Claudius II, Roman Emperor

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Marcus Aurelius Flavius Claudius Gothicus

Birthplace: Dardania (Moesia Superior)
Death: Died in Ilíria
Cause of death: Plague
Immediate Family:

Son of Flavius Numerius and Claudia Apellina
Husband of Aurelia
Father of Claudia
Brother of Flavius Crispus and Quintillus, Roman Emperor

Occupation: Roman Emperor 268
Managed by: Jocelynn Elaine Oakes
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Claudius II, Roman Emperor

Claudius II

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Jump to: navigation, search

Claudius II

Emperor of the Roman Empire

Claudius II on a coin celebrating his equity (AEQUITAS AUGUSTI)

Reign 268 - January, 270

Full name Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus Gothicus

Born May 10, 213(213-05-10)/214

Syrmia / Dardania 

Died January 270


Predecessor Gallienus

Successor Quintillus

Marcus Aurelius Claudius Augustus Gothicus (May 10, 213/214 - January, 270), more often referred to as Claudius II, was a Roman Emperor. He ruled the Roman Empire for less than two years (268 - 270), but during that brief time he managed to obtain some successes. He was later given divine status.

Contents [hide]

1 Life

1.1 Origin and rise to power

1.2 Claudius as emperor

2 Links to Constantinian dynasty

3 See also

4 External links

[edit] Life

[edit] Origin and rise to power

Claudius' origin is uncertain. He was Illyrian either from Syrmia (Sirmium; in Pannonia Inferior) or from Dardania (in Moesia Superior).

Claudius was the commander of the Roman army that decisively defeated the Goths at the Battle of Naissus in September 268; in the same month, he attained the throne, amid charges, never proven, that he murdered his predecessor Gallienus. However, he soon proved to be less than bloodthirsty, as he asked the Roman Senate to spare the lives of Gallienus' family and supporters. He was less magnanimous toward Rome's enemies, however, and it was to this that he owed his popularity.

Claudius, like Maximinus Thrax before him, was of barbarian birth. After an interlude of failed aristocratic Roman emperors since Maximinus's death, Claudius was the first in a series of tough soldier-emperors who would eventually restore the Empire from the Crisis of the third century.

[edit] Claudius as emperor

At the time of his accession, the Roman Empire was in serious danger from several incursions, both within and outside its borders. The most pressing of these was an invasion of Illyricum and Pannonia by the Goths. Not long after being named emperor (or just prior to Gallienus' death, depending on the source), he won his greatest victory, and one of the greatest in the history of Roman arms.

At the Battle of Naissus, Claudius and his legions routed a huge Gothic army. Together with his cavalry commander, the future Emperor Aurelian, the Romans took thousands of prisoners, destroyed the Gothic cavalry as a force and stormed their chariot laager (a circular alignment of battle-wagons long favored by the Goths). The victory earned Claudius his surname of "Gothicus" (conqueror of the Goths), and that is how he is known to this day. More importantly, the Goths were soon driven back across the Danube River, and a century passed before they again posed a serious threat to the empire.

While this was going on, the Germanic tribe known as the Alamanni had crossed the Alps and attacked the empire. Claudius responded quickly and swiftly, routing the Alamanni at the Battle of Lake Benacus in the late fall of 268, a few months after the battle of Naissus. He then turned on the Gallic Empire, ruled by a pretender for the past fifteen years and encompassing Britain, Gaul, and the Iberian Peninsula. He won several victories and soon regained control of Spain and the Rhone river valley of Gaul. This set the stage for the ultimate destruction of the Gallic Empire under Aurelian.

However, Claudius did not live long enough to fulfill his goal of reuniting all the lost territories of the empire. Late in 269 he was preparing to go to war against the Vandals, who were raiding in Pannonia. However, he fell victim to an epidemic of plague and died early in January of 270. Before his death, he is thought to have named Aurelian as his successor, although Claudius' brother Quintillus briefly seized power.

The Senate immediately deified Claudius as "Divus Claudius Gothicus".

[edit] Links to Constantinian dynasty

The Historia Augusta reports Claudius and Quintillus having another brother named Crispus and through him a niece. Said niece Claudia reportedly married Eutropius and was mother to Constantius Chlorus. Historians however suspect this account to be a genealogical fabrication with the purpose to link Constantine I family to the one of another emperor.

[edit] See also

Roman Empire

[edit] External links

Commons has media related to Claudius II

Claudius II Gothicus (268-270)

Richard D. Weigel

Western Kentucky University

M. Aurelius Claudius, known to history as Claudius Gothicus or Claudius II, was born in either Dalmatia or Illyria on May 10, probably in A.D. 213 or 214.1 Although the most substantive source on Claudius is the biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (SHA), this account is riddled with fabrications and slanted with fawning praise for this particular emperor, who in the fourth century was viewed as an ancestor of Constantine's father and thus of the ruling imperial family. This biography, attributed to one Trebellius Pollio, must be read with extreme caution and supplemented with information from other sources, including Aurelius Victor, the Epitome de Caesaribus, Eutropius, Orosius, Zonaras, and Zosimus, as well as coins and inscriptions.

