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TitusCommColosseum.jpg
711a, Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D. 109 viewsTITUS AUGUSTUS AR silver denarius. Struck at Rome, 80 AD. IMP TITVS CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG PM, laureate head right. Reverse - TRP IX IMP XV COS VIII PP, elephant walking left. Fully legible legends, about Very Fine, nice golden toning. Commemmorates the completion and dedication of the Colosseum and the opening of games. SCARCE. RCV 2512, valued at $544 in EF. 17mm, 3.1g. Ex Incitatus.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 79-81)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Titus Flavius Vespasianus was born on December 30, 39 A.D. He was the oldest of the three children of the founder of the Flavian Dynasty, Vespasian. Beginning in the year 70 Titus was named Cæsar and coregent; he was highly educated and a brilliant poet and orator in both Latin and Greek. He won military fame during the Jewish Revolt of 69-70. In April, 70, he appeared before the walls of Jerusalem, and conquered and destroyed the city after a siege of five months. He wished to preserve the Temple, but in the struggle with the Jews who rushed out of it a soldier threw a brand into the building. The siege and taking of the city were accompanied by barbarous cruelties. The next year Titus celebrated his victory by a triumph; to increase the fame of the Flavian dynasty the inscription on the triumphal arch represented the overthrow of the helpless people as a heroic achievement. Titus succeeded his father as Emperor in 79.

Before becoming emperor, tradition records that Titus was feared as the next Nero, a perception that may have developed from his association with Berenice, his alleged heavy-handedness as praetorian prefect, and tales of sexual debauchery. Once in office, however, both emperor and his reign were portrayed in universally positive terms. The suddenness of this transformation raises immediate suspicions, yet it is difficult to know whether the historical tradition is suspect or if Titus was in fact adept at taking off one mask for another. What is clear, however, is that Titus sought to present the Flavians as the legitimate successors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Proof came through the issuing of a series of restoration coins of previous emperors, the most popular being Augustus and Claudius. In A.D. 80 Titus also set out to establish an imperial cult in honor of Vespasian. The temple, in which cult (the first that was not connected with the Julio-Claudians) was housed, was completed by Domitian and was known as the Temple of Vespasian and Domitian.
Legitimacy was also sought through various economic measures, which Titus enthusiastically funded. Vast amounts of capital poured into extensive building schemes in Rome, especially the Flavian Amphitheater, popularly known as the Colosseum. In celebration of additions made to the structure, Titus provided a grand 100-day festival, with sea fights staged on an artificial lake, infantry battles, wild beast hunts, and similar activities. He also constructed new imperial baths to the south-east of the Amphitheater and began work on the celebrated Arch of Titus, a memorial to his Jewish victories. Large sums were directed to Italy and the provinces as well, especially for road building. In response to the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Titus spent large sums to relieve distress in that area; likewise, the imperial purse contributed heavily to rebuilding Rome after a devastating fire destroyed large sections of the city in A.D. 80. As a result of these actions, Titus earned a reputation for generosity and geniality. For these reasons he gained the honourable title of "amor et deliciæ generis humani" (the darling and admiration of the human race). Even so, his financial acumen must not be under-estimated. He left the treasury with a surplus, as he had found it, and dealt promptly and efficiently with costly natural disasters. The Greek historian of the third-century A.D., Cassius Dio, perhaps offered the most accurate and succinct assessment of Titus' economic policy: "In money matters, Titus was frugal and made no unnecessary expenditure." In other areas, the brevity of Titus' reign limits our ability to detect major emphases or trends in policy. As far as can be discerned from the limited evidence, senior officials and amici were well chosen, and his legislative activity tended to focus on popular social measures, with the army as a particular beneficiary in the areas of land ownership, marriage, and testamentary freedom. In the provinces, Titus continued his father's policies by strengthening roads and forts in the East and along the Danube.

Titus died in September, A.D. 81 after only 26 months in office. Suetonius recorded that Titus died on his way to the Sabine country of his ancestors in the same villa as his father. A competing tradition persistently implicated his brother and successor, Domitian, as having had a hand in the emperor's demise, but the evidence is highly contradictory and any wrongdoing is difficult to prove. Domitian himself delivered the funeral eulogy and had Titus deified. He also built several monuments in honor of Titus and completed the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, changing the name of the structure to include his brother's and setting up his cult statue in the Temple itself.

Titus was the beneficiary of considerable intelligence and talent, endowments that were carefully cultivated at every step of his career, from his early education to his role under his father's principate. Cassius Dio suggested that Titus' reputation was enhanced by his early death. It is true that the ancient sources tend to heroicize Titus, yet based upon the evidence, his reign must be considered a positive one. He capably continued the work of his father in establishing the Flavian Dynasty and he maintained a high degree of economic and administrative competence in Italy and beyond. In so doing, he solidified the role of the emperor as paternalistic autocrat, a model that would serve Trajan and his successors well. Titus was used as a model by later emperors, especially those known as the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius).

Copyright (C) 1997, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14746b.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesDec 01, 2010
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Colonial Mexico, Ferdinand VII, King of Spain, 1808 - 1833 A.D., 1821 D CG 8R53 viewsSilver 8 reales, KM 111.2, aVF, areas of pitting, Durango mint, weight 26.755g, maximum diameter 38.6mm, die axis 0o, 1821 A.D.; obverse •FERDIN • VII • DEI • GRATIA •, laureate and draped bust of Ferdinand right, date 1821 below; reverse • HISPAN • ET IND • REX • D • 8R • C • G •, crowned Spanish coat of arms, flanked by pillars of Hercules draped with banner reading "PLVS VLTRA;" ex FORVM.

The Spanish dollar (also known as the piece of eight, the real de a ocho or the eight-real coin) is a silver coin, of approximately 50mm Ø, worth eight reales, that was minted in the Spanish Empire after a Spanish currency reform in 1497. Its purpose was to correspond to the German thaler. It was the coin upon which the US dollar was based, and it remained legal tender in the United States until the Coinage Act of 1857 discontinued the practice. Because it was widely used in Europe, the Americas, and the Far East, it became the first world currency by the late 18th century. Many existing currencies, such as the Canadian dollar, United States dollar, and the Chinese yuan, as well as currencies in Latin America and the Philippine peso, were initially based on the Spanish dollar and other 8-reales coins.
Silver 8 real coin of Ferdinand VII of Spain, 1821

CleisthenesNov 26, 2010
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Knidos, Caria, c. 465 - 449 B.C57 viewsSilver drachm, Cahn 80 (V38/R53), SNG Keckman 132 (same dies), SNG Cop 232 (same dies), aVF, toned, Knidos mint, weight 6.057g, maximum diameter 16.5mm, die axis 270o, c. 465 - 449 B.C.; obverse forepart of roaring lion right; reverse archaic head of Aphrodite right, hair bound with taenia, within incuse square; ex Barry P. Murphy

CARIA, Knidos. Circa 465-449 BC. AR Drachm - 16mm (6.06 g). Obverse: forepart of roaring lion right; Reverse: archaic head of Aphrodite right, hair bound with taenia. Cahn 80 (V38/R53); SNG Helsinki 132 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen 232 (same dies). Toned, near VF, good metal. Ex Barry P. Murphy.

While this coin falls within the time frame that numismatists call "Classical" Greek coinage, I have chosen to place it in both the "Archaic" (coin 020a) and "Classical" Greek sections of my collection. This specimen is one of those wonderful examples of transition--it incorporates many elements of the "Archaic" era, although it is struck during the "Classical" Greek period and anticipates characteristics of the later period.

As noted art historian Patricia Lawrence has pointed out, "[this specimen portrays] A noble-headed lion, a lovely Late Archaic Aphrodite, and [is made from]. . . beautiful metal." The Archaic Aphrodite is reminiscent of certain portraits of Arethusa found on tetradrachms produced in Syracuse in the first decade of the 5th century BC.

Knidos was a city of high antiquity and as a Hellenic city probably of Lacedaemonian colonization. Along with Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum, Turkey) and Kos, and the Rhodian cities of Lindos, Kamiros and Ialyssos it formed the Dorian Hexapolis, which held its confederate assemblies on the Triopian headland, and there celebrated games in honour of Apollo, Poseidon and the nymphs.

The city was at first governed by an oligarchic senate, composed of sixty members, and presided over by a magistrate; but, though it is proved by inscriptions that the old names continued to a very late period, the constitution underwent a popular transformation. The situation of the city was favourable for commerce, and the Knidians acquired considerable wealth, and were able to colonize the island of Lipara, and founded a city on Corcyra Nigra in the Adriatic. They ultimately submitted to Cyrus, and from the battle of Eurymedon to the latter part of the Peloponnesian War they were subject to Athens.

In their expansion into the region, the Romans easily obtained the allegiance of Knidians, and rewarded them for help given against Antiochus by leaving them the freedom of their city.

During the Byzantine period there must still have been a considerable population: for the ruins contain a large number of buildings belonging to the Byzantine style, and Christian sepulchres are common in the neighbourhood.

Eudoxus, the astronomer, Ctesias, the writer on Persian history, and Sostratus, the builder of the celebrated Pharos at Alexandria, are the most remarkable of the Knidians mentioned in history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidus

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesOct 22, 2010
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[1640ai] Leo VI, the Wise, 6 January 870 - 11 May 912 A.D.90 viewsLEO VI (The Wise) AE follis. 866-912 AD. +LEOnbA S ILEVSROm'. Facing half-length portrait with short beard, wearing modified loros and crown with cross. Reverse - +LEOn EnOEObA ILEVSR OmEOn in four lines. 26.5mm, 6.7g.

Overstruck at the mint over the same issue, evidently after a severely off-center first strike. The 'EO bA RO' that would have been part of the legend at the right side of the coin appears on the very edge of the top part of the coin at 12 o'clock.
CleisthenesOct 20, 2010
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Macedonian Kingdom, Philip II, 359 - 336 B.C., Lifetime Issue129 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Le Rider 233 (D130/R188); SNG ANS 385 ff., VF, Pella, 14.163g, 25.4mm, 225o, 342 - 336 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse "FILIPPOU", naked youth on horse pacing right on horseback holding palm, thunderbolt below; ex CNG 214, 82; very high relief sculptural portrait, nice style, lifetime issue. Ex FORVM.

Philip II expanded the size and influence of the Macedonian Kingdom, but is perhaps best known as the father of Alexander the Great. He personally selected the design of his coins.

Philip II of Macedon (382 BC–336 BC; in Greek Φίλιππος = φίλος (friend) + ίππος (horse), transliterated Philippos) was the King of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination. He was the father of Alexander the Great, Phillip III Arrhidaeus, and possibly Ptolemy I Soter, founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty.

Born in Pella, Philip was the youngest son of King Amyntas III and Eurydice. In his youth, (ca. 368 BC–365 BC) Philip was a hostage in Thebes, which was the leading city of Greece during the Theban hegemony. While a captive there, Philip received a military and diplomatic education from Epaminondas, was involved in a pederastic relationship with Pelopidas and lived with Pammenes, who was an enthusiastic advocate of the Sacred Band of Thebes. In 364 BC, Philip returned to Macedonia. The deaths of Philip's elder brothers, King Alexander II and Perdiccas III, allowed him to take the throne in 359 BC. Originally appointed regent for his infant nephew Amyntas IV, who was the son of Perdiccas III, Philip managed to take the kingdom for himself that same year.

Philip's military skills and expansionist vision of Macedonian greatness brought him early success. The hill tribes were broken by a single battle in 358 BC, and Philip established his authority inland as far as Lake Ohrid. He used the Social War as an opportunity for expansion. In 357 BC, he took the Athenian colony of Amphipolis, which commanded the gold mines of Mount Pangaion. That same year Philip married the Epirote princess Olympias, who was the daughter of the king of the Molossians. In 356 BC, Philip conquered the town of Crenides and changed its name to Philippi. Philip also attacked Abdera and Maronea, on the Thracian sea-board. Also in 356 Alexander was born and his race horse won in the Olympics in He took Methone in 354 BC, a town which had belonged to Athens. During the siege of Methone, Philip lost an eye.

Not until his armies were opposed by Athens at Thermopylae in 352 BC did Philip face any serious resistance. Philip did not attempt to advance into central Greece because the Athenians had occupied Thermopylae. Also in 352 BC, the Macedonian army won a complete victory over the Phocians at the Battle of Crocus Field. This battle made Philip tagus of Thessaly, and he claimed as his own Magnesia, with the important harbour of Pagasae.
Hostilities with Athens did not yet take place, but Athens was threatened by the Macedonian party which Philip's gold created in Euboea. From 352 to 346 BC, Philip did not again come south. He was active in completing the subjugation of the Balkan hill-country to the west and north, and in reducing the Greek cities of the coast as far as the Hebrus (Maritza). For the chief of these coastal cities, Olynthus, Philip continued to profess friendship until its neighboring cities were in his hands.

In 349 BC, Philip started the siege of Olynthus. Olynthus at first allied itself with Philip, but later shifted its allegiance to Athens. The Athenians did nothing to help Olynthus. Philip finally took Olynthus in 348 BC and razed the city to the ground. In 346 BC, he intervened effectively in the war between Thebes and the Phocians, but his wars with Athens continued intermittently.

Macedonia and the regions adjoining it having now been securely consolidated, Philip celebrated his Olympic games at Dium. In 347 BC, Philip advanced to the conquest of the eastern districts about the Hebrus, and compelled the submission of the Thracian prince Cersobleptes. Meanwhile, Athens had made overtures for peace, and when Philip, in 346 BC, again moved south, peace was sworn in Thessaly. With key Greek city-states in submission, Philip turned to Sparta; he sent them a message, "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." Their reply was "If." Philip and Alexander would both leave them alone. Later, the Macedonian arms were carried across Epirus to the Adriatic Sea. In 342 BC, Philip led a great military expedition north against the Scythians, conquering the Thracian fortified settlement Eumolpia to give it his name, Philippoupolis (modern Plovdiv).

In 340 BC, Philip started the siege of Perinthus. Philip began another siege in 339 BC of the city of Byzantium. After unsuccessful sieges of both cities, Philip's influence all over Greece was compromised. However, Philip successfully reasserted his authority in the Aegean by defeating an alliance of Thebans and Athenians at the Battle of Chaeronea in 338 BC. He erected a memorial of a marble lion to the Sacred Band of Thebes for their bravery that still stands today. Philip created and led the League of Corinth in 337 BC. Members of the League agreed never to wage war against each other, unless it was to suppress revolution. Philip was elected as leader (hegemon) of the army of invasion against the Persian Empire. In 336 BC, when the invasion of Persia was in its very early stage, Philip was assassinated, and was succeeded on the throne of Macedon by his son Alexander the Great.

Philip’s Assassination

The murder happened in October of 336 BC, at Aegae, the ancient capital of the kingdom of Macedon. The court had gathered there for the celebration of the marriage between Alexander of Epirus and Philip's daughter. While the king was entering unprotected into the town's theatre (highlighting his approachability to the Greek diplomats present), he was killed by Pausanias of Orestis, one of Philip's seven bodyguards. The assassin immediately tried to escape and reach his associates who were waiting for him with horses at the entrance of Aegae. He was pursued by three of Philip's bodyguards and died by their hands.
The reasons for Pausanias' assassination of Phillip are difficult to fully expound, since there was controversy already among ancient historians. The only contemporary account in our possession is that of Aristotle, who states rather tersely that Philip was killed because Pausanias had been offended by the followers of Attalus, the king's father-in-law.

Whatever else that may be written about Philip II it must be recognized that he was responsible for making Macedon the ascendant Greek power. He reorganized the Macedonian army. It was this army that Alexander the Great inherited. Phillip II trained some of Alexander’s best generals: Antigonus Cyclops, Antipater, Nearchus, Parmenion, and Perdiccas.

According to the Greek historian Theopompus of Chios, Europe had never seen a man like king Philip of Macedonia, and he called his history of the mid-fourth century BCE the Philippic History. Theopompus had a point. Not even his better known son Alexander has done so much to change the course of Greek history. Philip reorganized his kingdom, gave it access to the sea, expanded its power so that it could defeat the Achaemenid Empire, and subdued the Greek city-states, which never regained their independence again. To achieve this, he modernized the Macedonian economy, improved the army, and concluded several marital alliances. The result was a superpower with one weakness: it was as strong as its king. When Philip's son Alexander died, the institutions were too weak, and Macedonia never recovered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_II_of_Macedon
http://www.livius.org/phi-php/philip/philip_ii.htm
Ed. by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJun 30, 2010
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[301a] Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 283 B.C.183 viewsPTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. Alexandria, 290-289 BC. Eagle standing on thunderbolt.

PTOLEMY I SOTER AR silver tetradrachm. 27mm, 13.9g. Struck at Alexandria, 290-289 BC. VF. Obverse: Diademed head of Ptolemy I right; Reverse; PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS, eagle standing left on thunderbolt, P and PTY monogram to left. Svoronos 259, SNG Cop 72. Banker's mark and some graffito in the reverse fields. Ex Incitatus.

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC—283 BC) was a Macedonian general who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC—283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 305 BC he took the title of king.
He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia - either by her husband Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or by her lover, Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. Thaïs became his queen in Egypt, and even after he divorced her, she reportedly remained his friend, and kept the title of queen while in Memphis.

When Alexander died in 323, Ptolemy is said to have instigated the resettlement of the empire made at Babylon. Through the Partition of Babylon, he was now appointed satrap of Egypt, under the nominal kings Philip Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV; the former satrap, the Greek Cleomenes, stayed on as his deputy. Ptolemy quickly moved, without authorization, to subjugate Cyrenaica.

By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to pre-empt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took great pains in getting his hands on the body of Alexander the Great, placing it temporarily in Memphis (a major element for The First War of The Diodochi) . Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Perdiccas appears to have suspected Ptolemy of aiming for the throne himself, and maybe decided that Ptolemy was his most dangerous rival. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes for spying on behalf of Perdiccas — this removed the chief check on his authority, and allowed Ptolemy to obtain the huge sum that Cleomenes had accumulated.
In 321, Perdiccas invaded Egypt. Ptolemy decided to defend the Nile, and Perdiccas's attempt to force it ended in fiasco, with the loss of 2000 men. This was a fatal blow to Perdiccas' reputation, and he was murdered in his tent by two of his subordinates. Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army. Ptolemy was offered the regency in place of Perdiccas; but he declined. Ptolemy was consistent in his policy of securing a power base, while never succumbing to the temptation of risking all to succeed Alexander.

In the long wars that followed between the different Diadochi, Ptolemy's first goal was to hold Egypt securely, and his second was to secure control in the outlying areas: Cyrenaica and Cyprus, as well as Syria, including the province of Judea. His first occupation of Syria was in 318, and he established at the same time a protectorate over the petty kings of Cyprus. When Antigonus One-Eye, master of Asia in 315, showed dangerous ambitions, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him, and on the outbreak of war, evacuated Syria. In Cyprus, he fought the partisans of Antigonus, and re-conquered the island (313). A revolt in Cyrene was crushed the same year.

In 312, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the fugitive satrap of Babylonia, both invaded Syria, and defeated Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), the son of Antigonus, in the Battle of Gaza. Again he occupied Syria, and again—after only a few months, when Demetrius had won a battle over his general, and Antigonus entered Syria in force—he evacuated it. In 311, a peace was concluded between the combatants. Soon after this, the surviving 13-year-old king, Alexander IV, was murdered in Macedonia, leaving the satrap of Egypt absolutely his own master. The peace did not last long, and in 309 Ptolemy personally commanded a fleet that detached the coastal towns of Lycia and Caria from Antigonus, then crossed into Greece, where he took possession of Corinth, Sicyon and Megara (308 BC). In 306, a great fleet under Demetrius attacked Cyprus, and Ptolemy's brother Menelaus was defeated and captured in another decisive Battle of Salamis. Ptolemy's complete loss of Cyprus followed.
The satraps Antigonus and Demetrius now each assumed the title of king; Ptolemy, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator, responded by doing the same. In the winter of 306 BC, Antigonus tried to follow up his victory in Cyprus by invading Egypt; but Ptolemy was strongest there, and successfully held the frontier against him. Ptolemy led no further overseas expeditions against Antigonus. However, he did send great assistance to Rhodes when it was besieged by Demetrius (305/304),. Once rescued, the Rhodians instituted a festival to worship Ptolemy as Soter ("saviour").

It is widely accepted by modern scholars that as a result of lifting the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy I had the name Soter ("saviour") bestowed upon him by the grateful people but this account is found only in the writings of Pausanius who has proven to be inaccurate on other points related to the Ptolomies. Rhodian inscriptions related to the cult of king Ptolemy do not mention it until the first century BC and Diodorus' writings, which are favourable to Ptolemy, do not either. The first mention of the title Soter is by Ptolemy II in 256 BC when he issued coins calling himself “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy Soter”. Prior to this date coins had read “King Ptolemy son of Ptolemy”. It is speculated that he used the title Soter as propaganda after a series of defeats prior to its first use.

When the coalition against Antigonus was renewed in 302, Ptolemy joined it, and invaded Syria a third time, while Antigonus was engaged with Lysimachus in Asia Minor. On hearing a report that Antigonus had won a decisive victory there, he once again evacuated Syria. But when the news came that Antigonus had been defeated and slain by Lysimachus and Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301, he occupied Syria a fourth time.

The other members of the coalition had assigned all Syria to Seleucus, after what they regarded as Ptolemy's desertion, and for the next hundred years, the question of the ownership of southern Syria (ie, Judea) produced recurring warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. Henceforth, Ptolemy seems to have mingled as little as possible in the rivalries between Asia Minor and Greece; he lost what he held in Greece, but reconquered Cyprus in 295/294. Cyrene, after a series of rebellions, was finally subjugated about 300 and placed under his stepson Magas.

In 285, Ptolemy abdicated in favour of one of his younger sons by Berenice - Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who had been co-regent for three years. His eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated, fled to the court of Lysimachus. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 at the age of 84. Shrewd and cautious, he had a compact and well-ordered realm to show at the end of forty years of war. His reputation for bonhomie and liberality attached the floating soldier-class of Macedonians and Greeks to his service, and was not insignificant; nor did he wholly neglect conciliation of the natives. Ptolemy also founded the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was "recreated" in such a fashion that he was acceptable to the Greeks and Macedonians. Ptolemy initiated the building of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. This was to become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

He was a ready patron of letters, founding the Great Library of Alexandria. He himself wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns that has not survived. This used to be considered an objective work, distinguished by its straightforward honesty and sobriety. However, Ptolemy may have exaggerated his own role, and had propagandist aims in writing his History. Although now lost, it was a principal source for the surviving account by Arrian of Nicomedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_I_Soter

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
2 commentsCleisthenesJun 29, 2010
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Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.62 viewsMARCUS ANTONIUS (Marc Antony) AR silver legionary denarius. Legion XXIII. 18mm, 3.5g. Struck at a military mint, likely Patrae, 32-31 BC. Obverse: ANT AVG III VIR R P C, Praetorian galley sailing. Reverse: LEG XXIII, eagle between standards. Ex Incitatus.

Legion XXII, the 22nd, is the second-last legion in the series and one of the scarcer types of the regular numbered legions.

Marcus Antonius (in Latin: M·ANTONIVS·M·F·M·N[1]) (January 14, 83 BC – August 1, 30 BC), known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. He was an important supporter and the loyal friend of Gaius Julius Caesar as a military commander and administrator, despite his blood ties, through his mother Iulia, to the branch of Caesars opposed to the Marians and murdered by them. After Caesar's assassination, Antony formed an official political alliance with Octavian (Augustus) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, known to historians today as the Second Triumvirate.

The triumvirate broke up in 33 BC. Disagreement between Octavian and Antony erupted into civil war, the Final War of the Roman Republic, in 31 BC. Antony was defeated by Octavian at the naval Battle of Actium, and in a brief land battle at Alexandria. He and his lover Cleopatra committed suicide shortly thereafter.

For anyone tempted to laud Marcus Antonius, to Antony's great shame read what Plutarch wrote about what Antony did to Cicero:

Plutarch: Cicero's Death

But in the meantime the assassins were come with a band of soldiers, Herennius, a centurion, and Popillius, a tribune, whom Cicero had formerly defended when prosecuted for the murder of his father. Finding the doors shut, they broke them open, and Cicero not appearing, and those within saying they knew not where he was, it is stated that a youth, who had been educated by Cicero in the liberal arts and sciences, an emancipated slave of his brother Quintus, Philologus by name, informed the tribune that the litter was on its way to the sea through the close and shady walks. The tribune, taking a few with him, ran to the place where he was to come out. And Cicero, perceiving Herennius running in the walks, commanded his servants to set down the litter; and stroking his chin, as he used to do, with his left hand, he looked steadfastly upon his murderers, his person covered with dust, his beard and hair untrimmed, and his face worn with his troubles. So that the greatest part of those that stood by covered their faces whilst Herennius slew him. And thus was he murdered, stretching forth his neck out of the litter, being now in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head, and, by Antony's command, his hands also, by which his Philippics were written; for so Cicero styled those orations he wrote against Antony, and so they are called to this day.

When these members of Cicero were brought to Rome, Antony was holding an assembly for the choice of public officers; and when he heard it, and saw them, he cried out, "Now let there be an end of our proscriptions." He commanded his head and hands to be fastened up over the rostra, where the orators spoke; a sight which the Roman people shuddered to behold, and they believed they saw there, not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony's own soul.

Translation by John Dryden: http://intranet.grundel.nl/thinkquest/moord_cicero_plu.html

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesJun 28, 2010
42576q00.jpg
[303a] Seleukid Kingdom, Seleukos I, 312 - 280 B.C.119 viewsSilver drachm, Houghton and Lorber 131(8), Newell ESM 91a-b (same obv die), gVF, Seleukeia mint, weight 4.239g, maximum diameter 17.1mm, die axis 270o, obverse laureate head of Zeus; reverse Athena driving quadriga of horned elephants right, anchor above, BASILEWS on left, SELEUKOU in ex; ex CNG auction 82, lot 713. Ex FORVM.

Seleukos (often spelled Seleucus) I Nikator, Founder of a Hellenistic Dynasty in the Orient
Born into a well-placed family in Macedon, trained as a royal page to King Philip II, trusted companion and chief of the élite bodyguard of Alexander the Great, he spent half his life in the shadow of more ambitious soldiers. Yet he eventually rose above all of them, and the kingdom he founded rivalled Ptolemaic Egypt in brilliance and almost in longevity, for Cleopatra VII ended her life, surrendering Egypt to Octavian, only a generation after Rome reduced what remained of the Seleukid Empire to the Province of Syria.
http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/908680

Seleucus I (surnamed for later generations Nicator, Greek: Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ, i.e. Seleucus Victor) (ca. 358 BCE–281 BCE), was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great. In the wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire.

Seleucus was the son of Antiochus from Orestis, one of Philip's generals, and of Laodice. In 333 BC, as a young man of about twenty-three, he accompanied Alexander into Asia and won distinction in the Indian campaign of 326 BC. In 324 BCE Seleucus took as wife Apama, with whom he had four children: two daughters, Apama and Laodice, and two sons, Antiochus & Achaeus.

When the Macedonian empire was divided in 323 BC (the "Partition of Babylon"), Seleucus was given the office of chiliarch, which attached him closely to the regent Perdiccas. Subsequently, Seleucus had a hand in the murder of Perdiccas during the latter's unsuccessful invasion of Egypt in 321 BC.

At the second partition, at Triparadisus (321 BC), Seleucus was given the government of the Babylonian satrapy. In 316 BC, when Antigonus had made himself master of the eastern provinces, Seleucus felt himself threatened and fled to Egypt. In the war which followed between Antigonus and the other Macedonian chiefs, Seleucus actively cooperated with Ptolemy and commanded Egyptian squadrons in the Aegean Sea.

The victory won by Ptolemy at the battle of Gaza in 312 BC opened the way for Seleucus to return to the east. His return to Babylon was afterwards officially regarded as the beginning of the Seleucid Empire and that year as the first of the Seleucid era. Master of Babylonia, Seleucus at once proceeded to wrest the neighbouring provinces of Persia, Susiana and Media from the nominees of Antigonus. A raid into Babylonia conducted in 311 BC by Demetrius, son of Antigonus, did not seriously check Seleucus' progress. Over the course of nine years (311-302 BC), while Antigonus was occupied in the west, Seleucus brought the whole eastern part of Alexander's empire as far as the Jaxartes and Indus Rivers under his authority.

In 305 BC, after the extinction of the old royal line of Macedonia, Seleucus, like the other four principal Macedonian chiefs, assumed the title and style of basileus (king). He established Seleucia on the Tigris as his capital.

In the year 281 B.C., at the age of 77, Seleukos was assassinated by Ptolemy Ceraunus (the eldest son of Ptolemy I Soter). All of the "principal" Diadochi; Antigonas Monophthalmos, Antipater, Kassander, Ptolemy, Lysimichus and Seleukos; had now joined their great king, Alexander, in death.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucus_I_Nicator

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
5 commentsCleisthenesJun 18, 2010
Ptolemy_I_Soter.jpg
[301b] Ptolemaic Kingdom, Ptolemy I Soter, 305 - 283 B.C.104 viewsBronze AE 30, cf. Svoronos 271, et al., VF/F, Alexandria mint, weight 12.946g, maximum diameter 30.3mm, die axis 0o, obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse [PTOLEMAIOU BASILEWS], eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open, head left, unidentifiable monogram(s) in left field; nice style Zeus. Ex FORVM.

Ptolemy I Soter (Greek: Πτολεμαῖος Σωτήρ, Ptolemaios Soter, i.e. Ptolemy the Savior, 367 BC—283 BC) was a Macedonian general who became the ruler of Egypt (323 BC—283 BC) and founder of the Ptolemaic dynasty. In 305 BC he took the title of king.
He was the son of Arsinoe of Macedonia - either by her husband Lagus, a Macedonian nobleman, or by her lover, Philip II of Macedon (which would make him the half-brother of Alexander the Great if true). Ptolemy was one of Alexander the Great's most trusted generals, and among the seven "body-guards" attached to his person. He was a few years older than Alexander, and his intimate friend since childhood. He may even have been in the group of noble teenagers tutored by Aristotle. He was with Alexander from his first campaigns, and played a principal part in the later campaigns in Afghanistan and India. At the Susa marriage festival in 324, Alexander had him marry the Persian princess Atacama. Ptolemy also had a consort queen in Thaïs, the famous Athenian hetaera and one of Alexander's companions in his conquest of the ancient world. Thaïs became his queen in Egypt, and even after he divorced her, she reportedly remained his friend, and kept the title of queen while in Memphis.

When Alexander died in 323, Ptolemy is said to have instigated the resettlement of the empire made at Babylon. Through the Partition of Babylon, he was now appointed satrap of Egypt, under the nominal kings Philip Arrhidaeus and the infant Alexander IV; the former satrap, the Greek Cleomenes, stayed on as his deputy. Ptolemy quickly moved, without authorization, to subjugate Cyrenaica.

By custom, kings in Macedonia asserted their right to the throne by burying their predecessor. Probably because he wanted to pre-empt Perdiccas, the imperial regent, from staking his claim in this way, Ptolemy took great pains in getting his hands on the body of Alexander the Great, placing it temporarily in Memphis (a major element for The First War of The Diodochi) . Ptolemy then openly joined the coalition against Perdiccas. Perdiccas appears to have suspected Ptolemy of aiming for the throne himself, and maybe decided that Ptolemy was his most dangerous rival. Ptolemy executed Cleomenes for spying on behalf of Perdiccas — this removed the chief check on his authority, and allowed Ptolemy to obtain the huge sum that Cleomenes had accumulated.
In 321, Perdiccas invaded Egypt. Ptolemy decided to defend the Nile, and Perdiccas's attempt to force it ended in fiasco, with the loss of 2000 men. This was a fatal blow to Perdiccas' reputation, and he was murdered in his tent by two of his subordinates. Ptolemy immediately crossed the Nile, to provide supplies to what had the day before been an enemy army. Ptolemy was offered the regency in place of Perdiccas; but he declined. Ptolemy was consistent in his policy of securing a power base, while never succumbing to the temptation of risking all to succeed Alexander.

In the long wars that followed between the different Diadochi, Ptolemy's first goal was to hold Egypt securely, and his second was to secure control in the outlying areas: Cyrenaica and Cyprus, as well as Syria, including the province of Judea. His first occupation of Syria was in 318, and he established at the same time a protectorate over the petty kings of Cyprus. When Antigonus One-Eye, master of Asia in 315, showed dangerous ambitions, Ptolemy joined the coalition against him, and on the outbreak of war, evacuated Syria. In Cyprus, he fought the partisans of Antigonus, and re-conquered the island (313). A revolt in Cyrene was crushed the same year.

In 312, Ptolemy and Seleucus, the fugitive satrap of Babylonia, both invaded Syria, and defeated Demetrius Poliorcetes ("sieger of cities"), the son of Antigonus, in the Battle of Gaza. Again he occupied Syria, and again—after only a few months, when Demetrius had won a battle over his general, and Antigonus entered Syria in force—he evacuated it. In 311, a peace was concluded between the combatants. Soon after this, the surviving 13-year-old king, Alexander IV, was murdered in Macedonia, leaving the satrap of Egypt absolutely his own master. The peace did not last long, and in 309 Ptolemy personally commanded a fleet that detached the coastal towns of Lycia and Caria from Antigonus, then crossed into Greece, where he took possession of Corinth, Sicyon and Megara (308 BC). In 306, a great fleet under Demetrius attacked Cyprus, and Ptolemy's brother Menelaus was defeated and captured in another decisive Battle of Salamis. Ptolemy's complete loss of Cyprus followed.
The satraps Antigonus and Demetrius now each assumed the title of king; Ptolemy, as well as Cassander, Lysimachus and Seleucus I Nicator, responded by doing the same. In the winter of 306 BC, Antigonus tried to follow up his victory in Cyprus by invading Egypt; but Ptolemy was strongest there, and successfully held the frontier against him. Ptolemy led no further overseas expeditions against Antigonus. However, he did send great assistance to Rhodes when it was besieged by Demetrius (305/304),. Once rescued, the Rhodians instituted a festival to worship Ptolemy as Soter ("saviour").

It is widely accepted by modern scholars that as a result of lifting the siege of Rhodes, Ptolemy I had the name Soter ("saviour") bestowed upon him by the grateful people but this account is found only in the writings of Pausanius who has proven to be inaccurate on other points related to the Ptolomies. Rhodian inscriptions related to the cult of king Ptolemy do not mention it until the first century BC and Diodorus' writings, which are favourable to Ptolemy, do not either. The first mention of the title Soter is by Ptolemy II in 256 BC when he issued coins calling himself “King Ptolemy, son of Ptolemy Soter”. Prior to this date coins had read “King Ptolemy son of Ptolemy”. It is speculated that he used the title Soter as propaganda after a series of defeats prior to its first use.

When the coalition against Antigonus was renewed in 302, Ptolemy joined it, and invaded Syria a third time, while Antigonus was engaged with Lysimachus in Asia Minor. On hearing a report that Antigonus had won a decisive victory there, he once again evacuated Syria. But when the news came that Antigonus had been defeated and slain by Lysimachus and Seleucus at the Battle of Ipsus in 301, he occupied Syria a fourth time.

The other members of the coalition had assigned all Syria to Seleucus, after what they regarded as Ptolemy's desertion, and for the next hundred years, the question of the ownership of southern Syria (ie, Judea) produced recurring warfare between the Seleucid and Ptolemaic dynasties. Henceforth, Ptolemy seems to have mingled as little as possible in the rivalries between Asia Minor and Greece; he lost what he held in Greece, but reconquered Cyprus in 295/294. Cyrene, after a series of rebellions, was finally subjugated about 300 and placed under his stepson Magas.

In 285, Ptolemy abdicated in favour of one of his younger sons by Berenice - Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who had been co-regent for three years. His eldest (legitimate) son, Ptolemy Ceraunus, whose mother, Eurydice, the daughter of Antipater, had been repudiated, fled to the court of Lysimachus. Ptolemy I Soter died in 283 at the age of 84. Shrewd and cautious, he had a compact and well-ordered realm to show at the end of forty years of war. His reputation for bonhomie and liberality attached the floating soldier-class of Macedonians and Greeks to his service, and was not insignificant; nor did he wholly neglect conciliation of the natives. Ptolemy also founded the cult of Serapis, an Egyptian god who was "recreated" in such a fashion that he was acceptable to the Greeks and Macedonians. Ptolemy initiated the building of the lighthouse off the coast of Alexandria on the island of Pharos. This was to become one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

He was a ready patron of letters, founding the Great Library of Alexandria. He himself wrote a history of Alexander's campaigns that has not survived. This used to be considered an objective work, distinguished by its straightforward honesty and sobriety. However, Ptolemy may have exaggerated his own role, and had propagandist aims in writing his History. Although now lost, it was a principal source for the surviving account by Arrian of Nicomedia.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_I_Soter

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesMay 28, 2010
Elizabeth_I_sixpence.jpg
Elizabeth I, 1558 - 160370 viewsEngland, Elizabeth I, 1558 - 1603. Silver sixpence, Spink 2578B, North 2015, tun mintmark, VF, light scratches, toned, Tower mint, weight 2.838g, maximum diameter 27.5mm, die axis 270o, 1592. Obverse: ELIZAB D'G' ANG'FR:ET:HIB REGI, crowned bust left, rose behind; Reverse POSVI DEV ADIVTOREM MEV (I have made God my helper), quartered coat-of-arms (passant lions and fleurs-de-lis) on long cross fourchée, 1592 above shield; ex A.H. Baldwin & Sons Ltd., Autumn Argentum Auction 2009. Ex FORVM.

Elizabeth I, 1558 - 1603
Elizabeth Tudor is considered by many to be the greatest monarch in English history. When she became queen in 1558, she was twenty-five years old, a survivor of scandal and danger, and considered illegitimate by most Europeans. She inherited a bankrupt nation, torn by religious discord, a weakened pawn between the great powers of France and Spain. She was only the third queen to rule England in her own right; the other two examples, her cousin Lady Jane Grey and half-sister Mary I, were disastrous. Even her supporters believed her position dangerous and uncertain. Her only hope, they counseled, was to marry quickly and lean upon her husband for support. But Elizabeth had other ideas.
She ruled alone for nearly half a century, lending her name to a glorious epoch in world history. She dazzled even her greatest enemies. Her sense of duty was admirable, though it came at great personal cost. She was committed above all else to preserving English peace and stability; her genuine love for her subjects was legendary. Only a few years after her death in 1603, they lamented her passing. In her greatest speech to Parliament, she told them, 'I count the glory of my crown that I have reigned with your love.'

http://englishhistory.net/tudor/monarchs/eliz1.html
Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesApr 10, 2010
Titus_Colosseum_Commem_AR_denarius.jpg
711a, Titus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D.136 viewsTitus, 24 June 79 - 13 September 81 A.D. AR denarius, RCV 2512, aVF, struck at Rome, 80 A.D., 17.5mm, 3.4g. Obverse: IMP TITVS CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG PM, laureate head right; Reverse: TRP IX IMP XV COS VIII PP, elephant walking left. Fully legible legends; nice golden toning. This coin was struck in order to commemorate the completion and dedication of the Flavian Amphitheatre (the Colosseum) and its opening games. Very scarce. Ex Incitatus; photo courtesy Incitatus.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 79-81)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Titus Flavius Vespasianus was born on December 30, 39 A.D. He was the oldest of the three children of the founder of the Flavian Dynasty, Vespasian. Beginning in the year 70 Titus was named Cæsar and coregent; he was highly educated and a brilliant poet and orator in both Latin and Greek. He won military fame during the Jewish Revolt of 69-70. In April, 70, he appeared before the walls of Jerusalem, and conquered and destroyed the city after a siege of five months. He wished to preserve the Temple, but in the struggle with the Jews who rushed out of it a soldier threw a brand into the building. The siege and taking of the city were accompanied by barbarous cruelties. The next year Titus celebrated his victory by a triumph; to increase the fame of the Flavian dynasty the inscription on the triumphal arch represented the overthrow of the helpless people as a heroic achievement. Titus succeeded his father as Emperor in 79.

Before becoming emperor, tradition records that Titus was feared as the next Nero, a perception that may have developed from his association with Berenice, his alleged heavy-handedness as praetorian prefect, and tales of sexual debauchery. Once in office, however, both emperor and his reign were portrayed in universally positive terms. The suddenness of this transformation raises immediate suspicions, yet it is difficult to know whether the historical tradition is suspect or if Titus was in fact adept at taking off one mask for another. What is clear, however, is that Titus sought to present the Flavians as the legitimate successors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Proof came through the issuing of a series of restoration coins of previous emperors, the most popular being Augustus and Claudius. In A.D. 80 Titus also set out to establish an imperial cult in honor of Vespasian. The temple, in which cult (the first that was not connected with the Julio-Claudians) was housed, was completed by Domitian and was known as the Temple of Vespasian and Domitian.
Legitimacy was also sought through various economic measures, which Titus enthusiastically funded. Vast amounts of capital poured into extensive building schemes in Rome, especially the Flavian Amphitheater, popularly known as the Colosseum. In celebration of additions made to the structure, Titus provided a grand 100-day festival, with sea fights staged on an artificial lake, infantry battles, wild beast hunts, and similar activities. He also constructed new imperial baths to the south-east of the Amphitheater and began work on the celebrated Arch of Titus, a memorial to his Jewish victories. Large sums were directed to Italy and the provinces as well, especially for road building. In response to the eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, Titus spent large sums to relieve distress in that area; likewise, the imperial purse contributed heavily to rebuilding Rome after a devastating fire destroyed large sections of the city in A.D. 80. As a result of these actions, Titus earned a reputation for generosity and geniality. For these reasons he gained the honourable title of "amor et deliciæ generis humani" (the darling and admiration of the human race). Even so, his financial acumen must not be under-estimated. He left the treasury with a surplus, as he had found it, and dealt promptly and efficiently with costly natural disasters. The Greek historian of the third-century A.D., Cassius Dio, perhaps offered the most accurate and succinct assessment of Titus' economic policy: "In money matters, Titus was frugal and made no unnecessary expenditure." In other areas, the brevity of Titus' reign limits our ability to detect major emphases or trends in policy. As far as can be discerned from the limited evidence, senior officials and amici were well chosen, and his legislative activity tended to focus on popular social measures, with the army as a particular beneficiary in the areas of land ownership, marriage, and testamentary freedom. In the provinces, Titus continued his father's policies by strengthening roads and forts in the East and along the Danube.

Titus died in September, A.D. 81 after only 26 months in office. Suetonius recorded that Titus died on his way to the Sabine country of his ancestors in the same villa as his father. A competing tradition persistently implicated his brother and successor, Domitian, as having had a hand in the emperor's demise, but the evidence is highly contradictory and any wrongdoing is difficult to prove. Domitian himself delivered the funeral eulogy and had Titus deified. He also built several monuments in honor of Titus and completed the Temple of Vespasian and Titus, changing the name of the structure to include his brother's and setting up his cult statue in the Temple itself.

Titus was the beneficiary of considerable intelligence and talent, endowments that were carefully cultivated at every step of his career, from his early education to his role under his father's principate. Cassius Dio suggested that Titus' reputation was enhanced by his early death. It is true that the ancient sources tend to heroicize Titus, yet based upon the evidence, his reign must be considered a positive one. He capably continued the work of his father in establishing the Flavian Dynasty and he maintained a high degree of economic and administrative competence in Italy and beyond. In so doing, he solidified the role of the emperor as paternalistic autocrat, a model that would serve Trajan and his successors well. Titus was used as a model by later emperors, especially those known as the Five Good Emperors (Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius).

Copyright (C) 1997, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14746b.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
3 commentsCleisthenesDec 23, 2009
[901a]_NervaAntiochAE26.jpg
Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D., Antioch, Syria195 viewsBronze AE 26, BMC Syria, p. 182, 261, aVF, Antioch mint, weight 13.524g, maximum diameter 25.0mm, die axis 0o, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; Obverse: IMP CAESAR NERVA AVG III COS, laureate head right; Reverse: large S C in wreath, D below; unbelievable portrait. Ex FORVM. Photo courtesy FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families
Nerva (96-98 A.D.)

David Wend

Introduction
Although short, the reign of Marcus Cocceius Nerva (A.D. 96-98) is pivotal. The first of Edward Gibbon's so-called "Five Good Emperors," Nerva is credited with beginning the practice of adopting his heir rather than selecting a blood relative. Claimed as an ancestor by all the emperors down to Severus Alexander, he has traditionally been regarded with much good will at the expense of his predecessor, Domitian.

Ancestry
Nerva could claim eminent ancestry on both sides of his family. On the paternal side, his great-grandfather, M. Cocceius Nerva, was consul in 36 B.C.; his grandfather, a distinguished jurist of the same name, accompanied Tiberius on his retirement to Capri in 26 A.D. On his mother's side an aunt, Rubellia Bassa, was the great-granddaughter of Tiberius. In addition, a great-uncle, L. Cocceius Nerva, played a part in the negotiations that secured a treaty between Octavian and Antony in 40 B.C

Early Career and Life under Domitian
Nerva was born on 8 November, 30 A.D. Little is known of his upbringing beyond the fact that he belonged to a senatorial family and pursued neither a military nor a public speaking career. On the other hand, he did hold various priesthoods and was a praetor-designate. More importantly, as praetor designate in 65, Nerva was instrumental in revealing the conspiracy of Piso against the emperor Nero.

As a result, he received triumphal ornaments and his statue was placed in the palace. Following Nero's fall in 68, Nerva must have realized that support of Vespasian and the Flavian cause was in his best interests. In 71 his loyalty was rewarded with a joint consulship with the emperor, the only time that Vespasian ever held the office without his son Titus. It was under the reign of Vespasian's other son, Domitian, that Nerva's political fortunes were ultimately determined, however. He shared the ordinary consulship with Domitian in 90, an honor that was perhaps the result of his alerting the emperor about the revolt of Antonius Saturninus, the governor of Upper Germany, in 89. Even so, like so many others of the senatorial class, Nerva came under scrutiny in the final years of Domitian's reign, when the emperor was unwilling to tolerate any criticism.

Whether or not Nerva was forced to withdraw from public life during Domitian's final years remains an open question. What is not in dispute is that he was named emperor on the same day that Domitian was assassinated in September, 96. Indeed, in some respects the accession was improbable, since it placed the Empire under the control of a feeble sexagenarian and long-time Flavian supporter with close ties to the unpopular Domitian. On the other hand, Nerva had proven to be a capable senator, one with political connections and an ability to negotiate. Moreover, he had no children, thereby ensuring that the state would not become his hereditary possession.

Imperial Initiatives
Upon taking office, Nerva made immediate changes. He ordered the palace of Domitian to be renamed the House of the People, while he himself resided at the Horti Sallustiani, the favorite residence of Vespasian. More significantly, he took an oath before the senate that he would refrain from executing its members. He also released those who had been imprisoned by Domitian and recalled exiles not found guilty of serious crimes. Nevertheless, Nerva still allowed the prosecution of informers by the senate, a measure that led to chaos, as everyone acted in his own interests while trying to settle scores with personal enemies.

In the area of economic administration Nerva, like Domitian, was keen on maintaining a balanced budget. In early 97, after appointing a commission of five consular senators to give advice on reducing expenditures, he proceeded to abolish many sacrifices, races, and games. Similarly, he allowed no gold or silver statues to be made of himself. Even so, there was some room for municipal expenditure. For the urban poor of Italy he granted allotments of land worth 60 million sesterces, and he exempted parents and their children from a 5% inheritance tax. He also made loans to Italian landowners on the condition that they pay interest of 5% to their municipality to support the children of needy families. These alimentary schemes were later extended by Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.

Because he reigned only briefly, Nerva's public works were few. By early 98 he dedicated the forum that Domitian had built to connect the Forum of Augustus with the Forum of Peace. It became known as the Forum of Nerva, or the Forum Transitorium. Nerva also built granaries, made repairs to the Colosseum when the Tiber flooded, and continued the program of road building and repairs inaugurated under the Flavians. In addition, pantomime performances, supressed by Domitian, were restored.

In the military realm, Nerva established veterans' colonies in Africa, a practice that was continued by the emperor Trajan. Normal military privileges were continued and some auxiliary units assumed the epithet Nervia or Nerviana. We are not well informed beyond these details, and any military action that may have occurred while Nerva was emperor is known sketchy at best.

Nature of Nerva's Government
Nerva's major appointments favored men whom he knew and trusted, and who had long served and been rewarded by the Flavians. Typical was Sextus Julius Frontinus. A consul under Vespasian and governor of Britain twenty years earlier, Frontinus came out of retirement to become curator of the water supply, an office that had long been subject to abuse and mismanagement. He helped to put an end to the abuses and published a significant work on Rome's water supply, De aquis urbis Romae. As a reward for his service, Frontinus was named consul for the second time in 98. Similarly, the emperor's own amici were often senators with Flavian ties, men who, by virtue of their links to the previous regime, were valuable to Nerva for what they knew. Thus do we find the likes of A. Didius Gallus Fabricius Veiiento, one of Domitian's ill-reputed counselors, seated next to Nerva at an imperial dinner. Nerva was less willing to consult the Senate as a whole. In many cases he preferred the opinions of his own consilium, and was less submissive than many senators would have liked. This attitude may have been responsible for hostile discontent among several senators.

Mutiny of the Praetorians and the Adoption of Trajan
It was not long before the assassination of Domitian came to work against the new emperor. Dissatisfied that Domitian had not been deified after his death, the praetorian guards mutinied under Casperius Aelianus in October 97. Taking the emperor as hostage, they demanded that Nerva hand over Domitian's murderers. The emperor not only relented, but was forced to give a public speech of thanks to the mutineers for their actions. His authority compomised, Nerva used the occasion of a victory in Pannonia over the Germans in late October, 97 to announce the adoption of Marcus Ulpius Traianus, governor of Upper Germany, as his successor. The new Caesar was immediately acclaimed imperator and granted the tribunicia potestas. Nerva's public announcement of the adoption settled succession as fact; he allowed no time to oppose his decision. From the German victory, Nerva assumed the epithet Germanicus and conferred the title on Trajan as well. He also made Trajan his consular colleague in 98.

Death and Deification
On January 1, 98, the start of his fourth consulship, Nerva suffered a stroke during a private audience. Three weeks later he died at his villa in the Gardens of Sallust. From his headquarters at Cologne, Trajan insisted that Nerva's ashes be placed in the mausoleum of Augustus and asked the senate to vote on his deification. We are further told that he dedicated a temple to Nerva, yet no trace of it has ever been found. Nor was a commemorative series of coins issued for the Deified Nerva in the wake of his death, but only ten years later.

Conclusion
Nerva's reign was more concerned with the continuation of an existing political system than with the birth of a new age. Indeed, his economic policies, his relationship with the senate, and the men whom he chose to govern and to offer him advice all show signs of Flavian influence. In many respects, Nerva was the right man at the right time. His immediate accession following Domitian's murder prevented anarchy and civil war, while his age, poor health and moderate views were perfect attributes for a government that offered a bridge between Domitian's stormy reign and the emperorships of the stable rulers to follow.

Copyright (C) 1998, David Wend.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 25, 2009
MarcusAureliusLiberalitas_sestertius.jpg
[905a] Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.137 viewsMARCUS AURELIUS AE [b[Sestertius. RIC 1222. 30mm, 24.5g. Struck at Rome, 177 AD. Obverse: M ANTONINUS AVG GERM SARM TR P XXXI, laureate head right; Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG VII IMP VIIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing left holding coin counter & cornucopia, SC in fields. Nice portrait. Ex Incitatus. Photo courtesy of Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University


Introduction and Sources
The Vita of the emperor in the collection known as the Historia Augusta identifies him in its heading as Marcus Antoninus Philosophus, "Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher." Toward the end of the work, the following is reported about him, sententia Platonis semper in ore illius fuit, florere civitates si aut philosophi imperarent aut imperantes philosopharentur (27.7), "Plato's judgment was always on his lips, that states flourished if philosophers ruled or rulers were philosophers." It is this quality of Marcus' character which has made him a unique figure in Roman history, since he was the first emperor whose life was molded by, and devoted to, philosophy (Julian was the second and last). His reign was long and troubled, and in some ways showed the weaknesses of empire which ultimately led to the "Decline and Fall," yet his personal reputation, indeed his sanctity, have never failed of admirers. Contributing to his fame and reputation is a slender volume of Stoic philosophy which served as a kind of diary while he was involved in military campaigns, the Meditations, a book which can be described as an aureus libellus, a little golden book.

The sources for understanding Marcus and his reign are varied but generally disappointing. There is no major historian. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, as well as those of Hadrian, Antoninus, Verus, and Avidius Cassius. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. In all likelihood, it is the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth-century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for our period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Marcus' teacher, Fronto, a distinguished orator and rhetorician, is extremely useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, legal writings, and some of the church writers, such as Tertullian, Eusebius, and Orosius, are very important. Archaeology and art history, with their interpretation of monuments, make the history of Marcus' principate literally visible and offer important clues for understanding the context of his actions.

Early Life
He was born M. Annius Verus on April 26, 121, the scion of a distinguished family of Spanish origin (PIR2 A697). His father was Annius Verus (PIR2 A696), his mother Domitia Lucilla (PIR2 D183). His grandfather held his second consulate in that year and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate, and also served Hadrian as city prefect. The youth's education embraced both rhetoric and philosophy; his manner was serious, his intellectual pursuits deep and devoted, so that the emperor Hadrian took an interest in him and called him "Verissimus," "Most truthful," by punning on his name. He received public honors from an early age and seems to have long been in Hadrian's mind as a potential successor. When Hadrian's first choice as successor, L. Ceionius Commodus, died before his adoptive father, the second choice proved more fruitful. The distinguished senator T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, from Cisalpine Gaul, did succeed Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession planned for the next generation as well. He required Antoninus to adopt the young Verus, now to be known as M. Aelius Aurelius Verus, as well as Commodus' son, henceforth known as L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus (PIR2 C606). The former was a bit more than seventeen years old, the latter was eight.

Career under Antoninus Pius
The long tenure of Antoninus Pius proved one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman history. The emperor himself was disinclined to military undertakings and never left Italy during his reign. Disturbances to the pax Romana occurred on the fringes of empire. Responses were decisive and successful, with legates in charge in the provinces. As a consequence, neither Caesar gained military experience nor was shown to the armies, a failing which later could have proved decisive and disastrous. Marcus rose steadily through the cursus honorum, holding consulates in 140 and 145, combining magistracies with priesthoods. He received the tribunicia potestas in 147, and perhaps also imperium proconsulare. Yet he never neglected the artes liberals. His closest contacts were with Fronto (c.95-c.160), the distinguished rhetorician and orator. His acquaintance included many other distinguished thinkers, such as Herodes Atticus (c.95-177), the Athenian millionaire and sophist, and Aelius Aristides (117-c.181), two of whose great speeches have survived and which reveal much of the mood and beliefs of the age. Yet it was Epictetus (c.50-c.120) who had the greatest philosophical impact and made him a firm Stoic. In the year 161 Marcus celebrated his fortieth birthday, a figure of noble appearance and unblemished character. He was leading a life which gave him as much honor and glory as he could have desired, probably much more than his private nature enjoyed, yet his life, and that of the empire, was soon to change. The emperor died on March 7, but not before clearly indicating to magistrates and senate alike his desire that Marcus succeed him by having the statue of Fortuna, which had been in his bedroom, transferred to Marcus. There was no opposition, no contrary voice, to his succession. He immediately chose his brother as co-emperor, as Hadrian had planned. From the beginning of the year they were joint consuls and held office for the entire year. Their official titulature was now Imperator Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus and Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius Verus Augustus. The military qualities adumbrated by the word Imperator were soon much in demand, for the empire was under pressure in the year 161 in Britain, in Raetia, and in the east, where Parthia once again posed a significant danger.

The Parthian War (161-166)
The incursion in northern Britain and the difficulties along the Danube were soon satisfactorily managed by legates. The danger in the East was of a different magnitude. Tensions between Rome and Parthia had intensified in the last years of Antoninus' reign over control of Armenia, the vast buffer state which had often aroused enmity between the two powers, since each wished to be able to impose a king favorable to its interests. With Antoninus' death and the uncertainty attendant upon a new emperor (in this case two, a dyarchy, for the first time in Rome's history), the Parthian monarch, Vologaeses III, struck rapidly, placed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne, and inflicted severe setbacks upon the Roman forces sent to oppose him. Marcus decided to send his colleague Lucius Verus, whose imperial prestige would underscore the seriousness of the empire's response. Verus lacked military experience and was sorely lacking in the attributes of leadership and command; further, he was notorious for being chiefly interested in amusements and luxury. But Marcus surrounded him with several of the best generals at the empire's disposal, chief among them Avidius Cassius (c.130-175) (PIR2 A1402). From 162 on, Rome's successes and conquests were extensive and decisive. Most of Parthia's significant cities and strongholds, such as Seleucia and Ctesiphon, were stormed and destroyed, and the army's movements eastward recalled the movements of Alexander the Great some five centuries earlier. By 166, Parthia had capitulated and a Roman nominee sat on the Armenian throne. The victory appeared to be the most decisive since Trajan's conquest of Dacia, but, when Verus returned to Italy with his triumphant army, there came also a devastating plague, which had enormous effect on all provinces.
As is the case with all ancient diseases, it is almost impossible to identify this one. In all likelihood, however, it was smallpox; how severe the toll was is debated. Clearly, it cast a pall over the triumph celebrated by the two emperors, who were honored with the titles Armeniacus and Parthicus. The last years of this decade were dominated by efforts to overcome the plague and provide succour to its victims. But already in 166, the German tribes smashed the Danubian limes, threatening the empire's stability and even existence, more than Parthia had ever done. The first campaigns were punctuated by the death of Verus in 169, leaving Marcus as sole emperor. And so began the most difficult period of his life.

