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charles2-gdr-curtisasonien.JPG
D.375 Charles II the Bald (denier, class 2, Courcessin?)35 viewsCharles the Bald, king of the Franks (840-877)
GDR denier (Courcessin?, class 2, 864-875)

Silver, 1.43 g, 19 mm diameter, die axis 12h

O/ +GRΛTIΛ D-I REX; carolingian monogram
R/ +I.CVRTISΛSONIEH; cross pattée

In 864, Charles the Bald promulgated the edict of Pîtres, huge reform whose aim was to protect the kingdom from Viking raids. It also reinforced royal authority on minting, and created a new type of deniers . The new coins could be only struck at 10 mints (Palace, Chalon sur Saône, Melle, Narbonne, Orléans, Paris, Quentovic, Reims, Rouen and Sens). This limitation had never been applied, more than 110 mints struck the new coinage. This can be understood as a lack of control of the central autority. However it seems that several mints shared dies... Grierson and Blackburn proposed that only 10 main mints produced dies and partially outsourced coinage production ?
On the obverse is written GRATIA D-I REX (GDR) around a carolingian monogram. The alliance with Roman Church goes on... The reverse already existed for Class 1, with the mint name around a cross pattée.
Class 2 of Charles' coinage is made of these GDR deniers.

The precise localization of the mint in Normandie (north of France) is still not clear. According to Grierson and Blackburn, Courti(s) Sasonien(sis) may come from some groups of Saxons settled in northern part of Gaul.
Droger
charles2-denier-gdr-palais.JPG
D.750 Charles II the Bald (denier, class 2, Palace Mint)4 viewsCharles the Bald, king of the Franks (840-877)
GDR denier (Palace Mint, class 2, 864-875)

Silver, 1.77 g, 20 mm diameter, die axis 2h

O/ +GRΛTIΛ D-I REX; carolingian monogram
R/ +PΛLΛTINΛ MONE; cross pattée

Droger
5514.jpg
005d. Agrippina II89 viewsLYDIA, Hypaepa. Agrippina Jr., mother of Nero. Augusta, 50-59 AD. Æ 14mm (2.33 gm). Draped bust of Agrippina right / Cult statue of Artemis. RPC I 2541; SNG Copenhagen -.

Julia Vipsania Agrippina Minor or Agrippina Minor (Latin for "the younger") (November 7, AD 15 – March 59), often called "Agrippinilla" to distinguish her from her mother, was the daughter of Germanicus and Agrippina Major. She was sister of Caligula, granddaughter and great-niece to Tiberius, niece and wife of Claudius, and the mother of Nero. She was born at Oppidum Ubiorum on the Rhine, afterwards named in her honour Colonia Agrippinae (modern Cologne, Germany).

Agrippina was first married to (1st century AD) Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. From this marriage she gave birth to Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus, who would become Roman Emperor Nero. Her husband died in January, 40. While still married, Agrippina participated openly in her brother Caligula's decadent court, where, according to some sources, at his instigation she prostituted herself in a palace. While it was generally agreed that Agrippinilla, as well as her sisters, had ongoing sexual relationships with their brother Caligula, incest was an oft-used criminal accusation against the aristocracy, because it was impossible to refute successfully. As Agrippina and her sister became more problematic for their brother, Caligula sent them into exile for a time, where it is said she was forced to dive for sponges to make a living. In January, 41, Agrippina had a second marriage to the affluent Gaius Sallustius Crispus Passienus. He died between 44 and 47, leaving his estate to Agrippina.

As a widow, Agrippina was courted by the freedman Pallas as a possible marriage match to her own uncle, Emperor Claudius, and became his favourite councillor, even granted the honor of being called Augusta (a title which no other queen had ever received). They were married on New Year's Day of 49, after the death of Claudius's first wife Messalina. Agrippina then proceeded to persuade Claudius to adopt her son, thereby placing Nero in the line of succession to the Imperial throne over Claudius's own son, Brittanicus. A true Imperial politician, Agrippina did not reject murder as a way to win her battles. Many ancient sources credited her with poisoning Claudius in 54 with a plate of poisened mushrooms, hence enabling Nero to quickly take the throne as emperor.

For some time, Agrippina influenced Nero as he was relatively ill-equipped to rule on his own. But Nero eventually felt that she was taking on too much power relative to her position as a woman of Rome. He deprived her of her honours and exiled her from the palace, but that was not enough. Three times Nero tried to poison Agrippina, but she had been raised in the Imperial family and was accustomed to taking antidotes. Nero had a machine built and attached to the roof of her bedroom. The machine was designed to make the ceiling collapse — the plot failed with the machine. According to the historians Tacitus and Suetonius, Nero then plotted her death by sending for her in a boat constructed to collapse, intending to drown Agrippina. However, only some of the crew were in on the plot; their efforts were hampered by the rest of the crew trying to save the ship. As the ship sank, one of her handmaidens thought to save herself by crying that she was Agrippina, thinking they would take special care of her. Instead the maid was instantly beaten to death with oars and chains. The real Agrippina realised what was happening and in the confusion managed to swim away where a passing fisherman picked her up. Terrified that his cover had been blown, Nero instantly sent men to charge her with treason and summarily execute her. Legend states that when the Emperor's soldiers came to kill her, Agrippina pulled back her clothes and ordered them to stab her in the belly that had housed such a monstrous son.

ecoli
60304LG.jpg
102a. Plotina136 viewsPlotina, wife of Trajan.

Under Trajan, his female relations played enormously important roles in the empire's public life, and received honors perhaps unparalleled. Trajan's wife, Pompeia Plotina, is reported to have said, when she entered the imperial palace in Rome for the first time, that she hoped she would leave it the same person she was when she entered. She received the title Augusta no later than 105. She survived Trajan, dying probably in 121, and was honored by Hadrian with a temple, which she shared with her husband, in the great forum which the latter had built.

Æ trial strike of denarius dies (23 mm, 7.42 g). Rome. [PL]OTINA AVG IMP TRAIANI, diademed and draped bust right, hair in queue down neck / CAES AVG GERMA [D]A[C] COS V[I P P], Vesta seated left, holding palladium in right hand, sceptre in left. Cf. RIC 730 (Trajan); cf. BMC 526 (Trajan); cf. RSC 3. VF, rough green patina. Very unusual and probably unique. Ex Spink 160 (9-10 October 2002), 852.
ecoli73
1000-16-149.jpg
107. Pertinax35 viewsPertinax

Only a mediocre public speaker, Pertinax was first and foremost a gritty old soldier. He was heavily built, had a pot belly, although it was said, even by his critics, that he possessed the proud air of an emperor.
He possessed some charm, but was generally understood to be a rather sly character. He also acquired a reputation for being mean and greedy. He apparently even went as far as serving half portions of lettuce and artichoke before he became emperor. It was a characteristic which would not serve him well as an emperor.

When he took office, Pertinax quickly realized that the imperial treasury was in trouble. Commodus had wasted vast sums on games and luxuries. If the new emperor thought that changes would need to be made to bring the finances back in order he was no doubt right. But he sought to do too much too quickly. In the process he made himself enemies.

The gravest error, made at the very beginning of his reign, was to decide to cut some of the praetorian's privileges and that he was going to pay them only half the bonus he had promised.
Already on 3 January AD 193 the praetorians tried to set up another emperor who would pay up. But that senator, wise enough to stay out of trouble, merely reported the incident to Pertinax and then left Rome.

The ordinary citizens of Rome however also quickly had enough of their new emperor. Had Commodus spoilt them with lavish games and festivals, then now Pertinax gave them very little.
And a truly powerful enemy should be the praetorian prefect Laetus. The man who had after all put Pertinax on the throne, was to play an important role in the emperor's fate. It isn't absolutely clear if he sought to be an honest advisor of the emperor, but saw his advise ignored, or if he sought to manipulate Pertinax as his puppet emperor. In either case, he was disappointed.

And so as Pertinax grew ever more unpopular, the praetorians once more began to look for a new emperor. In early March, When Pertinax was away in Ostia overseeing the arrangements for the grain shipments to Rome, they struck again. This time they tried to set up one of the consuls, Quintus Sosius Falco.

When Pertinax returned to Rome he pardoned Falco who'd been condemned by the senate, but several praetorians were executed. A slave had given them away as being part of the conspiracy.
These executions were the final straw. On 28 March AD 193 the praetorians revolts.
300 hundred of them forced the gates to the palace. None of the guards sought to help their emperor.
Everyone, so it seemed, wanted rid of this emperor. So, too, Laetus would not listen as Pertinax ordered him to do something. The praetorian prefect simply went home, leaving the emperor to his fate.

Pertinax did not seek to flee. He stood his ground and waited, together with his chamberlain Eclectus. As the praetorians found him, they did not discover an emperor quivering with fear, but a man determined on convincing them to put down their weapons. Clearly the soldiers were over-awed by this brave man, for he spoke to them for some time. But eventually their leader found enough courage to step forwards and hurl his spear at the emperor. Pertinax fell with the spear in his chest. Eclectus fought bravely for his life, stabbing two, before he two was slain by the soldiers.
The soldiers then cut off Pertinax' head, stuck it on a spear and paraded through the streets of Rome.

Pertinax had ruled for only 87 days. He was later deified by Septimius Severus.

RI1. Pertinax. A.D. 193. AR denarius (18.0 mm, 2.74 g, 7 h). Rome mint. Rare. IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG, laureate head right / OPI DIVIN TR P COS II, Ops seated left, holding two stalks of grain, resting hand on seat of throne. RIC 8a; RSC 33; BMCRE 19. aVF, flan crack.
ecoli
DiocleAnt.jpg
1301a, Diocletian, 284-305 A.D. (Antioch)93 viewsDIOCLETIAN (284 – 305 AD) AE Antoninianus, 293-95 AD, RIC V 322, Cohen 34. 20.70 mm/3.1 gm, aVF, Antioch. Obverse: IMP C C VAL DIOCLETIANVS P F AVG, Radiate bust right, draped & cuirassed; Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Jupiter presents Victory on a globe to Diocletian, I/XXI. Early Diocletian with dusty earthen green patina.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Diocletian ( 284-305 A.D.)

Ralph W. Mathisen
University of South Carolina


Summary and Introduction
The Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (A.D. 284-305) put an end to the disastrous phase of Roman history known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis" (235-284). He established an obvious military despotism and was responsible for laying the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire, which is known variously as the "Dominate," the "Tetrarchy," the "Later Roman Empire," or the "Byzantine Empire." His reforms ensured the continuity of the Roman Empire in the east for more than a thousand years.

Diocletian's Early Life and Reign
Diocletian was born ca. 236/237 on the Dalmatian coast, perhaps at Salona. He was of very humble birth, and was originally named Diocles. He would have received little education beyond an elementary literacy and he was apparently deeply imbued with religious piety He had a wife Prisca and a daughter Valeria, both of whom reputedly were Christians. During Diocletian's early life, the Roman empire was in the midst of turmoil. In the early years of the third century, emperors increasingly insecure on their thrones had granted inflationary pay raises to the soldiers. The only meaningful income the soldiers now received was in the form of gold donatives granted by newly acclaimed emperors. Beginning in 235, armies throughout the empire began to set up their generals as rival emperors. The resultant civil wars opened up the empire to invasion in both the north, by the Franks, Alamanni, and Goths, and the east, by the Sassanid Persians. Another reason for the unrest in the army was the great gap between the social background of the common soldiers and the officer corps.

Diocletian sought his fortune in the army. He showed himself to be a shrewd, able, and ambitious individual. He is first attested as "Duke of Moesia" (an area on the banks of the lower Danube River), with responsibility for border defense. He was a prudent and methodical officer, a seeker of victory rather than glory. In 282, the legions of the upper Danube proclaimed the praetorian prefect Carus as emperor. Diocletian found favor under the new emperor, and was promoted to Count of the Domestics, the commander of the cavalry arm of the imperial bodyguard. In 283 he was granted the honor of a consulate.

In 284, in the midst of a campaign against the Persians, Carus was killed, struck by a bolt of lightning which one writer noted might have been forged in a legionary armory. This left the empire in the hands of his two young sons, Numerian in the east and Carinus in the west. Soon thereafter, Numerian died under mysterious circumstances near Nicomedia, and Diocletian was acclaimed emperor in his place. At this time he changed his name from Diocles to Diocletian. In 285 Carinus was killed in a battle near Belgrade, and Diocletian gained control of the entire empire.

Diocletian's Administrative and Military Reforms
As emperor, Diocletian was faced with many problems. His most immediate concerns were to bring the mutinous and increasingly barbarized Roman armies back under control and to make the frontiers once again secure from invasion. His long-term goals were to restore effective government and economic prosperity to the empire. Diocletian concluded that stern measures were necessary if these problems were to be solved. He felt that it was the responsibility of the imperial government to take whatever steps were necessary, no matter how harsh or innovative, to bring the empire back under control.

Diocletian was able to bring the army back under control by making several changes. He subdivided the roughly fifty existing provinces into approximately one hundred. The provinces also were apportioned among twelve "dioceses," each under a "vicar," and later also among four "prefectures," each under a "praetorian prefect." As a result, the imperial bureaucracy became increasingly bloated. He institutionalized the policy of separating civil and military careers. He divided the army itself into so-called "border troops," actually an ineffective citizen militia, and "palace troops," the real field army, which often was led by the emperor in person.

Following the precedent of Aurelian (A.D.270-275), Diocletian transformed the emperorship into an out-and-out oriental monarchy. Access to him became restricted; he now was addressed not as First Citizen (Princeps) or the soldierly general (Imperator), but as Lord and Master (Dominus Noster) . Those in audience were required to prostrate themselves on the ground before him.

Diocletian also concluded that the empire was too large and complex to be ruled by only a single emperor. Therefore, in order to provide an imperial presence throughout the empire, he introduced the "Tetrarchy," or "Rule by Four." In 285, he named his lieutenant Maximianus "Caesar," and assigned him the western half of the empire. This practice began the process which would culminate with the de facto split of the empire in 395. Both Diocletian and Maximianus adopted divine attributes. Diocletian was identified with Jupiter and Maximianus with Hercules. In 286, Diocletian promoted Maximianus to the rank of Augustus, "Senior Emperor," and in 293 he appointed two new Caesars, Constantius (the father of Constantine I ), who was given Gaul and Britain in the west, and Galerius, who was assigned the Balkans in the east.

By instituting his Tetrarchy, Diocletian also hoped to solve another problem. In the Augustan Principate, there had been no constitutional method for choosing new emperors. According to Diocletian's plan, the successor of each Augustus would be the respective Caesar, who then would name a new Caesar. Initially, the Tetrarchy operated smoothly and effectively.

Once the army was under control, Diocletian could turn his attention to other problems. The borders were restored and strengthened. In the early years of his reign, Diocletian and his subordinates were able to defeat foreign enemies such as Alamanni, Sarmatians, Saracens, Franks, and Persians, and to put down rebellions in Britain and Egypt. The easter frontier was actually expanded.

.
Diocletian's Economic Reforms
Another problem was the economy, which was in an especially sorry state. The coinage had become so debased as to be virtually worthless. Diocletian's attempt to reissue good gold and silver coins failed because there simply was not enough gold and silver available to restore confidence in the currency. A "Maximum Price Edict" issued in 301, intended to curb inflation, served only to drive goods onto the black market. Diocletian finally accepted the ruin of the money economy and revised the tax system so that it was based on payments in kind . The soldiers too came to be paid in kind.

In order to assure the long term survival of the empire, Diocletian identified certain occupations which he felt would have to be performed. These were known as the "compulsory services." They included such occupations as soldiers, bakers, members of town councils, and tenant farmers. These functions became hereditary, and those engaging in them were inhibited from changing their careers. The repetitious nature of these laws, however, suggests that they were not widely obeyed. Diocletian also expanded the policy of third-century emperors of restricting the entry of senators into high-ranking governmental posts, especially military ones.

Diocletian attempted to use the state religion as a unifying element. Encouraged by the Caesar Galerius, Diocletian in 303 issued a series of four increasingly harsh decrees designed to compel Christians to take part in the imperial cult, the traditional means by which allegiance was pledged to the empire. This began the so-called "Great Persecution."

Diocletian's Resignation and Death
On 1 May 305, wearied by his twenty years in office, and determined to implement his method for the imperial succession, Diocletian abdicated. He compelled his co-regent Maximianus to do the same. Constantius and Galerius then became the new Augusti, and two new Caesars were selected, Maximinus (305-313) in the east and Severus (305- 307) in the west. Diocletian then retired to his palace at Split on the Croatian coast. In 308 he declined an offer to resume the purple, and the aged ex-emperor died at Split on 3 December 316.

Copyright (C) 1996, Ralph W. Mathisen, University of South Carolina
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
DicletianConcordCyz.jpg
1301b, Diocletian, 20 November 284 - 1 March 305 A.D.57 viewsDiocletian. RIC V Part II Cyzicus 256 var. Not listed with pellet in exegrue
Item ref: RI141f. VF. Minted in Cyzicus (B in centre field, XXI dot in exegrue)Obverse:- IMP CC VAL DIOCLETIANVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right. Reverse:- CONCORDIA MILITVM, Diocletian standing right, holding parazonium, receiving Victory from Jupiter standing left with scepter.
A post reform radiate of Diocletian. Ex Maridvnvm.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Diocletian ( 284-305 A.D.)

Ralph W. Mathisen
University of South Carolina


Summary and Introduction
The Emperor Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (A.D. 284-305) put an end to the disastrous phase of Roman history known as the "Military Anarchy" or the "Imperial Crisis" (235-284). He established an obvious military despotism and was responsible for laying the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire, which is known variously as the "Dominate," the "Tetrarchy," the "Later Roman Empire," or the "Byzantine Empire." His reforms ensured the continuity of the Roman Empire in the east for more than a thousand years.

Diocletian's Early Life and Reign
Diocletian was born ca. 236/237 on the Dalmatian coast, perhaps at Salona. He was of very humble birth, and was originally named Diocles. He would have received little education beyond an elementary literacy and he was apparently deeply imbued with religious piety He had a wife Prisca and a daughter Valeria, both of whom reputedly were Christians. During Diocletian's early life, the Roman empire was in the midst of turmoil. In the early years of the third century, emperors increasingly insecure on their thrones had granted inflationary pay raises to the soldiers. The only meaningful income the soldiers now received was in the form of gold donatives granted by newly acclaimed emperors. Beginning in 235, armies throughout the empire began to set up their generals as rival emperors. The resultant civil wars opened up the empire to invasion in both the north, by the Franks, Alamanni, and Goths, and the east, by the Sassanid Persians. Another reason for the unrest in the army was the great gap between the social background of the common soldiers and the officer corps.

Diocletian sought his fortune in the army. He showed himself to be a shrewd, able, and ambitious individual. He is first attested as "Duke of Moesia" (an area on the banks of the lower Danube River), with responsibility for border defense. He was a prudent and methodical officer, a seeker of victory rather than glory. In 282, the legions of the upper Danube proclaimed the praetorian prefect Carus as emperor. Diocletian found favor under the new emperor, and was promoted to Count of the Domestics, the commander of the cavalry arm of the imperial bodyguard. In 283 he was granted the honor of a consulate.

In 284, in the midst of a campaign against the Persians, Carus was killed, struck by a bolt of lightning which one writer noted might have been forged in a legionary armory. This left the empire in the hands of his two young sons, Numerian in the east and Carinus in the west. Soon thereafter, Numerian died under mysterious circumstances near Nicomedia, and Diocletian was acclaimed emperor in his place. At this time he changed his name from Diocles to Diocletian. In 285 Carinus was killed in a battle near Belgrade, and Diocletian gained control of the entire empire.

Diocletian's Administrative and Military Reforms
As emperor, Diocletian was faced with many problems. His most immediate concerns were to bring the mutinous and increasingly barbarized Roman armies back under control and to make the frontiers once again secure from invasion. His long-term goals were to restore effective government and economic prosperity to the empire. Diocletian concluded that stern measures were necessary if these problems were to be solved. He felt that it was the responsibility of the imperial government to take whatever steps were necessary, no matter how harsh or innovative, to bring the empire back under control.

Diocletian was able to bring the army back under control by making several changes. He subdivided the roughly fifty existing provinces into approximately one hundred. The provinces also were apportioned among twelve "dioceses," each under a "vicar," and later also among four "prefectures," each under a "praetorian prefect." As a result, the imperial bureaucracy became increasingly bloated. He institutionalized the policy of separating civil and military careers. He divided the army itself into so-called "border troops," actually an ineffective citizen militia, and "palace troops," the real field army, which often was led by the emperor in person.

Following the precedent of Aurelian (A.D.270-275), Diocletian transformed the emperorship into an out-and-out oriental monarchy. Access to him became restricted; he now was addressed not as First Citizen (Princeps) or the soldierly general (Imperator), but as Lord and Master (Dominus Noster) . Those in audience were required to prostrate themselves on the ground before him.

Diocletian also concluded that the empire was too large and complex to be ruled by only a single emperor. Therefore, in order to provide an imperial presence throughout the empire, he introduced the "Tetrarchy," or "Rule by Four." In 285, he named his lieutenant Maximianus "Caesar," and assigned him the western half of the empire. This practice began the process which would culminate with the de facto split of the empire in 395. Both Diocletian and Maximianus adopted divine attributes. Diocletian was identified with Jupiter and Maximianus with Hercules. In 286, Diocletian promoted Maximianus to the rank of Augustus, "Senior Emperor," and in 293 he appointed two new Caesars, Constantius (the father of Constantine I ), who was given Gaul and Britain in the west, and Galerius, who was assigned the Balkans in the east.

By instituting his Tetrarchy, Diocletian also hoped to solve another problem. In the Augustan Principate, there had been no constitutional method for choosing new emperors. According to Diocletian's plan, the successor of each Augustus would be the respective Caesar, who then would name a new Caesar. Initially, the Tetrarchy operated smoothly and effectively.

Once the army was under control, Diocletian could turn his attention to other problems. The borders were restored and strengthened. In the early years of his reign, Diocletian and his subordinates were able to defeat foreign enemies such as Alamanni, Sarmatians, Saracens, Franks, and Persians, and to put down rebellions in Britain and Egypt. The easter frontier was actually expanded.

.
Diocletian's Economic Reforms
Another problem was the economy, which was in an especially sorry state. The coinage had become so debased as to be virtually worthless. Diocletian's attempt to reissue good gold and silver coins failed because there simply was not enough gold and silver available to restore confidence in the currency. A "Maximum Price Edict" issued in 301, intended to curb inflation, served only to drive goods onto the black market. Diocletian finally accepted the ruin of the money economy and revised the tax system so that it was based on payments in kind . The soldiers too came to be paid in kind.

In order to assure the long term survival of the empire, Diocletian identified certain occupations which he felt would have to be performed. These were known as the "compulsory services." They included such occupations as soldiers, bakers, members of town councils, and tenant farmers. These functions became hereditary, and those engaging in them were inhibited from changing their careers. The repetitious nature of these laws, however, suggests that they were not widely obeyed. Diocletian also expanded the policy of third-century emperors of restricting the entry of senators into high-ranking governmental posts, especially military ones.

Diocletian attempted to use the state religion as a unifying element. Encouraged by the Caesar Galerius, Diocletian in 303 issued a series of four increasingly harsh decrees designed to compel Christians to take part in the imperial cult, the traditional means by which allegiance was pledged to the empire. This began the so-called "Great Persecution."

Diocletian's Resignation and Death
On 1 May 305, wearied by his twenty years in office, and determined to implement his method for the imperial succession, Diocletian abdicated. He compelled his co-regent Maximianus to do the same. Constantius and Galerius then became the new Augusti, and two new Caesars were selected, Maximinus (305-313) in the east and Severus (305- 307) in the west. Diocletian then retired to his palace at Split on the Croatian coast. In 308 he declined an offer to resume the purple, and the aged ex-emperor died at Split on 3 December 316.

Copyright (C) 1996, Ralph W. Mathisen, University of South Carolina
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
1526_-_1530_Henry_VIII_AR_Halfgroat.JPG
1509 - 1547, HENRY VIII, AR Half-groat, Struck 1515 - 1530 at York, England under Archbishop Thomas (Cardinal) Wolsey3 viewsObverse: HENRIC•VIII•D•G•R•AGL•Z•F•. Youthful profile crowned bust of Henry VIII facing right within circle of pellets. Mint-mark: Voided cross.
Reverse: CIVITAS EBORACI. Shield bearing coat-of-arms on cross fourchée; T - W in upper field divided by shield; galero (cardinal's hat) below.
Diameter: 19mm | Weight: 1.0gm | Die Axis: 8
Virtually uncirculated but with a dark, almost black, tone
SPINK: 2346

The T W on the reverse of this coin refers to Thomas Wolsey, known to posterity as Cardinal Wolsey, one of the most powerful figures at the court of Henry VIII. Although this coin is undated, the issue of Henry VIII's second coinage only began in 1526 and so, since Cardinal Wolsey died in 1530, it must have been struck between those two dates.

Cardinal Wolsey
When Henry VIII became King of England in 1509 he appointed Thomas Wolsey to the post of Almoner, a position that gave him a seat on the Privy Council and an opportunity for establishing a personal rapport with the King to such an extent that by 1514 Wolsey had become the controlling figure in virtually all matters of state. In 1515, he was awarded the title Archbishop of York and this, followed by his appointment that same year as Cardinal by Pope Leo X, gave him precedence over all other English clerics. His ecclesiastical power advanced even further in 1523 when the Bishop of Durham, a post with wide political powers, was added to his titles.
After Wolsey attained the position of Lord Chancellor, the King's chief adviser, he had achieved more power than any other Crown servant in English history and during his fourteen years of chancellorship Wolsey, who was often alluded to as an alter rex (other king), used his power to neutralise the influence of anyone who might threaten his position..
In spite of having made many enemies, Cardinal Wolsey retained Henry VIII's confidence until, in 1527, the King decided to seek an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. Henry asked Wolsey to negotiate the annulment with the Pope and in 1528 the Pope decided to allow two papal legates, Wolsey himself and Cardinal Campeggio, to decide the outcome in England. Wolsey was confident of the outcome, but Campeggio took a long time to arrive, and then he delayed proceedings so much, that the case had to be suspended and the Pope decided that the official decision should therefore be made in Rome and not in England.
After his failure to negotiate the annulment, Wolsey fell out of favour with Henry and in 1529 he was stripped of his government office and property, including the magnificent Palace of Hampton Court, which Henry took as his own main London residence.
Wolsey was however permitted to retain the title of Archbishop of York and so he travelled to Yorkshire, for the first time in his career, to carry out those duties.
Now that he was no longer protected by Henry, Wolsey's enemies, including it is rumoured, Ann Boleyn, conspired against him and Henry had him arrested and recalled to London to answer to charges of treason. But Wolsey, now in great distress, fell ill on the journey back to the capital and at Leicester, on 29 November 1530, aged about 57, he died from natural causes before he could be beheaded.
*Alex
verus_dup_RIC1445.jpg
161-169 AD - LUCIUS VERUS AE dupondius - struck 165-166 AD28 viewsobv: L VERVS AVG ARM PARTH MAX (radiate head right)
rev: TR POT VI IMP III COS II (parthian captive seated right at base of trophy, hands tied behind back, arms before), S-C in field
ref: RIC III 1445 (M.Aurelius) (C), C202 (3frcs)
mint: Rome
12.08gms, 24mm
Scarce

History: Between 162 and 166 Verus was in the East, nominally commanding a campaign against the Parthian empire for the control over the Armenian kingdom. Statius Priscus, Avidius Cassius and Martius Verus generals were entrusted with real command of the legions. Cassius led the overall campaign, destroyed the city of Seleucia on the Tigris and burned to the ground the palace at the capital Ctesiphon; Priscus led the invasion of Armenia that took the capital of Artashat (Artaxata); Martius Verus is limited only to the mention of his name by the ancients, but he was later the governor of Cappadocia. Lucius Verus received the title Parthicus Maximus in Aug. 165 AD.
berserker
Banda_Quran_Manuscript_A001.JPG
1790 Large Gold Banda Koran Leaf Blue Border Medallion 23 viewsA magnificent leaf from a Koran fragment, probably Banda, before AH 1208/1790-1 AD, on paper (387 x 230 mm.). There are eleven lines of strong black natkh script within gold clouds, gold roundels between verses, illuminated marginal medallions, marking every tenth verse, red Persian interlinear translation, sura headings in red, margins with Tafsir written in black and red, final folio with commentary dated 1205.. Verso: eleven lines of strong black natkh script within gold clouds, gold roundels between verses, illuminated marginal medallions, marking every tenth verse, red Persian interlinear translation, sura headings in red, margins with Tafsir written in black and red. The opening flyleaf is inscribed with a note reading: this copy of the Koran, formally the property of the Bahadoor, Nawab of Banda was delivered after the great victory obtained over Rebels and Mutineers by Major General Whitlocks Troops on the 19th of April 1858 to the Reverend A Kinloch, the Chaplain of the Horse and present to him as a slight token of affectionate remembrance to the Reverend George Gleed the Vicar of Chalfont St. Peters, Bucks Branda Palace. April 29th 1858. A further note on the final flyleaf reads: This Copy of the Koran was taken from the apartments of Ali Bahadoor, Nawab of Banda after the occupation of his City and Palace by the Madras Column under Major General Whitlock.SpongeBob
APlautiusDenJudea.jpg
1ab Conquest of Judea11 viewsA. Plautius, moneyer
c. 54 BC

Denarius

Turreted head of Cybele, A PLAVTIVS before, AED CVR SC behind
Bacchius kneels right with camel at his side, extending olive branch, BACCHIVS in ex., IVDAEVS in right

Seaby, Plautia 13

The reverse appears to Pompey's conquest of Judaea in 63 BC.

