I. Capto Valeriano (enimvero unde incipienda est Gallieni vita, nisi ab eo praecipue malo, quo eius vita depressa est?), nutante re publica, cum Odaenathus iam orientis cepisset imperium, Gallienus comperta patris captivitate gauderet, vagabantur ubique exercitus, murmurabant omnibus in provinciis duces, erat omnium ingens maeror, quod Valerianus imperator Romanus in Perside serviliter teneretur. sed erat etiam maior omnium maestitia quod Gallienus nactus imperium ut pater fato sic ipse moribus rem Publicam perdiderat.1
The Two Gallieni
By Trebellius Pollio
I. When Valerian was captured (for where should we begin the biography of Gallienus,1 if not with that calamity which, above all, brought disgrace on his life?), when the commonwealth was tottering, when Odaenathus had seized the rule of the East, and when Gallienus was rejoicing in the news of his father’s captivity, the armies began to range about on all sides, the generals in all the provinces to murmur, and great was the grief of all men that Valerian, a Roman emperor, was held as a slave in Persia. But greater far was the grief of them all that now having received the imperial power, Gallienus, by his mode of life, as his father by his fate, brought ruin on the commonwealth.2
- 1P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus Augustus (253–260 with Valerian; 260–268 sole emperor). The biographer, like Eutropius and Aurelius Victor, portrays Gallienus in the worst possible light—a tendency due, partly, to senatorial hostility aroused by his exclusion of senators from military commands (Aur. Victor, Caes., 33, 33 f.), but particularly to the desire, by blackening Gallienus, to enhance the glories of his successor Claudius, who, as the reputed ancestor of Constantius Chlorus (see note to Claud., xiii. 2), is made the hero of this series of biographies. Consequently, the depreciation of Gallienus, as neglecting the welfare of the Empire and interested only in amusements and debauchery, and the exaltation of Claudius (and his descendant) form the principal theme of the series. A more favourable and, as it is now generally believed, a more truthful, account of his reign is given by the Greek writers Zosimus (i. 30–40) and Zonaras (xii. 24–25). The modern point of view (based on these writers and supported by the evidence of inscriptions and archaeological research), which represents Gallienus as an active and able ruler, has been excellently presented by L. Homo in Rev. Hist., cxiii. pp. 1–22; 225–267.
- 2Cf. Tyr Trig., xii. 8.