Aurelian was the Emperor of the Roman Empire from 270 to 275. He is most commonly remembered for leading an ill-fated attempt to reconquer the Gallic Empire during the Gallic War for Independence. The invasion prompted Postumus, the Gallic Emperor, to order a scorched earth campaign in Italy, which included the first sack of the city of Rome since 387 BC. The Gallic invasion of Italy led to a complete disintegration of central authority in the Roman Empire: in October 275, Marcus Aurelius Probus and Faltonius Pinianus rebelled against Aurelian; and after one of Aurelian's generals suffered a major defeat in Gallic territory, Julius Asclepiodotus arrested and deposed Aurelian and declared himself emperor.
After the end of Aurelian's reign, he was transported to a prison in northern Italy, and he eventually died in that prison. Exactly when he died is unknown, but it was probably around the time of Probus' first campaign in northern Italy in late 276. During that time, little food or other supplies were delivered to the prisons. Aurelian was found dead in his cell in early 277.