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Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.
L Domitius Aurelianus was born in Sirmium about 207 A.D. Of humble background, Aurelian rose in the ranks to become one of Rome's greatest generals. Proclaimed emperor around 270 A.D., he quickly crushed the various usurpers, restoring to its largest extent except for the Dacia, which was abandoned permanently. Aurelian then embarked on a series of public works meant to restore the empire's shattered infrastructure. His brilliant rule was cut short by a court conspiracy ending in his assassination in 275 A.D.
Aurelian defeated the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and Carpi. He defeated the Palmyrene Empire in the east and the Gallic Empire in the west, reuniting the Empire in its entirety. He was responsible for the construction of the Aurelian Walls in Rome. His successes were instrumental in ending the Crisis of the Third Century, earning him the title Restitutor Orbis or "Restorer of the World." RA93271. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T1340, RIC V-1 6, Bastien 3, BnF XII 2, Cohen VI 161, SRCV III 11576a, Venèra 1532 - 1535, Hunter IV -, aVF, dark patina, tight flan, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Lugdunum (Lyons, France) mint, issue 2, end 274 – early 275; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, seen from the front; reverse PACATOR ORBIS, Sol advancing left, raising right hand commanding sunrise, whip in left hand, nude but for cloak on shoulders and flying behind, CL in exergue; $115.00 SALE |PRICE| $104.00
Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, 270 - 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
Vabalathus, son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and Zenobia, was declared Augustus but Aurelian defeated his forces. He and Zenobia were then taken to Rome where they lived in great comfort.RX95381. Billon tetradrachm, Geissen 3058 - 3062; BMC Alexandria p. 309, 2387; Dattari-Savio 5424; Kampmann 106.71; Emmett 3914.2B.5C, VF, tight flan, weak legends, edge a little ragged, weight 10.127 g, maximum diameter 21.3 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 271 - 272 A.D.; obverse A K L ∆OM AYPHΛIANOC CEB, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right, date LB right (year 2); reverse I A C OVABAΛΛAΘOC AΘHNY A C P, laureate, diademed and draped bust of Vabalathus right, date L - E across fields (year 5); from the Errett Bishop Collection; $90.00 SALE |PRICE| $81.00
Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is on an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of Emperor Augustus.RA91227. Billon antoninianus, SRCV III 11539, Cohen VI 82, Hunter IV - (p. cx), VF, desert patina, oval flan, small edge split, weight 3.330 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Milan(?) mint, c. 270 - 271 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse FORTVNA REDVX, Fortuna seated left on wheel, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, exergue off flan; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 April 2019), part of lot 942; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00
Aurelian probably joined the army in 235, a year that began an era of crisis, imperial assassinations, invasions, civil wars, plagues, and economic depression, which severely damaged the army. He distinguished himself in battle and successes as a cavalry commander eventually made him a member of emperor Gallienus' entourage. Claudius gave him command of the elite Dalmatian cavalry, and then promoted him to Master of Horse (second in command of the army after the Emperor). As emperor, Aurelian's successful restoration of the Army enabled him to defeat the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and the Palmyrene Empire effectively ending the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century.RA87240. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3088 (45 spec.), RIC V-1 366, BnF XII 1224, Venèra 10733 - 10747, Cohen VI 206, Hunter IV 105 var. (2nd officina), Choice VF, well centered, much silvering, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, issue 10, phase 2, early - summer 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVTOR EXERCITI (restorer of the army), Mars (on left) and Aurelian standing confronted, Aurelian presenting globe to Mars, each holds a long scepter, B in center, XXI in exergue; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00
Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt
In 275, Aurelian prepared a campaign against the Sassanids in Asia Minor. In Thrace, while waiting to cross the Bosphorus with his army, he ordered severe punishments for corrupt soldiers and made a list of high-ranking officers marked for execution. In September, Aurelian fell victim to a conspiracy of the Praetorian Guard and was murdered near Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey).RX92520. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5477; Geissen 3096; BMC Alexandria p. 306, 2362; Milne 4456; Curtis 1773; SNG Cop 883; Kampmann 106.54; Emmett 3923, VF, a little off center, porous, edge cracks, weight 7.814 g, maximum diameter 21.7 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 274 - 28 Aug 275 A.D.; obverse A K Λ ∆OM AVPHΛ IANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ETOVC S (year 6), eagle standing left head turned back, wreath in beak; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00
Aurelian established the Tripolis mint, c. 274 A.D., which minted antoniniani and a few aureus types until it closed during the join reign of Diocletian and Maximian, c. 287 A.D. The Tripolis coins of Aurelian and Tacitus are not clearly mint-marked to identify Tripolis, but after Tacitus, Tripolis coins are marked "TR" in the reverse field. There were several cities within the Roman Empire named Tripolis. The most likely city that hosted the Roman mint was the Tripolis south of Antioch, which today is Tripoli, Lebanon.RB89980. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T3219 (20 spec.), BnF XII 1371, Göbl MIR 47 390c, Hunter IV 117, RIC V-1 390 (S), Cohen VI 233, SRCV III 11609, F, well centered, brown town, porous, corrosion, weight 4.720 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tripolis (Tripoli, Lebanon) mint, 2nd issue, spring 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust left; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing half facing, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, bound captive at foot on left, seated left, star in left field, KA in exergue; scarce; $45.00 SALE |PRICE| $40.50
Aurelian's concord with the military apparently came undone; after severely punishing corrupt soldiers and making a list of high-ranking officers marked for execution, he fell victim to a conspiracy of his chief officers and was assassinated at Caenophrurium in Thrace.RA88411. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2207, RIC V-1 244, Venèra 7511 - 7517, Gloucester 391, Maravielle 481, Komin 1062, BnF XII -, Hunter IV -, VF, well centered on broad oval flan, small edge cracks, weight 3.362 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issue 6, autumn 272 - early 274; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Aurelian on left standing right clasping hands with Concordia in right standing left, T* in exergue; $43.00 SALE |PRICE| $38.70
In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.RA91622. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T3232 (4 spec.), BnF XII 1392, RIC V-1 389 var. (no pellet), Venèra -, Choice VF, well centered, some silvering, porous, edge ragged, weight 3.435 g, maximum diameter 24.1 mm, die axis 180o, Tripolis (Tripoli, Lebanon) mint, 5th issue, end 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right with long neck; reverse RESTITVT OR•BIS (to the restorer of the world), Woman, on left, standing right, presenting wreath to Aurelian, Aurelian, on right, standing left, wearing military garb, extending right hand, spear vertical in left hand, star over pellet in center, KA in exergue; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $40.00 SALE |PRICE| $36.00
Palmyrene-Roman Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, 270 - 275 A.D.
Vabalathus, son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and Zenobia, was declared Augustus but Aurelian defeated his forces. He and Zenobia were then taken to Rome where they lived in great comfort. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum. The portraits of Vabalathus are interesting because they display both the Roman laurel and the Hellenistic royal diadem. MA95685. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3108, BnF XII 1251, Göbl MIR 353a6, RIC V-2 381, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, Hunter IV -, F/aF, broad flan, porous, weight 3.410 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 180o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust of Aurelian right, from the front, S below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Vabalathus right, from behind; $14.00 (€12.88)
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