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Search results - "Princeps"
domitian_denar_blk_copy.jpg
(12) DOMITIAN44 views81 - 96 AD
Struck as Caesar under Titus 80 AD
AR Denarius 18 mm 2.31 g
O: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII Laureate head right
R: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right with javelin and shield
Rome RCV 2674
laney
domitian_denar_minerva_caesar.jpg
(12) DOMITIAN as Caesar14 views81 - 96 AD
Struck as Caesar under Titus 80 AD
AR Denarius 18 mm 2.31 g
O: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII Laureate head right
R: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right with javelin and shield
Rome RCV 2674
laney
dom as caesar spes.jpg
02 Domitian as Caesar RIC 788157 viewsAR Denarius, 3.36g
Rome mint, 74 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVT; Spes, draped, advancing l., holding up flower in r. hand and with l. holding up her skirt.
RIC 788 (C). BMC 156. RSC 375. BNC 135.
Ex Harlan J Berk 155, 31 July 2007, lot 247.

During Vespasian's reign, Domitian was given the honorary title PRINCEPS IVVENTVT or 'Prince of Youth', celebrated here on this denarius from 74 AD. The title is one that was often given to young princes who were marked out as chosen heirs.

Spes, the personification of hope, is seen here on the reverse advacing left, holding a budding flower. The flower is a symbol of future well being.

Domitian's coinage during Vespasian's rule was unique. While Titus followed closely the types of his father, Domitian struck out on his own. One wonders how much of an input the young prince had on his own series.

A very likeable coin with a good portrait and excellent centring.


2 commentsVespasian70
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR_AVG-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VI_PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC-246-new-45D-80-AD_Q-001_axis-5h_18,5mm_3,18g-s.jpg
024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1081, RIC II(1962) 0246D (Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands, #1315 views024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1081, RIC II(1962) 0246D (Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands, #1
avers:- CAESAR_AVG-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VI, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands holding a legionary eagle on prow.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: 18,5mm, weight: 3,18g, axis: 5h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 1081, RIC II(1962) 0246D (Vespasian), RSC 393, BMC 269,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
RICa_1084,_RIC_II(1962)_0243(Vesp_),_024_Domitian_AR-Den,_CAESAR_AVG_F_DOMITIANVS_COS_VI,_PRINCEPS_IVVENTVTIS,_Roma,_79-AD,_Scarce,_Q-001,_6h,_17-18mm,_3,17g-s.jpg
024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1084, RIC II(1962) 0243(Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, Scarce!, #1135 views024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1084, RIC II(1962) 0243(Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, Scarce!, #1
avers: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head of Domitian right.
reverse: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column and feeding snake.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 17,0-18,0mm, weight: 3,17g, axis: 6h,
mint: Rome, date: 79 A.D., ref: RIC 1084, RIC II(1962) 0243(Vespasian) p-43, C 384, BMC 265,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
RICc_1087,_RIC_II(1962)_0244(Vesp),_024_Domitian,_AR-Den,_CAESAR_AVG_F_DOMITIANVS_COS_VI,_PRINCEPS_IVVENTVTIS,_Roma,_79-AD,_Q-001,_6h,_17-17,5mm,_2,89g-s.jpg
024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1087, RIC II(1962) 0244(Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, Scarce!, #1139 views024a Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 1087, RIC II(1962) 0244(Vespasian), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, Scarce!, #1
avers: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head of Domitian right.
reverse: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, holding palladium and sceptre.
exergue: -/-//--, diameter: 17,0-17,5mm, weight: 2,89g, axis: 6h,
mint: Rome, date: 79 A.D., ref: RIC 1087, RIC II(1962) 0244(Vespasian) p-43, C 378, BMC 262,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR_AVG-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII_PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC--new-96-_Q-001_axis-5h_17,5mm_3,09g-s.jpg
024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0096, RIC II(1962) 0045(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands, #1209 views024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0096, RIC II(1962) 0045(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands, #1
avers:- CAESAR_AVG-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Clasped hands holding a legionary eagle on prow.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: 17,5mm, weight: 3,09g, axis: 5h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 0096, RIC II(1962) 045(Titus) p-121, RSC 395, BMC 85,
Q-001
3 commentsquadrans
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII_PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC-II-50(Titus)_RIC-new-266_80-AD_Q-001_7h_17-18mm_2,93gx-s.jpg
024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0266, RIC II(1962) 0050(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, lighted and garlanded altar, #1126 views024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0266, RIC II(1962) 0050(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, lighted and garlanded altar, #1
avers:- CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Lighted and garlanded altar.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: 17-18mm, weight: 2,93g, axis: 7h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 0266, RIC II(1962) 0050(Titus) p-122, RSC 397a, BMC 92,
Q-001
3 commentsquadrans
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR-dot-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII_PRINCEPS_IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC-267-new-49_(Titus)_C-390_80-AD_Scarce_Q-001_axis-_h__-_mm__g-s.jpg
024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0267, RIC II(1962) 0049(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Cretan goat standing left, Scarce!, #1131 views024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0267, RIC II(1962) 0049(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Cretan goat standing left, Scarce!, #1
avers:- CAESAR•DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Cretan goat standing left within laurel wreath.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: mm, weight: g, axis: h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 0267, RIC II(1962) 0049(Titus) p-122, RSC 390, BMC 88,
Q-001
2 commentsquadrans
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII_PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC-II-51_RIC-new-271_80-AD_Q-001_axis-5h_17,5-18mm_3,31g-s.jpg
024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar, #1188 views024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar, #1
avers:- CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: 17,5-18mm, weight: 3,31g, axis: 5h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus) p-122, RSC 399a, BMC 98,
Q-001
1 commentsquadrans
Domitian_AR-Den_CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII_PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS_Roma-RIC-II-51_RIC-new-271_80-AD_Q-002_5h_17,7-18,6mm_2,89ga-s.jpg
024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar, #2100 views024b Domitian (69-81 A.D. Caesar, 81-96 A.D. Augustus), RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus), AR-Denarius, Rome, PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar, #2
avers:- CAESAR-DIVI-F-DOMITIANVS-COS-VII, Laureate head of Domitian right.
revers:- PRINCEPS-IVVENTVTIS, Helmet on altar.
exe: -/-//--, diameter: 17,7-18,6mm, weight: 2,89g, axis: 5h,
mint: Rome, date: 80 A.D., ref: RIC 0271, RIC II(1962) 0051(Titus) p-122, RSC 399a, BMC 98,
Q-002
quadrans
augustus_RIC207.jpg
027 BC-14 AD - AUGUSTUS AR denarius - struck 2 BC-ca. 13 AD85 viewsobv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE (laureate head right)
rev: AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT, C L CAESARES below (Gaius & Lucius standing front, each with a hand resting on a round shield, a spear, & in field above, a lituus right & simpulum left ["b9"])
ref: RIC I 207, BMC 533, RSC 43
mint: Lugdunum
3.35gms, 18mm

This type was struck to celebrate Gaius and Lucius Caesars, the sons of Marcus Agrippa, as heirs to the imperial throne. Gaius became Princeps Iuventutis in 5 BC and Lucius in 2 BC. They died in 4 AD and 2 AD respectively, thus promoting Tiberius to heir apparent. An obligatory issue for collectors.
berserker
augustus_RIC381.jpg
027 BC-14 AD - AVGVSTVS AE dupondius - struck by Cnaeus Piso Cn F moneyer (15 BC)53 viewsobv: AVGVSTVS TRIBVNIC POTEST in wreath
rev: CN PISO CN IIIVIR A A A F F around large SC
ref: RIC I 381 (R), Cohen 378 (2frcs)
mint: Rome
10.33gms, 25mm
Rare

Augustus was awarded all the powers of the tribunate (tribunitia potestas) in addition to the governing authority of the consulate, cementing him as a supreme individual princeps, or emperor.
berserker
RI_035f_img.jpg
035 - Domitian Denarius (as Caesar under Vespasian) - RIC II (Old) 24430 viewsObv:– CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head right
Rev:– PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, holding Palladium and sceptre
Minted in Rome. A.D. 79
Reference:– RIC II (old) 244. RSC 378
maridvnvm
Domitian_as_caesar_legionary_standard.jpg
06 Domitian as Caesar RIC-1081113 viewsAR Denarius, 3.45g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Clasped hands holding legionary eagle set on prow
RIC 1081 (C2). BMC 269. RSC 393. BNC 240.
Acquired from Beast Coins, April 2007.


The reverse represents 'Concordia Militum', harmony of the troops. Domitian quite possibly was plotting against Titus after Vespasian's death by appealing to the troops with a double donative. This coin might provide numismatic evidence of such. Suetonius states: " On the death of his father he hesitated for some time whether to offer a double largess to the soldiers, and he never had any compunction about saying that he had been left a partner in the imperial power, but that the will had been tampered with."

A nice coin with average wear and an interesting history behind it.


Vespasian70
dom_as_caesar_salus_and_snake.jpg
07 Domitian as Caesar RIC-108486 viewsAR Denarius, 3.28g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Salus, stg. r., resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
RIC 1084 (C2). BMC 265. RSC 384. BNC 237.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, July 2008.

A most puzzling reverse type issued during the last months of Vespasian's reign before he died on June 24th. Perhaps a reference to Vespasian's illness and his hopeful recovery.

Worn and average with a good portrait.
vespasian70
V1085.jpg
07b Domitian as Caesar RIC 108588 viewsAR Denarius, 3.08g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Salus, stg. r., resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
RIC 1085 (R2). BMC p. 47 note. RSC 385. BNC 238.
Acquired from eBay, 10 June 2018.

A rare left portrait variant of the common Salus type struck for Domitian Caesar under Vespasian. The reverse may be an illusion to Vespasian's ill health preceeding his death on 24 June 79. No specimens in the BM's collection, citing the Paris collection. A double die match with the RIC plate coin.

Good style and well centred.
4 commentsDavid Atherton
domit_as_caesar_vesta_lg.jpg
08 Domitian as Caesar RIC-108778 viewsAR Denarius, 3.54g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Vesta, std. l., with palladium and sceptre
RIC 1087 (C2). BMC 262. RSC 378. BNC 233.
Acquired from Amphora Coins, July 2008.

Vesta is supposed to be holding a palladium in her right hand, but on this example the legend covers up the palladium completely. It is barely visible (if at all) under the legend. Most examples of the type clearly show it in her out-stretched hand. A note for an aureus of the type in the BM (#261) notes - 'palladium hardly visible, sceptre nearly vertical'. There is no illustration of the specimen, so I'm guessing mine is similar.
vespasian70
V1088.jpg
08a Domitian as Caesar RIC-108886 viewsAR Denarius, 3.14g
Rome Mint, 79 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, l.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Vesta std. l., with Palladium and sceptre
RIC 1088 (R3). BMC p. 46 note. RSC 379. BNC -.
Ex Den of Antiquity (eBay), October 2012.

A very rare (4th known) left facing portrait of the common Vesta and Palladium reverse. It is listed in Cohen as 379 (citing lot 784 of the de Moustier Sale of 1872) , although the new RIC states it is unverified (?). The lone example cited by RIC is in G. Mazzini's Monete imperiali romane, vol. 1. Also, Curtis Clay has a specimen, same die pair as mine. Left facing portraits of Domitian are extremely rare, especially those as Caesar.

Worn but all the major devices are visible.

Thanks to Curtis Clay for additional attribution help!
David Atherton
DiocleAnt.jpg
1301a, Diocletian, 284-305 A.D. (Antioch)93 viewsDIOCLETIAN (284 – 305 AD) AE Antoninianus, 293-95 AD, RIC V 322, Cohen 34. 20.70 mm/3.1 gm, aVF, Antioch. Obverse: IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, Radiate bust right, draped & cuirassed; Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Jupiter presents Victory on a globe to Diocletian, I/XXI. Early Diocletian with dusty earthen green patina.


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.

1 commentsCleisthenes
DicletianConcordCyz.jpg
1301b, Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 March 305 A.D.57 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.


Cleisthenes
MaxentiusRIC163.jpg
1307a, Maxentius, February 307 - 28 October 312 A.D.60 viewsBronze follis, RIC 163, aEF, Rome mint, 5.712g, 25.6mm, 0o, summer 307 A.D.; obverse MAXENTIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONSERVATO-RES VRB SVAE, Roma holding globe and scepter, seated in hexastyle temple, RT in ex; rare. Ex FORVM; Ex Maridvnvm


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

Maxentius (306-312 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Marcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, more commonly known as Maxentius, was the child of the Emperor Maximianus Herculius and the Syrian, Eutropia; he was born ca. 278 A.D. After Galerius' appointment to the rank of Caesar on 1 March 293, Maxentius married Galerius' daughter Valeria Maximilla, who bore him a son named Romulus and another son whose name is unknown. Due to his haughty nature and bad disposition, Maxentius could seldom agree with his father or his father-in-law; Galerius' and Maximianus Herculius' aversion to Maxentius prevented the young man from becoming a Caesar in 305. Little else is known of Maxentius' private life prior to his accession and, although there is some evidence that it was spent in idleness, he did become a Senator.

On 28 October 306 Maxentius was acclaimed emperor, although he was politically astute enough not to use the title Augustus; like the Emperor Augustus, he called himself princeps. It was not until the summer of 307 that he started using the title Augustus and started offending other claimants to the imperial throne. He was enthroned by the plebs and the Praetorians. At the time of his acclamation Maxentius was at a public villa on the Via Labicana. He strengthened his position with promises of riches for those who helped him obtain his objective. He forced his father Maximianus Herculius to affirm his son's acclamation in order to give his regime a facade of legitimacy. His realm included Italy, Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica. As soon as Galerius learned about the acclamation of Herculius' son, he dispatched the Emperor Severus to quell the rebellion. With the help of his father and Severus' own troops, Maxentius' took his enemy prisoner.

