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Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. He was proclaimed Caesar shortly before the murder of Balbinus and Pupienus, and he succeeded them. Little is known about his reign. In 242 A.D. he embarked on a campaign against the Persian Kingdom which was so successful the Persians had to evacuate Mesopotamia. However, Gordian III died shortly after, through illness or the machinations of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Ilion (Troy), Troas
Ilion (Troy) became an ally of Rome in the 1st century BC. In 48 B.C., Julius Caesar bestowed benefactions on the city, recalling the city's loyalty during the Mithridatic Wars, the city's connection with his cousin L. Julius Caesar, and the family's claim that they were ultimately descended from Venus through the Trojan prince Aeneas and therefore shared a kinship with the Ilians. In 20 B.C., Augustus visited Ilion and financed the restoration and rebuilding of the sanctuary of Athena Ilias, the bouleuterion, and the theater.RP79605. Bronze AE 19, RPC VII 38; BMC Troas p. 71, 99; SNG Cop 439; Weber 5414; Bellinger p. 75, T280; SNG Munchen 277 var. (no shield), VF, broad flan, green patina, flan adjustment marks, weight 4.266 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ilion (Troy) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AVT K M AN ΓOP∆IANO, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse mummiform statue of Athena Ilias standing slightly right, head right, transverse spear in right hand, distaff in extended left hand, small round shield at feet, IΛIE−ΩN divided across field near center; ex Ancient Imports; very rare; $225.00 SALE PRICE $203.00 ON RESERVE
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Deultum, Thrace
Andromeda was the daughter of Cepheus, an Aethiopian king, and Cassiopeia. When Cassiopeia's boasted that Andromeda was more beautiful than the Nereids, Poseidon sent a sea monster (Cetus Aethiopicus) to ravage Aethiopia as divine punishment. Andromeda was chained to a rock as a sacrifice to sate the monster, but she was saved by Perseus. Later Andromeda and Perseus were married.SH63219. Brass AE 23, Draganov Deultum 1241a (O109/R592); Varbanov II 2758 (R6); BMC Thrace -; SNG Cop -, aF, weight 6.276 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, Deultum (Debelt, Bulgaria) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse COL FL PAC DEVLT, Perseus (on right) standing left, helping Andromeda (on left) come down from a rock after saving her, Medusa's head and harpa in his left hand, his right foot on the sea monster, Cetus Aethiopicus, turned to stone; very rare; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00
In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.RB76166. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IV 303a, Hunter III 117, Cohen 262, SRCV III 8732, Choice VF, attractive green patina with red earthen fill, nice portrait, well centered, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th issue, 242 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseP M TR P V COS II P P, Apollo enthroned left, laurel-branch in right hand, left forearm resting on lyre on back of his seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Carrhae, Mesopotamia
Carrhae is the Haran of the Bible. Crassus was defeated and killed by the Parthians near Carrhae in 53 B.C. Emperor Galerius was defeated on the same site in 296 A.D.RP84657. Bronze AE 23, SNG Hunterian 2501 - 2503 = Macdonald Hunter 22 - 24 corr. (laureate bust); BMC Mesopotamia p. 90, 63; SNG Cop -, F, uneven strike, slightly off center on a tight flan, weight 7.513 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 0o, Carrhae (Altinbasak, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYTOK K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC CE, radiate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse MHTP KOΛ KAPPHNΩN, two stars arranged vertically within and above crescent with horns upward; extremely rare; $150.00 SALE PRICE $135.00
Pietas in traditional Latin usage expressed a complex, highly valued Roman virtue; a man or woman with pietas respected his or her responsibilities to the gods, family, other people and entities (such as the state), and understood his or her place in society with respect to others.RS77586. Silver RIC IV 129, RSC IV 186, SRCV III 8677, Hunter III -, Choice EF, very broad flan, some luster, tiny edge cracks, weight 2.904 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reversePIETAS AVGVSTI (the piety of the Emperor), Pietas standing slightly left, veiled head left, raising both hands in prayer; $145.00 SALE PRICE $131.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Thessalonica, Macedonia