Josephus recorded of Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem: And when he was come to the city, he looked about where he might make his attack; for he saw the walls were so firm, that it would be hard to overcome them; and that the valley before the walls was terrible; and that the temple, which was within that valley, was itself encompassed with a very strong wall, insomuch that if the city were taken, that temple would be a second place of refuge for the enemy to retire to. . . . Aristobulus's party was worsted, and retired into the temple, and cut off the communication between the temple and the city, by breaking down the bridge that joined them together, and prepared to make an opposition to the utmost; but as the others had received the Romans into the city, and had delivered up the palace to him, Pompey sent Piso, one of his great officers, into that palace with an army, who distributed a garrison about the city, because he could not persuade any one of those that had fled to the temple to come to terms of accommodation; he then disposed all things that were round about them so as might favor their attacks, as having Hyrcanus's party very ready to afford them both counsel and assistance. . . . But Pompey himself filled up the ditch that was oil the north side of the temple, and the entire valley also, the army itself being obliged to carry the materials for that purpose. And indeed it was a hard thing to fill up that valley, by reason of its immense depth, especially as the Jews used all the means possible to repel them from their superior situation; nor had the Romans succeeded in their endeavors, had not Pompey taken notice of the seventh days, on which the Jews abstain from all sorts of work on a religious account, and raised his bank, but restrained his soldiers from fighting on those days; for the Jews only acted defensively on sabbath days.
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CaligulaAsVesta.jpg
1ao Caligula30 views37-41

As
Bare head, left, C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT
Vesta std, VESTA SC

RIC 38

The son of Germanicus, modern research suggests, was not as bad a ruler as history generally supposes, but the winners write the history, and Caligula had the dubious honor of being the first loser to die in the purple at the hand of assassins.

Suetonius recorded: Gaius Caesar (Caligula) was born on the 31st of August AD12, in the consulship of his father, Germanicus, and Gaius Fonteius Capito. The sources disagree as to his place of birth. Gnaeus Lentulus Gaetulicus claims it was Tibur (Tivoli), Pliny the Elder, says it was among the Treveri in the village of Ambitarvium, above Confluentes (the site of Koblenz) at the junction of the Moselle and Rhine. . . . His surname Caligula (‘Little Boot’) was bestowed on him affectionately by the troops because he was brought up amongst them, dressed in soldier’s gear.

Caligula accompanied his father, Germanicus, to Syria (in AD 19). On his return, he lived with his mother, Agrippina the Elder until she was exiled (in 29 AD), and then with his great-grandmother Livia. When Livia died (in 29 AD), he gave her eulogy from the rostra even though he was not of age. He was then cared for by his grandmother Antonia the Younger, until at the age of eighteen Tiberius summoned him to Capreae (Capri, in AD 31). On that day he assumed his gown of manhood and shaved off his first beard, but without the ceremony that had attended his brothers’ coming of age.

On Capraea, though every trick was tried to lure him, or force him, into making complaints against Tiberius, he ignored all provocation, . . . behaving so obsequiously to his adoptive grandfather, Tiberius, and the entire household, that the quip made regarding him was well borne out, that there was never a better slave or a worse master.

Even in those days, his cruel and vicious character was beyond his control, and he was an eager spectator of torture and executions meted out in punishment. At night, disguised in wig and long robe, he abandoned himself to gluttony and adulterous behaviour. He was passionately devoted it seems to the theatrical arts, to dancing and singing, a taste in him which Tiberius willingly fostered, in the hope of civilizing his savage propensities.

And came near to assuming a royal diadem at once, turning the semblance of a principate into an absolute monarchy. Indeed, advised by this that he outranked princes and kings, he began thereafter to claim divine power, sending to Greece for the most sacred or beautiful statues of the gods, including the Jupiter of Olympia, so that the heads could be exchanged for his own. He then extended the Palace as far as the Forum, making the Temple of Castor and Pollux its vestibule, and would often present himself to the populace there, standing between the statues of the divine brothers, to be worshipped by whoever appeared, some hailing him as ‘Jupiter Latiaris’. He also set up a special shrine to himself as god, with priests, the choicest sacrificial victims, and a life-sized golden statue of himself, which was dressed each day in clothes of identical design to those he chose to wear.

He habitually committed incest with each of his three sisters, seating them in turn below him at large banquets while his wife reclined above. . . . His preferred method of execution was by the infliction of many slight wounds, and his order, issued as a matter of routine, became notorious: ‘Cut him so he knows he is dying.’
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ClaudiusAsLibertas.jpg
1ap Claudius29 views41-54

As
Bare head, left, TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP
Libertas, LIBERTAS AVGVSTA SC

RIC 97

According to Suetonius: Claudius was born at Lugdunum (Lyon) on the 1st of August 10BC in the consulship of Iullus Antonius and Fabius Africanus, on the day when the very first altar to Augustus was dedicated there, the child being given the name Tiberius Claudius Drusus. When his elder brother Germanicus was adopted into the Julian family (in 4 AD), he added the name Germanicus also. He lost his father when still an infant (in 9 BC), and throughout his childhood and youth was severely afflicted by various stubborn ailments so that his mind and body lacked vigour, and even when he attained his majority he was not considered capable of a public or private career.

Nevertheless, he applied himself to liberal studies from his earliest youth, and often published examples of his proficiency in each area, though even so he was excluded from public office and failed to inspire any brighter hopes for his future. His mother Antonia the Younger often condemned him as an unfinished freak of Nature, and when accusing someone of stupidity would say: ‘He’s a bigger fool than my son Claudius.’ His grandmother Augusta (Livia) always treated him with utter contempt, and rarely even spoke to him, admonishing him, when she chose to do so, in brief harsh missives, or via her messengers. When his sister Livilla heard the prophecy that he would be Emperor some day, she prayed openly and loudly that Rome might be spared so cruel and unmerited a fate.

Having spent the larger part of his life in such circumstances, he became emperor at the age of fifty (in AD41) by a remarkable stroke of fate. Caligula’s assassins had dispersed the crowd on the pretext that the Emperor wished for solitude, and Claudius, shut out with the rest, retired to a room called the Hermaeum, but shortly afterwards, terrified by news of the murder, crept off to a nearby balcony and hid behind the door-curtains. A Guard, who was wandering about the Palace at random, spotting a pair of feet beneath the curtain where Claudius was cowering, dragged the man out to identify him, and as Claudius fell to the ground in fear, recognised him, and acclaimed him Emperor.

Eutropius summarizes: His reign was of no striking character; he acted, in many respects, with gentleness and moderation, in some with cruelty and folly. He made war upon Britain, which no Roman since Julius Caesar had visited; and, having reduced it through the agency of Cnaeus Sentius and Aulus Plautius, illustrious and noble men, he celebrated a magnificent triumph. Certain islands also, called the Orcades, situated in the ocean, beyond Britain, he added to the Roman empire, and gave his son the name of Britannicus. . . . He lived to the age of sixty-four, and reigned fourteen years; and after his death was consecrated3 and deified.

This was the first "good" coin I ever bought and therefore marks the begiining of an addiction.
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NeroAsGenAug.jpg
1ar Nero52 views54-68

As

Bare head, right, IMP NERO CAESAR AVG P MAX TR P P P
Genius, GENIO AVGVSTI

RIC 86

Suetonius wrote: Nero was born nine months after the death of Tiberius, at Antium, at sunrise on the 15th of December (AD 37). . . . While he was still a young stripling he took part in a successful performance of the Troy Game in the Circus, in which he exhibited great self-possession. At the age of twelve or so (sometime in AD 50), he was adopted by Claudius, who appointed Annaeus Seneca, already a member of the Senate, as his tutor. The following night, it is said, Seneca dreamed that his young charge was really Caligula, and Nero soon proved the dream prophetic by seizing the first opportunity to reveal his cruel disposition. . . . After Claudius’s death (AD 54) had been announced publicly, Nero, who was not quite seventeen years old, decided to address the Guards in the late afternoon, since inauspicious omens that day had ruled out an earlier appearance. After being acclaimed Emperor on the Palace steps, he was carried in a litter to the Praetorian Camp where he spoke to the Guards, and then to the House where he stayed until evening. He refused only one of the many honours that were heaped upon him, that of ‘Father of the Country’, and declined that simply on account of his youth.

Eutropius summarized: To him succeeded NERO, who greatly resembled his uncle Caligula, and both disgraced and weakened the Roman empire; he indulged in such extraordinary luxury and extravagance, that, after the example of Caius Caligula, he even bathed in hot and cold perfumes, and fished with golden nets, which he drew up with cords of purple silk. He put to death a very great number of the senate. To all good men he was an enemy. At last he exposed himself in so disgraceful a manner, that he danced and sung upon the stage in the dress of a harp-player and tragedian. He was guilty of many murders, his brother, wife, and mother, being put to death by him. He set on fire the city of Rome, that he might enjoy the sight of a spectacle such as Troy formerly presented when taken and burned.

In military affairs he attempted nothing. Britain he almost lost; for two of its most noble towns4 were taken and levelled to the ground under his reign. The Parthians took from him Armenia, and compelled the Roman legions to pass under the yoke. Two provinces however were formed under him; Pontus Polemoniacus, by the concession of King Polemon; and the Cottian Alps, on the death of King Cottius.

15 When, having become detestable by such conduct to the city of Rome, and being deserted at the same time by every one, and declared an enemy by the senate, he was sought for to be led to punishment (the punishment being, that he should be dragged naked through the streets, with a fork placed under his head,5 be beaten to death with rods, and then hurled from the Tarpeian rock), he fled from the palace, and killed himself in a suburban villa of one of his freed-men, between the Salarian and Nomentane roads, at the fourth milestone from the city. He built those hot baths at Rome, which were formerly called the Neronian, but now the Alexandrian. He died in the thirty-second year of his age, and the fourteenth year of his reign; and in him all the family of Augustus became extinct.

Having successfully dispatched his scheming mother Agrippina in 59 and survived a decade on the throne, Nero must have felt like a genius when this was minted ca 64 AD!
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VitelliusDenVesta.jpg
1av Vitellius42 views69

Denarius
Portrait, right, A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P
Vesta std., PONT MAX

RIC 107

According to Suetonius: Lucius’s son Aulus, the future emperor, was born on the 24th of September 15AD, or according to some authorities on the 7th, during the consulship of Drusus Caesar and Norbanus Flaccus. . . . His boyhood and early youth were spent on Capreae (Capri) among Tiberius’s creatures, he himself being marked by the nickname of ‘Spintria’ (sex-token) throughout his life, and suspected of having secured his father’s first promotion to office by surrendering his own chastity. As he grew older, though contaminated by every kind of vice, Vitellius gained and kept a prominent place at court, winning Caligula’s friendship by his devotion to chariot-racing and Claudius’s by his love of dice. With Nero he was even closer. . . .

Honoured, as these emperors’ favourite, with high office in the priesthood, as well as political power, he governed Africa (under Nero, in 60/61AD) as proconsul, and was then Curator of Public Works (in 63AD), employing a contrasting approach, and with a contrasting effect on his reputation. In his province he acted with outstanding integrity over two successive years, since he served as deputy also to his brother who succeeded him (61/62AD) yet during his administration of the City he was said to have stolen various temple offerings and ornaments, and substituted brass and tin for the gold and silver in others. . . .

Contrary to all expectations, Galba appointed Vitellius to Lower Germany (in 68AD). Some think it was brought about by Titus Vinius, whose influence was powerful at that time, and whose friendship Vitellius had previously won through their mutual support for the ‘Blues’ in the Circus. But it is clear to everyone that Galba chose him as an act of contempt rather than favour, commenting that gluttons were among those least to be feared, and Vitellius’s endless appetite would now be able to sate itself on a province. . . .

He entered Rome to the sound of trumpets, surrounded by standards and banners, wearing a general’s cape, sword at his side, his officers in their military cloaks also, and the men with naked blades. With increasing disregard for the law, human or divine, he then assumed the office of High Priest on the anniversary of the Allia (18th July), arranged the elections for the next ten years, and made himself consul for life. . . .

Vitellius’s worst vices were cruelty and gluttony. . . . By the eighth month of his reign (November 69AD) the legions in Moesia and Pannonia had repudiated Vitellius, and sworn allegiance to Vespasian despite his absence, following those of Syria and Judaea who had done so in Vespasian’s presence. . . .

The vanguard of Vespasian’s army had now forced its way into the Palace, unopposed, and the soldiers were ransacking the rooms, in their usual manner. They hauled Vitellius, unrecognised, from his hiding place, asked his name and where the Emperor might be. He gave some lying answer, but was soon identified, so he begged for safe custody, even if that meant imprisonment, claiming he had important information for Vespasian regarding his security. However his arms were bound behind him and a noose flung over his head, and he was dragged along the Sacred Way to the Forum, amid a hail of mockery and abuse, half-naked, with his clothes in tatters. His head was held back by the hair, like a common criminal and, with a sword-point under his chin so that he was forced to look up and reveal his face, he was pelted with filth and dung, denounced as arsonist and glutton, and taunted with his bodily defects by the crowd. For, Vitellius was exceptionally tall, and his face was usually flushed from some drinking bout. He had a huge belly, too, and one thigh crippled by a blow from a four-horse chariot which struck him when he was in attendance on Caligula who was driving. At last, after being tormented by a host of cuts from the soldiers’ swords, he was killed on the Gemonian Stairs, and his body dragged with a hook to the Tiber.
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AeliusAsAnnona.jpg
1bg Aelius29 viewsCaesar, 136-138

As

Bare head, right, AELIVS CAESAR
Pannonia standing and holding a standard, PANNONIA SC

RIC 1071

According to the Historia Augusta (note: scholars view this biography in the text as among those particularly suspect regarding veracity): Aelius Verus was adopted by Hadrian at the time when, as we have previously said, the Emperor's health was beginning to fail and he was forced to take thought for the succession. He was at once made praetor and appointed military and civil governor of the provinces of Pannonia ; afterwards he was created [in AD 136] consul, and then, because he had been chosen to succeed to the imperial power, he was named for a second consulship. . . . [I]n the province to which he had been appointed he was by no means a failure ; for he carried on a campaign with
success, or rather, with good fortune, and achieved the reputation, if not of a pre-eminent, at least of an
average, commander.

Verus had, however, such wretched health that Hadrian immediately regretted the adoption, and since he often considered others as possible successors, he might have removed him altogether from the imperial family had Verus chanced to live longer. . . .

Verus was a man of joyous life and well versed in letters, and he was endeared to Hadrian, as the malicious say, rather by his beauty than by his character. In the palace his stay was but a short one; in his private life, though there was little to be commended, yet there was little to be blamed. Furthermore, he was considerate of his family, well-dressed, elegant in appearance, a man of regal beauty, with a countenance that commanded respect, a speaker of unusual eloquence, deft at writing verse, and, moreover, not altogether a failure in public life.

This sad little flan looks a bit tubercular, like the subject of the portrait.
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CommodusSestRoma.jpg
1bn Commodus27 views177-192

Sestertius

Laureate head, right, M COMMOD ANT P FELIX AVG BRIT PP

Roma seated left, ROM FEL PM TR P XVI COS VI

RIC 224

The Historia Augusta reports: As for Commodus himself, he was born, with his twin brother Antoninus, at Laiiuvium where his mother's father was born, it is said on the day before the Kalends of September, while his father and uncle were consuls. . . . Marcus tried to educate Commodus by his own teaching and by that of the greatest and the best of men. . . . However, teachers in all these studies profited him not in the least such is the power, either of natural character, or of the tutors maintained in a palace. For even from his earliest years he was base and dis- honorable, and cruel and lewd, defiled of mouth, moreover, and debauched. . . . While yet a child he was given the name of Caesar, along with his brother Verus. . . .

[After Marcus died], He abandoned the war which his father had almost finished and submitted to the enemy's terms, and then he returned to Rome. . . . After he had come back to Rome, he led the triumphal procession with Saoterus, his partner in depravity, seated in his chariot, and from time to time he would turn around and kiss him openly, repeating this same performance even in the orchestra. And not only was he wont to drink until dawn and squander the resources of the Roman Empire, but in the evening he would ramble through taverns and brothels. 6 He sent out to rule the provinces men who were either his companions in crime or were recommended to him by criminals. He became so detested by the senate that he in his turn was moved with cruel passion for the destruction of that great order, and from having been despised he became bloodthirsty. . . . He was called also the Roman Hercules, on the ground that he had killed 192 wild beasts in the amphitheatre at Lanuvium. . . . He engaged in gladiatorial combats, and accepted
the names usually given to gladiators 5 with as much pleasure as if he had been granted triumphal decorations. . . .

Because of these things but all too late Quintus Aemilius Laetus, prefect of the guard, and Marcia, his concubine, were roused to action and entered into a conspiracy against his life. First they gave him poison; and when this proved ineffective they had him strangled by the athlete with whom he was accustomed to exercise.
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PertinaxDenOps.jpg
1bp Pertinax18 views193

Denarius

Bearded laureate head, right, IMP CAES P HELV PERTIN AVG
Ops std, OPI DIVIN TR P COS II

RIC 8

The Historia Augusta has this to say: Publius Helvius Pertinax was the son of a freedman, Helvius Successus by name, who confessed that he gave this name to his son because of his own long-standing connection with the timber-trade. . . . Pertinax himself was born in the Apennines on an estate which belonged to his mother. . . . Winning promotion because of the energy he showed in the Parthian war, he was transferred to Britain and there retained. Later he led a squadron in Moesia. . . . Next, he commanded the German fleet. . . . From this command he was transferred to Dacia. . . . After Cassius' revolt had been suppressed, Pertinax set out from Syria to protect the bank of the Danube, and presently he was appointed to govern both the Moesias and, soon thereafter, Dacia. And by reason of his success in these provinces, he won the appointment to Syria. . . .

Pertinax was made consul for the second time. And while in this position, Pertinax did not avoid complicity in the murder of Commodus, when a share in this plot was offered him by the other conspirators. After Commodus was slain, aetus, the prefect of the guard, and Eclectus, the chamberlain, came to Pertinax and reassured him, and then led him to the camp. There he harangued the soldiers, promised a donative, and said that the imperial power had been thrust upon him by Laetus and Eclectus. . . .

He reduced the imperial banquets from something absolutely unlimited to a fixed standard, and, indeed, cut down all expenses from what they had been under Commodus. And from the example set by the emperor, who lived rather simply, there resulted a general economy and a consequent reduction in the cost of living. . . . [H]e restored to everyone the property of which Commodus had despoiled him. . . . He always attended the stated meetings of the senate and always made some proposal. . . .

A conspiracy l was organized against Pertinax by Laetus, the prefect of the guard, and sundry others who were displeased by his integrity. . . . [T]hree hundred soldiers, formed into a wedge, marched under arms from the camp to the imperial residence. . . . After they had burst into the inner portion of the Palace, however, Pertinax advanced to meet them and sought to appease them with a long and serious speech. In spite of this, one Tausius, a Tungrian, after haranguing the soldiers into a state of fury and fear, hurled his spear at Pertinax' breast. And he, after a prayer to Jupiter the Avenger, veiled his head with his toga and was stabbed by the rest.
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DidJulSestConMil.jpg
1bq Didius Julianus93 views193

Sestertius

Laureate head, right, IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG
Concorde w/ standard, CONCORDIA MILIT SC

RIC 14

According to the Historia Augusta: Didius Julianus. . . was reared at the home of Domitia Lucilla, the mother of the Emperor Marcus. . . . [T]hrough the support of Marcus he attained to the office of aedile [and] praetor. After his praetorship he commanded the XXII Legion, the Primigenia, in Germany, and following that he ruled Belgium long and well. Here, with auxiliaries hastily levied from the provinces, he held out against the Chauci as they attempted to burst through the border; and for these services, on the recommendation of the Emperor, he was deemed worthy of the consulship. He also gained a crushing victory over the Chatti. Next he took charge of Dalmatia and cleared it of the hostile tribes on its borders. Then he governed Lower Germany. . . .

His consulship he served with Pertinax; in the proconsulship of Africa, moreover, he succeeded him. Pertinax always spoke of him as his colleague and successor. After [Pertinax'] death, when Sulpicianus was making plans to be hailed emperor in the camp, Julianus, together with his son-in-law, . . . discovered two tribunes, Publius Florianus and Vectius Aper, who immediately began urging him to seize the throne; and. . . conducted him to the praetorian camp. When they arrived at the camp, however, Sulpicianus, the prefect of the city and the father-in-law of Pertinax, was holding an assembly and claiming the empire himself, and no one would let Julianus inside, despite the huge promises he made from outside the wall. Julianus then . . . wrote on placards that he would restore the good name of Commodus; so he was admitted and proclaimed emperor. . . .

Julianus had no fear of either the British or the Illyrian army; but being chiefly afraid of the Syrian army, he despatched a centurion of the first rank with orders to murder Niger. Consequently Pescennius Niger in Syria and Septimius Severus in Illyricum, together with the armies which they commanded, revolted from Julianus. But when he received the news of the revolt of Severus, whom he had not suspected, then he was greatly troubled and came to the senate and prevailed upon them to declare Severus a public enemy. . . . Severus was approaching the city with a hostile army. . . and the populace hated and laughed at him more and more every day.

In a short time Julianus was deserted by all and left alone in the Palace with one of his prefects, Genialis, and with Repentinus, his son-in-law. Finally, it was propose'd that the imperial power be taken away from Julianus by order of the senate. This was done, and Severus was forthwith acclaimed emperor, while it was given out that Julianus had taken poison. Nevertheless, the senate despatched a delegation and through their efforts Julianus was slain in the Palace by a common soldier. . . .
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SeptSevDenFund.jpg
1bs Septimius Severus87 views193-211

Denarius

Laureate head, right, SEVERVS PIVS AVG
Septimius, togate and veiled, standing left holding olive branch, FVNDATOR PACIS

RIC 265

According to the Historia Augusta: After the murder of Didius Julianus, Severus, a native of Africa, gained the empire. His home town was Lepcis Magna, his father was Geta and his ancestors had been Roman knights before citizenship had been given to all. . . . He himself was born on the third day before the Ides of April, when Erucius Clarus, for the second time, and Severus were the consuls [11 April A.D.146]. . . .

After his departure to Germany he conducted himself in such a way in his governorship as to increase his reputation, which had already become noteworthy. Up to this point his military activity was as a private citizen. But then, after it had been learned that Commodus had been murdered and, moreover, that Julianus held the empire amid universal hatred, he was proclaimed emperor by the German legions at Carnuntum, on the Ides of August, although he did put up some resistance to the many who urged him on. He gave the soldiers . . . sesterces each. Then, after strengthening the provinces which he was leaving in his rear, he marched on Rome. All yielded to him wherever he went, while the armies of Illyricum and Gaul, under the pressure of their generals, had already sworn allegiance to him - for he was received by everyone as the avenger of Pertinax. At the same time, on the instigation of Julianus, Septimius Severus was declared a public enemy, and envoys were sent to the army who were to order the soldiers to desert him, on the instructions of the Senate. At first, when Severus heard that the envoys had been sent by authority of a senatorial decree, he was very frightened. Afterwards, by bribing the envoys, he ensured that they spoke in his favour before the army and crossed to his side. Having learned this, Julianus caused a decree ofthe Senate to be passed regarding his sharing of the empire with Severus. It is uncertain whether or not he did this as a trick, since he had already, before this, dispatched certain men, well known for their assassinations of generals, who were to kill Severus. Similarly he had sent men to assassinate Pescennius Niger, who had also assumed the position of emperor in opposition to him, on the instigation of the Syrian armies. But Severus escaped the hands of those that Julianus had sent to murder him and sent a letter to the praetorian guard, giving them the signal either to desertJulianus or to kill him. He was obeyed at once; Julianus was killed in the palace and Severus was invited to Rome. Thus Severus became the victor merely at will - something that had never happened to anyone - and hastened to Rome under arms. . . .

The same emperor, although implacable towards offences, likewise displayed singular judiciousness in encouraging all hard-working persons. He was quite interested in philosophy and the practice of rhetoric, and enthusiastic about learning in general. He took some measures against brigands everywhere. He composed a convincing autobiography dealing with both his private and his public life, making excuses only for the vice of cruelty. With regard to this, the Senate pronounced that either he ought not to have been born or that he ought not to die, since he appeared to be both excessively cruel and excessively useful to the republic. . . . . He died at Eboracum [York] in Britain, having subdued the tribes which appeared hostile to Britain, in the eighteeneh year of his reign, stricken by a very grave illness, now an old man. . . .

This emperor wore such meagre clothing that even his tunic scarcely had any purple, while he covered his shoulders with a shaggy cloak. He ate sparingly, being very addicted to his native vegetable, sometimes fond of wine, often abstaining from meat. His person was handsome, he was of huge size,(Dio Cassius, who knew Severus personally, says that he was small) with a long beard and curly white hair. His face inspired reverence, his voice was resonant but with a trace of an African accent right up to his old age. He was equally beloved after his death, when envy, or the fear of his cruelty, had disappeared.
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CaracallaDenMars.jpg
1bu Caracalla29 views198-217

Denarius

Laureate head, right, ANTONINVS PIVS AVG BRIT
Mars, MARTI PROPVGNATORI

RIC 223

The Historia Augusta, in the life of Severus, records: As he was advancing against Albinus, moreover, and had reached Viminacium 4 on his march, he gave his elder son Bassianus the name Aurelius Antoninus 5 and the title of Caesar, in order to destroy whatever hopes of succeeding to the throne his brother Geta had conceived. His reason for giving his son the name Antoninus was that he had dreamed that an Antoninus would succeed him. It was because of this dream, some believe, that Geta also was called Antoninus, in order that he too might succeed to the throne. . . . [After defeating Niger], he bestowed the. toga virilis on his younger son, Geta, and he united his elder son in marriage with Plautianus' daughter [Plautilla]. . . . Soon thereafter he appointed his sons to the consulship ; also he greatly honored his brother Geta. . . . Severus [in 198] invaded Parthia, defeated the king, and came to Ctesiphon; and about the beginning of the winter season he took the city. For this feat, likewise, the soldiers declared his son, Bassianus Antoninus, co-emperor; he had already been named Caesar and was now in his thirteenth year. And to Geta, his younger son, they gave the name Caesar. . . .

In the life of Caracalla, the history continues: He himself in his boyhood was winsome and clever, respectful to his parents and courteous to his parents' friends, beloved by the people, popular with the senate, and well able to further his own interests in winning affection. Never did he seem backward in letters or slow in deeds of kindness, never niggardly in largess or tardy in forgiving at least while under his parents. . . . All this, however, was in his boyhood. For when
he passed beyond the age of a boy, either by his father's advice or through a natural cunning, or because he thought that he must imitate Alexander of Macedonia,he became more reserved and stern and even somewhat savage in expression. . . .

After his father's death he went to the Praetorian Camp and complained there to the soldiers that his brother was forming a conspiracy against him. And so he had his brother slain in the Palace. . . . After this he committed many further murders in the city, causing many persons far and wide to be seized by soldier sand killed, as though he were punishing a rebellion. . . . After doing all this he set out for Gaul and immediately upon his arrival there killed the proconsul of Narbonensis. . . . Then he made ready for a journey to the Orient, but interrupted his march and stopped in Dacia. . . . Then he journeyed through Thrace accompanied by the prefect of the guard. . . . After this, turning to the war with the Armenians and Parthians, he appointed as military commander a man whose character resembled his own. . . . Then he betook himself to Alexandria. . . . [H]e issued an order to his soldiers to slay their hosts and thus caused great slaughter at Alexandria. . . . Next he advanced through the lands of the Cadusii and the Babylonians and waged a guerilla-warfare with the Parthian satraps, in which wild beasts were even let loose against the enemy. He then sent a letter to the senate as though he had won a real victory and thereupon was given the name Parthicus. . . .

After this he wintered at Edessa with the intention of renewing the war against the Parthians. During this time, on the eighth day before the Ides of April, the feast of the Megalensia and his own birthday, while on a journey to Carrhae to do honor to the god Lunus, he stepped aside to satisfy the needs of nature and was thereupon assassinated by the treachery of Macrinus the prefect of the guard, who after his death seized the imperial power.
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1bz Elagabalus_217 views218-222

Denarius

Laureate, horned & draped bust rightt, IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG
Elagabalus standing left, sacrificing from patera over lit tripod altar, holding branch, star in field left, SVMMVS SACERDOS AVG

RIC 146

The Historia Augusta, in the life of Caracalla, notes: Bassianus lived for forty-three years and ruled for six. . . . He left a son, who afterward received, like his father, the name Antoninus Marcus Antoninus Elagabalus; for such a hold had the name of the Antonines that it could not be removed from the thoughts of the people, because it had taken root in the hearts of all, even as had the name of Augustus.

In the life of Macrinus is recorded: Now there was a certain woman of the city of Emesa, called [Julia] Maesa or Varia; she was the sister of Julia, the wife of [Septimius] Severus Pertinax the African, and after the death of Antoninus Bassianus she had been expelled from her home in the palace through the arrogance of Macrinus. . . . This woman had two daughters, [Julia Soaemias] and [Julia] Mamaea, the elder of whom was the mother of Elagabalus; he assumed the names Bassianus and Antoninus, for the Phoenicians give the name Elagabalus to the Sun. Elagabalus, moreover, was notable for his beauty and stature and for the priesthood which he held, and he was well known to all who frequented the temple, and particularly to the soldiers. To these, Maesa, or Varia as she was also called, declared that this Bassianus was the son of Antoninus, and this was gradually made known to all the soldiers. Maesa herself, furthermore, was very rich (whence also Elagabalus was most wasteful of money), and through her promises to the soldiers the legions were persuaded to desert Macrinus. . . .

Finally, when he received the imperial power, he took the name Antoninus and was the last of the Antonines to rule the Roman Empire. . . . He was wholly under the control of his mother [Soaemias], so much so, in fact, that he did no public business without her consent, although she lived like a harlot and practised all manner of lewdness in the palace. For that matter, her amour with Antoninus Caracalla was so notorious that Varius, or rather Elagabalus, was commonly supposed to be his son. . . . In short, when Elagabalus' message was read in the senate, at once good wishes were uttered for Antoninus and curses on Macrinus and his son, and, in accordance with the general wish and the eager belief of all in his paternity, Antoninus was hailed as emperor. . . .

