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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Year of 5 Emperors| ▸ |Clodius Albinus||View Options:  |  |  | 

Clodius Albinus, Late 195 or Early 196 - 19 February 197 A.D.

African by birth, Clodius Albinus had a distinguished military career and was made governor of Britain. After the praetorian prefect "sold" the imperial throne to Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Syria; Septimius Severus by the troops in Illyricum and Pannonia; and Albinus by the armies in Britain and Gaul. In the civil war that followed, Albinus allied with Septimius Severus, who had captured Rome. Albinus added "Septimius" to his name and accepted the title of Caesar. Albinus remained the effective ruler of much of the west, with three British legions and one Spanish. After the death of Niger in 194, Severus resolved to make himself the absolute master of the Empire. After he narrowly escaped assassination by Severus' messenger, Albinus proclaimed himself emperor and crossed into Gaul, bringing a large part of the British garrison with him. He defeated Severus' legate Virius Lupus and made Lugdunum his headquarters. He was, however, unable to win the allegiance of the Rhine legions. On 19 February 197, Albinus met Severus' army at the Battle of Lugdunum. After a hard-fought battle, with 150,000 troops on each side, Albinus was defeated and killed himself, or was captured and executed. Severus had his naked body laid out on the ground and, in an act of humiliation, rode his horse over it. Albinus' headless body was thrown into the Rhne, together with the corpses of his murdered family. Severus sent his head to Rome as a warning to his supporters. The town of Lugdunum was plundered, and the adherents of Albinus were cruelly persecuted.

|Clodius| |Albinus|, |Clodius| |Albinus,| |Late| |195| |or| |Early| |196| |-| |19| |February| |197| |A.D.||denarius|
The Historia Augusta says of Albinus, "...he was both of noble rank there and traced his descent from noble families at Rome, namely the Postumii, the Albini, and the Ceionii...He was born at Hadrumetum in a modest home, in slender circumstances, and of righteous parents, Ceionius Postumus and Aurelia Messalina, and he was their first-born son. When taken from his mother's womb, unlike the common run of infants, who are red at birth, he was very white in hue, and for this reason he was named Albinus. The truth of this is proved by a letter which his father wrote to Aelius Bassianus, then proconsul of Africa, and, as it seems, a kinsman of the family...'A son was born to me on the seventh day before the Kalends of December, and so white was his body at birth that it was whiter than the linen clothes in which we wrapped him. I acknowledged him, therefore, as one of the family of the Albini, who are common kin to you and me, and bestowed upon him the name Albinus. And now remember, I pray you, our country, yourself, and me.'"
SH33434. Silver denarius, RIC IV 7 (R1), BMCRE V 98, Hunter III 6, RSC III 48, SRCV II 6144, gVF, choice portrait, weight 3.277 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 194 A.D.; obverse D CLOD SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head right; reverse MINER PACIF COS II, Minerva standing left, helmeted, olive branch in right hand, resting left on grounded shield, spear leans against arm; scarce (RIC R1); SOLD

|Clodius| |Albinus|, |Clodius| |Albinus,| |Late| |195| |or| |Early| |196| |-| |19| |February| |197| |A.D.||denarius|
The Historia Augusta says of Clodius Albinus, "He was tall of stature, with unkempt curly hair and a broad expanse of brow. His skin was wonderfully white; many indeed think it was from this that he got his name. He had a womanish voice, almost as shrill as a eunuch's. He was easily roused, his anger was terrible, his rage relentless. In his pleasures he was changeable, for he sometimes craved wine and sometimes abstained. He had a thorough knowledge of arms and was not ineptly called the Catiline of his age."
SH32694. Silver denarius, RIC IV 19, BMCRE V 271, RSC III 21, Hunter III 27, SRCV II 6167, gVF, mint luster, iridescent toning, weight 2.303 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, issued as Augustus; obverse IMP CAE D CLO SEP ALB AVG, laureate head right; reverse FIDES LEGION COS II, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; rare; SOLD

|Clodius| |Albinus|, |Clodius| |Albinus,| |Late| |195| |or| |Early| |196| |-| |19| |February| |197| |A.D.||denarius|
The Historia Augusta writes of omens that predicted Clodius Albinus would one day be emperor, "A peculiar custom was observed in the family of the Caesars, namely, that the infants of this house should be bathed in tubs of tortoise-shell. Now when Albinus was a newly born infant, a fisherman brought as a gift to his father a tortoise of enormous size, and he, being well versed in letters, regarded the gift as an omen and accepted the tortoise gladly. He then gave an order that they should prepare the shell and set it apart for the child for use in the hot baths that are given to infants, hoping that this gift portended noble rank for his son. And again, although eagles appear but rarely in the region in which Albinus was born, on the seventh day after his birth, at the very hour of a banquet in honour of the bestowal of his name, seven young eagles were brought in from a nest and placed as though in jest about the cradle of the child. Nor did his father scorn this omen either, but commanded that the eagles be fed and guarded with care "
SH33742. Silver denarius, RIC IV 11(a), RSC III 61, BMCRE V 43, Hunter III 2, SRCV 6146, gVF, bold portrait, very nice for the type, weight 3.209 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 193 - 195 A.D.; obverse D CL SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head right; reverse ROMAE AETERNAE (to eternal Rome), Roma seated left on shield, helmeted, palladium in right, long scepter vertical in left; rare; SOLD





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