When Severus died, Galerius was determined to avenge his death. In the early summer of 307 the Augustus invaded Italy; he advanced to the south and encamped at Interamna near the Tiber. His attempt to besiege the city was abortive because his army was not large enough to encompass the city's fortifications. Negotiations between Maxentius and Galerius broke down when the emperor discovered that the usurper was trying to win over his troops. Galerius' troops were open to Maxentius' promises because they were fighting a civil war between members of the same family; some of the soldiers went over to the enemy. Not trusting his own troops, Galerius withdrew. During its retreat, Galerius' army ravaged the Italian countryside as it was returning to its original base. If it was not enough that Maxentius had to deal with the havoc created by the ineffectual invasions of Severus and Galerius, he also had to deal with his father's attempts to regain the throne between 308 and 310. When Maximianus Herculius was unable to regain power by pushing his son off his throne, he attempted to win over Constantine to his cause. When this plan failed, he tried to win Diocletian over to his side at Carnuntum in October and November 308. Frustrated at every turn, Herculius returned to his son-in-law Constantine's side in Gaul where he died in 310, having been implicated in a plot against his son-in-law. Maxentius' control of the situation was weakened by the revolt of L. Domitius Alexander in 308. Although the revolt only lasted until the end of 309, it drastically cut the size of the grain supply availble for Rome. Maxentius' rule collapsed when he died on 27 October 312 in an engagement he had with the Emperor Constantine at the Milvian Bridge after the latter had invaded his realm.

Copyright (C) 1996, Michael DiMaio, Jr.
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.
1 commentsCleisthenes
Lcnius1.jpg
1308b, Licinius I, 308 - 324 A.D. (Siscia)59 viewsLicinius I, 11 November 308 - 18 September 324 A.D. Bronze follis, RIC 4, F, Siscia, 3.257g, 21.6mm, 0o, 313 - 315 A.D. Obverse: IMP LIC LICINIVS P F AVG, laureate head right; Reverse IOVI CONSERVATORI AVGG NN, Jupiter standing left holding Victory on globe and scepter, eagle with wreath in beak left, E right, SIS in exergue.



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

Licinius (308-324 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Licinius' Heritage

Valerius Licinianus Licinius, more commonly known as Licinius, may have been born ca. 265. Of peasant origin, his family was from Dacia. A close friend and comrade of arms of the Emperor Galerius, he accompanied him on his Persian expedition in 297. When campaigns by Severus and Galerius in late 306 or early 307 and in the summer of 307, respectively, failed to dislodge Maxentius who, with the luke warm support of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps on 28 October 306, he was sent by the eastern emperor to Maxentius as an ambassador; the diplomatic mission, however, failed because the usurper refused to submit to the authority of his father-in-law Galerius. At the Conference of Carnuntum which was held in October or November of 308, Licinius was made an Augustus on 11 November 308; his realm included Thrace, Illyricum, and Pannonia.

Licinius' Early Reign

Although Licinius was initially appointed by Galerius to replace Severus to end the revolt of Maxentius , Licinius (perhaps wisely) made no effort to move against the usurper. In fact, his first attested victory was against the Sarmatians probably in the late spring, but no later than the end of June in 310. When the Emperor Galerius died in 311, Licinius met Maximinus Daia at the Bosporus during the early summer of that year; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. It was little more than a year later that the Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. After the defeat of the usurper, Constantine and Licinius met at Mediolanum (Milan) where Licinius married the former's sister Constantia; one child was born of this union: Valerius Licinianus Licinius. Licinius had another son, born of a slave woman, whose name is unknown. It appears that both emperors promulgated the so-called Edict of Milan, in which Constantine and Licinius granted Christians the freedom to practice their faith without any interference from the state.

As soon as he seems to have learned about the marital alliance between Licinius and Constantine and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia traversed Asia Minor and, in April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, which he took from Licinius after an eleven day siege. On 30 April 313 the armies of both emperors clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. A last ditch stand by Daia at the Cilician Gates failed; the eastern emperor subsequently died in the area of Tarsus probably in July or August 313. As soon as he arrived in Nicomedeia, Licinius promulgated the Edict of Milan. As soon as he had matters in Nicomedeia straightened out, Licinius campaigned against the Persians in the remaining part of 313 and the opening months of 314.

The First Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine

Once Licinius had defeated Maximinus Daia, the sole rulers of the Roman world were he and Constantine. It is obvious that the marriage of Licinius to Constantia was simply a union of convenience. In any case, there is evidence in the sources that both emperors were looking for an excuse to attack the other. The affair involving Bassianus (the husband of Constantius I's daughter Anastasia ), mentioned in the text of Anonymus Valesianus (5.14ff), may have sparked the falling out between the two emperors. In any case, Constantine' s forces joined battle with those of Licinius at Cibalae in Pannonia on 8 October 314. When the battle was over, Constantine prevailed; his victory, however, was Pyrrhic. Both emperors had been involved in exhausting military campaigns in the previous year and the months leading up to Cibalae and each of their realms had expanded so fast that their manpower reserves must have been stretched to the limit. Both men retreated to their own territory to lick their wounds. It may well be that the two emperors made an agreement, which has left no direct trace in the historical record, which would effectively restore the status quo.

Both emperors were variously engaged in different activities between 315 and 316. In addition to campaigning against the Germans while residing in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in 315, Constantine dealt with aspects of the Donatist controversy; he also traveled to Rome where he celebrated his Decennalia. Licinius, possibly residing at Sirmium, was probably waging war against the Goths. Although not much else is known about Licinius' activities during this period, it is probable that he spent much of his time preparing for his impending war against Constantine; the latter,who spent the spring and summer of 316 in Augusta Treverorum, was probably doing much the same thing. In any case, by December 316, the western emperor was in Sardica with his army. Sometime between 1 December and 28 February 317, both emperors' armies joined battle on the Campus Ardiensis; as was the case in the previous engagement, Constantine' s forces were victorious. On 1 March 317, both sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities; possibly because of the intervention of his wife Constantia, Licinius was able to keep his throne, although he had to agree to the execution of his colleague Valens, who the eastern emperor had appointed as his colleague before the battle, as well as to cede some of his territory to his brother-in-law.

Licinius and the Christians

Although the historical record is not completely clear, Licinius seems to have campaigned against the Sarmatians in 318. He also appears to have been in Byzantium in the summer of 318 and later in June 323. Beyond these few facts, not much else is known about his residences until mid summer of 324. Although he and Constantine had issued the Edict of Milan in early 313, Licinius turned on the Christians in his realm seemingly in 320. The first law that Licinius issued prevented bishops from communicating with each other and from holding synods to discuss matters of interest to them. The second law prohibited men and women from attending services together and young girls from receiving instruction from their bishop or schools. When this law was issued, he also gave orders that Christians could hold services only outside of city walls. Additionally, he deprived officers in the army of their commissions if they did not sacrifice to the gods. Licinius may have been trying to incite Constantine to attack him. In any case, the growing tension between the two rulers is reflected in the consular Fasti of the period.

The Second Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine and Licinius' Death

War actually broke out in 321 when Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging some territory in his realm, across the Danube. When he checked a similar invasion of the Goths, who were devastating Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken the treaty between them. Having assembled a fleet and army at Thessalonica, Constantine advanced toward Adrianople. Licinius engaged the forces of his brother-in-law near the banks of the Hebrus River on 3 July 324 where he was routed; with as many men as he could gather, he headed for his fleet which was in the Hellespont. Those of his soldiers who were not killed or put to flight, surrendered to the enemy. Licinius fled to Byzantium, where he was besieged by Constantine. Licinius' fleet, under the command of the admiral Abantus, was overcome by bad weather and by Constantine' s fleet which was under the command of his son Crispus. Hard pressed in Byzantium, Licinius abandoned the city to his rival and fled to Chalcedon in Bithynia. Leaving Martinianus, his former magister officiorum and now his co-ruler, to impede Constantine' s progress, Licinius regrouped his forces and engaged his enemy at Chrysopolis where he was again routed on 18 September 324. He fled to Nicomedeia which Constantine began to besiege. On the next day Licinius abdicated and was sent to Thessalonica, where he was kept under house arrest. Both Licinius and his associate were put to death by Constantine. Martinianus may have been put to death before the end of 324, whereas Licinius was not put to death until the spring of 325. Rumors circulated that Licinius had been put to death because he attempted another rebellion against Constantine.

Copyright (C) 1996, Michael DiMaio, Jr.
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.

Cleisthenes
Licin1AEFolJupiAlex.jpg
1308c, Licinius I, 308-324 A.D. (Alexandria)66 viewsLicinius I, 308-324 A.D. AE Follis, 3.60g, VF, 315 A.D., Alexandria. Obverse: IMP C VAL LICIN LICINIVS P F AVG - Laureate head right; Reverse: IOVI CONS-ERVATORI AVGG - Jupiter standing left, holding Victory on a globe and scepter; exergue: ALE / (wreath) over "B" over "N." Ref: RIC VII, 10 (B = r2) Rare, page 705 - Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, Scotland.


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

Licinius (308-324 A.D.)

Michael DiMaio, Jr.
Salve Regina University

Licinius' Heritage

Valerius Licinianus Licinius, more commonly known as Licinius, may have been born ca. 265. Of peasant origin, his family was from Dacia. A close friend and comrade of arms of the Emperor Galerius, he accompanied him on his Persian expedition in 297. When campaigns by Severus and Galerius in late 306 or early 307 and in the summer of 307, respectively, failed to dislodge Maxentius who, with the luke warm support of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps on 28 October 306, he was sent by the eastern emperor to Maxentius as an ambassador; the diplomatic mission, however, failed because the usurper refused to submit to the authority of his father-in-law Galerius. At the Conference of Carnuntum which was held in October or November of 308, Licinius was made an Augustus on 11 November 308; his realm included Thrace, Illyricum, and Pannonia.

Licinius' Early Reign

Although Licinius was initially appointed by Galerius to replace Severus to end the revolt of Maxentius , Licinius (perhaps wisely) made no effort to move against the usurper. In fact, his first attested victory was against the Sarmatians probably in the late spring, but no later than the end of June in 310. When the Emperor Galerius died in 311, Licinius met Maximinus Daia at the Bosporus during the early summer of that year; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. It was little more than a year later that the Emperor Constantine defeated Maxentius at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge on 28 October 312. After the defeat of the usurper, Constantine and Licinius met at Mediolanum (Milan) where Licinius married the former's sister Constantia; one child was born of this union: Valerius Licinianus Licinius. Licinius had another son, born of a slave woman, whose name is unknown. It appears that both emperors promulgated the so-called Edict of Milan, in which Constantine and Licinius granted Christians the freedom to practice their faith without any interference from the state.

As soon as he seems to have learned about the marital alliance between Licinius and Constantine and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia traversed Asia Minor and, in April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, which he took from Licinius after an eleven day siege. On 30 April 313 the armies of both emperors clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. A last ditch stand by Daia at the Cilician Gates failed; the eastern emperor subsequently died in the area of Tarsus probably in July or August 313. As soon as he arrived in Nicomedeia, Licinius promulgated the Edict of Milan. As soon as he had matters in Nicomedeia straightened out, Licinius campaigned against the Persians in the remaining part of 313 and the opening months of 314.

The First Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine

Once Licinius had defeated Maximinus Daia, the sole rulers of the Roman world were he and Constantine. It is obvious that the marriage of Licinius to Constantia was simply a union of convenience. In any case, there is evidence in the sources that both emperors were looking for an excuse to attack the other. The affair involving Bassianus (the husband of Constantius I's daughter Anastasia ), mentioned in the text of Anonymus Valesianus (5.14ff), may have sparked the falling out between the two emperors. In any case, Constantine' s forces joined battle with those of Licinius at Cibalae in Pannonia on 8 October 314. When the battle was over, Constantine prevailed; his victory, however, was Pyrrhic. Both emperors had been involved in exhausting military campaigns in the previous year and the months leading up to Cibalae and each of their realms had expanded so fast that their manpower reserves must have been stretched to the limit. Both men retreated to their own territory to lick their wounds. It may well be that the two emperors made an agreement, which has left no direct trace in the historical record, which would effectively restore the status quo.

Both emperors were variously engaged in different activities between 315 and 316. In addition to campaigning against the Germans while residing in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) in 315, Constantine dealt with aspects of the Donatist controversy; he also traveled to Rome where he celebrated his Decennalia. Licinius, possibly residing at Sirmium, was probably waging war against the Goths. Although not much else is known about Licinius' activities during this period, it is probable that he spent much of his time preparing for his impending war against Constantine; the latter,who spent the spring and summer of 316 in Augusta Treverorum, was probably doing much the same thing. In any case, by December 316, the western emperor was in Sardica with his army. Sometime between 1 December and 28 February 317, both emperors' armies joined battle on the Campus Ardiensis; as was the case in the previous engagement, Constantine' s forces were victorious. On 1 March 317, both sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities; possibly because of the intervention of his wife Constantia, Licinius was able to keep his throne, although he had to agree to the execution of his colleague Valens, who the eastern emperor had appointed as his colleague before the battle, as well as to cede some of his territory to his brother-in-law.

Licinius and the Christians

Although the historical record is not completely clear, Licinius seems to have campaigned against the Sarmatians in 318. He also appears to have been in Byzantium in the summer of 318 and later in June 323. Beyond these few facts, not much else is known about his residences until mid summer of 324. Although he and Constantine had issued the Edict of Milan in early 313, Licinius turned on the Christians in his realm seemingly in 320. The first law that Licinius issued prevented bishops from communicating with each other and from holding synods to discuss matters of interest to them. The second law prohibited men and women from attending services together and young girls from receiving instruction from their bishop or schools. When this law was issued, he also gave orders that Christians could hold services only outside of city walls. Additionally, he deprived officers in the army of their commissions if they did not sacrifice to the gods. Licinius may have been trying to incite Constantine to attack him. In any case, the growing tension between the two rulers is reflected in the consular Fasti of the period.