The SHA account describes Claudius as being tall, with fiery eyes, and so strong that he could knock out the teeth of man or beast with one punch. It also says that Trajan Decius rewarded him after Claudius demonstrated his strength while wrestling another soldier in the Campus Martius.2 The SHA author suggests that Claudius may have been descended from the Trojan King Ilus and even from Dardanus, son of Zeus and ancestor of the Trojan royal family, but these suggestions are very likely fabricated to further ennoble Claudius and his putative descendants, the family of Constantine.3The SHA biography also includes false letters attributed to the emperors Trajan Decius, Valerian, and Gallienus, all attesting to their high opinions of Claudius. Reference is made in these letters to Claudius' service as tribune in an otherwise unattested legion V Martialis and also as general in command of Illyria, but these positions may also be fictitious. 4 One can assume that Claudius had served for some time in the army, at least under Gallienus and perhaps also under several earlier emperors.

There is some evidence that Claudius was wounded in Gallienus' campaign to put down the revolt of Ingenuus and that he later served with Aureolus under Gallienus in the war with Postumus.5 By 268, when Gallienus took his troops into Italy to put down Aureolus' revolt, Claudius had emerged as heir-apparent to Gallienus and may also have been involved in the plot to assassinate the emperor.6 Aurelius Victor says that when Gallienus was killed by his own troops besieging Aureolus in Milan, Claudius as tribune was commanding the soldiers stationed at Ticinum, some twenty miles to the south, and that prior to dying Gallienus designated Claudius as his heir. Victor goes on to claim that after succeeding to the purple Claudius forced the Senate to deify Gallienus.7 The SHA account states that the soldiers mutinied after Gallienus' death and had to be quieted with a donative of twenty aurei each before settling down and accepting their new emperor.8 Once in power, Claudius quickly dealt with Aureolus, who surrendered and was killed almost immediately. The new emperor also demanded clemency for the supporters of Gallienus.9

The story of Gallienus' deathbed selection of his successor is doubtful at best and is very likely an attempt to deflect blame for the assassination plot from Claudius. The suggestion that the new emperor pressured the Senate to deify Gallienus is more difficult to assess. It is true that securing divine status for one's predecessor is generally seen as a pious act (e.g. Antoninus Pius requesting deification of Hadrian) that reflects positively on the initiator and the story, recorded only in Aurelius Victor, could just be a fabrication used to build up Claudius' moral reputation. What is difficult to penetrate is the biased condemnation of Gallienus that particularly dominates the Latin sources. They make it hard to see why anyone would want to deify Gallienus and so the story seems out of place. However, deification of a predecessor could also be interpreted as the expected thing to do and the act could have fostered legitimacy of the new emperor and gained support from those who were still loyal to Gallienus so it may well have taken place.

The first major challenge facing the new emperor was that of the Alemanni, who had invaded Raetia and Italy. After an early defeat, Claudius replaced some irresponsible officers and soldiers, designated Aurelian as cavalry commander, and led the army to a decisive victory over the Alemanni.10 This victory earned Claudius the title of Germanicus Maximus and several of his coin-types appear to refer to victory over the Germans.11

In 269 Claudius served as consul with Paternus.12 This year would also feature his major campaign against the Goths. There are indications that Spain separated itself from the Gallo-Roman Empire of Postumus and Tetricus and recognized Claudius, at least nominally, as emperor. In addition, rebellion within Gaul itself demonstrated the weakening of this independent state, although Claudius avoided engagement at Augustodunum and chose only to send a small force to protect Narbonese Gaul.13While Claudius concentrated on protecting Roman territory against the Alemanni and Goths, Zenobia extended her Palmyrene Empire by taking Antioch, parts of Asia Minor, and most of Egypt.14 Although Eusebius and Sulpicius Severus portray the period between the reign of Valerian and that of Diocletian as a peaceful pause in the persecution of Christians, the Acts of the Martyrs does list some individuals allegedly martyred during Claudius II's reign.15

The coins issued by Claudius II provide some limited insight into his reign.16 In addition to the standard "personified virtues" coins that are common with most emperors of the second and third centuries, Claudius struck coin-types proclaiming the security of the Empire (SECVRITAS PERPETVA and PAX AETERNA), the fidelity of the army (FIDES MILITVM), and military victories over the Germans and Goths (VICTORIA GERMAN and VICTORIAE GOTHIC).17 In addition, Claudius Gothicus' mints struck some other interesting and unusual coin-types. For example, Claudius is one of very few emperors who issued coins portraying the god Vulcan. These must have been limited issues because they are struck only by the Antioch mint and are very rare. The type shows Vulcan standing, with his special tools, the hammer and tongs, and features the unique inscription REGI ARTIS. A variant type with a similar image has been described as carrying another unique coin inscription, DEO CABIRO, and interpreted as depicting one of Vulcan's sons, the Cabiri, with the same tools. However, the existence of this variant type is doubtful.18Although the reason for honoring Vulcan (and his sons?) with these coins is unclear, there may be a connection to the fact that the Cabiri were patron gods of Thessalonica who had protected that city against an attack by the Goths.19Although a connection between Claudius Gothicus and the Cabiri as defenders against Gothic attacks is relatively attractive, it is weakened somewhat by the fact that Valerian and Gallienus had also issued coins with Vulcan in a temple so there may be some other reason for his reappearance on coins in this period.20

