Postumus Last Coin ------------------ Next Coin Marius

Roman Empire

Ruler: Gallic Empire: Laelianus
Reigned: Mar-Apr/May 269 AD
Denomination: Billon Antoninianus
Mint: Colonia Agrippinensis -Cologne
Date of Issue: Mar-Apr/May 269 AD
Obverse: Radiate and cuirassed bust right. "IMP. C. LAELIANVS P.F. AVG."
Reverse: Victory advancing right, holding palm frond and wreath. "VICTORIA AVG."
Reference: RIC V 9, RCVM 11111
Weight: 1.9 gms
Diameter: 19.6 mm

LAELIANUS (Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus)

Laelianus was born of a noble Spanish family.

The revolt of Postumus, governor of Lower Germany, in the autumn of 260 , after Valerian's capture by the Persians led to the creation of a Gallic empire which survived as a separate state for almost 15 years. The core of this breakaway empire was formed by the three provinces of Gaul (Lugdunensis, Aquitania and Narbonensis) plus the two Germanies with their powerful frontier forces. By 261, Britain and Spain had also gone over to Postumus.

In February 269 Postumus was at Trier (capital of the Gallic empire) when news came of the rebellion of Laelianus at Mainz. As governor of Upper Germany (under Postumus), Laelianus would have had two legions at his disposal, as against the two legions in Lower Germany which remained loyal to Postumus, not to mention the more distant armies of Spain and Britain. Laelianus's support seems rapidly to have withered, however, and within a couple of months Postumus had defeated the usurper and retaken Mainz. The fate of Laelianus is not recorded, but Postumus himself perished in the aftermath, for he refused to allow his soldiers to pillage the city, and was murdered by them for his refusal.

The man who succeeded Postumus was an unlikely choice for emperor. Marius is said to have been a blacksmith by profession, and was probably only a common soldier at the time of his elevation to power. He survived for only two or three months, before being strangled as a result of a private quarrel in the summer or autumn of 269.

The death of Marius was followed by a two day interregnum. Power then passed to Victorinus, an able military man who had risen to high office under Postumus and had come perhaps to be regarded as his natural successor.

Back to main page