Marble figure of Hostilian, from the Ludovisi Battle sarcophagus
|Emperor of the Roman Empire|
|Reign||July–November 251 (with Trebonianus Gallus)|
|Predecessor||Decius and Herennius Etruscus|
|Successor||Trebonianus Gallus and Volusianus|
Hostilian (Latin: Gaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus Augustus, November 251) was Roman emperor from July to November 251. Hostilian was born to Decius and Herennia Etruscilla at an unknown date and elevated to Caesar in May 251 by Decius, the same month as his older brother, Herennius Etruscus, was raised to co-emperor. After Decius and Herennius Etruscus were killed at the Battle of Abritus, an ambush by the Goths, Trebonianus Gallus was proclaimed emperor by the legions. Almost immediately, he elevated Hostilian to co-emperor and his son, Volusianus, to Caesar. Hostilian died in November 251, either due to plague or being murdered by Trebonianus Gallus.
Hostilian was born at an unknown date, to Decius, a Roman general who later became Emperor, and his wife Herennia Etruscilla. Decius became emperor after being sent to lead troops in the provinces of Pannonia and Moesia, where he was declared emperor by his troops in September 249, in opposition to Philip the Arab. He led his troops against Philip, their forces meeting in September 249, near Verona, Italy. Philip was killed in battle, after which the Roman Senate declared Decius emperor and honored him with the name Traianus, a reference to Emperor Trajan.
Hostilian was elevated to caesar in May 251, by his father Decius. The elevation came after the promotion of his older brother, Herennius Etruscus, to augustus in the same month, making Herennius Etruscus co-emperor, with Hostilian as the heir of either or both of them. After Decius and Herennius Etruscus were killed by the Goths at the Battle of Abritus, an ambush in July 251, Trebonianus Gallus was declared emperor. To placate the public, Trebonianus Gallus elevated Hostilian to augustus almost immediately, making him co-emperor. Hostilian was co-emperor until his death in November 251; the reason for his death is disputed. Aurelius Victor and the author of the Epitome de Caesaribus say that Hostilian died of a plague. Zosimus claims that he was killed by Trebonianus Gallus. After his death, Trebonianus Gallus made Volusianus, his son, co-emperor.
The aurei of Hostilian fall into four types bearing the bust of Hostilian on the obverse, with the reverse showing: Mars walking to the right; priestly implements; Mercury standing; and Roma seated holding Victoria.
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- Haas, Christopher J. (1983). "Imperial Religious Policy and Valerian's Persecution of the Church, A.D. 257-260". Church History. 52 (2). JSTOR 3166947.
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- Varner, Eric R. (2004). Mutilation and Transformation: Damnatio Memoriae and Roman Imperial Portraiture. Brill. ISBN 978-9004135772.
Decius and Herennius Etruscus
| Roman Emperor
Served alongside: Trebonianus Gallus
Trebonianus Gallus and Volusianus