Claudius II issued an unusual and scarce series of coins that features a pair of deities, who are presumably conservatores Augusti, on each reverse. The AETER AVG type depicts Apollo and Diana, who, as gods of the sun and moon, are associated with the concept of aeternitas.21 A type featuring Serapis and Isis is combined with a CONSER AVG inscription and one of Hercules and Minerva with one of CONSERVATORES AVG.22 Apollo and Diana are depicted with a SALVS AVG inscription, Aesculapius and Salus with one of SPES PVBLIC, and Vulcan and Minerva with VIRT AVG. 23 The general message is that these deities will protect the future of the empire and the emperor.24

Other unusual coin-types include MARS VLTOR, the god Augustus had honored with a temple for securing revenge for Caesar's assassination. This deity had appeared on Roman coins in the reigns of Galba and Severus Alexander.25 Claudius II also minted coins with rarely-seen NEPTVN AVG and SOL AVG types.26 The latter coin indicates some early interest in the god who would become so dominant a few years later on the coins of Aurelian, yet Claudius also used the INVICTVS AVG inscription that Gallienus had paired with an image of Sol with one of Hercules.27 ROMAE AETERNAE coin-types were fairly common in the mid-third century, but Claudius II issued an unusual variant type on an aureus that showed the goddess in her temple and echoed the SAECVLVM NOVVM images associated with Philip I.28 In addition, Claudius introduced a IOVI VICTORI reverse combined with the image normally paired with a IOVI STATORI inscription and a IOVI FVLGERAT reverse inscription, both of which had not been used by any of his predecessors.29 Andreas Alföldi suggested that Claudius' GENIVS SENATVS type signified improvement of the relationship between emperor and Senate following the senatorial hostility toward Gallienus.30

Claudius Gothicus also produced coin-types with reverses of goddesses customarily found paired on coins with images of the Roman empresses. The deities portrayed include Ceres, Diana, Diana Lucifera, and Diana Victrix, Minerva, Venus, and the goddess naturally associated with the image of an empress, Juno Regina.31 One might suggest that Claudius issued these images because he had no empress with which to pair them, but an examination of other emperors' reigns during this period reveals that those emperors who did not issue coins bearing the empress' image also did not strike these particular goddess types. Although Ceres and Venus images are sometimes paired with an emperor's portrait, Diana Lucifera is rarely found on emperors' coins and Claudius II is the only emperor paired on coins with Juno Regina. In addition, Claudius was the first emperor to issue imperial coins that featured an isolated image of the exotic Egyptian goddess, Isis Faria.32

Claudius II's short reign was vulnerable to internal as well as external attack. There may have been a revolt in 269-270 led by a Censorinus, although the date and even the existence of this usurper remain in doubt. The SHA includes him as the last of the "thirty tyrants" and lists a whole series of offices for him, including two consulships, but no other record exists to confirm such service. The SHA account states that he was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers, but soon afterwards killed by them because of his enforcement of strict discipline. His tomb is listed as being in Bologna, which may provide some idea of the location for the revolt. Henry Cohen dates the revolt to the beginning of the year 270, perhaps on the basis of a reference in the Epitome de Caesaribus, but suggests that coins attributed to Censorinus in earlier works may not exist.33

The Gothic challenge in 269 proved to be the greatest that Claudius II would face. The Goths assembled a large invading force, reportedly amounting to 320,000 men transported on a fleet of at least 2,000 ships, and first attacked coastal cities along the Black Sea in Moesia. After passing into the Aegean the Goths besieged Thessalonica. At this point, in 269, Claudius left Rome to stop the invasion. The Goths then sent the larger segment of their troops on land toward the Danube, while the fleet took the remaining group to continue the naval attack on Aegean coastal cities. Claudius sent Aurelian's cavalry to Macedonia to protect Illyria from attack, while he commanded the forces blocking the route to the Danube. In the area of Doberus and Pelagonia, the Goths lost 3,000 men to Aurelian's cavalry. At Naissus in Moesia, Claudius' force succeeded in killing some 50,000 Goths. There were follow-up operations on both land and sea, but the Gothic War had essentially been won.34 Staving off the attacks of the Goths was a major contribution to the survival of the Roman Empire. It was a significant step leading to the subsequent success of Aurelian and the resurrection of the Empire under Diocletian and Constantine. When the Goths eventually succeeded in taking parts of the western Empire in the fifth century, their disruption to the course of civilization was likely much less violent than it would have been had they succeeded in the third century.