The German Wars
Early in 169, the Marcomanni and Quadi crossed the Danube, penetrated the intervening provinces, and entered Italy. The culmination of their onslaught was a siege of Aquileia. The effect upon the inhabitants of the peninsula was frightful. This was the first invasion of Italy since the late second century B.C., when the Cimbri and Teutones had been separately crushed by Marius. Perhaps more vivid in the collective imagination was the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387, when the city was saved only by the payment of ransom.
The two emperors hastened north, after a rapid mobilization of forces, which included the drafting of slaves, since the manpower potential of the empire had been so impaired by the consequences of the plague and the losses and troop commitments in the East. Verus died while in the north; Marcus returned to Rome with the body and gave his brother full honors. He then turned north again and began his counterattacks against the barbarians. He did not know it at the time, but he was destined to spend most of his remaining years on the northern frontier. The only interlude was caused by revolt in the east.

We have no record of Marcus' ultimate intentions in these campaigns, yet the various stages were clear. First and foremost, the enemy had to be driven out of Italy and then into their own territory beyond the Danube. He strove to isolate the tribes and then defeat them individually, so that the ultimate manpower superiority of the empire and its greater skill in warfare and logistics could more easily be brought to bear. It was a successful strategy, as one tribe after another suffered defeat and reestablished ties with Rome. But it was a time-consuming and expensive operation, requiring the recruitment of two new legions, II Italica and III Italica, the construction of many new camps, such as the legionary fortress at Regensburg, with success accruing year by year. He intended to create two new provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, thereby eliminating the Hungarian Plain and the headwaters of the Elbe as staging areas for invasion.

This steady, slow progress was interrupted in 175 by the action of the distinguished general Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, who claimed the empire for himself. Whether he responded to a rumor of Marcus' death or, as gossip had it, conspired with Marcus' wife, the emperor's response was quick and decisive. Leaving the northern wars, he traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region. After spending time settling affairs and showing himself to some of the provinces, with particular attention shown to Athens, where he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, as Hadrian and Verus had been. He returned to Italy and soon answered the call to duty once more on the northern frontier. He took with him as colleague his son Commodus, now merely sixteen years old but already long since marked out as his father's intended successor. The military campaigns proved successful, but in the spring of 180, when Marcus died, at least one more year of warfare was necessary for the attainment of the grand enterprise. Marcus recommended to Commodus continuation of the war, but the new emperor was eager to return to Rome and the ease and luxury of the imperial court and entered into a peace agreement. Never again was Rome to hold the upper hand in its dealings with the Germanic tribes beyond the now reestablished borders of the empire.

Administrative and Religious Policy
Marcus was a conscientious and careful administrator who devoted much attention to judicial matters. His appointments to major administrative positions were for the most part admirable. Difficult tasks were put in the charge of the most capable men; he was not afraid of comparison with his subordinates. Social mobility continued as it had been under his predecessors, with men from the provinces advancing into the upper echelons of the Roman aristocracy. Those of humble birth could make a good career; such a one was Pertinax (126-193), a gifted general, who in early 193 became emperor for a space of less than three months.

The judicial administration of Italy was put in the hands of iuridici, who represented the emperor and thus spoke with his authority. This was a practice which had been established by Hadrian but had been allowed to lapse by Antoninus. The centralization of government continued apace. The imperial finances were sorely stretched by the almost continuous wars. Trajan had brought great wealth, Decebalus' treasure, into the empire after his conquest of Dacia. No such profit awaited Marcus. When preparing for the northern wars, he auctioned off much of the imperial palace's valuables. In spite of the enormous expenses of war, Commodus found ample funds upon his accession as sole emperor for his expenditures and amusements.

Although Marcus was a devoted thinker and philosopher, he was deeply religious, at least outwardly. The state cult received full honor, and he recognized the validity of other people's beliefs, so that the variety of religions in the vast extent of the empire caused no difficulties for inhabitants or government, with one significant exception. The Christians were not hampered by any official policy; indeed the impact of the church spread enormously in the second century. Yet their availability as scapegoats for local crises made them subject to abuse or worse. There was violence against them in 167, and perhaps the worst stain on Marcus' principate stemmed from the pogrom of Christians in Lugdunum in southern France in 177. He did not cause it, nor, on the other hand, did he or his officials move to stop it. Indeed, Tertullian called him a friend of Christianity. Yet the events were a precursor of what would come in the century and a quarter which followed.

Building Programs and Monuments
Many of Marcus' predecessors transformed the face of the capital with their building programs, either by the vast range of their undertaking or by the extraordinary significance of individual monuments. Others did very little to leave a tangible mark. Marcus fell into the latter group. There is record of very few monuments for which he and his brother were responsible. Very early in their reign they honored the deceased Antoninus with a column in the Campus Martius, no longer in situ but largely surviving. The shaft, which seems not to have been sculpted, was used for the restoration of Augustus' obelisk, now in Piazza Montecitorio, in the eighteenth century. The base, which was sculpted on all four sides, is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The chief feature is the apotheosis of the emperor and his long deceased wife, the elder Faustina, as they are borne to heaven. Also presented on this relief are two eagles and personifications of the goddess Roma and of the Campus Martius, represented as a young male figure.

There were three arches which commemorated the military achievements of the two emperors. No trace has been found of an early monument to Verus. Two arches later honored Marcus, both of which have disappeared but have left significant sculptural remains. The eight rectangular reliefs preserved on the Arch of Constantine came from one arch. Similarly, the three reliefs displayed in the stairwell of the Conservatori Museum on the Capitoline Hill came from another. One relief has disappeared from the latter monument.

Certainly the best known monument of Marcus' principate is the column, which rises from Piazza Colonna. It is twin to Trajan's column in height and design, although the artistic craftsmanship of the reliefs which envelop the shaft is much inferior. The subject is Marcus' campaigns against the Marcomanni and Sarmati in the years 172-75. The most interesting panel represents the famous rainstorm, when the army, overwhelmed by drought, was suddenly saved by the divine intervention of rain. Although begun in the latter part of the decade, the column was not completed until 193, when Septimius Severus had become emperor.

The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which survived the centuries near San Giovanni in Laterano because the rider was identified as Constantine, no longer greets the visitor to the Capitoline, where Michelangelo had placed it in the sixteenth century. It was removed in the 1980s because pollution was destroying it. After careful treatment and restoration, it is now displayed within the museum, with a replica placed in the center of the piazza.

Although outside Rome, mention should be made of the monumental frieze commemorating Lucius Verus' victory over the Parthians in 165. It was an ornament of the city of Ephesus; the extensive sculptural remains are now in the Ephesus Museum in Vienna.

Family
As part of Hadrian's plans for his succession, when Ceionius Commodus was his choice, Marcus was betrothed to the latter's daughter. But when Ceionius died and Antoninus became Hadrian's successor, that arrangement was nullified and Marcus was chosen for the Emperor's daughter, the younger Faustina (PIR2 A716). She had been born in 129, was hence eight years younger than he. They were married in 145; the marriage endured for thirty years. She bore him thirteen children, of whom several died young; the most important were a daughter, Lucilla, and a son Commodus. Lucilla was deployed for political purposes, married first to Lucius Verus in 164, when she was seventeen, and then, after his death, to Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus of Antioch, a much older man who was an important associate of her father /ii]PIR2 C973). Commodus became joint-emperor with his father in 177 and three years later ruled alone.

Faustina's reputation suffered much abuse. She was accused of employing poison and of murdering people, as well as being free with her favors with gladiators, sailors, and also men of rank, particularly Avidius Cassius. Yet Marcus trusted her implicitly and defended her vigorously. She accompanied him on several campaigns and was honored with the title mater castrorum. She was with him in camp at Halala in southern Cappadocia in the winter of 175 when she died in an accident. Marcus dedicated a temple to her honor and had the name of the city changed to Faustinopolis.

Death and Succession
In early 180, while Marcus and Commodus were fighting in the north, Marcus became ill. Which disease carried him off we do not know, but for some days Marcus took no food or drink, being now eager to die. He died on March 17, in the city of Vindobona, although one source reports that it was in Sirmium. His ashes were brought to Rome and placed in Hadrian's mausoleum. Commodus succeeded to all power without opposition, and soon withdrew from the war, thereby stymieing his father's designs and ambitions. It was a change of rulers that proved disastrous for people and empire. Dio called the succession a change from a golden kingdom to one of iron and rust.

Reputation
Gibbon called Marcus "that philosophic monarch," a combination of adjective and noun which sets Marcus apart from all other Roman emperors. His renown has, in subsequent centuries, suffered little, although he was by no means a "perfect" person. He was perhaps too tolerant of other people's failings, he himself used opium. The abundance of children whom his wife bore him included, alas, a male who was to prove one of Rome's worst rulers. How much better it would have been if Marcus had had no son and had chosen a successor by adoption, so that the line of the five good emperors, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, Marcus, could have been extended. It was not to be, and for that Marcus must accept some responsibility.

Yet he was a man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. He was capax imperii, he did his best, and history has been kind to him. As Hamlet said to Horatio, when awaiting the appearance of the ghost of his father,

"He was a man! Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I 2, 187-88)

His memory remains vivid and tactile because of the famous column, the equestrian statue, and his slender volume of thoughts, written in Greek, the Meditations, from which I choose two quotations with which to conclude:

"If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common; if this be so, we are citizens; if this be so, we are partakers in one constitution; if this be so, the Universe is a kind of Commonwealth." (4.4)

"At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: 'I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?'" (5.1; both in Farquharson's translation)

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 21, 2009
HadrianAequitasAR_denarius.jpg
[903a] Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.92 viewsSilver denarius, RIC II 228 var (bust type), gVF, Rome, 2.849g, 17.8mm, 180o, 134 A.D.; Obverse: HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, head right; Reverse: AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing left, scales in right, scepter in left; excellent portrait; scarce. Ex FORVM. Photo courtesy of FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Hadrian (A.D. 117-138)
Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

So Edward Gibbon concluded the first paragraph of his massive The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, referring to a period which he also styled the happiest of mankind's history. Hadrian was the central figure of these "five good emperors," the one most responsible for changing the character and nature of the empire. He was also one of the most remarkable and talented individuals Rome ever produced.

The sources for a study of Hadrian are varied. There is no major historian for his reign, such as Tacitus or Livy. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, the first surviving life in a series intended to continue Suetonius' Lives of the Caesars. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. The most convincing view is that which sees the whole as the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the most wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for the Hadrianic period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Contemporaries or near-contemporaries of Hadrian, such as Arrian, Fronto, Pausanias, and Plutarch, are also useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, and legal writings are extremely important. Archaeology in all its aspects contributes mightily to any attempt to probe the character of a man and emperor whose personality and thoughts defy close analysis and understanding.

Early Life and Career
Hadrian was born on January 24, 76. Where he saw the light of day was, even in antiquity, matter for debate. Italica, in Hispania Baetica, was the birthplace of Trajan and was also considered that of Hadrian. But the HA reports that he was born in Rome, and that seems the more likely choice, since it is the more unexpected. The actual place of one's birth was, however, unimportant, since it was one's patria which was crucial. Hadrian's ancestors had come to Spain generations before, from the town of Hadria in Picenum, at the end of the Second Punic War. Italica's tribus, to which Hadrian belonged, was the Sergia. His father, P. Aelius Afer, had reached the praetorship by the time of his death in 85/86, his mother, Domitia Paulina, came from a distinguished family of Gades, one of the wealthiest cities in the empire. His sister Paulina married Servianus, who played a significant role in Hadrian's career. Trajan was the father's cousin; when Afer died, Trajan and P. Acilius Attianus, likewise of Italica, became Hadrian's guardians.

At the age of about ten, Hadrian went to Italica for the first time (or returned, if he had been there earlier in his childhood), where he remained for only a brief time. He then returned to the capital and soon began a rapid rise through the cursus honorum; he was a military tribune of three different legions in consecutive years, a series of appointments which clearly marked him for a military career, and reached the consulate as a suffect at the age of 32, the earliest possible under the principate. At Trajan's death, he was legate of the province of Syria, with responsibility for the security of the east in the aftermath of Trajan's Parthian War.

(For a detailed and interesting discussion of Hadrian's reign please see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/hadrian.htm])

Literary and artistic achievements
Hadrian was a man of extraordinary talents, certainly one of the most gifted that Rome ever produced. He became a fine public speaker, he was a student of philosophy and other subjects, who could hold his own with the luminaries in their fields, he wrote both an autobiography and poetry, and he was a superb architect. It was in this last area that he left his greatest mark, with several of the empire's most extraordinary buildings and complexes stemming from his fertile mind. The anonymous author of the Historia Augusta described Hadrian as Fuit enim poematum et litterarum nimium studiosissimus. Arithmeticae, geometriae, picturae peritissimus.

He rebuilt Agrippa's Pantheon into the remarkable building that survives today, reconstructing the accustomed temple facade, with columns and pediment, but attaching it to a drum which was surmounted by a coffered dome. The latter was pierced by an oculus nine meters in diameter, which was the main source of illumination. Height and diameter were identical, 43.3 meters. The dome remained the largest in the world until the twentieth century. As was his custom, he replaced the original inscription of Agrippa on the architrave; seldom did he put his own name on a monument.

He also left his mark on almost every city and province to which he came. He paid particular attention to Athens, where he completed the great temple of Olympian Zeus, some six centuries after construction had begun, and made it the centerpiece of a new district of the city.

Hadrian's relationship with philosophers and other scholars was generally fractious. He often scorned their achievements while showing his own superiority. An anecdote about an argument which he had with the eminent philosopher and sophist Favorinus revealed the inequity of such disagreement. Although Favorinus was correct, he gave way to Hadrian, and when rebuked by friends, replied, "You advise me badly, friends, since you do not permit me to believe that he who commands thirty legions is the most learned of all."

Hadrian's literary taste inclined toward the archaic and the odd. He preferred Cato to Cicero, Ennius to Vergil, Coelius Antipater to Sallust, and disapproved of Homer and Plato as well. Indeed, the epic writer Antimachus of Colophon supplanted Homer in Hadrian's estimation. The biographer Suetonius held office under Hadrian but was discharged in 122 for disrespect to the empress. The historian Tacitus, who may have lived into Hadrian's reign, seems to have found no favor with the emperor.

His best known literary work is the short poem which he is said to have composed shortly before his death. These five lines have caused commentators much interpretative woe.

animula vagula blandula
hospes comesque corporis
quae nunc abibis in loca
pallidula rigida nudula
nec ut soles dabis iocos! (25.9)

"Little soul, wandering and pale, guest and companion of my body, you who will now go off to places pale, stiff, and barren, nor will you make jokes as has been your wont."
. . .

Reputation
Hadrian died invisus omnibus, according to the author of the Vita. But his deification placed him in the list of "good" emperors, a worthy successor to the optimus princes Trajan. Hadrian played a significant role both in developing the foreign policies of the empire and in its continuing centralization in administration. Few would disagree that he was one of the most remarkable men Rome ever produced, and that the empire was fortunate to have him as its head. When Aelius Aristides delivered his oration To Rome in 143, he had Hadrian's empire in mind when he said,

"But there is that which very decidedly deserves as much attention and admiration now as all the rest together. I mean your magnificent citizenship with its grand conception, because there is nothing like it in the records of all mankind. Dividing into two groups all those in your empire - and with this word I have indicated the entire civilized world - you have everywhere appointed to your citizenship, or even to kinship with you, the better part of the world's talent, courage, and leadership, while the rest you recognized as a league under your hegemony. Neither sea nor intervening continent are bars to citizenship, nor are Asia and Europe divided in their treatment here. In your empire all paths are open to all. No one worthy of rule or trust remains an alien, but a civil community of the World has been established as a Free Republic under one, the best, ruler and teacher of order; and all come together as into a common civic center, in order to receive each man his due.”

Scholarly work on the emperor, above all biographies, has been varied in quality. Much the best, as the most recent, is by A.R. Birley, who presents all that is known but underscores how much is conjecture, nay even guesswork. We still do not really know the man. An enigma he was to many while alive, and so he remains for us. Semper in omnibus varius; omnium curiositatum explorator; varius multiplex multiformis: these are descriptions of him from antiquity. They are still valid more than 1900 years after the emperor's death.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
2 commentsCleisthenesOct 19, 2009
roman_emperor_otho.jpg
708a, Otho64 viewsOtho (69 A.D.)
John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction
In January 69 Otho led a successful coup to overthrow the emperor Galba. Upon advancing to the throne, he hoped to conciliate his adversaries and restore political stability to the Empire. These ambitions were never to be realized. Instead, our sources portray a leader never fully able to win political confidence at Rome or to overcome military anarchy abroad. As a result, he was defeated in battle by the forces of Vitellius, his successor, and took his own life at the conclusion of the conflict. His principate lasted only eight weeks.
Early Life and Career
Marcus Salvius Otho was born at Ferentium on 28 April 32 A. D. His grandfather, also named Marcus Salvius Otho, was a senator who did not advance beyond the rank of praetor. Lucius Otho, his father, was consul in 33 and a trusted administrator under the emperors Tiberius, Gaius and Claudius. His mother, Albia Terentia, was likely to have been nobly born as well. The cognomen "Otho" was Etruscan in origin, and the fact that it can be traced to three successive generations of this family perhaps reflects a desire to maintain a part of the Etruscan tradition that formed the family's background.
Otho is recorded as being extravagant and wild as a youth - a favorite pastime involved roving about at night to snare drunkards in a blanket. Such behavior earned floggings from his father, whose frequent absences from home on imperial business suggest little in the way of a stabilizing parental influence in Otho's formative years. These traits apparently persisted: Suetonius records that Otho and Nero became close friends because of the similarity of their characters; and Plutarch relates that the young man was so extravagant that he sometimes chided Nero about his meanness, and even outdid the emperor in reckless spending.
Most intriguing in this context is Otho's involvement with Nero's mistress, Poppaea Sabina, the greatest beauty of her day. A relationship between the two is widely cited in the ancient sources, but the story differs in essential details from one account to the next. As a result, it is impossible to establish who seduced whom, whether Otho ever married Poppaea, and whether his posting to Lusitania by Nero should be understood as a "banishment" for his part in this affair. About the only reliable detail to emerge is that Otho did indeed become governor of Lusitania in 59, and that he assumed the post as a quaestor, a rank below that of praetor or consul, the minimum usually required for the office. From here he would launch his initial thrust towards the imperial throne.
Overthrow of Galba
Nero's suicide in June 68 marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and opened up the principate to the prerogatives of the military beyond Rome. First to emerge was Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, who had been encouraged to revolt by the praetorians and especially by Nymphidius Sabinus, the corrupt and scheming praetorian prefect at Rome. By this time Otho had been in Spain for close to ten years. His record seems to have been a good one, marked by capable administration and an unwillingness to enrich himself at the expense of the province. At the same time, perhaps seeing this as his best chance to improve his own circumstances, he supported the insurrection as vigorously as possible, even sending Galba all of his gold and his best table servants. At the same time, he made it a point to win the favor of every soldier he came in contact with, most notably the members of the praetorian guard who had come to Spain to accompany Galba to Rome. Galba set out from Spain in July, formally assuming the emperorship shortly thereafter. Otho accompanied him on the journey.
Galba had been in Rome little more than two months when on 1 January 69 the troops in Upper Germany refused to declare allegiance to him and instead followed the men stationed in Lower Germany in proclaiming their commander, Aulus Vitellius, as the new ruler. To show that he was still in charge Galba adopted his own successor, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus, an aristocrat completely without administrative or military experience. The choice meant little to the remote armies, the praetorians or the senate and particularly angered Otho, who had hoped to succeed Galba. Otho quickly organized a conspiracy among the praetorians with promise of a material reward, and on 15 January 69 they declared him emperor and publicly killed Galba; Piso, dragged from hiding in the temple of Vesta, was also butchered. On that same evening a powerless senate awarded Otho the imperial titles.
Otho's Principate in Rome
It is not possible to reconstruct a detailed chronology of Otho's brief eight and a half weeks as princeps in Rome (15 January-15 March). Even so, Galba's quick demise had surely impressed upon Otho the need to conciliate various groups. As a result, he continued his indulgence of the praetorian guard but he also tried to win over the senate by following a strict constitutionalist line and by generally keeping the designations for the consulship made by Nero and Galba. In the provinces, despite limited evidence, there are some indications that he tried to compensate for Galba's stinginess by being more generous with grants of citizenship. In short, Otho was eager not to offend anyone.
Problems remained, however. The praetorians had to be continually placated and they were always suspicious of the senate. On the other hand, the senate itself, along with the people, remained deeply disturbed at the manner of Otho's coming to power and his willingness to be associated with Nero. These suspicions and fears were most evident in the praetorian outbreak at Rome. Briefly, Otho had decided to move from Ostia to Rome a cohort of Roman citizens in order to replace some of Rome's garrison, much of which was to be utilized for the showdown with Vitellius. He ordered that weapons be moved from the praetorian camp in Rome by ship to Ostia at night so that the garrison replacements would be properly armed and made to look as soldierly as possible when they marched into the city. Thinking that a senatorial counter-coup against Otho was underway, the praetorians stormed the imperial palace to confirm the emperor's safety, with the result that they terrified Otho and his senatorial dinner guests. Although the praetorians' fears were eventually calmed and they were given a substantial cash payment, the incident dramatically underscored the unease at Rome in the early months of 69.
Otho's Offensive against Vitellius
Meanwhile, in the Rhineland, preparations for a march on Rome by the military legions that had declared for Vitellius were far advanced. Hampered by poor intelligence gathering in Gaul and Germany and having failed to negotiate a settlement with Vitellius in early 69, Otho finally summoned to Italy his forces for a counterattack against the invading Vitellian army. His support consisted of the four legions of Pannonia and Dalmatia, the three legions of Moesia and his own imperial retinue of about 9,000. Vitellius' own troops numbered some 30,000, while those of his two marshals, Aulus Caecina Alienus and Fabius Valens, were between 15,000 and 20,000 each.
Otho's strategy was to make a quick diversionary strike in order to allow time for his own forces to assemble in Italy before engaging the enemy. The strategy worked, as the diversionary army, comprised of urban cohorts, praetorians and marines all from Rome or nearby, was successful in Narbonese Gaul in latter March. An advance guard sent to hold the line on the Po River until the Danubian legions arrived also enjoyed initial success. Otho himself arrived at Bedriacum in northern Italy about 10 April for a strategy session with his commanders. The main concern was that the Vitellians were building a bridge across the Po in order to drive southward towards the Apennines and eventually to Rome. Otho decided to counter by ordering a substantial part of his main force to advance from Bedriacum and establish a new base close enough to the new Vitellian bridge to interrupt its completion. While en route, the Othonian forces, strung out along the via Postumia amid baggage and supply trains, were attacked by Caecina and Valens near Cremona on 14 April. The clash, know as the Battle of Bedriacum, resulted in the defeat of the Othonian forces, their retreat cut off by the river behind them. Otho himself, meanwhile, was not present, but had gone to Brixellum with a considerable force of infantry and cavalry in order to impede any Vitellian units that had managed to cross the Po.
The plan had backfired. Otho's strategy of obtaining victory while avoiding any major battles had proven too risky. Realizing perhaps that a new round of fighting would have involved not only a significant re-grouping of his existing troops but also a potentially bloody civil war at Rome, if Vitellius' troops reached the capital, Otho decided that enough blood had been shed. Two weeks shy of his thirty-seventh birthday, on 16 April 69, he took his own life.
Assessment
To be sure, Otho remains an enigma - part profligate Neronian wastrel and part conscientious military commander willing to give his life for the good of the state. Our sources are at a loss to explain the paradox. Perhaps, like Petronius, he saw it was safer to appear a profligate in Nero's court? In the final analysis, Otho proved to be an organized and efficient military commander, who appealed more to the soldier than to the civilian. He also seems to have been a capable governor, with administrative talents that recalled those of his father. Nevertheless, his violent overthrow of Galba, the lingering doubts that it raised about his character, and his unsuccessful offensive against Vitellius are all vivid reminders of the turbulence that plagued the Roman world between the reigns of Nero and Vespasian. Regrettably, the scenario would play itself out one more time before peace and stability returned to the empire.
Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue
Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesOct 10, 2009
JuliusCaesar.jpg
701a, Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.190 viewsJulius Caesar

Of the great man, Joseph Sermarini states,"Gaius Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire."

It is not possible to adequately discuss Gaius Julius Caesar within the constraints of this gallery. He was born on either the 12th or the 13th of July in 100 B.C. [most scholars agree upon this date, but it is debated], and he was assassinated on 15 March 44 B.C.

Caesar is arguably the most important figure in Roman history; only Augustus and, perhaps, Constantine the Great made contributions of equivalent magnitude. Caesar was a truly gifted writer, orator, politician and soldier .

Library and book store shelves are crowded with a variety of biographies on this historical giant. Christian Meier, professor of Ancient History at the University of Munich, has written a scholarly as well as intriguing biography of Caesar. It is simply titled Caesar. It was first published in Germany in 1982, and a recently published paper back translation by David McLintock is now available from Fontana Press (a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers).

Caesar is fascinating.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 10, 2009
TrajanDupondiusTrajansColumn.jpg
[902a] Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D.104 viewsTRAJAN AE dupondius. Cohen 563, RCV 3323. 29mm, 14.1g. Struck circa 115 AD. Obverse: IMP CAESAR NERVAE TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P COS VI P P, radiate, draped bust right; Reverse: SENATVS POPVLVSQVE ROMANVS, S-C, Trajan's column, eagles at base. This type is noticeably scarcer than the SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI type. Ex. Incitatus Coins. Photo courtesy of Incitatus Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Trajan (A.D. 98-117)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

This is perhaps the most important and best known of all Edward Gibbon's famous dicta about his vast subject, and particularly that period which he admired the most. It was a concatenation of chance and events which brought to the first position of the principate five men, each very different from the others, who each, in his own way, brought integrity and a sense of public duty to his tasks. Nerva's tenure was brief, as many no doubt had expected and hoped it would be, and perhaps his greatest achievement was to choose Trajan as his adoptive son and intended successor. It was a splendid choice. Trajan was one of Rome's most admirable figures, a man who merited the renown which he enjoyed in his lifetime and in subsequent generations.

The sources for the man and his principate are disappointingly skimpy. There is no contemporaneous historian who can illuminate the period. Tacitus speaks only occasionally of Trajan, there is no biography by Suetonius, nor even one by the author of the late and largely fraudulent Historia Augusta. (However, a modern version of what such a life might have been like has been composed by A. Birley, entirely based upon ancient evidence. It is very useful.) Pliny the Younger tells us the most, in his Panegyricus, his long address of thanks to the emperor upon assuming the consulship in late 100, and in his letters. Pliny was a wordy and congenial man, who reveals a great deal about his senatorial peers and their relations with the emperor, above all, of course, his own. The most important part is the tenth book of his Epistulae, which contains the correspondence between him, while serving in Bithynia, and the emperor, to whom he referred all manner of problems, important as well as trivial. Best known are the pair (96,97) dealing with the Christians and what was to be done with them. These would be extraordinarily valuable if we could be sure that the imperial replies stemmed directly from Trajan, but that is more than one can claim. The imperial chancellery had developed greatly in previous decades and might pen these communications after only the most general directions from the emperor. The letters are nonetheless unique in the insight they offer into the emperor's mind.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, wrote a long imperial history which has survived only in abbreviated form in book LXVIII for the Trajanic period. The rhetorician Dio of Prusa, a contemporary of the emperor, offers little of value. Fourth-century epitomators, Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, offer some useful material. Inscriptions, coins, papyri, and legal texts are of major importance. Since Trajan was a builder of many significant projects, archaeology contributes mightily to our understanding of the man.

Early Life and Career
The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica , where their ancestors had settled late in the third century B.C. This indicates that the Italian origin was paramount, yet it has recently been cogently argued that the family's ancestry was local, with Trajan senior actually a Traius who was adopted into the family of the Ulpii. Trajan's father was the first member of the family to pursue a senatorial career; it proved to be a very successful one. Born probably about the year 30, he perhaps commanded a legion under Corbulo in the early sixties and then was legate of legio X Fretensis under Vespasian, governor of Judaea. Success in the Jewish War was rewarded by the governorship of an unknown province and then a consulate in 70. He was thereafter adlected by the emperor in patricios and sent to govern Baetica. Then followed the governorship of one of the major military provinces, Syria, where he prevented a Parthian threat of invasion, and in 79/80 he was proconsul of Asia, one of the two provinces (the other was Africa) which capped a senatorial career. His public service now effectively over, he lived on in honor and distinction, in all likelihood seeing his son emperor. He probably died before 100. He was deified in 113 and his titulature read divus Traianus pater. Since his son was also the adoptive son of Nerva, the emperor had officially two fathers, a unique circumstance.

The son was born in Italica on September 18, 53; his mother was Marcia, who had given birth to a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, five years before the birth of the son. In the mid seventies, he was a legionary legate under his father in Syria. He then married a lady from Nemausus (Nimes) in Gallia Narbonensis, Pompeia Plotina, was quaestor about 78 and praetor about 84. In 86, he became one of the child Hadrian's guardians. He was then appointed legate of legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, from which he marched at Domitian's orders in 89 to crush the uprising of Antonius Saturninus along the Rhine. He next fought in Domitian's war against the Germans along Rhine and Danube and was rewarded with an ordinary consulship in 91. Soon followed the governorship of Moesia inferior and then that of Germania superior, with his headquarters at Moguntiacum (Mainz), whither Hadrian brought him the news in autumn 97 that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva, as co-ruler and intended successor. Already recipient of the title imperator and possessor of the tribunician power, when Nerva died on January 27, 98, Trajan became emperor in a smooth transition of power which marked the next three quarters of a century.

(For a detailed and interesting discussion of the Emperor Trajan please see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/trajan.htm)

Trajan's honors and reputation
Hadrian saw to it that Trajan received all customary honors: the late emperor was declared a divus, his victories were commemorated in a great triumph, and his ashes were placed in the base of his column. Trajan's reputation remained unimpaired, in spite of the ultimate failure of his last campaigns. Early in his principate, he had unofficially been honored with the title optimus, "the best," which long described him even before it became, in 114, part of his official titulature. His correspondence with Pliny enables posterity to gain an intimate sense of the emperor in action. His concern for justice and the well-being of his subjects is underscored by his comment to Pliny, when faced with the question of the Christians, that they were not to be sought out, "nor is it appropriate to our age." At the onset of his principate, Tacitus called Trajan's accession the beginning of a beatissimum saeculum, and so it remained in the public mind. Admired by the people, respected by the senatorial aristocracy, he faced no internal difficulties, with no rival nor opposition. His powers were as extensive as Domitian's had been, but his use and display of these powers were very different from those of his predecessor, who had claimed to be deus et dominus. Not claiming to be a god, he was recognized in the official iconography of sculpture as Jupiter's viceregent on earth, so depicted on the attic reliefs of the Beneventan arch. The passage of time increased Trajan's aura rather than diminished it. In the late fourth century, when the Roman Empire had dramatically changed in character from what it had been in Trajan's time, each new emperor was hailed with the prayer, felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan." That reputation has essentially survived into the present day.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 08, 2009
VitelliusARdenariusVesta.jpg
709a, Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.42 viewsVITELLIUS AR silver denarius. RSC 72, RCV 2200. 19mm, 3.2 g. Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; Reverse - PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera. Quite decent. Ex. Incitatus Coins. Photo courtesy of Incitatus Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Vitellius (69 A.D.)

John F. Donahue
College of William and Mary


It is often difficult to separate fact from fiction in assessing the life and reign of Vitellius. Maligned in the ancient sources as gluttonous and cruel, he was also a victim of a hostile biographical tradition established in the regime of the Flavians who had overthrown him. Nevertheless, his decision to march against Rome in 69 was pivotal, since his subsequent defeat signalled the end of military anarchy and the beginning of an extended period of political stability under Vespasian and his successors.

Early Life and Career

Aulus Vitellius was born in September, 15 AD, the son of Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sestilia. One of the most successful public figures of the Julio-Claudian period, Lucius Vitellius was a three-time consul and a fellow censor with the emperor Claudius. Aulus seems to have moved with equal ease in aristocratic circles, successively winning the attention of the emperors Gaius, Claudius, and Nero through flattery and political skill.

Among his attested public offices, Vitellius was a curator of public works, a senatorial post concerned with the maintenance and repair of public buildings in Rome, and he was also proconsul of North Africa, where he served as a deputy to his brother, perhaps about 55 A. D. In addition, he held at least two priesthoods, the first as a member of the Arval Brethren, in whose rituals he participated from 57 A.D., and the second, as one of the quindecemviri sacris faciundis, a sacred college famous for its feasts.

With respect to marriage and family, Vitellius first wed a certain Petroniana, the daughter of a consul, sometime in the early to mid thirties A.D. The union produced a son, Petronianus, allegedly blind in one eye and emancipated from his father's control as a result of being named his mother's heir. Tradition records that Vitellius killed the boy shortly after emancipation amid charges of parricide; the marriage soon ended in divorce. A second marriage, to Galeria Fundana, daughter of an ex-praetor, was more stable than the first. It produced another son, who was eventually killed by the Flavians after the overthrow of Vitellius, as well as a daughter. Galeria is praised by Tacitus for her good qualities, and in the end it was she who saw to Vitellius' burial.

Rise to Power and Emperorship

Without doubt, the most fortuitous moment in Vitellius' political career was his appointment as governor of Lower Germany by the emperor Galba late in 68. The decision seemed to have caught everybody by surprise, including Vitellius himself, who, according to Suetonius, was in straitened circumstances at the time. The choice may have been made to reduce the possibility of rebellion by the Rhine armies, disaffected by Galba's refusal to reward them for their part in suppressing the earlier uprising of Julius Vindex. Ironically, it was Vitellius' lack of military achievement and his reputation for gambling and gluttony that may have also figured in his selection. Galba perhaps calculated that a man with little military experience who could now plunder a province to satisfy his own stomach would never become disloyal. If so, it was a critical misjudgement by the emperor.

The rebellion began on January 1, 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors"), when the legions of Upper Germany refused to renew their oath of allegiance to Galba. On January 2, Vitellius' own men, having heard of the previous day's events, saluted him as emperor at the instigation of the legionary legate Fabius Valens and his colleagues. Soon, in addition to the seven legions that Vitellius now had at his command in both Germanies, the forces in Gaul, Britain, and Raetia also came over to his side. Perhaps aware of his military inexperience, Vitellius did not immediately march on Rome himself. Instead, the advance was led by Valens and another legionary general, Aulus Caecina Alienus, with each man commanding a separate column. Vitellius would remain behind to mobilize a reserve force and follow later.

Caecina was already one hundred fifty miles on his way when news reached him that Galba had been overthrown and Otho had taken his place as emperor. Undeterred, he passed rapidly down the eastern borders of Gaul; Valens followed a more westerly route, quelling a mutiny along the way. By March both armies had successfully crossed the Alps and joined at Cremona, just north of the Po. Here they launced their Batavian auxiliaries against Otho's troops and routed them in the First Battle of Bedriacum. Otho killed himself on April 16, and three days later the soldiers in Rome swore their allegience to Vitellius. The senate too hailed him as emperor.

When Vitellius learned of these developments, he set out to Rome from Gaul. By all accounts the journey was a drunken feast marked by the lack of discipline of both the troops and the imperial entourage. Along the way he stopped at Lugdunum to present his six-year-old son Germanicus to the legions as his eventual successor. Later, at Cremona, Vitellius witnessed the corpse-filled battlefield of Otho's recent defeat with joy, unmoved by so many citizens denied a proper burial.

The emperor entered Rome in late June-early July. Conscious of making a break with the Julio-Claudian past, Vitellius was reluctant to assume the traditional titles of the princes, even though he enthusiastically made offerings to Nero and declared himself consul for life. To his credit, Vitellius did seem to show a measure of moderation in the transition to the principate. He assumed his powers gradually and was generally lenient to Otho's supporters, even pardoning Otho's brother Salvius Titianus, who had played a key role in the earlier regime. In addition, he participated in Senate meetings and continued the practice of providing entertainments for the Roman masses. An important practical change involved the awarding of posts customarily held by freedmen to equites, an indication of the growth of the imperial bureaucracy and its attractiveness to men of ambition.

In other matters, he replaced the existing praetorian guard and urban cohorts with sixteen praetorian cohorts and four urban units, all comprised of soldiers from the German armies. According to Tacitus, the decision prompted a mad scramble, with the men, and not their officers, choosing the branch of service that they preferred. The situation was clearly unsatisfactory but not surprising, given that Vitellius was a creation of his own troops. To secure his position further, he sent back to their old postings the legions that had fought for Otho, or he reassigned them to distant provinces. Yet discontent remained: the troops who had been defeated or betrayed at Bedriacum remained bitter, and detachments of three Moesian legions called upon by Otho were returned to their bases, having agitated against Vitellius at Aquileia.

Flavian Revolt

The Vitellian era at Rome was short-lived. By mid-July news had arrived that the legions of Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander had sworn allegiance to a rival emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the governor of Judaea and a successful and popular general. Vespasian was to hold Egypt while his colleague Mucianus, governor of Syria, was to invade Italy. Before the plan could be enacted, however, the Danube legions, former supporters of Otho, joined Vespasian's cause. Under the leadership of Antonius Primus, commander of the Sixth legion in Pannonia, and Cornelius Fuscus, imperial procurator in Illyricum, the legions made a rapid descent on Italy.

Although his forces were only half of what Vitellius commanded in Italy, Primus struck first before the emperor could muster additional reinforcements from Germany. To make matters worse for the Vitellians, Valens was ill, and Caecina, now consul, had begun collaborating with the Flavians. His troops refused to follow his lead, however, and arrested him at Hostilia near Cremona. They then joined the rest of the Vitellian forces trying to hold the Po River. With Vitellius still in Rome and his forces virtually leaderless, the two sides met in October in the Second Battle of Bedriacum. The emperor's troops were soundly defeated and Cremona was brutally sacked by the victors. In addition, Valens, whose health had recovered, was captured while raising an army for Vitellius in Gaul and Germany; he was eventually executed.

Meanwhile, Primus continued towards Rome. Vitellius made a weak attempt to thwart the advance at the Apennine passes, but his forces switched to the Flavian side without a fight at Narnia in mid-December. At Rome, matters were no better. Vespasian's elder brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, the city prefect, was successful in an effort to convince Vitellius to abdicate but was frustrated by the mob in Rome and the emperor's soldiers. Forced to flee to the Capitol, Sabinus was set upon by Vitellius' German troops and soon killed, with the venerable Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus set ablaze in the process. Within two days, the Flavian army fought its way into Rome. In a pathetic final move, Vitellius disguised himself in dirty clothing and hid in the imperial doorkeeper's quarters, leaning a couch and a mattress against the door for protection. Dragged from his hiding place by the Flavian forces, he was hauled off half-naked to the Forum, where he was tortured, killed, and tossed into the Tiber. The principate could now pass to Vespasian.

Assessment

Vitellius has not escaped the hostility of his biographers. While he may well have been gluttonous, his depiction as indolent, cruel, and extravagant is based almost entirely on the propaganda of his enemies. On the other hand, whatever moderating tendencies he did show were overshadowed by his clear lack of military expertise, a deficiency that forced him to rely in critical situations on largely inneffective lieutenants. As a result he was no match for his Flavian successors, and his humiliating demise was perfectly in keeping with the overall failure of his reign.

Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 08, 2009
C7R2auSolidus.jpg
[1642c] Constantine VII and Romanus II, 6 Apr 945 - 9 Nov 959 A.D.61 viewsGold solidus, SBCV 1751; DOC III part 2, 15, gVF, Constantinople mint, weight 4.332g, maximum diameter 20.8mm, die axis 180o. Obverse: Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIUM, bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left; Reverse: COnSTAnT, crowned facing busts of Constantine VII, in a loros on left, and his son Romanus II, in a chlamys, they hold a long patriarchal cross; small "finder's scrape" on reverse, obverse die slightly rusted.

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesSep 18, 2009
LonginusDenarius.jpg
(504c) Roman Republic, L. Cassius Longinus, 63 B.C.68 viewsSilver denarius, Crawford 413/1, RSC I Cassia 10, SRCV I 364, aVF, struck with worn dies, Rome mint, weight 3.867g, maximum diameter 20.3mm, die axis 0o, c. 63 B.C. Obverse: veiled bust of Vesta left, kylix behind, L before; Reverse: LONGIN III V, voter standing left, dropping tablet inscribed V into a cista.

The reverse of this Longinus denarius captures a fascinating moment when a Roman citizen casts his ballot. "The abbreviation III V [ir] indentifies Longinus as one of the three annually appointed mintmasters (officially called tres viri aere argento auro flando feriundo). A citizen is seen casting his vote into the urn. On the ballot is the letter 'U', short for uti rogas, a conventional formula indicating assent to a motion. The picture alludes to the law, requested by an ancestor of the mintmaster, which introduced the secret ballot in most proceedings of the popular court" (Meier, Christian. Caesar, a Biography. Berlin: Severin and Siedler, 1982. Plate 6).

The date that this denarius was struck possesses unique significance for another reason. Marcus Tullius Cicero (politician, philosopher, orator, humanist) was elected consul for the year 63 BC -- the first man elected consul who had no consular ancestors in more than 30 years. A "new man," Cicero was not the descendant of a "patrician" family, nor was his family wealthy (although Cicero married "well"). Cicero literally made himself the man he was by the power of the words he spoke and the way in which he spoke them. A witness to and major player during the decline of the Roman Republic, Cicero was murdered in 43 BC by thugs working for Marc Antony. But Cicero proved impossible to efface.

Cicero's words became part of the bed rock of later Roman education. As Peter Heather notes, every educated young man in the late Roman Empire studied "a small number of literary texts under the guidance of an expert in language and literary interpretation, the grammarian. This occupied the individual for seven or more years from about the age of eight, and concentrated on just four authors: Vergil, Cicero, Sallust and Terence" (Heather, Peter. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 17).


Plutarch: Cicero's Death

But in the meantime the assassins were come with a band of soldiers, Herennius, a centurion, and Popillius, a tribune, whom Cicero had formerly defended when prosecuted for the murder of his father. Finding the doors shut, they broke them open, and Cicero not appearing, and those within saying they knew not where he was, it is stated that a youth, who had been educated by Cicero in the liberal arts and sciences, an emancipated slave of his brother Quintus, Philologus by name, informed the tribune that the litter was on its way to the sea through the close and shady walks. The tribune, taking a few with him, ran to the place where he was to come out. And Cicero, perceiving Herennius running in the walks, commanded his servants to set down the litter; and stroking his chin, as he used to do, with his left hand, he looked steadfastly upon his murderers, his person covered with dust, his beard and hair untrimmed, and his face worn with his troubles. So that the greatest part of those that stood by covered their faces whilst Herennius slew him. And thus was he murdered, stretching forth his neck out of the litter, being now in his sixty-fourth year. Herennius cut off his head, and, by Antony's command, his hands also, by which his Philippics were written; for so Cicero styled those orations he wrote against Antony, and so they are called to this day.

When these members of Cicero were brought to Rome, Antony was holding an assembly for the choice of public officers; and when he heard it, and saw them, he cried out, "Now let there be an end of our proscriptions." He commanded his head and hands to be fastened up over the rostra, where the orators spoke; a sight which the Roman people shuddered to behold, and they believed they saw there, not the face of Cicero, but the image of Antony's own soul. And yet amidst these actions he did justice in one thing, by delivering up Philologus to Pomponia, the wife of Quintus; who, having got his body into her power, besides other grievous punishments, made him cut off his own flesh by pieces, and roast and eat it; for so some writers have related. But Tiro, Cicero's emancipated slave, has not so much as mentioned the treachery of Philologus.

Translation by John Dryden: http://intranet.grundel.nl/thinkquest/moord_cicero_plu.html

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesSep 18, 2009
AthenTetVF.jpg
Athens, Greece, Old Style Tetradrachm, 449 - 413 B.C.121 viewsSilver tetradrachm, SNG Cop 31 ff., SGCV I 2526, VF, near full crest, Athens mint, 16.410g, 25.1mm, 90o. Obverse: head of Athena right, almond shaped eye, crested helmet with olive leaves and floral scroll, wire necklace, round earring, hair in parallel curves; Reverse: AQE right, owl standing right, head facing, erect in posture, olive sprig and crescent left, all within incuse square.

This coin is one of the most familiar of all the coins struck throughout the ancient Mediterranean. The images of Athena and her Owl, while not static, changed undramatically, in an unhurried and deliberate way. Although its production rests firmly during the time that numismatists call the Classical era (479 BC --336 BC), this coin's "style" better reflects the earlier Archaic period.

The Athenian "Owl" (until its debasement as a result of the Peloponnesian War) was the standard of its day. Between the late 5th century BC and the late 3rd century BC, these coins were the currency against which all other coins were measured. This high esteem was due to the Athenian tetradrachms' consistent weight and quality of silver.

"The little elf-like owl dear to ancient Athens had greenish-blue-gray eyes that could see clearly where humans could not. Glaukopis -- the "shining eyed one" was often shortened to glaux, a nickname for the tetradrachm that bore the owl's likeness" (http://notes.utk.edu/bio/unistudy.nsf/0/da0222e2e80272fd85256785001683e4?OpenDocument).

It is only with the emergence of the Imperial coinage of Alexander the Great (beginning quickly after his ascension to the throne in 336 BC) that the ancient world had another coin as widely accepted. As Martin J. Price notes, "“The impressive list of twenty-three mints on Asian soil and one in Egypt, all used to strike Alexander’s imperial coinage during his lifetime, shows that there was a conscious policy of providing this form of money on an empire-wide basis" (Price, Martin J. The Coinage in the Name of Alexander the Great and Philip Arrhidaeus. Zurich: The Swiss Numismatic Society in Association with British Museum Press, 1991. 72).

More than two millennia after the Athenian Tetracrachm was first struck, the 26th President of The United States, Theodore Roosevelt (b. 1858; d. 1919), is said to have carried an Athenian "Owl" in his pocket--to remind him just how beautiful a coin could be.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesFeb 28, 2009
ATGlifetimeDrachmLydiaSardes.jpg
Alexander III The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C. Lifetime Issue104 viewsSilver drachm, Price 2553, VF, 4.297g, 16.4mm, 0o, Lydia, Sardes mint, c. 334 - 323 B.C. Lifetime Issue; Obverse: Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; Reverse: BASILEWS ALEXANDROU, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in right, scepter in left, EYE monogram left, rose under throne. Ex FORVM.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesDec 02, 2008
AlexTheGreatMemphisTet.jpg
Alexander III The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C., Possible Lifetime Issue103 viewsThis is the same coin in my collection, different picture, as the Alexander tetradrachm listed as [300mem].

Silver tetradrachm, Price 3971, VF, 16.081g, 26.1mm, 0o, Egypt, Memphis mint, c. 332 - 323 or 323 - 305 B.C.; obverse Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse ALEXANDROU, Zeus enthroned left, legs crossed, eagle in right, scepter in left, rose left, DI-O under throne. Ex Pavlos S. Pavlou. Ex FORVM, "The Memphis issues are among the finest style Alexander coins. Experts disagree on the date of this issue. Some identify it as a lifetime issue and others as a posthumous issue (Joseph Sermarini).

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsJames FitzgeraldNov 25, 2008
PergamomAE17_SCGVII_3962var.jpg
[2420] Pergamon, Mysia,c. 200 - 133 B.C.62 viewsBronze AE 17, SGCV II 3962 var; BMC Mysia p. 133, 202, VF, weight 3.600 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon mint, c. 200 - 133 B.C.; Obverse: head Athena right wearing crested helmet with star, hair in curls down neck; Reverse: AQH-NAS / NIKHFOROU, owl standing facing on palm frond, wings spread, AP and MH monograms at sides. Ex FORVM.

The city of ancient Pergamon (or Pergamum, today's Bergama) was created by the newly-founded royal dynasty in the mid-third century BCE. It became one of the classic late-Hellenistic cities, on a dramatically steep site, with imaginatiave solutions to the urban design problems created by the site, wonderfully embellished by the generous attention of its royal (and other) patrons. The site divides into two main sections, the steep upper town and the flat lower town. Though today's Bergama is entirely in the lower areas, a number of important remains have survived even there: the Asklepieion, one of the major healing centres of antiqity, the Red Hall (Serapeum), the stadium, a Roman Bridge and tunnel. But it is the upper town that captures the imagination, with its extensive remains, innovations, and drama.
http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~prchrdsn/pergamon.htm

The Attalids, the descendants of Attalus, the father of Philetaerus who came to power in 282 BC, were among the most loyal supporters of Rome among the Hellenistic successor states. Under Attalus I, they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II, against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. For support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.

The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity. Many documents survive showing how the Attalids would support the growth of towns through sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi, Delos, and Athens. They defeated the invading Celts. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamum after the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus III died without an heir in 133 BC he bequeathed Pergamon to Rome, in order to prevent a civil war.

The Temple of Athena:

Built in the 3rd century B.C.E., this is the oldest cult center of the city. The Doric order building was constructed on a peripteral plan with six columns on the facade and ten on the long sides. The krepis (the basement of the Temple) is formed by two steps and measures 41.7 x 71.4 ft. (12.72 x 21.77 m). The naos or cella (the inner sanctum) is divided in two and was dedicated to Goddess Athena but also to God Zeus.
Present state: Only some of the stepped foundations and the tunnel to the theater have survived.
http://www.goddess-athena.org/Museum/Temples/Pergamon.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

James FitzgeraldJul 13, 2008
CTGDafne.jpg
1403c, Constantine I (the Great), early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.49 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC VII 35, choice aEF, Constantinople mint, 3.336g, 20.0mm, 180o, 328 A.D.; Obverse: CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG, laurel and rosette diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE, Victory seated left on cippus, head right, palm frond in each hand, trophy and captive before, CONS in exergue, B left; scarce. Ex FORVM.

"The information about Constantine's campaign across [the Danube] is obscure and untrustworthy. The question, therefore, of what he achieved by this enterprise was, and is, subject to contradictory interpretations. On the one hand, the Panegyrists claimed that he had repeated the triumphs of Trajan. On the other, his own nephew, Julian the Apostate, spoke for many when he expressed the view that this second 'conquest' of Dacia was incomplete and extremely brief . . . monetary commemoration was accorded to the building, at about the same time [AD 328], of the river frontier fortress of Constantiniana Dafne (Spantov, near Oltenita) . . ." (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix, 1998. 58-9).

The Emperor Constantine I was effectively the sole ruler of the Roman world between 324 and 337 A.D.; his reign was perhaps one of the most crucial of all the emperors in determining the future course of western civilization. By beginning the process of making Christianity the religious foundation of his realm, he set the religious course for the future of Europe which remains in place to this very day. Because he replaced Rome with Constantinople as the center of imperial power, he made it clear that the city of Rome was no longer the center of power and he also set the stage for the Middle Ages. His philosophical view of monarchy, largely spelled out in some of the works of Eusebius of Caesarea, became the foundation for the concept of the divine right of kings which prevailed in Europe.

Constantine was not a "Christian convert" in any traditional sense. He was not baptized until close to death, and while that was not an uncommon practice, the mention of Christ in his speeches and decrees is conspicuous by its absence. Eusebius, Church historian and Constantine biographer, is responsible for much of the valorization of Constantine as the Christian Emperor. The somnambulant "sign" in which Constantine was to become victor at the Milvian Bridge is, not so surprisingly, revealed to posterity long after the "fact." Throughout his reign, Constantine continues to portray himself on coins as a sun god (Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean; Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. 582). Above all, Constantine was a pragmatist. It would be cynical to egregiously disavow his commitment to Christianity, but it would be equally wrong to think that he would allow Christianity to meddle in the governance of his empire. As he reputedly told a group of bishops, "You are bishops of those within the church, but I am perhaps a bishop appointed by God of those outside." Whatever the motives for his decision to support Christianity, Christianity benefitted from the arrangement. So, too, did Constantine. It was a match made in heaven.
J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

For perhaps the best Constantine The Great site on the web, see Victor Clark's Constantine The Great Coins: http://www.constantinethegreatcoins.com/
1 commentsCleisthenesJun 06, 2008
CorinthARStaterI402.jpg
[103d] Corinth, Corinthia, Greece, c. 386 - 307 B.C.37 viewsSilver stater, Pegasi I 402, ICG VF25, Corinth mint, obverse Pegasos flying left, koppa below; reverse head of Athena left in Corinthian helmet over leather cap, behind, A below chin, Thessalian helmet behind; ICG Certified (slabbed). Ex FORVM.

Corinth (Greek Κορινθία) is an ancient city about 48 miles west of Athens on the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnese to the mainland of Greece. Corinth was an important city in ancient Greece and it played a major role in the missionary work of the Apostle Paul. Today, Corinth is the second largest city in the Peloponnese with several sites of interest to pilgrims and tourists.


The site of ancient Corinth was first inhabited in the Neolithic period (5000-3000 BC), and flourished as a major Greek city from the 8th century BC until its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC.

Its commanding position on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow strip of land that separates the Peloponnese from northern Greece, was the primary basis of its importance. Corinth controlled the diolkos (Greek for "haul across"), the 6th-century BC stone-paved roadway that connected the Saronic Gulf with the Gulf of Corinth. This overland route was highly valuable in that it allowed passengers and cargo to avoid the difficult and time-consuming trip around the southern end of the Peloponnese.

Being a leading naval power as well as a rich commercial city enabled ancient Corinth to establish colonies in Syracuse on the island of Sicily and on Corcyra (modern Corfu). These colonies served as trading posts for the richly ornamental bronze works, textiles, and pottery that Corinth produced.

Beginning in 582 BC, in the spring of every second year the Isthmian Games were celebrated in honor of the sea god Poseidon. The Doric Temple of Apollo, one of Corinth's major landmarks, was constructed in 550 BC at the height of the city's wealth.

Corinth was conquered by Philip II of Macedon in 338 BC, but it was named the meeting place of Philip's new Hellenic confederacy. After Philip was assassinated, Alexander the Great immediately came to Corinth to meet with the confederacy, confirm his leadership, and forestall any thoughts of rebellion. At the Isthmian Games of 336 BC, the Greeks chose Alexander the Great to lead them in war against the Persians.

Corinth was partially destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, but in 44 BC it was rebuilt as a Roman city under Julius Caesar. Roman Corinth prospered more than ever before and may have had as many as 800,000 inhabitants by the time of Paul. It was the capital of Roman Greece, equally devoted to business and pleasure, and was mostly populated by freedmen and Jews.

The Apostle Paul visited Corinth in the 50s AD and later wrote two letters to the Christian community at Corinth (the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the New Testament). When Paul first visited the city (51 or 52 AD), Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Corinth.

Paul lived in Corinth for 18 months (Acts 18:1-18), working as a tentmaker and converting as many Jews and pagans as he could. Here he first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, who became his fellow-workers.

Although Paul intended to pass through Corinth a second time before he visited Macedonia, circumstances were such that he first went from Troas to Macedonia before stopping at Corinth for a "second benefit" (2 Corinthians 1:15). This time he stayed in Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3).

It was probably during this second visit in the spring of 58 that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, written from Ephesus, reflects the difficulties of maintaining a Christian community in such a cosmopolitan city.

A canal through the isthmus of Corinth was begun under the emperor Nero in 67 AD. Wielding a gold shovel, Nero himself was first to break ground, but the canal was not completed. Up to the 12th century, ships were dragged on rollers across the isthmus.

In 267 AD, the invasion of the Herulians initiated the decline of the city. During Alaric's invasion of Greece in 395–396, he destroyed Corinth and sold many of its citizens into slavery. Nevertheless, Corinth remained inhabited for many centuries through successive invasions, destructions and plagues.

After 1204, when Constantinople fell to the Fourth Crusade, Corinth was a prize sought by all. Corinth was captured by the Turks in 1458; the Knights of Malta won it in 1612; the Venetians took a turn from 1687 until 1715, when the Turks returned; and the city finally came into Greek hands in 1822.

In 1893 a 4-mile (6-km) Corinth canal was finally completed, providing an essential shipping route between the Ionian and Aegean seas. Like its ancient predecessor, modern Corinth is the center of commerce between northern and southern Greece. Today, it has a population of about 30,000.

Systematic archaeological excavations of the area, initiated by the American School of Classical Studies in 1896, are still continuing today and have brought to light the agora, temples, fountains, shops, porticoes, baths and various other monuments. The finds are exhibited in the on-site Archaeological Museum of Ancient Corinth.
http://209.85.175.104/search?q=cache:ZxwVNIAQkZoJ:www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/corinth.htm+corinth+alexander+the+great&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=uk

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMay 20, 2008
JuliaDomnaRICIV560.jpg
[1003c] Julia Domna, Augusta 194 - 8 April 217 A.D.25 viewsAR Denarius; RIC IV 560; 16.89 mm, 3.5 grams; AD 196-202; VF, Rome mint; Obverse: IVLIA AVGVSTA, Draped bust right; Reverse: IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left holding patera and sceptre, peacock at feet. A nice denarius on a smallish flan. Ex Ancient Imports.

De Imperatoribus Romanis, An On-Line Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Severan Julias (A.D. 193-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Julia Domna was born about 170 A.D., in Emesa of Syria. She was the youngest daughter of Julius Bassianus, priest of the sun god Elagabal. As such, she was part of the local aristocracy from a plebian family. Having come to the attention of Severus because of her promising horoscope, he married her, probably in 187 A.D. She gave birth to their first child, Bassianus, the future emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus, known as Caracalla, on 4 April 188. About thirteen months later, she gave birth to a second son, Geta.

When Septimius Severus claimed the empire after Didius Julianus had succeeded Pertinax in 193 A.D., two serious rivals challenged him, Pescennius Niger in the East and Clodius Albinus in the West. Julia Domna accompanied her husband in the campaign against Pescennius, having been honored with the title mater castrorum. After this successful campaign, there was another campaign in the East, against the Parthians, in 197 A.D. She was widely honored with inscriptions throughout this period, and numerous coin issues emphasized her imperial position. Julia Domna was, perhaps, more influential in the political life of the empire than any of her imperial predecessors.

