Trebonianus Gallus
251 - 253 CE
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Having survived the ambush that took the life of his predecessor, Trebonianus Gallus was proclaimed Emperor by the troops. In a hurry to get back to Rome, he attempted to "buy" peace with the Goths. It worked ... for a while.

Trebonianus Gallus Antoninianus
About this coin: This antoninianus shows the continuing debasement of the silver used in coinage through this period. It is also thinner and smaller than those of his predecessors. The surfaces are rough and the flan irregular, but the portrait shows decent artistry.

Obverse: IMP CAE C VIB TREB GALLVS (Gallus in radiate crown, facing right)
Reverse:
APOLL SALVTARI (Apollo standing left, holding branch and leaning on lyre)
(S. 2779 (4th ed.))

Trebonianus Gallus came to power upon the death in battle of Trajan Decius and his son. Some say that he was privvy to the ambush plans that killed his predecessor, but there is no good evidence of this. However, he did seem to be in a big hurry to get back to Rome to consolidate his power, and he rewarded the Goths for their treachery by allowing them to keep their booty and Roman captives, and by agreeing to pay them an annual tribute, somewhat reminiscent of how Philip had made peace with the Persian king Shapur I.

When Gallus returned to Rome, he found it beset by plague. He gained popularity among the populace of Rome by ensuring proper burial for all plague victims, even the very poor.

And speaking of Shapur I, he took this opportunity to break his treaty with Rome, quickly becoming the new landlord of much of the Roman east, including all of Syria. The Goths followed the Persians' example, breaking the treaty they had made with Gallus. Their campaign, however, was not quite so successful as Shapur's, and they were defeated by the Danubian legions, this time under the governor of Upper Moesia, Aemilius Aemilianus.

It had become somewhat of a tradition among the Danubian legions to declare their leader Emperor whenever he led them to victory, and they did so with Aemilianus. Gallus mustered troops to face him, but his advance was quicker than expected. In another tradition that had also gained popularity in this period, Gallus's own troops then murdered him and his son to avoid battle with other Roman legions.


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