In addition to bad weather, a lack of supplies, and hunger, plague was a major factor in the defeat of the Goths. Many of the Gothic prisoners were either impressed into Roman military service or settled on farms as coloni. 35Claudius received the title Gothicus in recognition of his triumph over the Goths. At some point he had also been given the title Parthicus, but the unlikelihood of any conflict with the Parthians in his short reign makes this difficult to explain. Perhaps Damerau was correct in his suggestion that a Parthian unit may have been involved in one of the battles with the Palmyrenes, although on this front there were few achievements to claim.36 In any case, Claudius' victory over the Goths was short-lived. The emperor himself caught the plague and died at Sirmium early in 270. He was 56 years old.37 Claudius' brother, Quintillus, became emperor briefly before losing out to Aurelian. Claudius also had another brother, Crispus, and the SHA traces the link to Constantius through Crispus' daughter Claudia.38

The Roman Senate showed its respect for Claudius Gothicus by setting up a gold portrait-shield in the Curia and by approving his deification. He was also honored with a golden statue in front of the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and a silver statue set on a column on the Rostra.39

In many ways, Claudius II received more adulation and honor in his Nachleben than he had during his lifetime. In the fourth century, attempts to link Constantine's family to Claudius resulted in the phrases of adoration and outright fabrication that dominate the SHA life and most of our other sources. Constantine even issued commemorative coins honoring Claudius. These carried inscriptions such as: DIVO CLAVDIO OPT[IMO] IMP[ERATORI], MEMORIAE AETERNAE, and REQVIES OPT[IMORVM] ME[RITORVM].40A tradition grew that changed the story of Claudius' death in some sources. In this version, Claudius, instead of dying from the plague, had actually performed a devotio, in response to an oracle found in the Sibylline Books, and sacrificed his life so that Rome could win the Gothic War.41 One of the most surprising things about the SHA account is that it ignores this more dramatic tradition and has Claudius simply dying from the plague.42

One must, of course, reject the excessive claims of the SHA to the effect that Claudius II was "destined to rule for the good of the human race" and would, had he lived longer, "…by his strength, his counsel, and his foresight have restored to us the Scipios, the Camilli, and all those men of old."43 However, Claudius Gothicus was clearly a good emperor who made a significant contribution to protecting and restoring the Empire. In the third century there aren't too many emperors who merit such an assessment.




Secondary Sources:


Alföldi, A. "The Crisis of the Empire" chapter 6 in Cambridge Ancient History 12, 165-231

________."Zur Kenntnis der Zeit der römischen Soldatenkaiser" in Zeitschrift für Numismatik (1927), 197-212

Ancona, M. Claudio II e gli usurpatori (Messina, 1901)

Baldini, A. "Claudio Gotico e Costantino in Aurelio Vittore ed Epitome de Caesaribus" in G. Bonamente and F. Fusco, editors, Costantino il Grande 1 (2 vols., Macerata, 1992-1993), 73-89

Barnes, T. "Some Persons in the Historia Augusta" in Phoenix 26 (1972), 140-182

Bird, H., translator, Liber de Caesaribus of Sextus Aurelius Victor (Liverpool, 1994)

________. "The Historia Augusta on Constantine's Lineage" in Arctos 31 (1997), 9-17.

Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'empire romain 6 (Paris, 1880-1892)

Cope, L. "The Nadir of the Imperial Antoninianus in the Reign of Claudius Gothicus" in Numismatic Chronicle (1969), 145-161

Damerau, P. Kaiser Claudius II. Goticus (Leipzig, 1934)

Duncker, A. Claudius Gothicus (Diss: Marburg, 1868)

Henze, W. "Aurelius Claudius #82" in Pauly-Wissowa, R.E. II, 2458-2462

Homo, L. De Claudio Gothico, Romanorum Imperatore (268-270) (Paris, 1903)

Kettenhofen, E. "Die Einfälle der Heruler ins Römische Reich im 3. Jh. N. Chr." in Klio 74 (1992), 291-313

Kotula, T. Cesarz Klaudiusz II I Bellum Gothicum lat 269-270 (Wroclaw, 1994)

Lippold, A. "Constantius Caesar, Sieger über die Germanen. Nachfahre des Claudius Gothicus?" in Chiron 11 (1981), 347-369

________. "Kaiser Claudius II. (Gothicus), Vorfahr Konstantins d. Gr., und der römische Senat" Klio 74 (1992), 380-394

E. Merten, Stellenbiographie zur Historia Augusta 4 (Bonn, 1987)

Parker, H. A History of the Roman World A.D. 138-337 (London, 1958)

Robertson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet IV (Oxford, 1978)