She opposed Plautianus, the praetorian prefect and father-in-law of Caracalla, and was partially responsible for his downfall and his daughter Plautilla's disgrace. She was often accused of adultery; nonetheless, the emperor chose to ignore these charges, if true, and the marriage continued.

Among her passions were literature and philosophy; she gathered writers and philosophers in a kind of salon (among whom was Galen of Pergamum), and urged Philostratus to write the life of Apollonius of Tyana.

She once again accompanied her husband, with the two sons present as well, on campaign, against the Britons in 208 A.D. When Severus died at York in early 211 A.D., she returned to Rome with Caracalla and Geta, having gained the full title of mater castrorum et senatus et patriae, with the frequent addition of et Augustorum. She persuaded the two sons to share the rule, as the emperor had wished on his deathbed, but, since the brothers hated each other, this arrangement was doomed to failure. In 212 A.D., Caracalla murdered Geta while he sought succor in his mother's arms; covered with his blood, she was forbidden by Caracalla to grieve.

Her relationship with Caracalla during the six years of his reign was mixed. She had some public duties but largely devoted herself to philosophy. She accompanied Caracalla to the east on campaign against the Parthians in 217 A.D. When she learned, in Antioch, that he had been assassinated, she resolved upon death, which followed her refusal to take food. Her remains were ultimately placed in Hadrian's Mausoleum, at the insistence of Maesa, her sister. She was deified, and was known as Diva Iulia Domna or Diva Iulia Augusta. She was worshipped in various parts of the empire with local titles, such as Dea Caelestis in Carthage and Venus Caelestis in Puteoli.

By Herbert W. Benario, Emory University
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

If you are interested in Julia Domna, visit Ernie Thompson’s site: The Life, Family and Coinage of Julia Domna (http://juliadomna.ancients.info/).
1 commentsCleisthenesMay 16, 2008
JuliaMamaeaRIC343.jpg
[1008a] Julia Mamaea, Augusta 13 March 222 - February or March 235 A.D.54 viewsSeverus Alexander for Julia Mamaea. 222-235 AD. AR Denarius, RIC 343; Cohen 35; BMC 43. 2.68 gm, 19mm; VF, Rome mint, 222. Obverse: IVLIA MAMAEA AVG; Draped bust to right; Reverse: IVNO CONSERVATRIX; Juno standing to left, holding patera and sceptre, at her feet a peacock. Toned. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Severan Julias (A.D. 193-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Julia Mamaea
The younger daughter of Maesa, Mamaea had a happier, more successful, and lengthier life as imperial mother than her sister Soaemias. She married Gessius Marcianus, and in 208 bore him a son, Bassianus, later known as Alexander Severus. She was with her mother and sister in the East in 218 AD when her nephew, Elagabalus, was raised to the purple. Alexander was made Caesar in early 222 and soon thereafter became emperor, following the murder of his cousin and aunt. He was fourteen years old and much subject to the control of his grandmother and mother, who effectively governed the empire. After Maesa's death, Mamaea remained the dominant figure until her death.

She had seen to it that Alexander received a good education and, once emperor, chose a council of sixteen senators. Her imperial title was Iulia Augusta, mater Augusti nostri et castrorum et senatus et patriae, recalling the titulature of Julia Domna. Her position in the government was confirmed by the title consors imperii. She was charged with avaritia, but otherwise led a life free from scandal. She was recognized as religiosissima, having had conversation with Origen while in the East. She had accompanied Alexander thither on campaign against the Persians in 230/31. In 235, she was with him in Germany, at Mainz, when they were assassinated by the troops, with Maximinus Thrax chosen as successor. She suffered damnatio memoriae.


Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors;http://www.roman-emperors.org/sevjulia.htm. Used by permission.

Julia Mamaea was the highly intelligent and capable mother of Severus Alexander. After the death of her mother Julia Maesa, Julia Mamaea was the power behind the throne and largely responsible for the impressive recovery of the Roman state that took place during her son's rule. Though popular with the population of the empire, the military was deeply offended at being controlled by a woman. In 235 A.D., Julia Mamaea and Severus Alexander were both murdered by mutinous soldiers led by the thug Maximinus I (Joseph Sermarini).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMay 16, 2008
ElagabalusPanoramaNewLens1.jpg
[1007d] Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D. 21 viewsThis is the same coin as 1007c in this gallery. This is my photo using a Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/2.8 lens set on f/4 for 1 second. Neither the obverse nor the reverse images were "touched-up" after their shots. Click on photo to enlarge.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Elagabalus AE 26; 26.62mm, 12.7g; Nicopolis ad Istrum, 218-222 A.D. Obverse: Radiate bust of Elagabalus right; Reverse: Aequitas left; VF/aVF; portrait of superb style . Ex Ancient Imports.

On his website, Doug Smith says, "Coin style, if judged as good or bad, must be judged only on how well it reflects the spirit of the times that produced it"
(http://dougsmith.ancients.info/style.html).

I have several coins struck during the reign of Elagabalus (not all are shown), and this bronze has two distinctions: it is the least expensive, and it is my favorite. In this portrait, I think that the die cutter captured in his compositon of Elagabalus's face a glimpse of self-awareness, a reflection of the insecurity of being a teenage emperor.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

ELAGABULUS (218-222 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, the "last of the Antonines," is better known to history as Elagabalus, the name of the sun-god of the Syrian city of Emesa. Elagabalus, the emperor, was a high-priest of this deity, and his active promotion of the god was among several actions that made him an object of scorn and ridicule among the Roman aristocracy. As a youth, living in Emesa with his mother in the household of his grandmother, Julia Maesa, he began to perform in the hereditary family role of high-priest at the temple of the god Elagabalus. Leading Syrian families used their teenager's public displays as high-priest to channel soldiers' discontent with the emperor Macrinus into sedition. Elagabalus's promotion of the cult of the Emesene sun-god was certainly ridiculed by contemporary observers, but this cult was popular among soldiers and would remain so. Moreover, the cult continued to be promoted by later emperors of non-Syrian ethnicity, notably Constantine the Great, calling the god The Unconquered Sun (Sol Invictus).

Much has been made by many historians concerning Elagabalus’ behavior. His three marriages, two to the same Vestal virgin, produced no heir and received considerable contemporary derision. The paramours of his homosexual infatuations, the topics of notorious rumors, became skoffed-at administrative appointees whose favor insulted the aristocracy. His bizarre habit of carrying a large stone while walking backwards through the streets of the capital was considered possible insanity. If there is any understanding of “Elagabalus’ rock,” it rests with the knowledge that both Elagabalus, the sun-god of the Syrian city of Emesa and the source of the emperor’s adopted name, and the Carthgenian goddess Tanit possessed, as was common in Semitic religions, a large stone that was the focus of worship. Elagabalus (the emperor) brought these stones together in a ritualistic “marriage of the gods.” The Elagabalus (god of Emesa) stone was a focus of devotion for Elagabalus the Emperor.

The beginning of the 222 found the emperor ever more closed in. Elagabalus increasingly refused to have contact with his advisors. Government was approaching gridlock as officials were unable to figure out who had authority. A failed attempt by Elagabalus to persuade soldiers to kill his cousin, Marcus Julius Gessius Alexianus (the future emperor Severus Alexander), proved his undoing. Elagabalus and his mother were murdered the evening of 11 March 222. Their bodies were dumped into the Tiber and their memories condemned. Marcus Julius Gessius Alexianus was proclaimed emperor but did not take the name Antoninus, connected as it was with the failed reign of his predecessor.

Scholars have often viewed the failure of Elagabalus' reign as a clash of cultures between "Eastern" (Syrian) and "Western" (Roman), but this dichotomy is not very useful. The criticisms of the emperor's effeminacy and sexual behavior mirror those made of earlier emperors (such as Nero) and do not need to be explained through ethnic stereotypes. Elagabalus is best understood as a teenager who was raised near the luxury of the imperial court and who then suffered a drastic change of fortune brought about by the sudden deaths -- probably within one year -- of his father, his grandfather and his cousin, the emperor Caracalla. Thrust upon the throne, Elagabalus lacked the required discipline. For a while, Romans may well have been amused by his "Merrie Monarch" behavior, but he ended up offending those he needed to inspire. His reign tragically demonstrated the difficulties of having a teenage emperor.

Copyright (C) 1997, Michael L. Meckler.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMay 14, 2008
CommodusRSC190.jpg
[906a]Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.168 viewsCOMMODUS AR silver denarius. RSC 190. RCV 5644. 16.5mm, 2.3g. F. Obverse: L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, bust of Commodus wearing lion skin in imitation of Hercules and Alexander the Great, facing right; Reverse: HER-CVL RO-MAN AV-GV either side of club of Hercules, all in wreath. RARE. Ex Incitatus.

This coin refers to Commodus' belief that he was Hercules reincarnated. According to the historian Herodian, "he issued orders that he was to be called not Commodus, son of Marcus, but Hercules, son of Jupiter. Abandoning the Roman and imperial mode of dress, he donned the lion-skin, and carried the club of Hercules..." (Joseph Sermarini).

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Commodus (A.D. 180-192)

Dennis Quinn

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus, the son of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife-cousin Faustina, was born in Lanuvium in 161 AD. Commodus was named Caesar at the age of 5, and co-Augustus at the age of 17, spending most of his early life accompanying his father on his campaigns against the Quadi and the Marcomanni along the Danubian frontier. His father died, possibly of the plague, at a military encampment at Bononia on the Danube on 17 March 180, leaving the Roman Empire to his nineteen-year-old son.[[1]] Upon hearing of his father's death, Commodus made preparations for Marcus' funeral, made concessions to the northern tribes, and made haste to return back to Rome in order to enjoy peace after nearly two decades of war. Commodus, and much of the Roman army behind him, entered the capital on 22 October, 180 in a triumphal procession, receiving a hero's welcome. Indeed, the youthful Commodus must have appeared in the parade as an icon of new, happier days to come; his arrival sparked the highest hopes in the Roman people, who believed he would rule as his father had ruled.[[2]]

The coins issued in his first year all display the triumphant general, a warrior in action who brought the spoils of victory to the citizens of Rome.[[3]] There is a great deal of evidence to support the fact that Commodus was popular among many of the people, at least for a majority of his reign. He seems to have been quite generous.[[4]]. Coin types from around 183 onward often contain the legend, Munificentia Augusta[[5]], indicating that generosity was indeed a part of his imperial program. Coins show nine occasions on which Commodus gave largesses, seven when he was sole emperor.[[6]] According to Dio, the emperor obtained some of this funding by taxing members of the senatorial class.[[7]] This policy of munificence certainly caused tensions between Commodus and the Senate. In 191 it was noted in the official Actus Urbis that the gods had given Commodus to Populus Senatusque Romanus. Normally the phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus was used. [[8]] While the Senate hated Commodus, the army and the lower classes loved him.[[9]] Because of the bad relationship between the Senate and Commodus as well as a senatorial conspiracy,[[10]] Rome "...was virtually governed by the praetorian prefects Perennis (182-185) and Cleander (186-9)."[[11]]

Commodus began to dress like the god Hercules, wearing lion skins and carrying a club.[[12]] Thus he appropriated the Antonines' traditional identification with Hercules, but even more aggressively. Commodus' complete identification with Hercules can be seen as an attempt to solidify his claim as new founder of Rome, which he now called the Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. This was legitimized by his direct link to Hercules, son of Father Jupiter.[[13]] He probably took the title of Hercules officially some time before mid-September 192.[[14]]

While the literary sources, especially Dio, Herodian, and the Historia Augusta, all ridicule the antics of his later career, they also give important insight into Commodus' relationship to the people.[[15]] His most important maneuver to solidify his claims as Hercules Romanus was to show himself as the god to the Roman people by taking part in spectacles in the amphitheater. Not only would Commodus fight and defeat the most skilled gladiators, he would also test his talents by encountering the most ferocious of the beasts.[[16]]

Commodus won all of his bouts against the gladiators.[[17]] The slayer of wild beasts, Hercules, was the mythical symbol of Commodus' rule, as protector of the Empire.[[18]]

During his final years he declared that his age should be called the "Golden Age."[[19]] He wanted all to revel in peace and happiness in his age of glory, praise the felicitas Commodi, the glorious libertas, his pietas, providential, his victoria and virtus aeterna.[[20]] Commodus wanted there to be no doubt that this "Golden Age" had been achieved through his munificence as Nobilissimus Princeps. He had declared a brand new day in Rome, founding it anew in 190, declaring himself the new Romulus.[[21]] Rome was now to be called Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana, as noted above, and deemed "the Immortal," "the Fortunate," "the Universal Colony of the Earth."[[22]] Coins represent the archaic rituals of city-[re]foundation, identifying Commodus as a new founder and his age as new days.[[23]]

Also in 190 he renamed all the months to correspond exactly with his titles. From January, they run as follows: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius.[[24]] According to Dio Cassius, the changing of the names of the months was all part of Commodus' megalomania.[[25]] Commodus was the first and last in the Antonine dynasty to change the names of the months.


The legions were renamed Commodianae, the fleet which imported grain from Africa was called Alexandria Commodiana Togata, the Senate was deemed the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people were all given the name Commodianus.[[26]] The day that these new names were announced was also given a new title: Dies Commodianus.[[27]] Indeed, the emperor presented himself with growing vigor as the center of Roman life and the fountainhead of religion. New expressions of old religious thought and new cults previously restricted to private worship invade the highest level of imperial power.[[28]]

If Eusebius of Caesarea [[29]] is to be believed, the reign of Commodus inaugurated a period of numerous conversions to Christianity. Commodus did not pursue his father's prohibitions against the Christians, although he did not actually change their legal position. Rather, he relaxed persecutions, after minor efforts early in his reign.[[30]] Tradition credits Commodus's policy to the influence of his concubine Marcia; she was probably his favorite,[[31]] but it is not clear that she was a Christian.[[32]] More likely, Commodus preferred to neglect the sect, so that persecutions would not detract from his claims to be leading the Empire through a "Golden Age."[[33]]

During his reign several attempts were made on Commodus' life.[[34]] After a few botched efforts, an orchestrated plot was carried out early in December 192, apparently including his mistress Marcia. On 31 December an athlete named Narcissus strangled him in his bath,[[35]] and the emperor's memory was cursed. This brought an end to the Antonine Dynasty.


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Alföldy, G. "Der Friedesschluss des Kaisers Commodus mit den Germanen," Historia 20 (1971): 84-109.

Aymard, J. "Commode-Hercule foundateur de Rome," Revue des études latines 14 (1936): 340-64.

Birley, A. R. The African Emperor: Septimius Severus. -- rev. ed.-- London, 1988.
________. Marcus Aurelius: A Biography. London, 1987.

Breckenridge, J. D. "Roman Imperial Portraiture from Augustus to Gallienus," ANRW 2.17. 1 (1981): 477-512.

Chantraine, H. "Zur Religionspolitik des Commodus im Spiegel seiner Münzen," Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 70 (1975): 1-31.

Ferguson, J. The Religions of the Roman Empire. Ithaca, 1970.

Fishwick, D. The Imperial Cult in the Latin West. Leiden, 1987.

Gagé, J. "La mystique imperiale et l'épreuve des jeux. Commode-Hercule et l'anthropologie hercaléenne," ANRW 2.17.2 (1981), 663-83.

Garzetti, A. From Tiberius to the Antonines. A History of the Roman Empire A. D. 14-192. London, 1974.

Grosso F. La lotta politica al tempo di Commodo. Turin, 1964.

Hammond, M. The Antonine Monarchy. Rome, 1956.

Helgeland, J. "Roman Army Religion," ANRW II.16.2 (1978): 1470-1505.

Howe, L. L. The Praetorian Prefect from Commodus to Diocletian (A. D. 180-305). Chicago, 1942.

Keresztes, P. "A Favorable Aspect of Commodus' Rule," in Hommages à Marcel Renard 2. Bruxelles, 1969.

Mattingly, R. The Roman Imperial Coinage. Volume III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. London, 1930.

Nock, A. D. "The Emperor's Divine Comes," Journal of Roman Studies 37 (1947): 102-116.

Parker, H. M. D. A History of the Roman World from A. D. 138 to 337. London, 1935.
________. and B.H. Warmington. "Commodus." OCD2, col. 276.

Raubitschek, A. E. "Commodus and Athens." Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear. Hesperia, Supp. 8, 1948.

Rostovtzeff, M. I. "Commodus-Hercules in Britain," Journal of Roman Studies 13 (1923): 91-105.

Sordi, M. "Un senatore cristano dell'éta di Commodo." Epigraphica 17 (1959): 104-112.

Speidel, M. P. "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993): 109-114.

Stanton, G. R. "Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus: 1962-1972." ANRW II.2 (1975): 478-549.

Notes
[[1]] For a discussion of the circumstances surrounding the death of Marcus Aurelius, see A. R. Birley, Marcus Aurelius: A Biography -- rev. ed. -- (London, 1987), 210.
Aurelius Victor, De Caes. 16.4, writing around the year 360, claimed Aurelius died at Vindobona, modern Vienna. However, Tertullian, Apol. 25, who wrote some seventeen years after Marcus' death, fixed his place of death at Sirmium, twenty miles south of Bononia. A. R. Birley (Marcus Aurelius, 209-10) cogently argues Tertullian is much more accurate in his general description of where Marcus was campaigning during his last days.
For the dating of Marcus Aurelius' death and the accession of Commodus, see M. Hammond, The Antonine Monarchy (Rome, 1956), 179-80.

[[2]] For the army's attitude toward peace, the attitude of the city toward the peace, and the reception of the emperor and his forces into Rome, see Herodian, 1.7.1-4; for Commodus' subsequent political policies concerning the northern tribes, see G. Alföldy, "Der Friedesschluss des Kaisers Commodus mit den Germanen," Historia 20 (1971): 84-109.
For a commentary on the early years of Commodus in the public perception as days of optimism, see A. Garzetti, From Tiberius to the Antonines. A History of the Roman Empire A. D. 14-192 (London, 1974), 530. For a more critical, and much more negative portrayal, see the first chapter of F. Grosso, La lotta politica al tempo di Commodo (Turin, 1964).

[[3]]The gods Minerva and Jupiter Victor are invoked on the currency as harbingers of victory; Jupiter Conservator on his coins watches over Commodus and his Empire, and thanks is given to divine Providence (H. Mattingly, The Roman Imperial Coinage. Volume III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus, [London, 1930] 356-7, 366-7). In 181, new coin types appear defining the new reign of Commodus. Victory and peace are stressed. Coins extol Securitas Publica, Felicitas, Libertas, Annona, and Aequitas (ibid., 357).
By 186 Commodus is depicted as the victorious princes, the most noble of all born to the purple. Herodian (1.5.5) describes how Commodus boasted to his soldiers that he was born to be emperor. See also H. Chantraine, "Zur Religionspolitik des Commodus im Spiegel seiner Münzen," Römische Quatralschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 70 (1975), 26. He is called Triumphator and Rector Orbis, and associated with the Nobilitas of Trojan descent (Mattingly, RIC III.359; idem, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum. Volume IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus, [Oxford, 1940], clxii).

[[4]] Dio tells us that Commodus liked giving gifts and often gave members of the populace 140 denarii apiece (Cass. Dio, 73.16), whereas the Historia Augusta reports that he gave each man 725 denarii (SHA, Comm., 16.3).

[[5]]Mattingly, RIC, III.358.

[[6]] Idem., CBM, IV.clxxiv.

[[7]]Cass. Dio, 73.16.

[[8]]M. P. Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993), 113.

[[9]]Mattingly, CBM, IV.xii. Commodus was also popular amongst the northern divisions of the army because he allowed them to wield axes in battle, a practice banned by all preceding emperors. See, Speidel, JRS 83 (1993), 114.

[[10]]Infra, n. 34.

[[11]] H. Parker and B.H. Warmington, OCD2, s.v. "Commodus," col. 276; after 189, he was influenced by his mistress Marcia, Eclectus his chamberlain, and Laetus (who became praetorian prefect in 191 (Idem.).

[[12]]Herodian, 1.14.8. Hadrian appears on medallions in lion skins; but as far as the sources tell us, he never appeared in public in them. See J. Toynbee, Roman Medallions,(New York, 1986), 208.
He would often appear at public festivals and shows dressed in purple robes embroidered with gold. He would wear a crown made of gold, inlaid with the finest gems of India. He often carried a herald's staff as if imitating the god Mercury. According to Dio Cassius, Commodus' lion's skin and club were carried before him in the procession, and at the theaters these vestiges of Hercules were placed on a gilded chair for all to see (Cass. Dio, 73.17). For the implications of the golden chair carried in procession in relation to the imperial cult, see D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West, (Leiden, 1987-91 ), 555.

[[13]] H. M. D. Parker, A History of the Roman World from A. D. 138 to 337, (London, 1935), 34; For medallions that express the relationship between Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus extolling Hercules as a symbol of civic virtue, see Toynbee, Roman Medallions, 208. For a general statement on the symbolism of Hercules in the Antonine age, see M. Hammond, The Antonine Monarchy, 238.
For a discussion of Commodus' association with Hercules, see
Rostovtzeff, "Commodus-Hercules," 104-6.
Herodian spells out the emperor's metamorphosis in detail (1.14.8).

[[14]]See Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor," 114. He argues this general date because a papyrus from Egypt's Fayum records Hercules in Commodus' title on 11 October 192.

[[15]]For a preliminary example, Herodian writes (1.13.8), "people in general responded well to him."

[[16]]As Dio reports, Commodus, with his own hands, gave the finishing stroke to five hippopotami at one time. Commodus also killed two elephants, several rhinoceroses, and a giraffe with the greatest of ease. (Cass. Dio, 73.10), and with his left hand (ibid., 73.19). Herodian maintains that from his specially constructed terrace which encircled the arena (enabling Commodus to avoid risking his life by fighting these animals at close quarters), the emperor also killed deer, roebuck, various horned animals, lions, and leopards, always killing them painlessly with a single blow. He purportedly killed one hundred leopards with one hundred javelins, and he cleanly shot the heads off countless ostriches with crescent-headed arrows. The crowd cheered as these headless birds continued to run around the amphitheater (1.15-4-6; for Commodus' popularity at these brutal spectacles, see Birley, The African Emperor, 86) (and Dio tells his readers that in public Commodus was less brutal than he was in private [73.17ff]).

[[17]] According to Herodian (1.15-17), "In his gladiatorial combats, he defeated his opponents with ease, and he did no more than wound them, since they all submitted to him, but only because they knew he was the emperor, not because he was truly a gladiator."

[[18]]Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.360.

[[19]]Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[20]] Mattingly, RIC, III.361. For Commodus' propaganda of peace, see W. Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.392.

[[21]] W. Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.392-3. In 189 a coin type was issued with the legend Romulus Conditor, perhaps indicating he began the official renaming process during that year. For a discussion on Commodus as Romulus, see A. D. Nock, "The Emperor's Divine Comes," Journal of Roman Studies 37 (1947), 103.

[[22]] HA, Comm. 7.1; Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[23]]Mattingly, RIC, III.361. See also, Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.386.

[[24]]The title Felix is first used by the emperor Commodus, and is used in the titles of almost all successive emperors to the fifth century. See, D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West (Leiden, 1987-91), 473.
HA, Comm., 12.315; Cass. Dio, 73.15; Herodian, I.14.9. These new names for the months seem to have actually been used, at least by the army, as confirmed by Tittianus' Altar. See M. P. Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993), 112.

[[25]] Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[26]]Legions:Idem.; the Grain fleet: SHA, Comm., 12.7. For a further discussion of Commodus' newly named fleet, see, A. Garzetti, From Tiberius to the Antonines, 547. For coins issued extolling the fleet, see Mattingly, CBM, IV.clxix; RIC, III.359; the Senate: Cass. Dio, 73.15; the Imperial Palace: SHA, Comm., 12.7; the Roman People: Ibid., 15.5.

[[27]]Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[28]]Mattingly, CBM, IV.clxxxiv.

[[29]]Eusebius, Hist.Ecc., 5.21.1.

[[30]]For a discussion of the treatment of Christianity during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus as well as persecutions during the reign of Commodus, see Keresztes, "A Favorable Aspect," 374, 376-377.

[[31]]Herodian, 1.16.4; Dio, 73.4. A Medallion from early 192 shows Commodus juxtaposed with the goddess Roma, which some scholars have argued incorporates the features of Marcia. See, Roman Medallions, "Introduction." Commodus was married, however, to a woman named Crispina. He commissioned several coins early in his rule to honor her.

[[32]]The Christian apologist Hippolytus tells that she was a Christian (Philos. 9.2.12), Dio tells that she simply favored the Christians (73.4). Herodian does not take a stand on the matter either way (1.16.4).

[[33]]Cass. Dio, 73.15. He pronounces Commodus' edict that his rule should be henceforth called the "Golden Age."

[[34]]H. Parker and B.H. Warmington note that Commodus..."resorted to government by means of favorites...which was exacerbated by an abortive conspiracy promoted by Lucilla and Ummidius Quadratus (182)." (OCD2, col. 276).

[[35]]Herodian, 1.17.2-11; Dio Cass., 73.22; SHA, Comm.,17.1-2.

Copyright (C) 1998, Dennis Quinn. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact. Used by Permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


CleisthenesMay 12, 2008
SeverusAlexanderRIC70RSC325s.jpg
[1009a] Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.83 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 70, RSC 325, S -, EF, Rome mint, 2.803g, 20.7mm, 0o, 227 A.D.; Obverse: IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; Reverse: P M TR P VI COS II P P, Emperor standing left, sacrificing from patera in right over a tripod, scroll in left; cameo-like obverse with toned portrait and legend and bright fields, slightly frosty surfaces, details of head on reverse figure unstruck, slightly irregular flan. Ex FORVM.

In this year Ardashir invaded Parthia and established the Sassanid Dynasty, which claimed direct descent from Xerxes and Darius. The Eastern power grew stronger and the threat to the Romans immense.

Marcus Aurelius Severus Alexander was promoted from Caesar to Augustus after the murder of his cousin, Elagabalus. His reign was marked by great economic prosperity, and he enjoyed great success against the barbarian tribes. His mother Julia Mamaea was the real power in the empire, controlling her son's policies and even his personal life with great authority. Severus had an oratory where he prayed under the edict, written on the wall, "Do not unto others what you would not have done to yourself" and the images of various prophets including Mithras, Zoroaster, Abraham and Jesus. Mutinous soldiers led by Maximinus I murdered both Severus Alexander and his mother (Joseph Sermarini).

De Imeratoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Alexander Severus (A.D. 222-235)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"But as Alexander was a modest and dutiful youth, of only seventeen years of age, the reins of government were in the hands of two women, of his mother Mamaea, and of Maesa, his grandmother. After the death of the latter, who survived but a short time the elevation of Alexander, Mamaea remained the sole regent of her son and of the empire." (Gibbon, Decline and Fall, chap. 6: Modern Library Edition, p. 130)

"As the imperial system developed, it disclosed its various arcana one by one. How much does the personality of the ruler matter? Less and less, it should seem. Be he boy, buffoon, or philosopher, his conduct may not have much effect on the administration. Habit and routine took over, with groups and grades of bureaucrats at hand to fill the posts." (Syme, Emperors and Biography, 146)

The passages quoted above emphasize two important aspects of the principate of Severus Alexander (or Alexander Severus), his youth and the influence of women during his reign. The significance of the latter invites brief discourse about the four women known as the "Severan Julias," whose origin was Syria. Julia Domna became the second wife of Septimius Severus and bore him two sons, the later emperors Caracalla and Geta. Her role in the administration of her husband was significant, which her expansive titulature, "mother of the camp and the senate and the country," reflected. Her sister, Julia Maesa, had two daughters, each of whom produced a son who was to become emperor. Julia Soaemias was the mother of Elagabalus, and shared his fate when he was assassinated. Julia Mamaea bore Alexander, who succeeded his cousin; he was very young and hence much under the control of grandmother and mother. For the first time in its imperial history, the empire of Rome was de facto, though not de iure, governed by women.

The literary sources, while numerous, are limited in value. Chief among them, at least in scope, is the biography in the Historia Augusta, much the longest of all the lives in this peculiar collection. Though purporting to be the work of six authors in the early fourth century, it is now generally considered to have been produced by one author writing in the last years of this century. Spacious in its treatment of the emperor and extremely favorable to him on the whole, it has little historical merit, seeming rather an extended work of fiction. It must be used with the utmost caution.

Herodian, whose history covered the period 180-238, was a contemporary of Severus Alexander, and his coverage of the latter's reign is extensive. Another contemporary, Dio Cassius, who was consul in 229 and whose judgments would have been most valuable, is unfortunately useless here, since his history survives only in abbreviated form and covers barely a page of printed text for the whole reign (Book 80). Aurelius Victor, Eutropius, the Epitome de Caesaribus, and other Latin sources are extremely brief, informing us of only the occasional anecdote. Christian writers make minimal contribution; legal texts offer much instruction, particularly those dealing with or stemming from Ulpian; coins, inscriptions, papyri, and archaeology help fill the gaps left by the literary sources.

Early Life and Education
The future emperor was born in Arca Caesarea in Phoenicia on October 1, 208 although some sources put the date three years earlier (as Gibbon assumed, see above), the son of Gessius Marcianus, whose career advanced in the equestrian cursus, and of Julia Mamaea, niece of the then empress, Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus. He was raised quietly and well educated, at the instance of his mother. He came into the public eye only in 218, when, after Macrinus' murder of Caracalla and accession to the purple, he and his mother were declared hostes publici. In June of that year, Elagabalus defeated Macrinus and succeeded him as emperor. Alexander and Mamaea were soon rehabilitated. As his cousin's activities, religious, political, and personal, became increasingly unacceptable, Alexander was drawn ever more into public life. In mid 221, he assumed the toga virilis, was adopted by Elagabalus as a colleague, was granted the name Alexander, and elevated to the rank of Caesar. There had been talk that he was the illegitimate child of Caracalla, which won him support among the army, and this was confirmed, at least for public consumption, by his filiation in the official titulature back to Septimius. He was now styled Imp. Caes. M. Aurelii Antonini Pii Felicis Aug. fil., divi Antonini Magni Pii nepos, divi Severi pronepos M. Aurelius Alexander, nobilissimus Caesar imperi et sacerdotis, princeps iuventutis. The connection with Septimius Severus was crucial, since he was the only one of these predecessors who had been deified. Alexander was about 12½ years old. Less than a year later, on March 13, 222, with the murder of Elagabalus, Alexander was hailed as emperor by the army. He considered this date as his dies imperii. He became thereby the youngest emperor in Rome's history. He was immediately thereafter given the titles of Augustus, pater patriae, and pontifex maximus.

His Principate; Grandmother, Mother, Ulpian
Having had no experience in government, the young emperor was largely dependent upon the two senior women in his life to guide his actions. His grandmother, Julia Maesa, may well have died as early as 223, so that his mother, Julia Mamaea, played the major role in the empire's administration from early on until the end. The only other figures who could rival her were the two Praetorian Prefects, both eminent jurists, Ulpian and Paulus, who are well-known to us because of the numerous citations of their legal views and administrative decisions preserved in the Corpus Iuris Civilis. Both were members of Alexander's consilium. Alexander attempted to restore some of the senate's prestige and functions, but with little success. He was even unable to protect Ulpian against the anger of the praetorians, who then murdered the jurist in 223.

Had his principate been peaceful, he might have developed into a significant emperor, certainly in comparison with his immediate predecessors. He was married once, in 225 to Sallustia Orbiana, who received the official titulature Sallustia Barbia Orbiana Augusta, but she was banished to Libya two years later. Her father, L. Seius Sallustius, was perhaps raised to the rank of Caesar by Alexander and was put to death in 227 on a charge of attempted murder of the emperor. The only other recorded uprising against Alexander is that of Taurinus, who was hailed as Augustus but drowned himself in the Euphrates.

According to the HA life, Alexander was a "good" person, and his mother certainly attempted to guide him well, but much of the last decade of his reign was preoccupied with serious military threats against the empire's prestige, nay existence. In those dangerous circumstances, his abilities, which had not earlier been honed, proved inadequate.

Domestic Policy
Perhaps the greatest service which Alexander furnished Rome, certainly at the beginning of his reign, was the return to a sense of sanity and tradition after the madness and fanaticism of Elagabalus. He is said to have honored and worshipped a variety of individuals, including Christ. His amiability assisted his relationship with the senate, which gained in honor under him without any real increase in its power. Besides jurists in high office, literary figures were also so distinguished; Marius Maximus, the biographer, and Dio Cassius, the historian, gained second consulships, the former in 223, the latter in 229.

The emperor's building program made its mark upon the face of Rome. The last of the eleven great aqueducts, the aqua Alexandrina, was put into service in 226; he also rebuilt the thermae Neronianae in the Campus Martius in the following year and gave them his own name. Of the other constructions, perhaps the most intriguing are the Diaetae Mammaeae, apartments which he built for his mother on the Palatine.

The Persian and German Wars
The first great external challenge appeared in the east, where the Parthian dynasty, which had ruled the Iranian plateau and other large areas for centuries, and who for long had been one of Rome's great rivals, was overthrown by the Persian family of the Sassanids by 227. They aspired to restore their domain to include all the Asian lands which had been ruled in the glory days of the Persian Empire. Since this included Asia Minor as well as all other eastern provinces, the stage was set for continuing clashes with Rome.

These began late in the decade, with significant success early on for the Sassanids. But Rome gradually developed a defense against these incursions, and ultimately the emperor, with his mother and staff, went to the east in 231. There actual military command rested in the hands of his generals, but his presence gave additional weight to the empire's policy. Persia's early successes soon faded as Rome's armies brought their power and experience to bear. The result was an acceptance of the status quo rather than a settlement between the parties. This occurred in 233 and Alexander returned to Rome. His presence in the west was required by a German threat, particularly along the Rhine, where the tribes took advantage of the withdrawal of Roman troops for the eastern war.

In 234, Alexander and Julia Mammaea moved to Moguntiacum (Mainz), the capital of Upper Germany. The military situation had improved with the return of troops from the east, and an ambitious offensive campaign was planned, for which a bridge was built across the Rhine. But Alexander preferred to negotiate for peace by buying off the enemy. This policy outraged the soldiers, who mutinied in mid March 235 and killed the emperor and his mother. He had reached the age of 26½ years and had been emperor for almost precisely half his life. He was deified by the senate and received other posthumous honors. With the accession of Maximinus Thrax, the Severan dynasty came to an end.

Death and Evaluation
Tacitus' famous dictum about Galba, that he was properly considered capax imperii, capable of being emperor, until he showed, when emperor, that he was not, could never have been applied to Severus Alexander. A child when chance brought him to the principate, with only two recommendations, that he was different from Elagabalus and that he was part of the Severan family, he proved to be inadequate for the challenges of the time. Military experience was the prime attribute of an emperor now, which Alexander did not have, and that lack ultimately cost him his life. Guided by his mother and employing the services of distinguished men, he returned dignity to the imperial household and to the state. He did the best he could, but that best was not good enough in the early decades of the third century A.D., with the great threats from east and north challenging Rome's primacy and, indeed, existence.

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario. Published on De Imeratoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/alexsev.htm . Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMay 07, 2008
JuliusCaesarRSCI14.jpg
[601a] Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.40 viewsSilver denarius, SRCV I 1405, RSC I 14, Craw. 468/2, F, 3.124g, 18.0mm, 270o, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus left, scepter across shoulder, small Cupid on shoulder, lituus in front; reverse two captives (male and female) at base of trophy of Gallic arms, CAESAR in ex; toned, bankers marks. Ex FORVM.

This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the Gaulish captive may be Vergintorix.
Gaius Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire (Joseph Sermarini).



It is not possible to adequately discuss Gaius Julius Caesar within the constraints of this gallery. He was born on either the 12th or the 13th of July in 100 B.C. [most scholars agree upon this date, but it is debated], and he was assassinated on 15 March 44 B.C.

Caesar is arguably the most important figure in Roman history; only Augustus and, perhaps, Constantine the Great made contributions of equivalent magnitude. Caesar was a truly gifted writer, orator, politician and soldier .

Library and book store shelves are crowded with a variety of biographies on the great man. Christian Meier, professor of Ancient History at the University of Munich, has written a scholarly as well as intriguing biography of Caesar. It is simply titled Caesar. It was first published in Germany in 1982, and a recently published paper back translation by David McLintock is now available from Fontana Press (a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers).

Caesar is fascinating.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesMay 06, 2008
OlbiaDolphin.jpg
001a, Olbia, Sarmatia, c. 5th Century B.C.51 viewsBronze cast dolphin, SGCV 1684 var, VF, 1.322g, 24.7mm. Obverse: dolphin with raised spine, dorsal fin and tail.

Olbia

Olbia, located in what is modern-day Ukraine, was a Milesian colony at the convergence of the Hypanis and Borysthenes rivers, about 15 miles inland from the Northwest coast of the Black Sea. Well located for trade, Olbia was a prosperous trading city and major grain supplier in the 5th Century B.C.

Small bronze dolphins were cast in Olbia, beginning 550-525 B.C., first as sacrificial objects for worship of Apollo and later as a form of currency (Joseph Sermarini).
1 commentsCleisthenesMay 05, 2008
SeptimiusBrit.jpg
Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.14 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 241, RSC 542, gVF, Rome mint, AD 210; Obverse: SEVERVS PIVS AVG BRIT, Laureate head right; Reverse: P M TR P XVIII COS III P P, Neptune standing left, holding trident dolphin, foot on globe. Ex Maridvnvm.


Septimius Severus

His health fading and weak from gout, Severus would set out one last time on military campaign. This time it was Britain which demanded the emperor's attention. The Antonine Wall had never really acted as a perfectly successful barrier to the troublesome barbarians to the north of it. By this time it had in fact been virtually abandoned, leaving the British provinces vulnerable to attack from the north. In AD 208 Severus left for Britain with his two quarrelsome sons. Large military campaigns now drove deep into Scotland but didn't really manage to create any lasting solution to the problem.

Lucius Septimius Severus died at York, England, 4 February, 211.

Throughout his reign Severus was one of the outstanding imperial builders. He restored a very large number of ancient buildings - and inscribed on them his own name, as though he had erected them. His home town Lepcis Magna benefited in particular. But most of all the famous Triumphal Arch of Severus at the Forum of Rome bears witness to his reign.
(http://www.roman-empire.net/index.html)


Septimius Severus, a native of Leptis Magna, Africa was proclaimed emperor by his troops after the murder of Pertinax. He is at the same time credited with strengthening and reviving an empire facing imminent decline and, through the same policies that saved it, causing its eventual fall. Severus eliminated the dangerous praetorians, unified the empire after turmoil and civil war, strengthened the army, defeated Rome's most powerful enemy, and founded a successful dynasty. His pay increases for the army, however, established a severe burden on Rome. Future emperors were expected to increase pay as well. These raises resulted in ever-increasing taxes that damaged the economy. Some historians believe high taxes, initiated by Severus policies, played a significant role in Rome's long-term decline. . . (Joseph Sermarini).


Severus had clear political vision, still he cared nothing for the interests of Rome and Italy. He nourished within himself the Punic hatred of the Roman spirit and instinct and furthered the provincials in every way. He was revengeful and cruel towards his opponents, and was influenced by a blindly superstitious belief in his destiny as written in the stars. With iron will he labored to reorganize the Roman Empire on the model of an Oriental despotism. . .

Severus rested his power mainly upon the legions of barbarian troops; he immortalized them upon the coinage, granted them, besides large gifts of money and the right of marriage, a great number of privileges in the military and civil service, so that gradually the races living on the borders were able to force Rome to do their will. . .

During the reign of Severus the fifth persecution of the Christians broke out. He forbade conversion to Judaism and to Christianity. The persecution raged especially in Syria and Africa.
Written by Karl Hoeber. Transcribed by Joseph E. O'Connor.
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XIII. Published 1912. New York: Robert Appleton Company.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMay 05, 2008
VictorinusRIC67.jpg
Victorinus, summer to November 268 - mid 271 A.D.20 viewsObv:– IMP C VICTORINVS P F AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
Rev:– SALVS AVG, Salus standing left feeding serpent rising from altar
Minted in a Southern mint
Reference:– RIC 67

Victorinus succeeded Marius to the throne of the Gallic Empire. During his reign, Spain rejoined the rest of the Roman Empire. His officers, offended by his relentless pursuit of married women including their wives, murdered him (Joseph Sermarini).
CleisthenesMay 05, 2008
PhiletairosMyFirstCoinPortrait250408.jpg
[2400d] Pergamene Kingdom, Mysia, Western Asia Minor, Philetairos I, 282 - 263 B.C.46 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Meydancikkale 3000, SNG Paris 1603 var, SNG Von Aulock -, SNG Cop -, VF, Pergamon mint, 16.629g, 28.1mm, 0o, c. 265 - 263 B.C. Obverse: head of Philetaerus right in taenia; Reverse: FILETAIROU downward on right, Athena enthroned left, right hand on shield before her, spear over shoulder in left, leaf above arm, bow right; high relief portrait; very rare. Ex FORVM. Photo by jpfjr.

This coin bears the first portrait of Philetairos, the founder of the Pergamene Kingdom, 282 -263 B.C. Hoard evidence and recent studies indicate it was struck at the end of his reign. Philetairos first struck in the name of Lysimachos, then posthumous Alexander types under Seleukos I, then Seleukos and Herakles (see coin 309p) portrait types under Antiochos I, and lastly this type with his own portrait. This same reverse was used for the Seleukos I portrait types. Philetairos' coinage is known for its magnificent realistic portraits and this coin is an excellent example. Very rare and absent from most major collections (Joseph Sermarini).

Attalid Dynasty(270-133 BC) - capital at Pergamum

Founded by Philetairos, the Greek secretary of Alexander the Great's general Lysimachus.

In his monograph "The Pergamene Mint Under Philetaerus" (The American Numismatic Society, No.76, 1936), Edward T. Newell notes, "The event which precipitated the end of Lysimachus' empire and resulted in the rise to power of the Attalid Dynasty, was the execution in 286-5 B.C. of his son, the heir apparent Agathocles. For Philetareus the situation had now become impossible. He belonged to the faction which had gathered about that able and much beloved young man--in opposition to the party headed by Lysimachus' wife, the ambitious Arsinoe, scheming for the preferment of her own children. So after having functioned for many years as the governor of Pergamum and the trusted guardian of the great treasure there deposited, Philetaerus was now forced to take steps for his own safety. Sometime between 284 and 282 B.C. many of the Asiatic cities and certain officers of Lysimachus openly rebelled and called upon Seleucus for aid. Philetaerus also wrote to the Syrian king, placing himself, and the treasure under his care, at the latter's disposal. Seleucus led his army, together with a large contingent of elephants, into the Asiatic provinces of Lysimachus. On the plain of Corupedium in Lydia there occurred the final and decisive battle in which, as is well known, Lysimachus lost both life and empire" (3-5).

When [Lysimachus] fell fighting Seleucus, Philetairos (a eunuch) withdrew with his commander's military war chest to a mountain fortress that ultimately became his palace acropolis of Pergamum. He gained royal recognition through his successful efforts at repulsing the Gallic invasion of western Anatolia in 270-269 BC. Philetairos drove the Gauls into the Phrygian highlands where they settled in the region thereafter known as Galatia. He became recognized by the Greek cities of the coastal region as a liberator and savior and established his hegemony over them. Since he had no children, his domain passed to the four sons of his brother, Attalus I. Normally, so many rival dynasts would have spelled disaster (as it eventually did in Syria and Egypt), but the Attalids became celebrated for their cooperation at state building. They handed the royal authority from one to another in succession and managed to elevate their realm into the top echelon of Mediterranean states.

Particularly skillful diplomacy with Rome enabled the Attalids to enjoy further success during the early second century BC. At their peak under Eumenes II, c. 190-168 BC, they controlled the entire western seaboard of Anatolia and much of Phrygian highland as well. In direct competition with the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, the Attalids succeeded at establishing Pergamum as a leading cultural center, its library second only to that of Alexandria, its sculpture, woven tapestries, and ceramics prized throughout the Mediterranean. An expressive, highly baroque style of sculpture known as the Asian school, set important trends in the Greek world and profoundly influenced artistic development at Rome. The Attalids likewise competed for control of the eastern luxury trade, relying on the overland route of the now ancient Persian Royal Road across Anatolia.

When a dynastic dispute threatened to undermine the stability of Pergamum at the end of the second century BC, King Attalus III (138-133) left his royal domain to the people of the Roman Republic in his will. His nobles were concerned about security after his passing, and to prevent a dynastic dispute (which ultimately did arise) he wrote this into his will as a form of "poison pill." At his demise in 133 BC, ambassadors brought the report of his bequest to Rome, where it was accepted and secured by military intervention. By 126 BC the royal territories of Pergamum became the Roman province of Asia, the richest of all Roman provinces.

Abusive exploitation by Roman tax collectors (publicans) induced a province-wide revolt in Asia in 88 BC (encouraged by Mithridates VI Eupator), culminating in the massacre reportedly of some 80,000 Romans, Italians, their families, and servants throughout the province. L. Cornelius Sulla restored order in 84 BC just prior to his assumption of the dictatorship at Rome. Indemnities imposed by Sulla remained burdensome throughout the following decade, but the resilience and economic vitality of the province ultimately enabled impressive recovery.

In 63 BC the Roman orator and senator, M. Tullius Cicero, stated that approximately 40% of tribute raised by the Republican empire came from Asia alone. The merger of Greco-Roman culture was probably most successfully achieved here. In the imperial era, cities such as Pergamum, Ephesus, Sardis, and Miletus ranked among the leading cultural centers of the Roman world.

http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:n9hG5pYVUV0J:web.ics.purdue.edu/~rauhn/hellenistic_world.htm+Philetairos&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=29

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesApr 25, 2008
SeleukosISNGSpaer23.jpg
[303b] Seleucid Kingdom, Seleukos I, 312 - 281 B.C.82 viewsBronze AE 19, WSM 925, SNG Spaer 23, VF, Antioch mint, 7.994g, 19.2mm, 225o; Obverse: winged Gorgon head right; Reverse: BASILEWS SELEUKOU, bull butting right, X in exergue.


Seleukos I Nikator, Founder of a Hellenistic Dynasty in the Orient
Born into a well-placed family in Macedon, trained as a royal page to King Philip II, trusted companion and chief of the élite bodyguard of Alexander the Great, he spent half his life in the shadow of more ambitious soldiers. Yet he eventually rose above all of them, and the kingdom he founded rivalled Ptolemaic Egypt in brilliance and almost in longevity, for Cleopatra VII ended her life, surrendering Egypt to Octavian, only a generation after Rome reduced what remained of the Seleukid Empire to the Province of Syria.
http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Article/908680

Seleucus I (surnamed for later generations Nicator, Greek: Σέλευκος Νικάτωρ, i.e. Seleucus Victor) (ca. 358 BCE–281 BCE), was a Macedonian officer of Alexander the Great. In the wars of the Diadochi that took place after Alexander's death, Seleucus established the Seleucid dynasty and the Seleucid Empire.

Seleucus was the son of Antiochus from Orestis, one of Philip's generals, and of Laodice. In 333 BC, as a young man of about twenty-three, he accompanied Alexander into Asia and won distinction in the Indian campaign of 326 BC. In 324 BCE Seleucus took as wife Apama, with whom he had four children: two daughters, Apama and Laodice, and two sons, Antiochus & Achaeus.

When the Macedonian empire was divided in 323 BC (the "Partition of Babylon"), Seleucus was given the office of chiliarch, which attached him closely to the regent Perdiccas. Subsequently, Seleucus had a hand in the murder of Perdiccas during the latter's unsuccessful invasion of Egypt in 321 BC.

At the second partition, at Triparadisus (321 BC), Seleucus was given the government of the Babylonian satrapy. In 316 BC, when Antigonus had made himself master of the eastern provinces, Seleucus felt himself threatened and fled to Egypt. In the war which followed between Antigonus and the other Macedonian chiefs, Seleucus actively cooperated with Ptolemy and commanded Egyptian squadrons in the Aegean Sea.

The victory won by Ptolemy at the battle of Gaza in 312 BC opened the way for Seleucus to return to the east. His return to Babylon was afterwards officially regarded as the beginning of the Seleucid Empire and that year as the first of the Seleucid era. Master of Babylonia, Seleucus at once proceeded to wrest the neighbouring provinces of Persia, Susiana and Media from the nominees of Antigonus. A raid into Babylonia conducted in 311 BC by Demetrius, son of Antigonus, did not seriously check Seleucus' progress. Over the course of nine years (311-302 BC), while Antigonus was occupied in the west, Seleucus brought the whole eastern part of Alexander's empire as far as the Jaxartes and Indus Rivers under his authority.

In 305 BC, after the extinction of the old royal line of Macedonia, Seleucus, like the other four principal Macedonian chiefs, assumed the title and style of basileus (king). He established Seleucia on the Tigris as his capital.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seleucus_I_Nicator

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesApr 21, 2008
CnCorneliusLentulusMarcellinusARDenariusSear323.jpg
(503f) Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus Silver Denarius86 viewsCn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus Silver Denarius, Sear-323, Cr-393/1a, Syd-752, RSC-Cornelia 54, struck 76-75 BC at Spanish Mint, 3.94 grams, 18 mm. EF. Obverse: GPR above Diademed, draped and bearded bust of the Genius of the Roman People facing right, sceptre over shoulder; Reverse: EX in left field, SC in right field; CN LEN Q in exergue, Sceptre with wreath, terrestrial globe and rudder. An exceptional example that is especially well centered and struck on a slightly larger flan than normally encountered with fully lustrous surfaces and a most attractive irridescent antique toning. Held back from the Superb EF/FDC by a small banker's mark in the right obverse field, but still worthy of the finest collection of Roman Republican denarii. Ex Glenn Woods.

Re: CORNELIA 54:

“Cn. Cornelius Lentulus Marcellinus may be the same moneyer whose issues have been already described (no.s 702-704). Mommsen suggested that these coins were struck in 74 B.C. as a special issue, authorized by the Senate, to defray the cost of armaments against Mithridates of Pontus and the Mediterranean pirates. But Grueber’s view that they were struck in 76 B.C. by Cn. Cornelius Lentulus acting in the capacity of quaestor of Pompey, seems more in accordance with the evidence of finds" (see: G. ii, p. 359n and The Coinage of the Roman Republic, by Edward A. Sydenham, 1976, pgs. 1).

H. A. Seaby shows the coin with the smaller head (Roman Silver Coins Vol. I, Republic to Augustus pg. 33) while David R Sear shows a coin sporting a larger version (Roman Coins and Their Values, pg. 132).

“Cn. Lentulus strikes in Spain in his capacity as quaestor to the proconsul Pompey, who had been sent to the peninsula to assist Q. Caecillus Metellus Piusagainst sertorius”(Roman Coins and Their Values, by David Sear, Vol.1, 2000, pg. 132).

This is not an imperatorial minted coin for Pompey. At the time these coins were minted the Procounsel Pompey was sent to Spain to aid in the war against Sertorius. The moneyer Cn Lentulus served as his Quaestor where he continued to mint coins for Rome.

CN = Cneaus; LEN = Lentulus

Cneaus was his first name. His last, or family name is Lentulus and this clan is a lesser clan within the Cornelii, which is what his middle name of Cornelius implies.

Q = This tells us that he was a Quaestor, or Roman magistrate with judicial powers at the time when the coin was issued, with the responsibility for the treasury. Had this been a position that he once held it would be noted on the coin as PROQ or pro [past] Questor.

For Further Reading on the Cornelia 54 & 55:

Coins of the Roman Republic in the British Museum, by H. A. Grueber. London, 1910, Vol. II, pgs. 358, 359, 52, 57

Roman Silver Coins Vol. I, Republic to Augustus, by H.A.Seaby 1952, pgs. 32-33

The Coinage of the Roman Republic, by Edward A. Sydenham, 1976, pgs. 122, 241

Roman Coins and Their Values, by David Sear, Vol.1, 2000, pg. 132, 133

Roman Republican Coinage Volume I by Michael H. Crawford 2001, pg. 407

by Jerry Edward Cornelius, April 2006, THE 81 ROMAN COINS OF THE CORNELIA
http://www.cornelius93.com/Cornelia54.html
1 commentsCleisthenesApr 16, 2008
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[1655a] Anonymous follis of Christ, class G, Romanus IV, 1 January 1068 - 19 August 1071 A.D.39 viewsAnonymous Bronze Follis, Sear-1867, Class-G, Attributed to Romanos IV Diogenes, struck 1068-1071 at Constantinople, 7.87 grams, 24.7 mm. VF. Obverse: Bust of Christ facing, wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, and raising right hand in benediction and holding the book of Gospels in left hand, border of large pellets. Reverse: Facing bust of the Virgin orans, nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium, border of large pellets. Well centered and struck on a broad flan with nice details and choice eye appeal. Deep brown patina with reddish earthen highlights adds to the eye appeal.

Romanos IV Diogenes

Romanus also spelled Romanos Byzantine emperor (January 1, 1068–1071), a member of the Cappadocian military aristocracy.

In 1068 Romanus married Eudocia Macrembolitissa, widow of the emperor Constantine X Ducas. He led military expeditions against the Seljuq Turks but was defeated and captured by them at the Battle of Manzikert (1071). On his release Romanus found that Constantine X's son had been crowned sole ruler as Michael VII Ducas. Romanus was blinded and exiled to the island of Prote in the Sea of Marmara, where he died ("Romanus IV Diogenes." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 16 Apr. 2008 ).

Romanus IV, Diogenes was the second husband of Eudocia, who it would seem, married him to supply the Byzantine Empire with an emperor. Eudocia was serving as regent, but conditions required an emperor, thus the marriage to the general, Romanus IV. He was taken prisoner during a military campaign against the Turks and Eudocia was restored to the throne, along with her son, Michael. A position, in reality, she had probably never left (Joseph Sermarini).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesApr 16, 2008
TisnaiosSNGCop283.jpg
[103tis] Tisna, Aiolis, 350 - 300 B.C.168 viewsBronze AE 17, SNG Cop 283, choice gVF, 3.960g, 16.7mm, 180o; Obverse: horned head of river-god Tisnaios left, slightly facing; Reverse :TIS/NAION either side of one-handled cup; superb and unusual style!; rare. Ex FORVM.


The following research was done by Jochen (Tribunus Plebis, 2006; Procurator Caesaris; Caesar), a member extraordinaire of the FORVM Discussion Boards, and the originator and leading contributor to our Coins of Mythological Interest Board:

"Von Mogens Herman Hansen, Thomas Heine, An Inventory of Archaic and Classical Poleis, Oxford University Press, p.1051: 835. *Tisna (Tisnaia) Map 56. Lat. 38-45, long. 27.05 but see 'infra' C:? The toponym Tisna can be reconstructed from the city-ethnic attested by C4 coin legends (infra). Presumably the community took its name from the river Tisna, a personification of which was depicted on Tisna's coins. Tisna struck bronze coins in C4. Types: obv. beardless male head l., horned (river god Tisnaios); rev. one-handle vase, or spearhead, or sword in sheath; legend TISNAI or TISNAIO or TISNAIOS or TISNAION (Imhoof-Blumer (1883) 275 nos.241-42; Head, HN2 557; Robert (1937) 189; BMC Troas 149; SNG Cop Aeolis 283). The book I found under books.google.de It is the first lexicon of all identifiable Greek city states of the Archaic and Classical period (c. 650-325 BC).

You can see that Tisna must be a small city in Aiolis known only by its coins. It is not mentioned in 'Der kleine Pauly' nor depicted in my Historical Atlas.
[The emphasis is mine, J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.]


Aeolis (Ancient Greek Αιολίς Aiolís) or Aeolia was an area that comprised the west and northwestern region of Asia Minor, mostly along the coast, and also several offshore islands (particularly Lesbos), where the Aeolian Greek city-states were located. Aeolis incorporated the southern parts of Mysia which bounded it to the north, Ionia to the south, and Lydia to the east. In early times, the Aeolians' twelve most important cities were independent, and formed a league: Cyme (also called Phriconis), Larissae, Neonteichos, Temnus, Cilla, Notium, Aegiroessa, Pitane, Aegae, Myrina, Gryneia, and Smyrna.

According to Homer's description, Odysseus, after his stay with the Cyclopes, reached the island of Aeolus, who provided him with the west wind Zephyr.

Aeolis was an ancient district on the western coast of Asia Minor. It extended along the Aegean Sea from the entrance of the Hellespont (now the Dardanelles) south to the Hermus River (now the Gediz River). It was named for the Aeolians, some of whom migrated there from Greece before 1000 BC. Aeolis was, however, an ethnological and linguistic enclave rather than a geographical unit. The district often was considered part of the larger northwest region of Mysia.

By the 8th century BC, twelve of the southern Aeolian city-states were grouped together in a league. The most celebrated of the cities was Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), but in 699 BC, Smyrna became part of an Ionian confederacy. The remaining cities were conquered by Croesus, king of Lydia (reigned 560-546 BC). Later they were held successively by the Persians, Macedonians, Seleucids, and Pergamenes. Attalus III, the last king of Pergamum, bequeathed Aeolis to Rome in 133 BC. Shortly afterward, it was made part of the Roman province of Asia. At the partition of the Roman Empire (395 AD), Aeolis was assigned to the East Roman (Byzantine) empire and remained under Byzantine rule until the early 1400s, when the Ottoman Turks occupied the area.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeolis

Ed. by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.

