nearly the entire army proclaimed Valerian and his eldest son as the next emperors. The Senate was keen to accept this emperor, as Valerian was of their rank.

But Valerian’s reign was thrown into disarray as the provinces began to fall to neighbouring tribes. He divided the empire with his son, giving Gallienus governance of the West while attempting to take control in the East himself. The province of Armenia had been occupied by the Sassanid king Shapur I. Valerian was defeated there at the Battle of Edessa in AD 260, and while attempting to broker peace with Shapur, was betrayed and captured. Shapur imprisoned him until his death.

AE Sestertius, Rome
AD 256-257

Laureate head of Valerian facing r. encircled by IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS PF AVG

Victory facing front with r. hand holding wreath, l., a palm; encircled by VICTORIA AVG; S C to l. and r. in field.