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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Recovery of the Empire| ▸ |Aurelian||View Options:  |  |  |   

Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

L Domitius Aurelianus was born in Sirmium about 207 A.D. Of humble background, Aurelian rose in the ranks to become one of Rome's greatest generals. Proclaimed emperor around 270 A.D., he quickly crushed the various usurpers, restoring to its largest extent except for the Dacia, which was abandoned permanently. Aurelian then embarked on a series of public works meant to restore the empire's shattered infrastructure. His brilliant rule was cut short by a court conspiracy ending in his assassination in 275 A.D. Rome in 271 A.D.


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Aurelian established the Tripolis mint, c. 274 A.D., which minted antoniniani and a few aureus types until it closed during the join reign of Diocletian and Maximian, c. 287 A.D. The Tripolis coins of Aurelian and Tacitus are not clearly mint-marked to identify Tripolis, but after Tacitus, Tripolis coins are marked "TR" in the reverse field. There were several cities within the Roman Empire named Tripolis. The most likely city that hosted the Roman mint was the Tripolis south of Antioch, which today is Tripoli, Lebanon.
RB89980. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T3219 (20 spec.), BnF XII 1371, Göbl MIR 47 390c, Hunter IV 117, RIC V-1 390 (S), Cohen VI 233, SRCV III 11609, F, well centered, brown town, porous, corrosion, weight 4.720 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 0o, Tripolis (Tripoli, Lebanon) mint, 2nd issue, spring 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust left; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing half facing, radiate head left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, bound captive at foot on left, seated left, star in left field, KA in exergue; scarce; $55.00 (€48.40)
 


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Fortuna Redux, one of the many aspects of Fortuna, was in charge of bringing people home safely, primarily from wars - redux means "coming back" or "returning." She may be one of the later aspects of Fortuna, as the earliest mention of her is on an altar dedicated by the Senate in 19 B.C. for the safe return of Emperor Augustus.
RA91227. Billon antoninianus, SRCV III 11539, Cohen VI 82, Hunter IV - (p. cx), VF, desert patina, oval flan, small edge split, weight 3.330 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Milan(?) mint, c. 270 - 271 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse FORTVNA REDVX, Fortuna seated left on wheel, rudder in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, exergue off flan; ex Numismatik Naumann auction 76 (7 April 2019), part of lot 942; $95.00 (€83.60)
 


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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the official sun god of the late Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274, Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. Scholars disagree whether the new deity was a refoundation of the ancient Latin cult of Sol, a revival of the cult of Elagabalus, or completely new. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 A.D. and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them.
RL88565. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T1826 (41 spec.), BnF XII 206, Venèra 1267-1282, Gloucester 173, Maravielle 100-102, Mazzini 159, RIC V-1 64, SRCV III 11569, Cohen VI 159, F, obverse well centered, reverse a little off center, rough, weight 2.938 g, maximum diameter 20.9 mm, die axis 180o, 7th officina, Rome mint, issue 11, early – Sep 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun of the Emperor), Sol standing right, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and behind, raising laurel branch in right hand, bow in left, left foot on captive, Z left, XXIR in exergue; $3.49 (€3.07)


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This type refers to Aurelian's defeat of Zenobia's Palmyrene Empire in the east. The captives wear Parthian caps and are typically attributed as Persians. The real captives were more likely Palmyreans. Typical of Roman propaganda, Zenobia's Sasanian supporters are depicted to glorify Aurelian's victory and mask that this was an internal revolt and civil war.
RL88583. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T1727 (34 spec.), BnF XII 119, Venèra 672-685, Gloucester 128, Blackmoor 3668, Maravielle 56, RIC V-1 62, Cohen VI 154, SRCV III -, aF, well centered, rough, ragged flan, weight 4.496 g, maximum diameter 24.9 mm, die axis 0o, 7th officina, Rome mint, 7th issue, spring 274; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun of the Emperor), Sol standing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, right foot on captive seated left at his feet, another captive seated right behind on right, both captives wear Parthian caps, VII in exergue; $12.00 (€10.56)
 


