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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Gordian III||View Options:  |  |  |   

Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.

Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. He was proclaimed Caesar shortly before the murder of Balbinus and Pupienus, and he succeeded them. Little is known about his reign. In 242 A.D. he embarked on a campaign against the Persian Kingdom which was so successful the Persians had to evacuate Mesopotamia. However, Gordian III died shortly after, through illness or the machinations of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.

|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |antoninianus|
This coin was issued to gain the support of Fortuna toward ensuring the safe return of Gordian from his campaign against the Persians. But Fortuna was not inspired. Gordian would never return to Rome. Shapur's inscription at Naqsh-i Rustam claims he was killed in a Roman defeat at the Battle of Misiche near modern Fallujah. Roman sources do not mention this defeat and claim Philip, who succeeded Gordian as emperor, murdered him.
RS92616. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 143, RSC IV 97, SRCV III 8612, Hunter III - (p. lxxxv), VF, old collection toning, flow lines, small deposits, scratches and marks, flan ragged with edge splits, reverse a little off center, weight 3.982 g, maximum diameter 22.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 242 - 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FORT REDVX, Fortuna seated left, rudder held by tiller in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, wheel below seat; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $45.00 SALE |PRICE| $40.50


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |antoninianus|
In 241, Tranquillina's father was appointed the head of the Praetorian Guard. In May that year, Gordian married Tranquillina and she received the honorific title of Augusta. Her marriage to Gordian was an admission by the young emperor of the political indispensability of Timesitheus. Tranquillina survived her husband. She had no sons with him but they may have had a daughter born after Gordian's death. In 243, Timesitheus, Gordian's father-in-law and praetorian prefect became ill and died under suspicious circumstances. Gordian III appointed Philip the Arab as his new praetorian prefect.
RS92617. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 93, RSC IV 266, Hunter III 39, SRCV III 8650, VF/F, well centered, toned, flow lines, bumps and marks, die wear, weight 5.005 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right; reverse P M TR P V COS II P P, Emperor standing right, wearing military garb, transverse spear in right hand, globe in left hand; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |antoninianus|
Gordian III was the grandson of Gordian I and nephew of Gordian II. Made Caesar before the murders of Balbinus and Pupienus, he succeeded them. Little is known of his reign. In 242 A.D. he attacked Persia, gaining Mesopotamia. He died shortly after, through illness or plot of his Praetorian prefect and successor, Philip I.
RS92619. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 155 (S), RSC IV 349, SRCV III 8662, Hunter III 67, Choice aVF, well centered, flow lines, toned, die wear, weight 4.398 g, maximum diameter 23.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 243 - 244 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse VICTOR AETER (eternal victory), Victory standing left, resting right hand on shield on ground, palm frond in left, captive seated left at feet left; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00 ON RESERVE


