Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AE Antoninianus with LAETITIA

Ancient Coins - Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AE Antoninianus with LAETITIA
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Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AE Antoninianus (19.1 mm, 2.12 g, 11). Rome mint, struck A.D. 262- 263. GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right / LAETITIA AVG, Laetitia standing left, holding wreath and anchor. Göbl 479f; RIC 226 var (no field marks).


Gallienus married Julia Cornelia Salonina 10 years before taking the purple. They were proud to have produced 3 children, indeed, 3 princes: Valerian II, Saloninus and Marinianus. Unfortunately, even with the clout of three potential heirs to the throne, Gallienus’ grip on power began to slip. The oldest son, Valerian II, was raised to the rank of Caesar at age 15. The young Caesar was based in Sirmium, and was under the control of a dangerous guardian, General Ingenuus. Valerian soon died under suspicious circumstances. Salonina had seen this coming and attempted, unsuccessfully, to get Valerian out of the hands of his guardian. Gallienus blamed Ingenuus for his son’s death, but had insufficient influence to deal with the powerful general. Ingenuus responded by launching a serious and well supported attempt at usurrpation.


Gallienus’ ability to lead the empire continued to slide, and as was common for Roman emperors, Gallienus was murdered, leaving the fate of his family and wife in the hands of the senate. Unfortunately, history does not enlighten us on the final solution for his wife, Julia Cornelia, nor do we have information on what happened with the rest of the family of Gallienus. They may have been executed, or may have been spared and exiled. It seems interesting that we don’t know, but this is only one example out of hundreds where the fate of members of the imperial household no longer resides in the body of knowledge that we have to draw from.

Ancient Coins - Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AE Antoninianus with LAETITIA
Ancient Coins - Gallienus. A.D. 253-268. AE Antoninianus with LAETITIA
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