Born Caius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus. He was the younger son of Trajan Decius and was named Caesar in the summer 250 AD. While his father and brother, Herennius Etruscus, were involved in the war with the Goths along the Danube, Hostilian remained in Rome in charge of civil administration under the guidance of the Senator Publius Licinius Valerianus (who later became the Emperor Valerian from 253-260 AD) and his mother Herennia. In Rome there was rioting, and a mob raised one Julius Valens Licinianus though he was soon removed by the army. When Decius and Etruscus were killed in July 251 AD, the Senate made Hostilian Augustus.
At the same time, Trebonianus Gallus had been proclaimed Augustus by his armies in the Danube. Rather than confront Hostilian, Gallus reached an agreement with him, adopting him as co-emperor. Hostilian died in November 251 AD of the plague, one of only a handful of emperors to die of natural causes.
RIC IV, Part III - Trajan Decius, 181d: AR Antoninianus, 20x24mm (Rome) 251 AD
Obverse: C VALENS HOSTIL MES QVINTVS N C
- Radiated bust of Hostilian draped right.
Reverse: PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS
- Hostilian standing left, holding standard and reversed spear.