Thank you, Jochen.
CleisthenesApr 14, 2008
TiberiusTributePennyRICI30RSCII16aSRCV1763.jpg
703a, Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-2146 viewsSilver denarius, RIC I 30, RSC II 16a, SRCV 1763, gVF, Lugdunum mint, 3.837g, 18.7mm, 90o, 16 - 37 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM, Pax/Livia seated right holding scepter and branch, legs on chair ornamented, feet on footstool; toned. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Tiberius (A.D. 14-37)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

Introduction
The reign of Tiberius (b. 42 B.C., d. A.D. 37, emperor A.D. 14-37) is a particularly important one for the Principate, since it was the first occasion when the powers designed for Augustus alone were exercised by somebody else. In contrast to the approachable and tactful Augustus, Tiberius emerges from the sources as an enigmatic and darkly complex figure, intelligent and cunning, but given to bouts of severe depression and dark moods that had a great impact on his political career as well as his personal relationships.

. . . .

Early life (42-12 B.C.)
Tiberius Claudius Nero was born on 16 November 42 B.C. to Ti. Claudius Nero and Livia Drusilla. Both parents were scions of the gens Claudia which had supplied leaders to the Roman Republic for many generations. . . [I]n 39 B.C., his mother Livia divorced Ti. Claudius Nero and married Octavian, thereby making the infant Tiberius the stepson of the future ruler of the Roman world. Forever afterward, Tiberius was to have his name coupled with this man, and always to his detriment.

. . . .

Accession and Early Reign (A.D. 14 - 23)
The accession of Tiberius proved intensely awkward. After Augustus had been buried and deified, and his will read and honored, the Senate convened on 18 September to inaugurate the new reign and officially "confirm" Tiberius as emperor. Such a transfer of power had never happened before, and nobody, including Tiberius, appears to have known what to do. Tacitus's account is the fullest. . . Rather than tactful, he came across to the senators as obdurate and obstructive. He declared that he was too old for the responsibilities of the Principate, said he did not want the job, and asked if he could just take one part of the government for himself. The Senate was confused, not knowing how to read his behavior. Finally, one senator asked pointedly, "Sire, for how long will you allow the State to be without a head?" Tiberius relented and accepted the powers voted to him, although he refused the title "Augustus."

. . . .

Tiberius allowed a trusted advisor to get too close and gain a tremendous influence over him. That advisor was the Praetorian Prefect, L. Aelius Sejanus, who would derail Tiberius's plans for the succession and drive the emperor farther into isolation, depression, and paranoia.

Sejanus (A.D. 23-31)
Sejanus hailed from Volsinii in Etruria. He and his father shared the Praetorian Prefecture until A.D. 15 when the father, L. Seius Strabo, was promoted to be Prefect of Egypt, the pinnacle of an equestrian career under the Principate. Sejanus, now sole Prefect of the Guard, enjoyed powerful connections to senatorial houses and had been a companion to Gaius Caesar on his mission to the East, 1 B.C. - A.D. 4. Through a combination of energetic efficiency, fawning sycophancy, and outward displays of loyalty, he gained the position of Tiberius's closest friend and advisor.

. . . .

[I]n a shocking and unexpected turn of events, [a] letter sent by Tiberius from Capri initially praised Sejanus extensively, and then suddenly denounced him as a traitor and demanded his arrest. Chaos ensued. Senators long allied with Sejanus headed for the exits, the others were confused -- was this a test of their loyalty? What did the emperor want them to do? -- but the Praetorian Guard, the very troops formerly under Sejanus's command but recently and secretly transferred to the command of Q. Sutorius Macro, arrested Sejanus, conveyed him to prison, and shortly afterwards executed him summarily. A witch-hunt followed. . . All around the city, grim scenes were played out, and as late as A.D. 33 a general massacre of all those still in custody took place.

Tiberius himself later claimed that he turned on Sejanus because he had been alerted to Sejanus's plot against Germanicus's family. This explanation has been rejected by most ancient and modern authorities, since Sejanus's demise did nothing to alleviate that family's troubles.

. . . .

The Last Years (A.D. 31-37)
The Sejanus affair appears to have greatly depressed Tiberius. A close friend and confidant had betrayed him; whom could he trust anymore? His withdrawal from public life seemed more complete in the last years. Letters kept him in touch with Rome, but it was the machinery of the Augustan administration that kept the empire running smoothly. Tiberius, if we believe our sources, spent much of his time indulging his perversities on Capri.

. . . .

Tiberius died quietly in a villa at Misenum on 16 March A.D. 37. He was 78 years old. There are some hints in the sources of the hand of Caligula in the deed, but such innuendo can be expected at the death of an emperor, especially when his successor proved so depraved. The level of unpopularity Tiberius had achieved by the time of his death with both the upper and lower classes is revealed by these facts: the Senate refused to vote him divine honors, and mobs filled the streets yelling "To the Tiber with Tiberius!" (in reference to a method of disposal reserved for the corpses of criminals).

Tiberius and the Empire
Three main aspects of Tiberius's impact on the empire deserve special attention: his relative military inertia; his modesty in dealing with offers of divine honors and his fair treatment of provincials; and his use of the Law of Treason (maiestas).

. . . .

Conclusion
. . . Tiberius's reign sporadically descended into tyranny of the worst sort. In the right climate of paranoia and suspicion, widespread denunciation led to the deaths of dozens of Senators and equestrians, as well as numerous members of the imperial house. In this sense, the reign of Tiberius decisively ended the Augustan illusion of "the Republic Restored" and shone some light into the future of the Principate, revealing that which was both promising and terrifying.

[For the entire article please refer to http://www.roman-emperors.org/tiberius.htm]

Copyright © 1997, Garrett G. Fagan. Used by permission.

"Some of the things he did are hard to believe. He had little boys trained as minnows to chase him when he went swimming and to get between his legs and nibble him. He also had babies not weaned from their mother breast suck at his chest and groin . . . "
(Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Trans. Robert Graves. London: Penguin Books, 1979. XLIV).

Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible(Joseph Sermarini).


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesApr 11, 2008
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin779.jpg
[18H779] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta issue130 viewsOrichalcum dupondius, Hendin 779, RIC II 1160, BMCRE 809 (same dies), aVF, Lugdunum mint, 9.969g, 27.7mm, 180o, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III, radiate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse VICTORIA NAVALIS S C, Victory standing right on a prow, wreath in right, palm frond over should in left (Refers to a victory on the Sea of Galilee during the recapture of Judaea); rough; rare (R2). Ex FORVM.




De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesApr 10, 2008
CaligulaSmyrnaRPC2473.jpg
704a, Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.100 viewsCaligula, 37 - 41 AD, Ionia, Smyrna. AE 17mm. Klose, Smyrna 27a. RPC 2473. 2.89 gm. Fine. Menophanes, Aviola, Procos, 37-38 AD. Obverse: AION, laureate head right; Reverse: Nike holding wreath right. Ex Tom Vossen.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

GAIUS (CALIGULA) (A.D. 37-41)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Caligula) was born on 31 August, A.D. 12, probably at the Julio-Claudian resort of Antium (modern Anzio), the third of six children born to Augustus's adopted grandson, Germanicus, and Augustus's granddaughter, Agrippina. Caligula was the Roman Emperor between A.D. 37-41). Unfortunately, his is the most poorly documented reign of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The literary sources for these four years are meager, frequently anecdotal, and universally hostile.[[1]] As a result, not only are many of the events of the reign unclear, but Gaius himself appears more as a caricature than a real person, a crazed megalomaniac given to capricious cruelty. Although some headway can be made in disentangling truth from embellishment, the true character of the youthful emperor will forever elude us.

As a baby he accompanied his parents on military campaigns in the north and was shown to the troops wearing a miniature soldier's outfit, including the hob-nailed sandal called caliga, whence the nickname by which posterity remembers him. His childhood was not a happy one, spent amid an atmosphere of paranoia, suspicion, and murder. Instability within the Julio-Claudian house, generated by uncertainty over the succession, led to a series of personal tragedies.

When Tiberius died on 16 March A.D. 37, Gaius was in a perfect position to assume power, despite the obstacle of Tiberius's will, which named him and his cousin Tiberius Gemellus joint heirs. (Gemellus's life was shortened considerably by this bequest, since Gaius ordered him killed within a matter of months.) Backed by the Praetorian Prefect Q. Sutorius Macro, Gaius asserted his dominance. He had Tiberius's will declared null and void on grounds of insanity, accepted the powers of the Principate as conferred by the Senate, and entered Rome on 28 March amid scenes of wild rejoicing. His first acts were generous in spirit: he paid Tiberius's bequests and gave a cash bonus to the Praetorian Guard, the first recorded donativum to troops in imperial history.

The ancient sources are practically unanimous as to the cause of Gaius's downfall: he was insane. The writers differ as to how this condition came about, but all agree that after his good start Gaius began to behave in an openly autocratic manner, even a crazed one. The sources describe his incestuous relations with his sisters, laughable military campaigns in the north, the building of a pontoon bridge across the Bay at Baiae, and the plan to make his horse a consul. Their unanimous hostility renders their testimony suspect, especially since Gaius's reported behavior fits remarkably well with that of the ancient tyrant, a literary type enshrined in Greco-Roman tradition centuries before his reign. Further, the only eye-witness account of Gaius's behavior, Philo's Embassy to Gaius, offers little evidence of outright insanity, despite the antagonism of the author, whom Gaius treated with the utmost disrespect.

The conspiracy that ended Gaius's life was hatched among the officers of the Praetorian Guard, apparently for purely personal reasons. It appears also to have had the support of some senators and an imperial freedman. As with conspiracies in general, there are suspicions that the plot was more broad-based than the sources intimate, and it may even have enjoyed the support of the next emperor Claudius, but these propositions are not provable on available evidence. On 24 January A.D. 41 the praetorian tribune Cassius Chaerea and other guardsmen caught Gaius alone in a secluded palace corridor and cut him down. He was 28 years old and had ruled three years and ten months.

Whatever damage Tiberius's later years had done to the carefully crafted political edifice created by Augustus, Gaius multiplied it a hundredfold. When he came to power in A.D. 37 Gaius had no administrative experience beyond his honorary quaestorship, and had spent an unhappy early life far from the public eye. He appears, once in power, to have realized the boundless scope of his authority and acted accordingly. For the elite, this situation proved intolerable and ensured the blackening of Caligula's name in the historical record they would dictate. The sensational and hostile nature of that record, however, should in no way trivialize Gaius's importance. His reign highlighted an inherent weakness in the Augustan Principate, now openly revealed for what it was -- a raw monarchy in which only the self-discipline of the incumbent acted as a restraint on his behavior. That the only means of retiring the wayward princes was murder marked another important revelation: Roman emperors could not relinquish their powers without simultaneously relinquishing their lives.

Copyright © 1997, Garrett G. Fagan.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Ancient Smyrna

The 5,000 year-old city of Izmir is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean basin. The original city was established in the third millennium BC (at present day Bayraklı), at which time it shared with Troy the most advanced culture in Anatolia.


Greek settlement is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC. In the first millennium BC Izmir, then known as Smyrna, ranked as one of the most important cities of the Ionian Federation. During this period, it is believed that the epic poet Homer resided here.

Lydian conquest of the city around 600 BC brought this golden age to an end. Smyrna was little more than a village throughout the Lydian and subsequent sixth century BC Persian rule. In the fourth century BC a new city was built on the slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale) during the reign of Alexander the Great. Smyrna's Roman period, beginning in the first century BC, was its second great era.

In the first century AD, Smyrna became one of the earliest centers of Christianity and it was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Both Revelation and the Martyrdom of Polycarp indicate the existence of a Jewish community in Smyrna as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The letter to the church at Smyrna in Revelation indicates that the Christians were spiritually "rich" and apparently in conflict with the Jews (2:9).

The origins of the Christian community there, which was established in the 1st century, are unknown. Ignatius of Antioch stopped at Smyrna on his way to martyrdom in Rome in 107 AD, and he sent a letter back to the Christians there from later in his journey. Smyrna's bishop, Polycarp, was burned at the stake in Smyrna's stadium around 156 AD.

Byzantine rule came in the fourth century and lasted until the Seljuk conquest in 11th century. In 1415, under Sultan Mehmed Çelebi, Smyrna became part of the Ottoman Empire.

The city earned its fame as one of the most important port cities of the world during the 17th to 19th centuries. The majority of its population were Greek but merchants of various origins (especially Greek, French, Italian, Dutch, Armenian, Sephardi and Jewish) transformed the city into a cosmopolitan portal of trade. During this period, the city was famous for its own brand of music (Smyrneika) as well as its wide range of products it exported to Europe (Smyrna/Sultana raisins, dried figs, carpets, etc.).

Today, Izmir is Turkey's third largest city and is nicknamed "the pearl of Aegean." It is widely regarded as the most Westernized city of Turkey in terms of values, ideology, gender roles, and lifestyle.
© 2005-08 Sacred Destinations. All rights reserved.
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/izmir-history.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesApr 10, 2008
AsclepiosAE16SNGBNParis1828.jpg
[2470] Asclepios AE16, Pergamon (Mysia), 133 BC - Imperial Times. 63 viewsMysia, Pergamon. 133 BC - Imperial Times. SNG BN Paris 1828. AE 16mm (3.76 gm). Very fine. Obverse: head Asclepios right. Reverse: [A]ΣKΛHΠIO[Y] - [ΣΩ]THP[OΣ], Serpent curled around scepter of Asclepios. Ex Tom Vossen.

Asclepius
by Ron Leadbetter

Asclepius was a Greek hero who later become the Greek god of medicine and healing. The son of Apollo and Coronis, Asclepius had five daughters, Aceso, Iaso, Panacea, Aglaea and Hygieia. He was worshipped throughout the Greek world but his most famous sanctuary was located in Epidaurus which is situated in the northeastern Peloponnese. The main attribute of Asclepius is a physician's staff with an Asclepian snake wrapped around it; this is how he was distinguished in the art of healing, and his attribute still survives to this day as the symbol of the modern medical profession. The cock was also sacred to Asclepius and was the bird they sacrificed as his altar.

The mother of Asclepius, Coronis, was a mortal, the daughter of Phlegyas, a king of Thessaly. Coronis was unfaithful to Apollo, and Artemis, Apollo's twin sister, killed her for her unfaithfulness. Coronis was placed upon a funeral pyre. (One version says that Apollo cast her into the fires of his own anger.) As her body started to burn, Apollo felt sorrow for his unborn son and snatched the child Asclepius from his mother's corpse, saving him from death. Apollo then handed Asclepius to the Centaur Chiron who became his tutor and mentor.

Chiron taught Asclepius the art of healing. According to Pindar (Pythian Odes), Asclepius also acquired the knowledge of surgery, the use of drugs, love potions and incantations, and according to Apollodorus (the Library), Athena gave Asclepius a magic potion made from the blood of the Gorgon. Legend tells that the blood of the Gorgon has a different effect depending from which side the blood was taken. If taken from the right side of the Gorgon, it has a miraculous effect and is said to be able to bring the dead back to life, but taken from the left side it is a deadly poison.

With these gifts Asclepius exceeded the fringes of human knowledge. However, he offended the great god Zeus by accepting money in exchange for raising the dead. (In one version it was the goddess Artemis who implored Asclepius to resurrect Hippolytus, a favourite of hers.) In the eyes of Zeus, Asclepius' action upset the natural order of the universe - a mere mortal helping man evade death. With one swift action, the great Zeus sent down a thunderbolt killing both men. (In some versions Zeus only killed Asclepius.)
Realising the good Asclepius had brought to man, the great Zeus made him into a god, placing him among the stars, transforming Asclepius into the constellation Ophiuchus (the serpent-bearer). The snake was used in the healing ritual; non-poisonous snakes were left in the dormitory where the sick slept overnight on the bare ground.

The cult of Asclepius became very popular during the 300s BCE and the cult centres (known as an Asclepieion) were used by priests to cure the sick. Invalids also came to the shrines of Asclepius to find cures for their ailments (in the same fashion pilgrims visit Lourdes today.) The process of healing was known as incubation. The patient would spend the night in a dormitory. During the night they would supposedly be visited by the god in a dream. Priests would interpret the dreams and then recommend a remedy or give advice on how they could be cured with perhaps a recommended visit to the baths and gymnasiums. There were many centres and schools of medicine, from Trikkis in Thessaly to the island of Cos. It is believed that Hippocrates, a great doctor of antiquity, plied his trade on the island of Cos. It is also said that Hippocrates was a descendant of Asclepius.

The Romans adopted the cult of Asclepius, but changed his name to Latin; they called him Aesculapius.

"Asclepius." Encyclopedia Mythica. 2008. Encyclopedia Mythica Online.
10 Apr. 2008 .

The Asklepion of Pergamon dates from the 4th century BC. This therapeutic center was of the same type as the one in Kos- a large health center. Most of the remains today of this center belong to the changes that were carried out by Emperor Hadrian.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.




CleisthenesApr 10, 2008
HerodArchelausHendin505.jpg
[18H505] Herod Archelaus, Ethnarch 4 B.C. - 6 A.D.17 viewsHerod Archelaus Prutah, Hendin 505, 17.9mm, 3.37 grams. VF/VF+, Reverse: Helmet; Obverse: Grapes, Heavy FULL weight, 4 B.C.E. - 6 C.E. A nice BOLD coin with a large flan and HEAVY weight. Ex Zuzim Judaea.

JUDEA: Bronze [prutah] of Herod Archelaus, 4 BC-AD 6. The obverse shows a bunch of grapes, with the name of Herod in Greek; the reverse has a helmet with cheek pieces, two crests (probably of horse's hair) on the left and on the right, and a small caduceus below (Banks, Florence Aiken. Coins of Bible Days. New York: Sandford J Durst Numismatics Publications, 1955. 86).

". . . the widow . . . . may have offered grape-and-helmet-adorned [prutah] of Herod Archelaus, the son of Herod the Great whose reign had inspired such fear in Joseph as to cause him to take Mary and the young child Jesus to Galilee instead of to Judea upon their return from Egypt (Banks, Florence Aiken. Coins of Bible Days. New York: Sandford J Durst Numismatics Publications, 1955. 97).

Son of Herod the Great, he inherited the southern part of his father's kingdom – Judaea, Samaria and Idumaea. Jerusalem was his capital. Augustus denied him the title king and gave him the title ethnarch, with a promise to name him king if he governed well. He was so unpopular with his subjects that Augustus deposed him, banished him to Gaul and annexed his territory (Joseph Sermarini).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.



CleisthenesApr 06, 2008
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin754.jpg
[18H759a] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta49 viewsVespasian. 69-71 AD. AR Denarius;17mm, 3.28g; Hendin 759, RIC 15. Obverse: Laureate head right; Reverse: Jewess seated right, on ground, mourning below right of trophy, IVDAEA below. Ex Imperial Coins.

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesApr 06, 2008
LeoVI_SBCV1729.jpg
[1640aii] Leo VI, the Wise, 6 January 870 - 11 May 912 A.D.53 viewsBronze follis, SBCV 1729, DO 8.6, nice VF, 5.122g, 25.3mm, 180o, Constantinople mint, c. 886 - 912 A.D.; Obverse: LEON bASILVS ROm, bust facing, with short beard, wearing crown and chlamys and holding akakia in left hand; Reverse: + LEON/En QEO bA/SILVS R/OMEOn, legend in four lines. Ex FORVM.

Leo VI "the Wise" or "the Philosopher" (Greek: Λέων ΣΤ΄, Leōn VI), (September 19, 866 – May 11, 912) was Byzantine emperor from 886 to 912 during one of the most brilliant periods of the state's history.

Background
Leo was born to Eudokia Ingerina who was at the time mistress of Emperor Michael III and wife of his Caesar Basil. Which of the two men was his father is uncertain. He was officially acknowledged by Basil as his son, but he apparently regarded Leo as Michael's son and favored his undisputedly biological son Constantine.

On the night of September 23-September 24, 867, Michael was assassinated by Basil who succeeded him as Emperor Basil I. As the second eldest son of the Emperor, Leo was associated on the throne in 870 and became the direct heir on the death of his older half-brother Constantine in 879. However, he and his father hated each other and Basil almost had Leo blinded as a teenager. On August 29, 886, Basil died in a hunting accident, though he claimed on his deathbed that there was an assassination attempt in which Leo was possibly involved.

Domestic Policy
One of the first actions of Leo VI after his succession was the reburial of Michael III in Constantinople, which may have contributed to the suspicion that he was Michael's son. Seeking political reconciliation, the new emperor secured the support of the officials in the capital, and surrounded himself with bureaucrats like Stylianos Zoutzes and the eunuch Samonas. His attempts to control the great aristocratic families (e.g., the Phokadai and the Doukai) occasionally led to serious conflicts. Leo also attempted to control the church through his appointments to the patriarchate. He dismissed the Patriarch Photios of Constantinople, who had been his tutor, and replaced him with his own 19-year old brother Stephen in December 886. On Stephen's death in 893, Leo replaced him with Zaoutzes' nominee, Antony II Kaleuas, who died in 901. Leo then promoted his own imperial secretary (mystikos) Nicholas, but replaced him with his spiritual father Euthymios in 907.

Leo completed work on the Basilica, the Greek translation and update of the law code issued by Justinian I, which had been started during the reign of Basil.

Foreign Policy
Leo VI was not as successful in battle as Basil had been. In indulging his chief counselor Stylianos Zaoutzes, Leo provoked a war with Simeon I of Bulgaria in 894, but was defeated. Bribing the Magyars to attack the Bulgarians from the north, Leo scored an indirect success in 895. However, deprived of his new allies, he lost the major Battle of Boulgarophygon in 896 and had to make the required commercial concessions and to pay annual tribute.

The Emirate of Sicily took Taormina, the last Byzantine outpost on the island of Sicily, in 902. In 904 the renegade Leo of Tripolis sacked Thessalonica with his Muslim pirates (an event described in The Capture of Thessalonica, by John Kameniates). In 907 Constantinople was attacked by the Kievan Rus' under Oleg of Novgorod, who was seeking favourable trading rights with the empire. Leo paid them off, but they attacked again in 911, and a trade treaty was finally signed. The admiral Himerios, a relative of Leo's last wife, Zoe Karbonopsina scored some successes against the Muslim fleets in 908 and raided Cyprus in 910, but in 912 a fleet of 112 dromons and 75 pamphyloi was soundly defeated in its attempt to conquer Crete.

Fourth Marriage Dispute
Leo VI caused a major scandal with his numerous marriages which failed to produce a legitimate heir to the throne. His first wife, whom Basil had forced him to marry, died in 897, and he married Zoe Zaoutzaina, the daughter of his adviser Stylianos Zaoutzes, though she died as well in 899. Upon this marriage Leo created the title of basileopatōr ("father of the emperor") for his father-in-law.

After Zoe's death a third marriage was technically illegal, but he married again, only to have his third wife die in 901. Instead of marrying a fourth time, which would have been an even greater sin than a third marriage (according to the Patriarch Nicholas Mystikos) Leo took as mistress, Zoe Karbonopsina. He married her only after she had given birth to a son in 905, but incurred the opposition of the patriarch. Replacing Nicholas Mystikos with Euthymios, Leo got his marriage recognized by the church, but opened up a conflict within it and allowed new grounds for papal intervention into Byzantine affairs when he sought and obtained papal consent.

Succession
The future Constantine VII was the illegitimate son born before Leo's uncanonical fourth marriage to Zoe Karbonopsina. To strengthen his son's position as heir, Leo had him crowned as co-emperor on May 15, 908, when he was only two years old. Leo VI died on May 2, 912. He was succeeded by his younger brother Alexander, who had reigned as emperor alongside his father and brother since 879.

Legends
According to Bishop Liutprand of Cremona, and probably inspired by stories about the caliph Harun al-Rashid, Leo would sometimes disguise himself and look for injustice or corruption. On one account, he was even captured by the city guards during one of his investigations. He wanted to know if the city patrol was doing its job appropriately. He was walking alone, disguised, late in the evening without any documentation. He bribed two patrols for 12 nomismata, and moved on. However, the third city patrol arrested him. When a terrified guardian recognized the jailed ruler in the morning, the arresting officer was rewarded for doing his duty, while the other patrols were dismissed and punished severely.

As John Julius Norwich notes in his book A Short History of Byzantium, "He [Leo VI] had proved himself, if not a great Emperor, at any rate an outstandingly good one . . . In his lifetime Leo was genuinely loved by his people, and after his death they had good cause to be grateful" (Norwich, John Julius. A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books, 1997. 165).

References
The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium, Oxford University Press, 1991.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leo_VI_the_Wise

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesApr 06, 2008
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[1109] Trebonianus Gallus, June or July 251 - July or August 253 A.D.10 viewsSilver antoninianus, RSC 76, RIC 71, S 2788, VF, 3.224g, 23.4mm, 0o, Milan mint, Obverse: IMP C C VIB TREB GALLVS AVG, radiate bust right; Reverse: PAX AETERNA, Pax standing left holding branch and scepter. Ex FORVM.CleisthenesApr 01, 2008
VolusRIC182.jpg
[1110] Volusian, c. November 251 - July or August 253 A.D.15 viewsSilver antoninianus, RIC 182, RSC 88, VM 25, gVF, Rome mint, 3.493g, 22.0mm, 180o, 251 - 253 A.D.; Obverse: IMP CAE C VIB VOLVSIANO AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; Reverse: PIETAS AVGG, Pietas, veiled, standing left, raising both hands, altar left; toned, somewhat grainy surfaces; scarce. Ex FORVM.CleisthenesApr 01, 2008
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[1004b] Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D.30 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 108, RSC 510, VF, 2.967g, 19.2mm, 180o, Rome mint, 208 A.D.; obverse ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse PROF PONTIF TR P XI COS III, Emperor on horseback right, captive at feet; scarce. Ex FORVM.

This coin refers to the departure of Caracalla, Septimius, and Geta on their British expedition. Our dating of this departure to the year 208 depends on these coins dated TR P XI for Caracalla and TR P XVI for Septimius (Joseph Sermarini).

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla)

Michael L. Meckler,
Ohio State University

Caracalla was born 4 April 188 in Lyon, where his father was serving as governor of the province of Gallia Lugdunensis under the emperor Commodus. The child's name originally seems to have been Lucius Septimius Bassianus, the cognomen commemorating the family of the boy's Syrian mother, Julia Domna. When he was seven years old, his name was changed to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. The name change was a way of connecting the family of Severus to that of the Antonines. Caracalla was a nickname taken from the name of a type of cloak popularized by the emperor, but this nickname, originally derisive, was never used officially.


From the time of his name change to Antoninus, Caracalla was the designated heir of Severus. Less than three years later he was proclaimed emperor, officially joining his father as co-rulers of the empire. At the age of 14 he was married to the daughter of the praetorian prefect Plautianus Publia Fulvia, Plautilla, but the teenager despised his wife. The marriage ended less than three years later after the execution of Plautianus for treason, and there were no children.

Squabbling and rivalry developed between Caracalla and Geta, who was only 11 months younger than his brother. Severus felt the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother. Within two years of the imperial family's arrival in Britain, Severus' health began to deteriorate, but his sons' relationship showed no signs of improvement. Severus died 4 February 211. Caracalla was 22 years old, Geta 21.

The brothers returned to Rome as joint emperors, but they eyed each other with suspicion and failed to cooperate on government appointments and policy decisions. Caracalla was being advised to have Geta murdered, and after at least one unsuccessful attempt, Geta was killed in late December 211. The murder led to a wholesale slaughter of Geta's supporters and sympathizers, and soldiers were allowed to wreak havoc on the residents of Rome. The looting and bloodshed lasted for at least two weeks, and one contemporary source claims 20,000 people were killed.

The year 212 saw a flurry of administrative reforms under the young emperor's leadership. Soldiers received increases in pay and in legal rights, but the most noteworthy change was the bestowal of Roman citizenship upon all free residents of the empire. This grant of universal citizenship, called by scholars the Constitutio Antoniniana, allowed for greater standardization in the increasingly bureaucratic Roman state. Construction was also well underway on the magnificant baths in Rome that would bear the emperor's name. The main building seems to have been completed four years later, but the entire complex was not finished until the reign of Alexander Severus.

Caracalla spent little time in Rome after the spring of 213. A visit to Gaul and a military campaign along the borders of Upper Germany and Raetia occupied much of the rest of the year. Winter may have been spent in Rome, but the following year Caracalla made a journey to the East in preparation for a war against the Parthians. Along the way, the emperor displayed an increasing fascination and identification with Alexander the Great. Like the Macedonian prince, however, Caracalla would not survive an expedition to the East. Only his ashes would return to Rome.

Civil war in the Parthian realm between brothers and rival kings Vologaeses VI and Artabanus V brought instability to the entire region, and Caracalla wished to take advantage of that instability to increase Roman control. Osroene was annexed in 213, but an attempt in the same year to take over Armenia backfired. Caracalla's campaigns in the East seemed designed to harass the Parthians more than anything else. In 215, Caracalla suspended plans to invade Parthia after Vologaeses handed over two political refugees, although Roman troops were sent into Armenia. The following year the emperor led his troops into Mesopotamia after being rebuffed in his request to marry the daughter of Artabanus. Roman armies were generally unopposed in their forays, the Parthian forces having retreated farther east. The Romans returned back across the Euphrates, wintering in Edessa.

Between campaigning seasons, Caracalla made a notorious visit to Alexandria in the fall and winter of 215-16. Rioting accompanied the imperial visit, and retribution was swift. The governor of Egypt was executed as were thousands of the city's young men. Alexandria was cordoned off into zones to prevent the free movement of residents, and games and privileges were revoked.

The emperor visited Alexandria for intellectual and religious reasons, staying at The Serapeum and being present at the temple's sacrifices and cultural events. Earlier, during the German war, the emperor visited the shrine of the Celtic healing-god Grannus. Caracalla also visited the famous temple of Asclepius in Pergamum and fully participated in its program, which involved sleeping inside the temple compound and having his dreams interpreted.

It was this religious devotion that led to Caracalla's murder in 217. Although suspicious of the praetorian prefect Macrinus, Caracalla allowed himself to be accompanied by only a small, select corps of bodyguards on an early spring trip from the camp at Edessa to the temple of the moon-god at Carrhae, about 25 miles away. During the journey back on 8 April 217, Caracalla was killed. The returning guards claimed the emperor was ambushed while defecating, and that the alleged assassin was one of their own, a soldier named Martialis. Martialis was himself killed by the avenging guards, or so the story went. Suspicion was strong that Macrinus arranged the entire affair.

Caracalla's violent end seemed appropriate for an emperor who, early in his reign, had his own brother killed. Yet the moralizing about fratricide by both ancient and modern historians obscures the energetic, reformist and even intellectual character of Caracalla's reign. Some of the reforms, especially the pay raise for soldiers, would prove burdensome for future emperors, but the changes brought about in the little more than five years of Caracalla's sole rule would have long-lasting implications throughout the empire for generations to come.


Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 30, 2008
CaracallaStobiMoushmov6553.jpg
[1004c] Caracalla, 28 January 198 - 8 April 217 A.D. 22 viewsMACEDON, Stobi (?), Caracalla. A.D. 198-217. Æ 25 mm.

Æ; Cf. AMNG II, p. 113, 15; cf. Moushmov 6553; 25 mm, 7.15 g; F, Macedon, Stobi; AD 198-217; Obverse: [??] MAUR ANTONINIUS, Laureate head right; Reverse: Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm. Ex Nemesis.

Beginning with coin #1004a (in my collection, Severan Era) and continuing through coin #1004b and finally #1004c the portraits of Caracalla change, and this change is more profound than the differing styles of celators. The face on the obverse of these coins is not only one of a boy growing into manhood. Viewed together, we see how these various engravers create a portrait of transformation of someone who moves from innocence to (in the Stobi coin) the depiction of a man who looks cruel and capable of murdering his own brother.

Perhaps this seems fanciful, but look at the Stobi portrait closely. This man, Caracalla, did arrange for the murder his brother, Geta, and if historical accounts are valid, he did so as his brother sought refuge in the arms of his mother, Julia Domna:

"Antoninus persuaded his mother to send for
him and his brother and have them come along to her house with a view to
being reconciled. Geta without distrust went in with him. When they were
well inside, some centurions suborned by Antoninus rushed in a body.
Geta on seeing them had run to his mother, and as he hung upon her neck
and clung to her bosom and breasts he was cut down, bewailing his fate
and crying out: '"Mother that bore me, mother that bore me, help! I am
slain!!"'
(Cassius Dio. Dio's Rome, Vol VI. trans. Herbert Baldwin Foster. New York: Pafraets, 1905. )

Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, better known as Caracalla, was the son of Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, born in 188 A.D. He was named Caesar in 196 and Augustus in 198. Shortly before his death, Severus advised his sons, "Agree with each other, give money to the soldiers and scorn all other men." But the brothers hated each other and soon Caracalla had Geta murdered and massacred thousands suspected of supporting him. Although a capable military commander, the actual running of the government was left to his mother. He gradually slipped more and more into paranoia and delusions of grandeur before being murdered on his way to an Eastern campaign aimed at fulfilling his belief that he was the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. Macrinus was the Praetorian prefect during the reign of the murderous Caracalla. Macrinus arranged Caracalla's assassination and he and his son Diadumenian seized power and were accepted by the senate (Joseph Sermarini).

Marcus Opellius Macrinus was the first emperor who was neither a senator nor of a senatorial family at the time of his accession. His 14-month reign was spent entirely in the East, where he proved unable to maintain the influence gained in the region by the campaigns of his predecessor, Caracalla, nor was Macrinus able to shake the suspicion that he was responsible for Caracalla's murder. . .

Shortly before the campaigning season was to begin, Caracalla paid a visit to a temple near Carrhae. The emperor was accompanied by a hand-picked corps of bodyguards. The guards returned with Caracalla's murdered body along with the body of one of the guards and a story that the dead guard killed the dead emperor. Not everyone was convinced, but Macrinus was able to translate his authority as praetorian prefect into that of emperor, being proclaimed by the troops on 11 April 217. Macrinus soon named his son, Diadumenianus, as Caesar and heir.
Copyright (C) 1997, Michael L. Meckler. De Imperatoribus Romanis. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/macrinus.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 30, 2008
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[2402] Kingdom of Pergamon, Attalos I AR Tetradrachm. 241-197 BC.89 viewsAttalos I, AR Tetradrachm. SNG von Aulock 1358. 28mm - 16.8 grams. aVF. Obverse: Laureate & diademed head of Philetairos right; Reverse: FILETAIROU, Athena enthroned left, holding wreath in right hand, left elbow resting on shield set on ground behind, spear below; grape bunch to outer left, A to inner left, bow to outer right. Ex Nemesis.

Attalus I

Attalus I (in Greek Attalos) Soter (Greek: "Savior"; 269 BC – 197 BC) ruled Pergamon, a Greek polis in what is now Turkey, first as dynast, later as king, from 241 BC to 197 BC. He was the second cousin (some say the grand-nephew) and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king in 238 BC. He was the son of Attalus (in Greek Attalos) and wife Antiochis, Princess of Syria.

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter", and the title of "king."

A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip.

He died in 197 BC, shortly before the end of the second war, at the age of 72, having suffered an apparent stroke while addressing a Boeotian war council some months before. He enjoyed a famously happy domestic life, shared with his wife and four sons. He was succeeded as king by his son Eumenes II.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attalus_I

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.






CleisthenesMar 25, 2008
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[1114a] Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.58 viewsSilvered antoninianus, RIC V 197 var (pellet in exergue), aEF, 3.880g, 21.1mm, 0o, Antioch mint, 268 - 270 A.D.; Obverse: IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing left, scales in right, cornucopia in left, • in exergue; full silvering, bold strike, excellent centering and eastern style, rare this nice; rare variety. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Claudius II Gothicus (268-270)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

M. Aurelius Claudius, known to history as Claudius Gothicus or Claudius II, was born in either Dalmatia or Illyria on May 10, probably in A.D. 213 or 214. Although the most substantive source on Claudius is the biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (SHA), this account is riddled with fabrications and slanted with fawning praise for this particular emperor, who in the fourth century was viewed as an ancestor of Constantine's father and thus of the ruling imperial family. This biography, attributed to one Trebellius Pollio, must be read with extreme caution and supplemented with information from other sources, including Aurelius Victor, the Epitome de Caesaribus, Eutropius, Orosius, Zonaras, and Zosimus, as well as coins and inscriptions.

The SHA account describes Claudius as being tall, with fiery eyes, and so strong that he could knock out the teeth of man or beast with one punch. It also says that Trajan Decius rewarded him after Claudius demonstrated his strength while wrestling another soldier in the Campus Martius. The SHA author suggests that Claudius may have been descended from the Trojan King Ilus and even from Dardanus, son of Zeus and ancestor of the Trojan royal family, but these suggestions are very likely fabricated to further ennoble Claudius and his putative descendants, the family of Constantine. The SHA biography also includes false letters attributed to the emperors Trajan Decius, Valerian, and Gallienus, all attesting to their high opinions of Claudius. Reference is made in these letters to Claudius' service as tribune in an otherwise unattested legion V Martialis and also as general in command of Illyria, but these positions may also be fictitious. One can assume that Claudius had served for some time in the army, at least under Gallienus and perhaps also under several earlier emperors.

There is some evidence that Claudius was wounded in Gallienus' campaign to put down the revolt of Ingenuus and that he later served with Aureolus under Gallienus in the war with Postumus. By 268, when Gallienus took his troops into Italy to put down Aureolus' revolt, Claudius had emerged as heir-apparent to Gallienus and may also have been involved in the plot to assassinate the emperor. Aurelius Victor says that when Gallienus was killed by his own troops besieging Aureolus in Milan, Claudius as tribune was commanding the soldiers stationed at Ticinum, some twenty miles to the south, and that prior to dying Gallienus designated Claudius as his heir. Victor goes on to claim that after succeeding to the purple Claudius forced the Senate to deify Gallienus. The SHA account states that the soldiers mutinied after Gallienus' death and had to be quieted with a donative of twenty aurei each before settling down and accepting their new emperor. Once in power, Claudius quickly dealt with Aureolus, who surrendered and was killed almost immediately. The new emperor also demanded clemency for the supporters of Gallienus.

The story of Gallienus' deathbed selection of his successor is doubtful at best and is very likely an attempt to deflect blame for the assassination plot from Claudius. The suggestion that the new emperor pressured the Senate to deify Gallienus is more difficult to assess. It is true that securing divine status for one's predecessor is generally seen as a pious act (e.g. Antoninus Pius requesting deification of Hadrian) that reflects positively on the initiator and the story, recorded only in Aurelius Victor, could just be a fabrication used to build up Claudius' moral reputation. What is difficult to penetrate is the biased condemnation of Gallienus that particularly dominates the Latin sources. They make it hard to see why anyone would want to deify Gallienus and so the story seems out of place. However, deification of a predecessor could also be interpreted as the expected thing to do and the act could have fostered legitimacy of the new emperor and gained support from those who were still loyal to Gallienus so it may well have taken place.

The first major challenge facing the new emperor was that of the Alemanni, who had invaded Raetia and Italy. After an early defeat, Claudius replaced some irresponsible officers and soldiers, designated Aurelian as cavalry commander, and led the army to a decisive victory over the Alemanni. This victory earned Claudius the title of Germanicus Maximus and several of his coin-types appear to refer to victory over the Germans.

In 269 Claudius served as consul with Paternus. This year would also feature his major campaign against the Goths. There are indications that Spain separated itself from the Gallo-Roman Empire of Postumus and Tetricus and recognized Claudius, at least nominally, as emperor. In addition, rebellion within Gaul itself demonstrated the weakening of this independent state, although Claudius avoided engagement at Augustodunum and chose only to send a small force to protect Narbonese Gaul. While Claudius concentrated on protecting Roman territory against the Alemanni and Goths, Zenobia extended her Palmyrene Empire by taking Antioch, parts of Asia Minor, and most of Egypt. Although Eusebius and Sulpicius Severus portray the period between the reign of Valerian and that of Diocletian as a peaceful pause in the persecution of Christians, the Acts of the Martyrs does list some individuals allegedly martyred during Claudius II's reign.

The coins issued by Claudius II provide some limited insight into his reign. In addition to the standard "personified virtues" coins that are common with most emperors of the second and third centuries, Claudius struck coin-types proclaiming the security of the Empire (SECVRITAS PERPETVA and PAX AETERNA), the fidelity of the army (FIDES MILITVM), and military victories over the Germans and Goths (VICTORIA GERMAN and VICTORIAE GOTHIC). In addition, Claudius Gothicus' mints struck some other interesting and unusual coin-types. For example, Claudius is one of very few emperors who issued coins portraying the god Vulcan. These must have been limited issues because they are struck only by the Antioch mint and are very rare. The type shows Vulcan standing, with his special tools, the hammer and tongs, and features the unique inscription REGI ARTIS. A variant type with a similar image has been described as carrying another unique coin inscription, DEO CABIRO, and interpreted as depicting one of Vulcan's sons, the Cabiri, with the same tools. However, the existence of this variant type is doubtful. Although the reason for honoring Vulcan (and his sons?) with these coins is unclear, there may be a connection to the fact that the Cabiri were patron gods of Thessalonica who had protected that city against an attack by the Goths. Although a connection between Claudius Gothicus and the Cabiri as defenders against Gothic attacks is relatively attractive, it is weakened somewhat by the fact that Valerian and Gallienus had also issued coins with Vulcan in a temple so there may be some other reason for his reappearance on coins in this period.

Claudius II issued an unusual and scarce series of coins that features a pair of deities, who are presumably conservatores Augusti, on each reverse. The AETER AVG type depicts Apollo and Diana, who, as gods of the sun and moon, are associated with the concept of aeternitas. A type featuring Serapis and Isis is combined with a CONSER AVG inscription and one of Hercules and Minerva with one of CONSERVATORES AVG. Apollo and Diana are depicted with a SALVS AVG inscription, Aesculapius and Salus with one of SPES PVBLIC, and Vulcan and Minerva with VIRT AVG. The general message is that these deities will protect the future of the empire and the emperor.

Other unusual coin-types include MARS VLTOR, the god Augustus had honored with a temple for securing revenge for Caesar's assassination. This deity had appeared on Roman coins in the reigns of Galba and Severus Alexander. Claudius II also minted coins with rarely-seen NEPTVN AVG [see this reverse type in my collection] and SOL AVG types. The latter coin indicates some early interest in the god who would become so dominant a few years later on the coins of Aurelian, yet Claudius also used the INVICTVS AVG inscription that Gallienus had paired with an image of Sol with one of Hercules. ROMAE AETERNAE coin-types were fairly common in the mid-third century, but Claudius II issued an unusual variant type on an aureus that showed the goddess in her temple and echoed the SAECVLVM NOVVM images associated with Philip I. In addition, Claudius introduced a IOVI VICTORI reverse combined with the image normally paired with a IOVI STATORI inscription and a IOVI FVLGERAT reverse inscription, both of which had not been used by any of his predecessors. Andreas Alföldi suggested that Claudius' GENIVS SENATVS type signified improvement of the relationship between emperor and Senate following the senatorial hostility toward Gallienus.

Claudius Gothicus also produced coin-types with reverses of goddesses customarily found paired on coins with images of the Roman empresses. The deities portrayed include Ceres, Diana, Diana Lucifera, and Diana Victrix, Minerva, Venus, and the goddess naturally associated with the image of an empress, Juno Regina. One might suggest that Claudius issued these images because he had no empress with which to pair them, but an examination of other emperors' reigns during this period reveals that those emperors who did not issue coins bearing the empress' image also did not strike these particular goddess types. Although Ceres and Venus images are sometimes paired with an emperor's portrait, Diana Lucifera is rarely found on emperors' coins and Claudius II is the only emperor paired on coins with Juno Regina. In addition, Claudius was the first emperor to issue imperial coins that featured an isolated image of the exotic Egyptian goddess, Isis Faria.

Claudius II's short reign was vulnerable to internal as well as external attack. There may have been a revolt in 269-270 led by a Censorinus, although the date and even the existence of this usurper remain in doubt. The SHA includes him as the last of the "thirty tyrants" and lists a whole series of offices for him, including two consulships, but no other record exists to confirm such service. The SHA account states that he was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers, but soon afterwards killed by them because of his enforcement of strict discipline. His tomb is listed as being in Bologna, which may provide some idea of the location for the revolt. Henry Cohen dates the revolt to the beginning of the year 270, perhaps on the basis of a reference in the Epitome de Caesaribus, but suggests that coins attributed to Censorinus in earlier works may not exist.

The Gothic challenge in 269 proved to be the greatest that Claudius II would face. The Goths assembled a large invading force, reportedly amounting to 320,000 men transported on a fleet of at least 2,000 ships, and first attacked coastal cities along the Black Sea in Moesia. After passing into the Aegean the Goths besieged Thessalonica. At this point, in 269, Claudius left Rome to stop the invasion. The Goths then sent the larger segment of their troops on land toward the Danube, while the fleet took the remaining group to continue the naval attack on Aegean coastal cities. Claudius sent Aurelian's cavalry to Macedonia to protect Illyria from attack, while he commanded the forces blocking the route to the Danube. In the area of Doberus and Pelagonia, the Goths lost 3,000 men to Aurelian's cavalry. At Naissus in Moesia, Claudius' force succeeded in killing some 50,000 Goths. There were follow-up operations on both land and sea, but the Gothic War had essentially been won. Staving off the attacks of the Goths was a major contribution to the survival of the Roman Empire. It was a significant step leading to the subsequent success of Aurelian and the resurrection of the Empire under Diocletian and Constantine. When the Goths eventually succeeded in taking parts of the western Empire in the fifth century, their disruption to the course of civilization was likely much less violent than it would have been had they succeeded in the third century.

In addition to bad weather, a lack of supplies, and hunger, plague was a major factor in the defeat of the Goths. Many of the Gothic prisoners were either impressed into Roman military service or settled on farms as coloni. Claudius received the title Gothicus in recognition of his triumph over the Goths. At some point he had also been given the title Parthicus, but the unlikelihood of any conflict with the Parthians in his short reign makes this difficult to explain. Perhaps Damerau was correct in his suggestion that a Parthian unit may have been involved in one of the battles with the Palmyrenes, although on this front there were few achievements to claim. In any case, Claudius' victory over the Goths was short-lived. The emperor himself caught the plague and died at Sirmium early in 270. He was 56 years old. Claudius' brother, Quintillus, became emperor briefly before losing out to Aurelian. Claudius also had another brother, Crispus, and the SHA traces the link to Constantius through Crispus' daughter Claudia.

The Roman Senate showed its respect for Claudius Gothicus by setting up a gold portrait-shield in the Curia and by approving his deification. He was also honored with a golden statue in front of the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and a silver statue set on a column on the Rostra.

In many ways, Claudius II received more adulation and honor in his Nachleben than he had during his lifetime. In the fourth century, attempts to link Constantine's family to Claudius resulted in the phrases of adoration and outright fabrication that dominate the SHA life and most of our other sources. Constantine even issued commemorative coins honoring Claudius. These carried inscriptions such as: DIVO CLAVDIO OPT[IMO] IMP[ERATORI], MEMORIAE AETERNAE, and REQVIES OPT[IMORVM] ME[RITORVM]. A tradition grew that changed the story of Claudius' death in some sources. In this version, Claudius, instead of dying from the plague, had actually performed a devotion, in response to an oracle found in the Sibylline Books, and sacrificed his life so that Rome could win the Gothic War. One of the most surprising things about the SHA account is that it ignores this more dramatic tradition and has Claudius simply dying from the plague.

One must, of course, reject the excessive claims of the SHA to the effect that Claudius II was "destined to rule for the good of the human race" and would, had he lived longer, "…by his strength, his counsel, and his foresight have restored to us the Scipios, the Camilli, and all those men of old." However, Claudius Gothicus was clearly a good emperor who made a significant contribution to protecting and restoring the Empire. In the third century there aren't too many emperors who merit such an assessment.

Copyright (C) 2001, Richard D. Weigel. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/claudgot.htm


Claudius II Gothicus was born in Illyricum around 215 A.D. Under Valerian and Gallienus he was recognized as a superb general. After the murder of Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus was proclaimed emperor and preceded to crush the Alemani tribe who had invaded Roman territory. Soon after an enormous horde of Goths poured into the empire. Against all advice, Claudius confronted the barbarians at Naissus in Upper Moesia. He fought a brilliant battle and annihilated them. Unfortunately for the empire, he died of plague after a reign of only two years (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM;
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=741&pos=0#Recovery%20of%20the%20Empire%20Coins).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 21, 2008
CIIGRICV214.jpg
[1114b] Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.53 viewsBronze antoninianus, RIC V 214, VF, 2.930g, 20.3mm, 180o, Antioch mint; Obverse: IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, radiate bust right; Reverse: NEPTVN AVG, Neptune standing left, dolphin in right, trident in left hand, • in exergue; excellent centering. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Claudius II Gothicus (268-270)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

M. Aurelius Claudius, known to history as Claudius Gothicus or Claudius II, was born in either Dalmatia or Illyria on May 10, probably in A.D. 213 or 214. Although the most substantive source on Claudius is the biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (SHA), this account is riddled with fabrications and slanted with fawning praise for this particular emperor, who in the fourth century was viewed as an ancestor of Constantine's father and thus of the ruling imperial family. This biography, attributed to one Trebellius Pollio, must be read with extreme caution and supplemented with information from other sources, including Aurelius Victor, the Epitome de Caesaribus, Eutropius, Orosius, Zonaras, and Zosimus, as well as coins and inscriptions.

The SHA account describes Claudius as being tall, with fiery eyes, and so strong that he could knock out the teeth of man or beast with one punch. It also says that Trajan Decius rewarded him after Claudius demonstrated his strength while wrestling another soldier in the Campus Martius. The SHA author suggests that Claudius may have been descended from the Trojan King Ilus and even from Dardanus, son of Zeus and ancestor of the Trojan royal family, but these suggestions are very likely fabricated to further ennoble Claudius and his putative descendants, the family of Constantine. The SHA biography also includes false letters attributed to the emperors Trajan Decius, Valerian, and Gallienus, all attesting to their high opinions of Claudius. Reference is made in these letters to Claudius' service as tribune in an otherwise unattested legion V Martialis and also as general in command of Illyria, but these positions may also be fictitious. One can assume that Claudius had served for some time in the army, at least under Gallienus and perhaps also under several earlier emperors.

There is some evidence that Claudius was wounded in Gallienus' campaign to put down the revolt of Ingenuus and that he later served with Aureolus under Gallienus in the war with Postumus. By 268, when Gallienus took his troops into Italy to put down Aureolus' revolt, Claudius had emerged as heir-apparent to Gallienus and may also have been involved in the plot to assassinate the emperor. Aurelius Victor says that when Gallienus was killed by his own troops besieging Aureolus in Milan, Claudius as tribune was commanding the soldiers stationed at Ticinum, some twenty miles to the south, and that prior to dying Gallienus designated Claudius as his heir. Victor goes on to claim that after succeeding to the purple Claudius forced the Senate to deify Gallienus. The SHA account states that the soldiers mutinied after Gallienus' death and had to be quieted with a donative of twenty aurei each before settling down and accepting their new emperor. Once in power, Claudius quickly dealt with Aureolus, who surrendered and was killed almost immediately. The new emperor also demanded clemency for the supporters of Gallienus.

The story of Gallienus' deathbed selection of his successor is doubtful at best and is very likely an attempt to deflect blame for the assassination plot from Claudius. The suggestion that the new emperor pressured the Senate to deify Gallienus is more difficult to assess. It is true that securing divine status for one's predecessor is generally seen as a pious act (e.g. Antoninus Pius requesting deification of Hadrian) that reflects positively on the initiator and the story, recorded only in Aurelius Victor, could just be a fabrication used to build up Claudius' moral reputation. What is difficult to penetrate is the biased condemnation of Gallienus that particularly dominates the Latin sources. They make it hard to see why anyone would want to deify Gallienus and so the story seems out of place. However, deification of a predecessor could also be interpreted as the expected thing to do and the act could have fostered legitimacy of the new emperor and gained support from those who were still loyal to Gallienus so it may well have taken place.

The first major challenge facing the new emperor was that of the Alemanni, who had invaded Raetia and Italy. After an early defeat, Claudius replaced some irresponsible officers and soldiers, designated Aurelian as cavalry commander, and led the army to a decisive victory over the Alemanni. This victory earned Claudius the title of Germanicus Maximus and several of his coin-types appear to refer to victory over the Germans.

In 269 Claudius served as consul with Paternus. This year would also feature his major campaign against the Goths. There are indications that Spain separated itself from the Gallo-Roman Empire of Postumus and Tetricus and recognized Claudius, at least nominally, as emperor. In addition, rebellion within Gaul itself demonstrated the weakening of this independent state, although Claudius avoided engagement at Augustodunum and chose only to send a small force to protect Narbonese Gaul. While Claudius concentrated on protecting Roman territory against the Alemanni and Goths, Zenobia extended her Palmyrene Empire by taking Antioch, parts of Asia Minor, and most of Egypt. Although Eusebius and Sulpicius Severus portray the period between the reign of Valerian and that of Diocletian as a peaceful pause in the persecution of Christians, the Acts of the Martyrs does list some individuals allegedly martyred during Claudius II's reign.

The coins issued by Claudius II provide some limited insight into his reign. In addition to the standard "personified virtues" coins that are common with most emperors of the second and third centuries, Claudius struck coin-types proclaiming the security of the Empire (SECVRITAS PERPETVA and PAX AETERNA), the fidelity of the army (FIDES MILITVM), and military victories over the Germans and Goths (VICTORIA GERMAN and VICTORIAE GOTHIC). In addition, Claudius Gothicus' mints struck some other interesting and unusual coin-types. For example, Claudius is one of very few emperors who issued coins portraying the god Vulcan. These must have been limited issues because they are struck only by the Antioch mint and are very rare. The type shows Vulcan standing, with his special tools, the hammer and tongs, and features the unique inscription REGI ARTIS. A variant type with a similar image has been described as carrying another unique coin inscription, DEO CABIRO, and interpreted as depicting one of Vulcan's sons, the Cabiri, with the same tools. However, the existence of this variant type is doubtful. Although the reason for honoring Vulcan (and his sons?) with these coins is unclear, there may be a connection to the fact that the Cabiri were patron gods of Thessalonica who had protected that city against an attack by the Goths. Although a connection between Claudius Gothicus and the Cabiri as defenders against Gothic attacks is relatively attractive, it is weakened somewhat by the fact that Valerian and Gallienus had also issued coins with Vulcan in a temple so there may be some other reason for his reappearance on coins in this period.

Claudius II issued an unusual and scarce series of coins that features a pair of deities, who are presumably conservatores Augusti, on each reverse. The AETER AVG type depicts Apollo and Diana, who, as gods of the sun and moon, are associated with the concept of aeternitas. A type featuring Serapis and Isis is combined with a CONSER AVG inscription and one of Hercules and Minerva with one of CONSERVATORES AVG. Apollo and Diana are depicted with a SALVS AVG inscription, Aesculapius and Salus with one of SPES PVBLIC, and Vulcan and Minerva with VIRT AVG. The general message is that these deities will protect the future of the empire and the emperor.

Other unusual coin-types include MARS VLTOR, the god Augustus had honored with a temple for securing revenge for Caesar's assassination. This deity had appeared on Roman coins in the reigns of Galba and Severus Alexander. Claudius II also minted coins with rarely-seen NEPTVN AVG [see this reverse type in my collection] and SOL AVG types. The latter coin indicates some early interest in the god who would become so dominant a few years later on the coins of Aurelian, yet Claudius also used the INVICTVS AVG inscription that Gallienus had paired with an image of Sol with one of Hercules. ROMAE AETERNAE coin-types were fairly common in the mid-third century, but Claudius II issued an unusual variant type on an aureus that showed the goddess in her temple and echoed the SAECVLVM NOVVM images associated with Philip I. In addition, Claudius introduced a IOVI VICTORI reverse combined with the image normally paired with a IOVI STATORI inscription and a IOVI FVLGERAT reverse inscription, both of which had not been used by any of his predecessors. Andreas Alföldi suggested that Claudius' GENIVS SENATVS type signified improvement of the relationship between emperor and Senate following the senatorial hostility toward Gallienus.

Claudius Gothicus also produced coin-types with reverses of goddesses customarily found paired on coins with images of the Roman empresses. The deities portrayed include Ceres, Diana, Diana Lucifera, and Diana Victrix, Minerva, Venus, and the goddess naturally associated with the image of an empress, Juno Regina. One might suggest that Claudius issued these images because he had no empress with which to pair them, but an examination of other emperors' reigns during this period reveals that those emperors who did not issue coins bearing the empress' image also did not strike these particular goddess types. Although Ceres and Venus images are sometimes paired with an emperor's portrait, Diana Lucifera is rarely found on emperors' coins and Claudius II is the only emperor paired on coins with Juno Regina. In addition, Claudius was the first emperor to issue imperial coins that featured an isolated image of the exotic Egyptian goddess, Isis Faria.

Claudius II's short reign was vulnerable to internal as well as external attack. There may have been a revolt in 269-270 led by a Censorinus, although the date and even the existence of this usurper remain in doubt. The SHA includes him as the last of the "thirty tyrants" and lists a whole series of offices for him, including two consulships, but no other record exists to confirm such service. The SHA account states that he was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers, but soon afterwards killed by them because of his enforcement of strict discipline. His tomb is listed as being in Bologna, which may provide some idea of the location for the revolt. Henry Cohen dates the revolt to the beginning of the year 270, perhaps on the basis of a reference in the Epitome de Caesaribus, but suggests that coins attributed to Censorinus in earlier works may not exist.

