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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ OthoView Options:  |  |  | 

Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.

Otho came to power after the murder of Galba in the Year of Four Emperors, 68 - 69 A.D. Otho supported Galba's revolt against Nero, in the expectation he would be named heir, but the old soldier instead named Calpurnius Piso. Otho, angered by this, conspired against them and put them both to death after being declared emperor. After a minor defeat by the forces of Vitellius, Otho committed suicide. This was perhaps the only noble act of his life - he preferred to die rather than see more blood shed in civil war.


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverse legend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverse legend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 SALE PRICE $1629.00
 


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The BMC specimen, acquired in 1867, was identified as a modern forgery after it was found to share an obverse die with a fake aureus. RIC does not list the type, noting the BMC forgery and stating the type needs confirmation. Quite a few clearly genuine examples have been offered on the market in recent years. This coin has been authenticated by Jyrki Muona, a collector and expert numismatist specializing in the coinage of Otho.

An example of this type, graded NGC AU* 5/5 - 4/5, but with a pitted reverse clearly inferior to this coin's, sold for $22,000 plus fees at the Heritage New York Signature Sale 3030 (6 January 2014).
SH68896. Silver denarius, BnF III 25, RSC II 11, BMCRE I 9 (BM specimen condemned as a modern forgery), RIC I -, SRCV I -, Superb EF, light toning on luster, good strike with fresh dies but very highest points a little weak, weight 3.614 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse PONT MAX (high priest), Ceres standing left, stalks of grain in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona collection; rare; SOLD


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Aurei of Otho are likely the hardest to get in the "12 Caesars" gold series. If you are building a 12 Caesars set and this coin is not quite up to your standard, please keep in mind that when you replace it you can return it to Forum for the full purchase price in store credit.

The Victory reverse anticipated victory in the war with Vitellius. But after a minor defeat, Otho committed suicide. This was perhaps the only noble act of his life - he preferred to die rather than see more bloodshed in civil war.
SH37554. Gold aureus, RIC I 13 (R3), BnF III 18, Cohen I 26, SRCV I 2153, Hunter I -, F, ex-jewelry, polished, holed and plugged, tooled, weight 7.013 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Feb 69 A.D.; obverse IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right; reverse VICTORIA OTHONIS, Victory advancing right, wreath in right hand, palm frond over shoulder in left; very rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

IMPMOTHOCAESARAVGTRP
IMPOTHOCAESARAVGTRP


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Butcher, K., M. Ponting & J. Muona. "The denarii of Otho: a stylistic and compositional study" in La Rivista Italiana di Numismatica 110 (2009), pp. 291 - 310.
Calicó, E.X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. I: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J-B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, III Du soulèvement de 68 après J.-C. a Nerva. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Muona, J. "The Rome mint coins of Marcus Salvius Otho" in Tutkimusta ja keräilyä, Suomen numismaattinen yhdistys 1914 - 2014., pp. 16 - 27.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Seaby, H.A. & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. II: Tiberius to Commodus. (London, 1979).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Friday, June 22, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Otho