Virtual Catalog of Roman Coins

DIR Logo

An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

mapDIR Atlas

Florian (276.D.)

Robin Mc Mahon

New York University

After Tacitus died, the army chose Florian to succeed him.[[1]] His full name as Emperor was Imperator Caesar Marcus Annius Florianus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus. The Historia Augusta characterizes the succession as a dynastic coup in which the Senate was ignored, but since Florian like Tacitus issued coins inscribed SC, advertising the Senate's authority for minting them, the Historia Augusta's complaint may be factitious. Most of this biography is.[[2]]

Florian had hardly assumed office when the armies and provinces of Phoenicia, Palestine, Syria and Egypt declared for Probus.[[3]] Florian turned from pursuing the the Eruli north to return to Cilicia and confront Probus and his army.[[4]] Florian appears to have had the larger army, but Probus, an experienced general, held back. After a few weeks of sporadic fighting, Florian was assassinated by his own troops near Tarsus. He had reigned about 88 days.[[5]]

Florian's different nomen, Annius rather than Claudius, means that he cannot have been Tacitus's full brother as the Historia Augusta implies; but one passage identifies him as Tacitus's half brother by the same mother, which might be true.[[6]] Some historians doubt, however, whether any blood connexion existed at all.[[7]] Little can be said about Florian's reign. One inscription assigns him a consulate.[[8]] Though neither reigned long, both Tacitus and Florian had a large and varied coinage, "lively with hope for a golden age neither emperor ever realized."[[9]]


Primary Sources:

Chastagnol, André (tr.). Histoire Auguste. Paris, 1994.

Cohen, Henry. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire romain. Paris & London, 1880-1892.

Dessau, Hermann. Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae. Berlin, 1892.

Festy, Michel, Pseudo-Aurelius Victor, Abrégé Des Césars. Paris, 1999.

Grenfell, Bernard and Arthur Hunt. "Horoscope of Sarapammon." The Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Part II, no. 1476. London, 1916.

________. Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Vol XII, no. 1409. London, 1916.

Hazzard, J.C., Eutropius. New York, 1898.

Liebenam, Willy. Fasti Consulares Imperii Romani. Bonn, 1909.

Magie, D. (ed.). Scriptores Historiae Augustae. Cambridge, MA,1982.

Mommsen, T. (ed.). Monumenta Germania Historica. Vol 1. Chronica Minora.Chron, A.D. 354; Laterculus Polemii Silvii. Berlin, 1892.

Paschoud, F. (ed.). Histoire Nouvelle [par] Zosime. Paris, 1971.

Rea, J.R. "The Corn Dole Archive." Oxyrhynchus Papyri. Vol. 90. London,1972.

Zonaras, Annales (12.27). ed. M. Pinder. Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae. Bonn, 1844.

Modern Works

Alföldi, Andreas. Die Monarchische Repräsentation im römischen Kaiserreiche. Darmstadt, 1980.

Anderson, J.G.C. "The Genesis of Diocletian's Provincial Re-Organization." The Journal of Roman Studies. Vol. XXII (1932). Pp. 24-32.

Baynes, Norman. The Historia Augusta: Its Date and Purpose. Oxford, 1926.

________. "Three Notes on the Reforms of Diocletian and Constantine." Journal of Roman Studies. Vol. XV. (1925): Pp. 195ff.

Den Hengst, Daniel. "Some Notes on the Vita Taciti." In Giorgio Bonamente and Francois Paschoud (eds.), Historiae Augustae Colloquium Genevense. Bari, 1994.

Groag, Edmund and Arthur Stein. "Imp. Caesar M. Claudius Tacitus Augustus." Prosopographia Imperii Romani. Part II. Claudius, No. 1036. Berlin,1936.

Hohl, Ernst. "Vopiscus und die Biographie des Kaisers Tacitus." Klio. Vol 11. (1911).

Jones, A.H.M., Martindale, J.R. Morris, J. "M. Claudius Tacitus," p. 873; "M. Annius Florianus," p 367. The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire. Vol. 1. Cambridge, 1971.

Jones, Tom B. "Three Notes on the Reign of Marcus Claudius Tacitus." Classical Philology. Vol. xxxiv (1939). Pp. 366-369.

Keyes, Clinton W. The Rise of the Equites. Princeton, 1915.

Kienast, Dietmar. Römische Kaisertabelle: Grundzüge römischen Kaiserchronologie. Darmstadt, 1990.

Kramer, Ida and Tom Jones. "Tribunicia Potestate: A.D. 270-285." American Journal of Philology. Vol. lxiv (1943).

Merton, Elke W. Stellenbibliographie zur Historia Augusta. 4 vols. Bonn,1987.

Peachin, Michael. Roman Imperial Titulature and Chronology, A.D.235-284. Amsterdam, 1990.

Stein, Arthur. "Zur Chronologie der Römischen Kaiser." Archiv für Papyrusforschung vol 7. Berlin, 1924.

Stein, Arthur. "Tacitus." Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. 3.2872-2881 (Claudius No. 361). Stuttgart, 1899.

Syme, Ronald. Emperors and Biography. Oxford, 1971.

________. Historia Augusta Papers. Oxford, 1983.


[[1]]See P. v. Rohden, "Annius (no. 46)," Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, 1.2266 (Berlin, 1894); Dessau, ILS, 1.592, 593.

[[2]] SHA, Vita Taciti, Qui post fratrem arripuit imperium, non senatus auctoritate sed suo motu quasi hereditarium esset imperium.. For the SC coins see Cohen, "Florian," no. 85.

[[3]] Italy, Gaul, Spain, the Transalpines, Britain, Africa, and Mauretania supported Florian: Zosimus 64, 1-2; John of Antioch, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, ed. Charles Muller (Paris, 1885), vol. 4, pp. 599-600 (nos. 157-158).

[[4]] Ibid., 64.3.

[[5]] Ibid. 64.4; SHA, Vita Taciti XIV.2. Length of reign: 88 days, Chronicle of 354 A.D. (ed. Theodor Mommsen, Monumenta Germaniae Historica, vol. I, Chronica Minora, [Hereafter, Chron. Min.] [Berlin, 1892]); two months, twenty days, Eutropius, ed. J.C. Hazard (New York,1898). PIR dates  Florian's reign from June 7, to September 9, 276. See v. Rohden, op. cit. for summary of the sources.

[[6]] Brother: SHA Vita Taciti, XIII.6, XIV.4; Vita Probi, XI.3, XIII.3. Other sources copied the error, e.g., Polemius Silvius, Chron. Min..522. Half brother with common mother: SHA, Vita Taciti, XVIII.4.

[[7]] Ronald Syme, Emperors and Biography (1971). Ronald Syme, (1971), p. 246. Syme notes that the Greek sources make no mention of any blood relationship at all between the two.

[[8]] CIL XII, 1115; Dessau 593. The Historia Augusta claims that Tacitus had proposed a consulate for Florian but too late in the year; given the unreliability of this life, it is better to trust the inscription. A. Degrassi, I Fasti Consolari Dell' Impero Romano (Rome, 1952), dates the consulate to 276.

[[9]] Cambridge Ancient History, (ed. Cook, et. al.), (Cambridge, UK, 1965) 12.313.

Copyright (C) 2000, Robin Mc Mahon. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact.
Comments to: Robin Mc Mahon.

Updated: 2 February 2000

For more detailed geographical information, please use the DIR/ORBAntique and Medieval Atlas below. Click on the appropriate part of the map below to access large area maps.

Clickable ImageS-EN-O/N-WS-O/S-WN-E

Returnto the Imperial Index