Publius Licinius Valerianus was born in 200 and came from a noble senatorial family. Much of his early life is unknown but in 238 he became Princeps Senatus, which is the highest senatorial rank one can hold, and later in 251 he was elected by the senate to be censor.
Decius promoted him to the position of governor of the Noricum and Raetia provinces and once the reign of Decius ended and Trebonianus began to fight Aemilianus for the throne, it was Valerian who was asked to provide Trebonianus with the military reinforcement he required. Unfortunately before he could reach him, Trebonianus' own troops had joined forced with the troops of Aemilianus and killed him. Aemilianus was also killed by his troops and Valerian was announced emperor, the senate agreed readily to acknowledge him as emperor as he was one of their own.
Once becoming emperor he nominated his son Gallienus to help him rule the empire, he divided the rule taking the east and with Gallienus taking the western problems. The whole of the west had fallen into disorder and in the East, provinces had fallen into the wrong hands. Towards the end of 259 Valerian, engaged in the battle of Edessa between the Romans and the Persians, was defeated and taken captive.
It was said that even when Valerian offered his captor Shapur a large ransom in exchange for his release he was tortured and skinned and his skin, stuffed with straw, was mounted in a temple as a trophy.
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