The Gothic challenge in 269 proved to be the greatest that Claudius II would face. The Goths assembled a large invading force, reportedly amounting to 320,000 men transported on a fleet of at least 2,000 ships, and first attacked coastal cities along the Black Sea in Moesia. After passing into the Aegean the Goths besieged Thessalonica. At this point, in 269, Claudius left Rome to stop the invasion. The Goths then sent the larger segment of their troops on land toward the Danube, while the fleet took the remaining group to continue the naval attack on Aegean coastal cities. Claudius sent Aurelian's cavalry to Macedonia to protect Illyria from attack, while he commanded the forces blocking the route to the Danube. In the area of Doberus and Pelagonia, the Goths lost 3,000 men to Aurelian's cavalry. At Naissus in Moesia, Claudius' force succeeded in killing some 50,000 Goths. There were follow-up operations on both land and sea, but the Gothic War had essentially been won. Staving off the attacks of the Goths was a major contribution to the survival of the Roman Empire. It was a significant step leading to the subsequent success of Aurelian and the resurrection of the Empire under Diocletian and Constantine. When the Goths eventually succeeded in taking parts of the western Empire in the fifth century, their disruption to the course of civilization was likely much less violent than it would have been had they succeeded in the third century.

In addition to bad weather, a lack of supplies, and hunger, plague was a major factor in the defeat of the Goths. Many of the Gothic prisoners were either impressed into Roman military service or settled on farms as coloni. Claudius received the title Gothicus in recognition of his triumph over the Goths. At some point he had also been given the title Parthicus, but the unlikelihood of any conflict with the Parthians in his short reign makes this difficult to explain. Perhaps Damerau was correct in his suggestion that a Parthian unit may have been involved in one of the battles with the Palmyrenes, although on this front there were few achievements to claim. In any case, Claudius' victory over the Goths was short-lived. The emperor himself caught the plague and died at Sirmium early in 270. He was 56 years old. Claudius' brother, Quintillus, became emperor briefly before losing out to Aurelian. Claudius also had another brother, Crispus, and the SHA traces the link to Constantius through Crispus' daughter Claudia.

The Roman Senate showed its respect for Claudius Gothicus by setting up a gold portrait-shield in the Curia and by approving his deification. He was also honored with a golden statue in front of the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and a silver statue set on a column on the Rostra.

In many ways, Claudius II received more adulation and honor in his Nachleben than he had during his lifetime. In the fourth century, attempts to link Constantine's family to Claudius resulted in the phrases of adoration and outright fabrication that dominate the SHA life and most of our other sources. Constantine even issued commemorative coins honoring Claudius. These carried inscriptions such as: DIVO CLAVDIO OPT[IMO] IMP[ERATORI], MEMORIAE AETERNAE, and REQVIES OPT[IMORVM] ME[RITORVM]. A tradition grew that changed the story of Claudius' death in some sources. In this version, Claudius, instead of dying from the plague, had actually performed a devotion, in response to an oracle found in the Sibylline Books, and sacrificed his life so that Rome could win the Gothic War. One of the most surprising things about the SHA account is that it ignores this more dramatic tradition and has Claudius simply dying from the plague.

One must, of course, reject the excessive claims of the SHA to the effect that Claudius II was "destined to rule for the good of the human race" and would, had he lived longer, "…by his strength, his counsel, and his foresight have restored to us the Scipios, the Camilli, and all those men of old." However, Claudius Gothicus was clearly a good emperor who made a significant contribution to protecting and restoring the Empire. In the third century there aren't too many emperors who merit such an assessment.

Copyright (C) 2001, Richard D. Weigel. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/claudgot.htm


Claudius II Gothicus was born in Illyricum around 215 A.D. Under Valerian and Gallienus he was recognized as a superb general. After the murder of Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus was proclaimed emperor and preceded to crush the Alemani tribe who had invaded Roman territory. Soon after an enormous horde of Goths poured into the empire. Against all advice, Claudius confronted the barbarians at Naissus in Upper Moesia. He fought a brilliant battle and annihilated them. Unfortunately for the empire, he died of plague after a reign of only two years (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM;
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=741&pos=0#Recovery%20of%20the%20Empire%20Coins).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 21, 2008
ClaudiusIIGothicusRIC34.jpg
[1114c] Claudius II Gothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D.51 viewsAntoninianus. RIC 34. Weight, Size. F. Rome mint. Obverse: IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG, Radiate, draped bust right; Reverse: FIDES EXERCI, Fides standing left, holding two standards. Ex Maridvnvm


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Claudius II Gothicus (268-270)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

M. Aurelius Claudius, known to history as Claudius Gothicus or Claudius II, was born in either Dalmatia or Illyria on May 10, probably in A.D. 213 or 214. Although the most substantive source on Claudius is the biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae (SHA), this account is riddled with fabrications and slanted with fawning praise for this particular emperor, who in the fourth century was viewed as an ancestor of Constantine's father and thus of the ruling imperial family. This biography, attributed to one Trebellius Pollio, must be read with extreme caution and supplemented with information from other sources, including Aurelius Victor, the Epitome de Caesaribus, Eutropius, Orosius, Zonaras, and Zosimus, as well as coins and inscriptions.

The SHA account describes Claudius as being tall, with fiery eyes, and so strong that he could knock out the teeth of man or beast with one punch. It also says that Trajan Decius rewarded him after Claudius demonstrated his strength while wrestling another soldier in the Campus Martius. The SHA author suggests that Claudius may have been descended from the Trojan King Ilus and even from Dardanus, son of Zeus and ancestor of the Trojan royal family, but these suggestions are very likely fabricated to further ennoble Claudius and his putative descendants, the family of Constantine. The SHA biography also includes false letters attributed to the emperors Trajan Decius, Valerian, and Gallienus, all attesting to their high opinions of Claudius. Reference is made in these letters to Claudius' service as tribune in an otherwise unattested legion V Martialis and also as general in command of Illyria, but these positions may also be fictitious. One can assume that Claudius had served for some time in the army, at least under Gallienus and perhaps also under several earlier emperors.

There is some evidence that Claudius was wounded in Gallienus' campaign to put down the revolt of Ingenuus and that he later served with Aureolus under Gallienus in the war with Postumus. By 268, when Gallienus took his troops into Italy to put down Aureolus' revolt, Claudius had emerged as heir-apparent to Gallienus and may also have been involved in the plot to assassinate the emperor. Aurelius Victor says that when Gallienus was killed by his own troops besieging Aureolus in Milan, Claudius as tribune was commanding the soldiers stationed at Ticinum, some twenty miles to the south, and that prior to dying Gallienus designated Claudius as his heir. Victor goes on to claim that after succeeding to the purple Claudius forced the Senate to deify Gallienus. The SHA account states that the soldiers mutinied after Gallienus' death and had to be quieted with a donative of twenty aurei each before settling down and accepting their new emperor. Once in power, Claudius quickly dealt with Aureolus, who surrendered and was killed almost immediately. The new emperor also demanded clemency for the supporters of Gallienus.

The story of Gallienus' deathbed selection of his successor is doubtful at best and is very likely an attempt to deflect blame for the assassination plot from Claudius. The suggestion that the new emperor pressured the Senate to deify Gallienus is more difficult to assess. It is true that securing divine status for one's predecessor is generally seen as a pious act (e.g. Antoninus Pius requesting deification of Hadrian) that reflects positively on the initiator and the story, recorded only in Aurelius Victor, could just be a fabrication used to build up Claudius' moral reputation. What is difficult to penetrate is the biased condemnation of Gallienus that particularly dominates the Latin sources. They make it hard to see why anyone would want to deify Gallienus and so the story seems out of place. However, deification of a predecessor could also be interpreted as the expected thing to do and the act could have fostered legitimacy of the new emperor and gained support from those who were still loyal to Gallienus so it may well have taken place.

The first major challenge facing the new emperor was that of the Alemanni, who had invaded Raetia and Italy. After an early defeat, Claudius replaced some irresponsible officers and soldiers, designated Aurelian as cavalry commander, and led the army to a decisive victory over the Alemanni. This victory earned Claudius the title of Germanicus Maximus and several of his coin-types appear to refer to victory over the Germans.

In 269 Claudius served as consul with Paternus. This year would also feature his major campaign against the Goths. There are indications that Spain separated itself from the Gallo-Roman Empire of Postumus and Tetricus and recognized Claudius, at least nominally, as emperor. In addition, rebellion within Gaul itself demonstrated the weakening of this independent state, although Claudius avoided engagement at Augustodunum and chose only to send a small force to protect Narbonese Gaul. While Claudius concentrated on protecting Roman territory against the Alemanni and Goths, Zenobia extended her Palmyrene Empire by taking Antioch, parts of Asia Minor, and most of Egypt. Although Eusebius and Sulpicius Severus portray the period between the reign of Valerian and that of Diocletian as a peaceful pause in the persecution of Christians, the Acts of the Martyrs does list some individuals allegedly martyred during Claudius II's reign.

The coins issued by Claudius II provide some limited insight into his reign. In addition to the standard "personified virtues" coins that are common with most emperors of the second and third centuries, Claudius struck coin-types proclaiming the security of the Empire (SECVRITAS PERPETVA and PAX AETERNA), the fidelity of the army (FIDES MILITVM), and military victories over the Germans and Goths (VICTORIA GERMAN and VICTORIAE GOTHIC). In addition, Claudius Gothicus' mints struck some other interesting and unusual coin-types. For example, Claudius is one of very few emperors who issued coins portraying the god Vulcan. These must have been limited issues because they are struck only by the Antioch mint and are very rare. The type shows Vulcan standing, with his special tools, the hammer and tongs, and features the unique inscription REGI ARTIS. A variant type with a similar image has been described as carrying another unique coin inscription, DEO CABIRO, and interpreted as depicting one of Vulcan's sons, the Cabiri, with the same tools. However, the existence of this variant type is doubtful. Although the reason for honoring Vulcan (and his sons?) with these coins is unclear, there may be a connection to the fact that the Cabiri were patron gods of Thessalonica who had protected that city against an attack by the Goths. Although a connection between Claudius Gothicus and the Cabiri as defenders against Gothic attacks is relatively attractive, it is weakened somewhat by the fact that Valerian and Gallienus had also issued coins with Vulcan in a temple so there may be some other reason for his reappearance on coins in this period.

Claudius II issued an unusual and scarce series of coins that features a pair of deities, who are presumably conservatores Augusti, on each reverse. The AETER AVG type depicts Apollo and Diana, who, as gods of the sun and moon, are associated with the concept of aeternitas. A type featuring Serapis and Isis is combined with a CONSER AVG inscription and one of Hercules and Minerva with one of CONSERVATORES AVG. Apollo and Diana are depicted with a SALVS AVG inscription, Aesculapius and Salus with one of SPES PVBLIC, and Vulcan and Minerva with VIRT AVG. The general message is that these deities will protect the future of the empire and the emperor.

Other unusual coin-types include MARS VLTOR, the god Augustus had honored with a temple for securing revenge for Caesar's assassination. This deity had appeared on Roman coins in the reigns of Galba and Severus Alexander. Claudius II also minted coins with rarely-seen NEPTVN AVG [see this reverse type in my collection] and SOL AVG types. The latter coin indicates some early interest in the god who would become so dominant a few years later on the coins of Aurelian, yet Claudius also used the INVICTVS AVG inscription that Gallienus had paired with an image of Sol with one of Hercules. ROMAE AETERNAE coin-types were fairly common in the mid-third century, but Claudius II issued an unusual variant type on an aureus that showed the goddess in her temple and echoed the SAECVLVM NOVVM images associated with Philip I. In addition, Claudius introduced a IOVI VICTORI reverse combined with the image normally paired with a IOVI STATORI inscription and a IOVI FVLGERAT reverse inscription, both of which had not been used by any of his predecessors. Andreas Alföldi suggested that Claudius' GENIVS SENATVS type signified improvement of the relationship between emperor and Senate following the senatorial hostility toward Gallienus.

Claudius Gothicus also produced coin-types with reverses of goddesses customarily found paired on coins with images of the Roman empresses. The deities portrayed include Ceres, Diana, Diana Lucifera, and Diana Victrix, Minerva, Venus, and the goddess naturally associated with the image of an empress, Juno Regina. One might suggest that Claudius issued these images because he had no empress with which to pair them, but an examination of other emperors' reigns during this period reveals that those emperors who did not issue coins bearing the empress' image also did not strike these particular goddess types. Although Ceres and Venus images are sometimes paired with an emperor's portrait, Diana Lucifera is rarely found on emperors' coins and Claudius II is the only emperor paired on coins with Juno Regina. In addition, Claudius was the first emperor to issue imperial coins that featured an isolated image of the exotic Egyptian goddess, Isis Faria.

Claudius II's short reign was vulnerable to internal as well as external attack. There may have been a revolt in 269-270 led by a Censorinus, although the date and even the existence of this usurper remain in doubt. The SHA includes him as the last of the "thirty tyrants" and lists a whole series of offices for him, including two consulships, but no other record exists to confirm such service. The SHA account states that he was proclaimed emperor by his soldiers, but soon afterwards killed by them because of his enforcement of strict discipline. His tomb is listed as being in Bologna, which may provide some idea of the location for the revolt. Henry Cohen dates the revolt to the beginning of the year 270, perhaps on the basis of a reference in the Epitome de Caesaribus, but suggests that coins attributed to Censorinus in earlier works may not exist.

The Gothic challenge in 269 proved to be the greatest that Claudius II would face. The Goths assembled a large invading force, reportedly amounting to 320,000 men transported on a fleet of at least 2,000 ships, and first attacked coastal cities along the Black Sea in Moesia. After passing into the Aegean the Goths besieged Thessalonica. At this point, in 269, Claudius left Rome to stop the invasion. The Goths then sent the larger segment of their troops on land toward the Danube, while the fleet took the remaining group to continue the naval attack on Aegean coastal cities. Claudius sent Aurelian's cavalry to Macedonia to protect Illyria from attack, while he commanded the forces blocking the route to the Danube. In the area of Doberus and Pelagonia, the Goths lost 3,000 men to Aurelian's cavalry. At Naissus in Moesia, Claudius' force succeeded in killing some 50,000 Goths. There were follow-up operations on both land and sea, but the Gothic War had essentially been won. Staving off the attacks of the Goths was a major contribution to the survival of the Roman Empire. It was a significant step leading to the subsequent success of Aurelian and the resurrection of the Empire under Diocletian and Constantine. When the Goths eventually succeeded in taking parts of the western Empire in the fifth century, their disruption to the course of civilization was likely much less violent than it would have been had they succeeded in the third century.

In addition to bad weather, a lack of supplies, and hunger, plague was a major factor in the defeat of the Goths. Many of the Gothic prisoners were either impressed into Roman military service or settled on farms as coloni. Claudius received the title Gothicus in recognition of his triumph over the Goths. At some point he had also been given the title Parthicus, but the unlikelihood of any conflict with the Parthians in his short reign makes this difficult to explain. Perhaps Damerau was correct in his suggestion that a Parthian unit may have been involved in one of the battles with the Palmyrenes, although on this front there were few achievements to claim. In any case, Claudius' victory over the Goths was short-lived. The emperor himself caught the plague and died at Sirmium early in 270. He was 56 years old. Claudius' brother, Quintillus, became emperor briefly before losing out to Aurelian. Claudius also had another brother, Crispus, and the SHA traces the link to Constantius through Crispus' daughter Claudia.

The Roman Senate showed its respect for Claudius Gothicus by setting up a gold portrait-shield in the Curia and by approving his deification. He was also honored with a golden statue in front of the great temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus and a silver statue set on a column on the Rostra.

In many ways, Claudius II received more adulation and honor in his Nachleben than he had during his lifetime. In the fourth century, attempts to link Constantine's family to Claudius resulted in the phrases of adoration and outright fabrication that dominate the SHA life and most of our other sources. Constantine even issued commemorative coins honoring Claudius. These carried inscriptions such as: DIVO CLAVDIO OPT[IMO] IMP[ERATORI], MEMORIAE AETERNAE, and REQVIES OPT[IMORVM] ME[RITORVM]. A tradition grew that changed the story of Claudius' death in some sources. In this version, Claudius, instead of dying from the plague, had actually performed a devotion, in response to an oracle found in the Sibylline Books, and sacrificed his life so that Rome could win the Gothic War. One of the most surprising things about the SHA account is that it ignores this more dramatic tradition and has Claudius simply dying from the plague.

One must, of course, reject the excessive claims of the SHA to the effect that Claudius II was "destined to rule for the good of the human race" and would, had he lived longer, "…by his strength, his counsel, and his foresight have restored to us the Scipios, the Camilli, and all those men of old." However, Claudius Gothicus was clearly a good emperor who made a significant contribution to protecting and restoring the Empire. In the third century there aren't too many emperors who merit such an assessment.

Copyright (C) 2001, Richard D. Weigel. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/claudgot.htm


Claudius II Gothicus was born in Illyricum around 215 A.D. Under Valerian and Gallienus he was recognized as a superb general. After the murder of Gallienus, Claudius Gothicus was proclaimed emperor and preceded to crush the Alemani tribe who had invaded Roman territory. Soon after an enormous horde of Goths poured into the empire. Against all advice, Claudius confronted the barbarians at Naissus in Upper Moesia. He fought a brilliant battle and annihilated them. Unfortunately for the empire, he died of plague after a reign of only two years (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM;
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=741&pos=0#Recovery%20of%20the%20Empire%20Coins).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 19, 2008
TacitusRIC210.jpg
[1117] Tacitus, 25 September 275 - 12 April 276 A.D.51 viewsSilvered Antoninianus. RIC 210. Weight, Size. aVF. Minted in Antioch. Obverse:– IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse:– CLEMENTIA TEMP, Emperor standing right receiving globe from Jupiter, both holding scepters, Z below figures; XXI in exegrue. Ex Maridvnvm.


De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Tacitus (275-276 A.D.)

Robin Mc Mahon
New York University

Full name, Marcus Claudius Tacitus; name as Emperor, Imperator Caesar Marcus Claudius Tacitus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus. We have no reliable information on the earlier career of the Emperor Tacitus. All that is known with any degree of certainty is that in 273 he was consul along with Julius Placidianus. All the statements in the Historia Augusta regarding Tacitus' earlier career, including the claim he was related to the historian Tacitus, have been rejected by historians as fictitious. The most reliable sources for Tacitus' reign, Zosimus and Zonaras, state that he was chosen Emperor by the army following the assassination of Aurelian in the fall of 275, most likely in November. At the time of his elevation he was in Interamna (modern Terni, about 60 miles north of Rome). From there he made his way to Rome where he was confirmed as Emperor by the Senate. Tradition has it that he was 75 years old at the time, but there is no way to confirm this.

As Emperor, Tacitus first had Aurelian deified, then seized and executed many individuals involved in plotting Aurelian's murder. Tacitus then turned his attention to the defense of the Empire. Although the Franks, Alamanni, and Longiones posed threats in the north, Tacitus determined that the greater danger lay in the East. Aurelian had enlisted the aid of several barbarian tribes, including the Heruli and Maeotidae (referred to as Scythians in the sources), for a projected invasion of Parthia. Aurelian's murder cancelled these plans. Feeling cheated of their opportunity for plunder, the tribes attacked the Roman provinces in Asia Minor, overrunning Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and Cilicia, and caused terrible destruction. Tacitus appointed his half-brother Florian Praetorian Prefect. They campaigned in the East against the invaders, winning Tacitus the title Gothicus Maximus.

Tacitus, however, did not long enjoy his victory: on his way back to Europe, he died. Zosimus and Zonaras preserve the report that Tacitus had appointed a relative of his, Maximinus, as governor of Syria. Maximinus was murdered; then the assassins, fearing Tacitus's reaction, murdered him. It was alleged that some of them had also had a hand in murdering Aurelian. The Historia Augusta more eccentrically reports that Tacitus became ill with a fever and started showing signs of megalomania: but as the month September Tacitus allegedly wanted named after himself dates his accession incorrectly, the story appears to be a fabrication. Tacitus died some time in June of 276. His memory was neither condemned nor deified.

Tacitus held the consulship at least twice, first in 273 and again in 276. There is numismatic evidence of a third consulship but there is no record of a third in any of the fasti, that is, the lists of consuls. Because of the paucity of the sources and the brevity of his reign, little can be said of his policies. It is unlikely that the military would choose as Emperor anyone like the contemplative, abstemious civilian the Historia Augusta portrays. A hint may be given by the fact that Tacitus's colleague in the consulship of 273, Julius Placidianus, commanded an army corps in Narbonensis and later went on to be a Praetorian Perfect. Nevertheless, some numismatic and epigraphic evidence suggests that Tacitus sought to strike a milder tone than his predecessor. Prominent among his coin legends is Clementia Temporum [the reverse type in my collection]. Unlike both Aurelian and Tacitus' successor, Probus, Tacitus did not take the title, deus et dominus natus ["born god and master"]. He also issued no Sol Invictus coins honoring Aurelian's favorite deity. Some of his coins revive the SC (senatus consulto) marking senatorial authority for the issue, which had been missing in previous reigns. Tacitus also used the Genius Senatus, inscriptions which had disappeared under Valerian. Further, in some inscriptions he is styled auctor verae libertatis ["originator of true liberty"], and on coins restitutor rei publicae ["restorer of the state"].

Historiography

Tacitus largely fell out of the ancient historiographical record. The best sources are Zosimus and Zonaras. The Historia Augusta creates its own fiction of Tacitus out of forged documents, bogus names and faulty chronology. Tacitus deserved better than oblivion or fabrication, having halted potentially serious raiding in the East.

Two problems emerge from the evidence for Tacitus's short reign. The first is the six-month interregnum said to have intervened between the death of Aurelian and Tacitus' accession. The years 260-285 have been the subject of close chronological scrutiny, and it has been shown that, although there might have been a brief interval between emperors (something not uncommon), amounting to a few weeks, anything longer is not possible. The error appears to have originated in the Latin historians, who confused the duration of Tacitus' and Florian's reign with the brief period between the reigns of Aurelian and Tacitus.

The second question is whether or not the edict of the Emperor Gallienus, which had excluded senators from military commands and any other dealings with the military, was set aside during the reigns of Tacitus and Florian. Aurelius Victor reports that Gallienus, acting largely through fear of revolts and usurpation, replaced the senators in military offices with Equites. Several passages in the Historia Augusta claim that these edicts were suspended for the duration of the reigns of Tacitus and Florian. The overwhelming consensus among historians, however, is that the passages in the Historia Augusta are unhistorical: no credible evidence suggests that Gallienus' edicts were even temporarily set aside.

Copyright (C) 2000, Robin Mc Mahon. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/tacitus.htm

Tacitus was an elderly senator in the reign of Aurelian, and after the latter's death was selected as Augustus by the senate. After personally leading his army in a successful campaign against a Gothic invasion, the emperor, aged around 75, died (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM;
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=747&pos=0#Recovery%20of%20the%20Empire%20Coins).


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.




CleisthenesMar 19, 2008
PostumusRIC93.jpg
[1200] Postumus, Summer 260--Spring 269 A.D.43 viewsBillon Antoninianus, RIC 93 Bust Type A. RSC 419. Weight, Size; VF; Obverse:– IMP C POSTVMVS P F AVG, Radiate, draped bust right; Reverse:– VIRTVS AVG, Mars/Virtus, standing right, holding spear and resting on shield. Ex maridvnvm.

De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Postumus (A.D. 260-269)

Michel Polfer
Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg

Postumus is the first emperor of the so-called "Gallic Empire", which lasted from his rebellion against Gallienus in 260 AD to the surrender of Tetricus I to the central emperor Aurelian in 274 AD.

In 260 AD, the general situation of the Empire was favorable to usurpations: Valerian I, father of and co-emperor with Gallienus, had been made prisoner by the Persian king Shapur I. The news shook the Empire and in the following months, the position of his heir Gallienus became very difficult, as he had to face rebellions in several parts of the Empire. While the inner situation was thus more than unstable, the barbarians, sensing the opportunity, poured across the northern frontier. The Franks entered into Gaul, devastating Germania Inferior and Belgica. Some Frankish warrior groups pressed on as far as Spain, where they destroyed Tarragona. The Alamanni broke through the lines in Germania superior and Raetia, overran the Agri Decumates, sacked the city of Aventicum and begun to extend their destructions to the interior of Gaul. Italy itself was exposed to them, as Gallienus had withdrawn most of the troops to fight the usurper Ingenuus on the Danube. After his victory over Ingenuus, Gallienus returned to Italy and was able to defeat the Germanic invaders at Milan in midsummer 260 AD. The resulting peace was short-lived, as a new rebellion on the Danube, led by Regalianus, and the great Sarmatic invasions of 260 exposed the northern frontier. Moreover, Gallienus had to face the revolt of Macrianus and Quietus in Egypt, which removed this important province from his control.

Thus, it is not surprising that Gallienus was unable to take swift and effective military actions, when - probably in the summer of 260 AD- an other usurper, M. Cassianius Latinius Postumus, rebelled on the Rhine frontier. The exact position of Postumus on the moment of the revolt is not known, but the context makes it clear that he was commanding troops on the Rhine frontier. The direct reason for his rebellion seems to have been a quarrel about booty taken from a barbarian raiding-party destroyed on its way home by Postumus and his soldiers. While Postumus had distributed the booty to his men, the praetorian prefect Silvanus ordered him to surrender the booty to himself and the Caesar Saloninus, the son of Gallienus, whom his father had left behind as his representative in the town of Cologne, under the guardianship of Silvanus. Postumus troops rebelled and proclaimed their commander imperator. They marched against and laid siege to Cologne. The garrison in the town was compelled to hand over Saloninus and Silvanus, both were put to death.

The area controlled by Postumus after his rebellion in 260 AD consisted of Germania Inferior and Germania Superior as well as of Raetia and the whole of Gaul (except for the southern parts of Lugdunensis and perhaps also Narbonensis). From 261 AD on, it also included Britain and the Spain. Neither he nor his successors made any attempt to extend the Gallic Empire further to the south or the east.

According to the literary sources at our disposal, the first "Gallic" emperor Postumus reigned well. They praise him for his military success against the Germanic invaders, thus crediting him with the restoration of the western provinces which had been on the verge of collapse. That Postumus undertook heavy fighting against Germanic tribes is also confirmed by his coinage and by the fact that he assumed -before the 10th of December 261 AD - the title of Germanicus maximus.

In 265 AD, the central emperor Gallienus tempted to crush the usurper, but twice failed to do so. On the first occasion, the fugitive Postumus owed his life only to the carelessness of Gallienus' cavalry commander Aureolus, on the second occasion, the emperor, besieging the usurper in a Gallic town, was wounded by an arrow and had to break of the assault. It seems that thereafter Gallienus made no other serious attempt to overcome this usurpation, devoting his attention to the political and military problems in the eastern part of the Roman empire.

He could do so, because Postumus took no actions at all to march on Rome. Right from the beginning of his usurpation, Postumus thus had made it clear that he had no intentions to make a bid for Rome, that his thoughts were only for Gaul. Even when in 268 AD Aureolus, the cavalry commander of Gallienus stationed in Milan - who had succeeded to recover Raetia for the central empire- entered into rebellion and declared himself for Postumus. Postumus did not take up the implied invitation to invade Italy, finally abandoning Aureolus to his fate.

But on the other hand there is no evidence at all to support the theory that he had the intention to create a separate "Galliarum Imperium." On the contrary: Postumus - ass well as his successors - avoided in his propaganda every hint to the limited extension of his reign. He put himself clearly in the tradition of the central Roman emperors, clearly underlining the universal claim of his rule, taking all the traditional titles of the Roman emperors, including those of pontifex maximus and pater patriae, proclaiming senators and nominating his own consuls. His coins show the same universal claims, giving preference to types like Roma aeterna or pacator orbis, to salus and fides.

By the end of 265 AD, Postumus' coins joyfully proclaimed his victory, the festivities celebrating his quinquennalia continued into the following year. But while the coinage of Postumus of the years 267-268 underlined the peace and prosperity brought to his reign by the guiding hand of the emperor, the sudden deterioration of his billon coinage in 268 AD shows that Postumus was facing more and more difficulties. It is very likely that his repeated refusal to march on Rome had disturbed many of his soldiers, since only his recognition of sole ruler of the Empire might have legitimized their rebellion of 260 AD and provided them with adequate reward for their support. So the debasement of 268 was probably occasioned by Postumus' need to buy the loyalty of his men, thus forcing him to mint beyond the silver supplies which the area under his control could provide. Nevertheless, he was able to celebrate in late 268 AD the commencement of his tenth year in power as well as his entry into his fifth consulship on 1st of January 269.

These festivities were cut short early in 269 AD by the rebellion of Ulpius Cornelius Laelianus at Moguntiacum (Mainz). There is no direct written or epigraphic evidence for the office Laelianus held at the time of his revolt against Postumus, but it seems most likely that he held an office in Germania Superior, either as legatus legionis XXII Primigenie or as governor of Germania Superior. His rebellion can be explained only on the grounds of a growing dissatisfaction of the troops of the Rhine-army with their commander in chief and emperor Postumus. How deep these tensions had become became apparent after the successful action against the usurper: no sooner had Postumus taken Moguntiacum and thus ended the ephemerous rebellion of Laelianus than he was murdered by his own troops for refusing them to sack the city. In his place, the troops raised to the purple a simple soldier, Marcus Arelius Marius, shortly afterwards killed and replaced by Marcus Piavonius Victorinus.

Copyright (C) 2000, Michel Polfer. Used by permission.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/postumus.htm


Postumus was an incredibly skilled general and administrator. Rebelling against Gallienus, Postumus succeeded in uniting Gaul, Spain and Britain into what was essentially an empire within an empire. Enjoying tremendous military success against the Germans, he kept his Gallic Empire secure and prosperous. In 268 A.D. he quickly destroyed the forces of the usurper Laelianus, but his refusal to allow his forces to sack Moguntiacum (Mainz, Germany) led to his assassination by disgruntled troops (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesMar 18, 2008
MaxHercRIC5iiRome.jpg
1302a, Maximian, 285 - 305, 306 - 308, and 310 A.D.47 viewsMaximianus AE Antoninianus. RIC V Part II 506 Bust Type C. Cohen 355; VF; Minted in Rome A.D. 285-286. Obverse: IMP MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right; Rverse: IOVI CONSERVAT AVGG, Jupiter standing left holding thunderbolt & scepter, XXIZ in exergue. Ex maridvnvm.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Maximian, 285-305, 306-308, and 310 A.D.

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Perhaps born ca. 249/250 A.D. in Sirmium in the area of the Balkans, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maximianus, more commonly known as Maximianus Herculius (Maximian), had been a soldier before he put on the purple. A fellow soldier with the Emperor Diocletian, he had served in the military during the reigns of Aurelian and Probus.

When the Emperor Diocletian determined that the empire was too large for one man to govern on his own, he made Maximian his Caesar in 285/6 and elevated him to the rank of Augustus in perhaps the spring of 286. While Diocletian ruled in the East, Maximian ruled in the West. In 293, in order to maintain and to strengthen the stability of the empire, Diocletian appointed Constantius I Chlorus to serve Maximian as a Caesar in the West, while Galerius did the same job in the East. This arrangement, called the "Tetrarchy", was meant not only to provide a stronger foundation for the two emperors' rule, but also to end any possible fighting over the succession to the throne once the two senior Augusti had left the throne--a problem which had bedeviled the principate since the time of the Emperor Augustus. To cement the relationship between Maximian and his Caesar, Constantius married Maximian's elder daughter Theodora. A decade later, Constantius' son Constantine would marry Maximia's younger daughter Fausta.

On 1 May 305 Diocletian, at Nicomedeia, and Maximian, at Mediolanum, divested themselves of the purple. Their resignations seem largely due to the almost fatal illness that Diocletian contracted toward the end of 304. Diocletian seems to have forced his colleague to abdicate. In any case, Herculius had sworn an oath at the temple of Capitoline Jupiter to carry out the terms of the abdication. Constantius and Galerius were appointed as Augusti, with Maximinus Daia and Severus as the new Caesars. The retired emperors then returned to private life. Diocletian's retirement was at Salonae in Dalmatia, while Herculius' retreat was either in Lucania or Campania.

Maximian's retirement, however, was of short duration because, a little more than a year later on 28 October 306, his son Maxentius was proclaimed emperor at Rome. To give his regime an aura of legitimacy, Maximian was forced to affirm his son's acclamation. When Galerius learned of Maxentius' rebellion, he sent Severus against him with an army that had formerly been under his father's command. Maxentius invested his father with the purple again to win over his enemy's troops, a ruse which succeeded. Perhaps to strengthen his own position, in 307 Maximian went to Gaul and married his daughter Fausta to Constantine. When Constantine refused to become embroiled in the civil war between Galerius and Maxentius, Maximian returned to Rome in 308 and attempted to depose his son; however, he did not succeed. When Maximian was unable to convince Diocletian to take up the purple again at a meeting in Carnuntum in late 308, he returned to his son-in-law's side in Gaul.

Although Maximian was treated with all of the respect due a former emperor, he still desired to be more than a figurehead. He decided to seize the purple from Constantine when his son-in-law least expected it. His opportunity came in the summer of 310 when the Franks revolted. When Constantine had taken a small part of his army into enemy territory, Maximian proclaimed himself again emperor and paid the soldiers under his command a donative to secure their loyalty. As soon as Constantine received news about Maximian's revolt in July 310, he went south and reached Arelate before his father-in-law could mount a defense of the city. Although Maximian fled to Massilia, his son-in-law seized the city and took Maximian prisoner. Although he was deprived of the purple, he was granted pardon for his crimes. Unable to endure the humiliation of his defeat, he attempted to have Constantine murdered in his bed. The plot failed because he tried to get his daughter Fausta's help in the matter; she chose to reveal the matter to her husband. Because of this attempt on his son-in-law's life Maximian was dead by the end of July either by his own hand or on the orders of his intended victim.

Eutropia was of Syrian extraction and her marriage to Maximian seems to have been her second. She bore him two children: Maxentius and Fausta. An older daughter, Theodora, may have been a product of her first marriage. Fausta became the wife of Constantine I , while her sister Theodora was the second spouse of his father Constantius I Chlorus . Eutropia apparently survived all her children, with the possible exception of her daughter Fausta who seems to have died in 326. Eutropia is also said to have become a Christian.

By Michael DiMaio, Jr., Salve Regina University
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesMar 09, 2008
DicletianConcordCyz.jpg
1301b, Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 March 305 A.D.56 viewsDiocletian. RIC V Part II Cyzicus 256 var. Not listed with pellet in exegrue
Item ref: RI141f. VF. Minted in Cyzicus (B in centre field, XXI dot in exegrue)Obverse:- IMP CC VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Reverse:- CONCORDIA MILITVM, Diocletian standing right, holding parazonium, receiving Victory from Jupiter standing left with scepter.
A post reform radiate of Diocletian. Ex Maridvnvm.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Diocletian ( 284-305 A.D.)

Ralph W. Mathisen
University of South Carolina


Summary and Introduction
The Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (A.D. 284-305) put an end to the disastrous phase of Roman history known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis" (235-284). He established an obvious military despotism and was responsible for laying the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire, which is known variously as the "Dominate," the "Tetrarchy," the "Later Roman Empire," or the "Byzantine Empire." His reforms ensured the continuity of the Roman Empire in the east for more than a thousand years.

Diocletian's Early Life and Reign
Diocletian was born ca. 236/237 on the Dalmatian coast, perhaps at Salona. He was of very humble birth, and was originally named Diocles. He would have received little education beyond an elementary literacy and he was apparently deeply imbued with religious piety He had a wife Prisca and a daughter Valeria, both of whom reputedly were Christians. During Diocletian's early life, the Roman empire was in the midst of turmoil. In the early years of the third century, emperors increasingly insecure on their thrones had granted inflationary pay raises to the soldiers. The only meaningful income the soldiers now received was in the form of gold donatives granted by newly acclaimed emperors. Beginning in 235, armies throughout the empire began to set up their generals as rival emperors. The resultant civil wars opened up the empire to invasion in both the north, by the Franks, Alamanni, and Goths, and the east, by the Sassanid Persians. Another reason for the unrest in the army was the great gap between the social background of the common soldiers and the officer corps.

Diocletian sought his fortune in the army. He showed himself to be a shrewd, able, and ambitious individual. He is first attested as "Duke of Moesia" (an area on the banks of the lower Danube River), with responsibility for border defense. He was a prudent and methodical officer, a seeker of victory rather than glory. In 282, the legions of the upper Danube proclaimed the praetorian prefect Carus as emperor. Diocletian found favor under the new emperor, and was promoted to Count of the Domestics, the commander of the cavalry arm of the imperial bodyguard. In 283 he was granted the honor of a consulate.

In 284, in the midst of a campaign against the Persians, Carus was killed, struck by a bolt of lightning which one writer noted might have been forged in a legionary armory. This left the empire in the hands of his two young sons, Numerian in the east and Carinus in the west. Soon thereafter, Numerian died under mysterious circumstances near Nicomedia, and Diocletian was acclaimed emperor in his place. At this time he changed his name from Diocles to Diocletian. In 285 Carinus was killed in a battle near Belgrade, and Diocletian gained control of the entire empire.

Diocletian's Administrative and Military Reforms
As emperor, Diocletian was faced with many problems. His most immediate concerns were to bring the mutinous and increasingly barbarized Roman armies back under control and to make the frontiers once again secure from invasion. His long-term goals were to restore effective government and economic prosperity to the empire. Diocletian concluded that stern measures were necessary if these problems were to be solved. He felt that it was the responsibility of the imperial government to take whatever steps were necessary, no matter how harsh or innovative, to bring the empire back under control.

Diocletian was able to bring the army back under control by making several changes. He subdivided the roughly fifty existing provinces into approximately one hundred. The provinces also were apportioned among twelve "dioceses," each under a "vicar," and later also among four "prefectures," each under a "praetorian prefect." As a result, the imperial bureaucracy became increasingly bloated. He institutionalized the policy of separating civil and military careers. He divided the army itself into so-called "border troops," actually an ineffective citizen militia, and "palace troops," the real field army, which often was led by the emperor in person.

Following the precedent of Aurelian (A.D.270-275), Diocletian transformed the emperorship into an out-and-out oriental monarchy. Access to him became restricted; he now was addressed not as First Citizen (Princeps) or the soldierly general (Imperator), but as Lord and Master (Dominus Noster) . Those in audience were required to prostrate themselves on the ground before him.

Diocletian also concluded that the empire was too large and complex to be ruled by only a single emperor. Therefore, in order to provide an imperial presence throughout the empire, he introduced the "Tetrarchy," or "Rule by Four." In 285, he named his lieutenant Maximianus "Caesar," and assigned him the western half of the empire. This practice began the process which would culminate with the de facto split of the empire in 395. Both Diocletian and Maximianus adopted divine attributes. Diocletian was identified with Jupiter and Maximianus with Hercules. In 286, Diocletian promoted Maximianus to the rank of Augustus, "Senior Emperor," and in 293 he appointed two new Caesars, Constantius (the father of Constantine I ), who was given Gaul and Britain in the west, and Galerius, who was assigned the Balkans in the east.

By instituting his Tetrarchy, Diocletian also hoped to solve another problem. In the Augustan Principate, there had been no constitutional method for choosing new emperors. According to Diocletian's plan, the successor of each Augustus would be the respective Caesar, who then would name a new Caesar. Initially, the Tetrarchy operated smoothly and effectively.

Once the army was under control, Diocletian could turn his attention to other problems. The borders were restored and strengthened. In the early years of his reign, Diocletian and his subordinates were able to defeat foreign enemies such as Alamanni, Sarmatians, Saracens, Franks, and Persians, and to put down rebellions in Britain and Egypt. The easter frontier was actually expanded.

.
Diocletian's Economic Reforms
Another problem was the economy, which was in an especially sorry state. The coinage had become so debased as to be virtually worthless. Diocletian's attempt to reissue good gold and silver coins failed because there simply was not enough gold and silver available to restore confidence in the currency. A "Maximum Price Edict" issued in 301, intended to curb inflation, served only to drive goods onto the black market. Diocletian finally accepted the ruin of the money economy and revised the tax system so that it was based on payments in kind . The soldiers too came to be paid in kind.

In order to assure the long term survival of the empire, Diocletian identified certain occupations which he felt would have to be performed. These were known as the "compulsory services." They included such occupations as soldiers, bakers, members of town councils, and tenant farmers. These functions became hereditary, and those engaging in them were inhibited from changing their careers. The repetitious nature of these laws, however, suggests that they were not widely obeyed. Diocletian also expanded the policy of third-century emperors of restricting the entry of senators into high-ranking governmental posts, especially military ones.

Diocletian attempted to use the state religion as a unifying element. Encouraged by the Caesar Galerius, Diocletian in 303 issued a series of four increasingly harsh decrees designed to compel Christians to take part in the imperial cult, the traditional means by which allegiance was pledged to the empire. This began the so-called "Great Persecution."

Diocletian's Resignation and Death
On 1 May 305, wearied by his twenty years in office, and determined to implement his method for the imperial succession, Diocletian abdicated. He compelled his co-regent Maximianus to do the same. Constantius and Galerius then became the new Augusti, and two new Caesars were selected, Maximinus (305-313) in the east and Severus (305- 307) in the west. Diocletian then retired to his palace at Split on the Croatian coast. In 308 he declined an offer to resume the purple, and the aged ex-emperor died at Split on 3 December 316.

Copyright (C) 1996, Ralph W. Mathisen, University of South Carolina
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


CleisthenesFeb 28, 2008
GaleriusAugCyz.jpg
1303a, Galerius, 1 March 305 - 5 May 311 A.D.34 viewsGalerius, RIC VI 59, Cyzicus S, VF, Cyzicus S, 6.4 g, 25.86 mm; 309-310 AD; Obverse: GAL MAXIMIANVS P F AVG, laureate bust right; Reverse: GENIO A-VGVS[TI], Genius stg. left, naked but for chlamys over left shoulder, holding patera and cornucopiae. A nice example with sharp detail and nice brown hoard patina. Ex Ancient Imports.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Galerius (305-311 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University


Caius Galerius Valerius Maximianus, more commonly known as Galerius, was from Illyricum; his father, whose name is unknown, was of peasant stock, while his mother, Romula, was from beyond the Danube. Galerius was born in Dacia Ripensis near Sardica. Although the date of his birth is unknown, he was probably born ca. 250 since he served under Aurelian. As a youth Galerius was a shepherd and acquired the nickname Armentarius. Although he seems to have started his military career under Aurelian and Probus, nothing is known about it before his accession as Caesar on 1 March 293. He served as Diocletian's Caesar in the East. Abandoning his first wife, he married Diocletian's daugher, Valeria.

As Caesar he campaigned in Egypt in 294; he seems to have taken to the field against Narses of Persia, and was defeated near Ctesiphon in 295. In 298, after he made inroads into Armenia, he obtained a treaty from the Persians favorable to the Romans. Between 299-305 he overcame the Sarmatians and the Carpi along the Danube. The Great Persecution of the Orthodox Church, which was started in 303 by the Emperor Diocletian, was probably instigated by Galerius. Because of the almost fatal illness that he contracted toward the end of 304, Diocletian, at Nicomedeia, and Maximianus Herculius, at Mediolanum, divested themselves of the purple on 1 May 305. Constantius and Galerius were appointed as Augusti, with Maximinus Daia and Severus as the new Caesars. Constantius and Severus reigned in the West, whereas Galerius' and Daia's realm was the East. Although Constantius was nominally senior Augustus, the real power was in the hands of Galerius because both Caesars were his creatures.

The balance of power shifted at the end of July 306 when Constantius, with his son Constantine at his side, passed away at York in Britain where he was preparing to face incursions by the Picts; his army proclaimed Constantine his successor immediately. As soon as he received the news of the death of Constantius I and the acclamation of Constantine to the purple, Galerius raised Severus to the rank of Augustus to replace his dead colleague in August 306. Making the best of a bad situation, Galerius accepted Constantine as the new Caesar in the West. The situation became more complicated when Maxentius, with his father Maximianus Herculius acquiesing, declared himself princes on 28 October 306. When Galerius learned about the acclamation of the usurper, he dispatched the Emperor Severus to put down the rebellion. Severus took a large field army which had formerly been that of Maximianus and proceeded toward Rome and began to besiege the city, Maxentius, however, and Maximianus, by means of a ruse, convinced Severus to surrender. Later, in 307, Severus was put to death under clouded circumstances. While Severus was fighting in the west, Galerius, during late 306 or early 307, was campaigning against the Sarmatians.

In the early summer of 307 Galerius invaded Italy to avenge Severus's death; he advanced to the south and encamped at Interamna near the Tiber. His attempt to besiege the city was abortive because his army was too small to encompass the city's fortifications. Not trusting his own troops, Galerius withdrew. During its retreat, his army ravaged the Italian countryside as it was returning to its original base. When Maximianus Herculius' attempts to regain the throne between 308 and 310 by pushing his son off his throne or by winning over Constantine to his cause failed, he tried to win Diocletian and Galerius over to his side at Carnuntum in October and November 308; the outcome of the Conference at Carnuntum was that Licinius was appointed Augustus in Severus's place, that Daia and Constantine were denoted filii Augustorum, and that Herculius was completely cut out of the picture. Later, in 310, Herculius died, having been implicated in a plot against his son-in-law. After the Conference at Carnuntum, Galerius returned to Sardica where he died in the opening days of May 311.

By Michael DiMaio, Jr., Salve Regina University; Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Galerius was Caesar and tetrarch under Maximianus. Although a talented general and administrator, Galerius is better known for his key role in the "Great Persecution" of Christians. He stopped the persecution under condition the Christians pray for his return to health from a serious illness. Galerius died horribly shortly after. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.



CleisthenesFeb 25, 2008
Julian2VotXConstantinople.jpg
1409a, Julian II "the Philosopher," February 360 - 26 June 363 A.D.143 viewsJulian II, A.D. 360-363; RIC 167; VF; 2.7g, 20mm; Constantinople mint; Obverse: DN FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG, helmeted & cuirassed bust right, holding spear & shield; Reverse: VOT X MVLT XX in four lines within wreath; CONSPB in exergue; Attractive green patina. Ex Nemesis.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Julian the Apostate (360-363 A.D.)

Walter E. Roberts, Emory University
Michael DiMaio, Jr., Salve Regina University

Introduction

The emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus reigned from 360 to 26 June 363, when he was killed fighting against the Persians. Despite his short rule, his emperorship was pivotal in the development of the history of the later Roman empire. This essay is not meant to be a comprehensive look at the various issues central to the reign of Julian and the history of the later empire. Rather, this short work is meant to be a brief history and introduction for the general reader. Julian was the last direct descendent of the Constantinian line to ascend to the purple, and it is one of history's great ironies that he was the last non-Christian emperor. As such, he has been vilified by most Christian sources, beginning with John Chrysostom and Gregory Nazianzus in the later fourth century. This tradition was picked up by the fifth century Eusebian continuators Sozomen, Socrates Scholasticus, and Theodoret and passed on to scholars down through the 20th century. Most contemporary sources, however, paint a much more balanced picture of Julian and his reign. The adoption of Christianity by emperors and society, while still a vital concern, was but one of several issues that concerned Julian.

It is fortunate that extensive writings from Julian himself exist, which help interpret his reign in the light of contemporary evidence. Still extant are some letters, several panegyrics, and a few satires. Other contemporary sources include the soldier Ammianus Marcellinus' history, correspondence between Julian and Libanius of Antioch, several panegyrics, laws from the Theodosian Code, inscriptions, and coinage. These sources show Julian's emphasis on restoration. He saw himself as the restorer of the traditional values of Roman society. Of course much of this was rhetoric, meant to defend Julian against charges that he was a usurper. At the same time this theme of restoration was central to all emperors of the fourth century. Julian thought that he was the one emperor who could regain what was viewed as the lost glory of the Roman empire. To achieve this goal he courted select groups of social elites to get across his message of restoration. This was the way that emperors functioned in the fourth century. By choosing whom to include in the sharing of power, they sought to shape society.

Early Life

Julian was born at Constantinople in 331. His father was Julius Constantius, half-brother of the emperor Constantine through Constantius Chlorus, and his mother was Basilina, Julius' second wife. Julian had two half-brothers via Julius' first marriage. One of these was Gallus, who played a major role in Julian's life. Julian appeared destined for a bright future via his father's connection to the Constantinian house. After many years of tense relations with his three half-brothers, Constantine seemed to have welcomed them into the fold of the imperial family. From 333 to 335, Constantine conferred a series of honors upon his three half-siblings, including appointing Julius Constantius as one of the consuls for 335. Julian's mother was equally distinguished. Ammianus related that she was from a noble family. This is supported by Libanius, who claimed that she was the daughter of Julius Julianus, a Praetorian Prefect under Licinius, who was such a model of administrative virtue that he was pardoned and honored by Constantine.

Despite the fact that his mother died shortly after giving birth to him, Julian experienced an idyllic early childhood. This ended when Constantius II conducted a purge of many of his relatives shortly after Constantine's death in 337, particularly targeting the families of Constantine's half-brothers. ulian and Gallus were spared, probably due to their young age. Julian was put under the care of Mardonius, a Scythian eunuch who had tutored his mother, in 339, and was raised in the Greek philosophical tradition, and probably lived in Nicomedia. Ammianus also supplied the fact that while in Nicomedia, Julian was cared for by the local bishop Eusebius, of whom the future emperor was a distant relation. Julian was educated by some of the most famous names in grammar and rhetoric in the Greek world at that time, including Nicocles and Hecebolius. In 344 Constantius II sent Julian and Gallus to Macellum in Cappadocia, where they remained for six years. In 351, Gallus was made Caesar by Constantius II and Julian was allowed to return to Nicomedia, where he studied under Aedesius, Eusebius, and Chrysanthius, all famed philosophers, and was exposed to the Neo-Platonism that would become such a prominent part of his life. But Julian was most proud of the time he spent studying under Maximus of Ephesus, a noted Neo-Platonic philospher and theurgist. It was Maximus who completed Julian's full-scale conversion to Neo-Platonism. Later, when he was Caesar, Julian told of how he put letters from this philosopher under his pillows so that he would continue to absorb wisdom while he slept, and while campaigning on the Rhine, he sent his speeches to Maximus for approval before letting others hear them. When Gallus was executed in 354 for treason by Constantius II, Julian was summoned to Italy and essentially kept under house arrest at Comum, near Milan, for seven months before Constantius' wife Eusebia convinced the emperor that Julian posed no threat. This allowed Julian to return to Greece and continue his life as a scholar where he studied under the Neo-Platonist Priscus. Julian's life of scholarly pursuit, however, ended abruptly when he was summoned to the imperial court and made Caesar by Constantius II on 6 November 355.

Julian as Caesar

Constantius II realized an essential truth of the empire that had been evident since the time of the Tetrarchy--the empire was too big to be ruled effectively by one man. Julian was pressed into service as Caesar, or subordinate emperor, because an imperial presence was needed in the west, in particular in the Gallic provinces. Julian, due to the emperor's earlier purges, was the only viable candidate of the imperial family left who could act as Caesar. Constantius enjoined Julian with the task of restoring order along the Rhine frontier. A few days after he was made Caesar, Julian was married to Constantius' sister Helena in order to cement the alliance between the two men. On 1 December 355, Julian journeyed north, and in Augusta Taurinorum he learned that Alamannic raiders had destroyed Colonia Agrippina. He then proceeded to Vienne where he spent the winter. At Vienne, he learned that Augustudunum was also under siege, but was being held by a veteran garrison. He made this his first priority, and arrived there on 24 June 356. When he had assured himself that the city was in no immediate danger, he journeyed to Augusta Treverorum via Autessioduram, and from there to Durocortorum where he rendezvoused with his army. Julian had the army stage a series of punitive strikes around the Dieuse region, and then he moved them towards the Argentoratum/Mongontiacum region when word of barbarian incursions reached him.

From there, Julian moved on to Colonia Agrippina, and negotiated a peace with the local barbarian leaders who had assaulted the city. He then wintered at Senonae. He spent the early part of the campaigning season of 357 fighting off besiegers at Senonae, and then conducting operations around Lugdunum and Tres Tabernae. Later that summer, he encountered his watershed moment as a military general. Ammianus went into great detail about Julian's victory over seven rogue Alamannic chieftains near Argentoratum, and Julian himself bragged about it in his later writing. After this battle, the soldiers acclaimed Julian Augustus, but he rejected this title. After mounting a series of follow-up raids into Alamannic territory, he retired to winter quarters at Lutetia, and on the way defeated some Frankish raiders in the Mosa region. Julian considered this campaign one of the major events of his time as Caesar.

Julian began his 358 military campaigns early, hoping to catch the barbarians by surprise. His first target was the Franks in the northern Rhine region. He then proceeded to restore some forts in the Mosa region, but his soldiers threatened to mutiny because they were on short rations and had not been paid their donative since Julian had become Caesar. After he soothed his soldiers, Julian spent the rest of the summer negotiating a peace with various Alamannic leaders in the mid and lower Rhine areas, and retired to winter quarters at Lutetia. In 359, he prepared once again to carry out a series of punitive expeditions against the Alamanni in the Rhine region who were still hostile to the Roman presence. In preparation, the Caesar repopulated seven previously destroyed cities and set them up as supply bases and staging areas. This was done with the help of the people with whom Julian had negotiated a peace the year before. Julian then had a detachment of lightly armed soldiers cross the Rhine near Mogontiacum and conduct a guerilla strike against several chieftains. As a result of these campaigns, Julian was able to negotiate a peace with all but a handful of the Alamannic leaders, and he retired to winter quarters at Lutetia.

Of course, Julian did more than act as a general during his time as Caesar. According to Ammianus, Julian was an able administrator who took steps to correct the injustices of Constantius' appointees. Ammianus related the story of how Julian prevented Florentius, the Praetorian Prefect of Gaul, from raising taxes, and also how Julian actually took over as governor for the province of Belgica Secunda. Hilary, bishop of Poitiers, supported Ammianus' basic assessment of Julian in this regard when he reported that Julian was an able representative of the emperor to the Gallic provincials. There is also epigraphic evidence to support Julian's popularity amongst the provincial elites. An inscription found near Beneventum in Apulia reads:
"To Flavius Claudius Julianus, most noble and sanctified Caesar, from the caring Tocius Maximus, vir clarissimus, for the care of the res publica from Beneventum".

Tocius Maximus, as a vir clarissimus, was at the highest point in the social spectrum and was a leader in his local community. This inscription shows that Julian was successful in establishing a positive image amongst provincial elites while he was Caesar.

Julian Augustus

In early 360, Constantius, driven by jealousy of Julian's success, stripped Julian of many troops and officers, ostensibly because the emperor needed them for his upcoming campaign against the Persians. One of the legions ordered east, the Petulantes, did not want to leave Gaul because the majority of the soldiers in the unit were from this region. As a result they mutinied and hailed Julian as Augustus at Lutetia. Julian refused this acclamation as he had done at Argentoratum earlier, but the soldiers would have none of his denial. They raised him on a shield and adorned him with a neck chain, which had formerly been the possession of the standard-bearer of the Petulantes and symbolized a royal diadem. Julian appeared reluctantly to acquiesce to their wishes, and promised a generous donative. The exact date of his acclamation is unknown, but most scholars put it in February or March. Julian himself supported Ammianus' picture of a jealous Constantius. In his Letter to the Athenians, a document constructed to answer charges that he was a usurper, Julian stated that from the start he, as Caesar, had been meant as a figurehead to the soldiers and provincials. The real power he claimed lay with the generals and officials already present in Gaul. In fact, according to Julian, the generals were charged with watching him as much as the enemy. His account of the actual acclamation closely followed what Ammianus told us, but he stressed even more his reluctance to take power. Julian claimed that he did so only after praying to Zeus for guidance.

Fearing the reaction of Constantius, Julian sent a letter to his fellow emperor justifying the events at Lutetia and trying to arrange a peaceful solution. This letter berated Constantius for forcing the troops in Gaul into an untenable situation. Ammianus stated that Julian's letter blamed Constantius' decision to transfer Gallic legions east as the reason for the soldiers' rebellion. Julian once again asserted that he was an unwilling participant who was only following the desire of the soldiers. In both of these basic accounts Ammianus and Julian are playing upon the theme of restoration. Implicit in their version of Julian's acclamation is the argument that Constantius was unfit to rule. The soldiers were the vehicle of the gods' will. The Letter to the Athenians is full of references to the fact that Julian was assuming the mantle of Augustus at the instigation of the gods. Ammianus summed up this position nicely when he related the story of how, when Julian was agonizing over whether to accept the soldiers' acclamation, he had a dream in which he was visited by the Genius (guardian spirit) of the Roman state. The Genius told Julian that it had often tried to bestow high honors upon Julian but had been rebuffed. Now, the Genius went on to say, was Julian's final chance to take the power that was rightfully his. If the Caesar refused this chance, the Genius would depart forever, and both Julian and the state would rue Julian's rejection. Julian himself wrote a letter to his friend Maximus of Ephesus in November of 361 detailing his thoughts on his proclamation. In this letter, Julian stated that the soldiers proclaimed him Augustus against his will. Julian, however, defended his accession, saying that the gods willed it and that he had treated his enemies with clemency and justice. He went on to say that he led the troops in propitiating the traditional deities, because the gods commanded him to return to the traditional rites, and would reward him if he fulfilled this duty.

During 360 an uneasy peace simmered between the two emperors. Julian spent the 360 campaigning season continuing his efforts to restore order along the Rhine, while Constantius continued operations against the Persians. Julian wintered in Vienne, and celebrated his Quinquennalia. It was at this time that his wife Helena died, and he sent her remains to Rome for a proper burial at his family villa on the Via Nomentana where the body of her sister was entombed. The uneasy peace held through the summer of 361, but Julian concentrated his military operations around harassing the Alamannic chieftain Vadomarius and his allies, who had concluded a peace treaty with Constantius some years earlier. By the end of the summer, Julian decided to put an end to the waiting and gathered his army to march east against Constantius. The empire teetered on the brink of another civil war. Constantius had spent the summer negotiating with the Persians and making preparations for possible military action against his cousin. When he was assured that the Persians would not attack, he summoned his army and sallied forth to meet Julian. As the armies drew inexorably closer to one another, the empire was saved from another bloody civil war when Constantius died unexpectedly of natural causes on 3 November near the town of Mopsucrenae in Cilicia, naming Julian -- the sources say-- as his legitimate successor.

