Valerian - an epic story mostly lost to history

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Clavdivs, Feb 17, 2019.

  1. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    No, he would play the role of the hero, Shapur I, who was one of the greatest Sasanian rulers. The Romans had been the bully for 400 years, now they where getting their just reward, by 410AD the Germans would sack Rome, under Alaric.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Sasanian Kingdom, Shapur I (241-272 A.D.)
    AR drachm
    O: Bust of Shapur I right, wearing diadem and decorated tiara terminating in eagle head.
    R: Fire altar flanked by two attendants wearing diadems and mural crowns.
    Göbl type I/1
  4. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Here are my Sestertii of unlucky Valerian and his rarely seen wife, Mariniana:

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-02-17 um 22.53.27.png
    IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG - Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Valerian Senior right
    FELICITAS AVGG S C - Felicitas standing left, holding long caduceus and cornucopiae
    Sestertius, Rome ca. 255-258
    16,46 gr / 29,43 mm / 12 h
    RIC 157; Cohen 58; Sear 10011

    Bildschirmfoto 2019-02-17 um 22.50.54.png
    DIVAE MARINIANAE - Veiled, diademed bust of Mariniana to the right
    CONSECRATIO S C - Peacock standing facing
    Sestertius, Rome 253/54
    15,57 gr / 26 mm / 12 h
    RIC 9 corr, C 7

    And this is the only Monography on Valerian (it came out in 2014), but it was issued in German only as far as I know:


    I have it in my office and will see if there are more sources cited there...
  5. TIF

    TIF Always learning. Supporter

    Here's a huge provincial Valerian I should have posted before now but it has proven very difficult to photograph... as @dougsmit knows. It used to be his :).

    CILICIA, Tarsos. Valerian I
    253-260 CE
    AE 32 mm, 19.06 gm
    Obv: AVKΛΙΠOVΛΙOVAΛЄPIANOCCЄ; Π - Π; radiate, draped, and cuirassed (?) bust right.
    Rev: TAPCOVMH TP OΠOΛЄΩC; A/M/K - Γ/Γ in fields; KOINOBOVΛION ЄΛЄVΘЄ__ in exergue; Athena seated left on throne, holding cornucopia and dropping a voting pebble into amphora to left; shield below.
    Ref: SNG Levante 1193; SNG BN 1821-2 (I do not have these reference books; references taken from similar ex CNG coin)

    There is a lot going on here. Even though I've had the coin a couple of months, I still know very little about the coin.

    Per FAC, "the inscription A M K Γ Γ is a boast of Tarsos: Πρωτη Mεγιστη Kαλλιστη, meaning First (A is the Greek numeral one), Greatest, and Most Beautiful city of the three (adjoining) provinces (Cilicia, Isauria, Lycaonia). The final Γ indicates a third neokoria, which was received under Valerian."
  6. Alegandron

    Alegandron "ΤΩΙ ΚΡΑΤΙΣΤΩΙ..." ΜΕΓΑΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΣ, June 323 BCE Supporter

    I have Valerian’s wife, Mariniana also...

    RI Mariniana AR Ant 253-254 CE Crescent - On Peacock flying 21.2mm 3.1g RIC VII 6 Rome
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Mariniana (254 - 258 A.D.)
    AR Antoninianus
    O: DIVAE MARINIANAE, Veiled and draped bust right, set on crescent.
    R: CONSECRATIO, Apotheosis of Mariniana: Mariniana, raising hand and holding scepter, reclining left on peacock flying upward to the right.
    Rome Mint
    RIC 6

    Ex Hans Schulman April 21, 1962
  8. Marsyas Mike

    Marsyas Mike Well-Known Member

    Great post - I really enjoyed all the examples. Valerian's portrait is not done at the best time for Roman art, but almost all of them, even the crudest ones, make me a little sad - he looks more like an overworked guy in a cubicle than someone who should be taking on Persia. (I work in a cubicle, by the way, so I know the look).

    It would be interesting to see who they would cast in a movie - not Brad Pitt, please (he could play Gallienus). Wilford Brimley? I suppose he's too old now (84).

    I have a couple:


    Valerian Ant APOLLONI CONSERVA Jul 2018 (1aaa).jpg


    Valerian Ant SECVRITAS Feb 2018 (0).jpg


    Valerian Ant. PIETATI AVGG May 2018 (0).jpg
  9. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Well-Known Member

    And what about Elijah Wood ???
  10. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    Unfortunate there is no translation... I found a review of the work here:
    ancient coin hunter likes this.
  11. Clavdivs

    Clavdivs Well-Known Member

    I would start the movie with Valerian just prior to the battle of Edessa... preparing for war... I think he should be played by Vincent D'Onofrio..

