Aemilianus (emperor)

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Antoninian of Aemilianus, on which the god of war Mars is depicted as a peacemaker.

Marcus Aemilius Aemilianus (short Aemilian * 207 or 213 in Djerba , † 253 ) was in the year 253 of Roman emperors .


Cornelia Supera, wife of Aemilianus

Aemilianus was born in either 207 or 213 in Djerba , Africa ; according to the Central Byzantine historian Johannes Zonaras , he was a Libyan. His wife's name was Cornelia Supera , nothing is known about any children.

Aemilianus was sent to the province of Lower Moesia as governor around 252 , where in the spring of 253 he succeeded in defeating the Gothic king Kniva . Kniva demanded from Aemilianus an increase in the annual Roman tribute payments that he had forced from Trebonianus Gallus in 251 . Aemilianus, however, refused, whereupon Kniva set his army in motion. Aemilianus promised his soldiers the money that the Goths had received so far; his troops took the Goths by surprise and defeated them. This unexpected victory inspired his soldiers so much that they proclaimed him emperor immediately after the end of the battle (probably in July 253). Aemilianus now marched with his army against Rome in order to secure the imperial dignity.

Emperor Gallus and his son Gaius Vibius Volusianus approached the usurper on the Via Flaminia , from which one can conclude that Aemilianus' troops were most likely not in the majority. However, Aemilianus emerged victorious from the subsequent battles at Interamna , where the army of Gallus dissolved. Gallus and his son fled and were then murdered by their own soldiers. Aemilianus then moved into Rome and was officially confirmed by the Senate . Zonaras speaks of having promised the Senate to secure Thrace and go to the east against the Sassanids .

However, Aemilianus never got around to putting his plans into practice, because shortly before his death Gallus had called the commander of the Upper Rhine troops, Valerian , for help. After the death of Gallus, Valerian himself was proclaimed emperor, which was typical of the chaotic conditions in the age of the imperial crisis of the 3rd century . Now almost the same spectacle took place as three months before: When Aemilianus' soldiers saw the opposing army, they murdered him and ran over to Valerian; this probably occurred in September 253 in the Spoleto area . According to several sources, the fact that the soldiers were not convinced of Aemilianus' leadership and believed that Valerian would be a better emperor played a role. This was able to prevail against Silbannacus , who probably claimed the imperial title for a short time in Rome after the death of Aemilianus.

Hardly anything can be said with certainty about the brief reign of Aemilianus. He is said to have governed moderately and got on well with the Senate. Even the ancient authors saw it as little more than a brief interlude in the confused time of the soldier emperors . Eutropius said laconically :

Aemilianus came from a completely insignificant family, his reign was even more insignificant, and in the third month he was slain.


Web links

Commons : Aemilianus  - album with pictures, videos and audio files


  1. Zonaras 12:21.
  2. Zonaras 12:22.
  3. Zonaras 12:22; Zosimos 1.29.
  4. Eutropius, Breviarium ab urbe condita 9.6.
predecessor Office successor
Trebonianus Gallus Roman Emperor