1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Probus, Marcus Aurelius

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22254681911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 22 — Probus, Marcus Aurelius

PROBUS, MARCUS AURELIUS, Roman emperor A.D. 276 to 282, was a native of Sirmium in Pannonia. At an early age he entered the army, where he distinguished himself under the emperors Valerian, Claudius and Aurelian. He was appointed governor of the East by the emperor Tacitus, at whose death he was immediately proclaimed his successor by the soldiers. Florianus, who had claimed to succeed his brother, was put to death by his own troops, and the senate eagerly ratified the choice of the army. The reign of Probus was mainly spent in successful wars by which he re-established the security of all the frontiers, the most important of these operations being directed to clearing Gaul of the Germans. Probus had also put down three usurpers, Saturninus, Proculus and Bonosus. 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. This increase of duties was naturally unpopular, and while the emperor was urging on the draining of the marshes of his native place he was attacked and slain by his own soldiers. Scarcely any emperor has left behind him so good a reputation; his death was mourned alike by senate and people, and even the soldiers repented and raised a monument in his honour.

Life by Vopiscus; Zosimus i. 64; Zonaras xii. 29; Aurelius Victor, Caes. and Epit. 37; H. Schiller, Geschichte der römischen Kaiserzeit (1883), vol. i.; E. Lépaulle, Etude historique sur M. A. Probus d'après la numismatique (1885); Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyclopädie, ii. 2516 (Henze).