[Numerian] Introduction

Numerian was Roman Emperor from 283 to 284 alongside his older brother Carinus. They were sons of Carus, a general appointed as Praetorian Prefect under Emperor Probus in 282. Marcus Aurelius Numerius Numerianus, as he was called in Latin, died in November 284.

[Numerian] Early life and Carus' reign

Numerian was the younger son of Carus. In 282, the legions of the upper Danube proclaimed his father, the prefect Marcus Aurelius Carus, as emperor after a mutiny against the emperor Probus. Carus, wishing to establish a dynasty, immediately elevated Numerian and his brother Carinus to the rank of Caesar. In 283, Carus left Carinus in charge of the West and moved with Numerian to the East to wage war against the Sassanid Empire. Carus won a major victory, taking the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon and other cities on opposite banks of the Tigris. After Carus died in July of 283, Numerian and Carinus became the new Augusti.

Carinus quickly made his way to Rome from Gaul, while Numerian lingered in the East. The Roman retreat from Persia was orderly and unopposed. By November, Numerian had only reached Asia Minor. In Emesa he was seemingly healthy, issuing the only extant rescript in his name. Coins were issued in his name in Cyzicus before the end of 284, which seems to indicate he was still in the public eye. However, when the army arrived in Bithynia or Thrace, soldiers began to smell a odor reminiscent of a decaying corpse emanating from the coach Numerian travelled in. When the curtains were opened, Numerian was found dead. Diocletian was chosen as emperor by Numerian's generals and tribunes and accepted the purple imperial vestments. He killed Aper, who had been hauled bound to the assembly, in full view of the army, since Aper had been blamed for Numerian's death.

More Details