The Second Civil War Between Licinius and Constantine and Licinius' Death

War actually broke out in 321 when Constantine pursued some Sarmatians, who had been ravaging some territory in his realm, across the Danube. When he checked a similar invasion of the Goths, who were devastating Thrace, Licinius complained that Constantine had broken the treaty between them. Having assembled a fleet and army at Thessalonica, Constantine advanced toward Adrianople. Licinius engaged the forces of his brother-in-law near the banks of the Hebrus River on 3 July 324 where he was routed; with as many men as he could gather, he headed for his fleet which was in the Hellespont. Those of his soldiers who were not killed or put to flight, surrendered to the enemy. Licinius fled to Byzantium, where he was besieged by Constantine. Licinius' fleet, under the command of the admiral Abantus, was overcome by bad weather and by Constantine' s fleet which was under the command of his son Crispus. Hard pressed in Byzantium, Licinius abandoned the city to his rival and fled to Chalcedon in Bithynia. Leaving Martinianus, his former magister officiorum and now his co-ruler, to impede Constantine' s progress, Licinius regrouped his forces and engaged his enemy at Chrysopolis where he was again routed on 18 September 324. He fled to Nicomedeia which Constantine began to besiege. On the next day Licinius abdicated and was sent to Thessalonica, where he was kept under house arrest. Both Licinius and his associate were put to death by Constantine. Martinianus may have been put to death before the end of 324, whereas Licinius was not put to death until the spring of 325. Rumors circulated that Licinius had been put to death because he attempted another rebellion against Constantine.

Copyright (C) 1996, Michael DiMaio, Jr.
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.

Cleisthenes
drusus as.jpg
14-37 AD - DRUSUS memorial AE As - struck under Tiberius (23 AD)50 viewsobv: DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVG F DIVI AVG N (bare head left)
rev: PONTIF TRIBVN POTEST ITER around large S-C
ref: RIC I 45 (Tiberius), C.2 (2frcs)
10.14gms, 29mm

Drusus (also called Drusus Junior or Drusus the Younger), the only son of Tiberius, became heir to the throne after the death of Germanicus. One of his famous act connected to the mutiny in Pannonia, what broke out when the death of Augustus (19 August 14) was made known. Drusus left Rome to deal with the mutiny before the session of the Senate on the 17 September, when Tiberius was formally adopted him as princeps. He have reached the military camp in Pannonia in the time for the eclipse of the moon in the early hours of the 27 September wich so daunted the mutineers. He was also governor of Illyricum from 17 to 20 AD. Ancient sources concur that Livilla, his wife poisoned him.
berserker
22116.jpg
22116 Domitian/Vesta Reverse19 viewsDomitian/Vesta struck under Vespasian 79 AD
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Head of Domitian, laureate, right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Vesta, draped, hooded, seated left on throne, holding palladium in ext right hand and transverse sceptre in left
Mint: Rome 17mm., 3,14g
RIC II, Part 1 (second edition) Vespasian 1087
Ex: Savoca Auction 16th Blue Auction
1 commentsBlayne W
coin241.JPG
305b. Herennius Etruscus24 viewsQuintus Herennius Etruscus Messius Decius (c. 227 - July 1, 251), was Roman emperor in 251, in a joint rule with his father Trajan Decius. Emperor Hostilian was his younger brother.

Herennius was born in Pannonia, during one of his father's military postings. His mother was Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla, a Roman lady of an important senatorial family. Herennius was very close to his father and accompanied him in 248, as a military tribune, when Decius was appointed by Philip the Arab to deal with the revolt of Pacatianus in the Danube frontier. Decius was successful on defeating this usurper and felt confident to begin a rebellion of his own in the following year. Acclaimed emperor by his own troops, Decius marched into Italy and defeated Philip near modern Verona. In Rome, Herennius was declared heir to the throne and received the title of princeps iuventutis (prince of youth).

From the beginning of Herennius' accession, Gothic tribes raided across the Danube frontier and the provinces of Moesia and Dacia. At the beginning of 251, Decius elevated Herennius to the title of Augustus making him his co-emperor. Moreover, Herennius was chosen to be one of the year's consuls. The father and son, now joint rulers, then embarked in an expedition against king Cniva of the Goths to punish the invaders for the raids. Hostilian remained in Rome and the empress Herennia Etruscilla was named regent. Cniva and his men were returning to their lands with the booty, when the Roman army encountered them. Showing a very sophisticated military tactic, Cniva divided his army in smaller, more manageable groups and started to push back the Romans into a marshy swamp. On July 1, both armies engaged in the battle of Abrittus. Herennius died in battle, struck by an enemy arrow. Decius survived the initial confrontation, only to be slain with the rest of the army before the end of the day. Herennius and Decius were the first two emperors to be killed by a foreign army in battle.

With the news of the death of the emperors, the army proclaimed Trebonianus Gallus emperor, but in Rome they were succeeded by Hostilian, who would die shortly afterwards in an outbreak of plague.

Herennius Etruscus AR Antoninianus. Q HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C, radiate draped bust right / CONCORDIA AVGG, clasped hands. RIC 138, RSC 4
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305c. Hostilian23 viewsGaius Valens Hostilianus Messius Quintus (died 251), was Roman emperor in 251. Hostilian was born in an unknown date, after 230, as the son of the future emperor Trajan Decius by his wife Herennia Cupressenia Etruscilla. He was the younger brother of emperor Herennius Etruscus.

Following his father's accession to the throne, Hostilian received the treatment of an imperial prince, but was always kept in the shade of his brother Herennius, who enjoyed the privileges of being older and heir. In the beginning of 251, Decius elevated his son Herennius to co-emperor and Hostilian succeeded him in the title of princeps iuventutis (prince of youth). These dispositions were made previous to a campaign against king Cniva of the Goths, to punish him over the raids on the Danubian frontier. Hostilian remained in Rome due to his inexperience, and empress Herennia was named regent.

The campaign proved to be a disaster: both Herennius and Decius died in the Battle of Abrittus and became the first two emperors to be killed by a foreign army in battle. The armies in the Danube acclaimed Trebonianus Gallus emperor, but Rome acknowledged Hostilian's rights. Since Trebonianus was a respected general, there was fear of another civil war of succession, despite the fact that he chose to respect the will of Rome and adopted Hostilian. But later in 251, plague broke out in Rome and Hostilian died in the epidemic. He was the first emperor in 40 years and one of only 13 to die of natural causes. His timely death opened the way for the rule of Trebonianus with his natural son Volusianus.

Hostilian. Moesia Superior. Viminacium AE 25 mm. 11.7 g. Obverse: C VAL HOST M QVINTVS CAE. Draped bust right. Reverse: P M S COL VIM AN XII. Moesia standing left between lion and bull.
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308. Valerian I23 viewsRIC 209 Valerian I 253-260 AD AR Antoninianus of Moesia. Radiate draped bust/Aequitas standing holding balance and cornucopia.

Publius Licinius Valerianus (ca. 200-260), known in English as Valerian, was Roman emperor from 253 to 260. His full Latin title was IMPERATOR · CAESAR · PVBLIVS · LICINIVS · VALERIANVS · PIVS FELIX · INVICTVS · AVGVSTVS — in English, "Emperor Caesar Publius Licinus Valerianus Pious Lucky Undefeated Augustus."

Unlike the majority of the usurpers of the crisis of the third century, Valerian was of a noble and traditional Senatorial family. Details of his early life are elusive, but his marriage to Egnatia Mariniana who gave him two sons: Publius Licinius Egnatius Gallienus and Valerianus Minor is known.

In 238 he was princeps senatus, and Gordian I negotiated through him for Senatorial acknowledgement for his claim as Emperor. In 251, when Decius revived the censorship with legislative and executive powers so extensive that it practically embraced the civil authority of the Emperor, Valerian was chosen censor by the Senate. Under Decius he was nominated governor of the Rhine provinces of Noricum and Raetia and retained the confidence of his successor, Trebonianus Gallus, who asked him for reinforcements to quell the rebellion of Aemilianus in 253. Valerian headed south, but was too late: Gallus' own troops killed him and joined Aemilianus before his arrival. The Raetian soldiers then proclaimed Valerian emperor and continued their march towards Rome. At the time of his arrival in September, Aemilianus' legions defected, killing him and proclaiming Valerian emperor. In Rome, the Senate quickly acknowledged him, not only for fear of reprisals, but also because he was one of their own.

Valerian's first act as emperor was to make his son Gallienus colleague. In the beginning of his reign the affairs in Europe went from bad to worse and the whole West fell into disorder. In the East, Antioch had fallen into the hands of a Persian vassal, Armenia was occupied by Shapur I (Sapor). Valerian and Gallienus split the problems of the Empire between the two, with the son taking the West and the father heading East to face the Persian threat.

By 257, Valerian had already recovered Antioch and returned the Syrian province to Roman control but in the following year, the Goths ravaged Asia Minor. Later in 259, he moved to Edessa, but an outbreak of plague killed a critical number of legionaries, weakening the Roman position. Valerian was then forced to seek terms with Shapur I. Sometime towards the end of 259, or at the beginning of 260, Valerian was defeated and made prisoner by the Persians (making him the only Roman Emperor taken captive). It is said that he was subjected to the greatest insults by his captors, such as being used as a human stepladder by Shapur when mounting his horse. After his death in captivity, his skin was stuffed with straw and preserved as a trophy in the chief Persian temple. Only after Persian defeat in last Persia-Roman war three and a half centuries later was his skin destroyed.
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313a. Tetricus II31 viewsTetricus II was the son of Tetricus I and had exactly the same name as his father: C. Pius Esuvius Tetricus. His date of birth as well as the name of his mother are unknown. In 273 AD Tetricus II was elevated by his father to the rank of Caesar and given the title of princeps iuventutis. On 1 January 274 AD he entered in Augusta Treverorum (Trier) upon his first consulship, which he shared with his father.

After the defeat in autumn of 274 AD near Châlons-sur-Marne and subsequent surrender of his father Tetricus I to the emperor Aurelian, Tetricus II was put on display in Rome together with his father during Aurelian's triumph, but then pardoned. All literary sources agree on the fact that his life was spared; according to Aurelius Victor and the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, he even retained his senatorial rank and occupied later on many senatorial offices

Tet II obverse muled with his father's COMES AVG reverse.
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408. Maxentius34 viewsMarcus Aurelius Valerius Maxentius, more commonly known as Maxentius, was the child of the Emperor Maximianus Herculius and the Syrian Eutropia; he was born ca. 278 A.D. After Galerius' appointment to the rank of Caesar on 1 March 293, Maxentius married Galerius' daughter Valeria Maximilla, who bore him a son named Romulus and another son whose name is unknown. Due to his haughty nature and bad disposition, Maxentius could seldom agree with his father or his father-in-law; Galerius' and Maximianus Herculius' aversion to Maxentius prevented the young man from becoming a Caesar in 305. Little else is known of Maxentius' private life prior to his accession and, alth ough there is some evidence that it was spent in idleness, he did become a Senator.

On 28 October 306 Maxentius was acclaimed emperor, although he was politcally astute enough not to use the title Augustus; like the Emperor Augustus, he called himself princeps. It was not until the summer of 307 that he started usi ng the title Augustus and started offending other claimants to the imperial throne. He was enthroned by the plebs and the Praetorians. At the time of his acclamation Maxentius was at a public villa on the Via Labicana. He strengthened his position with promises of riches for those who helped him obtain his objective. He forced his father Maximianus Herculius to affirm his son's acclamation in order to give his regime a facade of legitimacy. His realm included Italy, Africa, Sardinia, and Corsica. As soon as Galerius learned about the acclamation of Herculius' son, he dispatched the Emperor Severus to quell the rebellion. With the help of his father and Severus' own troops, Maxentius' took his enemy prisoner.

When Severus died, Galerius was determined to avenge his death. In the early summer of 307 the Augustus invaded Italy; he advanced to the south and encamped at Interamna near the Tiber. His attempt to besiege the city was abortive because his army was not large enough to encompass the city's fortifications. Negotiations between Maxentius and Galerius broke down when the emperor discovered that the usurper was trying to win over his troops. Galerius' troops were open to Maxentius' promises because they were fighting a civil war between members of the same family; some of the soldiers went over to the enemy. Not trusting his own troops, Galerius withdrew. During its retreat, Galerius' army ravaged the Italian countryside as it was returning to its original base. If it was not enough that Maxentius had to deal with the havoc created by the ineffectual invasions of Severus and Galerius, he also had to deal with his father's attempts to regain the throne between 308 and 310. When Maximianus Herculius was unable to regain power by pushing his son off his throne, he attempted to win over Constantine to his cause. When this plan failed, he tried to win Diocletian over to his side at Carnuntum in October and November 308. Frustrated at every turn, Herculius returned to his son-in-law Constantine's side in Gaul where he died in 310, having been implicated in a plot against his son-in-law. Maxentius' control of the situation was weakened by the revolt of L. Domitius Alexander in 308. Although the revolt only lasted until the end of 309, it drastically cut the size of the grain supply availble for Rome. Maxentius' rule collapsed when he died on 27 October 312 in an engagement he had with the Emperor Constantine at the Milvian Bridge after the latter had invaded his realm.

