Probus               276 - 282 A.D.


Coming from a military background under Valerian, Probus ascended the throne as usurper against Florian, under pretext that he appropriated the imperial title without the Senate's consent. Florian advanced against Probus and on first appearance it looked like his own army would be no match against Florian's so he gambled that by artificially prolonging a direct confrontation between the two he could frustrate the enemy. The tactic paid off and within days Florian was killed by his own troops and the two armies joined as one to march into Rome.

Probus then spent the next two years quelling numerous border wars and domestic rebellions. He was highly successful in these regards and, having few wars left to fight retired to Rome. His glory days came to an end partly due to his own military successes. Without battles to fight, the army felt increasingly alienated by Probus who was now spearheading several civic projects meant to strengthen the empire. Malcontents in the army noted cynically that they were soldiers, not peasants. His life thus came to a violent end during a minor moment of strife initiated by some soldiers who had been ordered to clear a swamp. These drew their swords and gave fatal chase to the emperor. Carus, the Praetorian Prefect, may or may not have incited the mutiny but either way Probus's assassins named him emperor only to hear their death sentence as their reward.


Billon Tetradrachm 276--282 A.D.


19 mm.

Obv. Laureate and draped bust right

Rev. Eagle standing left, head right with a wreath in its beak, L in left field and S in right field

SR 3391