Probus (AD 276-282)

BI Aurelianianus, Reverse - Providentia Standing

 

Probus (c. 19 August 232 – September/October 282), was Roman Emperor from 276 to 282.

During his reign, the Rhine and Danube frontier was strengthened after successful wars against several Germanic tribes such as the Goths, Alamanni, Longiones, Franks, Burgundians, and Vandals. The Agri Decumates and much of the Limes Germanicus in Germania Superior were officially abandoned during his reign, with the Romans withdrawing to the Rhine and Danube rivers.

In 278, Probus campaigned successfully in Gaul against the Alamanni and Longiones; both tribes had advanced through the Neckar valley and across the Rhine into Roman territory.  Meanwhile, his generals defeated the Franks and these operations were directed to clearing Gaul of Germanic invaders (Franks, and Burgundians), allowing Probus to adopt the titles of Gothicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus.

One of his principles was never to allow the soldiers to be idle, and to employ them in time of peace on useful works, such as the planting of vineyards in Gaul, Pannonia and other districts, in order to restart the economy in these devastated lands.  Of a greater and more lasting significance, Probus began the strategy of settling the Germanic tribes in the devastated provinces of the empire.

In 279–280, Probus was in Raetia (modern day Switzerland), Illyricum and Lycia, where he fought the Vandals. In the same years, Probus' generals defeated the Blemmyes in Egypt; Probus then ordered the reconstruction of bridges and canals along the Nile, where the production of grain for the Empire was centered.

In 280–281, Probus had also put down three usurpers, Julius Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. The extent of these revolts is not clear, but there are clues that they were not just local problems.  In 281, the emperor was in Rome, where he celebrated his triumph.

Probus was eager to start his eastern campaign, delayed by the revolts in the west.  He left Rome in 282, travelling first towards Sirmium, his birth city, when the news that Marcus Aurelius Carus, commander of the Praetorian Guard, had been proclaimed emperor reached him.  Probus sent some troops against the new usurper, but when those troops changed sides and supported Carus, Probus's remaining soldiers then assassinated him at Sirmium (September/October 282).


Probus (AD 276-282)
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