107. Aurelian


In 275, Aurelian marched towards Asia Minor, preparing another campaign against the Sassanids: the close deaths of Kings Shapur I (272) and Hormizd I (273), and the rise to power of a weakened ruler (Bahram I), set the possibility to attack the Sassanid Empire.

On on his way, the emperor suppressed a revolt in Gaul — possibly against Faustinus, an officer or usurper of Tetricus — and defeated barbarian marauders at Vindelicia (Germany).

However, Aurelian never reached Persia, since he was killed on his way. As an administrator, Aurelian had been very strict and handed out severe punishments to corrupt officials or soldiers. A secretary of Aurelian (called Eros by Zosimus) had told a lie on a minor issue. Scared of what the emperor might do, he told high ranking officials that the emperor wanted their life, showing a forged document. The notarius Mucapor and other high-ranking officiers of the Praetorian Guard, fearing punishment from the Emperor, murdered him in September of 275, in Caenophrurium, Thracia (modern Turkey).

Aurelian's enemies in the Senate briefly succeeded in passing damnatio memoriae on the emperor, but this was reversed before the end of the year and Aurelian, like his predecessor Claudius, was deified as Divus Aurelianus.

Ulpia Severina, wife of Aurelian and Augusta since 274, is said to have held the imperial role during the short interregnum before the election of Marcus Claudius Tacitus to the purple.

Siscia mint. IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate & cuirassed bust right / ORIENS AVG, Sol advancing left between two seated captives, holding up raised hand & whip, XXIT in ex. Cohen 158. RIC 255

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26 Oct 2018
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