Maxentius Follis. Ostia mint. IMP C MAXENTIVS P F AVG, laureate head right / AETE-RNITAS A-VGN, Castor and Pollux standing facing each other, each leaning on sceptre and holding bridled horse.
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409. Maximinus II Daza37 viewsCaius Valerius Galerius Maximinus, more commonly known as Maximinus Daia or Daza, was from Illyricum and was of peasant origin. He was born 20 November perhaps in the year 270. Daia was the son of Galerius' sister and had served in the army as a scutarius, Protector, and tribunus. He had been adopted by Galerius ; his name had been Daia even before that time. He had a wife and daughter, whose names are unknown, while his son's name was Maximus. When Diocletian and Maximianus Herculius resigned their posts of emperor on 1 May 305, they were succeeded by Constantius I Chlorus and Galerius as Augusti; their new Caesars were Severus and Maximinus Daia respectively. Constantius and Severus ruled in the West, whereas Galerius and Daia served in the East. Specifically, Daia's realm included the Middle East and the southern part of Asia Minor.[[1]]

Immediately after his appointment to the rank of Caesar, he went east and spent his first several years at Caesarea in Palestine. Events of the last quarter of 306 had a profound effect on the Emperor Galerius and his Caesar Daia. When Constantius I Chlorus died in July 306, the eastern emperor was forced by the course of events to accept Constantius' son Constantine as Caesar in the West; on 28 October of the same year, Maxentius , with the apparent backing of his father Maximianus Herculius, was acclaimed princeps. Both the attempt to dislodge Maxentius by Severus, who had been appointed Augustus of the West by Galerius after the death of Constantius in late 306 or early 307, and the subsequent campaign of Galerius himself in the summer of 307 failed. Because of the escalating nature of this chain of events, a Conference was called at Carnuntum in October and November 308; Licinius was appointed Augustus in Severus's place and Daia and Constantine were denoted filii Augustorum. Daia, however, unsatisfied with this sop tossed to him by Galerius, started calling himself Augustus in the spring of 310 when he seems to have campaigned against the Persians.[[2]] Although, as Caesar, he proved to be a trusted servant of Galerius until the latter died in 311, he subsequently seized the late emperor's domains. During the early summer of that year, he met with Licinius at the Bosporus; they concluded a treaty and divided Galerius' realm between them. Several yea rs later, after the death of Daia, Licinius obtained control of his domain. Like his mentor the late emperor, Daia had engaged in persecution of the Christians in his realm.[[3]]

In the autumn of 312, while Constantine was engaged against Maxentius, Daia appears to have been campaigning against the Armenians. In any case, he was back in Syria by February 313 when he seems to have learned about the marital alliance which had been forged by Constantine and Licinius. Disturbed by this course of events and the death of Maxentius, who had been his ally, Daia left Syria and reached Bythinia, although the harsh weather had seriously weakened his army. In April 313, he crossed the Bosporus and went to Byzantium, garrisoned by Licinius' troops; when the city refused to surrender, he took it after an eleven day siege. He moved to Heraclea, which he captured after a short siege; he then moved his forces to the first posting station. With only a small contingent of men, Licinius arrived at Adrianople while Daia was besieging Heraclea. On 30 April 313 the two armies clashed on the Campus Ergenus; in the ensuing battle Daia's forces were routed. Divesting himself of the purple and dressing like a slave, Daia fled to Nicomdeia. Subsequently, Daia attempted to stop the advance of Licinius at the Cilician Gates by establishing fortifications there; Licinius' army succeeded in breaking through, and Daia fled to Tarsus where he was hard pressed on land and sea. Daia died, probably in July or August 313, and was buried near Tarsus. Subsequently, the victorious emperor put Daia's wife and children to death.

Maximinus II Daza. 309-313 AD. ? Follis. Laureate head right / Genius standing left holding cornucopiae.
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706a, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.73 views6, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D. AE setertius, Date: 66 AD; RIC I 516, 36.71 mm; 25.5 grams; aVF. Obverse: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT PP, Laureate bust right; Reverse: S C, ROMA, Roma seated left, exceptional portrait and full obverse legends. Ex Ancient Imports.

NERO (54-68 A.D.)

It is difficult for the modern student of history to realize just how popular Nero actually was, at least at the beginning of his reign. Rome looked upon her new Emperor with hope. He was the student of Seneca, and he had a sensitive nature. He loved art, music, literature, and theatre. He was also devoted to horses and horse racing—a devotion shared by many of his subjects. The plebs loved their new Emperor. As Professor of Classics Judith P. Hallett (University of Maryland, College Park) says, “It is not clear to me that Nero ever changed or that Nero ever grew-up, and that was both his strength and his weakness. Nero was an extraordinarily popular Emperor: he was like Elvis” (The Roman Empire in the First Century, III. Dir. Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb. 2001. DVD. PBS/Warner Bros. 2003).

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

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The five Julio-Claudian emperors are very different one from the other. Augustus dominates in prestige and achievement from the enormous impact he had upon the Roman state and his long service to Rome, during which he attained unrivaled auctoritas. Tiberius was clearly the only possible successor when Augustus died in AD 14, but, upon his death twenty-three years later, the next three were a peculiar mix of viciousness, arrogance, and inexperience. Gaius, better known as Caligula, is generally styled a monster, whose brief tenure did Rome no service. His successor Claudius, his uncle, was a capable man who served Rome well, but was condemned for being subject to his wives and freedmen. The last of the dynasty, Nero, reigned more than three times as long as Gaius, and the damage for which he was responsible to the state was correspondingly greater. An emperor who is well described by statements such as these, "But above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob." and "What an artist the world is losing!" and who is above all remembered for crimes against his mother and the Christians was indeed a sad falling-off from the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Few will argue that Nero does not rank as one of the worst emperors of all.

The prime sources for Nero's life and reign are Tacitus' Annales 12-16, Suetonius' Life of Nero, and Dio Cassius' Roman History 61-63, written in the early third century. Additional valuable material comes from inscriptions, coinage, papyri, and archaeology.


Early Life
He was born on December 15, 37, at Antium, the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbusand Agrippina. Domitius was a member of an ancient noble family, consul in 32; Agrippina was the daughter of the popular Germanicus, who had died in 19, and Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa, Augustus' closest associate, and Julia, the emperor's daughter, and thus in direct descent from the first princeps. When the child was born, his uncle Gaius had only recently become emperor. The relationship between mother and uncle was difficult, and Agrippina suffered occasional humiliation. But the family survived the short reign of the "crazy" emperor, and when he was assassinated, it chanced that Agrippina's uncle, Claudius, was the chosen of the praetorian guard, although there may have been a conspiracy to accomplish this.

Ahenobarbus had died in 40, so the son was now the responsibility of Agrippina alone. She lived as a private citizen for much of the decade, until the death of Messalina, the emperor's wife, in 48 made competition among several likely candidates to become the new empress inevitable. Although Roman law forbade marriage between uncle and niece, an eloquent speech in the senate by Lucius Vitellius, Claudius' closest advisor in the senatorial order, persuaded his audience that the public good required their union. The marriage took place in 49, and soon thereafter the philosopher Seneca [[PIR2 A617]] was recalled from exile to become the young Domitius' tutor, a relationship which endured for some dozen years.

His advance was thereafter rapid. He was adopted by Claudius the following year and took the name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar or Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was preferred to Claudius' natural son, Britannicus, who was about three years younger, was betrothed to the emperor's daughter Octavia, and was, in the eyes of the people, the clear successor to the emperor. In 54, Claudius died, having eaten some poisoned mushrooms, responsibility for which was believed to be Agrippina's, and the young Nero, not yet seventeen years old, was hailed on October 13 as emperor by the praetorian guard.


The First Years of Rule
The first five years of Nero's rule are customarily called the quinquennium, a period of good government under the influence, not always coinciding, of three people, his mother, Seneca, and Sextus Afranius Burrus, the praetorian prefect. The latter two were allies in their "education" of the emperor. Seneca continued his philosophical and rhetorical training, Burrus was more involved in advising on the actualities of government. They often combined their influence against Agrippina, who, having made her son emperor, never let him forget the debt he owed his mother, until finally, and fatally, he moved against her.

Nero's betrothal to Octavia was a significant step in his ultimate accession to the throne, as it were, but she was too quiet, too shy, too modest for his taste. He was early attracted to Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho, and she continually goaded him to break from Octavia and to show himself an adult by opposing his mother. In his private life, Nero honed the musical and artistic tastes which were his chief interest, but, at this stage, they were kept private, at the instigation of Seneca and Burrus.

As the year 59 began, Nero had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday and now felt the need to employ the powers which he possessed as emperor as he wished, without the limits imposed by others. Poppaea's urgings had their effect, first of all, at the very onset of the year, with Nero's murder of his mother in the Bay of Naples.

Agrippina had tried desperately to retain her influence with her son, going so far as to have intercourse with him. But the break between them proved irrevocable, and Nero undertook various devices to eliminate his mother without the appearance of guilt on his part. The choice was a splendid vessel which would collapse while she was on board. As this happened, she swam ashore and, when her attendant, having cried out that she was Agrippina, was clubbed to death, Agrippina knew what was going on. She sent Nero a message that she was well; his response was to send a detachment of sailors to finish the job. When she was struck across the head, she bared her womb and said, "Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero," and she was brutally murdered.

Nero was petrified with fear when he learned that the deed had been done, yet his popularity with the plebs of Rome was not impaired. This matricide, however, proved a turning point in his life and principate. It appeared that all shackles were now removed. The influence of Seneca and Burrus began to wane, and when Burrus died in 62, Seneca realized that his powers of persuasion were at an end and soon went into retirement. Britannicus had died as early as 55; now Octavia was to follow, and Nero became free to marry Poppaea. It may be that it had been Burrus rather than Agrippina who had continually urged that Nero's position depended in large part upon his marriage to Octavia. Burrus' successor as commander of the praetorian guard, although now with a colleague, was Ofonius Tigellinus, quite the opposite of Burrus in character and outlook. Tigellinus became Nero's "evil twin," urging and assisting in the performance of crimes and the satisfaction of lusts.


Administrative and Foreign Policy
With Seneca and Burrus in charge of administration at home, the first half-dozen years of Nero's principate ran smoothly. He himself devoted his attention to his artistic, literary, and physical bents, with music, poetry, and chariot racing to the fore. But his advisors were able to keep these performances and displays private, with small, select audiences on hand. Yet there was a gradual trend toward public performance, with the establishment of games. Further, he spent many nights roaming the city in disguise, with numerous companions, who terrorized the streets and attacked individuals. Those who dared to defend themselves often faced death afterward, because they had shown disrespect for the emperor. The die was being cast for the last phases of Nero's reign.


The Great Fire at Rome and The Punishment
of the Christians
The year 64 was the most significant of Nero's principate up to this point. His mother and wife were dead, as was Burrus, and Seneca, unable to maintain his influence over Nero without his colleague's support, had withdrawn into private life. The abysmal Tigellinus was now the foremost advisor of the still young emperor, a man whose origin was from the lowest levels of society and who can accurately be described as criminal in outlook and action. Yet Nero must have considered that he was happier than he had ever been in his life. Those who had constrained his enjoyment of his (seemingly) limitless power were gone, he was married to Poppaea, a woman with all advantages save for a bad character the empire was essentially at peace, and the people of Rome enjoyed a full measure of panem et circenses. But then occurred one of the greatest disasters that the city of Rome, in its long history, had ever endured.

The fire began in the southeastern angle of the Circus Maximus, spreading through the shops which clustered there, and raged for the better part of a week. There was brief success in controlling the blaze, but then it burst forth once more, so that many people claimed that the fires were deliberately set. After about a fortnight, the fire burned itself out, having consumed ten of the fourteen Augustan regions into which the city had been divided.

Nero was in Antium through much of the disaster, but his efforts at relief were substantial. Yet many believed that he had been responsible, so that he could perform his own work comparing the current fate of Rome to the downfall of Troy. All his efforts to assist the stricken city could not remove the suspicion that "the emperor had fiddled while Rome burned." He lost favor even among the plebs who had been enthusiastic supporters, particularly when his plans for the rebuilding of the city revealed that a very large part of the center was to become his new home.

As his popularity waned, Nero and Tigellinus realized that individuals were needed who could be charged with the disaster. It so happened that there was such a group ready at hand, Christians, who had made themselves unpopular because of their refusal to worship the emperor, their way of life, and their secret meetings. Further, at this time two of their most significant "teachers" were in Rome, Peter and Paul. They were ideal scapegoats, individuals whom most Romans loathed, and who had continually sung of the forthcoming end of the world.

Their destruction was planned with the utmost precision and cruelty, for the entertainment of the populace. The venue was Nero's circus near the Mons Vaticanus. Christians were exposed to wild animals and were set ablaze, smeared with pitch, to illuminate the night. The executions were so grisly that even the populace displayed sympathy for the victims. Separately, Peter was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis. But Nero's attempt, and hope, to shift all suspicion of arson to others failed. His popularity even among the lower classes was irrevocably impaired.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of Nero’s reign please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/nero.htm]

The End - Nero's Death and its Aftermath
Nero's and Tigellinus' response to the conspiracy was immediate and long-lasting. The senatorial order was decimated, as one leading member after another was put to death or compelled to commit suicide. The year 66 saw the suicides of perhaps the most distinguished victims of the "reign of terror," Caius Petronius and Thrasea Paetus. Petronius, long a favorite of Nero because of his aesthetic taste, had been an able public servant before he turned to a life of ease and indolence. He was recognized as the arbiter elegantiae of Nero's circle, and may be the author of the Satyricon. At his death, he left for Nero a document which itemized many of the latter's crimes. Thrasea, a staunch Stoic who had been for some years an outspoken opponent of Nero's policies, committed suicide in the Socratic manner. This scene is the last episode in the surviving books of Tacitus' Annals.

In the year 68, revolt began in the provinces. . . the end of Nero's reign became inevitable. Galba claimed the throne and began his march from Spain. Nero panicked and was rapidly abandoned by his supporters. He finally committed suicide with assistance, on June 9, 68, and his body was tended and buried by three women who had been close to him in his younger days, chief of whom was Acte. His death scene is marked above all by the statement, "Qualis artifex pereo," (What an artist dies in me.) Even at the end he was more concerned with his private life than with the affairs of state.

The aftermath of Nero's death was cataclysmic. Galba was the first of four emperors who revealed the new secret of empire, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome. Civil war ensued, which was only ended by the victory of the fourth claimant, Vespasian, who established the brief dynasty of the Flavians. The dynasty of the Julio-Claudians was at an end.

Nero's popularity among the lower classes remained even after his death.

. . . .

It is not excessive to say that he was one of the worst of Rome's emperors in the first two centuries and more of the empire. Whatever talents he had, whatever good he may have done, all is overwhelmed by three events, the murder of his mother, the fire at Rome, and his savage treatment of the Christians.

Precisely these qualities are the reasons that he has remained so well known and has been the subject of many writers and opera composers in modern times. These works of fiction particularly merit mention: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis, one of the finest works of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and John Hersey's The Conspiracy. Nero unquestionably will always be with us.

Copyright (C) 2006, 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.

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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.

Cleisthenes
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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.