Stein, A. "Censorinus #4" in Pauly-Wissowa, R.E.. III.2, 1908

________. "Zeitbestimmungen von Gallienus bis Aurelian" in Klio 21 (1927),, 78-82

Stevenson, S. A Dictionary of Roman Coins (London, 1889)

Strootmann, W. "Der Sieg über die Alamannen im Jahre 268" in Hermes 30 (1895), 355-360

Syme, R. Emperors and Biography: Studies in the Historia Augusta (Oxford, 1971)

________. "The Ancestry of Constantine" in J. von Straub, editor, Bonner Historia-Augusta-Colloquium 1971 (Bonn, 1974), 237-253

Watson, Alaric, Aurelian and the Third Century (London, 1999)

Webb, P. Roman Imperial Coinage 5.1 (London, 1927)

Weigel, R. "Juno Regina and the Roman Empresses" in SAN 12 (1981), 31-32

Wolfram, H. History of the Goths (Translated by T. Dunlap, Berkeley, 1988)


1 Damerau, 39. Henze (2458) suggests 219 or 220, but the earlier date has greater support.

2 SHA Claud. 13.5-8.

3 SHA Claud. 11.9.

4 SHA Claud. 14-17; see Damerau, 21-24 and Syme, 215-216.

5 SHA Gall. 7.1; Damerau, 43.

6 Zosimus 1.40.

7 Aur. Vict. 33; Bird, Liber, 34-35, 143 n.26, and 144 n.27.

8 SHA Gall.15.1-2.; Parker, 187

9 Aur. Vict. 33; SHA Claud. 5; Parker, 187.

10 SHA Aur.18.1; SHA Claud. 11.6-9; Damerau, 52-54, Parker, 187-188.

11 CIL 3.3521 and 12.2228; RIC 108 and 247-250; Damerau, 53, Henze, 2459. For lists of inscriptions pertaining to the reign of Claudius II, see Damerau, 103-107 and Homo, 97-106.

12 Damerau, 38.

13 Henze, 2459-2460; Parker, 188.

14 Zos. 1.44-45; SHA Claud. 11.1-2; SHA XXX Tyr. 30.3, 11; Ancona, 32-44; Damerau, 54-61; Henze, 2460-2461; Parker, 190-191.

15 Homo, 116-118.

16 A. Markl published a seies of articles on the coins of Claudius II in Wiener Numismatische Zeitschrift over the period from 1876 to 1905. Several are referenced in Henze, 2458 and Webb, xi. In addition to Cohen, Robertson, and Webb, see the lists in Homo, 107-115 and Damerau, 92-103.

17 See RIC 230, 237-239, 243, 246-252, 282.

18 RIC 204 and 215. A. Robertson (p. lxxii, n.3) raised the possibility that the DEO CABIRO coin is only a misreading of the REGI ARTIS type, but the scarcity of these coins makes that difficult to verify. See also Homo, 108, citing Markl.

19 P. Webb, 203-204. Webb cites Banduri as his source.

20 RIC Valerian 1, Gallienus 633, and Valerian II 2.

21 RIC 198.

22 RIC 202 and 203.

23 RIC 219, 222, and 224.

24 Three other scarce issues from Antioch, RIC 200 (CONCOR AVG with two veiled figures holding torches and ears of corn), 206 (FELIC AVG with Felicitas and a female figure), and 211 (IOVI CONSERV AVG with Jupiter and the Emperor) could also be included in this series.

25 Stevenson, 541; RIC 66-67 and 126..

26 RIC 214 and 221.

27 RIC 50, RIC Gallienus 640; Homo, 109, citing Markl, doubted the authenticity of this piece.

28 RIC 132.

29 RIC 6, 51, 53, and 124.

30 Alföldi, Crisis, 191. An improved relationship between emperor and Senate is certainly in accord with the reported senatorial honors given to Claudius II following his death. See below.

31 RIC 24, 29, 144, 205, 212, 236, and 245. Weigel, 31-32.

32 RIC 217-218; see also 202 with Isis and Serapis, discussed above.

33 SHA XXX Tyr. 33; Epitome de Caesaribus 34.3; Cohen VI, 173; Henze, 2461; Stein, "Censorinus", 1908.

34 Zos. 1.42-46; SHA Claud. 6-9, 11.3-4, 12.1; Damerau, 62-75; Henze, 2460.

35 Zos. 1.46; SHA Claud. 9.4-7; Wolfram, 55.

36 Damerau, 61; Henze, 2461.

37 SHA Claud. 12.2-3; Oros. 7.23; Eutr. 9.11; Henze, 2460. Alaric Watson (221-222) places Claudius' death in August of 270, citing evidence from Egyptian coin issues, but this view was raised over a century ago and has not generally prevailed. See Stein, "Zeitbestimmungen", 80-82.