After he had spent the winter in Nicomedia, [218-219] living in a depraved manner and indulging in unnatural vice with men, the soldiers soon began to regret that they had conspired against Macrinus to make this man emperor, and they turned their thoughts toward his cousin Alexander, who on the murder of Macrinus had been hailed by the senate as Caesar. . . . Among the base actions of his life of depravity he gave orders that Alexander, whom he had formally adopted, be removed from his presence, saying that he regretted the adoption. Then he commanded the senate to take away from Alexander the name of Caesar. But when this was announced to the senate, there was a profound silence. For Alexander was an excellent youth, as was afterwards shown by the character of his rule, even though, because he was chaste, he was displeasing to his adoptive father he was also, as some declare, his cousin. Besides, he was loved by the soldiers and acceptable to the senate and the equestrian order. Yet the Emperor's madness went the length of an attempt to carry out the basest design; for he despatched assassins to kill Alexander. . . . The soldiers, however, and particularly the members of the guard, either because they knew what evils were in store for Elagabalus, or because they foresaw his hatred for themselves, formed a conspiracy to set the state free. First they attacked the accomplices in his plan of murdering Alexander. . . . Next they fell upon Elagabalus himself and slew him in a latrine in which he had taken refuge.
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Denarius

Laureate draped bust, right, IMP C M AVR SEV ALEXAND AVG
Sev. Alex in armor, P M TR P III COS P P

RIC 74

Herodian recorded: [The soldiers] were more favorably disposed toward Alexander, for they expected great things of a lad so properly and modestly reared. They kept continual watch upon the youth when they saw that Elagabalus was plotting against him. His mother Mamaea did not allow her son to touch any food or drink sent by the emperor, nor did Alexander use the cupbearers or cooks employed in the palace or those who happened to be in their mutual service; only those chosen by his mother, those who seemed most trustworthy, were allowed to handle Alexander's food.

Mamaea secretly distributed money to the praetorians to win their good will for her son; it was to gold that the praetorians were particularly devoted. . . . . Maesa, the grandmother of them both, foiled all his schemes; she was astute in every way and had spent much of her life in the imperial palace. As the sister of Severus' wife Julia, Maesa had always lived with the empress at the court. . . .

When Alexander received the empire, the appearance and the title of emperor were allowed him, but the management and control of imperial affairs were in the hands of his women, and they undertook a more moderate and more equitable administration. . . . At any rate, he entered the fourteenth year of his reign without bloodshed, and no one could say that the emperor had been responsible for anyone's murder. Even though men were convicted of serious crimes, he nevertheless granted them pardons to avoid putting them to death, and not readily did any emperor of our time, after the reign of Marcus, act in this way or display so much concern for human life.

In the fourteenth year, however, unexpected dispatches from the governors of Syria and Mesopotamia revealed that Artaxerxes, the Persian king, had conquered the Parthians and seized their Eastern empire, killing Artabanus [IV], who was formerly called the Great King and wore the double diadem. Artaxerxes then subdued all the barbarians on his borders and forced them to pay tribute. He did not remain quiet, however, nor stay on his side of the Tigris River, but, after scaling its banks and crossing the borders of the Roman empire, he overran Mesopotamia and threatened Syria.

Traveling rapidly, he came to Antioch, after visiting the provinces and the garrison camps in Illyricum; from that region he collected a huge force of troops. While in Antioch he continued his preparations for the war, giving the soldiers military training under field conditions. . . . The Romans suffered a staggering disaster; it is not easy to recall another like it, one in which a great army was destroyed, an army inferior in strength and determination to none of the armies of old.

Now unexpected messages and dispatches upset Alexander and caused him even greater anxiety: the governors in Illyria reported that the Germans [the Alamans] had crossed the Rhine and the Danube rivers, were plundering the Roman empire. . . . Although he loathed the idea, Alexander glumly announced his departure for Illyria. . . . Alexander undertook to buy a truce rather than risk the hazards of war. . . .

The soldiers, however, were not pleased by his action, for the time was passing without profit to them, and Alexander was doing nothing courageous or energetic about the war; on the contrary, when it was essential that he march out and punish the Germans for their insults, he spent the time in chariot racing and luxurious living. . . . They plotted now to kill Alexander and proclaim Maximinus emperor and Augustus. . . . Alexander's troops deserted him for Maximinus, who was then proclaimed emperor by all. . . . Maximinus sent a tribune and several centurions to kill Alexander and his mother, together with any of his followers who opposed them.
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1cf Orbiana23 viewsDenarius

Draped bust, right, SALL BARBIA ORBIANA AVG
Concord std, CONCORDIA AVGG

RIC 319

Orbiana married Severus Alexander about 235, but her mother-in-law convinced him to banish her to Africa. Herodian recorded: Mamaea secured for Alexander a wife from the aristocracy. Although he loved the girl and lived with her, she was afterward banished from the palace by his mother, who, in her egotistic desire to be sole empress, envied the girl her title. So excessively arrogant did Mamaea become that the girl's father, though Alexander esteemed him highly, could no longer endure the woman's insolence toward him and his daughter; consequently, he took refuge in the praetorian camp, fully aware of the debt of gratitude he owed Alexander for the honors he had received from him, but complaining bitterly about Mamaea's insults. Enraged, Mamaea ordered him to be killed and at the same time drove the girl from the palace to exile in Libya. She did this against Alexander's wishes and in spite of his displeasure, but the emperor was dominated by his mother and obeyed her every command.
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Sestertius

Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust, right, seen from front, right, IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG
Felicitas standing facing, head left, holding caduceus in right hand, PM TR P COS II PP SC

RIC 18

Herodian wrote, continuing the story of the rebellions against Maximinus: When the death of the elder Gordian was reported at Rome, . . . the senate therefore thought it best to meet and consider what should be done. Since they had already cast the die, they voted to issue a declaration of war and choose two men from their own ranks to be joint emperors. . . . Other senators received votes, but on the final count [Pupienus] Maximus and Balbinus were elected joint emperors by majority opinion. . . .

[Pupienus] had held many army commands; appointed prefect of Rome, he administered the office with diligence and enjoyed among the people a good reputation for his understanding nature, his intelligence, and his moderate way of life. Balbinus, an aristocrat who had twice served as consul and had governed provinces without complaint, had a more open and frank nature. After their election, the two men were proclaimed Augusti, and the Senate awarded them by decree all the imperial honors.

While these actions were being taken on the Capitoline Hill, the people, whether they were informed by Gordian's friends and fellow countrymen or whether they learned it by rumor, filled the entire street leading up to the Capitol. The huge mob was armed with stones and clubs, for they objected to the Senate's action and particularly disapproved of [Pupienus]. The prefect ruled the city too strictly for the popular taste, and was very harsh in his dealings with the criminal and reckless elements of the mob. In their fear and dislike of [Pupienus], they kept shouting threats to kill both emperors, determined that the emperor be chosen from the family of Gordian and that the title remain in that house and under that name.

Balbinus and [Pupienus] surrounded themselves with an escort of swordsmen from the young equestrians and the discharged soldiers living in Rome, and tried to force their way from the Capitol. The mob, armed with stones and clubs, prevented this until, at someone's suggestion, the people were deceived. There was in Rome at that time a little child, the son of Gordian's daughter, who bore his grandfather's name.

The two emperors ordered some of their men to bring the child to the Capitol. Finding the lad playing at home, they lifted him to their shoulders and brought him to the Capitol through the midst of the crowd. Showing the boy to the people and telling them that he was the son of Gordian, they called him "Gordian," while the mob cheered the boy and scattered leaves in his path. The senate appointed him caesar, since he was not old enough to be emperor. The mob, placated, allowed the imperial party to proceed to the palace.

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Sestertius

Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust, right, IMP CAES PVPIEN MAXIMVS AVG
Pax seated left with branch & scepter PAX PVBLICA SC

RIC 22b

Herodian, continuing the story of the rebellion against Maximinus, wrote: [Pupienus] led most of these soldiers out to attack Maximinus; the rest remained behind to guard and defend the city. . . . In the meantime, having completed his march, Maximinus was poised on the borders of Italy; after offering sacrifices at all the boundary altars, he advanced into Italy. . . . When no opposition was offered, they crossed the Alps without hindrance. . . . While the army was in the plain, the scouts reported that Aquileia, the largest city in that part of Italy, had closed its gates and that the Pannonian legions which had been sent ahead had launched a vigorous attack upon the walls of this city. In spite of frequent assaults, they were completely unsuccessful. . . .

As time passed, the army of Maximinus grew depressed and, cheated in its expectations, fell into despair. . . . As Maximinus rode about, the [people of Aquileia] shouted insults and indecent blasphemies at him and his son. The emperor became increasingly angry because he was powerless to retaliate. . . . The emperor's soldiers were. . . in need of everything. There was scarcely even sufficient water for them. . . .

Without warning, the soldiers whose camp was near Rome at the foot of Mount Alba, where they had left their wives and children, decided that the best solution was to kill Maximinus and end the interminable siege. . . . [T]he conspirators went to Maximinus' tent about noon. The imperial bodyguard, which was involved in the plot, ripped Maximinus' pictures from the standards; when he came out of his tent with his son to talk to them, they refused to listen and killed them both. . . .

For the rest of the time the two emperors governed in an orderly and well-regulated manner, winning approval on every hand both privately and publicly. The people honored and respected them as patriotic and admirable rulers of the empire. . . . It so happened that the two men were not in complete accord: so great is the desire for sole rule and so contrary to the usual practice is it for the sovereignty to be shared that each undertook to secure the imperial power for himself alone. Balbinus considered himself the more worthy because of his noble birth and his two terms as consul; [Pupienus] felt that he deserved first place because he had served as prefect of Rome and had won a good reputation by his administrative efforts. Both men were led to covet the sole rule because of their distinguished birth, aristocratic lineage, and the size of their families. This rivalry was the basis of their downfall. When [Pupienus] learned that the Praetorian Guard was coming to kill them, he wished to summon a sufficient number of the German auxiliaries who were in Rome to resist the conspirators. But Balbinus, thinking that this was a ruse intended to deceive him (he knew that the Germans were devoted to [Pupienus]), refused to allow [Pupienus] to issue the order. . . . While the two men were arguing, the praetorians rushed in. . . . When the guards at the palace gates deserted the emperors, the praetorians seized the old men and ripped off the plain robes they were wearing because they were at home. Dragging the two men naked from the palace, they inflicted every insult and indignity upon them. Jeering at these emperors elected by the senate, they beat and tortured them. . . . When the Germans learned what was happening, they snatched up their arms and hastened to the rescue. As soon as the praetorians were informed of their approach, they killed the mutilated emperors.
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1dr Carinus13 views283-285

AE antoninianus

Radiate draped & cuirassed bust, right, IMP C M AVR CARINVS AVG
Aequitas stg. Left, AEQVITAS AVGG

RIC 238

According to the Historia Augusta: He was the most polluted of men, an adulterer and a constant corrupter of youth. . . . He was left by his father as Caesar in Gaul and Italy and in Illyricum, Spain, Britain, and Africa, all of which had been voted to him, and he exercised there a Caesar's powers, but with the permission to perform all the duties of an Augustus. Then he defiled himself by unwonted vices and inordinate depravity. . . . He appeared in public as consul contrary to his father's wish. He wrote arrogant letters to the senate, and he even promised the senate's property to the mob of the city of Rome, as though it, forsooth, were the Roman people. By marrying and divorcing he took nine wives in all, and he put away some even while they were pregnant. He filled the Palace with actors and harlots, pantomimists, singers and pimps. He had such an aversion for the signing of state-papers that he appointed for signing them a certain filthy fellow, with whom he used always to jest at midday, and then he reviled him because he could imitate his writing so well. . . .

When he learned that his father had been killed by lightning and his brother slain by his own father-in-law, and that Diocletian had been hailed as Augustus, Carinus committed acts of still greater vice and crime, as though now set free and released by the death of his kindred from all the restraints of filial duty. He did not, however, lack strength of purpose for claiming the imperial power. For he fought many battles against Diocletian, but finally, being defeated in a fight near Margus, he perished.
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AE3

Pearl-diademed, helmeted, cuirassed bust left, holding shield & spear, D N FL CL IVLIANVS P F AVG
VOT X MVLT XX in four lines within wreath, palm branch-BSIS-palm branch in ex [?].

RIC 415

According to Zosimus: Constantius, having so well succeeded in his design against Vetranio, marched against Magnentius, having first conferred the title of Caesar on Gallus, the son of his uncle, and brother to Julian who was afterwards emperor, and given him in marriage his sister Constantia. . . . CONSTANTIUS, after having acted towards Gallus Caesar in the manner I have related, left Pannonia to proceed into Italy. . . . He scarcely thought himself capable of managing affairs at this critical period. He was unwilling, however, to associate any one with himself in the government, because he so much desired to rule alone, and could esteem no man his friend. Under these circumstances he was at a loss how to act. It happened, however, that when the empire was in the greatest danger, Eusebia, the wife of Constantius, who was a woman of extraordinary learning, and of greater wisdom than her sex is usually endowed with, advised him to confer the government of the nations beyond the Alps on Julianus Caesar, who was brother to Gallus, and grandson to Constantius. As she knew that the emperor was suspicious of all his kindred, she thus circumvented him. She observed to him, that Julian was a young man unacquainted with the intrigues of state, having devoted himself totally to his studies; and that he was wholly inexperienced in worldly business. That on this account he would be more fit for his purpose than any other person. That either he would be fortunate, and his success would be attributed to the emperor's conduct, or that he would fail and perish; and that thus Constantius would have none of the imperial family to succeed to him.

Constantius, having approved her advice, sent for Julian from Athens, where he lived among the philosophers, and excelled all his masters in every kind of learning. Accordingly, Julian returning from Greece into Italy, Constantius declared him Caesar, gave him in marriage his sister Helena, and sent him beyond the Alps. . . .

Constantius, having thus disposed of Julian, marched himself into Pannonia and Moesia, and having there suppressed the Quadi and the Sarmatians, proceeded to the east, and was provoked to war by the inroads of the Persians. Julian by this time had arrived beyond the Alps into the Gallic nations which he was to rule. Perceiving that the Barbarians continued committing the same violence, Eusebia, for the same reasons as before, persuaded Constantius to place the entire management of those countries into the hands of Julian. . . . Julian finding the military affairs of Gallia Celtica in a very ruinous state, and that the Barbarians pased the Rhine without any resistance, even almost as far as the sea-port towns, he took a survey of the remaining parts of the enemy. And understanding that the people of those parts were terrified at the very name of the Barbarians, while those whom Constantius had sent along with him, who were not more than three hundred and sixty, knew nothing more, as he used to say, than how to say their prayers, he enlisted as many more as he could and took in a great number of volunteers. He also provided arms, and finding a quantity of old weapons in some town he fitted them up, and distributed them among the soldiers. The scouts bringing him intelligence, that an immense number of Barbarians had crossed the river near the city of Argentoratum (Strasburg) which stands on the Rhine, he no sooner heard of it, than he led forth his army with the greatest speed, and engaging with the enemy gained such a victory as exceeds all description.

After these events he raised a great army to make war on the whole German nation; He was opposed however by the Barbarians in vast numbers. Caesar therefore would not wait while they came up to him, but crossed the Rhine, preferring that their country should be the seat of war, and not that of the Romans, as by that means the cities would escape being again pillaged by the Barbarians. A most furious battle therefore took place; a great number of the Barbarians being slain on the field of battle, while the rest fled, and were pursued by Caesar into the Hercynian forest, and many of them killed. . . .

But while Julian was at Parisium, a small town in Germany, the soldiers, being ready to march, continued at supper till midnight in a place near the palace, which they so called there. They were as yet ignorant of any design against Caesar [by Constantius], when some tribunes, who began to suspect the contrivance against him, privately distributed a number of anonymous billets among the soldiers, in which they represented to them, that Caesar, by his judicious conduct had so managed affairs, that almost all of them had erected trophies over the Barbarians ; that he had always fought like a private soldier, and was now in extreme danger from the emperor, who would shortly deprive him of his whole army, unless they prevented it. Some of the soldiers having read these billets, and published the intrigue to the whole army, all were highly enraged. They suddenly rose from their seats in great commotion, and with the cups yet in their hands went to the palace. Breaking open the doors without ceremony, they brought out Caesar, and lifting him on a shield declared him emperor and Augustus. They then, without attending to his reluctance, placed a diadem upon his head. . . .

Arriving at Naisus, he consulted the soothsayers what measures to pursue. As the entrails signified that he must stay there for some time, he obeyed, observing likewise the time that was mentioned in his dream. When this, according to the motion of the planets, was arrived, a party of horsemen arrived from Constantinople at Naisus, with intelligence that Constantius was dead, and that the armies desired Julian to be emperor. Upon this he accepted what the gods had bestowed upon him, and proceeded on his journey. On his arrival at. Byzantium, he was received with joyful acclamations. . . .

[After slashing through Persia and crossing the Tigris,] they perceived the Persian army, with which they engaged, and having considerably the advantage, they killed a great number of Persians. Upon the following day, about noon, the Persians drew up in a large body, and once more attacked the rear of the Roman army. The Romans, being at that time out of their ranks, were surprised and alarmed at the suddenness of the attack, yet made a stout and spirited defence. The emperor, according to his custom, went round the army, encouraging them to fight with ardour. When by this means all were engaged, the emperor, who sometimes rode to the commanders and tribunes, and was at other times among the private soldiers, received a wound in the heat of the engagement, and was borne on a shield to his tent. He survived only till midnight. He then expired, after having nearly subverted the Persian empire.

Note: Julian favored the pagan faith over Christianity and was tarred by the church as "the apostate."
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AE3

Diademed, draped & cuirassed bust left, D N PROCOPIVS P F AVG
Procopius standing facing, head right, holding labarum in right hand, left resting on shield set on the ground; Chi-rho in upper right field & unidentified object in left at foot; mintmark CONS Gamma.

RIC 17a

Zosimus tells us: On [Valens'] departure from Constantinople, the rebellion of Procopius commenced. This person had been intrusted by Julian, being one of his relations, with a part of his forces, and had been charged to march with Sebastianus through Adiabene, and to meet Julian, who took another route. Permission, moreover, was given him to wear a purple robe, for a reason which no other person was acquainted with. But the deity being pleased to ordain it otherwise, and Jovian having succeeded to the imperial dignity, Procopius immediately delivered up the imperial robe which he had received from Julian, confessing why it had been given to him, and entreating the emperor to absolve him from his military oath, and to allow him to live in retirement, and to attend to agriculture and his own private affairs. Having obtained this, he went with his wife and children to Caesarea in Cappadocia, intending to reside in that place, where he possessed a valuable estate. During his abode there, Valentinian and Valens being made emperors, and being suspicious of him, sent persons to take him into custody. In that they found no difficulty, for he surrendered himself voluntarily; and desired them to carry him wherever they pleased, if they would suffer him first to see his children. To this they consented, and he prepared an entertainment for them. When he perceived them to be intoxicated, he and his family fled towards the Taurica Chersonesus. Having remained there for some time, he found the inhabitants to he a faithless race, and was apprehensive lest they should deliver him to his persecutors. He, therefore, put himself and his family on board a trading vessel, and arrived in the night at Constantinople. He there resided in the house of an old acquaintance, and making observations on the state of the city after the departure of the emperor, he attempted to raise himself to the empire, and formed his design on the following incident.

A eunuch, named Eugenius, had not long before been discharged from the court, who entertained but little friendship for the emperors. Procopius therefore won this man to his interest. . . . Their first attempt was to bribe the court guards, which consisted of two legions. Then arming the slaves, and collecting with ease a considerable multitude, chiefly volunteers, they sent them in the night into the city, and occasioned a general commotion; the people issuing from their houses, and gazing on Procopiusas on a king made in a theatre. But the city being in general confusion, and no person being sufficiently collected in mind by reason of the surprise to know how to act, Procopius imagined his design to be still undiscovered, and that he might secure the empire if the enterprise were no further revealed. Having then seized on Cesarius, whom the emperors had made prefect of the city, and on Nebridius, who was appointed to succeed Sallustius in tbe prefecture of the court, he compelled them to write to the subjects of the empire whatever he wished. He also kept them separate, that they might not consult with each other. Having formed these projects, he proceeded in a splendid manner towards the palace. Ascending a tribunal before the gate, he gave the people great hopes and promises. He then entered the palace to provide for the remainder of his affairs.

The new emperors having divided the army between them, Procopius determined to send persons to the soldiers, who were as yet in confusion, and went by the command of the emperors from place to place without any order. He thus hoped to seduce some of them to his party. Nor did he fail of accomplishing his purpose with ease by distributing money amongst the soldiers and their officers; by which means he collected a considerable force, and prepared to make an open attack on the enemy. Procopius then sent Marcellus into Bithynia with an army against Serenianus and the imperial cavalry that was under his command, in hope of cutting them to pieces. This force having fled to Cyzicus, Marcellus, whose army was superior to theirs both by sea and land, took possession of that town; and having taken Serenianus, who fled into Lydia, put him to death. Procopius was so elevated by this fortunate commencement, that his forces considerably augmented, many being of opinion that he was able to contend with the emperors. Both the Roman legions and the Barbarian troops now flocked to his standard. Besides the reputation of being related to Julian, and of having accompanied him in all the wars he had ever been engaged in, attracted many partizans. He likewise sent ambassadors to the chief of Scythia beyond the Ister, who sent to his assistance ten thousand men. The other Barbarian nations likewise sent auxiliaries to share in the expedition. Procopius however considered that it would be imprudent in him to engage with both emperors together, and therefore thought it best to advance against him who was nearest, and afterwards deliberate on what course to pursue.

Thus was Procopius employed; while the emperor Valens, who heard of this insurrection at Galatia in Phrygia, was filled with consternation at the news. Arbitrio having encouraged him not to despair, he prepared the troops that were with him for war, and sent to his brother to inform him of the designs of Procopius. Valentinian however was little disposed for sending auxiliaries to one who was incapable of defending the empire committed to his charge. Valens was therefore under the necessity of. preparing for war, and appointed Arbitrio to the command of his army. When the armies were ready to engage, Arbitrio circumvented Procopius by a stratagem, and thereby seduced from him a great number of his men, from whom he received previous information of the designs of Procopius. On the advance of the emperor and Procopius towards each other, the two armies met near Thyatira. Procopius at first appeared to have the advantage, by which he would have gained the supreme authority, Hormisdas in the engagement having overpowered the enemy. But Gomarius, another of the commanders of Procopius, imparting his intention to all the soldiers of Procopius who were attached to the emperor, in the midst of the battle cried out Augustus, and gave a signal for them to imitate his example. Thus the most of the troops of Procopius went over to Valens.

After having obtained this victory, Valens marched to Sardes, and from thence into Phrygia, where he found Procopius in a town called Nacolia. Affairs having been ordered for the advantage of the emperor by Naplo, an officer of Procopius, Valens again prevailed, and took him prisoner, and soon afterwards Marcellus, both of whom he put to death.
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501b. Crispus29 viewsIn 326, Crispus was suddenly executed according to the orders of his own father in Pola, Istria. Though the decision of Constantine was certainly cruel and unexpected, historians remain more interested in the motivation leading to it.

Zosimus in the 5th century and Joannes Zonaras in the 12th century both reported that Fausta, step-mother of Crispus, was extremely jealous of him. She was reportedly afraid that Constantine would put aside the sons she bore him. So, in order to get rid of Crispus, Fausta set him up. She reportedly told the young Caesar that she was in love with him and suggested an illegitimate love affair. Crispus denied the immoral wishes of Fausta and left the palace in a state of a shock. Then Fausta said to Constantine that Crispus had no respect for his father, since the Caesar was in love with his father's own wife. She reported to Constantine that she dismissed him after his attempt to rape her. Constantine believed her and, true to his strong personality and short temper, executed his beloved son. A few months later, Constantine reportedly found out the whole truth and then executed his wife Fausta at the end of 326.

This version of events has become the most widely accepted, since all other reports are even less satisfactory.

A treason against Constantine jointly plotted by Fausta and Crispus is rejected by most historians. They would have nothing to gain considering their positions as favourites of Constantine.

Another version suggests that Constantine killed Crispus because as an illegitimate son, he would cause a crisis in the order of succession to the throne. However, Constantine had kept him at his side for twenty years without any such decision. Constantine also had the authority to appoint his younger, legitimate sons as his heirs. Nevertheless, Crispus' status as a legitimate or illegitimate son remains uncertain.

Some reports claimed that Constantine was envious of the success of his son and afraid of him. This seems improbable, given that Constantine had twenty years of experience at Emperor while Crispus was still a young Caesar. Similarly, there seems to be no evidence that Crispus had any ambitions to harm or displace his father.

So while the story of Zosimus and Zonaras seems the most believable one, there are also problems relating to their version of events.

Constantine's reaction suggest that he suspected Crispus of a crime so terrible that death was not enough. Crispus also suffered damnatio memoriae, meaning his name was never mentioned again and was deleted from all official documents and monuments. Crispus, his wife Helena and their son were never to be mentioned again in historical records. The eventual fate of Helena and her son is a mystery.

Constantine may have been eventually convinced of Crispus' innocence. But he did not restore his son's innocence and name, as he probably would have on learning of his son's innocence. Perhaps Constantine's pride or shame at having executed his son prevented him from publicly admitting having made a mistake.

Beyond doubt there was a connections between the executions of Crispus and Fausta. Both happened too close in time to be coincidental. Such agreement among different sources connecting the two deaths is extremely rare in itself. A number of modern historians have suggested that Crispus and Fausta really did have an illegitimate affair. When Constantine found out, his reaction was executing both of them. What delayed the death of Fausta may have been a pregnancy. Since the years of birth for the two known daughters of Constantine and Fausta remain unknown, one of their births may have delayed their mother's execution.


Crispus, 316-326, Bronze Reduced Anepigraphic Follis, RIC-VII-53-R5, struck 324-325 at Antioch, 1.87 grams, 17.9 mm. Nice VF

Obv: Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Crispus facing left
Rev: CRISPVS CAESAR SMANTZ - Legend and mint signature in three lines, star above, dot below

An excessively rare coin of Crispus. Nicely centered and struck with even wear to both surfaces. Important and MUCH nicer than the image projects.

Ex-Glenn Woods
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501b. Crispus Ticinum VOTA10 viewsTicinum

Ticinum (the modern Pavia) was an ancient city of Gallia Transpadana, founded on the banks of the river of the same name (now the Ticino river) a little way above its confluence with the Padus (Po).

It is said by Pliny to have been founded by the Laevi and Marici, two Ligurian tribes, while Ptolemy attributes it to the Insubres.

Its importance in Roman times was due to the extension of the Via Aemilia from Ariminum (Rimini) to the Padus (187 BC), which it crossed at Placentia (Piacenza) and there forked, one branch going to Mediolanum (Milan) and the other to Ticinum, and thence to Laumellum where it divided once more, one branch going to Vercellae - and thence to Eporedia and Augusta Praetoria - and the other to Valentia - and thence to Augusta Taurinorum (Turin) or to Pollentia.

The branch to Eporedia must have been constructed before 100 BC. Ticinum is not infrequently mentioned by classical writers. It was a municipium, and from an inscription we know that a triumphal arch was erected in honor of Augustus and his family, but we learn little of it except that in the 4th century AD there was a manufacture of bows there.

It was pillaged by Attila in AD 452 and by Odoacer in 476, but rose to importance as a military centre in the Gothic period. At Dertona and here the grain stores of Liguria were placed, and Theodoric the Great constructed a palace, baths and amphitheatre and new town walls; while an inscription of Athalaric relating to repairs of seats in the amphitheatre is preserved (AD 528‑529). From this point, too, navigation on the Padus seems to have begun. Narses recovered it for the Eastern Empire, but after a long siege, the garrison had to surrender to the Lombards in 572.

001b. Crispus Ticinum

RIC VII Ticinum 153 R3

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504. Constantius II Campgate Nicomedia18 viewsNicomedia

Titular see of Bithynia Prima, founded by King Zipoetes. About 264 B.C. his son Nicodemes I dedicated the city anew, gave it his name, made it his capital, and adorned it with magnificent monuments. At his court the vanquished Hannibal sought refuge. When Bithynia became a Roman province Nicomedia remained its capital. Pliny the Younger mentions, in his letters to Trajan, several public edifices of the city — a senate house, an aqueduct which he had built, a forum, the temple of Cybele, etc. He also proposed to join the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmora by a canal which should follow the river Sangarius and empty the waters of the Lake of Sabandja into the Gulf of Astacus. A fire then almost destroyed the town. From Nicomedia perhaps, he wrote to Trajan his famous letter concerning the Christians. Under Marcus Aurelius, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, addressed a letter to his community warning them against the Marcionites (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl.", IV, xxiii). Bishop Evander, who opposed the sect of the Ophites (P.L., LIII, 592), seems to have lived at the same time. Nicomedia was the favorite residence of Diocletian, who built there a palace, a hippodrome, a mint, and an arsenal. In 303 the edict of the tenth persecution caused rivers of blood to flow through the empire, especially in Nicomedia, where the Bishop Anthimus and a great many Christians were martyred. The city was then half Christian, the palace itself being filled with them. In 303, in the vast plain east of Nicomedia, Diocletian renounced the empire in favour of Galerius. In 311 Lucian, a priest of Antioch, delivered a discourse in the presence of the judge before he was executed. Other martyrs of the city are numbered by hundreds. Nicomedia suffered greatly during the fourth century from an invasion of the Goths and from an earthquake (24 Aug., 354), which overthrew all the public and private monuments; fire completed the catastrophe. The city was rebuilt, on a smaller scale. In the reign of Justinian new public buildings were erected, which were destroyed in the following century by the Shah Chosroes. Pope Constantine I visited the city in 711. In 1073 John Comnenus was there proclaimed emperor and shortly afterwards was compelled to abdicate. In 1328 it was captured by the Sultan Orkhan, who restored its ramparts, parts of which are still preserved.

RIC VII Nicomedia 158 R2

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601. Eudoxia24 viewsAelia Eudoxia (d. 6 October 404) was the wife of the Eastern Roman emperor Arcadius.

