Flavius Iulius Valens was born in 328 and was the younger brother of Valentinian I.
While his brother entered the military and had made quite a successful career out of it, Valens spent most of his youth growing up on the estate that their father had owned.
In 360, Valens joined the army and accompanied his brother on the Persian campaign led by the emperor Julian.
In 364 when Jovian took over rule and was on his way to Constantinople to secure his claim to the throne, he passed away and Valentinian was proclaimed emperor by the army.
Valentinian elevated Valens to the position of co-emperor to rule the eastern empire but a year later Valens learned of usurper Procopius who had named himself emperor in Constantinople.
When Valens heard of this usurper he considered both abdication and suicide. He eventually sent troops in to thwart Procopius , but these troops were persuaded by Procopius to desert their leader. Valens was almost captured himself but by 366 Valens had compiled a sufficient number of soldiers to march forward and defeat Procopius who was caught and executed after his troops were convinced to desert him.
After several large battle throughout his reign it was a battle against a confederated barbarian army that was his undoing. It was said that in 378 during the battle of Adrianople that he was mortally wounded by an arrow.