38 SHA Claud.13.1-4; see Watson, 47, 222.

39 SHA Claud.3.3-5; Eutrop. 9.11; Oros. 7.23; Henze, 2462; Parker, 191-192.

40 RIC V.1, pp. 203, 236-237 (coins 292-299); Damerau, 82-84; Homo, 92-96.

41 Aur. Vict. 34; Amm. Mar. 16.10.3 and 31.5-7; Syme, 203-205, 234-235; Lippold, "Kaiser", 389-390.

42 SHA Claud. 12.2-3; Syme, 203-205, 234-235.

43 SHA Claud. 1.3 (Loeb translation by David Magie).

Copyright (C) 2001, Richard D. Weigel. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.

Comments to: Richard D. Weigel.

Updated:19 June 2001

History including Claudius II and Saint Valentine:

Saint Valentine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine of Terni oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni, from a 14th century French manuscript (BN, Mss fr. 185)

Bishop and Martyr

Born unknown,

Died ca. 269[1]

Venerated in Roman Catholic Church

Eastern Orthodox Church

Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

Feast 14 February

Attributes birds; roses; bishop with a crippled or epileptic child at his feet; bishop with a rooster nearby; bishop refusing to adore an idol; bishop being beheaded; priest bearing a sword; priest holding a sun; priest giving sight to a blind girl[1]

Patronage affianced couples, against fainting, bee keepers, greeting card manufacturers, happy marriages, love, plague, travellers, young people[1]

Saints Portal 

Saint Valentine (also Valentinus) refers to one of several martyred saints of ancient Rome. The feast of Saint Valentine was formerly celebrated on February 14 by the Roman Catholic Church until a revised calendar was issued in 1969, pursuant to the Second Vatican Council.[2] His feast day is July 30 in the Eastern Orthodox Church.

His birth date and birthplace are unknown. Valentine's name does not occur in the earliest list of Roman martyrs, which was compiled by the Chronographer of 354.

The feast of St. Valentine was first decreed in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among those "... whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." As Gelasius implied, nothing is known about the lives of any of these martyrs.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the saint whose feast was celebrated on the day now known as St. Valentine's Day was possibly one of three martyred men named Valentinus[3] who lived in the late third century, during the reign of Emperor Claudius II (died 270):

A priest in Rome

A bishop of Interamna (modern Terni)

A martyr in the Roman province of Africa.

Various dates are given for their martyrdoms: 269, 270, or 273.[4] The name was a popular one in late antiquity and is derived from valens,(worthy).[5] Several emperors and a pope bore the name,[6] not to mention a powerful gnostic teacher of the second century, Valentinius, for a time drawing a threateningly large following.

That the creation of the feast for such dimly conceived figures may have been an attempt to supersede the pagan holiday of Lupercalia that was still being celebrated in fifth-century Rome, on February 15 is apparently a figment of the English eighteenth-century antiquarian Alban Butler, embellished by Francis Douce, as Jack Oruch conclusively demonstrated in 1981.[7] Many of the current legends that characterise Saint Valentine were invented in the fourteenth century in England, notably by Geoffrey Chaucer and his circle, when the feast day of February 14 first became associated with romantic love.

Contents [hide]

1 Earliest church dedications

2 In the Golden Legend

3 Feasts and relics

3.1 St. Valentine's Day

4 See also

5 Notes

6 References

[edit] Earliest church dedications

It is believed that the priest of Rome and the bishop Valentinus are each buried along Via Flaminia outside Rome, at different distances from the city. Their calendar days of martyrdom have been made to coincide.[8] In the Middle Ages, two Roman churches were dedicated to Saint Valentinus. One was the tenth-century church Sancti Valentini de Balneo Miccine or de Piscina, which was rededicated by Pope Urban III in 1186. The other, on the Via Flaminia, was the ancient basilica S. Valentini extra Portam founded by Pope Julius I (337‑352), though not under this dedication.[9] Though the basilica is quae apellantur Valentini, "which is called of Valentinus", early basilicas were as often called by the name of their former patron as by the saint to whom they were dedicated: see titulus.

This, the earlier and by far more important of the churches, is dedicated to the less prominent of the two saints, Valentinus, presbyter of Rome;[10] this was the Basilica S. Valentini extra Portam, the "Basilica of Saint Valentinus beyond the Gate" which was situated beyond the Porta Flaminia (the Porta del Popolo, which was the Porta S. Valentini when William of Malmesbury visited Rome). It stood on the right hand side at the second milestone on the Via Flaminia.[11] It had its origins in a funerary chapel on the site of a catacombs, which Liber Pontificalis attributes to a foundation by Pope Julius I, who served 337-352: the dedications of two basilicas dedicated by Julius are not specified in Liber Pontificalis, however. It was restored or largely rebuilt by Pope Theodore (642‑649) and Leo III (795‑816), enriched with an altar cloth by Benedict II (683‑685) and by gifts of Pope Hadrian I (772‑795), Leo III and Gregory IV (827‑844), so that it had become ecclesia mirifice ornata., "a church marvelously enriched". The monastery of San Silverstro in Capite was annexed to it, and in the surviving epitome of a lost catalogue of the churches of Rome, compiled by Giraldus Cambrensis about 1200, it was hospitale S. Valentini extra urbem, the "hospital of Saint Valentinus outside the city". But in the thirteenth century the martyr's relics were transferred to San Prassede, and the ancient basilica decayed: in Signorili's catalogue, made about 1425 it was Ecclesia sancti Valentini extra portam sine muris non habet sacerdotem, "the church of Saint Valentinus beyond the gate without [enclosing] walls, has no priest".[12]

