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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.
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." RA87252. Billonantoninianus, MER-RIC 3076 (12 spec.), BnF XII 1218, RIC V-1 357, La Venera 10718, Hunter IV -, Choice EF, near full silvering, broad flan, nice portrait, weight 5.152 g, maximum diameter 24.0 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, 10th emission, phase 1, start to mid 275 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right; reverseMARS INVICTVS (Invincible Mars), Mars on left, standing right, helmeted, spear in left hand, holding globe together with Sol; Sol on right, standing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over left shoulder, whip in left hand, Γ lower center, XXI in exergue; scarce; $120.00 (€102.00)
Aurelian probably joined the army in 235, a year that began an era of crisis, imperial assassinations, invasions, civil wars, plagues, and economic depression, which severely damaged the army. He distinguished himself in battle and successes as a cavalry commander eventually made him a member of emperor Gallienus' entourage. Claudius gave him command of the elite Dalmatian cavalry, and then promoted him to Master of Horse (second in command of the army after the Emperor). As emperor, Aurelian's successful restoration of the Army enabled him to defeat the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and the Palmyrene Empire effectively ending the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century. RA87272. Billonantoninianus, MER-RIC 3080 (8 spec.), RIC V-1 366, BnF XII 1219, Venèra 10723 - 10734, Cohen VI 206, Hunter IV -, Choice VF, full circle centering on a broad flan, spots of corrosion, weight 3.742 g, maximum diameter 25.2 mm, 1st officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, issue 10, phase 2, early - summer 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassedbust right, from behind; reverseRESTITVTOR EXERCITI (restorer of the army), Mars on left, helmeted, in military dress, standing right, spear in left hand, giving globe to Emperor; Emperor on right, diademed, in military dress, standing left, long scepter vertical in left hand, XXI in exergue; scarce; $95.00 (€80.75)
Aurelian probably joined the army in 235, a year that began an era of crisis, imperial assassinations, invasions, civil wars, plagues, and economic depression, which severely damaged the army. He distinguished himself in battle and successes as a cavalry commander eventually made him a member of emperor Gallienus' entourage. Claudius gave him command of the elite Dalmatian cavalry, and then promoted him to Master of Horse (second in command of the army after the Emperor). As emperor, Aurelian's successful restoration of the Army enabled him to defeat the Alamanni, Goths, Vandals, Juthungi, Sarmatians, and the Palmyrene Empire effectively ending the Roman Empire's Crisis of the Third Century. RA87240. Billonantoninianus, MER-RIC 3088 (45 spec.), RIC V-1 366, BnF XII 1224, Venèra 10733 - 10747, Cohen VI 206, Hunter IV 105 var. (2nd officina), Choice VF, well centered, much silvering, weight 3.314 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, issue 10, phase 2, early - summer 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassedbust right; reverseRESTITVTOR EXERCITI (restorer of the army), Mars (on left) and Aurelian standing confronted, Aurelian presenting globe to Mars, each holds a long scepter, B in center, XXI in exergue; $70.00 (€59.50)
Claudius IIGothicus, September 268 - August or September 270 A.D., Commemorative issued by Quintillus or Aurelian
ClaudiusGothicus first crushed the Alemanni tribe who had invaded Roman territory. Soon after Goths poured into the empire. Against all advice, Claudiusconfronted the barbarians at Naissus in Upper Moesia. He fought a brilliant battle and annihilated them. Unfortunately for the empire, he died of plague after a reign of only two years.RA83952. Billonantoninianus, cf. RIC V-1 261 (Mediolanum mint), Fair, tight flan, light corrosion, weight 1.529 g, maximum diameter 16.1 mm, die axis 135o, uncertain mint, c. Sep 270 - 271 A.D.; obverseDIVO CLAVDIO, radiatehead right; reverseCONSECRATIO, flaming altar with four panels, each containing pellet; $10.00 (€8.50)
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