    Sharpur - played by Stanley Tucci .. (just add some awesome overall hair!)

    He outsmarts the Roman army and the desperate Valerian and then takes him prisoner.. he would be the villain (Euro-centric movies sell!)- and then we would switch to Gallienus (Ryan Gosling ... just add neck beard!)


    and his struggle to put down the revolts and incursions - great victories and hope at first - in his attempt (in vain) to keep the Roman Empire whole.

    .... all the while we flash over and over to the poor Valerian ...subjugated, tortured, used as a footstool ..the terrible indignations do not end - symbolizing the overall depths to which the once great empire now finds itself.. He IS Rome!! - broken and humiliated.

    Meanwhile Postumus (played by Kristofer Hivju) breaks free


    founding the Gallic Empire...

    Gallienus is betrayed and murdered during a siege of Milan by Cecropius (most definitely Christopher Waltz)


    Movie ends.... but we have set ourselves up for greater paydays as there are many more sequels that are already written!

    Reality is stranger (and greater) than fiction! This happened.

    ..and the amazing thing is that it is all documented in the coins we collect.

    Isn't it awesome?!!!
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2019
  12. Spaniard

    Spaniard Well-Known Member

    Great write-up and some super coins in this thread!

    Here's mine...
    Valerian I AR Antoninianus.Rome AD 255-256 ...2.93g
    Obverse..IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS PF AVG, radiate, draped bust right
    Reverse..FELICITAS AVGG, Felicitas standing left holding caduceus and cornucopiae.
    RIC 87, Cohen 55; Sear 9936.

  13. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    ancient coin hunter, If Russell Crowe played the part of Valerian, Shapur would be the foot stool helping Valerian mount his horse :smuggrin:.
  14. Aethelred

    Aethelred The Old Dead King Supporter

    I'm ordering a pair of advance tickets for the premier.
    panzerman likes this.
  15. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    So would I:happy:

    But lets face it, Shapur is the hero, so Russell Crowe should play his part....
    He would also be good as Hannibal.
  16. Julius Germanicus

    Julius Germanicus Well-Known Member

    Glas dates Valerian´s capture to July, 260 and concludes that Shapur first took him to Ctesiphon, from where he distributed the captives to their respective final destinations. According to the Arab historian Tabari, Valerian was then brought to Bet Lapat (Gondesabuhr) in the Susiane region, where he and other Romans had to help with the building of the dam at Sustar, which was first called "Veh Antiok Sabuhr" ("The better Antioch of Shapur") and planned as a new home for the inhabitants of the metropolis that had first been destroyed by the Persian king in 253.
    According to Firdausi (author of the persian Book of Kings), Valerian built a bridge over the river Karun which took him three years.
    Glas concludes that Valerian died a natural death in captivity some years after, and that the story of the conservation of his skin was not mere christian propaganda, but must be a historic reality, as it is mentioned in a fragment of Petrus Patricius, who drew his knowledge from Nicomachus Flavianus, as well as by Agathias, and the unknown source of Leo. Malalas tells the same story about Numerian, which must be a confusion with Valerian.
  17. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    Judging by the number of large handsome bronze coins made in the province of Cilicia, Valerian must have made a grandiose impression there :rolleyes:. This coin's reverse must relate to some specific event in the city's history. Cilicia must have been an important staging point for Valerian's troops in the Persian campaign.
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter Redditor Lucis Aeternae

    I like all of the talk about filming a movie of this period. Anyone with Hollywood connections? Let's create a film treatment and a script that can be optioned to a producer.
  19. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    ancient coin hunter, Your idea is right-on. I'm surprised it hasn't been done already. The two selling components for Hollywood are sex & violence. Maybe there isn't enough sex in this epic for Hollywood to jump on it.....
    ancient coin hunter likes this.
  20. Fugio1

    Fugio1 Supporter! Supporter

    Great narrative, I had lost this from the gray matter a long time ago. Valerian was a favorite of mine when I was collecting everything. Here's one that I no longer own but cherished at one time. FIDES MILITVM From his happier days?
    valerian antoninianus.jpg
  21. arizonarobin

    arizonarobin Well-Known Member Supporter

    Here is my favorite Valerian, mostly because it is double struck giving him two sets of eyes. ( I think it was @Mat who told me that with his double eye he should have avoided capture!) and of course how can I not include the lovely wife Mariniana!


    Valerian I. AD 253 - 260
    Antoninianus, Antioch; 4.36g; 22-25mm
    radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right
    Felicitas standing left, holding caduceus and cornucopiae
    RIC V 282


    Mariniana AR Antoninianus
    veiled & draped bust right on crescent
    peacock flying right, carrying Mariniana, veiled, with raised hand & scepter
    RIC 6
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