Aurelian

Aurelian (Lucius Domitius Aurelianus)ôrēˈlēən, c.212–275, Roman emperor (270–75). Rising in the ranks, he became consul under Valerian. He succeeded Claudius II, whose victory over the Goths had begun the territorial rehabilitation of the empire. Aurelian conceded Dacia to the Goths but consolidated the Danubian provinces and held the barbarians beyond the Rhine in check. His most brilliant exploits were in the East—especially in Palmyra, where he captured Zenobia and destroyed her kingdom. Aurelian went to Gaul, where he received the submission of the independent "Emperor" Tetricus. One of Rome's greatest emperors, Aurelian regained Britain, Gaul, Spain, Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia and removed for a while the barbarian threat to the eastern provinces. He fortified Rome with a wall some 12 mi (19 km) in circumference, averaging more than 40 ft (12.2 m) in height. Much of it still remains. Aurelian was murdered, and Marcus Claudius Tacitus succeeded him.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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