Infobox Roman emperor
title = Emperor of the Roman Empire
name =Galerius
full name =Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 4.]

caption =Coin of Galerius
reign =March 1 or May 21 293 [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", pp. 8–9; Barnes, "New Empire", pp. 4, 38; Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 288; Southern, "Severus to Constantine", p. 146; Williams, "Diocletian", pp. 64–65. The earlier dates for Galerius' appointment have been argued for based on the suggestion that the appointments of Constantius and Galerius were timed coincide (Barnes 1981, 8–9; Southern 1999, 146). Barnes (1982, 62) argues against a dating of May 21 293 in Nicomedia originating in Seston, "Dioclétien", 88ff., stating that the evidence adduced (the Paschal Chronicle 521 = "Chronica Minora" 1.229 and Lactantius, "DMP" 19.2) is invalid and confused. Lactantius is commenting on Diocletian and the place where Diocletian was acclaimed, and that the "Maximianus" in the text is therefore a later gloss; the Paschal Chronicle is not authoritative for this period for events outside Egypt, and may simply be commenting on the day when the laureled image of the new emperors arrived in Alexandria. Potter (2004, 650) agrees that locating the acclamation to Nicomedia is false, but believes that Seston's other evidence makes a strong case for a temporal lag between the two Caesars' acclamations.] – May 1 305 (as Caesar, under Diocletian) [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 4.]
May 1 305 – late April or early May 311 (as Augustus alongside Constantius (until July 25 306) then Severus (until spring 307) then Constantine (from "ca". September 307; unrecognized by Galerius' coinage from "ca". September 307 to November 308) then Licinius (from November 11 308)) [Barnes, "New Empire", pp. 4–6.]
predecessor =Maximian and Diocletian [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 4.]
successor =Maximinus, Constantine, and Licinius [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 7.]
spouse =Valeria [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 38.]
spouse 2 =
issue =
dynasty =
father =
mother =Romula (alleged) [Barnes, "New Empire", pp. 37–38.]
date of birth ="ca". 260 [Barnes, "New Empire", pp. 37, 46.]
place of birth =Felix Romuliana (Gamzigrad, Serbia) [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 37.]
date of death =Late April or early May 311 [Lactantius, "DMP" 35.4. The exact date is lost in a lacuna (Barnes 1982, 6).]
place of death =near Serdica
place of burial =Felix Romuliana (Gamzigrad, Serbia) [Barnes, "New Empire", p. 37.] |

Galerius Maximianus ("ca". 260–late April or early May 311), formally Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus was Roman Emperor from 305 to 311.

Early life

Galerius was born near Serdica, Thrace (now Sofia, Bulgaria), [cite web |url= |title=Galerius |publisher=Britannica Online Encyclopedia |accessdate=2008-09-08 ] in the place where he later built his palace, Felix Romuliana (today Gamzigrad, Serbia) [Alexander Demandt, Die Spätantike, Munchen 2007, pp. 59.] . His father was a Thracian and his mother Romula was a Dacian woman, who left Dacia because of the Carpians attacksFact|date=August 2008. He originally followed his father's occupation, that of a herdsman, where he got his surname of Armentarius (Latin: "armentum", herd). He served with distinction as a soldier under Emperors Aurelian and Probus, and in 293 at the establishment of the Tetrarchy, was designated "Caesar" along with Constantius Chlorus, receiving in marriage Diocletian's daughter Valeria (later known as Galeria Valeria), and at the same time being entrusted with the care of the Illyrian provinces. Soon after his appointment, Galerius would be dispatched to Egypt to fight the rebellious cities Busiris and Coptos. [Rees, "Diocletian and the Tetrarchy", p. 14, citing William Leadbetter, "Galerius and the Revolt of the Thebaid, 293/4," "Antichthon" 34 (2000) 82–94.]

