1/12 General Aurelian Bust


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         Aurelian (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus born in 9 September c. AD 214 – November 275) was a Roman emperor, who reigned during the Crisis of the Third Century, from AD 270 to 275. As emperor, he won an unprecedented series of military victories which reunited the Roman Empire, after it had nearly disintegrated under the pressure of barbarian invasions and internal revolts. Born in modest circumstances, most likely in Moesia Superior, he entered the Roman army in 235 and climbed up the ranks. He went on to lead the cavalry of the emperor Gallienus, until Gallienus’ assassination in 268. Following that, Claudius Gothicusbecame emperor until his own death in 270. Claudius’ brother Quintillus ruled the empire for three months, before Aurelian became emperor.

         During his reign, he defeated the Alamanni after a devastating war. He also defeated the Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. Aurelian restored the Empire’s eastern provinces after his conquest of the Palmyrene Empire in 273. The following year he conquered the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was also responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome, the abandonment of the province of Dacia, and monetary reform, trying to curb the devaluation of the Roman currency.

           Although Domitian, two centuries earlier, was the first emperor who had demanded to be officially hailed as dominus et deus (“master and god”), these titles never occurred in written form on official documents until the reign of Aurelian. His successes were instrumental in ending the crisis, earning him the title Restitutor Orbis (“Restorer of the World”).

            It is commonly accepted that Aurelian probably joined the army in 235 at around age twenty. It is also generally assumed that, as a member of the lowest rank of society.

          He would have enlisted in the ranks of the legions. Aurelian certainly must have built up a very solid reputation for military competence during the tumultuous mid-decades of the century.  The exploits detailed in the Historia Augusta vita Divi Aureliani, while not always impossible, are not supported by any independent evidence and one at least is demonstrably an invention typical of that author. However, he was probably associated with Gallienus’s cavalry army and shone as an officer of that elite unit because, when he finally emerged in a historically reliable context in the early part of the reign of Claudius II, he seems to have been its commander.

            When Claudius died, his brother Quintillus seized power with support of the Senate. With an act typical of the Crisis of the Third Century, the army refused to recognize the new emperor, preferring to support one of its own commanders. Aurelian was proclaimed emperor about August or September (older sources argue for May) by the legions in Sirmium. Aurelian defeated Quintillus troops and was recognized as emperor by the Senate after Quintillus death. The claim that Aurelian was chosen by Claudius on his death bed can be dismissed as propaganda. Later, probably in 272, Aurelian put his own dies imperii at the day of Claudius’ death, thus implicitly considering Quintillus a usurper.

              Aurelian was a reformer, and settled many important functions of the imperial apparatus, dealing with the economy and religion. He restored many public buildings, reorganized the management of the food reserves, set fixed prices for the most important goods, and prosecuted misconduct by the public officers.

            Aurelian was murdered while waiting in Thrace to cross into Asia Minor. As an administrator, he had been strict and had handed out severe punishments to corrupt officials or soldiers. A secretary of his (called Eros by Zosimus) had told a lie on a minor issue. In fear of what the emperor might do, he forged a document listing the names of high officials marked by the emperor for execution and showed it to collaborators. The notarius Mucapor and other high-ranking officers of the Praetorian Guard, fearing punishment from the emperor, murdered him shortly after October 275 (Tacitus began his reign in November or December), in Caenophrurium, Thrace.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 II, was deified as Divus Aurelianus.

          There is some evidence that Aurelian’s wife, Ulpia Severina, who had been declared Augusta in 274, ruled the empire in her own right for some time after his death, although this is just speculative. Sources hint at an interregnum between Aurelian’s death and the election of Marcus Claudius Tacitus as his successor. Additionally, some of Ulpia’s coins appear to have been minted after Aurelian’s death.

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Peso 0.5 kg
Dimensões (C x L x A) 15 × 12 × 6 cm


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