Julian was in Dacia when he learned of his cousin's death. He made his way through Thrace and came to Constantinople on 11 December 361 where Julian honored the emperor with the funeral rites appropriate for a man of his station. Julian immediately set about putting his supporters in positions of power and trimming the imperial bureaucracy, which had become extremely overstaffed during Constantius' reign. Cooks and barbers had increased during the late emperor's reign and Julian expelled them from his court. Ammianus gave a mixed assessment of how the new emperor handled the followers of Constantius. Traditionally, emperors were supposed to show clemency to the supporters of a defeated enemy. Julian, however, gave some men over to death to appease the army. Ammianus used the case of Ursulus, Constantius' comes sacrum largitionum, to illustrate his point. Ursulus had actually tried to acquire money for the Gallic troops when Julian had first been appointed Caesar, but he had also made a disparaging remark about the ineffectiveness of the army after the battle of Amida. The soldiers remembered this, and when Julian became sole Augustus, they demanded Ursulus' head. Julian obliged, much to the disapproval of Ammianus. This seems to be a case of Julian courting the favor of the military leadership, and is indicative of a pattern in which Julian courted the goodwill of various societal elites to legitimize his position as emperor.

Another case in point is the officials who made up the imperial bureaucracy. Many of them were subjected to trial and punishment. To achieve this goal, during the last weeks of December 361 Julian assembled a military tribunal at Chalcedon, empanelling six judges to try the cases. The president of the tribunal was Salutius, just promoted to the rank of Praetorian Prefect; the five other members were Mamertinus, the orator, and four general officers: Jovinus, Agilo, Nevitta, and Arbetio. Relative to the proceedings of the tribunal, Ammianus noted that the judges, " . . . oversaw the cases more vehemently than was right or fair, with the exception of a few . . .." Ammianus' account of Julian's attempt at reform of the imperial bureaucracy is supported by legal evidence from the Theodosian Code. A series of laws sent to Mamertinus, Julian's appointee as Praetorian Prefect in Italy, Illyricum, and Africa, illustrate this point nicely. On 6 June 362, Mamertinus received a law that prohibited provincial governors from bypassing the Vicars when giving their reports to the Prefect. Traditionally, Vicars were given civil authority over a group of provinces, and were in theory meant to serve as a middle step between governors and Prefects. This law suggests that the Vicars were being left out, at least in Illyricum. Julian issued another edict to Mamertinus on 22 February 362 to stop abuse of the public post by governors. According to this law, only Mamertinus could issue post warrants, but the Vicars were given twelve blank warrants to be used as they saw fit, and each governor was given two. Continuing the trend of bureaucratic reform, Julian also imposed penalties on governors who purposefully delayed appeals in court cases they had heard. The emperor also established a new official to weigh solidi used in official government transactions to combat coin clipping.

For Julian, reigning in the abuses of imperial bureaucrats was one step in restoring the prestige of the office of emperor. Because he could not affect all elements of society personally, Julian, like other Neo-Flavian emperors, decided to concentrate on select groups of societal elites as intercessors between himself and the general populace. One of these groups was the imperial bureaucracy. Julian made it very clear that imperial officials were intercessors in a very real sense in a letter to Alypius, Vicar of Britain. In this letter, sent from Gaul sometime before 361, the emperor praises Alypius for his use of "mildness and moderation with courage and force" in his rule of the provincials. Such virtues were characteristic of the emperors, and it was good that Alypius is representing Julian in this way. Julian courted the army because it put him in power. Another group he sought to include in his rule was the traditional Senatorial aristocracy. One of his first appointments as consul was Claudius Mamertinus, a Gallic Senator and rhetorician. Mamertinus' speech in praise of Julian delivered at Constantinople in January of 362 is preserved. In this speech, Claudius presented his consular selection as inaugurating a new golden age and Julian as the restorer of the empire founded by Augustus. The image Mamertinus gave of his own consulate inaugurating a new golden age is not merely formulaic. The comparison of Julian to Augustus has very real, if implicit, relevance to Claudius' situation. Claudius emphasized the imperial period as the true age of renewal. Augustus ushered in a new era with his formation of a partnership between the emperor and the Senate based upon a series of honors and offices bestowed upon the Senate in return for their role as intercessor between emperor and populace. It was this system that Julian was restoring, and the consulate was one concrete example of this bond. To be chosen as a consul by the emperor, who himself had been divinely mandated, was a divine honor. In addition to being named consul, Mamertinus went on to hold several offices under Julian, including the Prefecture of Italy, Illyricum, and Africa. Similarly, inscriptional evidence illustrates a link between municipal elites and Julian during his time as Caesar, something which continued after he became emperor. One concrete example comes from the municipal senate of Aceruntia in Apulia, which established a monument on which Julian is styled as "Repairer of the World."

Julian seems to have given up actual Christian belief before his acclamation as emperor and was a practitioner of more traditional Greco-Roman religious beliefs, in particular, a follower of certain late antique Platonist philosophers who were especially adept at theurgy as was noted earlier. In fact Julian himself spoke of his conversion to Neo-Platonism in a letter to the Alexandrians written in 363. He stated that he had abandoned Christianity when he was twenty years old and been an adherent of the traditional Greco-Roman deities for the twelve years prior to writing this letter.

(For the complete text of this article see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/julian.htm)

Julian’s Persian Campaign

The exact goals Julian had for his ill-fated Persian campaign were never clear. The Sassanid Persians, and before them the Parthians, had been a traditional enemy from the time of the Late Republic, and indeed Constantius had been conducting a war against them before Julian's accession forced the former to forge an uneasy peace. Julian, however, had no concrete reason to reopen hostilities in the east. Socrates Scholasticus attributed Julian's motives to imitation of Alexander the Great, but perhaps the real reason lay in his need to gather the support of the army. Despite his acclamation by the Gallic legions, relations between Julian and the top military officers was uneasy at best. A war against the Persians would have brought prestige and power both to Julian and the army.

Julian set out on his fateful campaign on 5 March 363. Using his trademark strategy of striking quickly and where least expected, he moved his army through Heirapolis and from there speedily across the Euphrates and into the province of Mesopotamia, where he stopped at the town of Batnae. His plan was to eventually return through Armenia and winter in Tarsus. Once in Mesopotamia, Julian was faced with the decision of whether to travel south through the province of Babylonia or cross the Tigris into Assyria, and he eventually decided to move south through Babylonia and turn west into Assyria at a later date. By 27 March, he had the bulk of his army across the Euphrates, and had also arranged a flotilla to guard his supply line along the mighty river. He then left his generals Procopius and Sebastianus to help Arsacius, the king of Armenia and a Roman client, to guard the northern Tigris line. It was also during this time that he received the surrender of many prominent local leaders who had nominally supported the Persians. These men supplied Julian with money and troops for further military action against their former masters. Julian decided to turn south into Babylonia and proceeded along the Euphrates, coming to the fortress of Cercusium at the junction of the Abora and Euphrates Rivers around the first of April, and from there he took his army west to a region called Zaitha near the abandoned town of Dura where they visited the tomb of the emperor Gordian which was in the area. On April 7 he set out from there into the heart of Babylonia and towards Assyria.

Ammianus then stated that Julian and his army crossed into Assyria, which on the face of things appears very confusing. Julian still seems to be operating within the province of Babylonia between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The confusion is alleviated when one realizes that,for Ammianus, the region of Assyria encompassed the provinces of Babylonia and Assyria. On their march, Julian's forces took the fortress of Anatha, received the surrender and support of several more local princes, and ravaged the countryside of Assyria between the rivers. As the army continued south, they came across the fortresses Thilutha and Achaiachala, but these places were too well defended and Julian decided to leave them alone. Further south were the cities Diacira and Ozogardana, which the Roman forces sacked and burned. Soon, Julian came to Pirisabora and a brief siege ensued, but the city fell and was also looted and destroyed. It was also at this time that the Roman army met its first systematic resistance from the Persians. As the Romans penetrated further south and west, the local inhabitants began to flood their route. Nevertheless, the Roman forces pressed on and came to Maiozamalcha, a sizable city not far from Ctesiphon. After a short siege, this city too fell to Julian. Inexorably, Julian's forces zeroed in on Ctesiphon, but as they drew closer, the Persian resistance grew fiercer, with guerilla raids whittling at Julian's men and supplies. A sizable force of the army was lost and the emperor himself was almost killed taking a fort a few miles from the target city.
Finally, the army approached Ctesiphon following a canal that linked the Tigris and Euphrates. It soon became apparent after a few preliminary skirmishes that a protracted siege would be necessary to take this important city. Many of his generals, however, thought that pursuing this course of action would be foolish. Julian reluctantly agreed, but became enraged by this failure and ordered his fleet to be burned as he decided to march through the province of Assyria. Julian had planned for his army to live off the land, but the Persians employed a scorched-earth policy. When it became apparent that his army would perish (because his supplies were beginning to dwindle) from starvation and the heat if he continued his campaign, and also in the face of superior numbers of the enemy, Julian ordered a retreat on 16 June. As the Roman army retreated, they were constantly harassed by guerilla strikes. It was during one of these raids that Julian got caught up in the fighting and took a spear to his abdomen. Mortally wounded he was carried to his tent, where, after conferring with some of his officers, he died. The date was 26 June 363.

Conclusion

Thus an ignominious end for a man came about who had hoped to restore the glory of the Roman empire during his reign as emperor. Due to his intense hatred of Christianity, the opinion of posterity has not been kind to Julian. The contemporary opinion, however, was overall positive. The evidence shows that Julian was a complex ruler with a definite agenda to use traditional social institutions in order to revive what he saw as a collapsing empire. In the final assessment, he was not so different from any of the other emperors of the fourth century. He was a man grasping desperately to hang on to a Greco-Roman conception of leadership that was undergoing a subtle yet profound change.
Copyright (C) 2002, Walter E. Roberts and Michael DiMaio, Jr. Used by permission.

In reality, Julian worked to promote culture and philosophy in any manifestation. He tried to reduce taxes and the public debts of municipalities; he augmented administrative decentralisation; he promoted a campaign of austerity to reduce public expenditure (setting himself as the example). He reformed the postal service and eliminated the powerful secret police.
by Federico Morando; JULIAN II, The Apostate, http://www.forumancientcoins.com/NumisWiki/view.asp?key=Julian%20II

Flavius Claudius Iulianus was born in 331 or maybe 332 A.D. in Constantinople. He ruled the Western Empire as Caesar from 355 to 360 and was hailed Augustus by his legions in Lutetia (Paris) in 360. Julian was a gifted administrator and military strategist. Famed as the last pagan emperor, his reinstatement of the pagan religion earned him the moniker "the Apostate." As evidenced by his brilliant writing, some of which has survived to the present day, the title "the Philosopher" may have been more appropriate. He died from wounds suffered during the Persian campaign of 363 A.D. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.




2 commentsCleisthenesFeb 24, 2008
VespasianPax_RICii10.jpg
710a, Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.134 viewsSilver denarius, RIC II, 10, aVF, 3.5 g, 18mm, Rome mint, 69-71 AD; Obverse: IMP CAESA[R] VESPASIANV[S AV]G - Laureate head right; Reverse: COS ITER [T]R POT - Pax seated left holding branch and caduceus. Ex Imperial Coins.


De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.





CleisthenesFeb 17, 2008
DomitianARDenariusHorseman.jpg
712a, Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.157 viewsDomitian, as Caesar, AR Denarius. 77-78 AD; RIC 242, VF, 18mm, 3.18grams. Obverse: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIA[NVS], laureate head right ; Reverse: COS V below man with hand raised out behind him on horse prancing right. RSC 49a. Scarce. Ex Zuzim Judaea.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Domitianus(A.D. 81-96)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October A.D. 51, the youngest son of Vespasian, Roman emperor (A.D. 69-79) and Domitilla I, a treasury clerk's daughter. Little is known about Domitian in the turbulent 18 months of the four (five?) emperors, but in the aftermath of the downfall of Vitellius in A.D. 69 he presented himself to the invading Flavian forces, was hailed as Caesar, and moved into the imperial residence.

As emperor, Domitian was to become one of Rome's foremost micromanagers, especially concerning the economy. Shortly after taking office, he raised the silver content of the denarius by about 12% (to the earlier level of Augustus), only to devaluate it in A.D. 85, when the imperial income must have proved insufficient to meet military and public expenses.

Domitian's reach extended well beyond the economy. Late in A.D. 85 he made himself censor perpetuus, censor for life, with a general supervision of conduct and morals. The move was without precedent and, although largely symbolic, it nevertheless revealed Domitian's obsessive interest in all aspects of Roman life. An ardent supporter of traditional Roman religion, he also closely identified himself with Minerva and Jupiter, publicly linking the latter divinity to his regime through the Ludi Capitolini, the Capitoline Games, begun in A.D.86. Held every four years in the early summer, the Games consisted of chariot races, athletics and gymnastics, and music, oratory and poetry.

Beyond Rome, Domitian taxed provincials rigorously and was not afraid to impose his will on officials of every rank. Consistent with his concern for the details of administration, he also made essential changes in the organization of several provinces and established the office of curator to investigate financial mismanagement in the cities. Other evidence points to a concern with civic improvements of all kinds, from road building in Asia Minor, Sardinia and near the Danube to building and defensive improvements in North Africa.

While the military abilities of Vespasian and Titus were genuine, those of Domitian were not. Partly as an attempt to remedy this deficiency, Domitian frequently became involved in his own military exploits outside of Rome. He claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Chatti in Gaul, but the conquest was illusory. Final victory did not really come until A.D. 89. In Britain, similar propaganda masked the withdrawal of Roman forces from the northern borders to positions farther south, a clear sign of Domitian's rejection of expansionist warfare in the province.

Domitian's autocratic tendencies meant that the real seat of power during his reign resided with his court. The features typically associated with later courts - a small band of favored courtiers, a keen interest in the bizarre and the unusual (e.g., wrestlers, jesters, and dwarves), and a highly mannered, if somewhat artificial atmosphere, characterized Domitian's palace too, whether at Rome or at his Alban villa, some 20 kilometers outside of the capital.

On 18 September, A.D. 96, Domitian was assassinated and was succeeded on the very same day by M. Cocceius Nerva, a senator and one of his amici. The sources are unanimous in stressing that this was a palace plot, yet it is difficult to determine the level of culpability among the various potential conspirators.
In many ways, Domitian is still a mystery - a lazy and licentious ruler by some accounts, an ambitious administrator and keeper of traditional Roman religion by others. As many of his economic, provincial, and military policies reveal, he was efficient and practical in much that he undertook, yet he also did nothing to hide the harsher despotic realities of his rule. This fact, combined with his solitary personality and frequent absences from Rome, guaranteed a harsh portrayal of his rule. The ultimate truths of his reign remain difficult to know.

Copyright (C) 1997, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Perhaps the reverse of this Domitian/Horseman specimen depicts Domitian as he rode a white horse behind his father, Vespasian, and his brother, Titus, during their joint triumph celebrating their victory over Judaea (see: Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Trans. Robert Graves. London: Penguin, 2003. 304).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesFeb 16, 2008
TiberiusHierapolis.jpg
703b, Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Hierapolis, Phrygia104 viewsBronze AE 16, RPC I 2966 (1 specimen), F, Phrygia, Hierapolis, 3.300g, 15.6mm, 0o; Obverse: TIBEPIOC KAISAR, laureate head right; Reverse: IERAPOLEITWN ZOSIMOS [...], Apollo Archegetes (Lairbenos) standing left, playing lyre; reverse countermarked with star of six rays, in oval punch, 2.5 x 3.5 mm, Howgego 445 (3 pcs, 1 of which from this magistrate); dark patina; very rare. Ex FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

TIBERIUS (A.D. 14-37)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

The reign of Tiberius Claudius Nero (b. 42 B.C., d. A.D. 37, emperor A.D. 14-37) is a particularly important one for the Principate, since it was the first occasion when the powers designed for Augustus alone were exercised by somebody else. In contrast to the approachable and tactful Augustus, Tiberius emerges from the sources as an enigmatic and darkly complex figure, intelligent and cunning, but given to bouts of severe depression and dark moods that had a great impact on his political career as well as his personal relationships. His reign abounds in contradictions. Despite his keen intelligence, he allowed himself to come under the influence of unscrupulous men who, as much as any actions of his own, ensured that Tiberius's posthumous reputation would be unfavorable; despite his vast military experience, he oversaw the conquest of no new region for the empire; and despite his administrative abilities he showed such reluctance in running the state as to retire entirely from Rome and live out his last years in isolation on the island of Capri. His reign represents, as it were, the adolescence of the Principate as an institution. Like any adolescence, it proved a difficult time.

. . . .

It is all but inevitable that any historical assessment of Tiberius will quickly devolve into a historiographical assessment of Tacitus. So masterful is Tacitus's portrayal of his subject, and so influential has it been ever since, that in all modern treatments of Tiberius, in attempting to get at the man, must address the issue of Tacitus's historiographical methods, his sources, and his rhetoric. The subject is too vast to address here, but some points are salient. Tacitus's methods, especially his use of innuendo and inference to convey notions that are essentially editorial glosses, makes taking his portrayal of Tiberius at face value inadvisable. Further, his belief in the immutable character of people -- that one's character is innate at birth and cannot be changed, although it can be disguised -- prevents him from investigating the possibility that Tiberius evolved and developed over his lifetime and during his reign. Instead, Tacitus's portrayal is one of peeling back layers of dissimulation to reach the "real" Tiberius lurking underneath.

Overall, Tiberius's reign can be said to show the boons and banes of rule by one man, especially a man as dark, awkward, and isolated as Tiberius. For the people of the provinces, it was a peaceful and well-ordered time. Governors behaved themselves, and there were no destructive or expensive wars. In the domestic sphere, however, the concentration of power in one person made all the greater the threat of misbehavior by ambitious satellites like Sejanus or foolish friends like Piso. Furthermore, if the emperor wished to remain aloof from the mechanics of power, he could do so. Administrators, who depended on him for their directions, could operate without his immediate supervision, but their dealings with a man like Sejanus could lead to disaster if that man fell from grace. As a result, although he was not a tyrant himself, Tiberius's reign sporadically descended into tyranny of the worst sort. In the right climate of paranoia and suspicion, widespread denunciation led to the deaths of dozens of Senators and equestrians, as well as numerous members of the imperial house. In this sense, the reign of Tiberius decisively ended the Augustan illusion of "the Republic Restored" and shone some light into the future of the Principate, revealing that which was both promising and terrifying.

[For the complete article please refer to http://www.roman-emperors.org/tiberius.htm]

By Garrett G. Fagan, Pennsylvania State University.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.


Hierapolis in History

Usually said to be founded by Eumenes II, king of Pergamum (197-159 BC), Hierapolis may actually have been established closer to the 4th century BC by the Seleucid kings.

The name of the city may derive from Hiera, the wife of Telephus (son of Hercules and grandson of Zeus), the mythical founder of Pergamum. Or it may have been called the "sacred city" because of the temples located at the site. (The name Pamukkale is sometimes used just to refer to the white terraces, but the modern name of the whole area is also Pamukkale.)

With Colossae and Laodicea, Hierapolis became part of the tri-city area of the Lycus River valley. Hierapolis was located across the river from the other two cities and was noted for its textiles, especially wool. The city was also famous for its purple dye, made from the juice of the madder root.

The hot springs at Hierapolis (which still attract visitors today) were believed to have healing properties, and people came to the city to bathe in the rich mineral waters in order to cure various ailments.

Hierapolis was dedicated to Apollo Lairbenos, who was said to have founded the city. The Temple of Apollo that survives in ruins today dates from the 3rd century AD, but its foundations date from the Hellenistic period.

Also worshipped at Hierapolis was Pluto, god of the underworld, probably in relation to the hot gases released by the earth (see the Plutonium, below). The chief religious festival of ancient Hierapolis was the Letoia, in honor of the the goddess Leto, a Greek form of the Mother Goddess. The goddess was honoured with orgiastic rites.

Hierapolis was ceded to Rome in 133 BC along with the rest of the Pergamene kingdom, and became part of the Roman province of Asia. The city was destroyed by an earthquake in 60 AD but rebuilt, and it reached its peak in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.

Famous natives of Hierapolis include the Stoic philosopher Epictetus (c.55-c.135 AD) and the philosopher and rhetorician Antipater. Emperor Septimus hired Antipater to tutor his sons Caracalla and Geta, who became emperors themselves.

Hierapolis had a significant Jewish population in ancient times, as evidence by numerous inscriptions on tombs and elsewhere in the city. Some of the Jews are named as members of the various craft guilds of the city. This was probably the basis for the Christian conversion of some residents of Hierapolis, recorded in Colossians 4:13.

In the 5th century, several churches as well as a large martyrium dedicated to St. Philip (see "In the Bible," below) were built in Hierapolis. The city fell into decline in the 6th century, and the site became partially submerged under water and deposits of travertine. It was finally abandoned in 1334 after an earthquake. Excavations began to uncover Hierapolis in the 19th century.

Hierapolis in the Bible

Hierapolis is mentioned only once in the Bible, when St. Paul praises Epaphras, a Christian from Colossae, in his letter to the Colossians. Paul writes that Epaphras "has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis" (Colossians 4:12-13). Epaphras was probably the founder of the Christian community at Hierapolis.

Ancient tradition also associates Hierapolis with a biblical figure, reporting that Philip died in Hierapolis around 80 AD. However, it is not clear which Philip is menat. It could be Philip the Apostle, one of the original 12 disciples, who is said to have been martyred by upside-down crucifixion (Acts of Philip) or by being hung upside down by his ankles from a tree.

Or Philip could be Philip the Evangelist, a later disciple who helped with administrative matters and had four virgin-prophetess daughters (Acts 6:1-7; 21:8-9). Early traditions say this Philip was buried in Hierapolis along with his virgin daughters, but confusingly call him "Philip the Apostle"! In any case, it seems a prominent person mentioned in Acts did die in Hierapolis.
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/hierapolis-pamukkale.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesFeb 16, 2008
JP2TurinShroudBW.jpg
Vatican 500 Lire John Paul II 1998 Silver26 viewsVatican 500 Lire John Paul II, 1998, Silver; KM Y-292. Obverse: Pope John Paul II; Reverse: Head of the Turin Shroud. BU. Ex ECIN.

Pope John Paul II
(Latin: Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Italian: Giovanni Paolo II, Polish: Jan Paweł II) born Karol Józef Wojtyła on 18 May 1920; he died 2 April 2005. He reigned as the 264th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church and Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City from 16 October 1978, until his death, almost 27 years later, making his the second-longest pontificate in modern times after Pius IX's 31-year reign. He is the only Polish pope, and was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Adrian VI in the 1520s. He is one of only four people to have been named to the Time 100 for both the 20th century and for a year in the 21st. Although not yet formally canonized, he was made the patron of World Youth Day for 2008 in Sydney, Australia. He started those days for youth in 1986.

His early reign was marked by his opposition to communism, and he is often credited as one of the forces which contributed to its collapse in Central and Eastern Europe. In the later part of his pontificate, he was notable for speaking against war, fascism, communism, dictatorship, materialism, abortion, contraception, relativism, unrestrained capitalism, and what he deemed the "culture of death".

John Paul II was Pope during a period in which the Catholic Church's influence declined in developed countries but expanded in the Third World. During his reign, the pope traveled extensively, visiting over 100 countries, more than any of his predecessors. He remains one of the most-traveled world leaders in history. He was fluent in numerous languages: his native Polish and also Italian, French, German, Dutch, English, Spanish, Croatian, Portuguese, Russian and Latin. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he canonized a great number of people.

In 1992, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. On 2 April 2005 at 9:37 p.m. local time, Pope John Paul II died in the Papal Apartments while a vast crowd kept vigil in Saint Peter's Square below. Millions of people flocked to Rome to pay their respects to the body and for his funeral. The last years of his reign had been marked by his fight against the various diseases ailing him, provoking some concerns as to leadership should he become severely incapacitated, and speculation as to whether he should abdicate. On 9 May 2005, Pope Benedict XVI, John Paul II's successor, waived the five year waiting period for a cause for beatification to be opened.

John Paul II emphasized what he called the "universal call to holiness" and attempted to define the Roman Catholic Church's role in the modern world. During his lifetime, he personally experienced many of the pivotal events of the 20th century and he was a towering and at times controversial figure on the world stage. He spoke out against ideologies and politics of communism, Marxism, Socialism, imperialism, hedonism, relativism, materialism, fascism, Nazism, racism and unrestrained capitalism. In many ways, he fought against oppression, secularism and poverty. Although he was on friendly terms with many Western heads of state and leading citizens, he reserved a special opprobrium for what he believed to be the corrosive spiritual effects of modern Western consumerism and the concomitant widespread secular and hedonistic orientation of Western populations.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia--http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_John_Paul_II

John Paul II was a scholar (he earned--as opposed to being awarded--two doctorates in philosophy); he was an author (numerous works of "non-fiction"); he was a poet and dramatist. In his youth he was an actor. Well know for his athleticism, he was an avid enviromentalist.


The Shroud of Turin

The story of the Shroud of Turin is fascinating. It began, for me, ironically when I thought the "story" had finally been laid to rest. Carbon 14 dating conducted in 1988 had just proved that the Shroud was medieval. Along with most, I accepted these results--the fact that two of my former Alma Maters (The University of Arizona and Oxford University) were involved in the testing lent a comfortable sense of closure (to give them their due, scientists from the Institut für Mittelenergiephysik in Zurich, Columbia University, and the British Museum were also involved in the tests). I was re-engaged by the Shroud story in 2005 when an article in the scholarly, peer-reviewed scientific journal Thermochimica Acta by an equally eminent scientist, Raymond N. Rogers, of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, subverted the 1988 tests. Very briefly, the sample cut from the Shroud in 1988 was shown not to be valid. In fact, the article noted, the Shroud was much older than the carbon 14 tests suggested. Curiouser and curiouser. . . and I'll leave the story at this juncture. If you are interested, see the following site:
http://www.shroudofturin4journalists.com/pantocrator.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesFeb 10, 2008
AusgustusActiumDenarius.jpg
[603a] Octavian, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.49 viewsAR denarius; BMC 461; struck at Lugdunum between 15-13 BC , C 1411, RIC 171a; Date: 17.8 mm, 3.5 grams; F+; Obverse: AVGVSTVS [DI]VI F, Bare head right; Reverse: IMP X, Apollo standing facing, holding plectrum in right hand and lyre in left, ACT in exergue. A decent denarius commemorating The Battle of Actium against Antony in 31 BC. Ex McSorley Westchester Stamp and coin show 1970. Ex Ancient Imports.


De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers

AUGUSTUS (31 B.C. - 14 A.D.)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

In the course of his long and spectacular career, he put an end to the advancing decay of the Republic and established a new basis for Roman government that was to stand for three centuries. This system, termed the "Principate," was far from flawless, but it provided the Roman Empire with a series of rulers who presided over the longest period of unity, peace, and prosperity that Western Europe, the Middle East and the North African seaboard have known in their entire recorded history. Even if the rulers themselves on occasion left much to be desired, the scale of Augustus's achievement in establishing the system cannot be overstated. Aside from the immense importance of Augustus's reign from the broad historical perspective, he himself is an intriguing figure: at once tolerant and implacable, ruthless and forgiving, brazen and tactful. Clearly a man of many facets, he underwent three major political reinventions in his lifetime and negotiated the stormy and dangerous seas of the last phase of the Roman Revolution with skill and foresight. With Augustus established in power and with the Principate firmly rooted, the internal machinations of the imperial household provide a fascinating glimpse into the one issue that painted this otherwise gifted organizer and politician into a corner from which he could find no easy exit: the problem of the succession.

(For a very detailed and interesting account of the Age of Augustus see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/auggie.htm)

Death and Retrospective

In his later years, Augustus withdrew more and more from the public eye, although he continued to transact public business. He was getting older, and old age in ancient times must have been considerably more debilitating than it is today. In any case, Tiberius had been installed as his successor and, by AD 13, was virtually emperor already. In AD 4 he had received grants of both proconsular and tribunician power, which had been renewed as a matter of course whenever they needed to be; in AD 13, Tiberius's imperium had been made co-extensive with that of Augustus. While traveling in Campania, Augustus died peacefully at Nola on 19 August, AD 14. Tiberius, who was en route to Illyricum, hurried to the scene and, depending on the source, arrived too late or spent a day in consultation with the dying princes. The tradition that Livia poisoned her husband is scurrilous in the extreme and most unlikely to be true. Whatever the case about these details, Imperator Caesar Augustus, Son of a God, Father of his Country, the man who had ruled the Roman world alone for almost 45 years, or over half a century if the triumviral period is included, was dead. He was accorded a magnificent funeral, buried in the mausoleum he had built in Rome, and entered the Roman pantheon as Divus Augustus. In his will, he left 1,000 sesterces apiece to the men of the Praetorian guard, 500 to the urban cohorts, and 300 to each of the legionaries. In death, as in life, Augustus acknowledged the true source of his power.

The inscription entitled "The Achievements of the Divine Augustus" (Res Gestae Divi Augustae; usually abbreviated RG) remains a remarkable piece of evidence deriving from Augustus's reign. The fullest copy of it is the bilingual Greek and Latin version carved into the walls of the Temple of Rome and Augustus at Ancyra in Galatia (for this reason the RG used to be commonly referred to as the Monumentum Ancyranum). Other evidence, however, demonstrates that the original was inscribed on two bronze pillars that flanked the entrance to the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome. The inscription remains the only first-person summary of any Roman emperor's political career and, as such, offers invaluable insights into the Augustan regime's public presentation of itself.

In looking back on the reign of Augustus and its legacy to the Roman world, its longevity ought not to be overlooked as a key factor in its success. People had been born and reached middle age without knowing any form of government other than the Principate. Had Augustus died earlier (in 23 BC, for instance), matters may have turned out very differently. The attrition of the civil wars on the old Republican aristocracy and the longevity of Augustus, therefore, must be seen as major contributing factors in the transformation of the Roman state into a monarchy in these years. Augustus's own experience, his patience, his tact, and his great political acumen also played their part. All of these factors allowed him to put an end to the chaos of the Late Republic and re-establish the Roman state on a firm footing. He directed the future of the empire down many lasting paths, from the existence of a standing professional army stationed at or near the frontiers, to the dynastic principle so often employed in the imperial succession, to the embellishment of the capital at the emperor's expense. Augustus's ultimate legacy, however, was the peace and prosperity the empire was to enjoy for the next two centuries under the system he initiated. His memory was enshrined in the political ethos of the Imperial age as a paradigm of the good emperor; although every emperor adopted his name, Caesar Augustus, only a handful earned genuine comparison with him.

Copyright © 1999, Garrett G. Fagan.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Augustus (the first Roman emperor, in whose reign Jesus Christ was born) is without any doubt one of the most important figures in Roman history.

It is reported that when he was near death, Augustus addressed those in attendance with these words, "If I have played my part well, applaud!"

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr
CleisthenesFeb 01, 2008
AugustusAE19Sardeis.jpg
702a, Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.35 viewsAugustus, 27 BC - 14 AD. AE 19mm (5.98 gm). Lydia, Sardeis. Diodoros Hermophilou. Obverse: head right. Reverse: Zeus Lydios standing facing holding scepter and eagle. RPC I, 489, 2986; SNG von Aulock 3142. aVF. Fine portrait. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers

AUGUSTUS (31 B.C. - 14 A.D.)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

In the course of his long and spectacular career, he put an end to the advancing decay of the Republic and established a new basis for Roman government that was to stand for three centuries. This system, termed the "Principate," was far from flawless, but it provided the Roman Empire with a series of rulers who presided over the longest period of unity, peace, and prosperity that Western Europe, the Middle East and the North African seaboard have known in their entire recorded history. Even if the rulers themselves on occasion left much to be desired, the scale of Augustus's achievement in establishing the system cannot be overstated. Aside from the immense importance of Augustus's reign from the broad historical perspective, he himself is an intriguing figure: at once tolerant and implacable, ruthless and forgiving, brazen and tactful. Clearly a man of many facets, he underwent three major political reinventions in his lifetime and negotiated the stormy and dangerous seas of the last phase of the Roman Revolution with skill and foresight. With Augustus established in power and with the Principate firmly rooted, the internal machinations of the imperial household provide a fascinating glimpse into the one issue that painted this otherwise gifted organizer and politician into a corner from which he could find no easy exit: the problem of the succession.

(For a very detailed and interesting account of the Age of Augustus see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/auggie.htm)

Death and Retrospective

In his later years, Augustus withdrew more and more from the public eye, although he continued to transact public business. He was getting older, and old age in ancient times must have been considerably more debilitating than it is today. In any case, Tiberius had been installed as his successor and, by AD 13, was virtually emperor already. In AD 4 he had received grants of both proconsular and tribunician power, which had been renewed as a matter of course whenever they needed to be; in AD 13, Tiberius's imperium had been made co-extensive with that of Augustus. While traveling in Campania, Augustus died peacefully at Nola on 19 August, AD 14. Tiberius, who was en route to Illyricum, hurried to the scene and, depending on the source, arrived too late or spent a day in consultation with the dying princes. The tradition that Livia poisoned her husband is scurrilous in the extreme and most unlikely to be true. Whatever the case about these details, Imperator Caesar Augustus, Son of a God, Father of his Country, the man who had ruled the Roman world alone for almost 45 years, or over half a century if the triumviral period is included, was dead. He was accorded a magnificent funeral, buried in the mausoleum he had built in Rome, and entered the Roman pantheon as Divus Augustus. In his will, he left 1,000 sesterces apiece to the men of the Praetorian guard, 500 to the urban cohorts, and 300 to each of the legionaries. In death, as in life, Augustus acknowledged the true source of his power.

The inscription entitled "The Achievements of the Divine Augustus" (Res Gestae Divi Augustae; usually abbreviated RG) remains a remarkable piece of evidence deriving from Augustus's reign. The fullest copy of it is the bilingual Greek and Latin version carved into the walls of the Temple of Rome and Augustus at Ancyra in Galatia (for this reason the RG used to be commonly referred to as the Monumentum Ancyranum). Other evidence, however, demonstrates that the original was inscribed on two bronze pillars that flanked the entrance to the Mausoleum of Augustus in Rome. The inscription remains the only first-person summary of any Roman emperor's political career and, as such, offers invaluable insights into the Augustan regime's public presentation of itself.

In looking back on the reign of Augustus and its legacy to the Roman world, its longevity ought not to be overlooked as a key factor in its success. People had been born and reached middle age without knowing any form of government other than the Principate. Had Augustus died earlier (in 23 BC, for instance), matters may have turned out very differently. The attrition of the civil wars on the old Republican aristocracy and the longevity of Augustus, therefore, must be seen as major contributing factors in the transformation of the Roman state into a monarchy in these years. Augustus's own experience, his patience, his tact, and his great political acumen also played their part. All of these factors allowed him to put an end to the chaos of the Late Republic and re-establish the Roman state on a firm footing. He directed the future of the empire down many lasting paths, from the existence of a standing professional army stationed at or near the frontiers, to the dynastic principle so often employed in the imperial succession, to the embellishment of the capital at the emperor's expense. Augustus's ultimate legacy, however, was the peace and prosperity the empire was to enjoy for the next two centuries under the system he initiated. His memory was enshrined in the political ethos of the Imperial age as a paradigm of the good emperor; although every emperor adopted his name, Caesar Augustus, only a handful earned genuine comparison with him.

Copyright © 1999, Garrett G. Fagan.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Augustus (the first Roman emperor, in whose reign Jesus Christ was born) is without any doubt one of the most important figures in Roman history.

It is reported that when he was near death, Augustus addressed those in attendance with these words, "If I have played my part well, applaud!"

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr
CleisthenesJan 29, 2008
JuliusCaesarARdenarius.jpg
601, Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.55 viewsJulius Caesar AR Denarius 40 B.C. 20 mm, 3.6 gm; aVF; Moving mint. 49-48 BC. Obverse: Pontifical emblems culullus, aspergillum, axe, and apex. Reverse: elephant right trampling dragon; CAESAR in exergue. Ex Windsor Antiquities.


It is not possible to adequately discuss Gaius Julius Caesar within the constraints of this gallery. He was born on either the 12th or the 13th of July in 100 B.C. [most scholars agree upon this date, but it is debated], and he was assassinated on 15 March 44 B.C.

Caesar is arguably the most important figure in Roman history; only Augustus and, perhaps, Constantine the Great made contributions of equivalent magnitude. Caesar was a truly gifted writer, orator, politician and soldier .

Library and book store shelves are crowded with a variety of biographies on the great man. Christian Meier, professor of Ancient History at the University of Munich, has written a scholarly as well as intriguing biography of Caesar. It is simply titled Caesar. It was first published in Germany in 1982, and a recently published paper back translation by David McLintock is now available from Fontana Press (a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers).

Caesar is fascinating.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJan 22, 2008
AntoninusPiusAequitasSear4053.jpg
[904a] Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.127 viewsAntoninus Pius, AD 138 to 161. Silver denarius. Sear-4053; gVF; Rome;16.4 x 17.9 mm, 3.61 g; issue of AD 138; Obverse : Head of Antoninus Pius right, with IMP T AEL CAES HADRI ANTONINVS around; Reverse : Aequitas standing left, holding scales and a cornucopiae, with AVG PIVS P M TR P COS DES II around. This is an interesting part of the Antoninus Pius series, struck in the first year of his reign, using his adoptive name of Hadrianus, and with the reverse inscription a continuation from the obverse.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

Introduction
The long reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius is often described as a period of peace and quiet before the storm which followed and plagued his successor, Marcus Aurelius. In addition to the relative peacefulness, this emperor set the tone for a low-keyed imperial administration which differed markedly from those of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian. Antoninus managed to govern the empire capably and yet with such a gentle hand that he earned the respect, acclaim, and love of his subjects.

Early Life
The future emperor was born T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus on September 19, A.D. 86 at Lanuvium, an old Latin city southeast of Rome. His father's family had originally migrated to Rome from Nemausus (Nîmes) in Narbonese Gaul, but his paternal grandfather, T. Aurelius Fulvus, had served twice as Roman consul and also as city prefect and his father, Aurelius Fulvus, also held the consulship. The future emperor's mother was Arria Fadilla and her father, Arrius Antoninus, had also been consul twice. Young Antoninus was raised at Lorium, on the via Aurelia, where he later built a palace.

Career Under Hadrian
Very little is known about Antoninus' life before he became emperor. The brief biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae credited to Julius Capitolinus refers to his services as quaestor, praetor, and consul and P. von Rohden's entry in Pauly-Wissowa dates his tenure of these offices to A.D. 112, 117, and 120 respectively. At some point between A.D. 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria Faustina, the daughter of M. Annius Verus. Hadrian later appointed Antoninus as one of his consular administrators of Italy and between A.D. 130 and 135 Antoninus served as proconsul of Asia.
Antoninus had achieved a distinguished career under Hadrian. and could have retired from imperial service with great pride, but events in A.D. 138 changed Antoninus' future quite radically. Early in the year, the death of Aelius Verus, whom Hadrian had previously adopted and named Caesar, opened a new path. Hadrian met with the Senate and announced his decision to adopt Antoninus as his son and heir and to share both proconsular and tribunician power with him. After giving this offer careful thought, Antoninus accepted and agreed in return to adopt as his heirs his wife's nephew, M. Antoninus, the future Marcus Aurelius, and L. Verus, the son of Aelius Verus.

Imperial Reign
When Hadrian died in the following summer, Antoninus oversaw the conveyance of his body from Baiae to Rome for interment in the new imperial tomb (now Castel Sant' Angelo). To honor his adoptive father, Antoninus set up a magnificent shield, established a priesthood, and, against serious opposition in the Senate, requested and bargained for senatorial confirmation of Hadrian's deification. Antoninus' devotion to Hadrian's memory is one of the reasons cited for the Senate's bestowal upon the new emperor of the name "pius". After initially refusing the Senate's recognition of Antoninus as "pater patriae", the new emperor accepted the honor with thanks. He declined, however, the Senate's decree authorizing the renaming of the months of September and October after the new emperor and empress. The Senate did honor the new empress with the title of "Augusta". On her death only a few years later in A.D. 141, the Senate deified Faustina and voted her a temple and priestesses. In memory of his wife, Antoninus also instituted an alimentary program, similar to those of his immediate predecessors, which combined loans to Italian farmers with funds, generated by interest on those loans, set aside for the care of orphaned girls. On coins these orphans are designated as puellae Faustinianae.

Antoninus returned all of Italy's share of the aurum coronarium, the money raised in honor of his accession, and one-half of that contributed from the provinces. His economic policy in general was relatively conservative and avoided luxurious waste while supporting public works of practical application. His procurators were told to keep provincial tribute reasonable and they were held accountable for exceeding fixed bounds. The provinces in general prospered under his administration and the use of informers was ended. Julius Capitolinus summarizes the excellence of Antoninus' administration when he says: "With such care did he govern all peoples under him that he looked after all things and all men as if they were his own." In spite of his caution in raising imperial revenues, however, Antoninus provided regular gifts of money to the people and to the soldiers and produced spectacular public games with a great variety of animals on display. The emperor also used his own funds to distribute oil, grain, and wine free in a time of famine and helped relieve the devastation caused in Rome by fire, flood, and a collapse of stands in the Circus Maximus and by fires and earthquakes in the provinces.

Although the reigns of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian, had seen prolific building activity in Rome and throughout the empire, Antoninus chose to be less lavish in his public works projects. He felt an obligation to complete work begun or promised by Hadrian. Antoninus completed the Mausoleum of Hadrian along the Tiber and built the temples of the Divine Hadrian in the Campus Martius and of Faustina in the Forum. He also restored the oldest bridge in Rome, the Pons Sublicius, the Graecostadium, and the Colosseum. He may even have put some finishing touches on the Pantheon because Julius Capitolinus mentions restoration of a templum Agrippae, but the text may be corrupt and the temple of the Divine Augustus, the restoration of which is recorded on some of Antoninus' coins, may be the intended reference here. Outside Rome, Antoninus repaired several roads and renovated ports in Alexandria, Caieta, and Terracina, a bath at Ostia, an aqueduct at Antium, and the temples in his birthplace, Lanuvium.

Although some sources suggest that Antoninus went in person to Egypt and Syria to put down a revolt of peoples along the Red Sea, Julius Capitolinus says that Antoninus made his home in Rome where he could receive messages from all parts of the empire equally quickly . He also states that to avoid burdening the provinces with the expenses of housing an emperor and his associates Antoninus took expeditions out of Rome only to his estates in Campania. If correct, these actions marked a decided break with the visibility of his two predecessors in the provinces and recreated a more Rome- and Italy-centered empire. Wilhelm Weber commented on this policy: "As if, perhaps, in criticism of Hadrian's conception of his task, he sat like a beneficent spider at the centre of his web, power radiating steadily from him to the farthest bounds of the empire and as steadily returning to him again. For the last time in Imperial history the Emperor was wholly one with Rome and its centralization."

During his third consulship (A.D. 140-144), Antoninus issued a series of unusual coins and medallions which featured entirely new or modified religious/mythological images. Jocelyn Toynbee correctly pointed out that these types were issued to prepare for the celebration of Rome's nine hundredth birthday in A.D. 147/148 and she also discussed two images which represent the emperor's reaction against Hadrian's "cosmopolitanism" and his attempt to restore Rome and Italy to a superior position over the provinces. This unusual series, issued especially in bronze, commemorated Rome's connection to her distant roots from Trojans, Latins, and Sabines and honored gods who had protected the city in the past. Themes associated with Aeneas, Romulus, Numa Pompilius, and Augustus by implication tied in Antoninus as successor to these four model Roman leaders. Although the death of Faustina may have motivated Antoninus' display of public piety to some degree on these coins and medallions, the series also set the tone for the games and rituals of the birthday celebration in 147/148, renewed religious values, and restored Rome's proper relationship with protective gods who had brought the city past success both in war and in peace. Another series of coins, the "anonymous quadrantes", combines a portrait of a god or goddess on the obverse with a reverse symbol of an animal associated with the same deity. The absence of an imperial portrait or any inscription aside from the S.C. authorization of the Senate makes it especially difficult to date this series. However, the similarity of the Jupiter and Venus portraits to images of Antoninus and Faustina and other links to Antoninus' coin-types make it probable that several of these types were issued in Antoninus' reign, perhaps again in connection with Rome's birthday celebration in A.D. 147/148.

Although Antoninus' reign was generally peaceful, Capitolinus says that he fought wars, through legates, against the Britons, Moors, Germans, Dacians, and the Alans and suppressed revolts in Achaea, in Egypt, and among the Jews. The war in Britain was fought around A.D. 142 against the Brigantes and led to the construction of the Antonine Wall across the island as a second line of defense north of Hadrian's Wall. In foreign relations, the emperor's authority was respected among peoples bordering on the empire. Antoninus approved the appointment of kings for the Armenians, for the Lazi, and for the Quadi and he successfully prevented a Parthian attack on Armenia by sending the Parthian king a letter of warning.

Antoninus did continue his predecessor's interest in law and his imperial legislation is cited frequently in Justinian's Digest. Several lawyers served in the emperor's consilium and presumably advised him on legal matters. Antoninus' legislation included protections for slaves, freedmen, and for illegitimate children and further defined family and inheritance law, including consideration of a daughter's wishes in marriage arrangements.

In preparation for the succession, Antoninus' daughter Faustina married Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 145 and she soon became Augusta in place of her deceased mother. Marcus Aurelius was associated in imperial powers and he and L. Verus both held the consulship multiple times in preparation for their accession. Antoninus made sure that he would leave the Empire secure and in sound financial condition and his adopted sons inherited a large surplus (reportedly 675 million denarii) in the Treasury .

Antoninus Pius died in March of A.D. 161, after giving the appropriate imperial watchword which so typified his reign, "equanimity". He was soon afterward deified by the Senate. His adopted sons and successors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, erected a column of red granite in his honor in the Campus Martius. The marble base for this column, which is preserved in the Vatican, includes a sculpted image of the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius expressed his enduring love and respect for his adoptive father: "Do all things as a disciple of Antoninus. Think of his constancy in every act rationally undertaken, his invariable equability, his piety, his serenity of countenance, his sweetness of disposition, his contempt for the bubble of fame, and his zeal for getting a true grasp of affairs." In many ways Antoninus Pius was a model emperor who justifiably earned comparison with his own model, Numa Pompilius, and provided the Empire with a period of fortune, religious piety, and security perhaps unmatched in imperial annals.

Copyright (C) 1998, Richard D. Weigel.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.



CleisthenesJan 21, 2008
PontiusPilate29BCHendin648.jpg
[18H648] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 29 BC48 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, "SIMPULUM;" Hendin 648, AVF/VF, 15.3mm, 2.20 grams, struck 29 C.E. Nice round, good weight Pontius Pilate Prutah.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesJan 18, 2008
PontiusPilate30BCHendin649.jpg
[18H649] Pontius Pilate Prefect under Tiberius Prutah, "LIZ", 30 BC70 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, 'LIZ;' Hendin 649, VF, 15.5mm, 1.90 grams. Struck 30 C.E. Nice historic coin.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJan 18, 2008
PontiusPilate31BCHendin650.jpg
[18H650] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 31 BC68 viewsPONTIUS PILATUS PRUTAH. Hendin 650, aVF, 14.3mm, 1.94 grams. Minted 31 C.E. FULL "LIH" Date, (H partially hidden behind pretty patina can be revealed.)

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesJan 18, 2008
ConstanCommRIC63_ConstantinopleMint.jpg
City of Constantinople Commemorative, 330 - 333 A.D.80 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 63, VF, Constantinople, 2.524g, 18.5mm, 0o, 330 - 333 A.D.; Obverse: CONSTAN-TINOPOLI, Constantinopolis' helmeted bust left in imperial cloak and holding scepter across left shoulder; Reverse: Victory standing left, right foot on prow, scepter in right, resting left on grounded shield, CONSZ in exergue; nice style. Ex FORVM.

Constantinople Commemoratives minted by the actual city of Constantinople mint are much scarcer than those minted by other Eastern mints.

The village that was to become the site of Byzantium/Constantinople/Istambul was founded c. 658 B. C. by a Greek colony from Megara; the site was then occupied by the Thracian village of Lygos. The chief of the Megarian expedition was Byzas, after whom the city was naturally called Byzantion (Lat. Byzantium). Despite its perfect situation, the colony did not prosper at first; it suffered much during the Medic wars, chiefly from the satraps of Darius and Xerxes. Later on, its control was disputed by Lacedæmonians and Athenians; for two years (341-339 B. C.) it held out against Philip of Macedon. It succeeded in maintaining its independence even against victorious Rome, was granted the title and rights of an allied city, and its ambassadors were accorded at Rome the same honours as those given to allied kings; it enjoyed, moreover, all transit duties on the Bosporus. Cicero defended it in the Roman Senate, and put an end to the exactions of Piso.

The city continued prosperous to the reign of Septimius Severus, when it sided with his rival, Pescennius Niger. After a siege of three years (193-196) Severus razed to the ground its walls and public monuments, and made it subject to Perinthus or Heraclea in Thrace. But he soon forgave this resistance, restored its former privileges, built there the baths of Zeuxippus, and began the hippodrome. It was devastated again by the soldiers of Gallienus in 262, but was rebuilt almost at once. In the long war between Constantine and Licinius (314-323) it embraced the fortunes of the latter, but, after his defeat at Chrysopolis (Scutari), submitted to the victor.

Constantine had chosen this city as the new capital of the Roman Empire, but owing to his wars and the needs of the State, he rarely resided there.

(The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume IV; Copyright © 1908 by Robert Appleton Company;Online Edition Copyright © 2003 by K. Knight).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJan 18, 2008
ApolloniaARdrachmBMC39.jpg
[318apo] Apollonia, Illyria, Greece, c. 200 - 80 B.C.62 viewsSilver drachm, BMC 39, VF, Apollonia mint, 3.052g, 17.4mm, 180o, c. 200 - 80 B.C.; Obverse: XENOKLHS, cow left, head turned, suckling calf right; Reverse: APOL / CAI-RH-NOS, double stellate pattern, within a slightly curved double linear square. Ex FORVM.

"This type circulated alongside, and presumably at parity with, Roman Republican denarii," Joe Sermarini, FORVM.

Apollonia in Illyria (modern Albania), known as Apollonia (Aπολλωνία κατ' Επίδαμνον or Απολλωνία προς Επιδάμνω), was located on the right bank of the Aous, the ruins of which are situated in the Fier region, near the village of Pojan (Pojani). It was founded in 588 BC by Greek colonists from Kerkyra (Corfu) and Corinth, and was perhaps the most important of the several classical towns known as Apollonia (Απολλωνία). The site was already used by Corinthian traders and the Taulantii, an Illyrian tribe, who remained closely involved with the settlement for centuries and lived alongside the Greek colonists. The city was said to have originally been named Gylaceia after Glyax, its founder, but the name was later changed to honour the god Apollo.

Apollonia flourished under Roman rule and was noted by Cicero in his Philippics as magna urbs et gravis, a great and important city.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollonia,_Illyria

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesJan 16, 2008
CTGeyes2GodRIC7.jpg
Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.43 viewsSilvered AE 3, RIC VII 92, EF, 3.456g, 18.1mm, 0o, Heraclea mint, 327 - 329 A.D.; Obverse: CONSTAN-TINVS AVG, diademed head right, eyes to God; Reverse: D N CONSTANTINI MAX AVG, VOT XXX in wreath, •SMHB in exergue.

As leading numismatist Joseph Sermarini notes, "The 'looking upwards' portraits of Constantine are often described as 'gazing to Heaven (or God).' The model of these portraits is of course that of the Deified Alexander the Great
(https://www.forumancientcoins.com/ssl/myforum.asp).

The Emperor Constantine I was effectively the sole ruler of the Roman world between 324 and 337 A.D.; his reign was perhaps one of the most crucial of all the emperors in determining the future course of western civilization. By beginning the process of making Christianity the religious foundation of his realm, he set the religious course for the future of Europe which remains in place to this very day. Because he replaced Rome with Constantinople as the center of imperial power, he made it clear that the city of Rome was no longer the center of power, and he also set the stage for the Middle Ages. His philosophical view of monarchy, largely spelled out in some of the works of Eusebius of Caesarea, became the foundation for the concept of the divine right of kings which prevailed in Europe.

Constantine was not a "Christian convert" in any traditional sense. He was not baptized until close to death, and while that was not an uncommon practice, the mention of Christ in his speeches and decrees is conspicuous by its absence. Eusebius, Church historian and Constantine biographer, is responsible for much of the valorization of Constantine as the Christian Emperor. The somnambulant "sign" in which Constantine was to become victor at the Milvian Bridge is, not so surprisingly, revealed to posterity long after the "fact." Throughout his reign, Constantine continues to portray himself on coins as a sun god (Freeman, Charles. Egypt, Greece and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean; Second Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. 582). Above all, Constantine was a pragmatist. It would be cynical to egregiously disavow his commitment to Christianity, but it would be equally wrong to think that he would allow Christianity to meddle in the governance of his empire. As he reputedly told a group of bishops, "You are bishops of those within the church, but I am perhaps a bishop appointed by God of those outside." Whatever the motives for his decision to support Christianity, Christianity benefitted from the arrangement; so, too, did Constantine. It was a match made in heaven.

Which brings us to Crispus.
Whenever I am engaged in any discussion concerning Constantine I, Crispus is never far from my mind. As historian Hans Pohlsander from SUNY notes, "Crispus' end was as tragic as his career had been brilliant. His own father ordered him to be put to death. We know the year of this sad event, 326, from the Consularia Constantinopolitana, and the place, Pola in Istria, from Ammianus Marcellinus. The circumstances, however, are less clear. Zosimus (6th c.) and Zonaras (12th c.) both report that Crispus and his stepmother Fausta were involved in an illicit relationship." And Pohlsander continues with, "There may be as much gossip as fact in their reports, but Crispus must have committed, or at least must have been suspected of having committed, some especially shocking offense to earn him a sentence of death from his own father. He also suffered damnatio memoriae, his honor was never restored, and history has not recorded the fate of his wife and his child (or children)(Copyright (C) 1997, Hans A. Pohlsander. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis;An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families:http://www.roman-emperors.org/crispus.htm).

But there is something terribly illogigical about Constantinian apologetics. In 294 BC, prior to the death of his father, Seleucus I; Antiochus married his step-mother, Stratonice, daughter of Demetrius Poliorcetes. His elderly father reportedly instigated the marriage after discovering that his son was in danger of dying of lovesickness. If this is the way a "Pagan" father is able to express love for his son, then would not a saintly Christian love his son in at least similar measure? This particular Christian father, about whom St. Nectarios writes, "Hellenism spread by Alexander, paved the way for Christianity by the Emperor Constantine the Great," is unique. It is important to our discussion to take note of the fact that in the Greek Orthodox Church, Constantine the Great is revered as a Saint.

Now would be an appropriate time to recall what Joseph Sermarini noted above, "The 'looking upwards' portraits of Constantine are often described as 'gazing to Heaven (or God).' The model of these portraits is of course that of the Deified Alexander the Great(https://www.forumancientcoins.com/ssl/myforum.asp).

Isn’t it all too possible--even probable--that Constantine had been growing obsessively jealous of his ever more successful and adulated son? It is completely out of character for Constantine to merely acquiesce to being Philip to Crispus' Alexander. Remember the Constantine who has proven time and again (recall Constantine's disingenuous promise of clemency to Licinius) that he is a completely self-serving liar and a murderer, and Constantine decides to murder again. Why "must we, "as Pohlsander adamantly suggests, "resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins? A similar claim had already been made by Julian the Apostate [Philosopher]."

Perhaps it is time to cease being apologists for the sometime megalomaniacal Constantine. As Michael Grant notes, "It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . ." (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).

Keep in mind that the obverse device of this coin shows Constantine I "gazing toward God" and was struck within a year or possibly two of Constantine I murdering his first-born son and condemning him to damnatio memoriae.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJan 12, 2008
ARdrachmChalkis.jpg
[316cha] Chalkis, Euboia, Greece, c. 338 - 308 B.C.39 viewsSilver drachm, Picard Emission 8, choice gVF, Chalkis mint, 3.728g, 17.5mm, 270o, c. 338 - 308 B.C.; Obverse: head of Hera? right, hair rolled; Reverse: LA - C, eagle flying right, holding serpent in beak and claws, concave field; nicely toned, ex-Edward Gans 2/28/1968; Ex-FORVM.

The site of ancient Chalkis was occupied in the Bronze Age. Later it was a great centre of colonization, and in the 8th and 7th centuries BC it founded over 30 towns on the Chalcidice peninsula, as well as Cumae in Italy in about 750 BC and Naxos in Sicily in 735 BC. In the 5th and 4th centuries BC Chalcis was subject to Athens. The philosopher Aristotle died there in 322 BC. Chalcis was important in the Middle Ages, when it was called Egripo by the Greeks and Negroponte by the Venetians.
http://encyclopedia.farlex.com/Chalk%EDs

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesJan 04, 2008
Janus119BCCrawford281_1.jpg
(500a) Roman Republic, 119 BC, M. Furius Philius - Furia 1880 viewsRoman Republic, 119 BC, M. Furius Philius - Furia 18. Crawford 281/1, Sydenham 529; 19mm, 3.23 grams. aVF, Rome; Obverse: laureate head of Janus, M FORVRI L F around; Reverse: Roma standing left erecting trophy, Galic arms around, PHLI in exergue. Ex Ephesus Numismatics.