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Of humble background, Aurelian rose to become one of Rome's greatest generals. Under his rule the empire was restored to its largest extent, except the province of Dacia was abandoned. He began a public works program to restore the empire's infrastructure. His brilliant rule was cut short by a court conspiracy and assassination.
RL88626. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2173, RIC V-1 216, Venèra 7150 - 7194, BnF XII 808, Gloucester 384, Colonne 625, Komin 1062, Maravielle 454, Hunter IV -, aVF, lightly toned bare copper, porous, somewhat ragged irregularly shaped flan, weight 3.044 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issue 6, autumn 272 - early 274; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Aurelian, on left, standing right, clasping hands with Concordia, on left, standing left, *P in exergue; $14.00 (€12.32)
 


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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. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored men in positions of authority similar to his own.
RL88645. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T2179 (12 spec), Venèra 7058-7064, Gloucester 376, Komin 1065, RIC V-1 225, Hunter IV 78 var. (emp. holds short specter), SRCV III -, aF, weight 2.954 g, maximum diameter 24.5 mm, die axis 0o, 1st officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 6th issue, autumn 272 - early 274; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSER (to Jupiter the protector), Aurelian, on left, standing right, wearing military dress, long scepter vertical in left hand, with right hand receiving globe from Jupiter; Jupiter on right, standing left, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and back, holding long scepter vertical in left hand, offering globe with right hand, *P in exergue; $12.00 (€10.56)
 


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Aurelian's concord with the military apparently came undone; after severely punishing corrupt soldiers and making a list of high-ranking officers marked for execution, he fell victim to a conspiracy of his chief officers and was assassinated at Caenophrurium in Thrace.
RL88647. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2206, RIC V-1 216, Venèra 7440 - 7510, BnF XII 819, Gloucester 390, Komin 1062, Maravielle 482, Hunter IV -, F, well centered, dark patina, porous, light earthen deposits, edge split, weight 3.502 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, issue 6, autumn 272 - early 274; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA MILITVM (harmony with the soldiers), Aurelian, on left, standing right, clasping hands with Concordia, on right, standing left, *Q in exergue; $10.00 (€8.80)
 


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Sol Invictus ("Unconquered Sun") was the sun god of the later Roman Empire and a patron of soldiers. In 274 the Roman emperor Aurelian made it an official cult alongside the traditional Roman cults. The god was favored by emperors after Aurelian and appeared on their coins until Constantine. The last inscription referring to Sol Invictus dates to 387 and there were enough devotees in the 5th century that Augustine found it necessary to preach against them. The date 25 December was selected for Christmas to replace the popular Roman festival Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the "Birthday of the Unconquered Sun."
RL88778. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T1528 (10 spec.), Venèra 4873-4876, Komin 827, Thun 2/588, RIC V-1 154, Cohen VI 234, SRCV III 11610, Hunter IV 65 var. (1st officina), F, dark patina, tight oval flan cutting off parts of legends, weight 2.342 g, maximum diameter 21.0 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 1st issue, May 274; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse SOLI INVICTO (to the invincible sun god), Sol standing half left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, foot on captive left, captive at feet right, star left, QXXT in exergue; $10.00 (€8.80)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
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. Emperors frequently made vows to Jupiter for protection. The Roman's believed as the king of the gods, Jupiter favored men in positions of authority similar to his own.
RL88779. Billon antoninianus, cf. MER-RIC T2152 (222 spec.), BnF XII 779, Venèra 6692-6825, Gloucester 364, Colonne 620, Normanby 1276, RIC V-1 225, SRCV III, Hunter IV -, F, green patina, irregular oval flan, weak centers, small edge splits, weight 2.326 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 5th issue, end 271 – autumn 272; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse IOVI CONSER (to Jupiter the protector), Aurelian, on left, standing right, transverse scepter in left hand, with right hand receiving globe from Jupiter; Jupiter, on right, standing left, long scepter vertical in left hand, presenting globe with right hand, *T(?) in exergue; $20.00 (€17.60)
 