The daughter of a certain Bauto, a Frankish magister militum serving in the Western Roman army during the 380s, Eudoxia owed her marriage to the youthful Emperor Arcadius on 27 April 395 to the intrigues of the eunuch of the palace, Eutropius. She had very considerable influence over her husband, who was of rather weak character and who was more interested in Christian piety than imperial politics.

In 399 she succeeded, with help from the leader of the Empire's Gothic mercenaries, in deposing her erstwhile benefactor Eutropius, who was later executed over the protests of John Chrysostom, the Patriarch of Constantinople.

John Chrysostom was already becoming unpopular at court due to his efforts at reforming the Church, and in 403 Eudoxia and Theophilus, Patriarch of Alexandria, succeeded in having the outspoken Patriarch condemned by a synod and then deposed. He was exiled to Armenia the next year after a brief return to power resulting from popular disgust at his fall and an earthquake which reinforced those feelings.

Eudoxia had a total of seven pregnancies, five of which were successful. Her final pregnancy ended in a miscarriage which led to her death on October 6, 404. One of her children was the future emperor Theodosius II.

In 403, Simplicius, Prefect of Constantinople, erected a statue dedicated to her on a column of porphyry. Arcadius renamed the town of Selymbria (Silivri) Eudoxiopolis after her, though this name did not survive.

Bronze AE 4, RIC 102, S 4241, VM 6, VF, 2.14g, 17.0mm, 180o, Nikomedia mint, 401-403 A.D.; obverse AEL EVDOXIA AVG, diademed and draped bust right with hand of God holding wreath over her head; reverse SALVS REIPVBLICAE, Victory seated on cuirass inscribing Christogram on shield, SMNA in ex; softly struck reverse; rare
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704a, Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.100 viewsCaligula, 37 - 41 AD, Ionia, Smyrna. AE 17mm. Klose, Smyrna 27a. RPC 2473. 2.89 gm. Fine. Menophanes, Aviola, Procos, 37-38 AD. Obverse: AION, laureate head right; Reverse: Nike holding wreath right. Ex Tom Vossen.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

GAIUS (CALIGULA) (A.D. 37-41)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Caligula) was born on 31 August, A.D. 12, probably at the Julio-Claudian resort of Antium (modern Anzio), the third of six children born to Augustus's adopted grandson, Germanicus, and Augustus's granddaughter, Agrippina. Caligula was the Roman Emperor between A.D. 37-41). Unfortunately, his is the most poorly documented reign of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. The literary sources for these four years are meager, frequently anecdotal, and universally hostile.[[1]] As a result, not only are many of the events of the reign unclear, but Gaius himself appears more as a caricature than a real person, a crazed megalomaniac given to capricious cruelty. Although some headway can be made in disentangling truth from embellishment, the true character of the youthful emperor will forever elude us.

As a baby he accompanied his parents on military campaigns in the north and was shown to the troops wearing a miniature soldier's outfit, including the hob-nailed sandal called caliga, whence the nickname by which posterity remembers him. His childhood was not a happy one, spent amid an atmosphere of paranoia, suspicion, and murder. Instability within the Julio-Claudian house, generated by uncertainty over the succession, led to a series of personal tragedies.

When Tiberius died on 16 March A.D. 37, Gaius was in a perfect position to assume power, despite the obstacle of Tiberius's will, which named him and his cousin Tiberius Gemellus joint heirs. (Gemellus's life was shortened considerably by this bequest, since Gaius ordered him killed within a matter of months.) Backed by the Praetorian Prefect Q. Sutorius Macro, Gaius asserted his dominance. He had Tiberius's will declared null and void on grounds of insanity, accepted the powers of the Principate as conferred by the Senate, and entered Rome on 28 March amid scenes of wild rejoicing. His first acts were generous in spirit: he paid Tiberius's bequests and gave a cash bonus to the Praetorian Guard, the first recorded donativum to troops in imperial history.

The ancient sources are practically unanimous as to the cause of Gaius's downfall: he was insane. The writers differ as to how this condition came about, but all agree that after his good start Gaius began to behave in an openly autocratic manner, even a crazed one. The sources describe his incestuous relations with his sisters, laughable military campaigns in the north, the building of a pontoon bridge across the Bay at Baiae, and the plan to make his horse a consul. Their unanimous hostility renders their testimony suspect, especially since Gaius's reported behavior fits remarkably well with that of the ancient tyrant, a literary type enshrined in Greco-Roman tradition centuries before his reign. Further, the only eye-witness account of Gaius's behavior, Philo's Embassy to Gaius, offers little evidence of outright insanity, despite the antagonism of the author, whom Gaius treated with the utmost disrespect.

The conspiracy that ended Gaius's life was hatched among the officers of the Praetorian Guard, apparently for purely personal reasons. It appears also to have had the support of some senators and an imperial freedman. As with conspiracies in general, there are suspicions that the plot was more broad-based than the sources intimate, and it may even have enjoyed the support of the next emperor Claudius, but these propositions are not provable on available evidence. On 24 January A.D. 41 the praetorian tribune Cassius Chaerea and other guardsmen caught Gaius alone in a secluded palace corridor and cut him down. He was 28 years old and had ruled three years and ten months.

Whatever damage Tiberius's later years had done to the carefully crafted political edifice created by Augustus, Gaius multiplied it a hundredfold. When he came to power in A.D. 37 Gaius had no administrative experience beyond his honorary quaestorship, and had spent an unhappy early life far from the public eye. He appears, once in power, to have realized the boundless scope of his authority and acted accordingly. For the elite, this situation proved intolerable and ensured the blackening of Caligula's name in the historical record they would dictate. The sensational and hostile nature of that record, however, should in no way trivialize Gaius's importance. His reign highlighted an inherent weakness in the Augustan Principate, now openly revealed for what it was -- a raw monarchy in which only the self-discipline of the incumbent acted as a restraint on his behavior. That the only means of retiring the wayward princes was murder marked another important revelation: Roman emperors could not relinquish their powers without simultaneously relinquishing their lives.

Copyright © 1997, Garrett G. Fagan.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Ancient Smyrna

The 5,000 year-old city of Izmir is one of the oldest cities of the Mediterranean basin. The original city was established in the third millennium BC (at present day Bayraklı), at which time it shared with Troy the most advanced culture in Anatolia.


Greek settlement is attested by the presence of pottery dating from about 1000 BC. In the first millennium BC Izmir, then known as Smyrna, ranked as one of the most important cities of the Ionian Federation. During this period, it is believed that the epic poet Homer resided here.

Lydian conquest of the city around 600 BC brought this golden age to an end. Smyrna was little more than a village throughout the Lydian and subsequent sixth century BC Persian rule. In the fourth century BC a new city was built on the slopes of Mt. Pagos (Kadifekale) during the reign of Alexander the Great. Smyrna's Roman period, beginning in the first century BC, was its second great era.

In the first century AD, Smyrna became one of the earliest centers of Christianity and it was one of the Seven Churches of Revelation. Both Revelation and the Martyrdom of Polycarp indicate the existence of a Jewish community in Smyrna as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. The letter to the church at Smyrna in Revelation indicates that the Christians were spiritually "rich" and apparently in conflict with the Jews (2:9).

The origins of the Christian community there, which was established in the 1st century, are unknown. Ignatius of Antioch stopped at Smyrna on his way to martyrdom in Rome in 107 AD, and he sent a letter back to the Christians there from later in his journey. Smyrna's bishop, Polycarp, was burned at the stake in Smyrna's stadium around 156 AD.

Byzantine rule came in the fourth century and lasted until the Seljuk conquest in 11th century. In 1415, under Sultan Mehmed Çelebi, Smyrna became part of the Ottoman Empire.

The city earned its fame as one of the most important port cities of the world during the 17th to 19th centuries. The majority of its population were Greek but merchants of various origins (especially Greek, French, Italian, Dutch, Armenian, Sephardi and Jewish) transformed the city into a cosmopolitan portal of trade. During this period, the city was famous for its own brand of music (Smyrneika) as well as its wide range of products it exported to Europe (Smyrna/Sultana raisins, dried figs, carpets, etc.).

Today, Izmir is Turkey's third largest city and is nicknamed "the pearl of Aegean." It is widely regarded as the most Westernized city of Turkey in terms of values, ideology, gender roles, and lifestyle.
© 2005-08 Sacred Destinations. All rights reserved.
http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/izmir-history.htm

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
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708a, Otho64 viewsOtho (69 A.D.)
John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction
In January 69 Otho led a successful coup to overthrow the emperor Galba. Upon advancing to the throne, he hoped to conciliate his adversaries and restore political stability to the Empire. These ambitions were never to be realized. Instead, our sources portray a leader never fully able to win political confidence at Rome or to overcome military anarchy abroad. As a result, he was defeated in battle by the forces of Vitellius, his successor, and took his own life at the conclusion of the conflict. His principate lasted only eight weeks.
Early Life and Career
Marcus Salvius Otho was born at Ferentium on 28 April 32 A. D. His grandfather, also named Marcus Salvius Otho, was a senator who did not advance beyond the rank of praetor. Lucius Otho, his father, was consul in 33 and a trusted administrator under the emperors Tiberius, Gaius and Claudius. His mother, Albia Terentia, was likely to have been nobly born as well. The cognomen "Otho" was Etruscan in origin, and the fact that it can be traced to three successive generations of this family perhaps reflects a desire to maintain a part of the Etruscan tradition that formed the family's background.
Otho is recorded as being extravagant and wild as a youth - a favorite pastime involved roving about at night to snare drunkards in a blanket. Such behavior earned floggings from his father, whose frequent absences from home on imperial business suggest little in the way of a stabilizing parental influence in Otho's formative years. These traits apparently persisted: Suetonius records that Otho and Nero became close friends because of the similarity of their characters; and Plutarch relates that the young man was so extravagant that he sometimes chided Nero about his meanness, and even outdid the emperor in reckless spending.
Most intriguing in this context is Otho's involvement with Nero's mistress, Poppaea Sabina, the greatest beauty of her day. A relationship between the two is widely cited in the ancient sources, but the story differs in essential details from one account to the next. As a result, it is impossible to establish who seduced whom, whether Otho ever married Poppaea, and whether his posting to Lusitania by Nero should be understood as a "banishment" for his part in this affair. About the only reliable detail to emerge is that Otho did indeed become governor of Lusitania in 59, and that he assumed the post as a quaestor, a rank below that of praetor or consul, the minimum usually required for the office. From here he would launch his initial thrust towards the imperial throne.
Overthrow of Galba
Nero's suicide in June 68 marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty and opened up the principate to the prerogatives of the military beyond Rome. First to emerge was Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, who had been encouraged to revolt by the praetorians and especially by Nymphidius Sabinus, the corrupt and scheming praetorian prefect at Rome. By this time Otho had been in Spain for close to ten years. His record seems to have been a good one, marked by capable administration and an unwillingness to enrich himself at the expense of the province. At the same time, perhaps seeing this as his best chance to improve his own circumstances, he supported the insurrection as vigorously as possible, even sending Galba all of his gold and his best table servants. At the same time, he made it a point to win the favor of every soldier he came in contact with, most notably the members of the praetorian guard who had come to Spain to accompany Galba to Rome. Galba set out from Spain in July, formally assuming the emperorship shortly thereafter. Otho accompanied him on the journey.
Galba had been in Rome little more than two months when on 1 January 69 the troops in Upper Germany refused to declare allegiance to him and instead followed the men stationed in Lower Germany in proclaiming their commander, Aulus Vitellius, as the new ruler. To show that he was still in charge Galba adopted his own successor, Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus, an aristocrat completely without administrative or military experience. The choice meant little to the remote armies, the praetorians or the senate and particularly angered Otho, who had hoped to succeed Galba. Otho quickly organized a conspiracy among the praetorians with promise of a material reward, and on 15 January 69 they declared him emperor and publicly killed Galba; Piso, dragged from hiding in the temple of Vesta, was also butchered. On that same evening a powerless senate awarded Otho the imperial titles.
Otho's Principate in Rome
It is not possible to reconstruct a detailed chronology of Otho's brief eight and a half weeks as princeps in Rome (15 January-15 March). Even so, Galba's quick demise had surely impressed upon Otho the need to conciliate various groups. As a result, he continued his indulgence of the praetorian guard but he also tried to win over the senate by following a strict constitutionalist line and by generally keeping the designations for the consulship made by Nero and Galba. In the provinces, despite limited evidence, there are some indications that he tried to compensate for Galba's stinginess by being more generous with grants of citizenship. In short, Otho was eager not to offend anyone.
Problems remained, however. The praetorians had to be continually placated and they were always suspicious of the senate. On the other hand, the senate itself, along with the people, remained deeply disturbed at the manner of Otho's coming to power and his willingness to be associated with Nero. These suspicions and fears were most evident in the praetorian outbreak at Rome. Briefly, Otho had decided to move from Ostia to Rome a cohort of Roman citizens in order to replace some of Rome's garrison, much of which was to be utilized for the showdown with Vitellius. He ordered that weapons be moved from the praetorian camp in Rome by ship to Ostia at night so that the garrison replacements would be properly armed and made to look as soldierly as possible when they marched into the city. Thinking that a senatorial counter-coup against Otho was underway, the praetorians stormed the imperial palace to confirm the emperor's safety, with the result that they terrified Otho and his senatorial dinner guests. Although the praetorians' fears were eventually calmed and they were given a substantial cash payment, the incident dramatically underscored the unease at Rome in the early months of 69.
Otho's Offensive against Vitellius
Meanwhile, in the Rhineland, preparations for a march on Rome by the military legions that had declared for Vitellius were far advanced. Hampered by poor intelligence gathering in Gaul and Germany and having failed to negotiate a settlement with Vitellius in early 69, Otho finally summoned to Italy his forces for a counterattack against the invading Vitellian army. His support consisted of the four legions of Pannonia and Dalmatia, the three legions of Moesia and his own imperial retinue of about 9,000. Vitellius' own troops numbered some 30,000, while those of his two marshals, Aulus Caecina Alienus and Fabius Valens, were between 15,000 and 20,000 each.
Otho's strategy was to make a quick diversionary strike in order to allow time for his own forces to assemble in Italy before engaging the enemy. The strategy worked, as the diversionary army, comprised of urban cohorts, praetorians and marines all from Rome or nearby, was successful in Narbonese Gaul in latter March. An advance guard sent to hold the line on the Po River until the Danubian legions arrived also enjoyed initial success. Otho himself arrived at Bedriacum in northern Italy about 10 April for a strategy session with his commanders. The main concern was that the Vitellians were building a bridge across the Po in order to drive southward towards the Apennines and eventually to Rome. Otho decided to counter by ordering a substantial part of his main force to advance from Bedriacum and establish a new base close enough to the new Vitellian bridge to interrupt its completion. While en route, the Othonian forces, strung out along the via Postumia amid baggage and supply trains, were attacked by Caecina and Valens near Cremona on 14 April. The clash, know as the Battle of Bedriacum, resulted in the defeat of the Othonian forces, their retreat cut off by the river behind them. Otho himself, meanwhile, was not present, but had gone to Brixellum with a considerable force of infantry and cavalry in order to impede any Vitellian units that had managed to cross the Po.
The plan had backfired. Otho's strategy of obtaining victory while avoiding any major battles had proven too risky. Realizing perhaps that a new round of fighting would have involved not only a significant re-grouping of his existing troops but also a potentially bloody civil war at Rome, if Vitellius' troops reached the capital, Otho decided that enough blood had been shed. Two weeks shy of his thirty-seventh birthday, on 16 April 69, he took his own life.
Assessment
To be sure, Otho remains an enigma - part profligate Neronian wastrel and part conscientious military commander willing to give his life for the good of the state. Our sources are at a loss to explain the paradox. Perhaps, like Petronius, he saw it was safer to appear a profligate in Nero's court? In the final analysis, Otho proved to be an organized and efficient military commander, who appealed more to the soldier than to the civilian. He also seems to have been a capable governor, with administrative talents that recalled those of his father. Nevertheless, his violent overthrow of Galba, the lingering doubts that it raised about his character, and his unsuccessful offensive against Vitellius are all vivid reminders of the turbulence that plagued the Roman world between the reigns of Nero and Vespasian. Regrettably, the scenario would play itself out one more time before peace and stability returned to the empire.
Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue
Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
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712a, Domitian, 13 September 81 - 18 September 96 A.D.157 viewsDomitian, as Caesar, AR Denarius. 77-78 AD; RIC 242, VF, 18mm, 3.18grams. Obverse: CAESAR AVG F DOMITIA[NVS], laureate head right ; Reverse: COS V below man with hand raised out behind him on horse prancing right. RSC 49a. Scarce. Ex Zuzim Judaea.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Titus Flavius Domitianus(A.D. 81-96)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Domitian was born in Rome on 24 October A.D. 51, the youngest son of Vespasian, Roman emperor (A.D. 69-79) and Domitilla I, a treasury clerk's daughter. Little is known about Domitian in the turbulent 18 months of the four (five?) emperors, but in the aftermath of the downfall of Vitellius in A.D. 69 he presented himself to the invading Flavian forces, was hailed as Caesar, and moved into the imperial residence.

As emperor, Domitian was to become one of Rome's foremost micromanagers, especially concerning the economy. Shortly after taking office, he raised the silver content of the denarius by about 12% (to the earlier level of Augustus), only to devaluate it in A.D. 85, when the imperial income must have proved insufficient to meet military and public expenses.

Domitian's reach extended well beyond the economy. Late in A.D. 85 he made himself censor perpetuus, censor for life, with a general supervision of conduct and morals. The move was without precedent and, although largely symbolic, it nevertheless revealed Domitian's obsessive interest in all aspects of Roman life. An ardent supporter of traditional Roman religion, he also closely identified himself with Minerva and Jupiter, publicly linking the latter divinity to his regime through the Ludi Capitolini, the Capitoline Games, begun in A.D.86. Held every four years in the early summer, the Games consisted of chariot races, athletics and gymnastics, and music, oratory and poetry.

Beyond Rome, Domitian taxed provincials rigorously and was not afraid to impose his will on officials of every rank. Consistent with his concern for the details of administration, he also made essential changes in the organization of several provinces and established the office of curator to investigate financial mismanagement in the cities. Other evidence points to a concern with civic improvements of all kinds, from road building in Asia Minor, Sardinia and near the Danube to building and defensive improvements in North Africa.

While the military abilities of Vespasian and Titus were genuine, those of Domitian were not. Partly as an attempt to remedy this deficiency, Domitian frequently became involved in his own military exploits outside of Rome. He claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Chatti in Gaul, but the conquest was illusory. Final victory did not really come until A.D. 89. In Britain, similar propaganda masked the withdrawal of Roman forces from the northern borders to positions farther south, a clear sign of Domitian's rejection of expansionist warfare in the province.

Domitian's autocratic tendencies meant that the real seat of power during his reign resided with his court. The features typically associated with later courts - a small band of favored courtiers, a keen interest in the bizarre and the unusual (e.g., wrestlers, jesters, and dwarves), and a highly mannered, if somewhat artificial atmosphere, characterized Domitian's palace too, whether at Rome or at his Alban villa, some 20 kilometers outside of the capital.

On 18 September, A.D. 96, Domitian was assassinated and was succeeded on the very same day by M. Cocceius Nerva, a senator and one of his amici. The sources are unanimous in stressing that this was a palace plot, yet it is difficult to determine the level of culpability among the various potential conspirators.
In many ways, Domitian is still a mystery - a lazy and licentious ruler by some accounts, an ambitious administrator and keeper of traditional Roman religion by others. As many of his economic, provincial, and military policies reveal, he was efficient and practical in much that he undertook, yet he also did nothing to hide the harsher despotic realities of his rule. This fact, combined with his solitary personality and frequent absences from Rome, guaranteed a harsh portrayal of his rule. The ultimate truths of his reign remain difficult to know.

Copyright (C) 1997, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Perhaps the reverse of this Domitian/Horseman specimen depicts Domitian as he rode a white horse behind his father, Vespasian, and his brother, Titus, during their joint triumph celebrating their victory over Judaea (see: Suetonius. The Twelve Caesars. Trans. Robert Graves. London: Penguin, 2003. 304).

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
Arcadius-Con-53b.jpg
74. Arcadius.43 viewsAE 2, 383, Constantinople mint.
Obverse: D N ARCADIVS P F AVG / Diademed bust of Arcadius, holding spear and shield. Hand of God above, holding wreath.
Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM / Arcadius standing, holding standard and shield. Captive seated at left.
Mint mark: CONΓ*
5.44 gm., 24 mm.
RIC #53b; LRBC #2154; Sear #20783.

Edward Gibbon writes of Arcadius: "He received a princely education in the palace of Constantinople, and his inglorious life was spent in that peaceful and splendid seat of royalty, from whence he appeared to reign . . ."
1 commentsCallimachus
Honorius-Cyz-28c.jpg
78. Honorius.19 viewsAE 2, 393 - 395, Cyzicus mint.
Obverse: DN HONORIVS P F AVG / Diademed bust of Honorius.
Reverse: GLORIA ROMANORVM / Honorius standing, holding globe and standard.
Mint mark: SMKB
5.14 gm., 20.5 mm.
RIC #28c; LRBC #2573; Sear #20988.

Honorius " . . . passed the slumber of his life a captive in his palace, a stranger in his country, and the patient, almost the indifferent spectator of the ruin of the western empire, . . . . In the eventful history of a reign of twenty eight years, it will seldom be necessary to mention the name of the emperor Honorius."
-- Edward Gibbon writing about Honorius (XXIX)
Callimachus
Athen_owl_Tetradrachm_.jpg
Athena and her owl 180 viewsIn Greek mythology, a Little Owl baby (Athene noctua) traditionally represents or accompanies Athena, the virgin goddess of wisdom, or Minerva, her syncretic incarnation in Roman mythology. Because of such association, the bird often referred to as the "owl of Athena" or the "owl of Minerva" has been used as a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, perspicacity and erudition throughout the Western world.
The reasons behind the association of Athena and the owl are lost in time. Some mythographers, such as David Kinsley and Martin P. Nilsson suggest that she may descend from a Minoan palace goddess associated with birds and Marija Gimbutas claim to trace Athena's origins as an Old European bird and snake goddess.
On the other hand, Cynthia Berger theorizes about the appeal of some characteristics of owls such as their ability to see in the dark to be used as symbol of wisdom while others, such as William Geoffrey Arnott, propose a simple association between founding myths of Athens and the significant number of Little Owls in the region (a fact noted since antiquity by Aristophanes in The Birds and Lysistrata).
In any case, the city of Athens seems to have adopted the owl as proof of allegiance to its patron virgin goddess, which according to a popular etiological myth reproduced on the West pediment of the Parthenon, secured the favor of its citizens by providing them with a more enticing gift than Poséidon.
Owls were commonly reproduced by Athenians in vases, weights and prize amphoras for the Panathenaic Games. The owl of Athena even became the common obverse of the Athenian tetradrachms after 510 BC and according to Philochorus, the Athenian tetradrachm was known as glaux throughout the ancient world and "owl" in present day numismatics. They were not, however, used exclusively by them to represent Athena and were even used for motivation during battles by other Greek cities, such as in the victory of Agathocles of Syracuse over the Carthaginians in 310 B.C. in which owls flying through the ranks were interpreted as Athena’s blessing or in the Battle of Salamis, chronicled in Plutarch's biography of Themistocles.
(Source: Wikipédia)
moneta romana
Marie_Theresa_Education_Institute,_1779.JPG
Austria, Austrian Netherlands. Maria Theresia, Palace of the Nation, 1779.87 viewsObv. Draped bust MARIA THERESIA AUG LOTH BRAB LIMB DUX M S I signed T V B
Rev. View of the Palace of the Nation THEMIDI TUTELARI S P Q B EXTRUI CURAVIS MDCCLXXIX
WM32
LordBest
803_Annius_Luscus_and_Fabius_Hispaniensis.jpg
C. Annius T.f. T.n. Luscus and L. Fabius L.f. Hispaniensis - AR denarius8 views²Transalpine Gaul
¹north Italy
¹²82-81 BC
diademed draped bust of Anna Parenna right; caduceus left, scales right, dagger below
C·ANNI·T·F·T·N_·_PRO·COS·EX·S·C·
Victory in quadriga right, holding palm branch and reins
Q .
L·FABI·L·F·HISP
¹Crawford 366/1a, SRCV I 289, Sydenham 748, RSC I Annia 2
²Mark Passehl - Roman moneyer & coin type chronology, 150 – 50 BC
3,7g
ex Gitbud and Naumann

Moneyer apparently used Anna Parenna as a pun to his name Annius. It is the only known depiction of Anna Parenna whose identity is very complicated.

"An older myth tells that Anna Perenna was an old woman from the city of Bollivae in Latium. The myth tells that Anna Perenna brought bread and cakes to the Plebeians who wanted to separate from Rome because of their unequal status as Plebeians in 494 BC and so she saved them from starving. This is why she was popular on the common people and considered as goddes after her death.

A later tradition from the time of the myth of Aeneas made Anna the sister of Dido. After Dido has committed suicide and Carthage was conquered she had to fly. A heavy storm throw her to the coast of Latium at Laurentum where Aeneas was the ruler. Aeneas and his companion went to the beach and he recognized her and took her to his palace. In a dream Anna was warned to be alarmed at the traps that Lavinia, Aeneas' wife, would set for her so she fled from the palace. While she was wandering she met Numicius, the god of a nearby stream who carried her off to his bed. The servants of Aeneas searched for Anna and followed her tracks to the river bank a shape rose from the water and revealed to them that Anna had become a water nymph, whose new name, Perenna, signified eternity. Aeneas' servants in their joy scattered among the fields and passed the day in feasting and festivities, which became established as an annual celebration of the festival of Anna Perenna. There is another opinion too that she committed suicide by drowning in the river Numicius because of her desperation.

In another myth she was an old woman again. Mars was fallen in love to Minerva, sworn virgin. Mars asked Anna Perenna for interceding on his behalf. But instead of this - knowing about the impossibility of his wishes - she dressed herself like Minerva and came to Mars veiled. When he tried to kiss her she lifted her veil, break out in laughter and mocked Mars. Minerva's main festival, the Quinquatrus, was celebrated 4 days after the festival of Anna Perenna so this could be reason of this story." from Jochen's coins of mythological interest.
Johny SYSEL
Nero_and_Drusus_Caes.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Brass Dupondius 10 viewsNERO ET DRVSVS CAESARES - Nero and Drusus Caesar on horseback riding r., cloaks flying behind them.
C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII PP - Legend around S C
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (40-41AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 15.99g / 29mm / 180
Rarity: R2
References:
Cohen 2
RIC Gaius 49
BMC Gaius 70
CBN Gaius 120
Provenances:
Bertolami Fine Arts
Acquisition/Sale: Bertolami Finearts Vcoins

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From: Incitatus Coins
Nero and Drusus were the elder brothers of Caligula, and the sons of Germanicus. Both were heirs of Tiberius and both were killed by the machinations of Sejanus. Caligula survived Sejanus, and the subsequent years, to become emperor. He immediately proclaimed his informed uncle Claudius as his co-consul, an appointment made so that Caligula could, in essence, rule as sole consul. Claudius was given the modest
task of preparing a celebration of Caligula's brothers, including statues in their honor. According to 'I Claudius', Claudius encountered difficulty in completing these statues on time. The completed statues appear on this coinage.

From Joe Geranio:
The dupondii issues of the brothers of Caligula , Nero and Drusus Caesar was no doubt to remind the Roman populace about the Dioscuri the saviors of the Roman state. The Dioscuri won a miraculous battle in 496 B.C. and then on the same day appear in the Roman Forum to tell the populace about the victory, no doubt Caligula wanted to associate himself with the Dioscuri with this issue of the gods represented as Nero and Drusus Caesars galloping on their horses with ease as though the wind is blowing in their hair. This familial propaganda would cement that the sons of Germanicus and Agrippina would reign and were in control.

Historical Context

Suetonius states in (Caligula 22.1-2) “Up until now I have been discussing Caligula in his capacity as an emperor; we must now consider him in his capacity as a monster….

Eventually Caligula began to claim for himself a Divine majesty;…..he extended a part of the Palatine palace all the way out to the Forum, transforming the Temple of Castor and Pollux into an entrance hall for the Palace. There in the Temple he would often take his seat between the twin gods, presenting himself for worship to those he approached.”

Dio, (History 59.28.5) states, “ Caligula went so far as to divide in two the Temple of the Dioscuri in the Roman Forum, making a passageway to the Palatine that went right between the two cult statues. As a result, he was fond of saying that he regarded the Dioscuri as his gate-keepers. NEW ARCHAEOLOGY: Regarding the extension from the palace - http://news.stanford.edu/news/2003/september10/caligula-910.html Stanford Report, September 10, 2003, this was thought for years until 2003 to have been impossible.
Did Caligula have a God complex?

From Suetonius:
But he (Claudius) was exposed also to actual dangers. First in his very consulship, when he was all but deposed, because he had been somewhat slow in contracting for and setting up the statues of Nero and Drusus, the emperor's brothers.

From Roma:
Nero and Drusus were the brothers of the future emperor Caligula, and the children of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. More significantly Tiberius adopted both sons as grandchildren, and it was thought that Nero, being the oldest, would succeed Tiberius. However, Nero and his mother were accused of treason in 29 AD, and Nero’s demise quickly followed when he was exiled to the island of Ponza. Drusus suffered a similar fate a year later in 30 AD and, having been accused of plotting against his Grandfather and Emperor, he was thrown into prison in 33 AD where he was left to starve.

Additional images:
The Circus of Caligula and Nero

Circus of Nero (or Circus of Gaius (Caligula)) was a circus in ancient Rome placed at the location of today's Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican. All that is left today of this circus is obelisk that stood at its center.