War with Persia

Invasion, counterinvasion

In 294, Narseh, a son of Shapur who had been passed over for the Sassanid succession, came into power in Persia. Narseh probably moved to eliminate Bahram III, a young man installed by a noble named Vahunam in the wake of Bahram II's death in 293. [Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 292; Williams, "Diocletian", p. 69.] In early 294, Narseh sent Diocletian the customary package of gifts, but within Persia he was destroying every trace of his immediate predecessors, erasing their names from public monuments. He sought to identify himself with the warlike reigns of Ardashir (r. 226–41) and Shapur (r. 241–72), the same Shapur who had sacked Roman Antioch, skinned the Emperor Valerian (r. 253–260) to decorate his war temple. [Williams, "Diocletian", p. 69–70.]

In 295 or 296, Narseh declared war on Rome. He appears to have first invaded western Armenia, retaking the lands delivered to Tiridates in the peace of 287. He would occupy the lands there until the following year. [Ammianus Marcellinus 23.5.11; Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 17; Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 292; Southern, "Severus to Constantine", p. 149. The late historian Ammianus Marcellinus is the only source detailing the initial invasion of Armenia (Potter 2004, 651–52). Southern (1999, 149) dates the invasion to 295; Barnes (1982, 17, 293) mentions an earlier, unsuccessful invasion by Narseh based on the fact that the title "Persici Maximi" was given to all four emperors; Odahl (2004, 59) concurs with Barnes and suggests that Saracen princes in the Syrian desert collaborated with Narseh's invasion.] Narseh then moved south into Roman Mesopotamia, where he inflicted a severe defeat on Galerius, then commander of the Eastern forces, in the region between Carrhae (Harran, Turkey) and Callinicum (Ar-Raqqah, Syria). [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 17.] Diocletian may or may not have been present at the battle, [Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 652.] but would present himself soon afterwards at Antioch, where the official version of events was made clear: Galerius was to take all the blame for the affair. In Antioch, Diocletian forced Galerius to walk a mile in advance of his imperial cart while still clad in the purple robes of an emperor. [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 17; Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", pp. 292–93.] The message conveyed was clear: the loss at Carrhae was not due to the failings of the empire's soldiers, but due to the failings of their commander, and Galerius' failures would not be accepted.Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 293.] (It is also possible that Galerius' position at the head of the caravan was merely the conventional organization of an imperial progression, designed to show a Caesar's deference to his Augustus.) [Rees, "Diocletian and the Tetrarchy", p. 14.]

Galerius had been reinforced, probably in the spring of 298, by a new contingent collected from the empire's Danubian holdings.Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 18.] Narseh did not advance from Armenia and Mesopotamia, leaving Galerius to lead the offensive in 298 with an attack on northern Mesopotamia via Armenia. Diocletian may or may not have been present to assist the campaign. [Lactantius ("DMP" 9.6) derides Diocletian for his absence from the front; Southern (1999, 151, 335–36), on the basis of a dating of the African campaigns one year earlier than that given by Barnes, places him at Galerius' southern flank. Southern sees the Persian campaign progressing along the lines of Marcus Aurelius' (r. 161–80) earlier, unsuccessful Parthian campaign, which also had an emperor manning the southern flank.] Narseh retreated to Armenia to fight Galerius' force, to Narseh's disadvantage: the rugged Armenian terrain was favorable to Roman infantry, but unfavorable to Sassanid cavalry. Local aid gave Galerius the advantage of surprise over the Persian forces, and, in two successive battles, Galerius secured victories over Narseh. [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 18; Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 293.]

During the second encounter, Roman forces seized Narseh's camp, his treasury, his harem, and his wife along with it. [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 18; Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 293.] Narseh's wife would live out the remainder of the war in Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, serving to the Persians as a constant reminder of Roman victory. Galerius advanced into Media and Adiabene, winning continuous victories, most prominently near Erzurum, [Southern, "Severus to Constantine", p. 151.] and securing Nisibis (Nusaybin, Turkey) before October 1 298. He moved down the Tigris, taking Ctesiphon, and gazing onwards to the ruins of Babylon before returning to Roman territory via the Euphrates. [Barnes, "Constantine and Eusebius", p. 18. No source ever specifically claims that Ctesiphon was sacked, but it is assumed to have been so, primarily due to the seizure of Narseh's wife and harem (Southern, "Severus to Constantine", p. 150).]

