Valerius Valens

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Valerius Valens
Nominal Augustus of the Western Roman Empire
Valerius Valens Follis Alexandria.jpg
Follis of Valerius Valens struck in Alexandria
Emperor of the Roman Empire

(Unrecognized in the West)
Reignlate 316 – March 1, 317 (co-emperor with Licinius)
Predecessor Constantine I
Successor Constantine I
DiedMarch 1, 317
Full name
Aurelius Valerius Valens
Regnal name
Imperator Caesar Aurelius Valerius Valens Augustus

Aurelius Valerius Valens (died March 1, 317) was Roman Emperor from late 316 to March 1, 317. Valens had previously been dux limitis [1] (duke of the frontier) in Dacia.

Dacia Dacian kingdom

In ancient geography, especially in Roman sources, Dacia was the land inhabited by the Dacians. The Greeks referred to them as the Getae and the Romans called them Daci.

Contents

In the first civil war between Licinius and Constantine I, the latter won an overwhelming victory at the battle of Cibalae on October 8, 316 [2] (some historians date it in 314). [3] Licinius fled to Adrianople where, with the help of Valens, gathered a second army. There, early in December 316, he elevated Valens to the rank of Augustus, presumably in order to secure his loyalty. [4] Much later, Licinius would use the same trick (with just as little success) in the second civil war with Constantine, by appointing Martinian co-emperor.

Battle of Cibalae

The Battle of Cibalae was fought on October 8, 314, between the two Roman emperors Constantine I and Licinius. The site of the battle was approximately 350 kilometers within the territory of Licinius. Constantine won a resounding victory, despite being outnumbered.

Augustus (title) Ancient Roman title

Augustus was an ancient Roman title given as both name and title to Gaius Octavius, Rome's first Emperor. On his death, it became an official title of his successor, and was so used by Roman emperors thereafter. The feminine form Augusta was used for Roman empresses and other females of the Imperial family. The masculine and feminine forms originated in the time of the Roman Republic, in connection with things considered divine or sacred in traditional Roman religion. Their use as titles for major and minor Roman deities of the Empire associated the Imperial system and Imperial family with traditional Roman virtues and the divine will, and may be considered a feature of the Roman Imperial cult.

Despite the literary sources [5] referring to Valens as a junior emperor (Caesar), the numismatic evidence indicates his Augustan rank. [6]

Caesar (title) cognomen, later an imperial title of Roman empire

Caesar is a title of imperial character. It derives from the cognomen of Julius Caesar, the Roman dictator. The change from being a familial name to a title adopted by the Roman Emperors can be dated to about AD 68/69, the so-called "Year of the Four Emperors".

After Licinius's indecisive defeat at Campus Ardiensis in later 316 / early 317, Constantine was still in the dominant position; from which he was able to force Licinius to recognize him as the senior emperor, depose Valens and appoint their sons as Caesars. [7] According to Petrus Patricius, he explicitly expressed his anger at the elevation of Valens by saying the following to the envoy of Mestrianus: [8]

The Battle of Mardia, also known as Battle of Campus Mardiensis or Battle of Campus Ardiensis, was most likely fought at modern Harmanli (Bulgaria) in Thrace, in late 316/early 317 between the forces of Roman Emperors Constantine I and Licinius.

The emperor made clear the extent of his rage by his facial expression and by the contortion of his body. Almost unable to speak, he said, "We have not come to this present state of affairs, nor have we fought and triumphed from the ocean till where we have now arrived, just so that we should refuse to have our own brother-in-law as joint ruler because of his abominable behaviour, and so that we should deny his close kinship, but accept that vile slave [9] [Valens] with him into imperial college".

The peace treaty was finalized at Serdica on 1 March, 317. [10] Whether it was part of the agreement is unknown, but Licinius also had Valens executed.

Citations

  1. A.H.M. Jones, J.R. Martindale, J. Morris, The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, Cambridge University Press, 1971, p.1119
  2. For the consensus on the new dating of the battle of Cibalae in 316, see D.S. Potter 2004, p.378, C. Odahl 2004, p.164. Also see W. Treadgold, A History of the Byzantine State and Society, Stanford University Press 1997, p.34, A.S. Christensen, L. Baerentzen, Lactantius the Historian, Museum Tusculanum Press, 1980, p.23
  3. See, for instance, A.H.M. Jones 1949, p.127 and Ramsay MacMullen, Constantine, Routledge, 1987, p.67
  4. A.H.M. Jones 1949, p.127
  5. Zosimus and the anonymous author of Origo Constantin i, see Odahl 2004, note 9 on p.342
  6. Samuel N. C. Lieu, D. Montserrat 1996, p.57
  7. Odahl 2004, p.165
  8. Petrus Patricius, Excerpta de legationibus ad gentes at N.C. Lieu, D. Montserrat, 1996 p.58
  9. "ευτελές ανδράποδον" in the original Greek text (J. P. Migne, Patrologia Graeca Cursus Completus, vol.113, col. 672)
  10. D.S. Potter 2004, p.378

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References

Valerius Valens
Born: Unknown Died: 317
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Licinius
Roman Emperor
316–317
Served alongside: Licinius
Succeeded by
Licinius