GALLIENUS, gal''i-e'nus, PUBLIUS LICINIUS:
Roman emperor 280-268; b. 218 or 219; d. at
Milan Mar. 4, 268. In 254 he was made coregent by
his father, the Emperor Valerian, and ruled with
until 260, when the elder emperor was taken
prisoner by the Persians. Gallienus thenceforth
seems to have remained sole ruler, for it is not certain that his stepbrother, the younger Valerian, ever
became Augustus. On the revolt of Aureolus in
Illyria, Gallienus marched against him and laid
siege to Milan, but fell a victim to a conspiracy of
his officers, headed by Aurelian and Heraclian.
His reign was marked by inroads of the barbarians
from the north and east, and by ceaseless meurrections and attempts at usurpation. Notwithstanding that he was unequal to the tasks which
confronted him, Gallienus was highly lauded by
his elder contemporary Dionysius, bishop of
Alexandria, who, writing to Hermammon in 262
Hist. seal., vii.
23), compared the emperor to the sun which shines again after its temporary obscurity by a cloud (alluding to the usurper
Macrianus, who had taken possession of Egypt),
and even saw in him the fulfilment of the prophecy
The ground of this favorable judgement of Dionysius, in which Eusebius concurs, is evidently the repeal by the new emperor of the harsh edicts of Valerian against the Christians. It has even been stated (without cogent evidence) that he declared Christianity to be a tolerated religion. The edict issued by Gallienus in 260 is lost, and the one translated from the Latin by Eusebius (Hist. eccl., VII., xiii. 2) is a special edict for Egypt, promulgated in 261. Granting that the edict for the entire empire was analogous to this Egyptian decree, it merely provided that the bishops should not be sought out by the authorities, and that the places of worship should be left unmolested. It therefore simply restored the conditions which existed before the reigns of Decius and Valerian, without giving Christianity the slightest official recognition. The fact that the decree was addressed directly to the bishops was indeed unprecedented, but this was clearly due to the importance and influence which they had attained. Eusebius himself, moreover, merely states that Gallienus alleviated the position of the Christians, but nowhere says that he tolerated them, while the mesa of Christian tradition has either ignored the edict or paid scant attention to it. The clearest evidence that the attitude of the State toward Christianity was unchanged lies in the fact that Christian soldiers could still suffer martyrdom for their faith (cf. Eusebius, Hist. eccl., vii. 15). The most that can be said is that the repeal of the edicts of Valerian practically amounted to a declaration of toleration for the Church in view of the position which it then occupied. Despairing of the
possibility of crushing Christianity by persecution, Gallienus determined to leave it alone, though without changing its legal status. Nevertheless, it is clear, from the executions during his reign and the rule of his successors, that the State still claimed the right to inflict capital punishment for refusal to worship the images of the emperor or even for the avowal of a belief in Christianity.
Bibliography: The sources are: Porphyry, Vita Plotini, xii.; Trebelliue Pollio, OaUisni duo: idem, Claudius, i. 4; Ammisnus Maraellinue, xiv. I sqq., Eng. trend. in Bohn's Classical Library, London, 1887; Eusebius, Hist. eecZ., Vii..x.1, xi. 8, xiii. 1-2, etc.; Georglue Synoellus, Chronographia, i. 717, Bonn, 1829. Consult: L. 6. Le Nain de Tillemont, Hist. des empereurs, pp. 288-289, Dresden, 1754; Gibbon, Decline and Pail, chaps. x., xvi.; BrequiSny, in Mhnoirw de 1'acadhnie des inscriptions, xxx. 849-850, xxxii. 286-267; Nesnder, Christian Church, i., passim, ii. 15, 167; sad the literature under PammcaTToxe, Cmtanurr, Dr Tam RoxAN Emm:z.
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