In the catacombs connected with the basilica of Valentinus, outside the Porta del Popolo, nineteenth-century excavations unearthed two hundred Christian inscriptions.[13] Lanciani reported, from the chronicle of the monastery of S. Michael ad Mosam, an account of a pilgrim of the eleventh century who obtained relics of saints "'from the keeper of a certain cemetery, in which lamps are always burning.'" He refers to the basilica of S. Valentine and the small hypogaeum attached to it (discovered in 1887)"[14]

The earliest written Acta for Saint Valentinus were written in the sixth or seventh century, when the hagiographical genre was well established, with pious accounts of magic and torture shared among many texts and applied to many martyr-saints. The longer of the two is that written of the martyr Valentinus of Terni and his magical cure, through faith alone, of a crippled child. Bede, in the eighth century, knew of both hagiographies and included rescripts of both under 14 February in his martyrology.[15]

[edit] In the Golden Legend

The Legenda Aurea of Jacobus de Voragine, compiled about 1260 and one of the most-read books of the High Middle Ages, gives sufficient details of the saints and for each day of the liturgical year to inspire a homily on each occasion. The very brief vita of St Valentine has him refusing to deny Christ before the "Emperor Claudius"[16] in the year 280. Before his head was cut off, this Valentine restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer. Jacobus makes a play with the etymology of "Valentine", "as containing valour".

The Legenda Aurea does not contain anything about hearts and last notes signed "from your Valentine", as is sometimes suggested in modern works of sentimental piety [1]. Many of the current legends surrounding them appear in the late Middle Ages in France and England, when the feast day of February 14 became associated with romantic love.

[edit] Feasts and relics

[edit] St. Valentine's Day

For more details on this topic, see Valentine's Day.

Until 1969, the Catholic Church formally recognized a total of eleven Valentine's days. Besides February 14, these include January 7, May 2, July 16, August 31, September 2, October 25, November 1 and November 3, November 11, November 13, and December 16. Valentin Faustino Berri Ochoa, whose saint's day is November 1, lived in the nineteenth century. The Orthodox Church recognizes a somewhat different list of Valentine's days.[17]Jack Oruch has made a well-supported case[18] that the traditions associated with "Valentine's Day", well-documented in Geoffrey Chaucer's Parliament of Foules, and generally set in a supposed context of an old tradition, in fact had no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among eighteenth-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler's Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, "the idea that Valentine's Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present."[19] In the French fourteenth-century manuscript illumination from a a Vies des Saints[20] (illustration above), Saint Valentine, bishop of Terni, oversees the construction of his basilica at Terni; there is no suggestion here yet that the bishop was a patron of lovers.

In 1836, relics that were exhumed from the catacombs of Saint Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina, then near (rather than inside) Rome, were identified with St Valentine; placed in a gilded casket, they were transported to the Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland, to which they were donated by Pope Gregory XVI. Many tourists visit the saintly remains on St. Valentine's Day, when the casket is carried in solemn procession to the high altar for a special Mass dedicated to young people and all those in love. Alleged relics of St Valentine also lie at the reliquary of Roquemaure in France, in the Stephansdom in Vienna and also in Blessed St. John Duns Scotus church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow, Scotland.There is also gold reliquary bearing the words 'Corpus St. Valentin, M' (Body of st. Valentine, martyr) at The Birmingham Oratory, Uk in one of the side altars in the main church.

Of greatest interest at this altar is the rich coffin which lies beneath it, containing the body of S. Valentine, a martyr whose relics from the Roman catacombs were given to Newman by Pope (now Blessed) Pius IX in 1847.[21]

The saint's feast day was removed from the Church calendar in 1969 as part of a broader effort to remove saints viewed by some as being of purely legendary origin.[22] The feast day is still celebrated within the Church on local calendars such as in Balzan and in Malta where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Vatican II calendar. Prior to the creation of the new calendar, the church in Rome that had been dedicated to him observed his feast day by, among other things, displaying his reputed skull surrounded by roses.

The canonized bishop of Terni continues to be celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church on July 6. So on 14th Febuary when st Valentin died who belived in love died so we call it Valentin's day

[edit] See also

Valentine's Day

La Fete du Baiser

Valentine's Day: Love and Romance Through the Ages

La Saint-Valentin : L'amour et la tendresse à travers les âges

[edit] Notes

^ a b c Jones, Terry. Valentine of Rome. Patron Saints Index. Retrieved on 2007-02-14.