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
In 241 Timesitheus was appointed the head of the Praetorian Guard, Gordian married his daughter Tranquillina, and she received the honorific title of Augusta. The marriage indicates Gordian correctly understood that Timesitheus was indispensable. Timesitheus died under suspicious circumstances in 243. Not long after losing his protector, Gordian was murdered by mutinous soldiers in February 244.
RB92623. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 306a, Cohen V 254, Hunter III 114, SRCV III 8731, VF, well centered, attractive style, part of reverse legend weak, slight double strike, some porosity, edge flaw, edge cracks, weight 22.690 g, maximum diameter 32.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 241 - 242 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P IIII COS II P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for 4 years, consul 2 times, father of the country), Gordian standing right, wearing military garb, transverse spear in right hand, globe in extended left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $110.00 SALE |PRICE| $99.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
To the ancient Romans, Rome was "Roma Aeterna" (The Eternal City) and "Caput Mundi" (Capital of the World). The empire is history but Rome is still today, the eternal city. Rome's influence on Western Civilization can hardly be overestimated; perhaps a greater influence than any other city on earth, making important contributions to politics, literature, culture, the arts, architecture, music, religion, education, fashion, cinema and cuisine.
RB92624. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV-1 RIC 272a, Cohen V 316, Hunter III 91, SRCV III 8736, gVF, excellent portrait, green patina, tight slightly irregularly shaped flan, slight double strike, spots of light corrosion, light marks, weight 18.352 g, maximum diameter 30.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 240 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate draped and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left on shield (throne back also visible in background) holding Victory on globe and scepter, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $170.00 SALE |PRICE| $153.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
The propaganda on Roman coins was often far from reality. There was little security for Rome when this coin was struck. In 238, Goths from Ukraine crossed the Danube and devastated the Roman Empire up to the border with Anatolia. In 240, Africa revolted. Also in 240, Franks from northwest Germania raided the Rhine frontier. In 242, the cities of the Cimmerian Bosporus were evacuated because Goths controlled the territory.
RB92625. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 312, Cohen V 332, SRCV III 8739, Hunter III 154, VF, well centered and struck, squared flan, a little rough from light corrosion, tiny edge cracks, weight 17.898 g, maximum diameter 31.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, c. 241 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse SECVRITAS AVG (security of the Emperor), Securitas seated left, scepter in right hand, propping head with left hand, altar at feet on left, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; from the Errett Bishop Collection; $80.00 SALE |PRICE| $72.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |as|
Jupiter or Jove, Zeus to the Greeks, was the king of the gods and god of the sky and thunder, and of laws and social order. As the patron deity of ancient Rome, he was the chief god of the Capitoline Triad, with his sister and wife Juno. The father of Mars, he is, therefore, the grandfather of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored emperors and kings, those in positions of authority similar to his own.
RB92626. Copper as, RIC VI 299b (S), Cohen 117, Hunter III 139, SRCV III 8781, VF/F, well centered, a bit rough and porous, edge cracks, weight 8.447 g, maximum diameter 24.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 4th emission, 241 - 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse IOVIS STATOR (to Jove who upholds), Jupiter standing facing, naked, head right, long scepter vertical in right hand, thunderbolt in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) in fields; from the Errett Bishop Collection; scarce; $50.00 SALE |PRICE| $45.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |aureus|
Providentia is the personification of the ability to foresee and to make provision for the future. This ability was considered essential for the emperor and providentia was among the embodiments of virtues that were part of the imperial cult. Cicero said that providentia, memoria (memory) and intellegentia (understanding) are the three main components of prudentia, the knowledge what is good or bad or neither.
SH94301. Gold aureus, RIC IV 23 (R), Calic 3213, Cohen IV 195, SRCV III 8579, Hunter - (p. lxxxiii), gVF, well centered and struck, flow lines, bumps, light scrape on obverse, weight 4.732 g, maximum diameter 21.2 mm, die axis 0o, 5th officina, Rome mint, special emission, early 239 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M TR P II COS P P (high priest, holder of Tribunitian power for two years, consul, father of the country), Providentia standing left, globe in right hand, transverse scepter in left; scarce; $4700.00 SALE |PRICE| $4230.00


|Gordian| |III|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.|, |sestertius|
Laetitia is the Roman goddess of gaiety and joy, her name deriving from the root word laeta, meaning happy. She is typically depicted on coinage with a wreath in her right hand, and a scepter, a rudder, or an anchor in her left hand.
RB92990. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 300a, Cohen V 122, Banti 38, Hunter III 140, SRCV III 8712, aVF, green patina, squared patina, scratch on reverse, weight 21.349 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late 240 - early 243 A.D.; obverse IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse LAETITIA AVG N (the joy of our Emperor), Laetitia standing facing, head left, wreath in right hand, anchor in left, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking low in field; $100.00 SALE |PRICE| $90.00


Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Hadrianopolis, Thrace

|Hadrianopolis|, |Gordian| |III,| |29| |July| |238| |-| |25| |February| |244| |A.D.,| |Hadrianopolis,| |Thrace|, |AE| |26|
The kithara (cithara) was an ancient stringed musical instrument resembling the lyre. The lyre was a simpler folk-instrument with two strings and tortoise shell body. The kithara had seven strings and a flat back. The kithara is a symbol of Apollo and he is credited with inventing it. Its true origins were likely Asiatic.. The kithara was primarily used by professional musicians, called kitharodes. In modern Greek, the word kithara has come to mean "guitar."
RP89874. Bronze AE 26, Jurukova Hadrianopolis 547, Varbanov 3715 (R4), SNG Cop 588, Moushmov 2680, F, nice portrait, glossy dark patina, obverse slightly off center, reverse a little rough, central depressions, weight 10.328 g, maximum diameter 25.9 mm, die axis 180o, Hadrianopolis (Edirne, Turkey) mint, 29 Jul 238 - 25 Feb 244 A.D.; obverse AYT K M ANT ΓOP∆IANOC AV, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse A∆PIANOΠOΛEIT,ΩN (last two letters in exergue), Apollo seated left, nude to the waist, himation around hips and legs, laurel branch downward in right hand, kithara (lyre) resting on seat behind in left hand; $60.00 SALE |PRICE| $54.00




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSAVG
IMPCAESMANTGORDIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPGORDIANVSPIVSFELIXAVG
MANTGORDIANVSCAES


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III: Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Volume IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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