Caligula (31 August 12 AD - 22 January 41 AD), a Roman emperor, began construction of this circus in the year 40 AD on the land of his mother, Agrippina. Claudius, who succeeded him, finished construction. Grimaldi says that the circus was 90 meters wide and 161 long. It was a place where Caligula and Nero trained racing with four horse chariots. In 65 AD, the first fist public persecution of Christians happened in this circus and Christian tradition says that Saint Peter lost his life there two years later. Saint Peter's tomb is in this area, in the cemetery near where the Circus was. Obelisk that stood in the center was placed there by Caligula. It was later (in 16th century) moved to Saint Peter's Square by the architect Domenico Fontana.

The Circus was abandoned by the middle of the 2nd century AD so Constantine built the first basilica (Old St. Peter) at the site of the Circus using some of the existing structure. Most of the ruins of the Circus survived until mid-15th century. They were finally destroyed to make a space for the construction of the new St. Peter's Basilica.
Gary W2
Nero_and_Drusus_Caes~0.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Brass Dupondius13 viewsNERO ET DRVSVS CAESARES - Nero and Drusus Caesar on horseback riding r., cloaks flying behind them.
C CAESAR DIVI AVG PRON AVG P M TR P IIII PP - Legend around S C
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (40-41AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 15.99g / 29mm / 180
Rarity: R2
References:
Cohen 2
RIC Gaius 49
BMC Gaius 70
CBN Gaius 120
Provenances:
Bertolami Fine Arts
Acquisition/Sale: Bertolami Finearts Vcoins

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From: Incitatus Coins
Nero and Drusus were the elder brothers of Caligula, and the sons of Germanicus. Both were heirs of Tiberius and both were killed by the machinations of Sejanus. Caligula survived Sejanus, and the subsequent years, to become emperor. He immediately proclaimed his informed uncle Claudius as his co-consul, an appointment made so that Caligula could, in essence, rule as sole consul. Claudius was given the modest
task of preparing a celebration of Caligula's brothers, including statues in their honor. According to 'I Claudius', Claudius encountered difficulty in completing these statues on time. The completed statues appear on this coinage.

From Joe Geranio:
The dupondii issues of the brothers of Caligula , Nero and Drusus Caesar was no doubt to remind the Roman populace about the Dioscuri the saviors of the Roman state. The Dioscuri won a miraculous battle in 496 B.C. and then on the same day appear in the Roman Forum to tell the populace about the victory, no doubt Caligula wanted to associate himself with the Dioscuri with this issue of the gods represented as Nero and Drusus Caesars galloping on their horses with ease as though the wind is blowing in their hair. This familial propaganda would cement that the sons of Germanicus and Agrippina would reign and were in control.

Historical Context

Suetonius states in (Caligula 22.1-2) “Up until now I have been discussing Caligula in his capacity as an emperor; we must now consider him in his capacity as a monster….

Eventually Caligula began to claim for himself a Divine majesty;…..he extended a part of the Palatine palace all the way out to the Forum, transforming the Temple of Castor and Pollux into an entrance hall for the Palace. There in the Temple he would often take his seat between the twin gods, presenting himself for worship to those he approached.”

Dio, (History 59.28.5) states, “ Caligula went so far as to divide in two the Temple of the Dioscuri in the Roman Forum, making a passageway to the Palatine that went right between the two cult statues. As a result, he was fond of saying that he regarded the Dioscuri as his gate-keepers. NEW ARCHAEOLOGY: Regarding the extension from the palace - http://news.stanford.edu/news/2003/september10/caligula-910.html Stanford Report, September 10, 2003, this was thought for years until 2003 to have been impossible.
Did Caligula have a God complex?

From Suetonius:
But he (Claudius) was exposed also to actual dangers. First in his very consulship, when he was all but deposed, because he had been somewhat slow in contracting for and setting up the statues of Nero and Drusus, the emperor's brothers.

From Roma:
Nero and Drusus were the brothers of the future emperor Caligula, and the children of Germanicus and Agrippina the Elder. More significantly Tiberius adopted both sons as grandchildren, and it was thought that Nero, being the oldest, would succeed Tiberius. However, Nero and his mother were accused of treason in 29 AD, and Nero’s demise quickly followed when he was exiled to the island of Ponza. Drusus suffered a similar fate a year later in 30 AD and, having been accused of plotting against his Grandfather and Emperor, he was thrown into prison in 33 AD where he was left to starve.

Additional images:
The Circus of Caligula and Nero

Circus of Nero (or Circus of Gaius (Caligula)) was a circus in ancient Rome placed at the location of today's Basilica of St. Peter in Vatican. All that is left today of this circus is obelisk that stood at its center.

Caligula (31 August 12 AD - 22 January 41 AD), a Roman emperor, began construction of this circus in the year 40 AD on the land of his mother, Agrippina. Claudius, who succeeded him, finished construction. Grimaldi says that the circus was 90 meters wide and 161 long. It was a place where Caligula and Nero trained racing with four horse chariots. In 65 AD, the first fist public persecution of Christians happened in this circus and Christian tradition says that Saint Peter lost his life there two years later. Saint Peter's tomb is in this area, in the cemetery near where the Circus was. Obelisk that stood in the center was placed there by Caligula. It was later (in 16th century) moved to Saint Peter's Square by the architect Domenico Fontana.

The Circus was abandoned by the middle of the 2nd century AD so Constantine built the first basilica (Old St. Peter) at the site of the Circus using some of the existing structure. Most of the ruins of the Circus survived until mid-15th century. They were finally destroyed to make a space for the construction of the new St. Peter's Basilica.

Per RIC-Rarity 2
Gary W2
Caligula_Three_Siste.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius 16 viewsC CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT - Laureate head left
AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA - AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue
Exergue: SC


Mint: Rome (37-38AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 27.88g / 35.6mm / 180
Rarity: Rare
References:
RIC I 33
BMCRE p. 152, 36
BnF II 47
Cohen I 4
SRCV I 1800
Provenances:
Forvm Ancient Coins
Acquisition/Sale: Forvm Ancient Coins Internet

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From Numismatica Ars Classica:
Many aspects of Caligula's reign have captured the imagination of historians, but the sexual relationships he is said to have pursued with his sisters is perhaps most shocking of all. It is on par with the exploits of Elagabalus or the alleged seduction of young Nero by his deranged mother Agrippina Jr., who, by no mere coincidence, was one of Caligula's sisters.
Caligula's incestuous relationships with his sisters are alleged by the relatively contemporary historians Suetonius and Josephus. Much later, in the fourth and fifth centuries, these original claims were echoed by various writers, including Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, St. Jerome, Orosius and the anonymous compiler of the Epitome de caesaribus. The truth of the claims, of course, is impossible to confirm, and there is a healthy dose of scepticism among modern scholars.
Whatever personal or sexual affection Caligula may have felt toward his sisters, this coinage is purely political and dynastic in flavour. His sisters are each named and are shown in the guise of personifications: the eldest, Agrippina Junior, as Securitas, the middle-sister, Drusilla, as Concordia, and the youngest, Julia Livilla, as Fortuna.
This remarkable type was produced on two occasions, his initial coinage of 37-38, and again in 39-40. The example offered here belongs to the first coinage, which was issued when all three of the imperial women were alive. Drusilla, Caligula's favourite sister (and the one with whom he is said to have had an enduring incestuous relationship), died tragically on June 10, 38, nearly three months after the last coins of the initial issue were struck.
By the time the last issue was produced (beginning March 18, 39), Drusilla had been accorded the status of a goddess, providing the curious circumstance of a goddess being portrayed in the guise of a personification. Life in the palace worsened after Drusilla's death and Caligula's affection for his remaining two sisters declined.
The circumstances reported by the ancient sources are nothing short of bizarre: Drusilla had been married to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who had also been Caligula's lover. After Drusilla died, Lepidus extended his sexual liaisons to include Agrippina and Julia Livilla, his former sisters-in-law. By late in 39 this web of relationships seems to have evolved into a failed plot by Lepidus against Caligula, who executed Lepidus and sent his two sisters into exile out of their suspected complicity.
All of this palace intrigue occurred in the midst of the second issue of 'three sisters' sestertii, the production of which Caligula probably halted immediately since of the three sisters shown, one was dead and two were in exile for having plotted against his life.

From Wikisource:
It is easy to understand why the peace and harmony which had been reestablished for a moment in the troubled imperial family by the advent of Caligula should have been of brief duration. His grandmother and his sisters were Romans, educated in Roman ideals, and this exotic madness of his could inspire in them only an irresistible horror. This brought confusion into the imperial family, and after having suffered the persecutions of Sejanus and his party, the unhappy daughters of Germanicus found themselves in the toils of the exacting caprices of their brother. In fact, in 38, Caligula had already broken with his grandmother, whom the year before he had had proclaimed Augusta; and between the years 38 and 39, catastrophes followed one another in the family with frightful rapidity. His sister Drusilla, whom, as Suetonius tells us, he already treated as a lawful wife, died suddenly of some unknown malady while still very young. It is not improbable that her health may have been ruined by the horror of the wild adventure, which was neither human nor Roman, into which her brother sought to drag her by marriage. Caligula suddenly declared her a goddess, to whom all the cities must pay honors. He had a temple built for her, and appointed a body of twenty priests, ten men and ten women, to celebrate her worship; he decreed that her birthday should be a holiday, and he wished the statue of Venus in the Forum to be carved in her likeness.

But in proportion as Caligula became more and more fervid in this adoration of his dead sister, the disagreement between himself and his other two sisters became more embittered. Julia Livilla was exiled in 38; Agrippina, the wife of Domitius Enobarbus°, in 39, and about this same time the venerable Antonia died. It was noised about that Caligula had forced her to commit suicide, and that Agrippina and Livilla had taken part in a conspiracy against the life of the emperor. How much truth there may be in these reports it is difficult to say, but the reason for all these catastrophes may be affirmed with certainty. Life in the imperial palace was no longer possible, especially for women, with this madman who was transforming Rome into Alexandria and who wished to marry a sister. Even Tiberius, the son of Drusus and co-heir to the empire with Caligula, was at about this time defeated in some obscure suit and disappeared.

Many aspects of Caligula’s reign have captured the imagination of historians, but the sexual relationships he is said to
have pursued with his sisters is perhaps most shocking of all. It is on par with the exploits of Elagabalus or the alleged
seduction of young Nero by his deranged mother Agrippina Jr., who, by no mere coincidence, was one of Caligula’s
sisters.
Caligula’s incestuous relationships with his sisters are alleged by the relatively contemporary historians Suetonius and
Josephus. Much later, in the fourth and fifth centuries, these original claims were echoed by various writers, including
Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, St. Jerome, Orosius and the anonymous compiler of the Epitome de caesaribus. The truth of
the claims, of course, is impossible to confirm, and there is a healthy dose of skepticism among modern scholars.
Whatever personal or sexual affection Caligula may have felt toward his sisters, this coinage is purely political and
dynastic in flavour. His sisters are each named and are shown in the guise of personifications: the eldest, Agrippina Junior,
as Securitas, the middle-sister, Drusilla, as Concordia, and the youngest, Julia Livilla, as Fortuna.
This remarkable type was produced on two occasions, his initial coinage of 37-38, and again in 39-40. The example
offered here belongs to the first coinage, which was issued when all three of the imperial women were alive. Drusilla,
Caligula’s favourite sister (and the one with whom he is said to have had an enduring incestuous relationship), died
tragically on June 10, 38, nearly three months after the last coins of the initial issue were struck.
By the time the last issue was produced (beginning March 18, 39), Drusilla had been accorded the status of a goddess,
providing the curious circumstance of a goddess being portrayed in the guise of a personification. Life in the palace
worsened after Drusilla’s death and Caligula’s affection for his remaining two sisters declined.
The circumstances reported by the ancient sources are nothing short of bizarre: Drusilla had been married to Marcus
Aemilius Lepidus, who had also been Caligula’s lover. At least after Drusilla died, Lepidus extended his sexual liaisons to
include Agrippina and Julia Livilla, his former sisters-in-law. By late in 39 this web of relationships seems to have evolved
into a failed plot by Lepidus against Caligula, who executed Lepidus and sent his two sisters into exile out of their
suspected complicity.
All of this palace intrigue occurred in the midst of the second issue of ‘three sisters’ sestertii, the production of which
Caligula probably halted immediately since of the three sisters shown, one was dead and two were in exile for having
plotted against his life.
Gary W2
Caligula_Three_Siste~0.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius62 viewsC CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT - Laureate head left
AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA - AGRIPPINA DRVSILLA IVLIA, the three sisters of Caligula standing, in the guises of Securitas, Concordia, and Fortuna, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue
Exergue: SC


Mint: Rome (37-38AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 27.88g / 35.6mm / 180
Rarity: Rare
References:
RIC I 33
BMCRE p. 152, 36
BnF II 47
Cohen I 4
SRCV I 1800
Provenances:
Forvm Ancient Coins
Acquisition/Sale: Forvm Ancient Coins Internet

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

From Numismatica Ars Classica:
Many aspects of Caligula's reign have captured the imagination of historians, but the sexual relationships he is said to have pursued with his sisters is perhaps most shocking of all. It is on par with the exploits of Elagabalus or the alleged seduction of young Nero by his deranged mother Agrippina Jr., who, by no mere coincidence, was one of Caligula's sisters.
Caligula's incestuous relationships with his sisters are alleged by the relatively contemporary historians Suetonius and Josephus. Much later, in the fourth and fifth centuries, these original claims were echoed by various writers, including Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, St. Jerome, Orosius and the anonymous compiler of the Epitome de caesaribus. The truth of the claims, of course, is impossible to confirm, and there is a healthy dose of scepticism among modern scholars.
Whatever personal or sexual affection Caligula may have felt toward his sisters, this coinage is purely political and dynastic in flavour. His sisters are each named and are shown in the guise of personifications: the eldest, Agrippina Junior, as Securitas, the middle-sister, Drusilla, as Concordia, and the youngest, Julia Livilla, as Fortuna.
This remarkable type was produced on two occasions, his initial coinage of 37-38, and again in 39-40. The example offered here belongs to the first coinage, which was issued when all three of the imperial women were alive. Drusilla, Caligula's favourite sister (and the one with whom he is said to have had an enduring incestuous relationship), died tragically on June 10, 38, nearly three months after the last coins of the initial issue were struck.
By the time the last issue was produced (beginning March 18, 39), Drusilla had been accorded the status of a goddess, providing the curious circumstance of a goddess being portrayed in the guise of a personification. Life in the palace worsened after Drusilla's death and Caligula's affection for his remaining two sisters declined.
The circumstances reported by the ancient sources are nothing short of bizarre: Drusilla had been married to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who had also been Caligula's lover. After Drusilla died, Lepidus extended his sexual liaisons to include Agrippina and Julia Livilla, his former sisters-in-law. By late in 39 this web of relationships seems to have evolved into a failed plot by Lepidus against Caligula, who executed Lepidus and sent his two sisters into exile out of their suspected complicity.
All of this palace intrigue occurred in the midst of the second issue of 'three sisters' sestertii, the production of which Caligula probably halted immediately since of the three sisters shown, one was dead and two were in exile for having plotted against his life.

From Wikisource:
It is easy to understand why the peace and harmony which had been reestablished for a moment in the troubled imperial family by the advent of Caligula should have been of brief duration. His grandmother and his sisters were Romans, educated in Roman ideals, and this exotic madness of his could inspire in them only an irresistible horror. This brought confusion into the imperial family, and after having suffered the persecutions of Sejanus and his party, the unhappy daughters of Germanicus found themselves in the toils of the exacting caprices of their brother. In fact, in 38, Caligula had already broken with his grandmother, whom the year before he had had proclaimed Augusta; and between the years 38 and 39, catastrophes followed one another in the family with frightful rapidity. His sister Drusilla, whom, as Suetonius tells us, he already treated as a lawful wife, died suddenly of some unknown malady while still very young. It is not improbable that her health may have been ruined by the horror of the wild adventure, which was neither human nor Roman, into which her brother sought to drag her by marriage. Caligula suddenly declared her a goddess, to whom all the cities must pay honors. He had a temple built for her, and appointed a body of twenty priests, ten men and ten women, to celebrate her worship; he decreed that her birthday should be a holiday, and he wished the statue of Venus in the Forum to be carved in her likeness.

But in proportion as Caligula became more and more fervid in this adoration of his dead sister, the disagreement between himself and his other two sisters became more embittered. Julia Livilla was exiled in 38; Agrippina, the wife of Domitius Enobarbus°, in 39, and about this same time the venerable Antonia died. It was noised about that Caligula had forced her to commit suicide, and that Agrippina and Livilla had taken part in a conspiracy against the life of the emperor. How much truth there may be in these reports it is difficult to say, but the reason for all these catastrophes may be affirmed with certainty. Life in the imperial palace was no longer possible, especially for women, with this madman who was transforming Rome into Alexandria and who wished to marry a sister. Even Tiberius, the son of Drusus and co-heir to the empire with Caligula, was at about this time defeated in some obscure suit and disappeared.

Many aspects of Caligula’s reign have captured the imagination of historians, but the sexual relationships he is said to
have pursued with his sisters is perhaps most shocking of all. It is on par with the exploits of Elagabalus or the alleged
seduction of young Nero by his deranged mother Agrippina Jr., who, by no mere coincidence, was one of Caligula’s
sisters.
Caligula’s incestuous relationships with his sisters are alleged by the relatively contemporary historians Suetonius and
Josephus. Much later, in the fourth and fifth centuries, these original claims were echoed by various writers, including
Eutropius, Aurelius Victor, St. Jerome, Orosius and the anonymous compiler of the Epitome de caesaribus. The truth of
the claims, of course, is impossible to confirm, and there is a healthy dose of skepticism among modern scholars.
Whatever personal or sexual affection Caligula may have felt toward his sisters, this coinage is purely political and
dynastic in flavour. His sisters are each named and are shown in the guise of personifications: the eldest, Agrippina Junior,
as Securitas, the middle-sister, Drusilla, as Concordia, and the youngest, Julia Livilla, as Fortuna.
This remarkable type was produced on two occasions, his initial coinage of 37-38, and again in 39-40. The example
offered here belongs to the first coinage, which was issued when all three of the imperial women were alive. Drusilla,
Caligula’s favourite sister (and the one with whom he is said to have had an enduring incestuous relationship), died
tragically on June 10, 38, nearly three months after the last coins of the initial issue were struck.
By the time the last issue was produced (beginning March 18, 39), Drusilla had been accorded the status of a goddess,
providing the curious circumstance of a goddess being portrayed in the guise of a personification. Life in the palace
worsened after Drusilla’s death and Caligula’s affection for his remaining two sisters declined.
The circumstances reported by the ancient sources are nothing short of bizarre: Drusilla had been married to Marcus
Aemilius Lepidus, who had also been Caligula’s lover. At least after Drusilla died, Lepidus extended his sexual liaisons to
include Agrippina and Julia Livilla, his former sisters-in-law. By late in 39 this web of relationships seems to have evolved
into a failed plot by Lepidus against Caligula, who executed Lepidus and sent his two sisters into exile out of their
suspected complicity.
All of this palace intrigue occurred in the midst of the second issue of ‘three sisters’ sestertii, the production of which
Caligula probably halted immediately since of the three sisters shown, one was dead and two were in exile for having
plotted against his life.

Per RIC-Rare
3 commentsGary W2
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-8hDqgyvl4MzVjv-Agrippina.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius (Agrippina I)11 viewsAGRIPPINA M F MAT C CAESARIS AVGVSTI - Bust of Agrippina the Elder, right, her hair falling in queue down her neck
SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE - Carpentum, with ornamented cover and sides, drawn right by two mules
Mint: Rome (37-41AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 22.00g / 34mm / 180
Rarity: Common
References:
RIC 1-Gaius 55
Trillmich Group II; BMCRE 81-5 (Caligula)
BN 128 (Caligula)
BMCRE 86-7 (Caligula)
Cohen 1
Acquisition/Sale: sesterc1975 Ebay

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

Caligula's mother.

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

Agrippina Sr.,one of the most tragically unfortunate women of Roman history. Agrippina was destined to achieve the highest possible status that did not happen. In 29AD she was deprived of her freedom, and in 33AD of life itself. This sestertii dedicated to Agrippina was produced by her son Caligula, The inscription, SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE, is itself dedicatory from the Senate and the Roman people to the memory of Agrippina.

Of this coin, minted at Rome, in gold and silver, Agrippina occupies the most distinguished place, namely the obverse side. She styles herself (by implication) the wife of Claudius, and, in direct terms, the mother of Nero; as though the government of the empire had been in her hands, and her son only Caesar. It is on this account that Tacitus (Ann. 23), asks -- What help is there in him, who is governed by a woman? It is not to be wondered at therefore, adds Vaillant, if the oaken garland was decreed to this woman and to her son, as it had already been to Caligula and to Claudius, ob cives servatos, by the Senate, whom she assembled in the palace, where she sat discreetly veiled. Praest. Num. Impp. ii. 60.

Agrippina the Elder, mother of Caligula, was honored on a bronze sestertius. The obverse inscription surrounding her strong, dignified portrait translates: “Agrippina, daughter of Marcus, mother of emperor Gaius Caesar.” On the reverse, the legend “To the Memory of Agrippina” appears beside a carpentum, a ceremonial cart drawn by two mules that paraded an image of Agrippina on special occasions.

Three issues of sestertii were struck in honour of Agrippina Senior, one of the most tragically unfortunate women of
Roman history. She began life as a favoured member of the Julio-Claudian family during the reign of her grandfather
Augustus, and upon her marriage to Livia’s grandson Germanicus, she seemed destined to achieve the highest possible
status.
However, upon the death of Augustus and the accession of Tiberius, her life took a turn for the worse: supreme power had
shifted from the bloodlines of the Julii to the Claudii. Though her marriage represented and ideal union of Julian and
Claudian, it was not destined to survive Tiberius’ reign. Germanicus died late in 19 under suspicious circumstances, after
which Agrippina devoted the next decade of her life to openly opposing Tiberius until in 29 he deprived her of freedom,
and in 33 of life itself.
The sestertii dedicated to Agrippina are easily segregated. The first, produced by her son Caligula, shows on its reverse a
carpentum; the second, issued by her brother Claudius, shows SC surrounded by a Claudian inscription, and the third is
simply a restoration of the Claudian type by Titus, on which the reverse inscription is instead dedicated to that emperor.
Though both Caligula and Claudius portrayed Agrippina, each did so from their own perspective, based upon the nature of
their relationship with her. The inscription on Caligula’s coin, AGRIPPINA M F MAT C CAESARIS AVGVSTI, describes
her as the daughter of Marcus (Agrippa) and the mother of Gaius (Caligula). While Claudius also identifies her as
Agrippa’s daughter, his inscription ends GERMANICI CAESARIS, thus stressing her role as the wife of his brother
Germanicus. It is also worth noting that on the issue of Caligula Agrippina has a slender profile like that of her son,
whereas on Claudius’ sestertii her face is more robust, in accordance with his appearance.
The carpentum reverse is not only a superbly executed type, but has a foundation in the recorded events of the day.
Suetonius (Gaius 15) describes the measures taken by Caligula to honour his family at the outset of his reign, which
included gathering the ashes of his mother and brothers, all victims of persecution during the reign of Tiberius. Upon
returning to Rome, Caligula, with his own hands, transferred to an urn his mother’s ashes “with the utmost reverence”; he
then instituted Circus games in her honour, at which “…her image would be paraded in a covered carriage.”
There can be little doubt that the carpentum on this sestertius relates to the special practice initiated by Caligula. The
inscription, SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE, is itself dedicatory from the Senate and the Roman people to the memory
of Agrippina.
Gary W2
Caligula_and_Agripin.jpg
Caligula (Augustus) Coin: Bronze Fourre Denarius Fourree6 viewsC CAESAR AVG PON M TR POT III COS III - Laureate head right
AGRIPPINA MAT C CAES AVG GERM - Draped bust of Agrippina right
Mint: Rome (40AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 2.85g / 18mm / 180
Rarity: Rare
References:
RIC I 22 (official)
Lyon 179 (official)
RSC 6 (official)
Acquisition/Sale: numismaticaprados Ebay

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

The reverse legend translates: 'Agrippina mother of Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus'

ODERINT, DUM METUANT (LET THEM HATE, SO LONG AS THEY FEAR). — CALIGULA

The accession of Gaius (Caligula) to the imperial throne on the death of his great-uncle Tiberius signalled a kind of "golden age" in that for the first time, not only did a direct biological descendant of Augustus become emperor, but one who could also claim a direct link with several important Republican figures. Through his mother, Agrippina Sr., Gaius was descended from Augustus, and also Agrippa, the victor of Actium. Gaius' father Germanaicus was the son of Nero Claudius Drusus and nephew of Tiberius, sons of Augustus' widow, Livia. Through his mother Antonia, Germanicus was the grandson of Mark Antony and Octavia, the sister of Augustus. Accordingly, many of his coins recall his dynastic connections to both the Julians and the Claudians as well as his own family, and included in their designs his mother and his three sisters.

“TO MAKE AN INEXPERIENCED AND ALMOST UNKNOWN YOUNG MAN, BROUGHT UP UNDER A SERIES OF AGED AND REPRESSIVE GUARDIANS, MASTER OF THE WORLD, ALMOST LITERALLY OVERNIGHT, ON THE SOLE RECOMMENDATION THAT HIS FATHER HAD BEEN A THOROUGHLY DECENT FELLOW WAS TO COURT DISASTER IN A QUITE IRRESPONSIBLE FASHION.”
–BARRETT, CALIGULA: THE CORRUPTION OF POWER (1990)

THE ASSASSINATION OF CALIGULA
THE emperor Caligula came to his death in the following manner:

Of course his wanton and remorseless tyranny often awakened very deep feelings of resentment, and very earnest desires for revenge in the hearts of those who suffered by it; but yet so absolute and terrible was his power, that none dared to murmur or complain. The resentment, however, which the cruelty of the emperor awakened, burned the more fiercely for being thus restrained and suppressed, and many covert threats were made, and many secret plots were formed, from time to time, against the tyrant's life.

Among others who cherished such designs, there was a man named Cassius Chærea, an officer of the army, who, though not of high rank, was nevertheless a man of considerable distinction. He was a captain, or, as it was styled in those days, a centurion. His command, therefore, was small, but it was in the prætorian cohort, as it was called, a sort of body-guard of the commander-in-chief, and consequently a very honorable corps. Chærea was thus a man of considerable distinction on account of the post which he occupied, and his duties, as captain in the life guards, brought him very frequently into communication with the emperor. He was a man of great personal bravery, too, and was on this account held in high consideration by the army. He had performed an exploit at one time, some years before, in Germany, which, had gained him great fame. It was at the time of the death of Augustus, the first emperor. Some of the German legions, and among them one in which Chærea was serving, had seized upon the occasion to revolt. They alledged many and grievous acts of oppression as the grounds of their revolt, and demanded redress for what they had suffered, and security for the future. One of the first measures which they resorted to in the frenzy of the first outbreak of the rebellion, was to seize all the centurions in the camp, and to beat them almost to death. They gave them sixty blows each, one for each of their number, and then turned them, bruised, wounded, and dying, out of the camp. Some they threw into the Rhine. They revenged themselves thus on all the centurions but one. That one was Chærea. Chærea would not suffer himself to be taken by them, but seizing his sword he fought his way through the midst of them, slaying some and driving others before him, and thus made his escape from the camp. This feat gained him great renown.

One might imagine from this account that Chærea was a man of great personal superiority in respect to size and strength, inasmuch as extraordinary muscular power, as well as undaunted courage, would seem to be required to enable a man to make his way against so many enemies. But this was not the fact. Chærea was of small stature and of a slender and delicate form. He was modest and unassuming in his manners, too, and of a very kind and gentle spirit. He was thus not only honored and admired for his courage, but he was generally beloved for the amiable and excellent qualities of his heart.

The possession of such qualities, however, could not be expected to recommend him particularly to the favor of the emperor. In fact, in one instance it had the contrary effect. Caligula assigned to the centurions of his guard, at one period, some duties connected with the collection of taxes. Chærea, instead of practicing the extortion and cruelty common on such occasions, was merciful and considerate, and governed himself strictly by the rules of law and of justice in his collections. The consequence necessarily was that the amount of money received was somewhat diminished, and the emperor was displeased. The occasion was, however, not one of sufficient importance to awaken in the monarch's mind any very serious anger, and so, instead of inflicting any heavy punishment upon the offender, he contented himself with attempting to tease and torment him with sundry vexatious indignities and annoyances.

It is the custom sometimes, in camps, and at other military stations, for the commander to give every evening, what is called the parole or password, which consists usually of some word or phrase that is to be communicated to all the officers, and as occasion may require to all the soldiers, whom for any reason it may be necessary to send to and fro [38] about the precincts of the camp during the night. The sentinels, also, all have the password, and accordingly, whenever any man approaches the post of a sentinel, he is stopped and the parole is demanded. If the stranger gives it correctly, it is presumed that all is right, and he is allowed to pass on,—since an enemy or a spy would have no means of knowing it.

Now, whenever it came to Chærea's turn to communicate the parole, the emperor was accustomed to give him some ridiculous or indecent phrase, intended not only to be offensive to the purity of Chærea's mind, but designed, also, to exhibit him in a ridiculous light to the subordinate officers and soldiers to whom he would have to communicate it. Sometimes the password thus given was some word or phrase wholly unfit to be spoken, and sometimes it was the name of some notorious and infamous woman; but whatever it was, Chærea was compelled by his duty as a soldier to deliver it to all the corps, and patiently to submit to the laughter and derision which his communication awakened among the vile and wicked soldiery.

If there was any dreadful punishment to be inflicted, or cruel deed of any kind to be performed, Caligula took great pleasure in assigning the duty to Chærea, knowing how abhorrent to his nature it must be. At one time a senator of great distinction named Propedius, was accused of treason by one of his enemies. His treason consisted, as the accuser alledged, of having spoken injurious words against the emperor. Propedius denied that he had ever spoken such words. The accuser, whose name was Timidius, cited a certain Quintilia, an actress, as his witness. Propedius was accordingly brought to trial, and Quintilia was called upon before the judges to give her testimony. She denied that she had ever heard Propedius utter any such sentiment as Timidius attributed to him. Timidius then said that Quintilia was testifying falsely: he declared that she had heard Propedius utter such words, and demanded that she should be put to the torture to compel her to acknowledge it. The emperor acceded to this demand, and commanded Chærea to put the actress to the torture.