Peace negotiations

Narseh had previously sent an ambassador to Galerius to plead for the return of his wives and children, but Galerius had dismissed this ambassador, reminding him of how Shapur had treated Valerian. The Romans, in any case, treated Narseh's captured family with tact, perhaps seeking to evoke comparisons to Alexander and his beneficent conduct towards the family of Darius III. Peace negotiations began in the spring of 299, with both Diocletian and Galerius presiding. Their "magister memoriae" (secretary) Sicorius Probus was sent to Narseh to present terms.

The conditions of the peace were heavy: Persia would give up territory to Rome, making the Tigris the boundary between the two empires. Further terms specified that Armenia was returned to Roman domination, with the fort of Ziatha as its border; Caucasian Iberia would pay allegiance to Rome under a Roman appointee; Nisibis, now under Roman rule, would become the sole conduit for trade between Persia and Rome; and Rome would exercise control over the five satrapies between the Tigris and Armenia: Ingilene, Sophanene (Sophene), Arzanene (Aghdznik), Corduene, and Zabdicene (near modern Hakkâri, Turkey). These regions included the passage of the Tigris through the Anti-Taurus range; the Bitlis pass, the quickest southerly route into Persian Armenia; and access to the Tur Abdin plateau. With these territories, Rome would have an advance station north of Ctesiphon, and would be able to slow any future advance of Persian forces through the region. [The acceptance of these terms by the Persians also meant that Syriac culture would earn long-term influence in the region on both sides of the Tigris. With the heavily Christian Syriac peoples so near their border, Armenia would also become susceptible to Christian influence in later years, leading to its eventual conversion under Tiridates. Potter, "The Roman Empire at Bay", p. 293.] Under the terms of the peace Tiridates would regain both his throne and the entirety of his ancestral claim, and Rome would secure a wide zone of cultural influence in the region. The fact that the empire was able to sustain such constant warfare on so many fronts has been taken as a sign of the essential efficacy of the Diocletianic system and the goodwill of the army towards the tetrarchic enterprise. [Southern, "Severus to Constantine", p. 150.]

Persecution of Christians

Christians had lived in peace during most of the rule of Diocletian. The persecutions that began with an edict of February 24 303, were credited by Christians to Galerius' work, as he was a fierce advocate of the old ways and old gods. Christian houses of assembly were destroyed, for fear of sedition in secret gatherings.

Diocletian was not anti-Christian during the first part of his reign, and historians have claimed that Galerius decided to prod him into persecuting them by secretly burning the Imperial Palace and blaming it on Christian saboteurs. Regardless of who was at fault for the fire, Diocletian's rage was aroused and he began one of the last and greatest Christian persecutions in the history of the Roman Empire.

It was at the insistence of Galerius that the last edicts of persecution against the Christians were published, beginning on February 24, 303, and this policy of repression was maintained by him until the appearance of the general edict of toleration, issued from Nicomedia in April 311, apparently during his last bout of illness, in his own name and in those of Licinius and Constantine (see "Edict of Toleration by Galerius"). Lactantius gives the text of the edict in his moralized chronicle of the bad ends to which all the persecutors came, "De Mortibus Persecutorum" ("On the Deaths of the Persecutors", chapters 34, 35). This marked the end of official persecution of Christians.


Galerius died on 5 May, 311 from a horribly gruesome disease described by Eusebius, possibly some form of bowel cancer, gangrene or Fournier gangrene.