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In 272, Aurelian defeated the breakaway Palmyrene Empire and restored Roman control. Zenobia and her son Vabalathus were paraded in golden chains through the streets of Rome.
RA88820. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC T2154 (32 spec.), Hunter IV 82, Venèra 6998 - 7003, BnF XII 785, Gloucester 369, Colonne 623, RIC V-1 238, Cohen VI 238, F, well centered, earthen encrustation, weight 2.654 g, maximum diameter 21.9 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, 5th issue, end 271 – autumn 272; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory rising up into the air between two shields, wings spread, head left, holding open diadem with both hands, star over T right; $24.00 (€21.12)
 




  






OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

AVRELIANVSAVG
AVRELIANVSAVGCONS
AVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSINVICTAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSINVICTVSPAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPCDAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCAESLDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINONATOAVRELIANOAVG
SOLDOMIMPROM
SOLDOMIMPROMANI
SOLDOMINVSIMPERIROMAN


REFERENCES|

Abdy, R., E. Besly & F. López-Sánchez. The Gloucester Hoard and other coin hoards of the Britannic Empire. CHRB XIII. (Wetteren, 2010).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Barcsay-Amant, Z. The Hoard of Komin, Antoniniani of the 3rd century A. D., Dissertationes Pannonicae. (Budapest, 1937).
Bastien, P. Le monnayage de l'atelier de Lyon. De la réouverture de l'atelier par Aurélien à la mort de Carin (fin 274 - mi-285). (Wetteren, 1976).
Bland, R. "The Blackmoor Hoard" in CHRB III (1982).
Bland, R. "The Coinage of Vabalathus and Zenobia from Antioch and Alexandria" in NC 171 (2011).
Burnett, A. & R. F. Bland, eds. Coin Hoards from Roman Britain: The Normanby Hoard and Other Roman Coin Hoards. (London, 1988).
Calicó, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. 2: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I. 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 6: Macrianus to Diocletian & Maximianus. (Paris, 1886).
Estiot, S. "Le double trésor de Colonne (Jura), terminus 298 AD" in TM XVII (1998), pp. 107-180.
Estiot, S. "Le Trésor de Maravielle" in TM V (1983), pp. 9 - 115.
Estiot, S. "L'Or romain entre crise et restitution (270-276 apr. J.-C.). I. Aurélien" in Journal des Savants 1 (1999), pp. 51-148.
Estiot, S. Monnaies de l'Empire Romain Volume XII, D'Aurélien à Florien (270-276 après J.-C.). Bibliotheque nationale de France. (Paris, 2004).
Estiot, S. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume II/1: Aureliano. (Verona, 1995).
Göbl, R. et al. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 47: Die Münzprägung des Kaisers Aurelianus (270/275). (Vienna, 1985).
Kellner, H., L. Zemmer-Plank, & E. Kellner. Ein römischer Münzschatz von Navis-Mühlen im Wipptal. (Innsbruck, 1984).
Mazzini, I. Monete Imperiali Romane. (Milan, 1957-1958).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & P. Webb. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. V, |Part| I, Valerian to Florian. (London, 1927).
Milani, L. Il ripositglio della Venèra, Monete romane della seconda meta del terzo secolo. (Rome, 1880).
Monnaies de l'Empire Romain / Roman Imperial Coinage AD 268-276 (RIC V Online) http://www.ric.mom.fr
Pflaum, H., P. Bastien, "La trouvaille de monnaies romaines de Thibouville (Eure)" in Gallia XIX (1961), pp. 71-104; Gallia XX (1962), pp. 255-315.
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. IV. Valerian I to Allectus. (Oxford, 1978).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 3: The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Schmidt-Dick, F. ed. Die römischen Münzen des Medagliere im Castelvecchio zu Verona. TNRB 9. (1995).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 22, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Aurelian