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Home > Member Collections > Nemonater > The Emperors and Such
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DIADUMENIAN (Caesar, 217-218). Denarius. 2.53 g. 20mm, Rome mint.
O: M OPEL DIADVMENIAN CAES, Bareheaded, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: PRINC IVVENTVTIS, Diadumenian standing left, holding baton; two signa to right.
-RIC 107.

1st emission of Macrinus, AD 217, only three examples in the Reka Devnia hoard.

Diadumenian's three main types as Caesar exactly correspond to Macrinus' three issues, which for their part can be approximately dated on the basis of the titles they bear and their volumes of issue as revealed by the Reka Devnia hoard. So Diadumenian's dates derive from those estimated for Macrinus.

Marcus Opellius Diadumenianus was born in 208. According to Aelius Lampridius, quoted below, the boy was so named because he was born with a diadem formed by a rolled caul.

“Now let us proceed to the omens predicting his imperial power — which are marvellous enough in the case of others, but in his case beyond the usual wont. 4 On the day of his birth, his father, who then chanced to be steward of the greater treasury, was inspecting the purple robes, and those which he approved as being brighter in hue he ordered to be carried into a certain chamber, in which two hours later Diadumenianus was born. 2 Furthermore, whereas it usually happens that children at birth are provided by nature with a caul, which the midwives seize and sell to credulous lawyers (for it is said that this bring luck to those who plead), 3 this child, instead of a caul, had a narrow band like a diadem, so strong that it could not be broken, for the fibres were entwined in the manner of a bow-string. 4 The child, they say, was accordingly called Diadematus, but when he grew older, he was called Diadumenianus from the name of his mother's father, though the name differed little from his former appellation Diadematus.”

His father Macrinus was hailed as Augustus on April 8, 217. Dio Cassius tells us that Diadumenian was named Caesar and Prince of the Youth by the Senate in May 217 as soon as news of Macrinus' accession reached Rome. A little later, Dio continues, news arrived that Diadumenian had independently been proclaimed Caesar by the soldiers at Zeugma, as he was on his way from Antioch to join Macrinus in Mesopotamia, and that he had also assumed Caracalla's name Antoninus. Hence this first short issue of coins in Rome is with the titles Caesar and Prince of the Youth, but still without Antoninus.

When the armies of Elagabalus revolted at Emesa on May 16, 218, Macrinus traveled to the praetorian fortress at Apamaea to shore up (buy) support and to raise Diadumenian to the rank of Augustus. Still, Macrinus’ armies were defeated outside Antioch in less than a month.

10 year old Diadumenian was captured while fleeing to Zeugma and executed shortly thereafter. He reigned as Caesar for 13 months and as Augustus for less than one.

Although the Senate never confirmed Diadumenian’s title as Augustus, there is extremely rare silver (one or two pieces?) with Diadumenian as emperor. It is believed that a large issue was struck, only to be immediately recalled and melted down when the news of Macrinus’ defeat reached Rome.
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Album name:Nemonater / The Emperors and Such
File Size:138 KB
Date added:Dec 13, 2015
Dimensions:1131 x 578 pixels
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SRukke  [Dec 13, 2015 at 08:58 PM]
Beautiful. You beat me to the purchase on this. Great coin.
Nemonater  [Dec 14, 2015 at 12:06 PM]
Thanks, I well know the feeling!
quadrans  [Dec 15, 2015 at 06:01 AM]
Very nice specimen..
orfew  [Dec 15, 2015 at 04:54 PM]
Very nice
David Atherton  [Dec 16, 2015 at 05:32 AM]
Good write-up and excellent coin. Bravo!