Gauis Marius
As a novus homo, or new man, Marius found the rise in the Roman cursus honorum ( "course of honours"-- the sequential order of public offices held by aspiring politicians in the Roman Republic) a daunting challenge. It is certain that he used his old family client contacts and his military relations as a source of support. Among these contacts were the powerful Metelli family, and their early support was to prove to be a disaster for them. Just a few short years after his service as Quaestor, Marius was elected Tribune of the Plebes in 119 BC. In this position so soon after the political turmoil and murder of the Gracchi brothers (Gaius murdered 123 BC), Marius chose to follow the populares path, making a name for himself under similar auspices. As Tribune, he would ensure the animosity of the conservative faction of the Senate, and the Metelli, by passing popular laws forbidding the inspection of ballot boxes. In do doing, he directly opposed the powerful elite, who used ballot inspection as a way to intimidate voters in the citizen assembly elections.

Marius would go on to be elected Consul seven times and figure prominantly in the civil unrest of the early eighties as Lucius Cornelius Sulla's opponent. In 88 BC, Sulla had been elected Consul. There was now a choice before the Senate about which general to send to Asia (a potentially lucrative command): either Marius or Sulla. The Senate chose Sulla, but soon the Assembly appointed Marius. In this unsavory episode of low politics, Marius had been helped by the unscrupulous actions of Publius Sulpicius Rufus, whose debts Marius had promised to erase. Sulla refused to acknowledge the validity of the Assembly's action.

Sulla left Rome and traveled to "his"army waiting in Nola, the army the Senate had asked him to lead to Asia. Sulla urged his legions to defy the Assembly's orders and accept him as their rightful leader. Sulla was successful, and the legions murdered the representatives from the Assembly. Sulla then commanded six legions to march with him opon Rome and institute a civil war.

This was a momentous event, and was unforeseen by Marius, as no Roman army had ever marched upon Rome—it was forbidden by law and ancient tradition.

Sulla was to eventually rule Rome as Dictator. In his book Rubicon, historian Tom Holland argues that Sulla's actions had no lasting negative effect upon the health of the Republic, that Sulla was at heart a Republican. However, once a Roman general has defied Republican tradition, once a Roman general has used his command to combat fellow Romans, once a Roman general has set-up himself as Dictator--it follows that the decision to replicate these decsions (think: Caesar and Rubicon) is that much more easiely taken.

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.





CleisthenesDec 13, 2007
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[2410a] Mysia, Pergamon. Regal Issue, 281-133 BC.74 viewsMysia, Pergamon. Regal Issue, 281-133 BC. AE 14mm (1.94 gm). Obverse: Athena in Attic helmet right. Reverse: ΦIΛE-TAIPOY; bow. SNG France 5, 1683. Good very fine. Ex Tom Vossen.


The Attalid dynasty was a Hellenistic dynasty that ruled the city of Pergamon after the death of Lysimachus, a general of Alexander the Great. The Attalid kingdom was the rump state left after the collapse of the Lysimachian Empire. One of Lysimachus' officers, Philetaerus, took control of the city in 282 BC. The later Attalids were descended from his father, and they expanded the city into a kingdom. Attalus I proclaimed himself King in the 230s BC, following his victories over the Galatians. The Attalids ruled Pergamon until Attalus III bequeathed the kingdom to the Roman Republic in 133 BC to avoid a likely succession crisis.

On the interior of The Great Altar of Zeus at Pergamon is a frieze depicting the life of Telephos, son of Herakles, whom the ruling Attalid dynasty associated with their city and utilized to claim descendance from the Olympians. Pergamon, having entered the Greek world much later than their counterparts to the west, could not boast the same divine heritage as older city-states, and had to retroactively cultivate their place in Greek mythos.

The Pergamon Museum (in German, Pergamonmuseum) is one of the museums on the Museum Island in Berlin. It was planned by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann and was built over a period from 1910 to 1930. It houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar. Sections of The Telephos Frieze, originaly composed of the sequnce of 52 panels--only some scenes of this beautiful frieze were "saved" by German archeologists in the 19th century--are exhibited there.

The Attalid Dynasty of Pergamum

Philetaerus (282 BC–263 BC)
Eumenes I (263 BC–241 BC)
Attalus I Soter (241 BC–197 BC)
Eumenes II (197 BC–158 BC)
Attalus II Philadelphus (160 BC–138 BC)
Attalus III (138 BC–133 BC)
Eumenes III Aristonicus (pretender, 133 BC–129 BC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attalid_dynasty

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesDec 12, 2007
ATG_Susa_Price3827_incitatus.jpg
[300sus] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Tetradrachm (Lifetime Issue)52 viewsAlexander III, AR silver tetradrachm; Price 3827; struck 336-323 BC. Susa mint; VF; Sturck during the lifetime of Alexander the Great. Obverse: Head of Herakles right in lion skin; Reverse - AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus seated left with eagle & scepter; monogram in left field, monogram below throne; BASILEOS below. Ex Incitatus.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."
--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesNov 26, 2007
Roger2NormanKingSicily.jpg
Roger II, Norman King of Sicily; 1127-1130 AD25 viewsRoger II (Hauteville), Norman King of Sicily; AE Double Follaro; Spahr 53; Date: 1127-1130 AD; 5.3 grams, 20.74 mm; VF; Obverse: Christ enthroned, facing; Reverse: Emperor standing, facing, R above II in left field; a nice example of this scarcer bronze. Ex Ancient Imports.

"In Roger II Europe saw one of the greatest and most colourful rulers of the Middle Ages. Born of an Italian mother, raised in Sicily where--thanks to his father's principles of total religious toleration--Greek and Saracen mingled on equal footing with Norman and Latin.

Roger's most astonishing political achievement was to weld together the three great civilisations of the Mediterranean--Latin Greek and Arab--so that they worked together in peace and harmony, and to do so in a century in which they were everywhere else at each other's throats: the century of the Crusades, and less than a hundred years after the Great Schism between the Eastern and Western Churches" (Norwich, John Julius. The Middle Sea, A History of the Mediterranean. New York: Doubleday, 2006. 102,104).

Edited by J.P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesNov 05, 2007
Ardashir1Gobl10sm.jpg
[1901a] Ardashir I, The Great (AD 224-241) 1462 viewsSASANIAN EMPIRE. Ardashir I, 224-241 AD. AR Drachm; Göbl 10; 4.27 gm; Toned VF. Obverse: Crowned draped bust; Reverse: Fire-altar. Ex Pegasi.

Ardashir I, The Great (AD 226-241)

Ardashir I (early Middle Persian Arđaxšēr "Who has the Divine Order as his Kingdom"), also known as Ardashīr-i Pāpagān "Ardashir, son of Pāpağ" Ardeshiri Babakan, and as Artaxerxes, was ruler of Persia (226–241) and the founder of the Sassanid dynasty (226–651). Other variants of his name appear as Artaxares, Artashastra, Ardaxshir, Ardasher, Artashir and Artakhshathra.

Early Years
Ardashir I was born in the late 2nd century in Istakhr, (located today in Iran) a vassal kingdom of the Parthian Empire. His father Pāpağ (sometimes written as Pāpak or Babak) deposed the previous king, Gochihr, and took his throne. His mother may have been named Rodhagh. During his father's reign, Ardashir I ruled the town of Darabjird and received the title of "argbadh". Upon Pāpağ's death, Ardashir I's elder brother Šāpūr ascended to the throne. However, Ardashir I rebelled against his brother and took the kingship for himself in 208.

Ardashir I rapidly extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars and gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana, and Mesene. This expansion brought the attention of the Arsacid Great King Artabanus IV (216–224), Ardashir I's overlord and ruler of the Parthian Empire, who marched against him in 224. Their armies clashed at Hormizdeghan, and Artabanus IV was killed. Ardashir I went on to invade the western provinces of the now-defunct Parthian Empire. This led to a confrontation between Kurds and Aradshir I which is recorded in a historical text named "Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak". It is written in Pahlavi script. In this book, the author explains the battle between King of the Kurds, "Madig" and Ardashir I.

Crowned in 226 as the sole ruler of Persia, and taking the title Šāhānšāh "King of Kings" (his consort Adhur-Anahid took the title "Queen of Queens"), Ardashir I finally brought the 400 year-old Parthian Empire to an end and began four centuries of Sassanid rule.
Over the next few years, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana (in modern Turkmenistan), Balkh, and Chorasmia. Bahrain and Mosul were also added to Sassanid possessions. Furthermore, the Kings of Kushan, Turan, and Mekran recognized Ardashir as their overlord. In the West, assaults against Hatra, Armenia and Adiabene met with less success.

Religion and State
According to historian Arthur Christensen, the Sassanid state as established by Ardashir I was characterized by two general trends which differentiated it from its Parthian predecessor: a strong political centralization and organized state sponsorship of Zoroastrianism.

The Parthian Empire had consisted of a loose federation of vassal kingdoms under the suzerainty of the Great King. Ardashir I, perhaps seeing from his own successes the weaknesses of such decentralized authority, established a strong central government by which to rule Persia. The empire was divided into cantons, the dimensions of which were based on military considerations. These cantons were designed to resist the influence of hereditary interests and feudal rivalries. Local governors who descended from the ruling family bore the title of shāh. In an attempt to protect royal authority from regional challenges, the personal domains of the Sassanids and branch families family were scattered across the empire. While the old feudal princes (vāspuhrs) remained, they were required to render military service with their local troops (for the most part peasant levies). The lesser nobility was cultivated as a source of military strength, forming the elite cavalry of the army, and the royal household found a useful (and presumably reliable) military force through the hiring of mercenaries.

Zoroastrianism had existed in the Parthian Empire, and its holy text, the Avesta, had likely been compiled during the years of the Arsacid dynasty. The Sassanids could trace their heritage to the Temple of Anahita at Staxr, where Ardashir I's grandfather had been a dignitary. Under Ardashir I, the Zoroastrian (sometimes called Mazdean) religion was promoted and regulated by the state. The Sassanids built fire temples and, under royal direction, a new and official version of the Avesta was compiled by a cleric named Tansār. The government officially backed the Zurvanist doctrine of the religion, which emphasized the concept of time as the "original principle", over the competing doctrine of Vayism, which stressed the importance of space over time. Despite this state backing of a particular sect, it appears that other religious practices were tolerated so long as they did not interfere with the political authority of the Sassanids.

In other domestic affairs, Ardashir I maintained his familial base in Fars, erecting such structures as the Ghal'eh Dokhtar and the Palace of Ardashir. Despite these impressive structures, he established his government at the old Parthian capital of Ctesiphon on the Tigris River. He also rebuilt the city of Seleucia, located just across the river, which had been destroyed by the Romans in 165, renaming it Veh-Ardashir. Trade was promoted and important ports at Mesene and Charax were repaired or constructed.

War with Rome
In the latter years of his reign, Ardashir I engaged in a series of armed conflicts with Persia's great rival to the west – the Roman Empire.

Ardashir I's expansionist tendencies had been frustrated by his failed invasions of Armenia, where a relative of the former Arsacid rulers of Parthia sat on the throne. Given Armenia's traditional position as an ally of the Romans, Ardashir I may have seen his primary opponent not in the Armenian and Caucasian troops he had faced, but in Rome and her legions.

In 230 Ardashir I led his army into the Roman province of Mesopotamia, unsuccessfully besieging the fortress town of Nisibis. At the same time, his cavalry ranged far enough past the Roman border to threaten Syria and Cappadocia. It seems that the Romans saw fit to attempt a diplomatic solution to the crisis, reminding the Persians of the superiority of Roman arms, but to no avail. Ardashir I campaigned unsuccessfully against Roman border outposts again the following year (231). As a result, the Roman emperor Alexander Severus (222–235) moved to the east, establishing his headquarters at Antioch, but experienced difficulties in bringing his troops together and thus made another attempt at diplomacy, which Ardashir I rebuffed.

Finally, in 232, Severus led his legions in a three-pronged assault on the Persians. However, the separate army groups did not advance in a coordinated fashion, and Ardashir I was able to take advantage of the disorder and concentrate his forces against the enemy advancing through Armenia, where he was able to halt the Roman advance. Hearing of the Roman plans to march on his capital at Ctesiphon, Ardashir I left only a token screening force in the north and met the enemy force that was advancing to the south, apparently defeating it in a decisive manner. However, one can discern that the Persians must have suffered considerable losses as well, as no attempt was made to pursue the fleeing Romans. Both leaders must have had reason to avoid further campaigning, as Severus returned to Europe in the following year (233) and Ardashir I did not renew his attacks for several years, probably focusing his energies in the east.

On 237 Ardashir I, along with his son and successor Shapur I (241–272), again invaded Mesopotamia. This effort resulted in successful assaults on Nisibis and Carrhae and the shock this caused in Rome led the emperor to revive the Roman client-state of Osroene. In 241, Ardashir I and Shapur finally overcame the stubborn fortress of Hatra. Ardashir I died later in the year.

Final Assessment
Ardashir I was an energetic king, responsible for the resurgence of Persia, the strengthening of Zoroastrianism, and the establishment of a dynasty that would endure for four centuries. While his campaigns against Rome met with only limited success, he achieved more against them than the Parthians had done in many decades and prepared the way for the substantial successes his son and successor Shapur I would enjoy against the same enemy.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesNov 03, 2007
Shapur2.jpg
Shapur II (A.D. 310–379)29 viewsHead of a king, probably Shapur II, Sasanian; A.D. 310–379
Iran
Silver, mercury gilding; H. 40 cm
Fletcher Fund, 1965 (65.126)

Description
The Sasanian dynasty of Iran ruled an area from the Euphrates River to Bactria from the third century A.D. until the Islamic conquest in the seventh century, controlling for much of that time the Silk Route from Byzantium to China.

Dating from the fourth century A.D., this silver head of a Sasanian king is an exquisite example of Sasanian metalwork. It is raised from a single piece of silver with chased and repoussé details. The king wears simple ovoid earrings and a beaded necklace of Sasanian fashion. His powerful stare and characteristic arched nose seem to suggest that the artist was attempting to convey a sense of majesty rather than an individual likeness. The identity of the subject of such representations, in relief or in the round, can often be determined by comparison of facial features and details of the crown with those of kings portrayed on Sasanian coins of the period. In this case, however, the crescent that decorates the crenellated crown and the striated orb that rises above it have no exact parallel. A combination of stylistic details suggests that it was made sometime in the fourth century, perhaps during the reign of Shapur II (A.D. 310–379). The lower section of this head has been cut away, so there is no way of knowing whether it was originally part of a larger sculpture composed of several pieces or a decorative bust intended to be seen alone.

Copyright © 2000–2007 The Metropolitan Museum of Art. All rights reserved. www.metmuseum.org. Used by permission.
CleisthenesNov 01, 2007
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[1108a] Trajan Decius, July 249 - June or July 251 A.D. 144 viewsSilver antoninianus, RIC 11b, RSC 4, choice EF, Rome mint, 3.923g, 23.3mm, 0o, 249 - 251 A.D.; Obverse: IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, from behind; Reverse: ADVENTVS AVG, Trajan Decius on horseback left, raising right hand and holding scepter. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Trajan Decius (249-251 A.D.) and Usurpers During His Reign

Geoffrey Nathan and Robin McMahon

Geoffrey Nathan
San Diego State University



Early Life and Public Career

Any discussion of Decius (and for most third century emperors) must be prefaced by an understanding that the historical tradition is incomplete, fragmentary, and not wholly trustworthy. Any reconstruction of his life and reign will therefore be to some degree speculative. With that caveat in mind, Gaius Messius Quintus Decius was born, to a provincial yet aristocratic Senatorial family during the transitional Severan age, possibly in 201. His family may have been from Italian stock, although that is by no means certain. Attempts to describe his life previous to the consulship are problematic, although he did serve as governor in Moesia in the mid-230's. That also means that Decius probably had been a member of the Senate for some time. We know little else about his early life, other than at some point he married Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla, apparently from the Senatorial ordo as well. His political fortunes rose in the troubled 240's. As instability grew in the mid-third century, Philip the Arab charged Decius, suffect consul for 249, with restoring order along the Danubian frontier. In addition to the border unrest, a low-level army officer, Tiberius Claudius Marinus Pacatianus, had led a rebellion of the armies in Pannonia and Moesia. For a short time, Marinus apparently claimed the imperial purple and along with movements of the Gepidae, represented a clear threat to the stability of Philip's rule.

Philip's decision to send Decius was perhaps more motivated by political expediency than by any great confidence in his military abilities. Decius had an aristocratic pedigree, and so was likely to have been a popular choice with a Senate that was increasingly doubtful of Philip's abilities. He was also a native of Sirmium in Pannonia Inferior, and so was likely familiar with the intricacies of life and politics in the region. Finally, he had, of course, served as governor of the wayward province, and thus undoubtedly had connections there among the civil and military curia--ones that Philip hoped Decius could exploit. Thus, the consul was charged with restoring order along one of the Empire's most problematic borders. Accompanied by his son, Herennius, Decius traveled to Moesia, probably to reclaim the Legio IV Flavia Felix and possibly the Legio XI, both of which were stationed in that province.

Shortly before his arrival, Marinus was killed and local troops quickly named Decius emperor, encouraging him to assert this newfound responsibility in a war against Philip. Philip's inability to deal decisively with the worsening military crises on the borders, the fear of punishment, and the opportunity for enrichment no doubt motivated the soldiers to place the purple on a local leader--a now increasingly common practice. Decius' lineage also probably appealed to traditionalists in Rome, who begrudged Philip his humble origins and his possible involvement in the death of Gordian III. Philip led out an army in June of 249 to meet his newest rival for the purple and at an unknown location (possibly Verona or Beroea) lost the battle. Whether Philip died in the fighting or was assassinated by his own troops--another increasingly common practice--is unknown. Philip's son, Philip Junior, recently made an Augustus, was quickly put to death by the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Decius was the first emperor to come from the Balkans region. How much he wanted to serve is unknown. While this account undoubtedly contains fictional elements, with several popular literary topoi, the rough outlines of the story are undoubtedly true: we have epigraphic evidence in July for support among the Pannonian Legio X, suggesting that Decius owed his accession in no small part to local troops

Publicity and Power
The victory of an established Senatorial aristocrat was one that seemed to reassert the authority and place of traditional political power, despite the means of Decius' ascension. The new emperor, no doubt aware of the perils of his position, seems to have embarked upon a highly conservative program of imperial propaganda to endear himself to the Roman aristocracy and to the troops who had thrust the purple upon him. One of his earliest acts was to take the honorific name of Trajan, whose status as the greatest of all emperors after Augustus was now becoming firmly established. The fact that Trajan had commanded legions in Upper Germany and had close links to both Pannonia and Moesia at the time of his accession invited the comparison. The name was cleverly chosen: Trajan had been an active and successful general throughout his reign, but had also established a reputation for a widely popular civil government.

Decius also served as consul in every year of his reign and took for himself traditional republican powers, another way to underscore his authority and conservatism. He even tried to revive the long defunct office of censor in 251, purportedly offering it to the future emperor, Valerian. Decius moreover portrayed himself as an activist general and soldier. In addition to leading military campaigns personally, he often directly bestowed honors upon his troops, high and low alike. He also holds the dubious distinction of being the first emperor to have died fighting a foreign army in battle. Finally, in 250, he associated his sons Herennius and Hostilianus in his rule by making them Caesars, eventually raising the former (and elder) to Augustus. Undoubtedly, Decius sought to create a dynasty in much the same way the Gordians had in the previous decade. This traditionalism may to be a large extent, however, a construction rather than a reality. When we abandon the literary tradition and look instead at other forms of evidence, his imperial aims are less clear. The legal record, extremely thin, is only vaguely supportive of a conservative policy: most of his surviving enactments deal with private law issues consistent with earlier Severan jurisprudence.

On the other hand in late 249, when Decius returned to Rome, he embarked upon an active building program in the capital. After a destructive fire, he extensively restored the Colosseum. He later commissioned the opulent Decian Baths along the Aventine. He perhaps also was responsible for the construction of the Decian Portico. Such activities contrasted to a twenty-year period of relative building inactivity. Both the kind of building projects and their stylistic qualities suggest an attempt to recall the glories of the past. The numismatic evidence also suggests some degree of traditionalism. It is there that we see the first references to Trajan Decius, as well as an association with both Pannonia and Dacia. His Liberitas and Uberitas issues, combined with his wife's Pudicitia and his sons' Princeps Iuventi coins, all seem to rearticulate traditional ideology. Legends tend to be conservative, so this is hardly surprising, but there were no great innovations to suggest a new set of ideological principles. In sum, while the literary reconstructions of Decius' life are problematic, it seems clear that traditionalism was an important factor in his administration, especially in the wake of Philip's reign.

The Persecution of Christians
Another possible aspect of this conservatism was a reported wide-scale attack on the growing Christian minority. The third century saw the slow creation of sizeable communities in the Empire's urban populations. For the first time, if we are to believe Christian sources, an Empire-wide persecution of Christians was begun under Decius. The state required all citizens to sacrifice to the state gods and be in receipt of a libellus, a certificate from a temple confirming the act. The rationale for the emperor's actions, however, is not entirely clear. Eusebius writes he did so because he hated Philip, who purportedly was a secret Christian. Probably the enmity was real, but it seems unconnected to the introduction of these policies. More likely, if Decius did indeed seek to persecute Christians, he was reacting to the growing visibility of the religion, especially in the city of Rome itself. One of the more prominent martyrs of the age was Fabian, the bishop of the imperial capital.

But the new policy of public religiosity was much more probably a program to reassert traditional public piety, consistent with some of the other conservative initiatives introduced during the emperor's short reign. The libelli themselves were largely generalized in nature and language, and there is no implication that they were directed at any one group per se. Whatever intended effect it may have had on Christianity was thus to a degree unplanned. Christians would have no doubt seen it differently. It is possible then that fourth and fifth century Christian polemicists have misinterpreted (whether purposefully or not) Decius' libelli. In the particular cases of Eusebius and Lactantius, both wrote in the wake of the great persecution of Diocletian and no doubt magnified upon the theme of the tyrant-persecutor. A hostile tradition notwithstanding, the new requirements did impact Christians most acutely, causing considerable division in the growing ranks of the new religion.

Imperial and Military Problems
Like other third century emperors, Decius was not free of threats to his authority, either from within or without. The revolt of Jotapianus, either in Syria or Cappadocia, had actually begun in Philip's reign, but was quickly quelled after Decius' accession. Probably the usurper's own soldiers murdered the would-be emperor, since the accounts state that his body was delivered to Decius while still in Rome in the summer of 249.
A potentially more serious revolt broke out while Decius was out of Rome in 250 fighting the Goths. Julius Valens Licinianus, also a member of the Senatorial aristocracy with some popular support, took the purple at the Empire's capital. It appears to have been relatively short-lived grab for power, ending in a few days with his execution. The governor of Macedon, Titus Julius Priscus, also permitted himself to be proclaimed Augustus at Philippopolis towards the end of 251, probably with Gothic collusion. The Senate declared him a public enemy almost as soon as he chose usurpation. He probably survived Decius, but is likely to have perished when Gallus became emperor.

Of greater concern than sporadic rebellions, which were relatively minor, were the vitreous northern borders. For the first time, a new and aggressive Germanic people, the Goths, crossed into and raided Roman territory in the 250's. At the time of Decius' forced accession, the Gepidae and the Carpi were both raiding deep into the Moesian provinces. They, along with the Goths, raided Pannonia and Dacia as well. Decius was forced to fight campaigns each year of his reign, doing his best to keep the borders stable.

His final campaign in 251 led to the death of his son, Herennius, and to his own. Decius led a successful attack on the Carpi, pushing them out of Dacia. But Moesia Inferior had been left largely undefended and Cniva, king of the Goths, led a sizeable portion of his army into the province. The emperor, after chasing the Germanic force around the region, engaged Cniva's forces outside of Philippopolis, which had recently been sacked by the king and held by the rebel, Priscus. It was here that his elder son was slain by an arrow and the emperor, seeking to reassure his troops, famously proclaimed that the death of one soldier was not a great loss to the Republic. Cniva then led his troops homeward, laden with the spoils of war. The loss became Decius' undoing. Trebonianus Gallus, one of the emperor's commanders, may have revolted, although it is not entirely clear. Instead of regrouping his forces and re-securing the borders, Decius unwisely sought to chase down Cniva before he left Roman territory. His decision may have been motivated by his son's death (despite his insistence otherwise) or it may have been an attempt to salvage what had been a failed campaign. In either case, it was ill-advised.

It was at Abrittus, about 100 kilometers northeast of Nicopolis that Decius finally met his death. Hoping to cut off Cniva's escape route (and perhaps minimize any help from Gallus), Decius' army was itself cut off in the marshy terrain. The details are sketchy, but Cniva divided his seventy thousand man army into three groups and surrounded the emperor's force. On July 1st, the emperor and most of his troops were slain. In the aftermath, the survivors named Trebonianus Gallus emperor, a decision subsequently confirmed by the Senate. Some contemporaries called the death tragic; others heroic. An Altar of Decius was erected where the emperor fell, still apparently famous two centuries later. Decius and Herennius may have even been deified. Christian polemicists, as might be expected, took pleasure in describing Decius' body being stripped and left on the battlefield to be devoured by animals. Whatever else, his was the first death of an emperor at the hands of an enemy of Rome. But even the account of his death, along with that of his son, must be looked on suspiciously. Their deaths bring to mind the sacrificial devotions of the famous Republican Decii father and son, P. Decius Mus senior and junior. The circumstances of Decius' death, therefore, are perhaps as opaque as those of his accession.

Assessment
In spite of gaining some modicum of praise from both ancient and modern observers, Decius' reign was not well-suited to the demands of a rapidly changing empire. Conservatism may have been popular among a certain portion of the Roman elite, but the old aristocracy's power and influence all but disappeared in the third century. Decius clearly had a broader vision of what he wanted to accomplish in his reign than many of his contemporaries, and certainly he was vigorous, but he was also a man who was not sufficiently flexible when the moment called for it. His religious policy caused major disruptions in Rome and; in contrast to some of the other barracks emperors, Decius proved himself less than apt when dealing with Rome's Germanic foes. His death may have been heroic, but it was unnecessary and unsuccessful. This best sums up Decius Trajan's reign.

Ancient Sources

Relatively little remains about Decius' reign. If there were a biography of Decius in the SHA, it no longer survives, although there are scattered references to his rule in the biographies of Claudius II Gothicus and Aurelian. Zosimus, i: 21-23, Aurelius Victor, 29-30, Zonaras 12, Eutropius 9, Jordanes Get. 17-8, and Sylvius Polemius 37-40 have brief accounts of his reign. There are fragments in John of Antioch, fr. 148 and Dexippus, fr. 18. Eusebius, vi: 39-41, vii:1, 11, 22, and viii:4, discusses his persecution, and there are passing references to his persecution in Socrates and Lactantius. Inscriptions and coinage are relatively abundant.

Copyright (C) 2002, Geoffrey Nathan and Robin McMahon. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of the Roman Emperors and their Families; http://www.roman-emperors.org/decius.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesOct 31, 2007
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[1921a] Sasanian Kingdom. Khusro I. A.D. 531-579. AR drachm. 62 viewsSasanian Kingdom. Khusro I. A.D. 531-579. AR drachm; Göbl I/2; 32 mm, 4.05 g; VF, Nihavand, year 37; Obverse: Crowned bust right; three crescents around single border of dots; Reverse: Fire altar between two attendants.

“The Great King Chosroes I of Persia—known to his subjects as Anushirvan, ‘of Immortal Soul’—had occupied the throne since 531. Of all the great Sassanian Kings, perhaps of all the Persian rulers throughout history, he was the most illustrious and is still the best remembered. As a statesman, he reformed and reorganized every branch of government and completely revised the fiscal system; as a general, he created the first standing army loyal to the King alone and pushed forward his frontiers till they extended from the Black Sea to the Yemen, from the Oxus River to the shores of the Mediterranean; as an intellectual, he had given—even before his accession—an enthusiastic welcome to those pagan Greek scientists and philosophers who had drifted to Persia after Justinian’s closure of the School of Athens in 529. He founded his country’s great medical academy at Gondeshapur, codified the Avesta—the sacred book of Zoroastrianism—compiled the first collection of the myths and legends of his people and introduced from India the game of chess. He was, in short, a worthy match for Justinian, his adversary and rival for over thirty years. The Byzantine Emperor, Justinian I, the Great died in 565 AD; The Sasassinan King, Chosroes I, The Great died in 579 AD” (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, The Early Centuries. London: The Penguin Group, 1990. 228)
CleisthenesOct 31, 2007
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[1909a] SHAPUR II, AR DIRHEM, 309 - 379 70 viewsSasanian Empire: Shapur II, AR Dirhem, 309 - 379 C.E., Gobl 1a/1, 26mm, 2.73 grams; near EF; Obverse: Crowned bust right; Reverse: Fire altar between two attendants. PRIME example and SHARP. This is the Shevor Malka mentioned in the Talmud in the story of Rabba.


Shapur II, The Great

Shapur II (The Great) was the ninth King of the Sassanid Empire from 309 to 379. During his long reign, the Sassanid Empire saw its first Golden Era since the reign of Shapur I (241–272).

Early childhood
When King Hormizd II (302–309) died, the Persian magnates killed his eldest son, blinded the second, and imprisoned the third (Hormizd, who afterwards escaped to the Roman Empire). The throne was reserved for the unborn child of one of the wives of Hormizd II, who was Jewish. It is said that Shapur II may have been the only king in history to been crowned in utero: the crown was placed upon his mother's belly. This child, named Shapur, was therefore born king; the government was conducted by his mother and the magnates. But when Shapur II came of age, he turned out to be one of the greatest monarchs of the dynasty.

Conquests
During the early years of the reign of Shapur, Arabs crossed the Persian Gulf from Bahrain to "Ardashir-Khora" of Fars and raided the interior. In retaliation, Shapur led an expedition through Bahrain, defeated the combined forces of the Arab tribes of "Taghleb", "Bakr bin Wael", and "Abd Al-Qays" and advanced temporarily into Yamama in central Najd.He resettled these tribes in Kerman and Ahvaz. Arabs named him, as "Shabur Dhul-aktāf" or "Zol 'Aktāf" that means "The owner of the shoulders" after this battle. In 337, just before the death of Constantine I (324–337), Shapur II broke the peace concluded in 297 between Narseh (293–302) and Emperor Diocletian (284–305), which had been observed for forty years. A twenty-six year conflict (337–363) began in two series of wars, the first from 337 to 350. After crushing a rebellion in the south, he headed toward Mesopotamia and recaptured Armenia. From there he started his first campaign against Constantius II, a campaign which was mostly unsuccessful for Shapur II. He was unable to take the fortress of Singara in the Siege of Singara (344). Shapur II also attempted with limited success to conquer the great fortresses of Roman Mesopotamia, Nisibis (which he besieged three times in vain) and Amida.

Although often victorious, Shapur II made scarcely any progress. At the same time he was attacked in the east by nomad tribes, among whom the Xionites are named. After a prolonged struggle (353–358) they were forced to conclude a peace, and their king, Grumbates, accompanied Shapur II in the war against the Romans.

In 358 Shapur II was ready for his second series of wars against Rome, which met with much more success. In 359, Shapur II conquered Amida after a siege of seventy-three days, and he took Singara and some other fortresses in the next year (360). In 363 the Emperor Julian (361–363), at the head of a strong army, advanced to Shapur's capital at Ctesiphon and defeated a superior Sassanid army in the Battle of Ctesiphon, but was killed during his retreat. His successor Jovian (363–364) made an ignominious peace, by which the districts beyond the Tigris which had been acquired in 298 were given to the Persians along with Nisibis and Singara, and the Romans promised to interfere no more in Armenia. The great success is represented in the rock-sculptures near the town Bishapur in Persis (Stolze, Persepolis, p. 141); under the hoofs of the king's horse lies the body of an enemy, probably Julian, and a supplicant Roman, the Emperor Jovian, asks for peace.

Shapur II now invaded Armenia, where he took King Arshak II, the faithful ally of the Romans, prisoner by treachery and forced him to commit suicide. He then attempted to introduce Zoroastrian orthodoxy into Armenia. However, the Armenian nobles resisted him successfully, secretly supported by the Romans, who sent King Pap, the son of Arsaces III, into Armenia. The war with Rome threatened to break out again, but Valens sacrificed Pap, arranging for his assassination in Tarsus, where he had taken refuge (374). Shapur II subdued the Kushans and took control of the entire area now known as Afghanistan. Shapur II had conducted great hosts of captives from the Roman territory into his dominions, most of whom were settled in Susiana. Here he rebuilt Susa, after having killed the city's rebellious inhabitants.

By his death in 379 the Persian Empire was stronger than ever before, considerably larger than when he came to the throne; the eastern enemies were pacified and Persia had gained control over Armenia.

Contributions
Under Shapur II's reign the collection of the Avesta was completed, heresy and apostasy punished. Shapur recovered Armenia, which he placed under military occupation. Armenia had in the meantime accepted Christianity, and Shapur, an orthodox Zoroastrian, at first persecuted the Christians but later recognized their autonomy and respected their religion. He had a large rock sculpture made near Shapur to commemorate his victory over the Romans.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shapur_II

Author not available, SHAPUR II., The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2007. Copyright 2007 Columbia University Press.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.





1 commentsCleisthenesOct 30, 2007
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[1921b] Sasanian Empire, Khusro I, 531 - 579 A.D.119 viewsSilver drachm, Gobl II/2 MY, aVF, Meshan mint, 4.12g, 29.8mm, 90o, 569 A.D.; Obverse: XUSRO AFZUN, crowned bust right, three crescents outside border; Reverse: MY NWCSYH, fire altar with two attendants. Khusro is also sometimes spelled Xusro, Khusru, or Chosroes. Ex FORVM.

Khosrau I, CHOSROES ANUSHIRVAN ('OF THE IMMORTAL SOUL') ruled from 531–579. He is the most celebrated of the Sassanid rulers. Khosrau I is most famous for his reforms in the aging governing body of Sassanids. In his reforms he introduced a rational system of taxation, based upon a survey of landed possessions, which his father had begun and tried in every way to increase the welfare and the revenues of his empire. Previous great feudal lords fielded their own military equipment, followers and retainers. Khosrau I developed a new force of dehkans or "knights" paid and equipped by the central government and the bureaucracy, tying the army and bureaucracy more closely to the central government than to local lords. (Chosroes I's reforms, visit: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/fryehst.html)

Although the Emperor Justinian I (527–565) had paid him a bribe of 440,000 pieces of gold to keep the peace, in 540 Khosrau I broke the "eternal peace" of 532 and invaded Syria, where he sacked the city of Antioch and extorted large sums of money from a number of other cities. Further successes followed: in 541 Lazica defected to the Persian side, and in 542 a major Byzantine offensive in Armenia was defeated at Anglon. A five-year truce agreed in 545 was interrupted in 547 when Lazica again switched sides and eventually expelled its Persian garrison with Byzantine help; the war resumed, but remained confined to Lazica, which was retained by the Byzantines when peace was concluded in 562.

Khosrau I's reign witnessed the rise of the dihqans (literally, village lords), the petty landholding nobility who were the backbone of later Sassanid provincial administration and the tax collection system.[22] Khosrau I was a great builder, embellishing his capital, founding new towns, and constructing new buildings. He rebuilt the canals and restocked the farms destroyed in the wars. He built strong fortifications at the passes and placed subject tribes in carefully chosen towns on the frontiers to act as guardians against invaders. He was tolerant of all religions, though he decreed that Zoroastrianism should be the official state religion, and was not unduly disturbed when one of his sons became a Christian.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassanid_Empire

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 29, 2007
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[1601a] Theodosius I, 19 January 379 - 17 January 395 A.D. 66 viewsBronze AE 2, RIC 83(b), EF, Constantinople mint, 4.389g, 22.1mm, 180o, 25 Aug 383 - 28 Aug 388 A.D.; Obverse: D N THEODO-SIVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: VIRTVS E-XERCITI, Emperor standing right holding standard and globe, foot on captive, cross in left field, CONSA in exergue. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

THEODOSIUS I (379-395 A.D.)
David Woods
University College of Cork


Origin and Early Career
Flavius Theodosius was born at Cauca in Spain in about 346 to Thermantia and Theodosius the Elder (so-called to distinguish him from his son). Theodosius the Elder was a senior military officer serving in the Western empire and rose to become the magister equitum praesentalis under the emperor Valentinian I from late 368 until his execution in early 375. As the son of a soldier, Theodosius was legally obliged to enter upon a military career. He seems to have served under his father during his expedition to Britain in 367/8, and was the dux Moesiae Primae by late 374. Unfortunately, great controversy surrounds the rest of his career until Gratian had him hailed as his imperial colleague in succession to the emperor Valens at Sirmium on 19 January 379. It is clear that he was forced to retire home to Spain only to be recalled to active service shortly thereafter, but the circumstances of his forced retirement are shrouded in mystery. His father was executed at roughly the same time, and much speculation has centred on the relationship between these events.

[For a very detailed and interesting discussion of the Foreign Policy of Theodosius and the Civil Wars that plagued his reign, please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/theo1.htm]

Family and Succession
Theodosius married twice. His first wife was the Spanish Aelia Flavia Flaccilla. She bore him Arcadius ca. 377, Honorius on 9 September 384, and Pulcheria ca. 385. Theodosius honoured her with the title of Augusta shortly after his accession, but she died in 386. In late 387 he married Galla, daughter of Valentinian I and full-sister of Valentinian II. She bore him Gratian ca. 388, Galla Placidia ca. 388/390, and died in childbirth in 394, together with her new-born son John. Of his two sons who survived infancy, he appointed Arcadius as Augustus on 19 January 383 and Honorius as Augustus on 23 January 393. His promotion of Arcadius as a full Augustus at an unusually young age points to his determination right from the start that one of his own sons should succeed him. He sought to strengthen Arcadius' position in particular by means of a series of strategic marriages whose purpose was to tie his leading "generals" irrevocably to his dynasty. Hence he married his niece and adoptive daughter Serena to his magister militum per Orientem Stilicho in 387, her elder sister Thermantia to a "general" whose name has not been preserved, and ca. 387 his nephew-in-law Nebridius to Salvina, daughter of the comes Africae Gildo. By the time of his death by illness on 17 January 395, Theodosius had promoted Stilicho from his position as one of the two comites domesticorum under his own eastern administration to that of magister peditum praesentalis in a western administration, in an entirely traditional manner, under his younger son Honorius. Although Stilicho managed to increase the power of the magister peditum praesentalis to the disadvantage of his colleague the magister equitum praesentalis and claimed that Theodosius had appointed him as guardian for both his sons, this tells us more about his cunning and ambition than it does about Theodosius' constitutional arrangements.

Theodosius' importance rests on the fact that he founded a dynasty which continued in power until the death of his grandson Theodosius II in 450. This ensured a continuity of policy which saw the emergence of Nicene Christianity as the orthodox belief of the vast majority of Christians throughout the middle ages. It also ensured the essential destruction of paganism and the emergence of Christianity as the religion of the state, even if the individual steps in this process can be difficult to identify. On the negative side, however, he allowed his dynastic interests and ambitions to lead him into two unnecessary and bloody civil wars which severely weakened the empire's ability to defend itself in the face of continued barbarian pressure upon its frontiers. In this manner, he put the interests of his family before those of the wider Roman population and was responsible, in many ways, for the phenomenon to which we now refer as the fall of the western Roman empire.


Copyright (C) 1998, David Woods.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

There is a nice segue here, as we pick-up John Julius Norwich's summation of the reign of Theodosius, "Readers of this brief account of his career may well find themselves wondering, not so much whether he deserved the title of 'the Great' as how he ever came to acquire it in the first place. If so, however, they may also like to ask themselves another question: what would have been the fate of the Empire if, at that critical moment in its history after the battle of Adrianople, young Gratian had not called him from his Spanish estates and put the future of the East into his hands? . . . the probability is that the whole Empire of the East would have been lost, swallowed up in a revived Gothic kingdom, with effects on world history that defy speculation.

In his civil legislation he showed, again and again, a consideration for the humblest of his subjects that was rare indeed among rulers of the fourth century. What other prince would have decreed that any criminal, sentenced to execution, imprisonment or exile, must first be allowed thirty days' grace to put his affairs in order? Or that a specified part of his worldly goods must go to his children, upon whom their father's crimes must on no account be visited? Or that no farmer should be obliged to sell his produce to the State at a price lower than he would receive on the open market?

Had he earned his title? Not, perhaps, in the way that Constantine had done or as Justinian was to do. But, if not ultimately great himself, he had surely come very close to greatness; and had he reigned as long as they did his achievements might well have equalled theirs. He might even have saved the Western Empire. One thing only is certain: it would be nearly a century and a half before the Romans would look upon his like again" (Norwich, John Julius. Byzantium, the Early Centuries. London: Penguin Group, 1990. 116-7;118).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 29, 2007
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[18H451] Judaean Kingdom, John Hyrcanus I (Yehohanan), 134 - 104 B.C., for the Seleukid King Antiochos VII106 viewsJohn Hyrcanus [for Antiochos VII]; Lily, AE, Hendin 451, 15mm, 2.92 grams; VF, Jerusalem; 182-180 B.C. This interesting coin was the precursor to the "prutah" which would subsequently be minted in Israel. Struck by John Hyrcanus, King of Judaea, in the name of the Seleukid King Antiochos VII, Euergetes (Sidetes). Ex Zuzim Judaea.

Johanan [John] Hyrcanus
(d. 104 BCE)

Grandson of Mattathias of Modein and chief architect of Judean dominance of Palestine. The youngest and only surviving son of Simon Thassi succeeded his father as high priest in 134 BCE. He was the fourth Hasmonean to rule Jerusalem. But his tenure began with a year-long Syrian siege that forced him to agree to tear down the city's fortifications and renew a tribute to the Greek emperor [133 BCE].

Within a few years, however, he took advantage of political turmoil in Syria following the death of Antiochus VII [129 BCE] to rebuild his forces, reclaim independence and extend Judean control over Palestine and Jordan. On the southern front he forced Judah's neighbors in Idumea [descendents of the Edomites] to accept Judaism and on the northern front he destroyed the rival temple at Shechem in Samaria.

Such triumphs made him the probable subject of messianic tributes by his fellow Judeans. But his own preference for Greek culture made him controversial in Jerusalem. When Pharisees challenged his right to be high priest, he switched his allegiance to the aristocratic Sadducee [Zadokite] party. Still, the Dead Sea Scrolls suggest that other Zadokites probably rejected his leadership and left Jerusalem, labeling him the "wicked priest," who persecuted the priest whom they regarded as the "Teacher of Righteousness."

Copyright 2007, The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. Published on The Jewish Virtual Library; http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/index.html


John Hyrcanus
John Hyrcanus (Yohanan Girhan) (reigned 134 BCE - 104 BCE, died 104 BCE) was a Hasmonean (Maccabeean) leader of the 2nd century BC. Apparently the name "Hyrcanus" was taken by him as a regnal name upon his accession to power. His taking a Greek regnal name was a significant political and cultural step away from the intransigent opposition to and rejection of Hellenistic culture which had characterised the Maccabaen revolt against Seleucid rule, and a more pragmatic recognition that Judea had to maintain its position among a millieu of small and large states which all shared the Hellenistic culture and communicated in Greek.

Life and work
He was the son of Simon Maccabaeus and hence the nephew of Judas Maccabaeus, Jonathan Maccabaeus and their siblings, whose story is told in the deuterocanonical books of 1 Maccabees and 2 Maccabees, and in the Talmud. John was not present at a banquet at which his father and his two brothers were murdered, purportedly by his brother-in-law Ptolemy. He attained to his father's former offices, that of high priest and king (although some Jews never accepted any of the Hasmoneans as being legitimate kings, as they were not lineal descendants of David).

His taking a Greek regnal name - "Hyrcanus" - was a significant political and cultural step away from the intransigent opposition to and rejection of Hellenistic culture which had characterised the Maccabaen revolt against Seleucid rule. It reflected a more pragmatic recognition that Judea, once having attained independence, had to maintain its position among a milieu of small and large states which all shared the Hellenistic culture. All subseqent Hashmonean rulers followed suit and adopted Greek names in their turn.

Achievements
John Hyrcanus apparently combined an energetic and able style of leadership with the zeal of his forebears. He was known as a brave and brilliant military leader. He is credited with the forced conversion of the Idumeans to Judaism, which was unusual for a Jewish leader; Judaism was not typically spread by the sword. He also set out to resolve forcibly the religious dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans; during his reign he destroyed the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim (although their descendants still worship among its ruins), which served further to deepen the already-historic hatred and rivalry between the two groups. Many historians believe that the apocryphal book of Jubilees was written during his reign; some would suggest even at his behest. Some writers, particularly Christian ones, have dated the division of Judaism into the parties of Pharisees and Sadducees to his era; most Jewish writers and some Christian ones suggest that this split actually well predates him. Some historians would go so far as to identify him, as a priest, predominantly with the Sadducee party, which was closely associated with the Temple worship and the priestly class.

Peak and decline of the kingdom
John Hyrcanus represented in some ways the highest point of the Hasmonean Dynasty. The restored Jewish "kingdom" approached its maximum limits of both territory and prestige. Upon his death, his offices were divided among his heirs; his son Aristobulus succeeded him as high priest; his wife as "Queen regnant". The son, however, soon came to desire the essentially unchecked power of his father; he shortly ordered his mother and his brothers imprisoned. This event seems to mark the beginning of the decline of the Hasmonean Dynasty; in just over four decades they were removed from power by the Roman Republic and none of them ever began to approach the level of power or prestige that had pertained to John Hyrcanus or his predecessors.

Modern Commemoration
Tel Aviv has a Yochanan Hyrcanus Street (רחוב יוחנן הורקנוס), as do several other cities in contemporary Israel. In the ealy decades of the 20th century, the Zionist historical perception of the Jewish past tended to approve of and revere strong warrior kings of both Biblical and later periods, and Hyrcanus' exploits earned him a place in that pantheon.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hyrcanus


John Hyrcanus was the son of Simon the Maccabee and nephew of the folk hero Judah Maccabee. Not long after Hyrcanus assumed power, the Seleukid kingdom marched on Jerusalem. The Seleukid king, Antiocus VII, and Hyrcanus I negotiated a treaty that left Hyrcanus a vassal to the Syrian king. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=922&pos=0

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 29, 2007
Shapur1VFrgh.jpg
[1902a] Sasanian Kingdom. Shapur I. A.D. 241-272. AR drachm.33 viewsSasanian Kingdom. Shapur I. A.D. 241-272. AR drachm; 23 mm, 4.23 g. Obverse: Crowned bust right, with ear flaps; Reverse: Fire altar with two attendants. Göbl I/1. Toned VF, rough surfaces. Ex Sayles and Lavender.

"At Nazs-i Rustam, seven kilometres north of Persepolis, lies the burial place of the famous Achaemenid Persian kings of antiquity, Darius and his son Xerxes, whose unwelcome attentions the Athenians and their allies fought off at the battles of Marathon and Salamis in 490 and 480 BC. Here, too, were discovered in 1936, inscribed in three languages on the side of a Zoroastrian fire temple, the proud boasts of a much later Persian King:

'I am the Mazda-worshipping divine Shapur, King of Kings . . . of the race of the Gods, son of the Mazda-worshipping divine Ardashir, king of kings . . . When I was first established over the dominion of the nations, the Caesar Gordian [emperor, 238-44 AD.] from the whole of the Roman Empire . . . raised an army and marched . . . against us. A great battle took place between the two sides on the frontiers of Assyria at Meshike, Caesar Gordian was destroyed and the Roman army was annihilated. The Romans proclaimed Philip Caesar. And Caesar Philip came to sue for peace, and for their lives he paid a ransom of 500,000 denarii and became tributary to us . . . And the Caesar lied again and did injustice to Armenia. We marched against the Roman Empire and annihilated a Roman army of 60,000 men at Barbalissos. The nation of Syria and whatever nations and plains that were above it, we set on fire and devastated and laid waste. And in the campaign [we took] . . . thirty-seven cities with their surrounding territories. In the third contest . . . Caesar Valerian came upon us. There was with him a force of 70,000 men . . . A great battle took place beyond Carrhae and Edessa between us and Caesar Valerian and we took him prisoner with our own hands, as well as all the other commanders of the army . . . On this campaign, we also conquered . . . thirty-six cities with their surrounding territories.'

. . . Shapur proceeded to drag Valerian around with him, in chains, as a symbol of his own greatness--an image preserved for posterity in the great carved relief of Bishapur. After his death, Shapur had him skinned and tanned as a permanent trophy. Later in the century, a second Roman emperor, Numerianus, was also captured, but killed immediately: 'They flayed him and made his skin into a sack. And they treated it with myrrh [to preserve it] and kept it as a object of exceptional splendour'"1 (Heather, Peter. The Fall of the Roman Empire: A New History of Rome and the Barbarians. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. 58-9;60).

Notes:
1. Chronicon Paschale, 510

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

CleisthenesOct 28, 2007
GalllienusRIC163.jpg
[1113a] Gallienus, August 253 - 24 March 268 A.D.72 viewsBronze antoninianus, RIC 163, RSC 72, choice EF, Rome mint, 3.716g, 21.6mm, 180o, 268 A.D.; Obverse: GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; Reverse: APOLLINI CONS AVG, centaur walking right drawing bow, Z in exergue; struck on a full and round flan, rare this nice. Commemorates vows to Apollo invoking his protection against the revolt of Aureolus. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian (A.D. 253-260) and Gallienus (A.D. 253-268)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University


P. Licinius Valerianus, or Valerian, was unusual for his time period in that he was an emperor who came from an old Roman senatorial family. He was likely born shortly before 200 A.D., but little is known of his early life. Valerian married Egnatia Mariniana and had two sons, Gallienus and Valerian Junior. Gallienus was born around 218. Valerian makes his first appearance in the sources in 238 A.D. as an ex-consul and princeps senatus negotiating with (more likely than serving on) the embassy sent to Rome by Gordian I's African legions to secure senatorial approval of Gordian's rebellion against and replacement of Maximinus Thrax as emperor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae probably report accurately that Trajan Decius, on the recommendation of the Senate, offered Valerian the censorship in 251. Although the senatus consultum cited and the specific office are of doubtful authenticity, the high reputation Valerian possessed in the Senate and his association with the government under Decius probably are truthful aspects of the story. In 253 Valerian was apparently commanding in Raetia and Noricum when Trebonianus Gallus sent him to bring legions from Gaul and Germany to Italy for the struggle with the forces of Aemilianus. After Gallus' troops killed him and his son and joined Aemilianus, Valerian's men proclaimed their general emperor and their arrival in Italy caused Aemilianus' soldiers to desert and kill their commander and join Valerian's forces in acclaiming Valerian as emperor.

The Senate presumably was pleased to ratify the position of Valerian, one of their own, as emperor and they also accepted his son and colleague, P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, as Augustus, rather than just as Caesar. Valerian apparently realized the necessity of sharing power equally with his son and of dividing their efforts geographically, with Gallienus responsible for the West and Valerian himself concentrating on the East. The biographies of Valerian and Gallienus in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, attributed to Trebellius Pollio, are not especially helpful in putting together an account of their joint reign. The life of Valerian is fragmentary and that of Gallienus projects an extremely biased negative interpretation of his career.

Gallienus in the early years of the joint reign concentrated, with some success, on protecting Gaul and the Rhine frontier by driving back Germanic tribes and fortifying cities such as Cologne and Trier. In a move which would characterize later diplomacy with Germans, Gallienus concluded an alliance with one of their chieftains, presumably to assist the Romans in protecting the empire from other Germanic tribes. The invasions increased in number around 257-258 as the Franks entered Gaul and Spain, destroying Tarraco (Tarragona), and the Alamanni invaded Italy. Gallienus defeated the Alamanni at Milan, but soon was faced with the revolts in Pannonia and Moesia led first by his general there, Ingenuus, and then by Regalianus, commander in Illyricum. Gallienus put down these rebellions by 260 and secured stability in the region by concluding an alliance with the Marcomannic king, whose daughter Pipa the emperor apparently accepted as his concubine although he was still married to Cornelia Salonina.

In the East, Valerian had succeeded by A.D. 257 in rescuing Antioch in Syria from Persian control, at least temporarily, but was soon faced with a major invasion of the Goths in Asia Minor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae biography of Aurelian has Valerian appear to speak in the Baths at Byzantium to publicly commend Aurelian for his success in driving back the Goths and reward him with the consulship and even with adoption as imperial successor. However, it is not clear that Valerian even reached Byzantium because he sent Felix to that city while he remained to protect the eastern section of Asia Minor and then returned to Antioch to guard it against renewed Persian attacks. It was at this point, around 259, that Valerian moved to defend Edessa and his troops lost significant numbers to the plague. Valerian tried to negotiate a peace with the Persian king, Sapor, but was captured by treachery and taken into captivity. The ultimate humiliation of a Roman emperor by a foreign leader was enacted through Sapor's use of Valerian as a human stepping-stool to assist the Persian king in mounting his horse and Valerian's body was later skinned to produce a lasting trophy of Roman submission.

Eusebius discusses the policy of Valerian toward the Christians and says that, after initially treating them most positively, Valerian was persuaded by Macrianus to lead another persecution against them. Valerian in fact after his brutal imprisonment and death in Persia would serve as a negative moral exemplum for some Latin Christian writers who gleefully pointed out that those who oppose the true God receive their just desserts.

Eusebius also credits Gallienus with reversing his father's policy and establishing peace with the Church, citing imperial edicts which established freedom of worship and even restored some lost property. Paul Keresztes claims that Gallienus in fact established a peace with Christians that lasted for forty-three years, from A.D. 260 until 303, and gave the community a kind of legal status which they had previously lacked.

Andreas Alföldi details a growing separation between Gallienus and his father which goes well beyond the geographical one which had developed out of military necessity. In addition to the strikingly different policies, just described, which they pursued toward the Christians, Gallienus began to make his military independence clear through changes in coin inscriptions and by 258 he had created his central cavalry unit and stationed it at Milan. This independent force, which was under the command of a man of equestrian rank and soon stood on a level at least equal to that of the Praetorian Guard, would play a significant role in Gallienus' upcoming battles and, of course, was a foretoken of a new trend for military organization in the future. Alföldi cites as evidence of the increasing separation between the joint emperors the statement that Gallienus did not even seek his father's return from captivity, which Lactantius of course interpreted as part of Valerian's divine punishment, but one wonders what indeed Gallienus might have done and his "indifference" may have been instead his attempt to reassert confidence in his armies and not dwell on the depressing and humiliating servitude and ultimate death of Valerian. Another reform which Alföldi discusses as part of Gallienus' independent stand is his exclusion of the senatorial class from major military commands. H.M.D. Parker credits Gallienus with beginning to separate the civil and military functions of Rome's provincial governors, thus making senatorial governors purely civil administrators and starting to replace them even in this reduced role by equestrians. The disappearance in this period of the S.C. stamp of senatorial authority on bronze coins was probably also seen as an attack on the prestige of the order, although the debasement of the silver coinage had by this time practically reached the point where the "silver" coins were themselves essentially bronze and the change may have been more for economic than for political reasons. Gallienus' exclusion of senators from military command further broke down class distinctions because sons of centurions were by this time regularly given equestrian rank and the move further accelerated the alienation of Rome as center of the Empire. In addition, the bitterness of the senatorial class over Gallienus' policy most likely explains the hatred of Latin writers toward this particular emperor.

Although Gallienus' military innovations may have made his forces more effective, he still had to face numerous challenges to his authority.In addition to systemic invasions and revolts, the plague wreaked havoc in Rome and Italy and probably in several provinces as well. It must have seemed that every commander he entrusted to solve a problem later used that authority to create another threat. When Gallienus was involved in putting down the revolt of Ingenuus in Pannonia, he put Postumus in charge of the armies guarding the Rhine and Gaul. There is some doubt about which of Gallienus' sons, Cornelius Valerianus or P. Cornelius Licinius Saloninus, was left in Cologne under the care of the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus and perhaps also Postumus. In any case, when Postumus revolted and proclaimed his independent Gallic Empire, Silvanus and one of the emperor's sons were killed. Gallienus probably restricted Postumus' expansion, but he never gained the personal revenge that, according to one source, drove him to challenge Postumus to single combat. While Gallienus was thus engaged, and after Valerian's capture by the Persians, Macrianus had his soldiers proclaim his sons, Macrianus and Quietus, emperors in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Gallienus sent Aureolus to defeat Macrianus and one son in the area of Illyria and Thrace; Odenathus of Palmyra defeated the other son and restored stability in Syria and, with Gallienus' approval, followed that up with a victory over the Persians. After Odenathus' assassination ca. 267, his wife Zenobia continued to rule the independent Palmyrene section of the Empire.

In A.D. 262 Gallienus concluded his tenth year in office by celebrating in Rome his Decennalia with a spectacular procession involving senators, equestrians, gladiators, soldiers, representatives of foreign peoples, and many other groups. This festival included feasts, games, entertainment, and spectacle which probably reminded Romans of the millennial Secular Games celebrations of Philip I and likely were intended to secure popular support at home for Gallienus. Over the next five years little is known about specific activities of the emperor and he presumably spent more time in Rome and less along the frontiers.

Gallienus and Salonina as rulers patronized a cultural movement which collectively is known as the Gallienic Renaissance. The imperial patrons are most directly connected with the philosophical aspects of this movement because Porphyry testifies to their friendship for the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus. Porphyry goes on to say that Plotinus asked Gallienus to rebuild an abandoned former city of philosophers in Campania, rename it Platonopolis, and govern it as a kind of Platonic Republic, but that the jealousy and spite of others at court scuttled the plan. In addition to Neoplatonic philosophy, according to Gervase Matthew, the Gallienic Renaissance included the "upward glance" and other stylistic changes in imperial sculpture and religious beliefs that were characterized by "an overwhelming sense of the transcendent and immutable." Matthew points out both the return to artistic models of Augustus, Hadrian, and even Severus Alexander and also "a new Romantic tension" which breaks with the past and points toward a new and very different world. The Hellenic character of much of the Gallienic Renaissance is also stressed in the emperor's trip to Athens where he, likely in imitation of Hadrian, became eponymous archon and received initiation into the Eleusinian cult of Demeter.