Galerius is remembered in Serbian mithology as herdsman emperor ( _la. armentarius; _sr. car govedar) [Aurelius Victor,De Caesaribus, 39, 24.]

Gamzigrad-Romuliana, Palace of Galerius near Zaječar in Serbia he had constructed in his birthplace, was inscribed into the World Heritage List in June 2007.



* Banchich, Thomas M. " [ Iulianus ("ca". 286–293 A.D.)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (1997). Accessed March 8, 2008.
* Barnes, Timothy D. "Lactantius and Constantine." "The Journal of Roman Studies" 63 (1973): 29–46.
* Barnes, Timothy D. "Constantine and Eusebius". Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981. ISBN 978-0674165311
* Barnes, Timothy D. "The New Empire of Diocletian and Constantine". Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1982. ISBN 0783722214
* Bleckmann, Bruno. "Diocletianus." In "Brill's New Pauly, Volume 4", edited by Hubert Cancik and Helmut Schneider, 429–38. Leiden: Brill, 2002. ISBN 9004122591
* Bowman, Alan K., Peter Garnsey, and Averil Cameron. "The Cambridge Ancient History, Volume XII: The Crisis of Empire". Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-521-30199-8
* Brown, Peter. "The Rise of Western Christendom". Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003. ISBN 0-631-22138-7
* Burgess, R.W. "The Date of the Persecution of Christians in the Army". "Journal of Theological Studies" 47:1 (1996): 157–158.
* Corcoran, Simon. "The Empire of the Tetrarchs: Imperial Pronouncements and Government, AD 284–324". Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996. ISBN 019815304X
* Corcoran, "Before Constantine", Simon. "Before Constantine." In "The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine", edited by Noel Lenski, 35–58. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Hardcover ISBN 0-521-81838-9 Paperback ISBN 0-521-52157-2
* DiMaio, Jr., Michael. " [ Constantius I Chlorus (305–306 A.D.)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (1996a). Accessed March 8, 2008.
* DiMaio, Jr., Michael. " [ Galerius (305–311 A.D.)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (1996b). Accessed March 8, 2008.
* DiMaio, Jr., Michael. " [ Maximianus Herculius (286–305 A.D)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (1997). Accessed March 8, 2008.
* Elliott, T. G. "The Christianity of Constantine the Great". Scranton, PA: University of Scranton Press, 1996. ISBN 0-940866-59-5
* Harries, Jill. "Law and Empire in Late Antiquity". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Hardcover ISBN 0-521-41087-8 Paperback ISBN 0-521-42273-6
* Helgeland, John. "Christians and the Roman Army A.D. 173–337." "Church History" 43:2 (1974): 149–163, 200.
* Jones, A.H.M. "The Later Roman Empire, 284–602: A Social, Economic and Administrative Survey". Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 1986.
* Lenski, Noel. "The Reign of Constantine." In "The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine", edited by Noel Lenski, 59–90. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006b. Hardcover ISBN 0-521-81838-9 Paperback ISBN 0-521-52157-2
* Mackay, Christopher S. "Lactantius and the Succession to Diocletian." "Classical Philology" 94:2 (1999): 198–209.
* Mathisen, Ralph W. " [ Diocletian (284–305 A.D.)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (1997). Accessed February 16, 2008.
* Odahl, Charles Matson. "Constantine and the Christian Empire". New York: Routledge, 2004. Hardcover ISBN 0-415-17485-6 Paperback ISBN 0-415-38655-1
* Pohlsander, Hans. "The Emperor Constantine". London & New York: Routledge, 2004a. Hardcover ISBN 0-415-31937-4 Paperback ISBN 0-415-31938-2
* Pohlsander, Hans. " [ Constantine I (306 - 337 A.D.)] ." "De Imperatoribus Romanis" (2004b). Accessed December 16, 2007.
* Potter, David S. "The Roman Empire at Bay: AD 180–395". New York: Routledge, 2005. Hardcover ISBN 0-415-10057-7 Paperback ISBN 0-415-10058-5
* Rees, Roger. "Diocletian and the Tetrarchy". Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-7486-1661-6
* Southern, Pat. "The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine". New York: Routledge, 2001. ISBN 0-415-23944-3
* Rostovtzeff, Michael. "The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire". Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1966. ISBN 978-0198142317
* Treadgold, Warren. "A History of the Byzantine State and Society". Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1997. ISBN 0-8047-2630-2
* Williams, Stephen. "Diocletian and the Roman Recovery". New York: Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-91827-8