It is, of course, always difficult to ascertain the precise truth in respect to such transactions as those that are connected with plots and conspiracies against tyrants, since every possible precaution is, of course, taken by all concerned to conceal what is done. It is probable, however, in this case, that Propedius had cherished some hostile designs against Caligula, if he had not uttered injurious words, and that Quintilia was in some measure in his confidence. It is even possible that Chærea may have been connected with them in some secret design, for it is said that when he received the orders of Caligula to put Quintilia to the torture he was greatly agitated and alarmed. If he should apply the torture severely, he feared that the unhappy sufferer might be induced to make confessions or statements at least, which would bring destruction on the men whom he most relied upon for the overthrow of Caligula. On the other hand, if he should attempt to spare her, the effect would be only to provoke the anger of Caligula against himself, without at all shielding or saving her. As, however, he was proceeding to the place of torture, in charge of his victim, with his mind in this state of anxiety and indecision, his fears were somewhat relieved by a private signal given to him by Quintilia, by which she intimated to him that he need feel no concern,—that she would be faithful and true, and would reveal nothing, whatever might be done to her.

This assurance, while it allayed in some degree Chærea's anxieties and fears, must have greatly increased the mental distress which he endured at the idea of leading such a woman to the awful suffering which awaited her. He could not, however, do otherwise than to proceed. Having arrived at the place of execution, the wretched Quintilia was put to the rack. She bore the agony which she endured while her limbs were stretched on the torturing engine, and her bones broken, with patient submission, to the end. She was then carried, fainting, helpless, and almost dead, to Caligula, who seemed now satisfied. He ordered the unhappy victim of the torture to be taken away, and directed that Propedius should be acquitted and discharged.

Of course while passing through this scene the mind of Chærea was in a tumult of agitation and excitement,—the anguish of mind which he must have felt in his compassion for the sufferer, mingling and contending with the desperate indignation which burned in his bosom against the author of all these miseries. He was wrought up, in fact, to such a state of frenzy by this transaction, that as soon as it was over he determined immediately to take measures to put Caligula to death. This was a very bold and desperate resolution. Caligula was the greatest and most powerful potentate on earth. Chærea was only a captain of his guard, without any political influence or power, and with no means whatever of screening himself from the terrible consequences which might be expected to follow from his attempt, whether it should succeed or fail.

So thoroughly, however, was he now aroused, that he determined to brave every danger in the attainment of his end. He immediately began to seek out among the officers of the army such men as he supposed would be most likely to join him,—men of courage, resolution, and faithfulness, and those who, from their general character or from the wrongs which they had individually endured from the government, were to be supposed specially hostile to Caligula's dominion. From among these men he selected a few, and to them he cautiously unfolded his designs. All approved of them. Some, it is true, declined taking any active part in the conspiracy, but they assured Chærea of their good wishes, and promised solemnly not to betray him.

The number of the conspirators daily increased. There was, however, at their meetings for consultation, some difference of opinion in respect to the course to be pursued. Some were in favor of acting promptly and at once. The greatest danger which was to be apprehended, they thought, was in delay. As the conspiracy became extended, some one would at length come to the knowledge of it, they said, who would betray them. Others, on the other hand, were for proceeding cautiously and slowly. What they most feared was rash and inconsiderate action. It would be ruinous to the enterprise, as they maintained, for them to attempt to act before their plans were fully matured.

Chærea was of the former opinion. He was very impatient to have the deed performed. He was ready himself, he said, to perform it, at any time; his personal duties as an officer of the guard, gave him frequent occasions of access to the emperor, and he was ready to avail himself of any of them to kill the monster. The emperor went often, he said, to the capitol, to offer sacrifices, and he could easily kill him there. Or, if they thought that that was too public an occasion, he could have an opportunity in the palace, at certain religious ceremonies which the emperor was accustomed to perform there, and at which Chærea himself was usually present. Or, he was ready to throw him down from a tower where he was accustomed to go sometimes for the purpose of scattering money among the populace below. Chærea said that he could easily come up behind him on such an occasion, and hurl him suddenly over the parapet down to the pavement below. All these plans, however, seemed to the conspirators too uncertain and dangerous, and Chærea's proposals were accordingly not agreed to.

At length, the time drew near when Caligula was to leave Rome to proceed to Alexandria in Egypt, and the conspirators perceived that they must prepare to act, or else abandon their design altogether. It had been arranged that there was to he a grand celebration at Rome previous to the emperor's departure. This celebration, which was to consist of games, and sports, and dramatic performances of various kinds, was to continue for three days, and the conspirators determined, after much consultation and debate, that Caligula should be assassinated on one of those days.

After coming to this conclusion, however, in general, their hearts seemed to fail them in fixing the precise time for the perpetration of the deed, and two of the three days passed away accordingly without any attempt being made. At length, on the morning of the third day, Chærea called the chief conspirators together, and urged them very earnestly not to let the present opportunity pass away. He represented to them how greatly they increased the danger of their attempts by such delays, and he seemed himself so full of determination and courage, and addressed them with so much eloquence and power, that he inspired them with his own resolution, and they decided unanimously to proceed.

The emperor came to the theater that day at an unusually early hour, and seemed to be in excellent spirits and in an excellent humor. He was very complaisant to all around him, and very lively, affable, and gay. After performing certain ceremonies, by which it devolved upon him to open the festivities of the day, he proceeded to his place, with his friends and favorites about him, and Chærea, with the other officers that day on guard, at a little distance behind him.

The performances were commenced, and every thing went on as usual until toward noon. The conspirators kept their plans profoundly secret, except that one of them, when he had taken his seat by the side of a distinguished senator, asked him whether he had heard any thing new. The senator replied that he had not. "I can then tell you something," said he, "which perhaps you have not heard, and that is, that in the piece which is to be acted to-day, there is to be represented the death of a tyrant." "Hush!" said the senator, and he quoted a verse from Homer, which meant, "Be silent, lest some Greek should overhear."

It had been the usual custom of the emperor, at such entertainments, to take a little recess about noon, for rest and refreshments. It devolved upon Chærea to wait upon him at this time, and to conduct him from his place in the theater to an adjoining apartment in his palace which was connected with the theater, where there was provided a bath and various refreshments. When the time arrived, and Chærea perceived, as he thought, that the emperor was about to go, he himself went out, and stationed himself in a passage-way leading to the bath, intending to intercept and assassinate the emperor when he should come along. The emperor, however, delayed his departure, having fallen into conversation with his courtiers and friends, and finally he said that, on the whole, as it was the last day of the festival, he would not go out to the bath, but would remain in the theater; and then ordering refreshments to be brought to him there, he proceeded to distribute them with great urbanity to the officers around him.

In the mean time, Chærea was patiently waiting in the passage-way, with his sword by his side, all ready for striking the blow the moment that his victim should appear. Of course the conspirators who remained behind were in a state of great suspense and anxiety, and one of them, named Minucianus, determined to go out and inform Chærea of the change in Caligula's plans. He accordingly attempted to rise, but Caligula put his hand upon his robe, saying, "Sit still, my friend. You shall go with me presently." Minucianus accordingly dissembled his anxiety and agitation of mind still a little longer, but presently, watching an opportunity when the emperor's attention was otherwise engaged, he rose, and, assuming an unconcerned and careless air, he walked out of the theater.

He found Chærea in his ambuscade in the passage-way, and he immediately informed him that the emperor had concluded not to come out. Chærea and Minucianus were then greatly at a loss what to do. Some of the other conspirators, who had followed Minucianus out, now joined them, and a brief but very earnest and solemn consultation ensued. After a moment's hesitation, Chærea declared that they must now go through with their work at all hazards, and he professed himself ready, if his comrades would sustain him in it, to go back to the theater, and stab the tyrant there in his seat, in the midst of his friends. Minucianus and the others concurred in this design, and it was resolved immediately to execute it.

The execution of the plan, however, in the precise form in which it had been resolved upon was prevented by a new turn which affairs had taken in the theater. For while Minucianus and the two or three conspirators who had accompanied him were debating in the passage-way, the others who remained, knowing that Chærea was expecting Caligula to go out, conceived the idea of attempting to persuade him to go, and thus to lead him into the snare which had been set for him. They accordingly gathered around, and without any appearance of concert or of eagerness, began to recommend him to go and take his bath as usual. He seemed at length disposed to yield to these persuasions, and rose from his seat; and then, the whole company attending and following him, he proceeded toward the doors which conducted to the palace. The conspirators went before him, and under pretense of clearing the way for him they contrived to remove to a little distance all whom they thought would be most disposed to render him any assistance. The consultations of Chærea and those who were with him in the inner passage-way were interrupted by the coming of this company.

Among those who walked with the emperor at this time were his uncle Claudius and other distinguished relatives. Caligula advanced along the passage, walking in company with these friends, and wholly unconscious of the fate that awaited him, but instead of going immediately toward the bath he turned aside first into a gallery or corridor which led into another apartment, where there were assembled a company of boys and girls, that had been sent to him from Asia to act and dance upon the stage, and who had just arrived. The emperor took great interest in looking at these performers, and seemed desirous of having them go immediately into the theater and let him see them perform. While talking on this subject Chærea and the other conspirators came into the apartment, determined now to strike the blow.

Chærea advanced to the emperor, and asked him in the usual manner what should be the parole for that night. The emperor gave him in reply such an one as he had often chosen before, to insult and degrade him. Chærea instead of receiving the insult meekly and patiently in his usual manner, uttered words of anger and defiance in reply; and drawing his sword at the same instant he struck the emperor across the neck and felled him to the floor. Caligula filled the apartment with his cries of pain and terror; the other conspirators rushed in and attacked him on all sides; his friends,—so far as the adherents of such a man can be called friends,—fled in dismay. As for Caligula's uncle Claudius, it was not to have been expected that he would have rendered his nephew any aid, for he was a man of such extraordinary mental imbecility that he was usually considered as not possessed even of common sense; and all the others who might have been expected to defend him, either fled from the scene, or stood by in consternation and amazement, leaving the conspirators to wreak their vengeance on their wretched victim, to the full.

In fact though while a despot lives and retains his power, thousands are ready to defend him and to execute his will, however much in heart they may hate and detest him, yet when he is dead, or when it is once certain that he is about to die, an instantaneous change takes place and every one turns against him. The multitudes in and around the theater and the palace who had an hour before trembled before this mighty potentate, and seemed to live only to do his bidding, were filled with joy to see him brought to the dust. The conspirators, when the success of their plans and the death of their oppressor was once certain, abandoned themselves to the most extravagant joy. They cut and stabbed the fallen body again and again, as if they could never enough wreak their vengeance upon it. They cut off pieces of the body and bit them with their teeth in their savage exultation and triumph. At length they left the body where it lay, and went forth into the city where all was now of course tumult and confusion.

The body remained where it had fallen until late at night. Then some attendants of the palace came and conveyed it away. They were sent, it was said, by Cæsonia, the wife of the murdered man. Cæsonia had an infant daughter at this time, and she remained herself with the child, in a retired apartment of the palace while these things were transpiring. Distracted with grief and terror at the tidings that she heard, she clung to her babe, and made the arrangements for the interment of the body of her husband without leaving its cradle. She imagined perhaps that there was no reason for supposing that she or the child were in any immediate danger, and accordingly she took no measures toward effecting an escape. If so, she did not understand the terrible frenzy to which the conspirators had been aroused, and for which the long series of cruelties and indignities which they had endured from her husband had prepared them. For at midnight one of them broke into her apartment, stabbed the mother in her chair, and taking the innocent infant from its cradle, killed it by beating its head against the wall.
Atrocious as this deed may seem, it was not altogether wanton and malignant cruelty which prompted it. The conspirators intended by the assassination of Caligula not merely to wreak their vengeance on a single man, but to bring to an end a hated race of tyrants; and they justified the murder of the wife and child by the plea that stern political necessity required them to exterminate the line, in order that no successor might subsequently arise to re-establish the power and renew the tyranny which they had brought to an end. The history of monarchies is continually presenting us with instances of innocent and helpless children sacrificed to such a supposed necessity as this.
Gary W2
9965.jpg
Carrhae in Mesopotamia, Septimius Severus, AE 24, Lindgren 2557122 viewsCarrhae in Mesopotamia, Septimius Severus, AE 24, 193-211 AD
Av.: CEΠTIMIOC [CE]OY.... , naked (laureate?) bust of Septimius Severus right
Rv.: ..Λ]OY KAPPH ΛKA... , front view of a tetrastyle temple, the temple of the moon god Sin, in the middle a sacred stone on tripod, on top of stone: crescent, standards (with crescents on top) on both sides inside the building; another crescent in the pediment.
Lindgren 2557 ; BMC p. 82, #4

The city and the region played an important role in roman history.

Carrhae / Harran, (Akkadian Harrânu, "intersecting roads"; Latin Carrhae), an ancient city of strategic importance, an important town in northern Mesopotamia, famous for its temple of the moon god Sin, is now nothing more than a village in southeastern Turkey with an archeological site.
In the Bible it is mentioned as one of the towns where Abraham stayed on his voyage from Ur to the promised land. Abraham's family settled there when they left Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:31-32).
Inscriptions indicate that Harran existed as early as 2000 B.C. In its prime, it controlled the point where the road from Damascus joins the highway between Nineveh and Carchemish. This location gave Harran strategic value from an early date. It is frequently mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions about 1100 BC, under the name Harranu, or "Road" (Akkadian harrānu, 'road, path, journey' ).
During the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Harran became the stronghold of its lasts king, Ashur-uballit II, being besiged and conquered by Nabopolassar of Babylon at 609 BC. Harran became part of Median Empire after the fall of Assyria, and subsequently passed to the Persian Achaemenid dynasty.
The city remained Persian untill in 331 BC when the soldiers of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great entered the city.
After the death of Alexander on 11 June 323 BC, the city was claimed by his successors: Perdiccas, Antigonus Monophthalmus and Eumenes. These visited the city, but eventually, it became part of the Asian kingdom of Seleucos I (Nicator), the Seleucid empire, and capital of a province called Osrhoene (the Greek term for the old name Urhai).
The Seleucids settled Macedonian veterans at Harran. For a century-and-a-half, the town flourished, and it became independent when the Parthian dynasty of Persia occupied Babylonia. The Parthian and Seleucid kings both needed the buffer state of Osrhoene which was part of the larger Parthian empire and had nearby Edessa as its capital. The dynasty of the Arabian Abgarides, technically a vassal of the Parthian "king of kings" ruled Osrhoene for centuries.

Carrhae was the scene of a disastrous defeat of the Roman general Crassus by the Parthians. In 53 BC. Crassus, leading an army of 50.000, conducted a campaign against Parthia. After he captured a few cities on the way, he hurried to cross the Euphrates River with hopes of receiving laurels and the title of “Emperor”. But as he drove his forces over Rakkan towards Harran, Parthian cavalry besieged his forces in a pincers movement. In the ensuing battle, the Roman army was defeated and decimated. The battle of Carrhae was the beginning of a series of border wars with Parthia for many centuries. Numismatic evidence for these wars or the corresponding peace are for instance the "Signis Receptis" issues of Augustus and the “Janum Clusit” issues of Nero.
Later Lucius Verus tried to conquer Osrhoene and initially was successful. But an epidemic made an annexation impossible. However, a victory monument was erected in Ephesus, and Carrhae/Harran is shown as one of the subject towns.
Septimius Severus finally added Osrhoene to his realms in 195. The typical conic domed houses of ancient Harran can be seen on the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Forum Romanum.
Harran was the chief home of the moon-god Sin, whose temple was rebuilt by several kings. Sin was one of the great gods of the Assurian-Babylonian pantheon.
Caracalla gave Harran the status of a colonia (214 AD) and visited the city and the temple of the moon god in April 217. Meanwhile the moon god (and sacred stones) had become a part of the Roman pantheon and the temple a place to deify the roman emperors (as the standards on both sides of the temple indicate).

Caracalla was murdered while he was on his way from Temple to the palace. If this had been arranged by Macrinus - the prefect of the Praetorian guard who was to be the new emperor – is not quite clear. On the eighth of April, the emperor and his courtiers made a brief trip to the world famous temple of the moon god. When Caracalla halted to perform natural functions, he was assassinated by one of his bodyguards, Julius Martialis, who had a private grudge against the ruler, because he had not been given the post of centurion.

In 296 AD Roman control was again interrupted when nearby Carrhae the emperor Galerius was defeated by the king Narses / the Sasanid dynasty of Persia. The Roman emperor Julianus Apostata sacrificed to the moon god in 363 AD, at the beginning of his ill-fated campaign against the Sassanid Persians. The region continued to be a battle zone between the Romans and Sassanids. It remained Roman (or Byzantine) until 639, when the city finally was captured by the Muslim armies.

At that time, the cult of Sin still existed. After the arrival of the Islam, the adherents of other religions probably went to live in the marshes of the lower Tigris and Euphrates, and are still known as Mandaeans.
The ancient city walls surrounding Harran, 4 kilometer long and 3 kilometer wide, have been repaired throughout the ages (a.o. by the Byzantine emperor Justinian in the sixth century), and large parts are still standing. The position of no less than 187 towers has been identified. Of the six gates (Aleppo gate, Anatolian, Arslanli, Mosul, Baghdad, and Rakka gate), only the first one has remained.

A citadel was built in the 14th century in place of the Temple of Sin. This lies in the south-west quarter of the ancient town. Its ruin can still be visited.

my ancient coin database
1 commentsArminius
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-oXfGCiAQjcBiF-Claudius_arch.jpg
Claudius (Augustus) Coin: Brass Sestertius5 viewsTI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P - Laureate head right with NCAPR countermark behind head.
NERO CLAVDIVS DRVSVS GERMAN IMP, S C - Arch of Nero Claudius Drusus: triumphal arch consisting of single arch & decorated piers set on raised base with four columns supporting ornate attic.
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (42AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 24.20g / 35mm / 180
Rarity: Scarce
References:
RIC 114
Cohen 48
BMC 187
Acquisition/Sale: shpadoinkle24 Ebay $0.00 8/17
Notes: Jan 9, 19 - NCAPR Countermark

The Gary R. Wilson Collection

Nero Claudius Drusus was Tiberius' younger brother. He was a successful general but died at only 29 after a fall from his horse. He married Antonia, daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia. Their sons were Germanicus and Claudius. Claudius issued his coins.

From CNG:
The Arch of Nero Claudius Drusus was erected by order of the Senate sometime after the death of Drusus in 9 BC. Located on the Via Appia, it commemorated his victories along the German frontier. Eventually, the presence of the arch may have lent its name to the surrounding region, known colloquially as the vicus Drusianus (Drusus' district). By the late fourth century AD, the arch may have survived as the arch then known as the arcus Recordationis (Arch of Remembrance).

Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.
Claudius was one of the most capable, yet unlikely emperors. Shunned as an idiot by his family due to a limp and embarrassing stutter, Claudius spent the first decades of his life absorbed in scholarly studies until the death of his nephew Caligula. After Caligula's murder, the Praetorian Guard found him hiding behind a curtain in the Imperial Palace, expecting to be murdered. Instead, the guard proclaimed him emperor. His reign was marred by personal catastrophes, most notably promiscuity and betrayal by his first wife. He governed well and conquered the troublesome island of Britain. He was poisoned by his second wife, Agrippina Jr., mother of Nero.

The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.

NCAPR counterstamp of Nero behind bust.

From The Museum of Countermarks on Roman Coins website:
There are several interpretations of what this, the most interesting of all Julio-Caludian ctmk., means. The two most likely are:
1. Nero Ceasar Augustus Populi Romani
2. Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit
In the first instance it is a congiarium or public dole given by Nero to the people of Rome. In the second, it is a revalidation of the earlier coins of ones predecessors still in circulation.
Possible is also a later use, eg. by Nerva, or that no emperors name was part of the countermark.

Previously believed to be applied during the reign of Nero, a specimen in the Pangerl collection appears on an as of Vespasian, necessitating a later date for the series. Three distinct production centers can be identified for this issue, in Spain, Gaul, and Italy. The Italian type is distinguished by the frequent joining of the letters NC at the base.

NCAPR (Nummus Caesare Augusto PRobatus?) in rectangular countermark-Translated-'Money Caesar Augustus Approved'

Just FYI-This coin has been 'Liberated' from the NGC slab and is now how it should be-free for a person to hold, as all ancients should be!
Gary W2
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-AOy7GVWJFbuo-Claudius.jpg
Claudius (Augustus) Coin: Bronze AS 5 viewsTI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TR P IMP P P - Bare head left
(NO LEGEND) SC - Minerva advancing right, holding shield and brandishing a javelin, S-C across fields.
Exergue:



Mint: Rome (42-54 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 10.00g / 27mm / 6h
References:
RIC I (second edition), 116
BMC 206
Cohen 84
von Kaenel Type 60
BN 233-5
Acquisition/Sale: amarso66 eBay $0.00 04/19
Notes: Apr 12, 19 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.
Claudius was one of the most capable, yet unlikely emperors. Shunned as an idiot by his family due to a limp and embarrassing stutter, Claudius spent the first decades of his life absorbed in scholarly studies until the death of his nephew Caligula. After Caligula's murder, the Praetorian Guard found him hiding behind a curtain in the Imperial Palace, expecting to be murdered. Instead, the guard proclaimed him emperor. His reign was marred by personal catastrophes, most notably promiscuity and betrayal by his first wife. He governed well and conquered the troublesome island of Britain. He was poisoned by his second wife, Agrippina Jr., mother of Nero.

"Nobody is familiar with his own profile, and it comes as a shock, when one sees it in a portrait, that one really looks like that to people standing beside one. For one's full face, because of the familiarity that mirrors give it, a certain toleration and even affection is felt; but I must say that when I first saw the model of the gold piece that the mint-masters were striking for me I grew angry and asked whether it was intended to be a caricature. My little head with its worried face perched on my long neck, and the Adam's apple standing out almost like a second chin, shocked me. But Messalina said: "No, my dear, that's really what you look like. In fact, it is rather flattering than otherwise." -- From the novel "Claudius the God: And His Wife Messalina" by Robert Graves

per Curtis Clay:
At ROME, bronze coins were struck for Claudius in two large issues, the first without P P and the second with P P, that is the first between his accession on 25 Jan. 41 and his acceptance of the title Pater Patriae less than a year later, between 1 and 12 Jan. 42, and the second after early January 42.

The types were the same in both issues:

sestertii of Claudius with types legend in wreath OB CIVES SERVATOS, SPES AVGVSTA, and legend of Nero Claudius Drusus around triumphal arch;

sestertius of Nero Claudius Drusus with rev. legend of Claudius around Claudius seated on curule chair set on globe among arms;

dupondius of Claudius with rev. CERES AVGVSTA;

dupondius of Antonia with rev. legend of Claudius around standing togate emperor;

asses of Claudius with rev. CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI, LIBERTAS AVGVSTA, and Minerva fighting r.;

quadrantes of Claudius with types Modius and PNR, hand holding scales.

PROVINCIAL MINTS, official and unofficial, on the other hand, struck these same types for Claudius, usually without the quadrantes, almost exclusively without P P, so apparently during the first year of his reign. There were only two exceptions of provincial mints striking these standard types of Claudius after he became P P:

1. The Spanish mint, defined by the many sestertii and dupondii of this particular style, including dozens of die duplicates, found in the Pobla de Mafumet Hoard, struck most of its bronze coins for Claudius without P P, but, alone of the early provincial mints, continued to strike for him early in 42, now with P P, this however being a much smaller issue which probably lasted only a month or two.

I show below a "Pobla" dupondius of Claudius, this one of 41 (no P P), with the characteristic letter forms (particularly the Rs and Ms), often dots left and right of S C in rev. exergue, and the characteristic portrait with spikey hair locks. For comparison I also add a Rome-mint dupondius of the second issue, with P P. (Both images from CoinArchives)

curtislclay:
2. Thracian mint, later in reign, which had NOT struck bronzes for Claudius before he became P P. This mint copied the Roman types, but in slightly cruder style. Its dupondii often have central cavities on their flans, which never occur at Rome or at any of the other provincial mints; see the specimen that I illustrate below from CoinArchives.

Other features which suggest a Thracian or possibly Bithynian location of the mint: (a) quite a few bronze coins of this style have turned up in the flood of ancient coins that emerged from Bulgaria after the fall of the Iron Curtain. (b) Some of the sestertii in this style have Eastern countermarks, for example the SPES AVGVSTA sestertius shown below, from the website Museum of Countermarks on Roman Coins, with countermark Capricorn above rudder on globe. I think most of the Claudian bronzes known with this rare countermark are from our Thracian mint, though it can also occur on Roman and Spanish bronzes of Claudius, which had presumably found their way into circulation in Thrace or Bithynia.

What types did this mint strike? Well, sestertii of Claudius with Legend in wreath and SPES AVGVSTA, but no Arch of Drusus sestertii have yet been observed; CERES AVGVSTA dupondii of Claudius, but I haven't yet noted any dupondii of Antonia; asses of Claudius with all three normal types; no quadrantes.

curtislclay:
Unfortunately these different mints for bronze coins of Claudius are hardly recorded in the standard catalogues!

Laffranchi, in an article written in 1948, was the first to recognize and separate from Rome two of the main provincial mints striking bronzes for Claudius early in his reign, including the Spanish mint mentioned above. But Sutherland, revising RIC I in 1983, was unable to see the stylistic differences pointed out by Laffranchi, so attributed all of Claudius' bronze coins to Rome. The same RIC numbers, therefore, cover Rome and at least three major provincial mints without P P, and Rome, the Spanish mint, and the Thracian mint with P P!

Von Kaenel, in his 1986 monograph on the coinage of Claudius, recognized the two early provincial mints for bronze coins pointed out by Laffranchi, and attributed certain middle bronzes to yet a third provincial mint, though he wrongly located all of these mints in Rome, as auxiliarly mints to the main public one, rather than in the western provinces. He did not recognize the Thracian mint from later in the reign that I have treated above. His catalogue, no. 1888, pl. 43, indeed includes a Thracian CERES AVGVSTA dupondius with central indentations, but he misattributed it to the early Spanish mint, the only early provincial mint to produce bronze coins for Claudius as P P.

Giard, in his Paris catalogue of 1988, ignored both Laffranchi and von Kaenel, and, like RIC, attributed all official bronze coins of Claudius to the mint of Rome!

Individual Thracian mint coins have been recognized as such in various sale catalogues since the 1990s, but this mint has not been treated in any academic article or museum catalogue as far as I know.
Gary W2
new_Claudius_combined.jpg
Claudius RIC 003298 viewsClaudius AR Denarius. 41-54 AD. Rome mint Struck 46-47 AD.
(17.28 mm 3.62 gr).
Obv: TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG P M TR P VI IMP XI, laureate head right
Rev: CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI, Constantia seated left of curule chair, hand raised to face.
RIC 32 (R2), RSC 8 BMC 31.
Ex: AU Capital Management LLC



Claudius was rumoured to have been deformed in some way. This probably saved his life because no one considered him to be a threat. After the murder of Gaius Claudius apparently hid in the palace. He was found by the guards and he was proclaimed emperor.
One of his best known accomplishments was his successful invasion of England in 43 CE.

On the reverse of this coin is the figure of Constantia. She was the personification of constancy or steadiness. Since emperors often used their coins as propaganda, it is safe to assume that Claudius was trying to portray the empire as being in good hands and in untroubled condition. This would have been especially true in the case of Claudius who, one can assume, was untrusted by some as the result of his diasability.
2 commentsorfew
w4~0.JPG
Constantinople CONSS66 viewsConstantine had altogether more ambitious plans. Having restored the unity of the empire, now overseeing the progress of major governmental reforms and sponsoring the consolidation of the Christian church, Constantine was well aware that Rome had become an unsatisfactory capital for several reasons. Located in central Italy, Rome lay too far from the eastern imperial frontiers, and hence also from the legions and the Imperial courts. Moreover, Rome offered an undesirable playground for disaffected politicians; it also suffered regularly from flooding and from malaria.

It seemed impossible to many that the capital could be moved. Nevertheless, Constantine identified the site of Byzantium as the correct place: a city where an emperor could sit, readily defended, with easy access to the Danube or the Euphrates frontiers, his court supplied from the rich gardens and sophisticated workshops of Roman Asia, his treasuries filled by the wealthiest provinces of the empire.

Constantine laid out the expanded city, dividing it into 14 regions, and ornamenting it with great public works worthy of a great imperial city. Yet initially Constantinople did not have all the dignities of Rome, possessing a proconsul, rather than a prefect of the city. Furthermore, it had no praetors, tribunes or quaestors. Although Constantinople did have senators, they held the title clarus, not clarissimus, like those of Rome. Constantinople also lacked the panoply of other administrative offices regulating the food supply, police, statues, temples, sewers, aqueducts or other public works. The new program of building was carried out in great haste: columns, marbles, doors and tiles were taken wholesale from the temples of the empire and moved to the new city. Similarly, many of the greatest works of Greek and Roman art were soon to be seen in its squares and streets. The emperor stimulated private building by promising householders gifts of land from the imperial estates in Asiana and Pontica, and on 18 May 332 he announced that, as in Rome, free distributions of food would be made to citizens. At the time the amount is said to have been 80,000 rations a day, doled out from 117 distribution points around the city.

Constantinople was a Greek Orthodox Christian city, lying in the most Christianised part of the Empire. Justinian ordered the pagan temples of Byzantium to be deconstructed, and erected the splendid Church of the Holy Wisdom, Sancta Sophia (also known as Hagia Sophia in Greek), as the centrepiece of his Christian capital. He oversaw also the building of the Church of the Holy Apostles, and that of Hagia Irene.

