Born of humble parents at sirmiun about AD 207, Aurelian adopted a military career, and by his skill, courage and bodily strength he ultimately became one of the empire’s greatest generals, his reputation as a commander of cavalry being particularly high. Some time after the death of Claudius Gothicus, he was proclaimed emperor by his troops at Sirmium, and after the suicide of Quintillus, he was left as undisputed master of the empire.
During his short reign of only five years, he completely restored the Roman Empire to its former extent, with the exception of Dacia which was finally abandoned in AD 271. He put an end to the Palmyrene Empire in the east and the Gallo-Roman Empire in the west, and Queen Zenobia of Palmyra and Tetricus both appeared as captives in the magnificent triumph which the emperor celebrated in Rome.
In addition to his military exploits, he gave much attention to domestic affairs, and began the building of a strongly fortified wall around Rome, which was not completed until the reign of Probus. Whilst proceeding towards the east to attack Persia in the summer of AD 275, Aurelian fell victim to a conspiracy of certain of his chief officers. The assassination took place at Caenophrurium in Thrace, the emperor then being in his sixty-eight year.