ee also

* Arch and Tomb of Galerius

External links

* [ Medieval Sourcebook] : Edict of Toleration by Galerius, 311.
* [ Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus]
* [ Lactantius about Galerius in his "De Mortibus Persecutorum" chapter XXIII & XXVII]
* [ Catholic Encyclopedia] s-ttl | title=Roman Emperor
years=305 (Caesar from 293)–311
alongside=Constantius Chlorus, Constantine I, Licinius, Maximinus

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Galerius — Galerius,   Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, römischer Kaiser (seit 305), * bei Serdica (heute Sofia) um 250, ✝ Nikomedia (heute İzmit) Mai 311; von niederer illyrischer Herkunft; diente sich als Soldat empor, wurde 293 von Diokletian… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Galerĭus — Galerĭus, 1) G. Trachalus, war 67 n. Chr. Consul, zu seiner Zeit berühmter Redner in Rom, von welchem das Gerücht ging, daß er für den Kaiser Otho die Reden machte, welche dieser im Senat u. vor dem Heere hielt; 2) Cajus G. Valerius Maximianus… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Galerĭus — Galerĭus, Gajus G. Valerius Maximianus, röm. Kaiser, geb. bei Serdica in Darien, war in seiner Jugend Hirt, schwang sich sodann als Soldat zu den höchsten militärischen Würden auf, ward 293 von Kaiser Diokletian zum Schwiegersohn erwählt,… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Galerius — Galerĭus, Gajus, röm. Kaiser 305 311, geb. zu Sardica in Dazien, ursprünglich Hirt, arbeitete sich zu den höchsten militär. Würden empor. 293 wurde er Adoptiv und Schwiegersohn Diokletians und Cäsar des Ostens, besiegte 297 entscheidend die… …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Galerius — Galerius, C. Valerius Maximinus, dacischer Hirt, dann Soldat, stieg durch seine Tapferkeit zu den höchsten militär. Würden, wurde Diocletians Schwiegersohn und Mitkaiser, besiegte die Perser, wurde 305 mit Constantius Augustus, st. 311 in Folge… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Galerius — Münze des Galerius Galerius (* um 250; † 311 in Serdica), mit vollem Namen Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, war ein römischer Kaiser. Zunächst war er von 293 bis 305 untergeordneter Mitkaiser (Caesar) in der ersten Tetrarchie, bis er 305 zum… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Galerius — in full Gaius Galerius Valerius Maximianus born , near Serdica, Thrace died 311 Roman emperor (305–311) notorious for his persecution of Christians. As caesar and a victorious commander, he apparently induced Diocletian to begin the persecutions …   Universalium

  • Galérius — Galère (empereur romain) Pour les articles homonymes, voir Galère. Galère …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Galerius —    Member of the tetrarchy (q.v.). Diocletian (q.v.) chose him as caesar (q.v.) in 293, with jurisdiction over the Balkan Peninsula (q.v.) and the Danubian provinces. At Thessalonike (q.v.) are the remains of what may have been his palace, now… …   Historical dictionary of Byzantium

  • GALERIUS — I. GALERIUS Tuscorum Rex. II. GALERIUS a Narse victus, ad Diocletianum fugit, principi occurrens in itinere, ad quem antea belli fama pervenerat, purpurâ indutus (Caesar enim erat) mille passus ante carpentum indignati Principis, pedes cucurrit.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.