Valerian (Pitblius Licinius Valekianus), a Roman emperor, who reigned from A. I). 253 to 260. He was descended from a noble Roman family, rose to the highest honors of the state, and was fixed upon by the emperor Decius, who in 251 had determined to revive the censorship, as the fittest person for that post; but he was saved from discharging its unenviable duties by the death of the emperor. His successor Gallus sent Valerian to bring the legions of Gaul and Germany to aid in quelling the rebellion of Aemilianus; but before his arrival Gallus had been slain. Aemilianus shared the same fate, and Valerian was called to the throne. He immediately associated with himself in the empire his son Gallienus. His whole reign was spent in resisting the assaults of the Franks, Alemanni, and Goths, and in the East of the Persians. Leaving the defence of the West to his son and to his lieutenant, the emperor marched against the Persian monarch, 1 but was taken prisoner with his army, and the victory of Sapor was followed by the capture of Antioch and the overrunning of Asia Minor. His son usurped the throne, gave himself up to debauchery, and allowed the empire to be overrun by the barbarians. (See Gallienus.) Valerian died in captivity.
The accounts of his reign are contradictory, and the chronology is uncertain.