The Thirty Tyrants (Latin: Tyranni Triginta) were a series of thirty rulers who appear in the Historia Augusta as having ostensibly been pretenders to the throne of the Roman Empire during the reign of the emperor Gallienus.
Given the notorious unreliability of the Historia Augusta, the veracity of this list is debatable; there is a scholarly consensus that the author deliberately inflated the number of pretenders in order to parallel the Thirty Tyrants of Athens.
The Historia actually gives 32 names; however, because the author (who wrote under the name of Trebellius Pollio) places the last two during the reigns of Maximinus Thrax and Claudius II respectively, this leaves thirty alleged pretenders during the reign of Gallienus.
The following list gives the Thirty Tyrants as depicted by the Historia Augusta, along with notes contrasting the Historia Augusta's claims with their actual historical positions:
|Name||Notes about historicity|
|2||Cyriades||never claimed Imperial dignity|
|4||Postumus Junior||youth; probably never existed|
|6||Victorinus||contemporary not with Gallienus but Claudius II and Aurelian|
|7||Victorinus Junior||Fiction, never existed|
|13||Macrianus Junior||accurate placement|
|15||Odaenathus||never claimed Imperial dignity|
|16||Herodes||youth, never claimed Imperial dignity, but older brother of Vaballathus (see below), who did so.|
|17||Maeonius||never claimed Imperial dignity|
|18||Balista||never claimed Imperial dignity|
|19||Valens||probably never claimed Imperial dignity|
|20||Valens Superior||contemporary of Decius, not Valerianus|
|21||Piso||probably never claimed Imperial dignity|
|22||Aemilianus||probably never claimed Imperial dignity|
|24||Tetricus Senior||contemporary not with Gallienus but Claudius II and Aurelian|
|25||Tetricus Junior||youth, contemporary not with Gallienus but Claudius II and Aurelian|
|27||Herennianus||youth, never claimed Imperial dignity, possibly fictitious|
|28||Timolaus||youth, never claimed Imperial dignity, possibly fictitious|
|30||Zenobia||female, accurate placement, her son Vaballathus also claimed imperial dignity|
|31||Victoria (or Vitruvia)||female, never claimed Imperial dignity|
|32||Titus||admittedly not contemporary with Gallienus but Maximinus Thrax|
|33||Censorinus||admittedly not contemporary with Gallienus but Claudius II|
Notwithstanding the author's pretensions regarding the time during which these persons aspired to the throne, this list includes:
- two women and six youths who never claimed imperial dignity
- seven men who either certainly or probably never claimed imperial dignity
- three probably and two possibly fictitious persons
- two pretenders admittedly not contemporary with Gallienus
- three pretenders not contemporary with Gallienus
Leaving nine pretenders roughly contemporary with Gallienus. According to David Magie (the editor of the Loeb Classical Library edition of the Historia Augusta), at least some of these men issued coins.
- J. F. Drinkwater (1987). The Gallic Empire: Separatism and continuity in the north-western provinces of the Roman Empire, A.D. 260–274, Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GMBH, Stuttgart, ISBN 3-515-04806-5, p. 65.
- Cancik, H.; Schneider, H.; Salazar, C., Brill's New Pauly: Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World. Antiquity, Volume 14 (2009), p. 91