Constantine laid out anew the square at the middle of old Byzantium, naming it the Augusteum. Sancta Sophia lay on the north side of the Augusteum. The new senate-house (or Curia) was housed in a basilica on the east side. On the south side of the great square was erected the Great Palace of the emperor with its imposing entrance, the Chalke, and its ceremonial suite known as the Palace of Daphne. Located immediately nearby was the vast Hippodrome for chariot-races, seating over 80,000 spectators, and the Baths of Zeuxippus (both originally built in the time of Septimius Severus). At the entrance at the western end of the Augusteum was the Milion, a vaulted monument from which distances were measured across the Eastern Empire.

From the Augusteum a great street, the Mese, led, lined with colonnades. As it descended the First Hill of the city and climbed the Second Hill, it passed on the left the Praetorium or law-court. Then it passed through the oval Forum of Constantine where there was a second senate-house, then on and through the Forum of Taurus and then the Forum of Bous, and finally up the Sixth Hill and through to the Golden Gate on the Propontis. The Mese would be seven Roman miles long to the Golden Gate of the Walls of Theodosius.

Constantine erected a high column in the middle of the Forum, on the Second Hill, with a statue of himself at the top, crowned with a halo of seven rays and looking towards the rising sun.

RIC VII Constantinople 61 C1
ecoli
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Cr 304/1 AR Denarius L. Memmius12 views 109-108 b.c.e 3.93 gm; 19.50 mm
o: Young male head right (Apollo?), wearing oak-wreath; before, *
r: Dioscuri standing facing between their horses, each holding spear; in exergue, L. MEMMI.
This reverse breaks with the (boring) tradition of The Galloping Dioscuri reverse and presents a bold, frontal, sculptural presentation, similar to the sculptural group in front of the Quirinale Palace.
1 commentsPMah
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace362 viewsDiocletian's palace is historical centre of Split - Croatia.1 commentsJohny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace - Cathedral of St. Domnius (St. Duje)324 viewsCathedral of St. Duje is build over Diocletian's mausoleum.Johny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace - peristyle357 viewspart of cathedrale of St. Duje in the left upper cornerJohny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace - peristyle - sphinx400 viewsDiocletian's palace is historical centre of Split - Croatia.Johny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace - silver gate434 viewseast gate leading to the centre of Split.Johny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace - temple of Jupiter295 viewslater converted to babtisteryJohny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace, basement345 viewsRomans who escaped from near Salona in 7th century reocupied Diocletian's palace. They lived in higher floors above basement. These rooms was gradually filled by garbage through holes in ceiling so basment remained preserved until these days. Johny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace, basement303 viewsRomans who escaped from near Salona in 7th century reocupied Diocletian's palace. They lived in higher floors above basement. These rooms was gradually filled by garbage through holes in ceiling so basment remained preserved until these days. Johny SYSEL
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Croatia, Split - Diocletian's palace, temple of Jupiter282 viewsinterior with modern statue
Temple was converted to babtistery later.
Johny SYSEL
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Crusader States, Normans of Sicily, William II, AD 1166-1189, AE Trifollaro, Spahr 117.75 viewsCrusader States, Sicily, William II, AD 1166-1189, AE Trifollaro (24-25 mm), 8,82 g.
Obv.: Facing head of lioness within circle of dots.
Re.: Palm tree with five branches and two bunches of dates, within circle of dots.
Biaggi 1231, Spahr 117 ; Grie 210 (Roger II); Thom 2480 .

William II of Sicily (1153-1189), called the Good, was king of Sicily and Naples from 1166 to 1189.
William was only thirteen years old at the death of his father William I, when he was placed under the regency of his mother, Margaret of Navarre.
Until the king came of age in 1171 the government was controlled first by the chancellor Stephen du Perche, cousin of Margaret (1166-1168), and then by Walter Ophamil, archbishop of Palermo, and Matthew of Ajello, the vice-chancellor.
William's character is very indistinct. Lacking in military enterprise, secluded and pleasure-loving, he seldom emerged from his palace life at Palermo. Yet his reign is marked by an ambitious foreign policy and a vigorous diplomacy. Champion of the papacy and in secret league with the Lombard cities he was able to defy the common enemy, Frederick I Barbarossa. In 1174 and 1175 he made treaties with Genoa and Venice and his marriage in February 1177 with Joan, daughter of Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, marks his high position in European politics.
In July 1177, he sent a delegation of Archbishop Romuald of Salerno and Count Roger of Andria to sign the Treaty of Venice with the emperor. To secure the peace, he sanctioned the marriage of his aunt Constance, daughter of Roger II, with Frederick's son Henry, afterwards the emperor Henry VI, causing a general oath to be taken to her as his successor in case of his death without heirs. This step, fatal to the Norman kingdom, was possibly taken that William might devote himself to foreign conquests.
Unable to revive the African dominion, William directed his attack on Egypt, from which Saladin threatened the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem. In July 1174, 50,000 men were landed before Alexandria, but Saladin's arrival forced the Sicilians to re-embark in disorder. A better prospect opened in the confusion in Byzantine affairs which followed the death of Manuel Comnenus (1180), and William took up the old design and feud against Constantinople. Durazzo was captured (June 11, 1185). Afterwards while the army marched upon Thessalonica, the fleet sailed towards the same target capturing on their way the Ionian islands of Corfu, Cephalonia,Ithaca and Zakynthos. In August Thessalonica surrendered to the joint attack of the Sicilian fleet and army.
The troops then marched upon the capital, but the troop of the emperor Isaac Angelus overthrew the invaders on the banks of the Strymon (September 7, 1185). Thessalonica was at once abandoned and in 1189 William made peace with Isaac, abandoning all the conquests. He was now planning to induce the crusading armies of the West to pass through his territories, and seemed about to play a leading part in the Third Crusade. His admiral Margarito, a naval genius equal to George of Antioch, with 60 vessels kept the eastern Mediterranean open for the Franks, and forced the all-victorious Saladin to retire from before Tripoli in the spring of 1188.
In November 1189 William died, leaving no children. Though Orderic Vitalis records a (presumably short-lived) son in 1181: Bohemond, Duke of Apulia. His title of "the Good" is due perhaps less to his character than to the cessation of internal troubles in his reign. The "Voyage" of Ibn Jubair, a traveller in Sicily in 1183-1185, shows William surrounded by Muslim women and eunuchs, speaking and reading Arabic and living like "a Moslem king."

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

my ancient coin database
1 commentsArminius
coin_3_quart.jpg
DN VALENS PF AVG / GLORIA ROMANORVM AE3/4 follis (364-378 A.D.) 19 viewsDN VALEN-S PF AVG, pearl-diademed, draped, cuirassed bust right / GLORIA RO-MANORVM, Emperor walking right, head left, (probably) holding labarum, dragging captive behind him. V(?) in left field, star (or point) over Δ in right field. Mintmark worn off.

AE3/4, 17mm, 1.96g, die axis 12 (medal alignment), material: bronze/copper-based alloy

DN = Dominus Noster = Our Lord, P F AVG = Pius Felix Augustus = the pius (dutiful) and fortunate (happy) emperor. GLORIA ROMANORVM = Glory of the Romans. The labarum (Greek: λάβαρον) was a vexillum (military standard) that displayed the "Chi-Rho" symbol ☧, a christogram formed from the first two Greek letters of the word "Christ" (Greek: ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ, or Χριστός) — Chi (χ) and Rho (ρ). It was first used by the Roman emperor Constantine the Great.

GLORIA ROMANORVM with the captive was a very popular reverse design for Valens' coins, minted at many mints all over the empire. But star or dot over Δ in right field is characteristic only of one mint, Thessalonica. Examples include various types of RIC IX Thessalonica 26b (star over Δ) and 31 (dot over Δ). These types are dated 367-375 or 375-378 A.D., with some letter in the left field usually indicating later, 375-378 issue. Mintmark for these types is always TES, sometimes with dot before or after.

Flavius Iulius Valens. Born in 328 in Cibalae (in present-day Croatia) into an Illyrian family. His older brother Valentinian was later to become Valenitinian I the Great, another emperor.

His father Gratian (aka the Elder or Gratianus Funarius or Gratianus Major), a Roman soldier of common birth, rose through the ranks to become "protector domesticus" during the reign of Constantine the Great [A member of an elite guard unit/staff member with various important duties . After serving under the emperor for a certain duration, the Domestici would be able to become leaders themselves and potentially command their own regiment of legionnaires in the military], and later tribune and comes. He was forced to retire due to suspicion of embezzlement, but later recalled back to active duty to serve Constans. Again fell into disrespect and lost all estates when Constantius came to deal with Magnentius, because he was suspected to support him, but never lost influence with the army, which helped to promote careers of his sons.

Brothers grew up in various estates in Africa and Britain. While Valentinian had been distinguished in an active military career, Valens, though already 35 years old, had not participated in either the civil or military affairs of the empire previous to his selection as Augustus by his brother. In February 364, reigning Emperor Jovian, while hastening to Constantinople to secure his claim to the throne, died in his sleep during a stop at Dadastana, 100 miles east of Ankara. Valentinian, a tribunus scutariorum, who owed his advancement to the deceased, was elected by the legions to succeed Jovian. He was proclaimed Augustus on 26 February, 364. It was the general opinion that Valentinian needed help to handle the cumbersome administration, civil and military, of the large and unwieldy empire, and, on 28 March of the same year, at the express demand of the soldiers for a second Augustus, he selected his brother Valens as co-emperor in the palace of Hebdomon. Both emperors were briefly ill, delaying them in Constantinople, but as soon as they recovered, the two Augusti travelled together through Adrianople and Naissus to Mediana, where they divided their territories. Valentinian then went on to the West, where the Alemanic wars required his immediate attention.

Valens obtained the eastern half of the Empire Greece, Egypt, Syria and Anatolia as far east as Persia. He was back in his capital of Constantinople by December 364. Valens was utterly undistinguished and possessed no military ability: he betrayed his consciousness of inferiority by his nervous suspicion of plots and savage punishment of alleged traitors, but he was also a conscientious administrator, careful of the interests of the humble. He was an earnest Christian. Like the brothers Constantius II and Constans, Valens and Valentinian I held divergent theological views. Valens was an Arian and Valentinian I upheld the Nicene Creed. Valens was baptized by the Arian bishop of Constantinople before he set out on his first war against the Goths. Not long after Valens died the cause of Arianism in the Roman East was to come to an end. His death was considered a sign from God. His successor Theodosius I would favor the Nicene Creed, and suppress the Arian heresy. Valens, sometimes known as the Last True Roman (his co-emperor brother was dead in 375), was defeated and killed in the Battle of Adrianople against a confederated Gothic army on 9 August 378, which marked the beginning of the collapse of the decaying Western Roman Empire.
Yurii P
D281.jpg
Domitian RIC-28183 viewsÆ Sestertius, 26.14g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMITIAN AVG GERM COS XI; Bust of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r., with aegis
Rev: S C in exergue; Domitian stg. r., clasping hands over altar with officer stg. l.; behind officer, one soldier with standard and one soldier at r. with spear and shield
RIC 281 (R). BMC 301. BNC 321.
Acquired from Olding, MA Shops, June 2019 = Olding, List 96, March 2019, Sammlung Fritz Reusing, no. 182. From the collection of Fritz Reusing (1874-1956), acquired from the Heynen Collection; inherited and continued by Reusing's nephew Paul Schürer (1890-1976).

In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his greatest military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The Germanic triumph received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. This rare sestertius depicts a rather ambiguous scene showing Domitian, the much larger figure on the left, clasping hands with a legate over an altar while two legionaries stand by. What exactly is going on here is a mystery. Mattingly in BMCRE II believed it to be 'the taking of the sacramentum, the military oath'. Others have postulated the scene shows Domitian greeting Agricola upon his return from Britannia. The Agricola connection is highly unlikely. The type is struck for several more years, so it cannot be referring to one single 'event'. It's an intriguing scene in the context of the Germania Capta series, perhaps depicting a post victory ceremony. Whatever the meaning, the reverse strongly underscores Domitian's bond with the military.

This wonderful old cabinet toned piece is from the collection of the German portrait painter Fritz Reusing.

3 commentsDavid Atherton
D397sm.jpg
Domitian RIC-39745 viewsÆ Sestertius, 26.19g
Rome mint, 85 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM XI CENS PER P P; Head of Domitian, laureate, r., with aegis
Rev: GERMANIA CAPTA; S C in exergue; Trophy; to r., German captive stg. r., hands bound, head l.; to l., Germania std. l.; around arms
RIC 397 (R2). BMC 361. BNC -.
Acquired from Incitatus Coins, August 2019.

In 85 Domitian struck a fairly impressive issue of sestertii, M. Grant hyperbolically called it the most 'ambitious' of any one reign or year. The series is the first major aes issue of Domitian's reign and is dominated by panoramic types commemorating his military victory over the Germanic tribe the Chatti. The details of the war are unclear, but the overall impression is that the conflict was a minor affair blown out of proportion by an emperor eager for military glory. Consequently, Domitian's Germanic triumph of 83 received a certain amount of ridicule from ancient writers who thought the whole thing was a sham (Dio goes so far as to say Domitian raided the palace's furniture stores for his fake spoils!), no doubt the numismatic propaganda for the victory was likely viewed in the same manner by contemporary senatorial elites. Germania Capta types were first struck in silver in 84 and in bronze in 85. This iconic Germania Capta sestertius strongly echoes Vespasian's Judaea Capta types - but instead of a palm tree we see a trophy and a bound captive replaces the triumphal emperor. H. Mattingly writes in BMCRE 'the type is closely modelled on the Judaea Capta of Vespasian, but the German element is indicated by the heavy angular cloak worn by the man and by the oblong shields.' Comparing the two triumphs, the Josephian scholar Steve Mason remarked - 'The same people who produced Flavian Triumph I: Judaea were on hand for Flavian Triumph II: Germania, and sequels are rarely as good as the originals.'

The Germania Capta sestertii were produced for only a few short years between 85-88. The present example from the third issue of 85 is a rare variant with an obverse legend struck just after Domitian had become censor for life (CENS PER).
3 commentsDavid Atherton
D788_var_.jpg
Domitian RIC-788 var.52 viewsAR Denarius, 3.10g
Rome mint, 95-96 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XV; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva stg. r. on capital of rostral column, with spear and shield (M2) *without owl*
RIC 788 var. BMC 231 var. RSC 293 var. BNC 207 var.
Ex Private Collection.

An unusual example of the standard Minerva on capital of rostral column lacking the owl, which should be at her feet to the right. Not long after this coin was struck Domitian fell victim to a palace plot. I wonder if he had seen this coin would he have taken it as an ill omen?

Good late style.
3 commentsDavid Atherton
D821sm2.jpg
Domitian RIC-821103 viewsAR Denarius, 3.42g
Rome mint, 96 AD
Obv: IMP CAES DOMIT AVG GERM P M TR P XVI; Head of Domitian, laureate, bearded, r.
Rev: IMP XXII COS XVII CENS P P P; Minerva, winged, flying l., with spear and shield
RIC 821 (R2). BMC 237D. RSC 297b. BNC - .
Ex jerusalemhadaya2012, eBay, 4 March 2019.

Domitian achieved tribunician power for the 16th time on 14 September 96 AD. He was assassinated in a palace plot four days later on 18 September. In between those two dates the mint struck only one issue of denarii recording Domitian as TR P XVI, needless to say they are extremely rare! The Senate decreed Damnatio Memoriae within a day of Domitian's assassination which would have quickly halted production at the mint for his coinage. The months leading up to Domitian's assassination saw the mint at Rome experimenting with many new reverse designs (altar, winged Minerva, Maia, temple reverses), breaking the monotony of the four standard Minerva types that had previously dominated the denarius. These new types are exceedingly rare and were perhaps experimental in nature. This denarius shows one of these new reverse types, Minerva Victrix, a more warrior like attribute of the goddess. The fact that this new type which originally appeared on the denarius when Domitian was TR P XV carried over to the briefly struck TR P XVI issue alongside the Maia and the M1, M3, and M4 Minerva types may hint that there was indeed change in the air at the mint. Perhaps the mix of new types with the older ones hint at a transition regarding the typology on his precious metal coinage? Regardless, the experiment was cut short by an assassin's blade, so we shall never know. This denarius may very well be the last coin ever struck for Domitian.

Fine late style with good natural toning. Same dies as the BM specimen.
10 commentsDavid Atherton
Nero_37.jpg
E76 viewsNero AE As

Attribution: RIC I 313, Rome
Date: AD 65
Obverse: NERO CAESAR AVG GERM IMP laureate head l.
Reverse: Victory advancing l. holding shield with “ S P Q R” inscribed, S-C in fields
Size: 26 mm
Weight: 12.3 grams
(Bust of Nero: Museo Nazionale, Rome)

“He was about the average height, his body marked with spots and malodorous, his hair light blond…His health was good for though indulging in every kind of riotous excess, he was ill but three times in all during the fourteen years of his reign.” –Seutonius Life of Nero LI

Upon the death of Claudius in AD 54, 16 year-old Nero was accepted as the next emperor. At first, he pampered the senate, made financial promises to the praetorian guard, and generally appeared to be headed in the direction of the superior reign of the divine Augustus. Problems soon became evident upon the poisoning of Britannicus, Claudius’ son. The murder of Nero’s mother, Agrippina, in AD 59 was the single most notoriously sordid act of the emperor’s entire reign. Still, he was noted for numerous other disdainful exploits as well. Nero became infatuated with Poppaea, the wife of a close friend, Marcus Otho. He had Otho appointed governor of Lusitania and soon began an affair with Poppaea. His marriage to Octavia, of course, was a problem as well, so Nero had her exiled on the island of Pandateria in AD 62. There she was accused of adultery and subsequently killed not long after. Sadly, in AD 65, while throwing a temper tantrum, Nero kicked a pregnant Poppaea to death. He did remarry again, but eventually became lovers with the boy Sporus who resembled Poppaea.

“Rumour had it that he used to roam the streets after dark, visiting taverns with his friends, mugging people in the street, attacking women, and thieving from shops and stalls. He was also accused of abusing married women and freeborn boys.” – from Chronicle of the Roman Emperors by Chris Scarre (1995)

Nero’s reign is marked by a time of financial bleeding of the imperial coffers. His “projects” and excesses were so vast, that the emperor needed to find money wherever he could. One of his most heinous rampages saw him coercing wealthy citizens to will their possessions and fortunes to him prior to forcing them to commit suicide. The Great Fire of AD 64, which started in the neighborhood of the Circus Maximus and spread rapidly to 10 of Rome’s 14 regions, brought the emperor’s popularity further down as tensions reached the boiling point. This is partially due to the fact that he diverted the blame for the fire in the direction of an emerging religious “cult”, the Christians (who were persecuted unmercifully). It is said that he even tied some Christians to posts and had them tarred and lit to illuminate his parties in the royal gardens. Later several conspiracies were unraveled and quelled, but in the end, Nero pushed his luck too far. The revolts of Vindex, Rufus, and Galba were the beginning of the end for the emperor. He was abandoned by his guards and found himself alone at the palace. One of his freedmen, Phaon, led him out of the city to a villa. There Nero committed suicide by stabbing himself in the neck (although his private secretary Epaphroditus finished the job). His last words were, “What an artist the world is losing!” He died in AD 68 at age 30.
4 commentsNoah
Eudoxia.JPG
Eudoxia Wife of Arcadius42 views
Reverse: Victory inscribing chi-rho on shield. Constantinople mint. Aelia Eudoxia was the daughter of a Frankish officer serving in the Roman army. In 395, through the efforts of a palace eunuch, she was married to emperor Arcadius (r. 383-408). She exerted a strong influence over her husband and also bore 5 children, including future emperor Theodosius II. Eudoxia died from a miscarriage in 404.

17mm and weighs 2.4g,
Marjan E
JET_Reich_Omnibus_Non_Sibi.jpg
France. Omnibus Non Sibi17 viewsFeuardent 13419; Hennin Plate XXV 244-245 var. (placement of pellets); LaTour 2306 Plate XXXVI, 9 var. (placement of pellets)

Jeton, brass; minted in 1791 by Johann Christian Reich (active 1758-1814) in Nuremburg;
24 mm., 180°

Obv: LVD • XVI D • G FR -- ET• NAV • REX, bust of Louis XVI facing left, REICH on shoulder.

Rev: OMNIBUS NON SIBI • (=for everyone but not for him), a basin with a water fountain in the middle, • IETON • (with pellet beneath the E) in exergue.

On October 5, 1789 Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were imprisoned by a Parisian crowd in the Tuileries Palace in Paris. On June 21, 1791, he and his family attempted an unsuccessful flight to Varennes. This jeton was minted during the king's captivity. The legend presumably has revolutionary significance.
Stkp
GaiusRIC33.jpg
Gaius ("Caligula"), RIC 33, Sestertius from A.D.37-38 (three sisters)167 viewsÆ Sestertius (23.4g, Ø 33-34mm, 6h), Rome mint, struck AD 37-38
Obv.: C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laurate head left
Rev.: AGRIPPINA - DRVSILLA - IVLIA (left, above and right) S C (ex.), Caligula's three sisters: Agrippina (Jr.), the eldest sister, as Securitas, leaning on column, holding cornucopiae, and placing left hand on Drusilla's shoulder; Drusilla, the middle sister, as Concordia, holding patera and cornucopiae; and Julia Livilla, the youngest, as Fortuna, holding rudder and cornucopiae.
RIC 33 (R); Mattingly (BMCRE) 36, 37; Cohen 4 (25 Fr.); Sear (Roman Coins & their Values) 1800
ex Harlan J. Berk, Buy/Bid Sale 130 (2002)

Addtional information from H.J. Berk: This specimen in the style of a provincial branch mint, apparently rarer than those in Rome-mint style. Very slightly granular.

This type was produced on two occasions, a first issue in 37-38, and a second in 39-40. This example belongs to the first, issued when the three women were all still alive. Drusilla, Caligula's favourite sister (the one with whom he is said to have had an incestuous relationship), died tragically on June 10, 38, nearly three months after the last coins of the first issue were struck. By the time the second issue was produced (beginning March 18, 39), Drusilla had been accorded the status of a goddess, providing the curious circumstance of a goddess being portrayed in the guise of a personification. Life in the palace worsened after Drusilla's death and Caligula's affection for his remaining two sisters declined.
Drusilla married to Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, who had also been Caligula's lover. At least after Drusilla died, Lepidus extended his sexual liaisons to include Agrippina and Julia Livilla, his former sisters-in-law. By late in 39 this web of relationships seems to have evolved into a failed plot by Lepidus against Caligula, who executed Lepidus and sent his two sisters into exile out of their suspected complicity. All of this palace intrigue occurred in the midst of the second issue of 'three sisters' sestertii, the production of which Caligula probably halted immediately since of the three sisters shown, one was dead and two were in exile for having plotted against his life. Examples of this second issue are excessively rare (RIC 41:R4).
3 commentsCharles S
Generalgouvernement_1941_Building_Set.JPG
German Occupation of Poland: Complete Set of Buildings, Issued Aug-Sep-1941 (Michel Deutschland-Spezial #66-#70)10 viewsThis series was issued in Aug-Sep 1941. These stamps are similar to #41, #43, #46, and #51, but in different colors and values. The stamps depict:

8 Gr -- Sandomiersk-Bastion, Krakow Castle
12 Gr -- Yard of the Old Krakow University with Copernicus Monument
30 Gr -- Brigitte Church, Lublin
48 Gr -- Sandomierz City Hall
1 Zł -- Bruehl Palace, Warsaw
SpongeBob
05-04-06_1143.jpg
Germany, Trier - Basilika453 viewsLater on, the archbishop used it as his administrative center and it was enlarged by three palace wings after 1614W. Kutschenko
941673.jpg
Greece, Crete - Phaistos264 viewsMinoan palaceJohny SYSEL
23438258.jpg
Greece, Crete, Knossos - palace256 viewscenter of Minoan culture - the first civilization in Europe
Old palace is from 19th to 16th centuries BC
Johny SYSEL
23438234.jpg
Greece, Crete, Knossos - palace252 viewscenter of Minoan culture - the first civilization in Europe
Old palace is from 19th to 16th centuries BC
Johny SYSEL
imgonline-com-ua-twotoone-ICvmYUEhNj7ZxW-Hadrian_dupondius.jpg
Hadrian (Augustus) Coin: Brass Dupondius 5 viewsHADRIANVS AVGVSTVS - Radiate head right, with slight drapery
COS SC below - Pegasus running right
Exergue:


Mint: Rome (124-128 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 11.15g / 25mm / 180
References:
RIC II 658
Cohen 436cf
BMC 1330
Acquisition/Sale: adamfrisco eBay $0.00 02/18
Notes: Oct 10, 18 - The Gary R. Wilson Collection

One look at Medusa would turn a man to stone. Bellerophon slew Medusa with one blow of his sword. From her blood sprang Pegasus. Minerva gave Bellerophon a golden bridle with which he caught Pegasus. Later he placed the head of Medusa on Minerva's shield to repay her. But Bellerophon grew proud and sought to ride Pegasus to the Palace of Jupiter in the heavens. Angered, Jupiter, sent an insect to sting Pegasus, causing the winged steed to throw Bellerophon to his death.
Gary W2
her-rav1a.jpg
Heraclius, Follis, Ravenna mint, 630-631 AD (year 21), Sear 91425 viewsHeraclius (610-641 AD)

630-631 AD (year 21)

Follis

Obverse: DD NN HЄRACLIVS ЄT HЄRA CONST PP AVCC (or similar), Heraclius, crowned, in military attire and holding long cross, standing facing, foot on prostrate figure (a Persian?) below; to right, Heraclius Constantine, wearing crown and chlamys, holding globus cruciger, standing facing

Reverse: Large M; Above, cross; To left, ANNO; To right, XXI ; Exergus, RAV

Ravenna mint

This issue commemorates the victory of Heraclius over the Sasanid kingdom in 629 AD.

After years of war between Romans and Sasanids, in 612, Heraclius launched a major counter-offensive in Syria in 613. He was decisively defeated outside Antioch by Shahrbaraz and Shahin, and the Roman position collapsed. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine and Egypt and to devastate Anatolia. Meanwhile, the Avars and Slavs took advantage of the situation to overrun the Balkans, bringing the Roman Empire to the brink of destruction.
During these years, Heraclius strove to rebuild his army, slashing non-military expenditures, devaluing the currency and melting down Church plate, with the backing of Patriarch Sergius, to raise the necessary funds to continue the war. In 622, Heraclius left Constantinople, entrusting the city to Sergius and general Bonus as regents of his son. He assembled his forces in Asia Minor and, after conducting exercises to revive their morale, he launched a new counter-offensive, which took on the character of a holy war. In the Caucasus he inflicted a defeat on an army led by a Persian-allied Arab chief and then won a victory over the Persians under Shahrbaraz. Following a lull in 623, while he negotiated a truce with the Avars, Heraclius resumed his campaigns in the East in 624 and routed an army led by Khosrau at Ganzak in Atropatene. In 625 he defeated the generals Shahrbaraz, Shahin and Shahraplakan in Armenia, and in a surprise attack that winter he stormed Shahrbaraz's headquarters and attacked his troops in their winter billets. Supported by a Persian army commanded by Shahrbaraz, the Avars and Slavs unsuccessfully besieged Constantinople in 626, while a second Persian army under Shahin suffered another crushing defeat at the hands of Heraclius' brother Theodore. Meanwhile, Heraclius formed an alliance with the Turks, who took advantage of the dwindling strength of the Persians to ravage their territories in the Caucasus. Late in 627, Heraclius launched a winter offensive into Mesopotamia, where, despite the desertion of the Turkish contingent that had accompanied him, he defeated the Persians at the Battle of Nineveh. Continuing south along the Tigris, he sacked Khosrau's great palace at Dastagird and was only prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal. Discredited by this series of disasters, Khosrau was overthrown and killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with a majestic ceremony in 629.


Sear 914, D.O. 297, B.M.C. 452, T. 282, B.N. 5, M.I.B. 253a.

RRR

VF

6,98 g.
L.e.
her-rav1a~0.jpg
Heraclius, Follis, Ravenna mint, 630-631 AD (year 21), Sear 914, celebrating the defeat of the Sasanid kingdom and the restoration of the True Cross to Jerusalem. 103 viewsHeraclius (610-641 AD)

630-631 AD (year 21)

Follis

Obverse: DD NN HЄRACLIVS ЄT HЄRA CONST PP AVCC (or similar), Heraclius, crowned, in military attire and holding long cross, standing facing, foot on prostrate figure (a Persian?) below; to right, Heraclius Constantine, wearing crown and chlamys, holding globus cruciger, standing facing

Reverse: Large M; Above, cross; To left, ANNO; To right, XXI ; Exergus, RAV

Ravenna mint

This issue commemorates the victory of Heraclius over the Sasanid kingdom in 629 AD.

After years of war between Romans and Sasanids, in 612, Heraclius launched a major counter-offensive in Syria in 613. He was decisively defeated outside Antioch by Shahrbaraz and Shahin, and the Roman position collapsed. Over the following decade the Persians were able to conquer Palestine and Egypt and to devastate Anatolia. Meanwhile, the Avars and Slavs took advantage of the situation to overrun the Balkans, bringing the Roman Empire to the brink of destruction.
During these years, Heraclius strove to rebuild his army, slashing non-military expenditures, devaluing the currency and melting down Church plate, with the backing of Patriarch Sergius, to raise the necessary funds to continue the war. In 622, Heraclius left Constantinople, entrusting the city to Sergius and general Bonus as regents of his son. He assembled his forces in Asia Minor and, after conducting exercises to revive their morale, he launched a new counter-offensive, which took on the character of a holy war. In the Caucasus he inflicted a defeat on an army led by a Persian-allied Arab chief and then won a victory over the Persians under Shahrbaraz. Following a lull in 623, while he negotiated a truce with the Avars, Heraclius resumed his campaigns in the East in 624 and routed an army led by Khosrau at Ganzak in Atropatene. In 625 he defeated the generals Shahrbaraz, Shahin and Shahraplakan in Armenia, and in a surprise attack that winter he stormed Shahrbaraz's headquarters and attacked his troops in their winter billets. Supported by a Persian army commanded by Shahrbaraz, the Avars and Slavs unsuccessfully besieged Constantinople in 626, while a second Persian army under Shahin suffered another crushing defeat at the hands of Heraclius' brother Theodore. Meanwhile, Heraclius formed an alliance with the Turks, who took advantage of the dwindling strength of the Persians to ravage their territories in the Caucasus. Late in 627, Heraclius launched a winter offensive into Mesopotamia, where, despite the desertion of the Turkish contingent that had accompanied him, he defeated the Persians at the Battle of Nineveh. Continuing south along the Tigris, he sacked Khosrau's great palace at Dastagird and was only prevented from attacking Ctesiphon by the destruction of the bridges on the Nahrawan Canal. Discredited by this series of disasters, Khosrau was overthrown and killed in a coup led by his son Kavadh II, who at once sued for peace, agreeing to withdraw from all occupied territories. Heraclius restored the True Cross to Jerusalem with a majestic ceremony in 629.