The god Kabeiros is similar in appearance to Dionysos and the rites of his cult were likely similar to those of the Dionysian mysteries. The attributes of Kabeiros are a rhyton and hammer.RP83493. Bronze AE 26, Touratsoglou p. 262, 25 (V2/R20), Varbanov III 4545 (R3), SNG Hunterian 714, SNG Cop 426, SNG Evelpidis 1348, BMC Macedonia p. 124, 116, aVF, excellent portrait, green patina, large centration dimple on obverse, bumps and marks, some light corrosion, weight 9.207 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AV K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse ΘECCAΛONIKEΩN, Nike advancing left, Kabeiros holding hammer in her right hand, palm frond in her left hand; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Marcianopolis, Moesia Inferior
The Three Graces, named Euphrosyne, Aglaia and Thalia, were the attendants of Venus (Aphrodite). They are shown on Roman provincial coins as a statuary group, nude and sometimes holding apples. RP84853. Bronze AE 21, H-J Marcianopolis 22.214.171.124 (same dies), Varbanov 1908, AMNG I -, SNG Cop -, SNG Munchen -, Mionnet -, Moushmov -, VF, dark green patina, porous, centration dimples, weight 4.432 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, Marcianopolis (Devnya, Bulgaria) mint, 240/241 A.D.; obverse M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AVT, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right from the front; reverse MAPKIANOΠOΛITΩN (the final N in exergue), The Three Graces standing, nude, the outer two facing, with heads turned outward and holding apples in outer hand, the middle with back facing and with arms around other two; ex CNG e-auction 225, lot 242; ex Mark Staal Collection of the Three Graces; ex Palladium, Sep 1997; rare; $135.00 SALE PRICE $122.00
In 240, the year this coin was struck, a rebellion lead by Sabinianus, the governor of Africa, was defeated in a battle near Carthage.RB68909. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IV 293a, Cohen V 390, SRCV III 8745 var. (obv leg), VF, nice portrait, well centered, weight 14.938 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, c. 240 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseVIRTVS AVG (the valor of the Emperor), Virtus standing left, helmeted, in military garb, branch in right hand, inverted spear in left, grounded shield on left against right leg, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $130.00 SALE PRICE $117.00
In Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume III, David Sear notes this type was issued for the wedding of Gordian and Tranquillina.
Under Gordian III the same coin types were often struck at both Rome and Antioch. One way to distinguish Gordian's coins struck at Antioch from those struck at Rome is the shape of the letter M. On coins from Antioch, M usually resembles a V in the middle of two I's, thus IVI. From the Rome mint, M normally resembles two lambdas, thus ΛΛ.RS79932. Silver denarius, RIC IV 130 (R), RSC IV 340, Hunter III 65, SRCV III 8682, Choice gVF, well centered, nice metal, die wear, weight 2.879 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, issued for wedding to Tranquillina, 241 - 242 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseSECVRITAS PVBLICA (security of the public), Securitas seated left, at ease, scepter in right hand, propping head with left hand; $125.00 SALE PRICE $113.00
On 25 February 244, Gordian III was murdered by mutinous soldiers in Zaitha (Mesopotamia). Philip the Arab, who had been responsible for Gordian's "perpetual security," declared himself emperor.RB73637. Orichalcumsestertius, RIC IV 335a, Cohen V 329, Hunter III 152, SRCV III 8740, VF, excellent portrait, well centered and struck, attractive brown surfaces, light marks and corrosion, small edge cracks, weight 17.188 g, maximum diameter 30.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 5th issue, c. 243 - Jul 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverse SECVRITAS PERPET (everlasting security), Securitas standing facing, head left, right leg crossed in front of left leg, vertical scepter in right hand, leaning with left arm on column, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; $120.00 SALE PRICE $108.00
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappťes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H.B., E.A. Sydenham & C.H.V. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III: Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H.A. & D.R. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D.R. 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).
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