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Vale'ria, Gale'ria

the daughter of Diocletian and Prisca, was upon the reconstruction of the empire in A. D. 292 [DIOCLETIANUS] united to Galerius, one of the new Caesars, by whom she had no offspring, but adopted his illegitimate son Candidianus. After the death of her husband in 311 Valeria rejected the proposals of his successor Maximinus, who, having become enamoured of her person and her wealth, sought to gain her hand even before the established period of mourning had expired. She was in consequence exposed to the brutal fury of the disappointed prince, stripped of her possessions, and banished along with her mother to the deserts of Syria; nor could the earnest entreaties of Diocletian, whose end is said to have been hastened by the misfortunes of his wife and child, procure any alleviation of their misery. Upon the death of their enemy in 314, they repaired in disguise to the court of Licinius, to whose care Valeria had been consigned by her husband with his dying breath; but far from obtaining at Nicomedia the protection and honour which they anticipated, they found themselves, after witnessing the murder of Candidianus and of Severianus, compelled to provide for their safety by a precipitate flight; and having wandered for many months over various provinces in a humble disguise, were at length discovered at Thessalonica, probably in the year A. D. 315, where they were both beheaded and their bodies cast into the sea. It has been conjectured that Valeria and Prisca must at one period have betrayed some favour for Christianity, for we are told that they were the first persons whom Diocletian required to offer sacrifice to the pagan deities when he commenced his persecution; and Tillemont seems to regard all their subsequent sufferings as a temporal punishment for their weak compliance with the commands of the emperor.

Our chief authority for the history of this unhappy lady is the writer of the treatise De Mortibus persecutorum [CAECILIUS] (cc. 12, 15, 35, 39, 40, 41, 42, 50, 51), whose notices have been collected, combined, and cast in an imposing form by Gibbon in the fourteenth chapter of his history.


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315 AD (1)
292 AD (1)
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