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Domitian50 viewsDomitian as Caesar, silver denarius, 79 AD, Rome mint.
Obverse- CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head right.
Reverse- PRINCEPS-IVV_ENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, palladium in right hand, scepter in left.
RIC II, 244 (Vespasian), 17mm x 18mm, 2.78g.
1 commentsb70
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DOMITIAN37 viewsAR denarius. 78-79 A.D. Head laureate right. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI. / Salus standing right, leaning on cippus and feeding snake from a patera . PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS.
RIC 243. RSC 384.
1 commentsbenito
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DOMITIAN54 viewsAR denarius. 78-79 A.D. Head laureate right. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI. / Salus standing right, leaning on cippus and feeding snake from a patera . PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS.
RIC 243. RSC 384.
1 commentsbenito
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DOMITIAN26 viewsAR denarius. 80-81 AD. 3.39 grs. 6h. Laureate head right. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII / Corinthian helmet on draped seat. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS.
RIC 271 (Titus). RSC 399a
benito
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DOMITIAN12 viewsAR denarius. 80-81 AD. 3.39 grs. 6h. Laureate head right. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII / Corinthian helmet on draped seat. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS.
RIC 271 (Titus). RSC 399a
benito
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Domitian RIC II Rome 4969 viewsAR 18 mm 3.1 grams 80 AD
OBV ::CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right
REV ::PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Cretan goat standing left in laurel wreath.
ex :: none
REF :: RIC II Rome 49, RSC 390, BMC 88
Purchased 12/09


Minted while Domitian was Caesar under Titus
3 commentsJohnny
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Domitian (as Caesar), 69 - 81 AD34 viewsObv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III, laureate head of Domitian facing right.

Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes advancing left holding a flower and raising her robe.

Silver Denarius, Rome mint, 74 AD

3.2 grams, 19.25 x 17.4 mm, 180°

RIC II Vespasian 233, RSC 375, S2640, VM 54
1 commentsSPQR Coins
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Domitian (as Caesar), 69 - 81 AD38 viewsObv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head of Domitian facing right.

Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, a crested Corinthian helmet resting on a draped seat or throne.

Silver Denarius, Rome mint, 80 AD

3 grams, 19 mm, 180°

RIC II Titus 51, RSC 399a, S2677, VM 55/7

Ex: FORVM
1 commentsSPQR Coins
Domitian_denar_Princeps_Iuventutis.jpg
Domitian - AR denarius5 views(struck by Titus)
Rome
79 AD
laureate head right
CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
clapsing hands, standard on prow behind
PRINCEPS__IVVENTVTIS
RIC II, part 1, Titus 96; RSC II 395; BMCRE II 85; SRCV I 2673
2,72g
Johny SYSEL
Domitian_RIC_266_(Titus).jpg
Domitian - [RIC II part 1 Titus 266, RSC II 397a; BMCRE II Titus 92; BnF III 76; SRCV I 2676]88 viewsSilver denarius, choice VF, 3.456g, 17.9mm, 180 degree, Rome mint, as caesar 80 - 81 A.D.

Obv. - CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right

Rev. - PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, flaming and garlanded altar

Excellent Titus-like portrait, slight golden tone around legend on obverse, and perfect centering.
___________

Purchased from Forum Ancient Coins

Ex. FORVM Dealer Photo
2 commentsrenegade3220
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Domitian 8034 viewsOb. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right
Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right, wielding javelin and holding shield at the ready

Ref. RSC 381a, BMC 86

-:Bacchus:-
Bacchus
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Domitian AR Denarius. clasped hands before legionary eagle FOUREE33 viewsDomitian AR Denarius. FOUREE

Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, clasped hands before
legionary eagle, set on prow.
RIC 1081 (RIC [1962] 246) (Vespasian), RSC 393, BMC 269.
I have not been able to locate the exact type of this coin. This is the nearest so far, but the obverse writing does not match, being -CAESVE- that I can make out.
The coin has been stablised since the photo was taken.
Weight - 3.0g
Diameter - 17.7mm approx.
1 commentslorry66
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Domitian as Caesar25 viewsDomitian. As Caesar, AD 69-81. AR Denarius (18 mm, 2.8 gm.) Rome mint. Struck under Vespasian, AD 79.
Laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTTVTIS, clasped hands before legionary eagle.
RIC II 1081 (Vespasian).
1 commentsAjax
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Domitian as Caesar AR Denarius Rome Mint Under Titus 80-81 AD27 viewsDomitian as Caesar AR Denarius Rome Mint Under Titus
80-81 AD
Obverse: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII Laureate head of Domitian right

Reverse: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS Altar garlanded and lighted, horns left and right RIC 266

Size: 18mm, 3.29g

Ex Romae Aeternae Numismatics 09.09.2018
1 commentsBritanikus
Domitian1.jpg
Domitian as Caesar Denarius44 viewsCAESAR DIVI F. DOMITIANVS COS. VII, Laureate head right. Reverse. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right, holding spear and shield.2 commentsPhiloromaos
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Domitian as Caesar RIC 9690 viewsAR Denarius, 3.39g
Rome mint, 80 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Hands clasped over aquila on prow
RIC 96 (C). BMC 85. RSC 395. BNC 71.
Acquired from Imperial Coins, August 2011.

Struck in 80 AD under Titus, the reverse shows clasped hands over an aquila set on a prow, apparently representing "Concordia Militum" - "Harmony of the troops" (BMC II, xlii-xliii). An odd choice to be sure for anyone other than the emperor to issue. According to Suetonius - "After the death of his father, he (Domitian) hesitated for a long time whether he should offer the soldiery a double bounty and he never had any hesitation in stating that he had been left as a partner in the imperial position but that fraud had been applied to the will." (Suet., Dom., 2)

There is a COS VI of this reverse type assigned under Vespasian in both RIC and BMCRE but certainly post dates Vespasian's death.
1 commentsDavid Atherton
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Domitian as Caesar RIC 9779 viewsAR Denarius, 2.74g
Rome mint, 80 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Salus, stg. r., resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
RIC 97 (C). BMC 84. RSC 386. BNC -.
Ex Lanz, eBay, 28 March 2016.

The Salus feeding snake type was struck for Domitian Caesar under both Vespasian as COS VI and Titus as COS VII. AVG F in the obverse legend indicates this denarius was coined before Vespasian's deification, after which DIVI F was used. This Salus type was unique to Domitan Caesar and was discontinued in the following DIVI F issue when a whole new slate of reverse designs were employed.

Not as commonly found as the COS VI version.


6 commentsDavid Atherton
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Domitian as Caesar RIC 99102 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 80 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Vesta, std. l., with palladium and sceptre
RIC 99 (R). BMC 83. RSC 380a. BNC 70.
Acquired from Artifact Man, February 2016.

The Vesta type was struck for Domitian Caesar with him as COS VI in 79 under Vespasian and COS VII in 80 under Titus. This denarius bears the COS VII dating and is much rarer than the common COS VI. Perhaps the window of time these rare COS VII Vesta denarii were struck was quite small because a whole new set of reverse designs were soon employed for him later in the year after Vespasian's deification (the DIVI F issue).

A fine denarius with dark toning.
5 commentsDavid Atherton
Domitian_as_caesar_RIC_V788_Spes.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC II V078834 viewsDomitian as Caesar under Vespasian. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 74 A.D. Obv: CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III, Laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes advancing left, holding flower in right hand and skirt in left. RIC II V788.RSC 375, BMC V156.
1 commentsLucas H
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Domitian as Caesar RIC II V108131 viewsDomitian as Caesar. 70-81 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint 79 A.D. to 24 June. (3.02g, 18.9m, 6h ). Obv: CɅESɅR ɅVG F DOMITINVS COS VI, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, hands clasped over Aquila on prow. RIC II V1081, RSC 393, BMC V269.

The obverse legend should read DOMITIANVS, but the die engraver forgot the “A” in this example. Still, it’s in a great state of preservation for a common coin of Domitian as Caesar in the last months of Vespasian’s life.
1 commentsLucas H
Domitian_as_Caesar,_RIC_II_244.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC II V108739 viewsDomitian as Caesar under Vespasian. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 79 A.D. 3.1g, 18mm. Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, holding palladium and sceptre. RIC II V1087. 1 commentsLucas H
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Domitian as Caesar RIC-266115 viewsAR Denarius, 3.49g
Rome Mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII•; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Altar, garlanded and lighted
RIC 266 (C2). BMC 92. RSC 397a. BNC 76.
Acquired from Impacto Coleccionables S.L., June 2010.

This coin is part of the "pulvinar" series minted in 80-81 AD. The pulvinar represented here may be that of Vesta and possibly Vulcan.

Decent coin in choice metal.
David Atherton
domitian as caesar goat wreath.jpg
Domitian as Caesar RIC-267125 viewsAR Denarius, 3.09g
Rome Mint, 80 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII•; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Goat standing l., in laurel-wreath.
RIC 267(C). BMC 88. RSC 390. BNC 73.
Acquired from Aegean Numismatics, August 2007.

Issued during Titus' reign, this coin's reverse depicts Amalthea, the Cretan goat which nursed the infant Jupiter. An obvious allusion to Domitian being the next in line to the throne.

A nicely centered coin in decent shape of this unusual reverse type. A welcome addition to my growing Domitian as Caesar denarii.
1 commentsVespasian70
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Domitian as Caesar RIC-26894 viewsAR Denarius, 3.43g
Rome Mint, 80-81 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Minerva adv r., with spear and shield
RIC 268 (C). BMC 86. RSC 381a. BNC 72.
Acquired from Amphora Coins, May 2008.

Domitian, as attested in Suetonius (Dom. 4), was crazy for Minerva and made her his patron Goddess, even going so far as to keep a shrine of her in his bed chambers (Dom. 17).

The denarii of Domitian as Augustus after 82 AD become almost monolithic in the devotion to Minerva. It is quite obvious he had a hand in what kind of reverse types his coins featured.
Vespasian70
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Domitian as Caesar RIC-271172 viewsAR Denarius, 2.74g
Rome Mint, 80 AD (Titus)
Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS; Square seat, draped with cloth hanging in folds, with tassels: on it, crested Corinthian helmet
RIC 271 (C2). BMC 98. RSC 399a. BNC 79.
Acquired from Et Tu Antiquities, November 2007.

Domitian as Caesar issued this denarius under Titus in 80 AD. The reverse is part of the pulvinaria series which commemorates the opening of the Colosseum in 80 AD.

Pulvinaria were sacred couches of the gods which had symbolic attributes set upon them. In this case, the Corinthian helmet and table are attributes of Minerva, the patron goddess of Domitian.

A wonderful denarius with a good portrait in a fine style.

6 commentsVespasian70
Domitian_as_Caesar_RIC_II_T266.jpg
Domitian as Caesar under Titus RIC II T026641 viewsDomitian as Caesar. 69-81 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint 80-81 A.D. (3.23g, 18.5mm, 6h). Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITANVS COS VII, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Altar, garlanded and lighted. RIC II T266, BMC T92, RSC 397a.

A unique pulvinaria reverse type for Domitian at the time used both as Caesar and emperor. The addition of “DIVI F” on Domitian’s coins in 80 A.D. help scholars determine that Vespasian’s deification had taken place by 80 A.D., although it arguably took place before in 79 A.D..

While worn, the legends on this example are complete.
1 commentsLucas H
TRIC267_Dom_as_C.jpg
Domitian as Caesar under Titus RIC II T026740 viewsDomitian as Caesar under Titus. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 80-81 A.D. (18 mm, 3.39 g.) Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, goat standing left within laurel wreath. RIC II T267; BMC T88; RSC 390. 2 commentsLucas H
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Domitian as Caesar under Titus RIC II T0267V39 viewsDomitian as Caesar under Titus. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 80-81 A.D. (3.28g, 18.0mm, 6h) Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head left. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, goat standing left within laurel wreath. RIC II T267 Variant (head left) (R2).

An interesting variant on the right facing common coin minted under Titus after the deification of Vespasian. I thought this might be a unique example, but Curtis Clay was aware of a previous example sold by Lucernae, on eBay, 25 Nov. 2013. With a weight of 2.46g.

This example is well centered and has full legends. Given the wear, it was well circulated, and others are bound to surface.
1 commentsLucas H
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Domitian as Caesar under Titus RIC II T026836 viewsDomitian as Caesar. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 80-81. (3.17g, 19.5mm, 6h). Obv: r to l out- CɅESɅR DIVI F DOMITIɅNVS COS VII, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right with spear and shield. RIC II T268, RIC 268.

As Caesar, Domitian had many fewer coin types minted during Titus’ reign than he did during Vespasian’s longer reign. Even as Caesar, Domitian used Minerva on his coins which was to become much more common under Domitian as Augustus.
Lucas H
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Domitian as Caesar under Titus RIC II T027121 viewsDomitian as Caesar. AR Denarius. Rome Mint 80-81 A.D. (3.35g, 17.2m, 6h). Obv: CɅESɅR DIVI F DOMITIɅNVS COS VII, laureate head right. Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, draped seat with Corinthian helmet above. RIC II T271, Sear 2677, RSC 300a. Ex Warren Esty private collection.

This type, issued after the deification of Vespasian, is another of the pulvinaria types mirroring Titus’ issues of 80 A.D. The use of DIVI F corresponded with new precious metal types following the older types with AVG F and helps scholars date the deification of Vespasian.
Lucas H
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Domitian denarius (issued as Caesar under Vespasian) with the Salus feeding snake reverse123 viewsDenarius from Domitianus (issued as Caesar under Vespasian in 79 AD).
Grs 3,49 and 18 mm.
Observe : CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right. Reverse : PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column & feeding snake.
RIC 1084 (Vespasian).
Rarity : C2 (laureate left is R2).

A very beautiful denarius with sharp details on both obs. and rev.
6 commentslabienus
Domitian_RIC_267.jpg
Domitian Denarius A.D. 80 RIC 267 [Titus], RSC 390, BMC 8848 viewsCAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Cretan goat standing left in laurel wreath.
Maximum Diameter: 18.0 mm
Weight: 3.39 g
5 commentsTheEmpireNeverEnded
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Domitian Denarius ric 1081 (Vespasian)4 viewsCAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Laureate head right
PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Clasped hands before legionary eagle

Domitian Caesar 69-81
AR Denarius
Struck 79
3,13g/ 18mm
Ric 1081 (Vespasian)
Ex Tom Vossen
1 commentsParthicus Maximus
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Domitian Denarius ric 266 (Titus)8 viewsCAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
laureate head right.
PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
lighted & garlanded altar.

