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XXI

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Numerian
February or March 283 - October or November 284 A.D.

Son of Carus and brother of Carinus, Numerian's brief stint as emperor started when he along with his father set out for war against the Sassanian in Persia (Iran). Under mysterious circumstances Carus was incinerated in his tent just prior to the military encounter of the two armies. The official explanation was that the tent had been stricken by lightning but this has been interpreted as much too convenient. As the battle was called off and the army was returning Numerian, too, was found dead in his quarters. This time a hasty investigation was started and the Praetorian Prefect, a certain Aper, was killed on the spot by Diocletian. He then proclaimed himself emperor and renouncing Carinus. With the suspicious death of Numerian the report of Carus' death made for a more compelling story that the Prefect had had a hand in their deaths. It is likely that Diocletian had engineered a sophisticated conspiracy using Aper as the central pawn and then scapegoat.

Numerian’s Antoniniani are not very rare despite the short stay at the top. Condition more than anything will determine the going rate for the coins with fully-silvered pieces costing upwards of $100 each. There are a few other denominations, including the Aureus, but are all very rare and expensive.

Also see:

ERIC - NUMERIAN
Numerian Coins for Sale
References
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Gricourt, D. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume IV: Caro - Diocleziano. (Verona, 2000).
Mattingly, H. Sydenham & Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol V, Part I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Milani, L.A. Il ripositglio della Venèra, Monete romane della seconda meta del terzo secolo. (Rome, 1880).
Pink, K. "Der Aufbau der Römischen münzprägung in der Kaiserzeit: VI/2. Carus und Söhne" in Numismatische Zeitschrift 80 (1963).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume Three, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).


DICTIONARY OF ROMAN COINS





NVMERIANVS (Marcus Aurelius), second son of Carus. was born about A.D. 254. Declared Caesar at the beginning of his father's reign, he accompanied him in the war against the Sarmatians, and afterwards against the Persians. On the death of Carus, A.D. 283, he was recognized Emperor of the army in Persia, conjointly with his elder brother Carinus, who resided in the west.-Unlike that brother, however, he was an excellent prince, endowed with the most amiable virtues, governed by the most honorable principles, eloquent, a good poet, a man of tried courage and sound wisdom, a decided supporter of the laws and a promoter of the public interests.

Attacked by illness, and obliged to be conveyed in a litter, on his return to Europe, he was basely assassinated by his father-in-law Arrius Aper, near Heraclea, in Thrace, A.D. 284, to the great grief of his subjects, in the thirtieth year of his age, having reigned only nine months.--The honours of consecration were paid to his memory by Carinus or by Diocletian. The coins of this prince in the third brass are common--silver doubtful, if any--brass medallions are very rare--gold most rare. Some pieces represent him with his brother Carinus.

Numerian is styled M. AVR. NVMERIANVS. C. (On reverse sometimes PRINCEPS IVVENT.)--NVMERIANVS NOB. C.--IMP. NVMERIANVS. P.F. AVG.--IMP. NVMERIANVS INVICT. AVG. DIVVS. NVMERIANVS--The illustration taken from a fine brass medallion.

Numerius, a surname peculiar to the Fabia family, and which the Latins designated by the single letter N.--Valerius Maximus informs us that only one of the Fabii who escaped the massacre of Cremera, where 306 of them perished, married the wife of Numerius Otacilius, on condition that the son whom he might have should bear the name of Numerius. The denarii of this family bear witness to the alleged fact that the Fabian race used the praenomen of Numerius, and expressed it solely by the letter N., as in N. FABI. PICTOR.   Numerius Fabius Pictor.--Sigonius, however, states that two other ancient and patrician families, Furia and Quinctia, also used the surname of Numerius.



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