^ "In 1969 the Vatican cast a critical eye on more than 40 saints and dropped them from the official catalog, or liturgical calendar. Removed were such well-known saints as Saint Christopher... and Saint Valentine." Lo Bello, Nino (1998). The Incredible Book of Vatican Facts and Papal Curiosities. New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 195.

^ Valentine, Catholic Encyclopedia

^ Jack Oruch, "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February", Speculum 56.3 (July 1981 pp 534-565) p 535.

^ IOL, article dated February 09 2001

^ Oruch 1981:535.

^ Jack Oruch identified the inception of this fabled connection in Butler's Lives of the... Saints, 1756, and Douce's Illustrations of Shakespeare, and of Ancient Manner. See Oruch, "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February", Speculum 56.3 (July 1981), pp 534-565.

^ René Aigrain, Hagiographie: Ses sources, ses méthodes, son histoire, (Paris 1953, pp 268-69; Agostino S. Amore, "S. Valentino di Roma o di Terni?", Antonianum 41.(1966), pp 260-77.

^ Christian Hülsen, Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo (Florence: Olschki, (On-line text).

^ He figures only in the account of the martyrdom of Marius and Martha and their company, Passio SS. Marii, Marthae et socc. §§ 6-10, 15. (University of Manchester).

^ The later church also dedicated to a Valentinus— the more prominent bishop of Terni, the only Valentinus mentioned in Martyrologium Hieronymianum— was further along, at milestone 64 (Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911; Handlist of Roman martyrs).

^ Christian Hülsen, Le Chiese di Roma nel Medio Evo (Florence: Olschki) 1927. (on-line text).

^ Rodolfo Lanciani, Pagan and Christian Rome (English translation, 1892 ([outside the Porta del Popolo On-line text])

^ R. Lanciani, op. cit.

^ Oruch 1981:538.

^ Under the circumstances, the "Emperor Claudius" was a detail meant to enhance verisimilitude. Attempts to identify him with the only third-century Claudius, Claudius Gothicus, who spent his brief reign (268-270) away from Rome winning his cognomen, are illusions in pursuit of a literary phantom: "No evidence outside several late saints' legends suggests that Claudius II reversed the policy of toleration established by the policy of his predecessor Gallienus", Jack Oruch states, in "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February", Speculum 56.3 (July 1981),p 536, referencing William H.C. Frend, Martyrdom and Persecution in the Early Church (New York, 1967, p 326.

^ The Orthodox list is available here.

^ Oruch 1981:534-565.

^ Oruch 1981:539.

^ BN, Mss fr. 185. The book of Lives of the Saints, with illuminations by Richard de Montbaston and collaborators, was among the manuscripts that Cardinal Richelieu bequeathed to the King of France (Further illuminations can be found on-line).

^ Birmingham Oratory Website: "Irish Historical Mysteries: St. Valentine in Dublin".

^ The cleaning procedure is mentioned in a New York Times article on Pope John Paul II's extensive creating of saints. Valentine was a victim of this in the sense that celebration of his Day is now 'restricted to local churches' (see for example here).

[edit] References

Golden Legend: St. Valentine

Catholic Encyclopedia: St. Valentine

In Search of St. Valentine

Oruch, Jack B. 1981. "St. Valentine, Chaucer, and Spring in February", Speculum 56.3 (July 1981), pp 534-565.

Retrieved from "" -------------------- •ID: I86648

•Name: Claudius II Gothicus

•Given Name: Claudius II

•Surname: Gothicus

•Sex: M

•_UID: 34059CF1FB268A4BBAC5D780106306D6E1C5

•Change Date: 18 Oct 2005

•Birth: 10 MAY 214

•Death: deceased

Father: Flavius Numerius

Mother: Claudia Appelinius b: ABT 200

Forrás / Source: -------------------- Anmärkning: Död i 269 av pesten. --------------------

Another Roman ancestry leading to Constantine I, Augustus, the Great, is as follows:

There were two brothers, whose parentage is unknown, possibly the sons of a Claudius I, as follows:

   * 1. Claudius II. See below.
   * 2. Marcus Aurelius Claudius Quintillus, who succeeded his brother in 270, as the Emperor.
         o 1. Claudius II. (Marcus Aurelius Flavius Claudius Gothicus), a virtuous and worthy Emperor (268-270), who was a soldier, statesman, and a distinguished officer. He was born in Illyria in 214, and was trained in the hard school of warfare on the Danube frontier. He died at the age of fifty-five of a pestilence (The Plague) that was decimating Goths and Romans alike in 270. He rescued Thessalonica, drove the Goths up the Vardar valley, and defeated them with great slaughter at Naissus, the modern Nish in 269 A.D. If he had lost that battle no army would have intervened between the Goths and Italy. He had a daughter, Claudia.