Domitian Caesar 69-81
AR Denarius
Struck 80-81
3,08g/19mm
Ric 266 (Titus)
Ex Künker
2 commentsParthicus Maximus
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Domitian Denarius, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D25 viewsDomitian denarius Rome mint, as Caesar, 79A.D.
Obverse CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right; reverse PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS (the first of youths), Salus standing left, legs crossed, leaning against column, feeding snake from patera; from the Lucas Harsh Collection
3.120 g, diameter 18.3 mm

Ex Forum Ancient Coins RS86168 09.09.2018
1 commentsBritanikus
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Domitian Fouree Denarius, (imitating) RIC II 1084 (Vespasian)46 viewsUnofficial mint, Domitian Fouree Denarius, c. 79 A.D. AE plated w/AR, 2.86g 18mm, (imitating) RIC II 1084 (Vespasian)
O: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right
R: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column & feeding snake
2 commentscasata137ec
Domitian_RIC_96_or_1081.jpg
Domitian RIC 108130 viewsRIC 1081[vesp]
sear5 #2643 Domitian Denarius. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI Laureate head right / PRINCEPS

IVVENTVTIS, clasped hands before legionary eagle. RSC 393.

or

RIC 96[titus]
sear5 #2673 Domitian, as Caesar, AR Denarius. 80 AD. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate

head right / PRINCEPTS IVVENTVTIS, clasped hands holding a legionary eagle on prow. RSC 395.
renegade3220
Domitianus_RIC_50.jpg
Domitian(us)87 viewsDomitianus as Caesar, denarius.
RIC 266, RSC 397a.
Struck under Titus at Rome, AD 80.
3,15 g, 20 mm.
Obv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, garlanded and lighted altar.
5 commentsMarsman
Domitian_RIC_II_271.jpg
Domitian(us) as caesar133 viewsDomitian, denarius.
RIC II 271 (Titus), RSC 399a.
17 - 18 mm, 3.4 g.
Rome Mint, 80 AD.
Obv. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate, bearded, head right.
Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Corinthian helmet on draped chair.

A significant set of coins was issued in 80 AD in conjunction with the divine propriation of the gods for the plague and fire in Rome and the eruption of the Vesuvius. The coins refer to a special religious feast to please the gods. The religious rites required that the sacred couches of the gods (pulvinaria), be set out with emblems of the deity placed on the couch. There are several such representations on the coins of Titus and Domitian, like this denarius with a helmet on a draped couch (Minerva).

This denarius has a beautiful nice centered bust.
3 commentsMarsman
Domitian_RIC_1084.jpg
Domitian(us) as Caesar60 viewsDomitian, denarius.
Rome Mint, 79 AD.
RIC 1084, RSC 384.
19mm, 3.13g.
Obv. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right.
Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column and feeding serpent with patera in hand.
1 commentsMarsman
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Domitian, AD 81-9623 viewsAR denarius.

CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta seated left, with Palladium and sceptre. Rome mint, struck AD 79, as Caesar.

RIC II.1, 1087 (Vespasian); BMCRE II, 262 (Vespasian); RSC II, 378.
socalcoins
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Domitian, AD 81-9650 viewsAR denarius, 19mm (3.49 gm).

CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Altar, garlanded and lighted. Rome mint, struck AD 80-81, as Caesar.

RIC II.1, 266 (Titus); BMCRE II, 092 (Titus); RSC II, 397a.
socalcoins
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Domitian, AD 81-9642 viewsAR denarius.

CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III, laureate, right; a small 'o' is usually visible below the neck truncation / PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes standing left, with flower. Mint(s) of Asia Minor (Uncertain: Ephesus?), struck AD 76, as Caesar.

RIC II.1, 1489 (R2); BMCRE II, 481; RSC II, 375a; RPC II, 1462.

From the collection of A. Lynn.
1 commentssocalcoins
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Domitian, AD 81-9621 viewsAR denarius, 17.81 mm (3.32 gm).

CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right, with spear and shield. Rome mint, struck 80-81 AD, as Caesar.

RIC II.1, 0268 (Titus); BMCRE II, 0086 (Titus); RSC II, 0381a.

socalcoins
Denario_Domiciano.JPG
Domitian, AR Denarius, Princeps Iuventutis7 viewsDomitian (81 – 96 AD)

AR Denarius, Rome, 79 AD

Obv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI. Laureated bust rigth.
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS. Clapsed hands in front of a legionary eagle on a galley’s prow.
RIC II 1081 (Vesp.)

Weight: 2.9g.
Diameter: 18mm.
Jose Polanco
DOMITIAN-1-ROMAN.jpg
Domitian, RIC II-050 Fourre12 viewsFourre
18mm, 2.19g
RIC II-50 imitation

Obverse:
CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Laureate head right

Reverse:
PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Altar garlanded and lighted.
rubadub
Domitian_Denarius_S_2674.jpg
Domitian: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS10 viewsDomitian Denarius. 80 AD. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate head right / PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Minerva advancing right, wielding javelin and holding shield at the ready. RIC -, RSC 381a, BMC 86, Sear RCV I: 2674.Podiceps
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FAVSTINA AVGVSTA / AVGVSTI PII FIL / Ӕ As or Dupontius (156-161 A.D.)20 viewsFAVSTINA AVGVSTA, draped bust right, hair arranged in a chignon (bun) behind the head / AVGVSTI PII FIL, Venus standing left holding Victory and leaning on shield set on a helmet, S-C across fields in the lower half

Ӕ, 22.5-24+mm, 9.56g, die axis 11h

There may be a countermark across the front part of the face on obverse, but due to its location it is difficult to be sure and identify it.

AVGVSTI PII FIL(ia) = daughter of August Antoninus Pius, points out to the ruling of Fausta's father Antoninus Pius rather than her husband Marcus Aurelius. Reverse: Unlike Greek Aphrodite, in addition to her other aspects Roman Venus was also a goddess of victory, this embodied in her representation as Venus Victrix (Victorious) or Victris (of Victory), like in this case: she offers a little winged representation of victory, resting on defensive military attributes (as a female goddess, she represented passive, defensive aspects of war, active ones being the domain of male Mars). SC = [Ex] Senatus Consulto (Senatus is genitive, Consulto is ablative of Consultum) = by decree of the Senate, i. e. the authority of the Senate approved minting of this coin (necessary to justify issue of copper alloy coins for which the intrinsic value was not obvious).

Of two Ӕ coins with the same legends and Venus with shield, RIC 1367 and 1389a, the first is a sestertius and its typical dimensions are characteristic of the type: 30+ mm and 20+g. This one is definitely smaller. Material seems reddish, so this one is more likely an as. Minted in Rome. Some sources give issue dates as 156-161 (the end of Faustina's father's reign), others as 145-146 (her marriage).

Annia Galeria Faustina Minor (Minor is Latin for the Younger), Faustina Minor or Faustina the Younger (born probably 21 September c. 130 CE, died in winter of 175 or spring of 176 CE) was a daughter of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius and Roman Empress Faustina the Elder. She was a Roman Empress and wife to her maternal cousin Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. She was held in high esteem by soldiers and her own husband and was given divine honours after her death. Faustina, named after her mother, was her parents' fourth and youngest child and their second daughter; she was also their only child to survive to adulthood. She was born and raised in Rome. Her great uncle, the emperor Hadrian, had arranged with her father for Faustina to marry Lucius Verus. On 25 February 138, she and Verus were betrothed. Verus’ father was Hadrian’s first adopted son and his intended heir; however, when Verus’ father died, Hadrian chose Faustina’s father to be his second adopted son, and eventually, successor. Faustina’s father ended the engagement between his daughter and Verus and arranged for Faustina's betrothal to her maternal cousin, Marcus Aurelius; Aurelius was also adopted by her father.

In April or May 145, Faustina and Marcus Aurelius were married, as had been planned since 138. Since Aurelius was, by adoption, Antoninus Pius' son, under Roman law he was marrying his sister; Antoninus would have had to formally release one or the other from his paternal authority (his patria potestas) for the ceremony to take place. Little is specifically known of the ceremony, but it is said to have been "noteworthy". Coins were issued with the heads of the couple, and Antoninus, as Pontifex Maximus, would have officiated. Marcus makes no apparent reference to the marriage in his surviving letters, and only sparing references to Faustina. Faustina was given the title of Augusta on 1 December 147 after the birth of her first child, Galeria Faustina (or Domitia? sources differ which of them was born in 147 and was the first child).

When Antoninus died on 7 March 161, Marcus and Lucius Verus ascended to the throne and became co-rulers. Faustina then became empress. Unfortunately, not much has survived from the Roman sources regarding Faustina's life, but what is available does not give a good report. Cassius Dio and the Augustan History accuse Faustina of ordering deaths by poison and execution; she has also been accused of instigating the revolt of Avidius Cassius against her husband. The Augustan History mentions adultery with sailors, gladiators, and men of rank; however, Faustina and Aurelius seem to have been very close and mutually devoted.

Faustina accompanied her husband on various military campaigns and enjoyed the love and reverence of Roman soldiers. Aurelius gave her the title of Mater Castrorum or ‘Mother of the Camp’. She attempted to make her home out of an army camp. Between 170–175, she was in the north, and in 175, she accompanied Aurelius to the east.

That same year, 175, Aurelius's general Avidius Cassius was proclaimed Roman emperor after the erroneous news of Marcus's death; the sources indicate Cassius was encouraged by Marcus's wife Faustina, who was concerned about her husband's failing health, believing him to be on the verge of death, and felt the need for Cassius to act as a protector in this event, since her son Commodus, aged 13, was still young. She also wanted someone who would act as a counterweight to the claims of Tiberius Claudius Pompeianus, who was in a strong position to take the office of Princeps in the event of Marcus’s death. The evidence, including Marcus's own Meditations, supports the idea that Marcus was indeed quite ill, but by the time Marcus recovered, Cassius was already fully acclaimed by the Egyptian legions of II Traiana Fortis and XXII Deiotariana. "After a dream of empire lasting three months and six days", Cassius was murdered by a centurion; his head was sent to Marcus Aurelius, who refused to see it and ordered it buried. Egypt recognized Marcus as emperor again by 28 July 175.

Faustina died in the winter of 175, after a somewhat suspicious accident, at the military camp in Halala (a city in the Taurus Mountains in Cappadocia). Aurelius grieved much for his wife and buried her in the Mausoleum of Hadrian in Rome. She was deified: her statue was placed in the Temple of Venus in Rome and a temple was dedicated to her in her honor. Halala’s name was changed to Faustinopolis and Aurelius opened charity schools for orphan girls called Puellae Faustinianae or 'Girls of Faustina'. The Baths of Faustina in Miletus are named after her.

In their thirty years of marriage, Faustina bore Marcus Aurelius thirteen children, of whom 6 reached adulthood and were significant in history. The best known are emperor Commodus and the closest to him sister Lucilla (both depicted in a very historically inaccurate movie "Gladiator" and, together with their parents, in a much more accurate 1st season "Reign of Blood" of the TV series "Roman Empire").
Yurii P
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FRANCE - Krauwinkel-Style Jeton120 viewsFRANCE - Krauwinkel-Style Jeton, Brass. Obv.: Bare head with long pony tail and ties, bust left in decorated dress. LUD . XVI . D . G . FR . N . REX Rev.: Statue of mounted figure left; OPTIMO PRINCEPS Date 1790 in exergue. dpaul7
Jeton-1790.jpg
FRANCE -- Louis XVI (1774-1792) 249 viewsFRANCE -- Louis XVI (1774-1792) Jeton, Brass. Obv.: Bare head with long pony tail and ties, bust left in decorated dress. LUD . XVI . D . G . FR . N . REX Rev.: Statue of mounted figure left; OPTIMO PRINCEPS Date 1790 in exergue. Reference: Hennin #177.1 commentsdpaul7
MIsc_Achaea.jpg
Frankish Greece. Princes of Achaea (Glarentza and Corinth mints), William II of Villehardouin (1246-1278)8 viewsRoberts 5302, Malloy 8a or 10a

Billon denier tournois. .53 g., 17.35 mm. max. 0◦.

Obv: + • G PRINCEPS •, cross patee.

Rev: + CLARENCIA, Crusader-style castle tournois, spire surmounted by cross.
Stkp
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Mark Antony105 viewsMark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., Silver denarius, cf. Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR 190, and RSC I 27 ff., Fair, Patrae?, 2.818g, 17.7mm, 180o, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - [...], legionary eagle between two standards, border of dots Ex Forvm


The silver for this issue may have come from the Ptolemaic treasury, and this coin may have been present at the Battle of Actium.

"The Battle of Actium was the decisive confrontation of the Final War of the Roman Republic. It was fought between the forces of Octavian and the combined forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra VII. The battle took place on 2 September 31 BC, on the Ionian Sea near the city of Actium, at the Roman province of Epirus vetus in Greece. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, while Antony's fleet was supported by the ships of Queen Cleopatra of Ptolemaic Egypt.
Octavian's victory enabled him to consolidate his power over Rome and its dominions. To that end, he adopted the title of Princeps ("first citizen") and some years after the victory was awarded the title of Augustus by the Roman Senate. This became the name by which he was known in later times. As Augustus, he would retain the trappings of a restored Republican leader; however, historians generally view this consolidation of power and the adoption of these honorifics as the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire."
3 commentsrandy h2
maximusprincRIC3.jpg
Maximus / Princeps89 viewsMaximus (Caesar, 235/6-238). AR Denarius Rome mint, 236-7.
O: MAXIMVS CAES GERM; Bareheaded and draped bust right
R: PRINC IVVENTVTIS; Maximus standing left, holding baton and spear; two signa to right
- RIC IV 3; RSC 10

Gaius Julius Verus Maximus (Maximvs Caesar) was the son of Maximinus I Thrax. Maximus was most likely given the rank of Caesar at the same time or shortly after his father assumed the rank of Augustus. He was reportedly a very handsome youth. Maximvs Caesar was loyal to his father and remained by his side during his campaign on the Danube. He was also present at the disastrous siege of Aquileia in 238 AD.

