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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Secessionist Empires ▸ Uranius AntoninusView Options:  |  |  | 

Uranius Antoninus, Usurper in Syria, 253 - 254 A.D.

L. Julius Aurelius Sulpicius Severus Uranius Antoninus is a most enigmatic usurper who ruled Emesa and probably all of Syria for a short period of time around 253 to early 254 A.D. Ancient sources tells us nothing about him - save for Zosimus who mentions a usurper Uranius during the times of Elagabalus and Severus Alexander - either a different person or a confusion made by the historian. Fortunately, Uranius chose to date some of his coins with the Seleukid Era year EXF (565 = 254 A.D.). It is possible that he was a high priest or official in Emesa and led the resistance against a Sassanian invasion, being subsequently hailed by the troops. His Roman-style coins do not name him Augustus or Caesar. They are most likely an early donative for the troops and the lack of any title an attempt to escape the wrath of the legitimate Roman emperor. These coins are of exceptionally fine metal and weight for the era, and the extremely rare "denarii" struck from the aureus dies weight 8 grams and are about 90% fine silver! Besides these, Uranius also struck Eastern style coins: special fine silver tetradrachms, probably early in the reign, and regular billon eagle type tetradrachms and large bronzes ("Syrian sestertii"). We do not know if he struck the normal types simply following the custom, or if he was forced by resource depletion after issuing the fine quality early coins. It also worth noting that the reverse types of his coinage are quite varied and interesting. We do not know how his reign ended, but considering the rarity of the coins, it is likely that the new emperor Valerian lost little time before disposing of the usurper in early 254 A.D.

Uranius Antoninus, Usurper in Syria, 253 - 254 A.D.

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A great rarity in superb condition!

Dikaiosyne is the Greek personification of justice and fair dealing. One of the most common reverse types of Alexandria, she always holds scales and cornucopia.
RY28906. Silver tetradrachm, Baldus 28, Prieur 1077, EF, sharp except uneven strike with some weak areas, weight 7.925 g, maximum diameter 28.1 mm, die axis 0o, Emesa (Homs, Syria) mint, early 254 A.D.; obverse AVTOK COVΛ CEOVHPOC ANTΩNINOC CE, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC YΠ B (holder of Tribunitian power, consul for the second time), Aequitas (Dikaiosyne) standing left, scales in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, S - C across fields; very rare; SOLD




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Baldus, H. "Die 'reformierten' Tetradrachmen des Uranius Antoninus im Lichte eines neuen Fundes. Mit Nachträgen zur übrigen Münzprägung dieses 'Kaisers'" in Chiron 5 (1975), pp. 443-484.
Baldus, H. "Neue Forschungen zu Uranius Antoninus und seinen Münzen (Nachtrag III)" in JNG 33 (1983), pp. 29-40.
Baldus, H. "Neue Münzen des Uranius Antoninus (Nachtrag II)" in JNG 27 (1977), pp. 69-74.
Baldus, H. Uranius Antoninus, Münzprägung und Geschichte. (Bonn, 1971).
Butcher, K. Coinage in Roman Syria: Northern Syria, 64 BC - AD 253. (London, 2004).
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Prieur, M. & K. Prieur. The Syro-Phoenician Tetradrachms and their fractions from 57 BC to AD 258. (Lancaster, PA, 2000).
Sear, D. Greek Imperial Coins and Their Values. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Saturday, March 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Uranius Antoninus