Late in his reign, Gallienus issued a series of coins in Rome which honored nine deities as Conservator Augusti or protector of the emperor by pairing his portrait with reverses picturing an animal or animals symbolic of each deity. Included in this group of celestial guardians are Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Jupiter, Juno, Liber Pater, Mercury, Neptune, and Sol. For example, Apollo's coin-types portray a centaur, a gryphon, or Pegasus; Hercules is represented by either the lion or the boar. It appears that Gallienus was issuing the "animal series" coins both to secure, through some religious festival, the aid of Rome's protective gods against continuing invasions, revolts, and plague and to entertain the Roman populace with pageantry and circus games, thus to divert their attention away from the same problems and maintain the security of the regime in power.

In A.D. 268, Gallienus saw his third son, Marinianus, become consul, but in the spring another Gothic invasion brought the emperor back to Greece. He defeated the invaders at Naissus in Moesia , but was deterred from pursuing them further by a revolt of the commander of his elite cavalry, Aureolus. He besieged this last rebel emperor in Milan, but a plot involving his Praetorian Prefect and two future emperors, Claudius and Aurelian, all three men Illyrians popular with many of the soldiers, lured Gallienus away from the city on a false pretext and assassinated him.The emperor's brother Valerian and young son Marinianus were also murdered. In spite of the bitter resentment which many of the senators must have felt toward the dead emperor and his reform policies, Claudius II, perhaps only to legitimize his own reign, persuaded the Senate to deify Gallienus.

Copyright (C) 1998, Richard D. Weigel. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/gallval.htm. Used by permission.


Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus was born in about AD 213. This means that he was about 40 years old when his father Valerian, in AD 253, was hailed emperor by his troops in Raetia. Gallienus was made Caesar immediately by his father. But within a month, when Valerian got to Rome, Gallienus received the rank of Augustus.

Compared to other Roman emperors of the age, Gallienus was an exception, as far as he was not a soldier-emperor. He was rather a thoughtful, intellectual ruler, possessing sophisticated Greek tastes. However, this made him deeply unpopular with the gritty Danubian generals, who very much understood it as their right to choose a leader among their own ranks to rule the empire.

If the Danubian military elite didn't like Gallienus, then he certainly soon proved that he was a capable military leader. Between AD 254 to AD 256 he campaigned along the Danube, securing this troubled frontier against the barbarians. In AD 256 he then moved west to fight the Germans along the Rhine.

Then by autumn AD 260 the message of Valerian's capture by the Persians reached Gallienus. If Gallienus had always been unpopular among the military leaders, then now with his father gone and Roman authority crumbling, rebellion was in the air.

On a night in September, AD 268, at the siege of Mediolanum (Milan), an alarm was suddenly raised in the camp of the emperor. In the brief moment of confusion, Gallienus was struck down in the dark as he emerged from his tent.

During his reign, Gallienus began numerous reforms and military campaigns to defend the empire, as much from usurpers as from barbarians. In doing so, he perhaps saved the empire from oblivion. At the same time he presided over perhaps the last flowering of classical Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers.

As a last gesture of disrespect to this, most unfortunate of emperors, the Romans should lay Gallienus to rest not in one of the great mausoleums in Rome, but in a tomb nine miles south of the capital, along the Via Appia.

Ironically, he was deified by the senate at the request of Claudius II Gothicus, one of the men who must be held accountable for the assassination of Gallienus.
See: http://www.roman-empire.net/decline/gallienus.html


Gallienus was the son of Valerian I and was named Caesar at his father's accession to the throne in 253 A.D. Upon his father's capture by the Parthians he assumed the rank of Augustus and began numerous reforms and military campaigns to defend the empire, as much from usurpers as from barbarians. At the same time he presided over perhaps the last flowering of classical Roman culture, patronizing poets, artists and philosophers. Gallienus was assassinated while besieging Milan. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 27, 2007
Valerian1RIC232.jpg
[1112a] Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.67 viewsSilver antoninianus, RIC 232, RSC 10, VF, worn die reverse, Mediolanum mint, 3.909g, 22.2mm, 180o, 257 A.D.; Obverse: IMP VALERIANVS P AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: AETERNITATI AVGG, Sol standing left, raising right, globe in left; nice portrait, good silver for the reign. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian (A.D. 253-260) and Gallienus (A.D. 253-268)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University


P. Licinius Valerianus, or Valerian, was unusual for his time period in that he was an emperor who came from an old Roman senatorial family. He was likely born shortly before 200 A.D., but little is known of his early life. Valerian married Egnatia Mariniana and had two sons, Gallienus and Valerian Junior. Gallienus was born around 218. Valerian makes his first appearance in the sources in 238 A.D. as an ex-consul and princeps senatus negotiating with (more likely than serving on) the embassy sent to Rome by Gordian I's African legions to secure senatorial approval of Gordian's rebellion against and replacement of Maximinus Thrax as emperor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae probably report accurately that Trajan Decius, on the recommendation of the Senate, offered Valerian the censorship in 251. Although the senatus consultum cited and the specific office are of doubtful authenticity, the high reputation Valerian possessed in the Senate and his association with the government under Decius probably are truthful aspects of the story. In 253 Valerian was apparently commanding in Raetia and Noricum when Trebonianus Gallus sent him to bring legions from Gaul and Germany to Italy for the struggle with the forces of Aemilianus. After Gallus' troops killed him and his son and joined Aemilianus, Valerian's men proclaimed their general emperor and their arrival in Italy caused Aemilianus' soldiers to desert and kill their commander and join Valerian's forces in acclaiming Valerian as emperor.

The Senate presumably was pleased to ratify the position of Valerian, one of their own, as emperor and they also accepted his son and colleague, P. Licinius Egnatius Gallienus, as Augustus, rather than just as Caesar. Valerian apparently realized the necessity of sharing power equally with his son and of dividing their efforts geographically, with Gallienus responsible for the West and Valerian himself concentrating on the East. The biographies of Valerian and Gallienus in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, attributed to Trebellius Pollio, are not especially helpful in putting together an account of their joint reign. The life of Valerian is fragmentary and that of Gallienus projects an extremely biased negative interpretation of his career.

Gallienus in the early years of the joint reign concentrated, with some success, on protecting Gaul and the Rhine frontier by driving back Germanic tribes and fortifying cities such as Cologne and Trier. In a move which would characterize later diplomacy with Germans, Gallienus concluded an alliance with one of their chieftains, presumably to assist the Romans in protecting the empire from other Germanic tribes. The invasions increased in number around 257-258 as the Franks entered Gaul and Spain, destroying Tarraco (Tarragona), and the Alamanni invaded Italy. Gallienus defeated the Alamanni at Milan, but soon was faced with the revolts in Pannonia and Moesia led first by his general there, Ingenuus, and then by Regalianus, commander in Illyricum. Gallienus put down these rebellions by 260 and secured stability in the region by concluding an alliance with the Marcomannic king, whose daughter Pipa the emperor apparently accepted as his concubine although he was still married to Cornelia Salonina.

In the East, Valerian had succeeded by A.D. 257 in rescuing Antioch in Syria from Persian control, at least temporarily, but was soon faced with a major invasion of the Goths in Asia Minor. The Scriptores Historiae Augustae biography of Aurelian has Valerian appear to speak in the Baths at Byzantium to publicly commend Aurelian for his success in driving back the Goths and reward him with the consulship and even with adoption as imperial successor. However, it is not clear that Valerian even reached Byzantium because he sent Felix to that city while he remained to protect the eastern section of Asia Minor and then returned to Antioch to guard it against renewed Persian attacks. It was at this point, around 259, that Valerian moved to defend Edessa and his troops lost significant numbers to the plague. Valerian tried to negotiate a peace with the Persian king, Sapor, but was captured by treachery and taken into captivity. The ultimate humiliation of a Roman emperor by a foreign leader was enacted through Sapor's use of Valerian as a human stepping-stool to assist the Persian king in mounting his horse and Valerian's body was later skinned to produce a lasting trophy of Roman submission.

Eusebius discusses the policy of Valerian toward the Christians and says that, after initially treating them most positively, Valerian was persuaded by Macrianus to lead another persecution against them. Valerian in fact after his brutal imprisonment and death in Persia would serve as a negative moral exemplum for some Latin Christian writers who gleefully pointed out that those who oppose the true God receive their just desserts.

Eusebius also credits Gallienus with reversing his father's policy and establishing peace with the Church, citing imperial edicts which established freedom of worship and even restored some lost property. Paul Keresztes claims that Gallienus in fact established a peace with Christians that lasted for forty-three years, from A.D. 260 until 303, and gave the community a kind of legal status which they had previously lacked.

Andreas Alföldi details a growing separation between Gallienus and his father which goes well beyond the geographical one which had developed out of military necessity. In addition to the strikingly different policies, just described, which they pursued toward the Christians, Gallienus began to make his military independence clear through changes in coin inscriptions and by 258 he had created his central cavalry unit and stationed it at Milan. This independent force, which was under the command of a man of equestrian rank and soon stood on a level at least equal to that of the Praetorian Guard, would play a significant role in Gallienus' upcoming battles and, of course, was a foretoken of a new trend for military organization in the future. Alföldi cites as evidence of the increasing separation between the joint emperors the statement that Gallienus did not even seek his father's return from captivity, which Lactantius of course interpreted as part of Valerian's divine punishment, but one wonders what indeed Gallienus might have done and his "indifference" may have been instead his attempt to reassert confidence in his armies and not dwell on the depressing and humiliating servitude and ultimate death of Valerian. Another reform which Alföldi discusses as part of Gallienus' independent stand is his exclusion of the senatorial class from major military commands. H.M.D. Parker credits Gallienus with beginning to separate the civil and military functions of Rome's provincial governors, thus making senatorial governors purely civil administrators and starting to replace them even in this reduced role by equestrians. The disappearance in this period of the S.C. stamp of senatorial authority on bronze coins was probably also seen as an attack on the prestige of the order, although the debasement of the silver coinage had by this time practically reached the point where the "silver" coins were themselves essentially bronze and the change may have been more for economic than for political reasons. Gallienus' exclusion of senators from military command further broke down class distinctions because sons of centurions were by this time regularly given equestrian rank and the move further accelerated the alienation of Rome as center of the Empire. In addition, the bitterness of the senatorial class over Gallienus' policy most likely explains the hatred of Latin writers toward this particular emperor.

Although Gallienus' military innovations may have made his forces more effective, he still had to face numerous challenges to his authority.In addition to systemic invasions and revolts, the plague wreaked havoc in Rome and Italy and probably in several provinces as well. It must have seemed that every commander he entrusted to solve a problem later used that authority to create another threat. When Gallienus was involved in putting down the revolt of Ingenuus in Pannonia, he put Postumus in charge of the armies guarding the Rhine and Gaul. There is some doubt about which of Gallienus' sons, Cornelius Valerianus or P. Cornelius Licinius Saloninus, was left in Cologne under the care of the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus and perhaps also Postumus. In any case, when Postumus revolted and proclaimed his independent Gallic Empire, Silvanus and one of the emperor's sons were killed. Gallienus probably restricted Postumus' expansion, but he never gained the personal revenge that, according to one source, drove him to challenge Postumus to single combat. While Gallienus was thus engaged, and after Valerian's capture by the Persians, Macrianus had his soldiers proclaim his sons, Macrianus and Quietus, emperors in Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt. Gallienus sent Aureolus to defeat Macrianus and one son in the area of Illyria and Thrace; Odenathus of Palmyra defeated the other son and restored stability in Syria and, with Gallienus' approval, followed that up with a victory over the Persians. After Odenathus' assassination ca. 267, his wife Zenobia continued to rule the independent Palmyrene section of the Empire.

In A.D. 262 Gallienus concluded his tenth year in office by celebrating in Rome his Decennalia with a spectacular procession involving senators, equestrians, gladiators, soldiers, representatives of foreign peoples, and many other groups. This festival included feasts, games, entertainment, and spectacle which probably reminded Romans of the millennial Secular Games celebrations of Philip I and likely were intended to secure popular support at home for Gallienus. Over the next five years little is known about specific activities of the emperor and he presumably spent more time in Rome and less along the frontiers.

Gallienus and Salonina as rulers patronized a cultural movement which collectively is known as the Gallienic Renaissance. The imperial patrons are most directly connected with the philosophical aspects of this movement because Porphyry testifies to their friendship for the Neoplatonic philosopher Plotinus. Porphyry goes on to say that Plotinus asked Gallienus to rebuild an abandoned former city of philosophers in Campania, rename it Platonopolis, and govern it as a kind of Platonic Republic, but that the jealousy and spite of others at court scuttled the plan. In addition to Neoplatonic philosophy, according to Gervase Matthew, the Gallienic Renaissance included the "upward glance" and other stylistic changes in imperial sculpture and religious beliefs that were characterized by "an overwhelming sense of the transcendent and immutable." Matthew points out both the return to artistic models of Augustus, Hadrian, and even Severus Alexander and also "a new Romantic tension" which breaks with the past and points toward a new and very different world. The Hellenic character of much of the Gallienic Renaissance is also stressed in the emperor's trip to Athens where he, likely in imitation of Hadrian, became eponymous archon and received initiation into the Eleusinian cult of Demeter.
Late in his reign, Gallienus issued a series of coins in Rome which honored nine deities as Conservator Augusti or protector of the emperor by pairing his portrait with reverses picturing an animal or animals symbolic of each deity. Included in this group of celestial guardians are Apollo, Diana, Hercules, Jupiter, Juno, Liber Pater, Mercury, Neptune, and Sol. For example, Apollo's coin-types portray a centaur, a gryphon, or Pegasus; Hercules is represented by either the lion or the boar. It appears that Gallienus was issuing the "animal series" coins both to secure, through some religious festival, the aid of Rome's protective gods against continuing invasions, revolts, and plague and to entertain the Roman populace with pageantry and circus games, thus to divert their attention away from the same problems and maintain the security of the regime in power.

In A.D. 268, Gallienus saw his third son, Marinianus, become consul, but in the spring another Gothic invasion brought the emperor back to Greece. He defeated the invaders at Naissus in Moesia , but was deterred from pursuing them further by a revolt of the commander of his elite cavalry, Aureolus. He besieged this last rebel emperor in Milan, but a plot involving his Praetorian Prefect and two future emperors, Claudius and Aurelian, all three men Illyrians popular with many of the soldiers, lured Gallienus away from the city on a false pretext and assassinated him.The emperor's brother Valerian and young son Marinianus were also murdered. In spite of the bitter resentment which many of the senators must have felt toward the dead emperor and his reform policies, Claudius II, perhaps only to legitimize his own reign, persuaded the Senate to deify Gallienus.

Copyright Richard D. Weigel, 2007. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Valerian I was proclaimed emperor after the death of Trajan Decius. He successfully repulsed many barbarian incursions but the standard of living declined and would never recover. In 260 A.D., after four years of war during which Roman forces suffered great losses in battle and to plague, he arranged for peace talks. He set off with a small group to discuss terms with the Sassinian emperor Sapor and was never seen again. The date of his death is unknown, but in Rome it was rumored that he had been murdered and that Sapor was using his stuffed body as a footstool. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 27, 2007
ManuelStGeorge.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)131 viewsMANUEL I COMNENUS AE tetarteron. 1143-1180 AD. 19mm, 2.8g. Obverse: Bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing nimbus, tunic, cuirass and sagion, and holding spear. Reverse: MANVHL-DECPOT, bust of Manuel facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum & globe-cross. Simply wonderful style, very sharp for the issue. A gorgeous late Byzantine coin! Ex Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 24, 2007
ArcadiusManusDei.jpg
[1601b] Arcadius, 19 January 383 - 1 May 408 A.D.63 viewsARCADIUS AE2. Struck at Constantinople, 378-383 AD. Obverse: D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right, holding spear and shield, Hand of God above holding wreath; Reverse - GLORIA ROMANORVM, emperor standing facing, head left, holding standard & resting shield at side, bound captive seated on ground to left, head right, CONG in exergue. RIC 53b. Scarce. Extremely Fine, some roughness and corrosion.


De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families


Arcadius (395-408 A.D.)

Geoffrey S. Nathan
University of California at Los Angeles

Introduction and Early Life
The ineffectual life and reign of Flavius Arcadius are of considerably less importance than the quite significant developments that occurred during his reign. Born either in 377 or 378 to then general Theodosius and Aelia Flavia Flacilla, he and his younger brother, Honorius, ruled the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire respectively from 395.

Shortly after his birth, his father was raised to the imperial purple in 379. Events in Illyricum with the massive influx of Ostrogothic and Visigothic peoples had resulted in the defeat of the Roman army and the death of the emperor, Valens. Theodosius' first task was to confront the Visigoths who had been ravaging the Balkans. Perhaps in the wake of this difficult and almost insurmountable task, the emperor wanted to insure that his infant son would bear some legitimacy should he die on campaign. Whatever the reason, Arcadius was proclaimed Augustus in January of 383 at the age of five or six. In the following year, his younger brother was born and it seems as if Theodosius initially had been interested in preserving the theoretical position of his elder son. While Arcadius enjoyed the status of Augustus, Honorius only achieved the office of consul posterior in 386. Perhaps the eastern emperor had wanted to avoid the possible conflicts that arose earlier in the century with the family of Constantine. Recent events in the west with the assassination of Gratian by Magnus Maximus may have also played a part: Theodosius initially had to leave the murder of his imperial colleague unavenged and leave the boy- emperor, Valentinian II, largely undefended. The profusion of emperors may well have been seen by Theodosius as kindling for civil war. His own autocratic tendencies may have also meant that he saw only one possible successor for himself.

Nevertheless, Theodosius gave Arcadius very little independence in early life. When he went to campaign against Magnus in the late 380's, he placed his son under the Praetorian Prefect of the East, Tatian, who was the de facto emperor in Theodosius' absence. This began a long series of regencies for Arcadius. The strength of Tatian's position with the eastern governing class made the office of Praetorian Prefect all the more powerful in Constantinople, which in turn made it easier to dominate future emperors. When Theodosius replaced Tatian with the more malleable and more ambitious Rufinus in 392, he had appointed a minister who would centralize even greater authority under the prefecture.

By 393, the emperor's situation had changed radically. When events in the west demanded his attention again, Theodosius was in a much stronger position. The ascendancy of the general, Arbogast, and his own puppet emperor, Eugenius, in the west provided Theodosius an opportunity and, indeed, the obligation to take full control of the Empire. The chance for having his own two sons ruling both halves of Rome not only seemed practical and feasible, but such an arrangement would establish himself as the head of a new dynasty. With thoughts in that direction, Honorius was made Augustus in 393 and accompanied his father west in the summer of 394. Arcadius, although near his majority, was nevertheless placed again under the guardianship (epitropos) of the Prefect of the East. In January of 395, Theodosius the Great died and his two sons took theoretical control of the two halves of the Roman Empire.

Early Reign and the Dominance of Rufinus and Eutropius (395-399)
Arcadius was eighteen when he assumed the throne in the east. We do not know whether or not he was ready for the responsibilities. During the mid-380's, the young emperor had been educated in part by Themistius, a famous pagan statesman, philosopher, and speaker. In what way he affected Arcadius is impossible to say, but surely his teachings must have included statecraft. Perhaps because of this influence, the new emperor's attempt to establish himself as an independent force can be seen in a series of laws passed at his accession. In contrast to trying to create a military image for himself, which would not be allowed either by Rufinus or by the eastern court, he attempted to portray himself as a pious Christian emperor. He enacted several comprehensive laws against heresy and paganism.

This was not necessarily an ineffectual strategy. By celebrating his religious piety, he expressed his power in the only way available to an emperor largely controlled by his ministers. He also perhaps sought to gain support and power from the local governing and religious hierarchies in Constantinople. Arcadius also perhaps thought that he was carrying on in the tradition of his father and so, by extension, might share in some of his glory. Rufinus in contrast wanted to tie himself to the emperor through a marriage connection to his daughter. But in April of 395, Arcadius had taken advantage of the Prefect's temporary absence to marry Aelia Eudoxia, whose guardian, the general, Promotus, had been a bitter enemy of Rufinus. Arcadius had been aided in this move by his own grand chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi), Eutropius, and it perhaps indicated the degree to which he wanted to be free of any regent.

But in reality, Arcadius gained little if any power. Rufinus assumed full control of the east, and the Vandal Stilicho, Theodosius' closest advisor and general, took control of Honorius in the west. The tension between east and west quickly grew when Stilicho, in command of all the eastern and western armies, tried to press his guardianship over Arcadius as well. Moreover, there was considerable resentment against Rufinus in the east for using his office to greatly enrich himself and perhaps, too, because he was a westerner. Rufinus, understanding the perils around him, acted quickly. He had Arcadius demand the return of the eastern armies at once. Stilicho acquiesced, perhaps because the general was basing his claim of guardianship on his own legitimacy: to have taken control of the east and Arcadius by force would have undermined his position there and perhaps in the west. The soldiers returned under the command of the Gothic general, Gainas. With the control of the field army, it seemed as if Rufinus was going to be more thoroughly in control of the east and over Arcadius.

He did not long enjoy his victory. When Arcadius and Rufinus came to greet the armies at Hebdoman near Constantinople in November of 395, the soldiers turned on the Praetorian Prefect and cut him down in front of the emperor. Whether Stilicho instigated the assassination is a matter of some debate, but if he did, he received no benefit from it. The armies remained and Arcadius soon fell under the sway of other ministers. Nevertheless, despite the shock and fear Arcadius may have felt at witnessing such a brutal murder, he probably missed Rufinus' presence not at all and even thought it might provide an opportunity to assert his own authority. For the bureaucracy, the death meant that maintaining civilian control over the army was paramount to their own survival.

Soon thereafter, Eutropius assumed Rufinus' place in dominating Arcadius. Since the grand chamberlain could control access to the emperor and commanded the powerful palace bureaucracy, he was well-placed to dictate what and whom the emperor saw and heard. Military officers--frequently Germanic--who dominated the western government, were held suspect by fearful and jealous civil administrators in Constantinople. Eutropius used that fear to his advantage and froze out any access they may have had to the circles of power. His decision to effectively eliminate the military's input in decision-making would eventually lead to his demise.

It is difficult to determine how popular Eutropius was either with Arcadius or with the wider population. As a eunuch and a former slave, the sources generally portray him very negatively. He nevertheless seems to have enjoyed some support from the emperor, likely aided by Eudoxia with whom the grand chamberlain had close ties. The emperor happily took annual vacations in Galatia, apparently upon the Eutropius' suggestion. Moreover, the chamberlain showed great personal courage and talent in leading a campaign against invading Huns in 397/8, for which he won the consulship and the rank of patrician in the following year of 399. He also seems to have gained considerable support from the local clergy by procuring the patriarchate of Constantinople in 398 for John Chrysostom.

Despite Eutropius' rise to power, however, eastern policy changed little. The religious policies of Theodosius and Arcadius continued, including the forced closure of pagan temples in Gaza. More significantly, tension between the two halves of the empire persisted as Stilicho continued to press for his position as guardian. Although Stilicho led periodic raids into Greece and Thrace to attack the new Visigothic king, Alaric, his victories were incomplete and were more likely meant to keep the Germanic people out of western territory. This meant, among other things, that the Visigoths were an enduring problem for the east. Eutropius in turn supported the revolt of the Count Gildo in Africa, which was under western control, in an attempt to destabilize Stilicho's control and further eastern domains.

The failure of the revolt in 398 was the first step in Eutropius' downfall. The decision to exclude the military men of the period, particularly among the growing importance of Germanic officers, created a dangerous situation. By 399, the dissatisfaction with east-west affairs and the Gildo fiasco resulted in a revolt by the Gothic count, Tribigild. He was apparently in collusion with Gainas, who had taken advantage of the crisis to be named chief general in the east (magister utriusque militiae). Gainas quickly reached an agreement with the rebel and part of the settlement was the dismissal of Eutropius, to which Arcadius--at Eudoxia's urging--agreed. The chamberlain took refuge in the Hagia Sophia, and was exiled to Cyprus. But shortly thereafter, in the autumn of 399, Eutropius was recalled, tried and executed in Chalcedon.

The Age of Eudoxia (400-404)
The death of Eutropius precipitated a serious crisis. Gainas, who had wanted high office for years, now tried to force the hand of Arcadius. Having come to a quick resolution with Tribigild, he moved from Thrace towards Constantinople in 400. With the Germanic troops supporting him, Gainas tried for six months to initiate his own primacy-- including seizing the imperial palace--but which failed. He was forced to withdraw personally from the city to regroup and planned to use his troops remaining there to seize the entire city. But they were slaughtered by the inhabitiants and he fled first to Thrace and then to Asia. Eventually Gainas was killed by the Huns later in that year. His attempted coup ensured that Germanic officers would never again be trusted by the eastern government and would forever be kept out of any important decision-making roles.

The likely successor to Eutropius had been the anti-Germanic leader, Aurelianus, who had succeeded to the Prefecture of the East in 399. But Gainas had exiled him, having forced Arcadius to hand him over, and although Aurelianus returned triumphantly after Gainas' departure, he appears to have lost his hold over the emperor. In the meantime, Aelia Eudoxia had done much to forward her own place in the government. In January of 400, she had been named Augusta, a singular distinction offered to only three other women in the previous century. Her position thus gained a semi-official legitimacy afforded to very few Roman empresses. It has been assumed that because of her beauty, her intelligence, and her fecundity (she bore Arcadius five children), she was able to assert her influence to a point where she was the new power behind the throne.

That assessment, while held by many scholars, is not entirely accurate. While there were several events in which she played a crucial part, they were not terribly important moments during Arcadius' reign. But because Eudoxia was enormously wealthy, because she delivered a male heir in 401, and because she was involved in a highly publicized and drawn out political fight with John Chrysostom, this belief that there was an assumption of power is based more on the notoriety of her acts than on actual control. The fact that there was no one clearly dominating the government nor the emperor during this time implies perhaps that Arcadius had more power during these five years of his reign than at any other time.

There are several indications that he did try to improve and assert his own position. The emperor and his court immediately came to some understanding with the west. The east at the very least gave Honorius and Stilicho moral support in their increasing problems with Alaric. In 402, the feeling of goodwill was sealed by a joint consulship between Arcadius and his brother. The emperor also sought to establish his own military prowess and Christian piety with the erection of a column set up in the Hippodrome of Constantinople in 402/3. The column depicted his military victory over Gainas, crowned with a capital emblazoned with the Greek letters chi-rho, symbolizing his devotion to Christ. Arcadius' son, Theodosius II, was born in 401, and was quickly made Augustus at the age of eight months. The eastern ruler was thus interested in assuring his own dynasty.

In all these things, the emperor was largely successful, but they were largely overshadowed by the feud between his empress and the bishop of Constantinople. Eudoxia had already shown herself able in pushing her interests during the baptism of her son. The Bishop of Constantinople, however, was a much tougher opponent than her husband. John Chrysostom, a strong believer in social justice, had boorishly attacked Eudoxia and many of her friends for the conspicuous luxury in which they lived and displayed themselves. At the height of these attacks, John compared the empress to Jezebel. Eudoxia in turn used her considerable influence to inflame hostility among the clergy against the bishop. Working through Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria, in 403 Chrysostom was deposed and forced into exile at a Church council convened by the emperor (the Synod of the Oak at Chalcedon). However, there was soon such turmoil and uproar in the imperial city that the bishop was recalled a few days later. But the public feuding between Eudoxia and Chrysostom continued until at last she had him banished again in 404, this time permanently. Among other things, it caused a breach between Arcadius and his brother, who had, with Pope Innocent I, tried to support Chrysostom.

Eudoxia's victory was short-lived, however. In October of 404, the Augusta died of a miscarriage. Her death was seen by some as retribution for dismissing John. Whatever the reason, her end also signaled a complete retreat into the background by the emperor and no further initiatives seem to have been pushed by the 27-year-old Augustus.

The Final Years: Anthemius and Death (404-408)
The last years of Arcadius' reign were completely dominated by his Praetorian Prefect of the East, Anthemius. It was perhaps fitting that when the emperor seems to have been most retiring, the most able and energetic of his high ministers came to power. Anthemius worked hard to solve a series of governmental abuses, continue to push for Christianization, and secure the east from attack.

Anthemius first seems to have tried to reconcile with the west, so much so that there was a joint consulship between Anthemius and Stilicho in 405. This might have also been meant to symbolize the Prefect's new dominance, however. Additionally, a number of new laws were passed, curtailing paganism, Judaism and heresy. He tried to make use of the continuing problem of incoming Germanic peoples to combat the Isaurian tribes which had been plaguing Asia Minor since 403. While it failed to halt either group's incursions, it was nevertheless a practical and intelligent strategy. As a means of protecting the imperial capital, Anthemius also strengthened the walls around Constantinople. Our records for the last years of Arcadius' rule are quite spotty, but the emperor himself seems to have completely vanished, even symbolically, from the political scene.

In May of 408, Flavius Arcadius died at the age of 31 of unknown causes. Our only physical description of Arcadius is heavily influenced by the generally low regard in which he was held. The emperor was supposedly short, thin and dark-complected. A more kindly correspondent described him as good-natured and temperate. His son succeeded him without any controversy and the government remained unchanged. Arcadius thus left the world much as he entered it: without much significance and overshadowed by more powerful forces.

Assessment
Despite the ineffectual nature of Arcadius and his rule, a number of significant changes occurred during his stewardship of the eastern empire. His inability to forcefully or at least effectively govern meant that there were few consistent or long-range goals of his administration. With the exception of trying to emphasize the emperor's piety, an important development in the history of the Byzantine monarchy, Arcadius and his ministers were for the most part simply reacting to events.

The emperor became an even more remote figure to the general public. Even in the capital city itself, he was rarely seen: we read in one account that people came running to see the emperor for the first time when he happened to be praying in a local church. A series of "orientalizing" court practices no doubt continued in order to emphasize the symbolic separation of the emperor from the rest of society. The hieratic, almost semi- divine nature of the imperial person, also became a feature of the eastern ruler.

Perhaps of greatest importance was the political and cultural split between east and west. With the death of Theodosius, the two halves of the Roman Empire increasingly went their separate ways. For the most part, the west was thrown back upon its own resources, unable to deal with the problems of the fifth century. The east proved more compact and more resilient: it largely weathered the political storms from without and within.

Moreover, Constantinople fully became the imperial capital of the east, a Roma nova. The emperor rarely left the city and the palace officials became more influential than many of the more theoretically important ministers outside the city. Constantinople was also made an archepiscopate and Chrysostom and others started to push strongly for its primacy in the east. Both public and private building projects beautified and enlarged the city. Under Arcadius' reign, it truly became the second city of the Roman Empire.
Finally, the hard stance against Germanic officers in Roman government became a central feature in the east. While the reasons for this development were inspired largely out of fear and perhaps racism, the eastern Roman Empire did manage to avoid the largely detrimental succession of Germanic generalissimos who controlled the west in the fifth century. It also encouraged the eastern rulers in the following century to take hard lines against other peoples, including the Isaurians, the Huns and the Persians. Taken in all, the era of Arcadius was far more important than Arcadius himself. He perhaps had his father's pretensions, but none of the skills or powers necessary to leave his mark on the Empire.

By Geoffrey S. Nathan, University of California at Los Angeles
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 24, 2007
SeptimiusPisidiaAntiochAE22.jpg
Pisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. 105 viewsPisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. AE 22mm (5.21 gm). Obverse: Laureate, head left. Reverse: Mên standing facing, head right, foot on bucranium, holding sceptre and Nike on globe; cock at feet left. SNG France 3, 1118. Cleaning scratches, very fine. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves. By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 21, 2007
C7R1AE_Follis.jpg
[1642d] Constantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 945-950, Constantinople 60 viewsConstantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 7.59g, 25mm x 27mm, SB 1761; DO 26; VF, Constantinopleb; Obverse: Facing bust of Constantine VII with short beard, wearing crown and vertical loros, akakia in right hand, globus cruciger in left; Reverse: Legend in four lines: +COnST / En QEO bA / SILEVS R / OmEOn. Ex Beast Coins.


Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.


CleisthenesOct 20, 2007
CrispusRIC17.jpg
1404a, Crispus, Caesar 317 - 326 A.D. 38 viewsBronze AE 3, RIC 17, aEF, Cyzicus mint, 3.196g, 19.9mm, 315o, 321 - 324 A.D.; Obverse: D N FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter standing left holding Victory on globe in right and scepter in left, eagle with wreath in beak to left, X / IIG and captive right, SMKD in exergue; scarce (RIC R3). Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis;
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families

Crispus Caesar (317-326 A.D.)

Hans Pohlsander
SUNY Albany

Crispus was the oldest son of the emperor Constantine I and played a fairly important role in the political and military events of the early fourth century. The regular form of his full name is Flavius Iulius Crispus, although the forms Flavius Claudius Crispus and Flavius Valerius Crispus also occur. His mother was a woman named Minervina, with whom Constantine had a relationship, probably illegitimate, before he married Fausta in 307. When Minervina died or when Constantine put her aside we do not know. Nor do we know when she gave birth to Crispus; we may assume, of course, that it was before 307. Some modern authorities, on good grounds, think that it was in 305. Crispus' place of birth must have been somewhere in the East, and it is not known when he was brought to Gaul and when, where, or under what circumstances he was separated from his mother.

Constantine entrusted the education of his son to the distinguished Christian scholar Lactantius, thereby giving a clear sign of his commitment to Christianity. We are not told when Lactantius assumed his duties, but a date before 317 seems likely. Nor do we know how successful he was in instilling Christian beliefs and values in his imperial pupil. No later than January of 322 Crispus must have married a woman named Helena -- not to be confused with Constantine's mother or daughter by the same name- and this woman bore him a child in October of 322. Constantine, we learn, was pleased.

Crispus' official career began at an early age and is well documented. On March 1 of 317, at Serdica (modern Sofia), his father appointed him Caesar. The consulship was his three times, in 318, 321, and 324. While nominally in charge of Gaul, with a prefect at his side, he successfully undertook military operations against the Franks and Alamanni in 320 and 323.

In 324, during the second war between Constantine and Licinius, he excelled as commander of Constantine's fleet in the waters of the Hellespont, the Propontis, and the Bosporus, thus making a significant contribution to the outcome of that war. The high points of his career are amply reflected in the imperial coinage. In addition to coins, we have his portrait, with varying degrees of certainty, in a number of sculptures, mosaics, cameos, etc. Contemporary authors heap praises upon him. Thus the panegyrist Nazarius speaks of Crispus' "magnificent deeds," and Eusebius calls him "an emperor most dear to God and in all regards comparable to his father."

Crispus' end was as tragic as his career had been brilliant. His own father ordered him to be put to death. We know the year of this sad event, 326, from the Consularia Constantinopolitana, and the place, Pola in Istria, from Ammianus Marcellinus. The circumstances, however, are less clear. Zosimus (6th c.) and Zonaras (12th c.) both report that Crispus and his stepmother Fausta were involved in an illicit relationship. There may be as much gossip as fact in their reports, but it is certain that at some time during the same year the emperor ordered the death of his own wife as well, and the two cases must be considered together. That Crispus and Fausta plotted treason is reported by Gregory of Tours, but not very believable. We must resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins. A similar claim had already been made by Julian the Apostate. We must also, I think, reject the suggestion of Guthrie that the emperor acted in the interest of "dynastic legitimacy," that is, that he removed his illegitimate first-born son in order to secure the succession for his three legitimate younger sons. But Crispus must have committed, or at least must have been suspected of having committed, some especially shocking offense to earn him a sentence of death from his own father. He also suffered damnatio memoriae, his honor was never restored, and history has not recorded the fate of his wife and his child (or children).

Copyright (C) 1997, Hans A. Pohlsander. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis;An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families:
http://www.roman-emperors.org/crispus.htm


What If?

St. Nectarios, in his book, The Ecumenical Synods, writes "Hellenism spread by Alexander paved the way for Christianity by Emperor Constantine the Great."

Constantine's upward gaze on his "Eyes to Heaven" coins recall the coin portraits of Alexander the Great (namely coins struck by the Diodochi), which served as prototypes for the divine ruler portraiture of much of the Hellenistic age. The diadem, of which this is the most elaborate type, was adopted by Constantine and the members of his house as a new symbol of sovereignty.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, Constantine the Great is revered as a Saint.

Is it just possible? Constantine, knowing what happened (or thinking that he does) to Phillip II of Macedon—assassinated on the eve of his greatness, in a plot that most likely involved his wife—and possibly his son. . . isn’t it just possible that Constantine is growing obsessively jealous of his ever more successful and adulated son? Imagine the Constantine who has proven time and again (think: Licinius) that he is a completely self-serving liar and a murderer, decides to murder again? Why "must we resolutely reject the claim of Zosimus that it was Constantine's sense of guilt over these deeds which caused him to accept Christianity, as it alone promised him forgiveness for his sins [?] (see: above). A similar claim had already been made by Julian the [Philosopher]."

Perhaps it is time to cease being apologists for the sometime megalomaniacal Constantine. As Michael Grant notes, "It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . ." (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).


Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


CleisthenesOct 18, 2007
CTGSolInvAE3London.jpg
Constantine the Great, early 307 - 22 May 337 A.D.55 viewsAE 3: RIC VI 282, 312-313 AD, 3.3 g, 22 mm; London, EF; Obverse: IMP CONSTANTINVS P AVG, Laureate draped cuirassed bust right; Reverse: SOLI INV-IC-TO COMITI, Sol standing facing, right hand raised, globe in left hand, PLN in ex., star in left field; an attractive bronze with great detail. Ex Ancient Imports.

As I have noted elsewhere, I have chosen the date 395 AD, with the emperor Arcadius, to mark the beginning of the Byzantine Empire in my collection.

That said, it seems appropriate to display a couple of coins struck for the man whose decision made Byzantium possible. As historian John Julius Norwich has writen, “The Byzantine Empire, from its foundation by Constantine the Great on Monday, 11 May 330 to its conquest by the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II on Tuesday, 29 May 1453, lasted for a total of 1,123 years and 18 days – a period of time comfortably longer than that which separates us from the Norman conquest of England in 1066. For everyone except astronomers and geologists, such a period must be considered a long time . . ." (Norwich, John Julius. A Short History of Byzantium. New York: Vintage Books, 1999. xxxvii).


Flavius Valerius Constantinus, Constantine the Great, is as controversial as he is "great."


From John Julius Norwich:
"The first thing to be said is that no ruler in all history--not Alexander nor Alfred, not Charles nor Catherine, not Fredrick nor even Gregory--has ever more fully merited his title of "the Great . . . [he has] a serious claim to be considered--excepting only Jesus Christ, the Prophet Mohammed and the Buddha--the most influential man who ever lived" (Norwich, John Julius. The Middle Sea: A History of the Mediterranean. New York: Doubleday, 2006. 50-1).

From Michael Grant:
". . . But he was also murderous, and the many whom he murdered, or executed, included not only his rival Licinius (to whom he had promised survival) but also his own eldest son and his own second wife Fausta. There is no excusing those deaths, at any time or in any society . . . There are, and remain, certain absolute standards, and by his death-dealing Constantine offended signally against them. . . It is a mocking travesty of justice to call such a murderer Constantine the Great . . . (Grant, Michael. The Emperor Constantine. London: Phoenix Press, 1998. 226).

J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesOct 14, 2007
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[1006a] Macrinus, 11 April 217 - 8 June 218 A.D.; Diadumenian, mid May - 8 June 218 A.D.26 viewsMacrinus and Diadumenian, AMNG 750, 217-218 AD, 12.4 g, 27.25 mm; Moesia Inferior Marcianopolis; aVF; Obverse: Busts of Macrinus and Diadumenian facing each other; Reverse: Rv.: Asklepios standing left, with snake coiled on staff, lovely jade green patina; Ex Colosseum; Ex Ancient Imports.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Macrinus (217-218 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University


Marcus Opellius Macrinus was the first emperor who was neither a senator nor of a senatorial family at the time of his accession. His 14-month reign was spent entirely in the East, where he proved unable to maintain the influence gained in the region by the campaigns of his predecessor, Caracalla, nor was Macrinus able to shake the suspicion that he was responsible for Caracalla's murder.

Macrinus was born in Caesarea in Mauretania around the year 165 AD. While it is highly conjectural that, as a young man, the future emperor was the dedicatee of Ampelius' encyclopedic Liber memoralis, Macrinus undoubtedly received a literary education that enabled him to rise high as a bureaucrat in the imperial service during the reign of the emperor Severus. Caracalla made Macrinus a praetorian prefect, an equestrian post that was second to the emperor in power. Macrinus shared the position with the experienced soldier Adventus, and the pair served Caracalla during the emperor's campaigns in the East.

By the end of the second campaigning season in the winter of 216-17, rumors were flying both in Rome and in the East that Macrinus was promoting himself as a possible future emperor. Caracalla must have been aware of the rumors concerning Macrinus, for the contemporary historian Cassius Dio notes the emperor was already reassigning members of Macrinus' staff. Such personnel moves may have accelerated Macrinus' plot.

Shortly before the campaigning season was to begin, Caracalla paid a visit to a temple near Carrhae. The emperor was accompanied by a hand-picked corps of bodyguards. The guards returned with Caracalla's murdered body, along with the body of one of the guards and a story that the dead guard killed the dead emperor. Not everyone was convinced, but Macrinus was able to translate his authority as praetorian prefect into that of emperor, being proclaimed by the troops on 11 April 217. Macrinus soon named his son, Diadumenianus, as Caesar and heir. The new emperor also got his former colleague, Adventus, out of the way by sending him back to Rome as urban prefect.

Macrinus straightaway sent conciliatory messages to the Parthian ruler Artabanus V, but Artabanus sensed weakness and raised an army to avenge his losses from the previous year's campaign. Macrinus hoped to avoid a battle with the Parthians, but fighting erupted between the armies while both sides were encamped around Nisibis. The Parthians gained victory and, during the following autumn and winter, peace negotiations were held. Macrinus ended up paying the Parthians large bribes and reparations. Settlements were also reached with the Armenians, and, in the lower Danube, with the Dacians, who had launched attacks on the Romans after learning of Caracalla's death.

By not returning to Rome in 217, Macrinus opened himself to criticism. Dissatisfaction was especially high in the city after a particularly violent, late-August thunderstorm started a fire that damaged much of the Colosseum and caused widespread flooding, especially in the Forum. Adventus proved himself incompetent as urban prefect and had to be replaced.

But grumblings in Rome were insignificant compared to the growing unease among the soldiers on campaign in the East. The defeat at Nisibis disheartened troops. Macrinus also introduced an unpopular, two-tier pay system in which new recruits received less money than veterans. The move was a way to save money after the pay raise granted by Caracalla, but it lowered morale as well.

Earlier, Caracalla's mother, Julia Domna, had toyed with the idea of raising a rebellion against Macrinus shortly after her son's murder, but the empress was uncertain of success and already suffering from breast cancer. She chose to starve herself to death instead.

The grandchildren of her sister, Julia Maesa, would become the focus of the successful uprising that began on 15 May 218. Her 14-year-old grandson Avitus (known to history as Elagabalus) was proclaimed emperor by one the legions camped near the family's hometown of Emesa. Other troops quickly joined the rebellion, but Macrinus marshalled loyal soldiers to crush the revolt. Macrinus also promoted his son to the rank of emperor.

The forces met in a village outside Antioch on 8 June 218. Despite the inexperience of the leaders of the rebel army, Macrinus was defeated. He sent his son, Diadumenianus, with an ambassador to the Parthian king, while Macrinus himself prepared to flee to Rome. Macrinus traveled across Asia Minor disguised as a courier and nearly made it to Europe, but he was captured in Chalcedon. Macrinus was transported to Cappadocia, where he was executed. Diadumenianus had also been captured (at Zeugma) and was similarly put to death.

Contemporaries tended to portray Macrinus as a fear-driven parvenu who was able to make himself emperor but was incapable of the leadership required by the job. An able administrator, Macrinus lacked the aristocratic connections and personal bravado that might have won him legitimacy. His short reign represented a brief interlude of Parthian success during what would prove the final decade of the Parthian empire.

Copyright (C) 1997, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors;http://www.roman-emperors.org/macrinus.htm. Used by permission.

Diadumenian
Much of what we know of Diadumenianus comes to us from the unreliable Scriptores Historiae Augustae. While it is true that Curtius does give the boy-Emperor some copy, suffice it to say that Diadumenian was the son of Macrinus and made Caesar at the age of nine in 217 A.D. and Augustus in 218. After his father's defeat he fled towards Parthia but was overtaken and executed.
http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/roman-and-greek-coins.asp?vpar=573&pos=0

A very minor player in the history of Rome, Diadumenian is most conspicuous because of his impressive issue of Greek Imperial (Roman Privincial) coinage, most notably in Moesia Inferior.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesOct 14, 2007
ATGlifetime TetMemphis.jpg
[300mem] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Tetradrachm (Possible Lifetime Issue)80 viewsAlexander III, The Great; 336-323BC. AR tetradrachm; Price 3971, SNG Cop.7; 16.07g. Memphis mint, Egypt. Possible Lifetime issue. Obverse: Beardless bust of young Herakles right wearing lions scalp. Reverse: Zeus enthroned left; holding eagle in outstretched right hand and sceptre in left , rose in left field; between legs of throne and O next to right leg of throne; gVF/VF, light encrustation obverse, small chip reverse; together with several light scratches both sides. Ex Pavlos S. Pavlou. Ex FORVM, "The Memphis issues are among the finest style Alexander coins. Experts disagree on the date of this issue. Some identify it as a lifetime issue and others as a posthumous issue (Joseph Sermarini)..

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
CleisthenesOct 03, 2007
HeracliusAE.jpg
[1616b] Heraclius, 5 Oct 610 - 11 Jan 641 A.D.52 viewsBYZANTINE EMPIRE. Heraclius AD 610-641. AE.Follis. Ref:Sear 833; 12.91g. VF; Nicomedia mint. Obverse: Facing bust of Heracliu, holding cross in right hand. Reverse: Incial letter M, ANNO to left, II to right ( Year 2 AD 611/612), officia letter A betweem limbs of M, above cross; mint-signature NIKO in exergue . Very fine, earthern deposit in fields-not as yellow as picture suggest. Ex Pavlos S Pavlou.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Heraclius (October 5, 610 - February 641 A.D.)

R. Scott Moore
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

Accession
The last years of Phocas' reign were troubled ones with many foreign threats, such as the Slavic incursions, and internal threats, such as violent religious conflicts and even unsuccessful rebellions. In 608, the exarch of Carthage revolted and dispatched a fleet under the command of his son, Heraclius, to Constantinople. Along the way, in Egypt, Heraclius joined forces with his cousin Nicetas who was able to capture Cyrenaica and Egypt from Phocas' general Bonosos. Heraclius' fleet continued on to Constantinople where he entered into secret negotiations with one of Phocas' top military leaders, Priscus. He was married to Phocas' daughter Domentzia. With the support of Priscus, the patriarch Sergius I, and the faction of the Greens, Heraclius was able to seize the city, have Phocas beheaded and became emperor on October 5, 610 AD.

Private Life
Heraclius, the son of the exarch of Carthage, Heraclius, and Epiphania was born around the year 575. When he was crowned as emperor in 610 AD, he married Fabia, who then took the name Eudocia. From this marriage, Heraclius had a daughter, Eudocia, and a son Heraclius Constantine, who was proclaimed as co-emperor in 613. Suffering from epilepsy, Fabia died in 612 and Heraclius married his niece Martina in 613. With Martina, Heraclius had nine children of which four died in infancy. Heraclius' marriage to Martina was never received favorably by either the people of Constantinople or the Church.

Foreign Affairs
When Heraclius first came to the throne in 610, the Byzantine Empire was being attacked from numerous sides. In the west, the Avars and Slavs were expanding into the northern Balkans. The Slavs controlled the Danube regions, Thrace, Macedonia, and were soon invading Central Greece and the Peloponnesus. In the east, meanwhile, the Persians under the rule of Chosroes had begun a series of successful attacks on the empire resulting in the loss of Damascus in 613, Jerusalem in 614 (destroying the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and capturing the Holy Cross) and Egypt in 619. Recognizing the difficulty in fighting on two opposing fronts at the same time, Heraclius signed a peace treaty with the Avars in 619, and focused on the eastern half of the empire. In the spring of 622, Heraclius left Constantinople for Asia Minor and began training his troops over the summer, focusing on a more involved role for the Byantine cavalry.

In the autumn, Heraclius' army invaded Armenia and soon won several victories over the Persians. The Avars, in the meantime, became restless and Heraclius was forced to renegotiate the peace treaty with them at a much higher tribute level. Heraclius then returned to the army and for the next several years unsuccessfully attempted to break through the Persian army and into Persia. In August of 626 while Heraclius and his army were in Lazica away from Constantinople, a Persian army attacked the city from the east while an army of Avars, Slavs, and Bulgars attacked from the west and from the sea. On August 10, the Byzantine navy was able to defeat the opposing fleet and then rout the combined Slav and Avar land force. With the defeat of their allies, the Persians retreated to Syria.

In the autumn of 627, Heraclius began to work his way into Persian territory winning an important battle in December at Nineveh during which most of the Persian army was destroyed. As Heraclius continued to move further into Persian territory, Chosroes was deposed and succeeded by his son Kavadh-Siroe whose first act was to secure a treaty with Heraclius. The treaty was very favorable to the Byzantines and returned all the former Byzantine territories to the empire. Within a few short months, Kavadh-Siroe fell ill and died after naming Heraclius as guardian of his son, Chosroes II. For all practical purposes, the Persian Empire no longer existed. In 630 Heraclius traveled to Jerusalem where he returned the Holy Cross to the city among much acclaim.

The defeat of the Persians created a larger problem for the Byzantine empire. The struggle between the Byzantines and the Persians had worn down both sides and the defeat of the Persians allowed the Arabs to quickly absorb what remained of the Persian empire. It also removed the buffer between the Arabs and the Byzantines allowing the two empires to come into contact and conflict. In 634 the Arab armies invaded Syria and defeated Theodore, the emperor's brother, in a string of battles. Heraclius raised a large army that attacked the Arabs near the Yarmuk, a tributary of the Jordan, in the fall of 636. After a successful beginning, the larger Byzantine army was defeated allowing the conquest of Syria. The Byzantine defeat also led to the Arabs quickly taking Mesopotamia, Armenia and eventually Egypt.

Internal Affairs
While Heraclius enjoyed military success, major changes occurred internally under his rule. Greek replaced Latin as the official language of the empire and Heraclius adopted the Greek title of in place of the Latin Caesar, Augustus, or Imperator. The recovery of the eastern areas of the Byzantine Empire from the Persians once again raised the problem of religious unity, centering around the understanding of the true nature of Christ. The eastern areas, particularly Armenia, Syria, and Egypt believed in monophysitism, Christ having one nature composed of both divine and human elements. The other areas of the empire followed the orthodox view expressed at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 that decreed Christ had two natures united in one person. In an effort to bridge the gap between the two views and bring them back together, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Sergius, promoted the concept of monoenergism which proposed that the two natures of Christ had one energy. While this was received favorably at first, monoenergism soon had vocal opponents, among them the monk Sophronius who became patriarch of Jerusalem in 634 AD. The opposition to monoenergism led Sergius to propose a new doctrine that of monotheletism, the belief in a single will in Christ. Heraclius supported the new doctrine of Sergius and put it forth in an edict known as the Ekthesis, and posted it in the narthex of Hagia Sophia in 638. This failed to settle the controversy as it was rejected by the Orthodox, the Monophysites, and even the Church of Rome.

Succession
During the last years of Heraclius' life, it became evident that a struggle was taking place between Heraclius' son from his first marriage, Heraclius Constantine, and his second wife Martina who was trying to position her son Heraclonas in line for the throne. On the 11th of February 641, Heraclius died and in his will left the empire to both Heraclius Constantine and Heraclonas to rule jointly with Martina as Empress and mother of both.

Copyright (C) 1997, R. Scott Moore. Published: De Imperatoribu Romanis, http://www.roman-emperors.org/heraclis.htm Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenesOct 02, 2007
KnidosARdrachm.jpg
020a, CARIA, Knidos. Circa 465-449 BC. AR Drachm.61 viewsCARIA, Knidos. Circa 465-449 BC. AR Drachm - 16mm (6.06 g). Obverse: forepart of roaring lion right; Reverse: archaic head of Aphrodite right, hair bound with taenia. Cahn 80 (V38/R53); SNG Helsinki 132 (same dies); SNG Copenhagen 232 (same dies). Toned, near VF, good metal. Ex Barry P. Murphy.

While this coin falls within the time frame that numismatists call "Classical" Greek coinage, I have chosen to place it in both the "Archaic" (coin 020a) and "Classical" Greek sections of my collection. This specimen is one of those wonderful examples of transition--it incorporates many elements of the "Archaic" era, although it is struck during the "Classical" Greek period and anticipates characteristics of the later period.

As noted art historian Patricia Lawrence has pointed out, "[this specimen portrays] A noble-headed lion, a lovely Late Archaic Aphrodite, and [is made from]. . . beautiful metal." The Archaic Aphrodite is reminiscent of certain portraits of Arethusa found on tetradrachms produced in Syracuse in the first decade of the 5th century BC.

Knidos was a city of high antiquity and as a Hellenic city probably of Lacedaemonian colonization. Along with Halicarnassus (present day Bodrum, Turkey) and Kos, and the Rhodian cities of Lindos, Kamiros and Ialyssos it formed the Dorian Hexapolis, which held its confederate assemblies on the Triopian headland, and there celebrated games in honour of Apollo, Poseidon and the nymphs.

The city was at first governed by an oligarchic senate, composed of sixty members, and presided over by a magistrate; but, though it is proved by inscriptions that the old names continued to a very late period, the constitution underwent a popular transformation. The situation of the city was favourable for commerce, and the Knidians acquired considerable wealth, and were able to colonize the island of Lipara, and founded a city on Corcyra Nigra in the Adriatic. They ultimately submitted to Cyrus, and from the battle of Eurymedon to the latter part of the Peloponnesian War they were subject to Athens.

In their expansion into the region, the Romans easily obtained the allegiance of Knidians, and rewarded them for help given against Antiochus by leaving them the freedom of their city.

During the Byzantine period there must still have been a considerable population: for the ruins contain a large number of buildings belonging to the Byzantine style, and Christian sepulchres are common in the neighbourhood.

Eudoxus, the astronomer, Ctesias, the writer on Persian history, and Sostratus, the builder of the celebrated Pharos at Alexandria, are the most remarkable of the Knidians mentioned in history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cnidus

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenesSep 30, 2007
Manuel1ComAR_Sear2601.jpg
[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)312 viewsEmpire of Trebizond: Manuel I, Komnenos, Silver Asper, Sear-2601, struck 1238-1263, 2.9 grams, 21.9 mm. Nice VF; Obverse: St. Eugenius standing facing, holding a long cross; Reverse: Manuel standing facing, holding labarum and akakia, Manus Dei in upper right field. Nicely centered with technically 'mint state' surfaces, but a touch of strike unevenness and irregular toning. Ex Glenn Woods.

Manuel I Megas Komnenos (Greek: Μανουήλ Α΄ Μέγας Κομνηνός, Manouēl I Megas Komnēnos), (c. 1218 – March 1263), Emperor of Trebizond from 1238 to 1263, surnamed the "Great Captain", was the second son of Alexios I, the first emperor of Trebizond, and Theodora Axouchina. He succeeded his brother, John I Axouchos. In spite of his alleged military abilities, Trebizond became or remained a vassal to the Seljuk Turks and, after the Battle of Köse Dag in 1243, to the Mongols of Persia. Trapezuntine forces served in the battle as Seljuk tributaries. The Seljuk forces were shattered in the defeat and the Sultanate of Iconium began to decline.

In 1253, Manuel negotiated for a dynastic alliance with King Louis IX of France, by which he hoped to secure the help of the Crusaders against the Seljuks and Laskarids of Nicaea, but Louis advised him to seek a wife from the Latin Empire of Constantinople. Jean de Joinville testifies to Manuel's wealth, saying he sent Louis: "various precious things as a gift; amongst others, bows made of the wood of the service tree, whose arrow-notches screwed into the bow, and when they were released, one saw that they were very sharp and well made."

The destruction of Baghdad by Hulagu Khan in 1258 revived the trade route running north from Armenia and the upper Euphrates valley to Erzerum and then through the Zigana Pass to Trebizond. This trade route caused the beginnings of Trebizond's commercial prosperity, because goods from the Silk Road were now transported to Trebizond and the Black Sea, instead of to the Mediterranean. Although some bronze coins have been attributed to Alexios I, and silver aspers were certainly coined by John I, Manuel struck both bronze coins and a large silver currency. Trapezuntine coins circulated widely outside the empire, especially in Georgia.

Manuel rebuilt the Hagia Sophia monastery in Trebizond between 1250 and 1260. Eastmond describes Manuel's church as 'the finest surviving Byzantine imperial monument of its period.' When Michael VIII Palaiologos recaptured Constantinople from the Latin Empire in 1261 he unsuccessfully demanded that Manuel abandon his claim to the Byzantine succession.

Manuel married three times and left several children, four of whom reigned after him. By his first wife, Anna Xylaloe, a Trapezuntine noblewoman he had:
• Andronikos II, who succeeded as emperor.

By his second wife, the Iberian princess Rusudan, he had:
• Theodora

By his third wife, Irene Syrikaina, another Trapezuntine noblewoman, he had four children:
• George
• Anonymous daughter, who married King Demetre II of Georgia
• Anonymous daughter
• John II.

The Empire of T