After the revolt of Gordian I and Gordian II and ascension of Balbinus and Pupienus, Maximinus and Maximus marched on Rome. They first reached the city of Aquileia, expecting an easy victory as the city's walls had long been in disrepair. However, under the leadership of senators Rutilius Pudens Crispinus and Tullus Menophilus, the walls had been repaired and the city rallied to defend itself in a siege. The Aquileians had plenty of food and good morale.

According to Herodian of Antioch, "The army of Maximinus grew depressed and, cheated in its expectations, fell into despair when the soldiers found that those whom they had not expected to hold out against a single assault were not only offering stout resistance but were even beating them back. The Aquileians, on the other hand, were greatly encouraged and highly enthusiastic, and, as the battle continued, their skill and daring increased. Contemptuous of the soldiers now, they hurled taunts at them. As Maximinus rode about, they shouted insults and indecent blasphemies at him and his son. The emperor became increasingly angry because he was powerless to retaliate. Unable to vent his wrath upon the enemy, he was enraged at most of his troop commanders because they were pressing the siege in cowardly and halfhearted fashion. Consequently, the hatred of his supporters increased, and his enemies grew more contemptuous of him each day."

Condemned by the Senate, Maximus and his father were murdered by their own troops just outside Aquileia on June 24th, 238 AD.
2 commentsNemonater
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Principauté de Sedan, Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne (1594-1623), France.6 viewsLiard, type 4, cuivre, 4,10 g.
A/ HENR DE LA TOVR D BVLLIONII 1614, buste à droite.
R/ SVP PRINCEPS SEDANI ET RAV, écu écartelé de la Tour d'Auvergne, d'Auvergne, de Turenne, de Bouillon et Boulogne couronné.
Réfs : PA 6328
Gabalor
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Principauté de Sedan, Henri de la Tour d'Auvergne (1594-1623), France.5 viewsLiard, type 4, cuivre, 4,25 g.
A/ HENR DE LA TOVR D BVLLIONAEVS 1613, buste à droite.
R/ SVP PRINCEPS SEDANENSIS, écu écartelé de la Tour d'Auvergne, d'Auvergne, de Turenne, de Bouillon et Boulogne couronné.
Réfs : PA 6324
Gabalor
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Provence - Principauté d'Orange - Anonyme XIIIe - XIVe13 viewsPetit denier, argent, 0,88 g
Av./ + PRINCEPS, croix
Rv./ + AVRASICE, cornet
Réfs : PA 4473
Gabalor
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Provence, Principauté d'Orange, Raymond IV (1340-1393)7 viewsCarlin, argent, 1,31 g, 23 mm.
Av./ R PRINCEPS AVR, Roi assis de face, tenant un sceptre.
Rv./ MON / ETCI / VITS / AVRA, croix coupant la légende, cantonnée de cornets.
Réfs : Poey d'Avant 4514

Gabalor
Gabalor
RIC_T_97_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0097 Domitianus32 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
AR/Denarius (18.32 mm 3.332 g 6h) Struck in Rome 80 A.D.
RIC 97 (C, Titus), RSC 386, BMCRE 84 (Titus), BNF unlisted
2 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_T_99_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0099 Domitianus46 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta veiled seated left, with Palladium and sceptre
AR/Denarius (18.63 mm 3.436 g 6h) Struck in Rome 80 A.D.
RIC 99 (R Titus), RSC 380a, BMCRE 83 (Titus), BNF 70 (Titus)
ex Solidus Numismatik Online Auction 8 Lot 207
4 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_T_265_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0265 Domitianus83 viewsObv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate hea right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Lighetf and garlanded altar
AU/Aureus (19.76 mm 6.785 g 6h) Struck in Rome 80-81 A.D.
RIC 265 (R, Titus), BMCRE 91 (Titus), BNF 74-75 (Titus), Trier Hoard 1809 (same dies)
ex Roma Numismatics Auction XII lot 706
2 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_T_266_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0266 Domitianus56 viewsObv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate hea right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Lighetf and garlanded altar
AR/Denarius (18.70 mm 2.891 g 6h) Struck in Rome 80-81 A.D.
RIC 266 (C2, Titus), RSC 397a, BMCRE 92-6, BNF 76-7
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_T_267_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0267 Domitianus34 viewsObv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Goat standin left, in laurel wreath
AR/Denarius (17.96 mm 2.75 g 6 h) Struck in Rome 80-81 A.D.
RIC 267 (C) Titus, BMCRE 88-90 (Titus), RSC 390
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_T_267A_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0267A Domitianus58 viewsObv: CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, Laureate head left
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Goat standin left, in laurel wreath
AR/Denarius (17.95 mm 2.46 g 6 h) Struck in Rome 80-81 A.D.
RIC 267 var (head left) Titus
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
Domitian_Corinth.jpg
RIC 0271 Domitian denarius90 viewsCAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Laureate head right

PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Seat draped; above Corinthian helmet

Rome, 80-81 AD (after the deification of Vespasian)

3.40g

RIC 271 (C2)

Ex-Stack's, Ex-Calgary Coin

A common type but with an exceptional reverse!
6 commentsJay GT4
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RIC 0513 Domitianus20 viewsObv: CAES DIVI AVG VESP F DOMITIAN COS VII, Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Poppy betwwen two crossed cornucopiae
AE/Quadrans (17.93 mm 3.200 g 6h) Struck in Thrace (?) 80-81 A.D.
RIC 513 (R2, Titus), BMCRE-BNF unlisted, RPC II 510
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_V_787_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0787 Domitianus49 viewsObv : CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III, Laureate head right
Rev : PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes standing left, holding flower
AU/Aureus - 19.73 mm 7.34 g 6h - Struck in Rome 75 A.D.
RIC 787 (C), BMCRE 154-155, Paris 131-134 (Vespasian)
2 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
Domitian_RIC_788_[Vespasian].png
RIC 078836 viewsDomitian as Caesar Denarius 75 CE
18mm., 3,21g.
Obv: Head leaureate r; CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III
Rev: Spes stg l with flower; PRINCEPS IVVENTVT
RIC 788 [Vesp] (C) BMC 156
Ex: Savoca Blue 19th auction April 21, 2019 Lot 1143



I am interested in the minor variations that occur in the Minerva series for Domitian. I have a lot of fun tracking down the attributions by deciphering the legends on these coins. Every once in a while I find a rarity others have overlooked because of the seemingly monolithic nature of the Minerva denarii. So, when I find a coin like this one that does not feature Minerva, I am motivated to grab it. The figure on the reverse of this coin is SPES or "Hope" with a flower in her hand. The legend announces Domitian as the Prince of Youth.

I also find that I like the portraits on these coins for Domitian as Caesar. They are of a completely different character than the later portraits. Not that the later portraits are not good, in fact some are spectacular. Please see other posts on this blog for some examples.

RIC lists this as a common coin but I do not think they appear very often at all. While I really like the Minerva series I will always take the opportunity to add a non Minerva denarius to my collection.
1 commentsorfew
RIC_V_788_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 0788 Domitianus31 viewsObv : CAES AVG F DOMIT COS III, Laureate head right
Rev : PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes standing left, holding flower
AR/Denarius - 19.11 mm 3.23 g 6h - Struck in Rome 75 A.D.
RIC 788 (C), BMCRE 156, Paris 135 (Vespasian), RSC 375
FlaviusDomitianus
Domitian_Iventus.jpg
RIC 1081 Domitian Denarius74 viewsCAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Laureate head right

PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Clasped hands holding legionary eagle set on prow.

Rome 79 AD

3.48g

RIC II 1081 (Vespasian)(C2); BMCRE 269 (Vespasian); RSC 393.

Ex-Ancient Treasures (2002), Ex-ANE
6 commentsJay GT4
Domitian_RIC_1085_[Vespasian].png
RIC 108551 viewsDomitian as Caesar Denarius 79 to 24 June
18mm., 3,15g.
Obv:Head laureate l; CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Rev: Salus stg r resting on column feeding snake out of patera; PRINCEPS IVVENTUTIS
RIC 1085 [Vesp] (R2) BMC page 47 note. RSC 385.
Ex: Savoca Blue 19th auction April 21, 2019 Lot 1138



On first glance this looks like just another Domitian denarius and a very worn one at that. However, there is one large difference between this denarius and most other Domitian denarii-it has a left facing portrait. Left facing portraits occur on Domitian's bronze coins but for some unknown reason they are very rare on his silver coinage. Also, both Titus and Vespasian used left facing portraits on their denarii. Though in many cases these instances are rare they are not as generally rare as left facing denarii for Domitian. Again the reason is unknown. I have wanted a left facing Domitian denarius for a few years and finally found this one in a recent auction. Sometimes when you are chasing rarities condition becomes a secondary consideration. With some coins you have to ask yourself should I buy a coin in poorer condition or should I do without.

The other interesting fact about this denarius concerns the reverse. For coins minted when Domitian was Caesar there are several interesting reverses. One of these is the Salus reverse seen here. The reverse legend PRINCEPS IVVENTUTIS occurs on a number of different coins for Domitian as Caesar. Most of these are quite common, this one is an exception.
4 commentsorfew
RIC_V_1085_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 1085 Domitianus52 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head left
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, resting on column, feeding snake aout of patera
AR/Denarius (17.40 mm 3.220 g 6h) Struck in Rome 79 A.D.
RIC 1085 (R2 Vespasian), RSC 385, BMCRE unlisted, BNF 238 (Vespasian)
Purchased on eBay from Ian Roper
4 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_V_1087_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 1087 Domitianus31 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta veiled seated left, with Palladium and sceptre
AR/Denarius (17.37 mm 3.443 g 6h) Struck in Rome 79 A.D.
RIC 1087 (C2 Vespasian), RSC 378, BMCRE 262 (Vespasian), BNF 233-234 (Vespasian)
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_V_1088_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 1088 Domitianus58 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head left
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Vesta veiled seated left, with Palladium and sceptre
AR/Denarius (17.75 mm 3.619 g 6h) Struck in Rome 79 A.D.
RIC 1088 (R3 Vespasian), RSC- BMCRE-BNF unlisted, Mazzini 379 (same obverse die)
ex Savoca 6th Blue Auction Part 2 Lot 801
3 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_V_1102_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 1102 Domitianus109 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIAN COS VI, Laureate head right, bust draped
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, S-C in left field; Domitian on horseback, raising right hand and holding sceptre
AE/Dupondius (27.91 mm 12.869 g 6h) Struck in Rome 79 A D
RIC 1102 (R2, Vespasian), BMCRE unlisted - BNF 795 (same dies)
ex Naville Live Auction 40 Lot 662 (Ex NAC sale O, 05/2004, lot 1960, NAC Auction 72, 05/2013, lot 1556)
6 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
RIC_V_1519_Domitianus.jpg
RIC 1519 Domitianus33 viewsObv : CAESAR DOMITIANVS AVG F, Laureate head of Domitian, right
Rev : COS V PRINCEPS IVVENTVT / S C, Spes standing left, holding flower and raising her robe
AE/Denomination 2 (25.28 mm 9.01 g 6h) Struck in Uncertain Asia Minor mint (Ephesus?) 77-78 A D
RIC 1519 (R2, Vespasian), RPC 1486
ex H.D. Rauch Auktion 94 Lot 418
1 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
Domitian_RIC_267.jpg
RIC 267 Domitian36 viewsCAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Laureate head right

PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Goat standing left in laurel wreath

Rome, 80-81 AD after the deification of Vespasian.

3.37g

RIC 267 (C)

Ex-Jerusalem Haydaya

This is a nice example of the legend ending with a pronounced dot.
4 commentsJay GT4
RIC_V_1245_Domitianus.jpg
RIC V 1085 Domitianus43 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, Laureate head left
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, resting on column, feeding snake out of patera
Fourree Denarius (19.46 mm 2.70 g 6h) Imitates coin struck in Rome 79 A D
Imitates RIC 1085 (R2, Vespasian), RSC 385, BNF 238
2 commentsFlaviusDomitianus
bpJ1A8AugustusDen.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus, Rare. 2 BC-4 AD.61 viewsObv: CAESAR AVGVSTVS DIVI F PATER PATRIAE
Laureate head, right.
Rev: C L CAESARES AVGVSTI F COS DESIG PRINC IVVENT
Gaius and Lucius Caesars standing, facing, shields and spears between them. Above center, a lituus is to the left and a simpulum is to the right with X below.
Denarius 3.2 gm 17.8 mm Mint: Lugdunum RIC 212
Comment: Advertises Gaius and Lucius Caesars as heirs to the imperial power. Gaius became 'princeps iuventutis' in 5 BC and Lucius in 2 BC. Chip at two o'clock on obv. demonstrates crystalized (i.e. ancient) subbase.
Massanutten
Domitian_RIC_1084~0.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Domitian as Caesar RIC 108467 viewsDomitian, denarius.
Rome Mint, 79 AD.
RIC 1084, RSC 384.
19mm, 3.13g.
Obv. CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI, laureate head right.
Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Salus standing right, leaning on column and feeding serpent with patera in hand.
Marsman
Domitian_RIC_II_271~0.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Domitian as Caesar RIC 271 (under Titus)204 viewsDomitian, denarius.
RIC II 271 (Titus), RSC 399a.
19 mm, 3.44 g.
Rome Mint, 80 AD.
Obv. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII, laureate, bearded, head right.
Rev. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS, Corinthian helmet on draped chair.

