1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Gallienus, Publius Licinius Egnatius

GALLIENUS, PUBLIUS LICINIUS EGNATIUS, Roman emperor from A.D. 260 to 268, son of the emperor Valerian, was born about 218. From 253 to 260 he reigned conjointly with his father, during which time he gave proof of military ability and bravery. But when his father was taken prisoner by Shapur I. of Persia, in 260, Gallienus made no effort to obtain his release, or to withstand the incursions of the invaders who threatened the empire from all sides. He occupied part of his time in dabbling in literature, science and various trifling arts, but gave himself up chiefly to excess and debauchery. He deprived the senators of their military and provincial commands, which were transferred to equites. During his reign the empire was ravaged by a fearful pestilence; and the chief cities of Greece were sacked by the Goths, who descended on the Greek coast with a fleet of five hundred. His generals rebelled against him in almost every province of the empire, and this period of Roman history came to be called the reign of the Thirty Tyrants. Nevertheless, these usurpers probably saved the empire at the time, by maintaining order and repelling the attacks of the barbarians. Gallienus was killed at Mediolanum by his own soldiers while besieging Aureolus, who was proclaimed emperor by the Illyrian legions. His sons Valerianus and Saloninus predeceased him.

Life by Trebellius Pollio in Script. Hist. Aug.; on coins see articles in Numism. Zeit. (1908) and Riv. ital. d. num. (1908).