Lucius Domitius Aurelianus was born of poor parents on 9 September AD 214 in Lower Moesia.
His father was a tenant farmer of a wealthy senator Aurelius, after whom the family were named.
Aurelian rose through the ranks of the army, serving with distinction on the Danube frontier.
By AD 268, when Aureolus rebelled against Gallienus, he held a cavalry commanding north Italy.
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