A significant set of coins was issued in 80 AD in conjunction with the divine propriation of the gods for the plague and fire in Rome and the eruption of the Vesuvius. The coins refer to a special religious feast to please the gods. The religious rites required that the sacred couches of the gods (pulvinaria), be set out with emblems of the deity placed on the couch. There are several such representations on the coins of Titus and Domitian, like this denarius with a helmet on a draped couch (Minerva).
2 commentsMarsman
domitcasco.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, DOMITIAN as Caesar.178 viewsAR denarius. 80-81 AD. 3.39 grs. 6h. Laureate head right. CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII / Corinthian helmet on draped seat. PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS.
RIC 271 (Titus). RSC 399a

3 commentsbenito
Domit_Salus.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Domitian Salus denarius- RIC 243 (Vespasian)31 viewsObv: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI.
Domitian, laureate, right
Rev: PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Salus stg. right leaning on cippus and holding snake which she feeds from a patera

This is a fun coin. First, we have a fat Domitian portrait. Note the bar over the V for the consulships as well as the pellet following the obverse inscription. Domitian obtained his 6th consulship in 79 A.D. and his 7th the following year so the obverse inscription enables us to date the coin to 79 A.D. Salus, or health appears on the reverse which also tells us that Domitian is "Prince of the Youth". The coin is pretty busy with all of the symbolism.
C. Caesar Germ.
Geta_-_PRI_NC_IVV_ENTV_TIS_-_.JPG
Roman Empire, Geta 44 viewsGeta, 209-211

Denar 200-202(Silber)

Münzstätte Rom

Vs.: P SEPT GETA CAES PONT, jugendliches Portrait nach rechts

Rs.: PRI NC IVV ENTV TIS, Geta als Princeps Iuventutis in Feldtracht nach links stehend, daneben ein Tropäum

Gewicht: 3,0g

Literatur: RIC 18,sear5 #7196 und RIC 16b

Verkäufer: Lanz,München.
1 commentsM. V. Celerinus
sestertius05.JPG
ROMAN EMPIRE, Herennius Etruscus, Rome mint, struck 250-251 AD, AE Sestertius54 viewsQ HER ETR MES DECIVS NOB C bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS, S-C Herennius standing left
RIC 171var. (obv. drap. and cuir) , Cohen 28
dupondius
sestertius15.JPG
ROMAN EMPIRE, Maximus, Rome mint, struck 236-238 AD, AE Sestertius31 viewsMAXIMVS CAES GERM bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS, S-C Maximus standing left
RIC 13, Cohen 14
dupondius
Maximus01.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Maximus, Rome mint, struck 236-238 AD, Æ Sestertius308 viewsMAXIMVS CAES GERM bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS, S-C Maximus standing left
RIC 13, Cohen 14 (10 Fr.)
dupondius
190208018bz.jpg
Roman Empire, Maximus, Sestertius180 viewsObv. MAXIMVS CAES GERM, draped bust right.
Rev. PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS S C, emperor standing left, holding baton and spear, at the right two standards.
Mint: Rome, 236-238 AD.

32mm 21.38g

RIC 13; Cohen 14; BMC 213

Ex Münzenhandlung Manfred Olding, Lagerliste
Ex Reusing /Schürer Collection
Ex Münzenhandlung A. Riechman 1930 (65 Reichsmark)

Princeps Juventutis was a name of dignity even in the most flourishing days of the republic. It was an honorary appellation given to him who took the lead of the greater and lesser boys appointed to perform a part in the game of Troy (ad ludum Troja). The prince of the youth was, in the earlier times, the chief of the Equestrian Order. Under the empire, and from the very commencement of that monarchical form of government, this title, although simply honorary, appears to have been given, as an apanage, to such young princes of the imperial family as were destined to reign, and was sometimes conferred on them at a very early age. (Numiswiki, FAC)
6 commentskc
as03.JPG
Roman Empire, Philip II, AE As, Rome mint, struck 244-247 AD70 viewsM IVL PHILIPPVS CAES bare-headed draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENT, S-C Philip II. standing left
RIC 256b; Cohen 50
dupondius
sestertius08.JPG
ROMAN EMPIRE, Philip II, Rome mint, struck 244-245 AD, AE Sestertius84 viewsM IVL PHILIPPVS CAES bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS, S-C Philipp standing right
RIC 843, Cohen 55
1 commentsdupondius
Philippus_II__2MB.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, PHILIP II, Æ Sestertius, Rome mint, struck 244-245 AD331 viewsM IVL PHILIPPVS CAES bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS, S-C Philipp standing right
RIC 843, Cohen 55
9 commentsdupondius
PhilippusII01.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Philippus II, AE Sestertius, Rome mint, struck 244-246 AD256 viewsM IVL PHILIPPVS CAES bare-headed and draped bust right
PRINCIPI IVVENT, S-C Philip standing left
RIC 256a, Cohen 49 (6 Fr.)
2 commentsdupondius
image~6.jpeg
Sosius Syria 2 Obverse6 views
Obv: PRINCEPS FELIX ; Bare head of Sosius, rt.
Rev: COLONIA IVLIA ILVR ; Two monograms to the left, yoke of two humped oxen
38-34 BC
RPC 4083 ; SNG Levante 597
jimbomar
image~5.jpeg
Sosius Syria 2 Reverse7 viewsObv: PRINCEPS FELIX ; Bare head of Sosius, rt.
Rev: COLONIA IVLIA ILVR ; Two monograms to the left, yoke of two humped oxen
38- 34 BC
RPC 4083 ; SNG Levante 597
jimbomar
image~4.jpeg
Sosius Syria Obverse10 viewsPRINCEPS FELIX ; Bare head of Sosius, rt.

Uncertain mint in Cilicia or Syria
jimbomar
Battle_of_Actium.jpg
The Battle of Actium, by Lorenzo A. Castro, 1672.29 viewsThe Battle of Actium was a naval battle of the Roman Civil War between Mark Antony and Octavian (Caesar Augustus). It was fought on September 2, 31 BC, near the Roman colony of Actium in Greece (near the modern-day city of Preveza), on the Ionian Sea. Octavian's fleet was commanded by Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, Antony's fleet was supported by the fleet of his lover, Cleopatra, queen of Ptolemaic Egypt. The battle was won by the forces of Octavian, whose victory led him to be titled the Princeps Augustus, and eventually to be considered the first Roman Emperor; for this reason the date of the battle is often used to mark the end of the Roman Republic and the beginning of the Roman Empire.

Cleisthenes
Tiberius_RIC_I_246.jpg
Tiberius, AE Semis, RIC I 2463 viewsTiberius
As Caesar and Co-Princeps, 13-14 A.D.

Coin: AE Semis

Obverse: TI CAESAR AVGVST F IMPERAT VII, laureate bust facing right.
Reverse: The Ara Trium Galliarum, ROM ET AVG in exergue.

Weight: 3.73 g, Diameter: 18.4 x 18.5 x 1.4 mm, Die axis: 150°, Mint: Lugdunum, struck between 12-14 A.D. Reference: RIC I 246
Masis
T2aPS.jpg
Titus RIC 02143 viewsAR Denarius, 3.17g
Rome mint, 79 AD
Obv: IMP T CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG; Head of Titus, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: ANNONA AVG; Annona std. l., with sack of corn ears
RIC 2 (R2). BMC specimen acquired 1934. RSC -. BNC -.

The Annona reverse type struck for Titus Caesar is quite common and copies the same reverse struck contemporarily for Vespasian. It was also struck briefly for Titus after becoming emperor on 24 June, 79 AD. The type is very rare for him as Augustus, perhaps minted in the space of a week prior to the TR P VIIII dating on 1 July. Evidently the mint did not have new reverse types prepared for the new princeps and so recycled those struck for him as Caesar during that first week.

This is an extremely rare type for Titus as Augustus and certainly the rarest of the first issue. The new RIC cites three specimens (BM, Vienna, private collection), mine will make the fourth that I know of and it is a die match with the BM specimen.

Better in hand than the photo indicates.
9 commentsDavid Atherton
traj1.jpg
Trajan 97-11737 viewsOb. IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P Laurate head right
(Imperator Trajanus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Pontifex Maximus Tribunicia Potestas) The supreme commander Trajanus, sovereign, victor over the Germans and Dacians, High Priest and Tribune of the people
Rev. COS V P P SPQR OPTIMO PRINC Winged Victory
(Consul V Pater Patriae Senatus Populusque Romanus Optimus Princeps) Consul for the fifth time, father of his country, the senate and the Roman people to the highest prince
Ref. RIC II 131

-:Bacchus:-
Bacchus
traj2.jpg
Trajan 97-117 denarius41 viewsOb. IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P
(Imperator Trajanus Augustus Germanicus Dacicus Pontifex Maximus Tribunicia Potestas) The supreme commander Trajanus, sovereign, victor over the Germans and Dacians, High Priest and Tribune of the people
Rev. COS V P P SPQR OPTIMO PRINC Roma seated left holding spear and Victory
(Consul V Pater Patriae Senatus Populusque Romanus Optimus Princeps) Consul for the fifth time, father of the country as recognised by the Senate and the people of Rome, the most perfect Prince.
Ref. RIC 116

-:Bacchus:-
Bacchus
Trajan_Cos_VIBlack.jpg
Trajan RIC 337; Woytek 520v73 viewsTrajan 98-117 AD. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Winter 114-start of 116 AD. (3.2g; 19mm) Obv: IMP CAES NER TRAIANO OPTIMO AVG GER DAC, Laureate and draped bust right. Rev: P M TR P COS VI P P SPQR, Mars advancing right with spear and trophy over shoulder.
RIC 337; RSC 270; Woytek 520v

Ex: G&N

Here we see how "Optimo" has finally become a part of the emperor's name - the transition from the title "Optimo Princeps" to the name "Optimo Augustus".

Curtis Clay:
"It's the difference between allowing others to call you "the best", and allowing that title to become part of your official name.
As Pliny records in his Panegyric, from early in his reign on the Senate wanted to call Trajan "best", but Trajan modestly refused to accept "best" as part of his name.
In the course of 103, after Trajan had celebrated his first Dacian triumph and renovated the Circus Maximus with the addition of seats for 5000 additional spectators, SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI became the standard rev. legend on Trajan's coins in all metals, meaning "The Senate and the Roman People (acclaim, or dedicate this coin to) the Best Emperor". Here Optimus is still an unofficial title: Trajan is allowing others to call him that, but is not permitting it to become part of his official name. Princeps is a general description of Trajan's function, "first man in the state" or simply "ruler, emperor", not part of his personal name.
In 114 Trajan conquered Armenia, the Senate once again voted him the name "Best", and this time he accepted it as part of his name, along with IMP, CAES, AVG, and his victory titles GERM and DAC. So from here on Optimus becomes part of Trajan's nomenclature on the obverse of his coins, and the rev. legend SPQR OPTIMO PRINCIPI disappears."

1 commentsPaddy
Valerian I- Sol.jpg
Valerian I- Sol42 viewsValerian I, c. September 253 - April, May or June 260 A.D.

Obverse:
Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right

IMP C P LIC VALERIANVS P F AVG

IMP: Imperator, leader of the troops or general.
C: Caesar, usually means a junior in rank to Augustus and is usually designated as the heir apparent.
P: Princeps, means leader, or the first among equals, but carries the meaning of Prince or Caesar.
LIC: Licinius, one of his given names.
VALERIANVS: Valerianus
PF: Pius Felix
AVG: Augustus, emperor

Reverse:
ORIENS AVGG

ORIENS: Rising sun
AVGG: Augustus, emperors

Sol advancing left, raising right hand and holding whip in left


Domination: Bronze/ Billion Antoninianus, size 20 mm.

Mint: Rome, Göbl, in MIR 36, catalogs it as 110b, mint of Rome. Poor quality billon rather than bronze, though the color may have browned over the years. Officina ??
John Schou
145.jpg
Vespasian, AD 69-7941 viewsAR denarius, 20.52mm (2.83 gm).

IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, Laureate head right; small 'o' visible below the neck truncation / PRINCEPS IVVENTVT, Spes standing left, with flower. Mint(s) of Asia Minor (Uncertain: Ephesus?), struck AD 76.

RIC II.1, 1479; BMCRE II, 492; RSC II, 393a; RPC II, 1455.
2 commentssocalcoins
Domitianus-Denar-Aquila-RIC_IIn_1081.jpg
VIII - DOMITIANUS -a- Denar RIC II² [Vesp] / 108120 viewsA) CAESAR AVG F DOMITIANVS COS VI
Laureate head right

R) PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Clapsig hands, holding aquila

Weight: 3,2g; Ø: 20mm; Reference: RIC II² [Vesp] / 1081
Rome mint; struck: 79 A.D.
sulcipius
Domitianus-Denar-Altar-RIC_IIn_266.jpg
VIII - DOMITIANUS -b- Denar RIC II² [Titus] / 026622 viewsAv) CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Laureate head right

Rv) PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Girlanded and lighted altar

Weight: 3,24g; Ø: 19mm; Reference:: RIC II² [Titus] /266
ROME mint, struck: 80-81
sulcipius
Domitianus-Denar-HelmThron-RIC_IIn_271.jpg
VIII - DOMITIANUS -b- Denar RIC II² [Titus] / 027137 viewsAv) CAESAR DIVI F DOMITIANVS COS VII
Laureate head right

Rv) PRINCEPS IVVENTVTIS
Corinthian helmet on draped seat

Weight: 3,3g; Ø:19mm
Reference: RIC II² [Titus] / 271
ROME mint; struck: 79 A.D.
sulcipius
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.
Cleisthenes
SevAl.jpg
[1009b] Severus Alexander, 13 March 222 - March 235 A.D.110 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 19, S -, aF, Rome, 2.806g, 20.0mm, 0o, 223 A.D.; obverse IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG, laureate and draped bust right; reverse P M TR P II COS P P, Jupiter standing left cloak over arms, holding long scepter and thunderbolt. Nice portrait. Ex FORVM.

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.
Cleisthenes
TrajanDeciusRIC11b.jpg
[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 commentsCleisthenes
Valerian1RIC232.jpg
[1112a] Valerian I, October 253 - c. June 260 A.D.70 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.
Cleisthenes
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.
Cleisthenes
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.
Cleisthenes
VesJudCapt.jpg
[18H759] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta173 viewsSilver denarius, Hendin 759, RIC 15, BM 35, RSC 226, S 2296, Fair, 2.344g, 17.0mm, 180o, Rome mint, 69-70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IVDAEA in exergue, Jewess, mourning, seated at right of trophy.

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.
Cleisthenes
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin779.jpg
[18H779] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta issue132 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 commentsCleisthenes
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.


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