Sear 914, D.O. 297, B.M.C. 452, T. 282, B.N. 5, M.I.B. 253a.

RRR

VF

6,98 g.
L.e.
gord2~1.jpg
Hercules292 viewsThis medallion of Gordian III represents the third labour of Hercules. This labour was to capture the Hind of Cerynaea, the hind was known as Cerynitis. Eurystheus bestowed this task upon Heracles knowing full well that the animal was the sacred property of Artemis, that meant he would be committing impiety against the goddess. Artemis found a small herd of five while out hunting, she captured four to harness to her chariot, but the fifth escaped to Mount Cerynaea which borders Arcadia and Achaea. The animal was larger than a bull, brazen-hoofed also with huge golden horns or antlers of a stag.
With the hind being swift of foot it took Heracles a whole year to get close to the creature. He tracked the hind through Greece and into Thrace, (in some versions it says the chase took Heracles as far as Istria and the northern lands of the Hyperboreans). Never daunted by the long chase, Heracles was waiting for the hind to tire, this was not to be, and the hind seemed to have plenty of stamina and agility left.
Heracles knew he must disable the creature in some way, then by chance the hind stopped to drink at a river. Taking an arrow and removing the blood of the Hydra from the tip, Heracles took aim and hit the hind in the leg, making it lame, this made catching the creature much easier. Heracles bound the wound and then set off on his long journey home. On the way to the palace of Eurystheus he was met by the goddess Artemis and her twin brother Apollo. On seeing the Ceryneian Hind, the huntress accused Heracles of sacrilege. Heracles pleaded with them, saying it was a necessity to return the sacred hind to the court of king Eurystheus, as he was bound by the labor imposed on him. Artemis granted Heracles forgiveness and he was allowed to carry the hind alive to the palace.
Upon bringing the hind to Eurystheus, he was told that it was to become part of the King's menagerie. Heracles knew that he had to return the hind as he had promised, so he agreed to hand it over on the condition that Eurystheus himself come out and take it from him. The King came out, but the moment Heracles let the hind go, it sprinted back to its mistress, and Heracles left saying that Eurystheus had not been quick enough

5 commentsbenito
Herodwithscriptcopy.jpg
Herod I (the Great)111 viewsHerod I (the Great). 40-4 BCE. Æ 8 Prutot, 22mm, 5.82 g. Samaria mint. Dated RY 3 (40 BCE). O: Ceremonial bowl (lebes) on tripod; date L Γ (Year 3) to left, monogram to right. Greek Inscription: BAΣIΛEΩΣ HPΩΔOΥ (of King Herod.) R: Military helmet with cheek guards and straps, star above, palms flanking. Meshorer 44; Hendin 486; RPC I 4901.


Although there is debate over exactly what year “Year 3” refers to, the monogram TP may well indicate the third year of Herod’s tetrarchy. Josephus writes that Mark Antony appointed Herod as tetrarch (TETPAPXHΣ) in 42 B.C.E., which would bring us to 40/39 B.C.E. This is also when Herod was crowned as King of Judaea by the Roman Senate with the approval of Octavian (soon to be Augustus.)

This dating helps to explain the meaning of the obverse image of a soldier’s helmet. Although Herod was appointed as king, the Hasmonaean king, Mattathias Antigonus, was still ruling over Judea and did not recognize Roman authority. Herod would therefore have to raise an army, which he did, and, after a three month siege, conquered Jerusalem in 37 B.C.E.


Although Herod accomplished a great deal during his thirty-year + reign, including the building of massive palaces and amphitheaters and enlarging the temple, he is most remembered as a jealous, paranoid murderer, willing to do anything to maintain his political power.

Herod ordered the death of his Hasmonaean wife Mariamne and her brother Aristobulus. Later he had his two sons by Mariamne killed as well. This effectively eliminated the most serious threats to his power in Judaea. Caesar Augustus observed that it was safer to be Herod’s pig than Herod’s son. His wickedness reached its peak years later when, in fear of a rival king, he ordered the killing of all the boys two years of age and under in Bethlehem.

The Bible writer Matthew records Jesus’ birth taking place, “in the days of Herod the king.” A star led astrologers to Herod proclaiming the birth “of the one born king of the Jews.” The resulting slaughter of these children fulfilled the prophesy at Jeremiah 31:15, “This is what Jehovah has said, ‘In Ra′mah a voice is being heard, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping over her sons. She has refused to be comforted over her sons, because they are no more.’”
4 commentsNemonater
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Hsuan-T'ung 49 viewsThe Ching Dynasty,
Emperor PUYE
AD 1908-1912
1 cash
Reverse: "BOO" on the left and "CIOWAN" (Board of Revenue mint) on the right.
24.2mm, 4.63g

Puye was the last emperor of China. He was only three years old when he come to the throne, then was forced to abdicate to the forces of the Republic 1912, but continued to live in the Imperial palace until 1924. In 1932 when the Japanese made him president of Manchukuo, and then changed his title to Emperor of Manchukuo in 1934, with reign title: K'ANG-TE.

Samson L2
Iran009.jpg
Iran, Pasargadae (Fars province)61 viewsPart of one of Kyros’ two royal palaces, the audience hall.
Sections of massive columns and a relief showing a bull being led by a guard. The 2 square covered structures in the center may have been put up later as protection for exposed column bases.
1 commentsSchatz
Iran010.jpg
Iran, Pasargadae (Fars province), a UNESCO World Heritage Site36 viewsA massive wall of the fortified terrace at Pasargadae called Throne of Solomon’s Mother
On a plain surrounded by gently rolling hills, about 25 mi north of Persepolis, king Kyros II (the Great) founded the first capital of the multinational Achaemenid empire in the middle of the 6th cent. BC. What is left of it are the remains of 2 royal palaces, a large fortified terrace, and the mausoleum of Kyros II (at the time of my visit heavily scaffolded and therefore unphotographed). After Kyros’ death the capital was used for a while by his successor Kambyses.
Schatz
Caesarea_Maritima.jpg
Israel, Caesarea Maritima 239 viewsThe view north from Herod's Palace, looking over the hippodrome to the ancient port area beyond the distant headland.1 commentsLloyd
Herod__s_Palace_Caesarea_Maritima.jpg
Israel, Caesarea Maritima - Herod's Palace Poolside170 viewsLloyd
s_Palace_CaesareaA.JPG
Israel, Caesarea Maritima - Herod's Villa324 viewsAnother of Herod the Great's many residences.
This one is by the seaside.
Abu Galyon
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Israel, Caesarea Maritima - the less desirable view south from Herod's Palace227 viewsDog's in the palace pool and now this. How the mighty have fallen!Lloyd
Herods_palace.jpg
Israel, Caesarea Maritima - the sweet view from Herod's Palace169 viewsLloyd
Herodion_from_below.JPG
Israel, Herodion211 viewsThe Herodion (Har Hordos) was Herod the Great’s summer palace near Jerusalem and – according to Josephus – the place of his burial. (A possible royal sarcophagus was discovered in 2007 but the identification with Herod is not certain.) There are two distinct parts: the Upper Herodion, a fortress complex set within a mountain top, and the Lower Herodion, the palace proper with several ancillary buildings (bath house, stadium, etc.) In the photograph, the Upper Herodion hill dominates the background, while the foreground shows part of a substantial colonnaded pool (70m x 45m) with a gazebo-like structure set at its centre. The area now in use as a car park would have been a formal garden in Herod’s day. Abu Galyon
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Israel, Jericho - Herod's Palace181 viewsThe ruins at Tulul Abu el-Alaiq, site of Herod the Great’s winter retreat on the outskirts of Jericho. Jericho is over 300m below sea level and hence pleasantly warm in winter, even when it's freezing in Jerusalem. Around 35 BCE, Aristobulus, the last Hasmonaean high-priest and Herod’s brother-in-law, was murdered here on Herod’s orders, drowned in a fish pond. The palace and grounds extended across the Wadi Qilt (the seasonal river-bed in the foreground of the picture), which was spanned by a bridge. Abu Galyon
Masada_-_Roman_Encampment.jpg
Israel, Masada - Roman Encampment and Seige Ramp163 viewsLooking down on the stone wall outlines of one of the Roman encampments (middle upper right) that surrounded the fortress of Masada (another of Herod's Palaces in its glory days). The Roman seige ramp is to the lower left.Lloyd
Domus_Flavia_and_Circo_Massimo.jpg
Italy, Rome, Flavian Palace - Domus Flavia (and Circo Massimo)139 viewsThe Flavian Palace, also known as Domus Flavia, is a part of the vast residential complex of the Roman Emperors on the Palatine Hill in Rome. It was completed in 92 AD in the reign of Titus Flavius Domitianus, more commonly known as the Emperor Domitian, and attributed to his master architect, Rabirius. Well known for its grandeur, the Flavian Palace was more commonly used for purposes of state, while the Domus Augustana, an enormous, lavishly ornamented palace south of the Flavian Palace, was the Emperor’s primary residence.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flavian_Palace

by Doug Coldwell
Joe Sermarini
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Italy, Rome, Palace of Domitian177 viewson PalatinJohny SYSEL
Temple_of_Vesta_%28Rome%29.jpg
Italy, Rome, Temple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum.74 viewsTemple of Vesta in the Forum Romanum in Rome. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Vesta. All temples to Vesta were round, and had entrances facing east to symbolize connection between Vesta’s fire and the sun as sources of life. The Temple of Vesta represents the site of ancient cult activity as far back as 7th century BCE. Numa Pompilius is believed to have built this temple along with the original Regia and House of the Vestal Virgins in its original form. Around the Temple stood The Sacred Grove, in which also there was a graveyard for the priests and virgins. It was one of the earliest structures located in the Roman Forum although its present reincarnation is the result of subsequent rebuilding. Instead of a cult statue in the cella there was a hearth which held the sacred flame. The temple was the storehouse for the legal wills and documents of Roman Senators and cult objects such as the Palladium. The Palladium was a statue of Athena (Roman Minerva) believed to have been brought by Aeneas from Troy; the statue was felt to be one of the Pignora Imperii, or pledges of imperium, of Ancient Rome. According to Dionysius of Halicarnassus, the Romans believed that the Sacred fire of Vesta was closely tied to the fortunes of the city and viewed its extinction as a portent of disaster. The sacred flame was put out in 394 by Theodosius I after he won the Battle of the Frigidus, defeating Eugenius and Arbogast. The Temple of Vesta remained reasonably intact until the Renaissance. However, in 1549 the building was completely demolished and its marble reused in churches and papal palaces. The section standing today was reconstructed in the 1930s during the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini.

By Wknight94, 26 April 2008. Source:
Joe Sermarini
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Italy, Sorrento, Hilton Sorrento Palace Hotel lobby22 viewsThe hotel lobby contained an marble torso. The hollow in the neck showed that the head could be removed and possibly changed, as could the left arm, possibly to allow the figure to be shown to be holding different attributes as required.

From my visit to Sorrento in August 2015
maridvnvm
Italy- Rome -circusmaximus model.jpg
Italy- Rome -circusmaximus model58 viewsA circus designates a circle or course for chariot racing. Aside from the Circus Maximus, the largest and oldest, there were three other circuses in Rome: the Circus Flaminius (221 BC), which actually was not a circus at all but a public square; the Circus Gaii et Neronis (circa AD 40), where many of the Christian martyrdoms occurred and on which St. Peter's basilica was built (the obelisk brought to Rome by Caligula to adorn its spina still stands in the square); and the Circus Maxentius (AD 309), built as part of his villa on the Via Appia and the best preserved.

In this view, the starting gates are in the foreground, with the royal box dominating the viewing standing on the left" or "and the royal box dominating the viewing stands on the left. The palace overlooks the Circus from the Palatine Hill.

The Circus Maximus was another public entertainment center, and was just a single, specific facility in Rome. The Maximus was used mostly for chariot racing. It could seat 250,000 people! There were other circuses in ancient Rome.

This oval basin, nearly 600 meters long, is almost entirely filled in with dirt. It was once a race track. It was made in the time of the Etruscan kings (presumably Tarquinio Prisco). Augustus adorned the brick structure with an imperial stage, which was rebuilt by Trajan, enlarged by Caracalla and restored by Constantine. During the reign of Constantine, the Circus could hold more than 200,000 spectators. Today only the outline remains (the area it occupied is now a public garden).


The most popular events were the chariot races held in the Circus Maximus, an arena that held up to 300,000 spectators. Competing teams with brightly decorated horses attracted fierce loyalty, and up to a dozen four-horse chariots crowded together through the dangerous turns, lap after lap. Successful charioteers became so wealthy that even emperors envied their riches.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Circus Maximo seen from outside 1.jpg
Italy- Rome- Circus Maximo seen from outside 134 viewsCircus Maximus
The Circus Maximus is an ancient arena and mass entertainment venue located in Rome, Italy.

Situated in the valley between the Aventine and Palatine hills the location was first utilised for public games and entertainment by the Etruscan kings of Rome. Certainly, the first games of the Ludi Romani (Roman Games) were staged on the location by Tarquinius Priscus, the first Etruscan ruler of Rome. Somewhat later, the Circus was the site of public games and festivals influenced by the Greeks in the 2nd century BC. Meeting the demands of the Roman citizenry for mass public entertainment on a lavish scale, Julius Caesar expanded the Circus around 50 BC, after which the track measured approximately 600 metres in length, 225 metres in breadth and could accommodate an estimated 150,000 seated spectators (many more, perhaps an equal number again, could view the games by standing, crowding and lining the adjoining hills). Later, Titus Flavius built the Arch of Titus above the closed end, on the Forum Romanum, while the emperor Domitian connected his new palace on the Palatine to the Circus in order that he could more easily view the races. The emperor Trajan later added another 5000 seats and expanded the emperor's seating in order to increase his public visibility during the games.

The most important event at the Circus was chariot racing. The track could hold 12 chariots, and the two sides of the track were separated by a raised median termed the spina. Statues of various gods were set up on the spina, and Augustus erected an Egyptian obelisk on it as well. At either end of the spina was a turning post, the meta, around which chariots made dangerous turns at speed. One end of the track extended further back than the other, to allow the chariots to line up to begin the race. Here there were starting gates, or carceres, which staggered the chariots so that each travelled the same distance to the first turn.

Very little now remains of the Circus, except for the now grass-covered racing track and the spina. Some of the starting gates remain, but most of the seating has disappeared, the materials no doubt employed for building other structures in medieval Rome. This obelisk was removed in the 16th century by Pope Sixtus V and placed in the Piazza del Popolo. Excavation of the site began in the 19th century, followed by a partial restoration, but there are yet to be any truly comprehensive excavations conducted within its grounds.

The Circus Maximus retained the honour of being the first and largest circus in Rome, but it was not the only example: other Roman circuses included the Circus Flaminius (in which the Ludi Plebeii were held) and the Circus of Maxentius.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Coliseum constructed by Flavius and seen from outside~0.jpg
Italy- Rome- Coliseum constructed by Flavius and seen from outside53 viewsColosseum
The Colosseum or Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (lat. Amphitheatrum Flavium), is an amphitheatre in Rome, capable of seating 50,000 spectators, which was once used for gladiatorial combat. It was built by Emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, between AD 72 and AD 90. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea. The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero which once stood nearby.

Construction
The construction of the Colosseum began under the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed by his son, Titus, in the 80s AD. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea, which had been built after the great fire of Rome in AD 64. Some historians are of the opinion that the construction of the Colosseum might have been financed by the looting of King Herod the Great's Temple in Jerusalem which occurred about AD 70. Dio Cassius said that 9,000 wild animals were killed in the one hundred days of celebration which inaugurated the amphitheatre opening. The arena floor was covered with sand to sop up the blood.

The Colosseum hosted large-scale spectacular games that included fights between animals (venationes), the killing of prisoners by animals and other executions (noxii), naval battles (naumachiae, via flooding the arena), and combats between gladiators (munera). It has been estimated that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people died in the Colosseum games.

History of the name Colosseum
The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero nearby. This statue was later remodeled by Nero's successors into the likeness of Sol, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown. The link to Nero's colossus seems to have been forgotten over time, and the name was corrupted to Coliseum in the Middle Ages. Both names are frequently used in modern English, but "Flavian Amphitheatre" is generally unknown. In Italy, it is still known as il colosseo, but other Romance languages have gone for forms such as le colisée and el coliseo.

Description
The Colosseum measured 48 metres high, 188 metres long, and 156 metres wide. The wooden arena floor was 86 metres by 54 metres, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner, and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow.

The Colosseum was ingeniously designed. It has been said that most spectacle venues (stadiums, and similar) have been influenced by features of the Colosseum's structure, even well into modern times. Seating (cavea) was divided into different sections. The podium, the first level of seating, was for the Roman senators, and the emperor's private, cushioned, marble box was also located on this level. Above the podium was the maenianum primum, for the other Roman aristocrats who were not in the senate. The third level, the maenianum secundum, was divided into three sections. The lower part (the immum) was for wealthy citizens, while the upper part (the summum) was for poor citizens. A third, wooden section (the maenianum secundum in legneis) was a wooden structure at the very top of the building, added by Domitian. It was standing room only, and was for lower class women.

Underneath the arena was the hypogeum (literally, "underground"), a network of tunnels and cages where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. There were also numerous trap doors in the arena floor for the various animals hidden underneath. The arena floor no longer exists, and the hypogeum walls and corridors are clearly visible in the ruins of the building. The entire base of the Colosseum was equivalent to 6 acres (160,000 m²).

A most ingenious part of the Colosseum was its cooling system. It was roofed using a canvas covered net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. This roof sloped down towards the center to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the audience. Sailors manipulated the ropes. The Colosseum also had vomitoria - passageways that open into a tier of seats from below or behind. The vomitoria of the Colosseum in Rome were designed so that the immense venue could fill in 15 minutes, and be evacuated in 5 minutes. Each entrance and exit was numbered, as was each staircase. There were 80 entrances at ground level, 76 for ordinary spectators, two for the imperial family, and two for the gladiators. The vomitoria quickly dispersed people into their seats and upon conclusion of the event disgorged them with abruptness into the surrounding streets - giving rise, presumably, to the name.

Later history
The Colosseum was in continuous use until 217, when it was damaged by fire after it was struck by lightning. It was restored in 238 and gladiatorial games continued until Christianity gradually put an end to those parts of them which included the death of humans. The building was used for various purposes, mostly venationes (animal hunts), until 524. Two earthquakes (in 442 and 508) caused a great damage to the structure. In the Middle Ages, it was severely damaged by further earthquakes (847 and 1349), and was then converted into a fortress. The marble that originally covered it was burned to make quicklime. During the Renaissance, but mostly in the Baroque age, the ruling Roman families (from which many popes came) used it as a source of marble for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and the private Palazzi. A famous description is in the saying Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barberini; what the Barbarians weren't able to do, was done by the Barberinis (one such family).

The Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) wrote

Quandiu stabit coliseus, stabit et Roma; (As long as the Colosseum stands, so shall Rome)
Quando cadit coliseus, cadet et Roma (When the Colosseum falls, so shall Rome)
Quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus. (When Rome falls, so shall the world)
Note that he used coliseus, i.e. he made the name a masculine noun. This form is no longer in use.

In 1749, as a very early example of historic preservation, Pope Benedict XIV forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry. He consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who were thought to have perished there. Later popes initiated various stabilization and restoration projects. Every Good Friday the pope leads a procession within the ellipse in memory of Christian martyrs. However, there is no historical evidence that Christians were tortured and killed in the Colosseum [2]. It is presumed that the majority of Christian martyrdom in Rome took place at the Circus Maximus.

In recent years, the local authorities of Rome have illuminated the Colosseum all night long whenever someone condemned to the death penalty gets commuted or released.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Coliseum seen from outside~0.jpg
Italy- Rome- Coliseum seen from outside48 viewsColosseum
The Colosseum or Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (lat. Amphitheatrum Flavium), is an amphitheatre in Rome, capable of seating 50,000 spectators, which was once used for gladiatorial combat. It was built by Emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, between AD 72 and AD 90. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea. The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero which once stood nearby.

Construction
The construction of the Colosseum began under the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed by his son, Titus, in the 80s AD. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea, which had been built after the great fire of Rome in AD 64. Some historians are of the opinion that the construction of the Colosseum might have been financed by the looting of King Herod the Great's Temple in Jerusalem which occurred about AD 70. Dio Cassius said that 9,000 wild animals were killed in the one hundred days of celebration which inaugurated the amphitheatre opening. The arena floor was covered with sand to sop up the blood.

The Colosseum hosted large-scale spectacular games that included fights between animals (venationes), the killing of prisoners by animals and other executions (noxii), naval battles (naumachiae, via flooding the arena), and combats between gladiators (munera). It has been estimated that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people died in the Colosseum games.

History of the name Colosseum
The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero nearby. This statue was later remodeled by Nero's successors into the likeness of Sol, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown. The link to Nero's colossus seems to have been forgotten over time, and the name was corrupted to Coliseum in the Middle Ages. Both names are frequently used in modern English, but "Flavian Amphitheatre" is generally unknown. In Italy, it is still known as il colosseo, but other Romance languages have gone for forms such as le colisée and el coliseo.

Description
The Colosseum measured 48 metres high, 188 metres long, and 156 metres wide. The wooden arena floor was 86 metres by 54 metres, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner, and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow.

The Colosseum was ingeniously designed. It has been said that most spectacle venues (stadiums, and similar) have been influenced by features of the Colosseum's structure, even well into modern times. Seating (cavea) was divided into different sections. The podium, the first level of seating, was for the Roman senators, and the emperor's private, cushioned, marble box was also located on this level. Above the podium was the maenianum primum, for the other Roman aristocrats who were not in the senate. The third level, the maenianum secundum, was divided into three sections. The lower part (the immum) was for wealthy citizens, while the upper part (the summum) was for poor citizens. A third, wooden section (the maenianum secundum in legneis) was a wooden structure at the very top of the building, added by Domitian. It was standing room only, and was for lower class women.

Underneath the arena was the hypogeum (literally, "underground"), a network of tunnels and cages where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. There were also numerous trap doors in the arena floor for the various animals hidden underneath. The arena floor no longer exists, and the hypogeum walls and corridors are clearly visible in the ruins of the building. The entire base of the Colosseum was equivalent to 6 acres (160,000 m²).

A most ingenious part of the Colosseum was its cooling system. It was roofed using a canvas covered net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. This roof sloped down towards the center to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the audience. Sailors manipulated the ropes. The Colosseum also had vomitoria - passageways that open into a tier of seats from below or behind. The vomitoria of the Colosseum in Rome were designed so that the immense venue could fill in 15 minutes, and be evacuated in 5 minutes. Each entrance and exit was numbered, as was each staircase. There were 80 entrances at ground level, 76 for ordinary spectators, two for the imperial family, and two for the gladiators. The vomitoria quickly dispersed people into their seats and upon conclusion of the event disgorged them with abruptness into the surrounding streets - giving rise, presumably, to the name.

Later history
The Colosseum was in continuous use until 217, when it was damaged by fire after it was struck by lightning. It was restored in 238 and gladiatorial games continued until Christianity gradually put an end to those parts of them which included the death of humans. The building was used for various purposes, mostly venationes (animal hunts), until 524. Two earthquakes (in 442 and 508) caused a great damage to the structure. In the Middle Ages, it was severely damaged by further earthquakes (847 and 1349), and was then converted into a fortress. The marble that originally covered it was burned to make quicklime. During the Renaissance, but mostly in the Baroque age, the ruling Roman families (from which many popes came) used it as a source of marble for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and the private Palazzi. A famous description is in the saying Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barberini; what the Barbarians weren't able to do, was done by the Barberinis (one such family).

The Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) wrote

Quandiu stabit coliseus, stabit et Roma; (As long as the Colosseum stands, so shall Rome)
Quando cadit coliseus, cadet et Roma (When the Colosseum falls, so shall Rome)
Quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus. (When Rome falls, so shall the world)
Note that he used coliseus, i.e. he made the name a masculine noun. This form is no longer in use.

In 1749, as a very early example of historic preservation, Pope Benedict XIV forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry. He consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who were thought to have perished there. Later popes initiated various stabilization and restoration projects. Every Good Friday the pope leads a procession within the ellipse in memory of Christian martyrs. However, there is no historical evidence that Christians were tortured and killed in the Colosseum [2]. It is presumed that the majority of Christian martyrdom in Rome took place at the Circus Maximus.

In recent years, the local authorities of Rome have illuminated the Colosseum all night long whenever someone condemned to the death penalty gets commuted or released.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Coliseum seen from outside 1~0.jpg
Italy- Rome- Coliseum seen from outside 145 viewsColosseum
The Colosseum or Coliseum, originally known as the Flavian Amphitheatre (lat. Amphitheatrum Flavium), is an amphitheatre in Rome, capable of seating 50,000 spectators, which was once used for gladiatorial combat. It was built by Emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, between AD 72 and AD 90. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea. The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero which once stood nearby.

Construction
The construction of the Colosseum began under the Emperor Vespasian in AD 72 and was completed by his son, Titus, in the 80s AD. It was built at the site of Nero's enormous palace, the Domus Aurea, which had been built after the great fire of Rome in AD 64. Some historians are of the opinion that the construction of the Colosseum might have been financed by the looting of King Herod the Great's Temple in Jerusalem which occurred about AD 70. Dio Cassius said that 9,000 wild animals were killed in the one hundred days of celebration which inaugurated the amphitheatre opening. The arena floor was covered with sand to sop up the blood.

The Colosseum hosted large-scale spectacular games that included fights between animals (venationes), the killing of prisoners by animals and other executions (noxii), naval battles (naumachiae, via flooding the arena), and combats between gladiators (munera). It has been estimated that between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people died in the Colosseum games.

History of the name Colosseum
The Colosseum's name is derived from a colossus (a 130-foot or 40-metre statue) of Nero nearby. This statue was later remodeled by Nero's successors into the likeness of Sol, the sun god, by adding the appropriate solar crown. The link to Nero's colossus seems to have been forgotten over time, and the name was corrupted to Coliseum in the Middle Ages. Both names are frequently used in modern English, but "Flavian Amphitheatre" is generally unknown. In Italy, it is still known as il colosseo, but other Romance languages have gone for forms such as le colisée and el coliseo.

Description
The Colosseum measured 48 metres high, 188 metres long, and 156 metres wide. The wooden arena floor was 86 metres by 54 metres, and covered by sand. Its elliptical shape kept the players from retreating to a corner, and allowed the spectators to be closer to the action than a circle would allow.

The Colosseum was ingeniously designed. It has been said that most spectacle venues (stadiums, and similar) have been influenced by features of the Colosseum's structure, even well into modern times. Seating (cavea) was divided into different sections. The podium, the first level of seating, was for the Roman senators, and the emperor's private, cushioned, marble box was also located on this level. Above the podium was the maenianum primum, for the other Roman aristocrats who were not in the senate. The third level, the maenianum secundum, was divided into three sections. The lower part (the immum) was for wealthy citizens, while the upper part (the summum) was for poor citizens. A third, wooden section (the maenianum secundum in legneis) was a wooden structure at the very top of the building, added by Domitian. It was standing room only, and was for lower class women.

Underneath the arena was the hypogeum (literally, "underground"), a network of tunnels and cages where gladiators and animals were held before contests began. There were also numerous trap doors in the arena floor for the various animals hidden underneath. The arena floor no longer exists, and the hypogeum walls and corridors are clearly visible in the ruins of the building. The entire base of the Colosseum was equivalent to 6 acres (160,000 m²).

A most ingenious part of the Colosseum was its cooling system. It was roofed using a canvas covered net-like structure made of ropes, with a hole in the center. This roof sloped down towards the center to catch the wind and provide a breeze for the audience. Sailors manipulated the ropes. The Colosseum also had vomitoria - passageways that open into a tier of seats from below or behind. The vomitoria of the Colosseum in Rome were designed so that the immense venue could fill in 15 minutes, and be evacuated in 5 minutes. Each entrance and exit was numbered, as was each staircase. There were 80 entrances at ground level, 76 for ordinary spectators, two for the imperial family, and two for the gladiators. The vomitoria quickly dispersed people into their seats and upon conclusion of the event disgorged them with abruptness into the surrounding streets - giving rise, presumably, to the name.

Later history
The Colosseum was in continuous use until 217, when it was damaged by fire after it was struck by lightning. It was restored in 238 and gladiatorial games continued until Christianity gradually put an end to those parts of them which included the death of humans. The building was used for various purposes, mostly venationes (animal hunts), until 524. Two earthquakes (in 442 and 508) caused a great damage to the structure. In the Middle Ages, it was severely damaged by further earthquakes (847 and 1349), and was then converted into a fortress. The marble that originally covered it was burned to make quicklime. During the Renaissance, but mostly in the Baroque age, the ruling Roman families (from which many popes came) used it as a source of marble for the construction of St. Peter's Basilica and the private Palazzi. A famous description is in the saying Quod non fecerunt Barbari, fecerunt Barberini; what the Barbarians weren't able to do, was done by the Barberinis (one such family).

The Venerable Bede (c. 672-735) wrote

Quandiu stabit coliseus, stabit et Roma; (As long as the Colosseum stands, so shall Rome)
Quando cadit coliseus, cadet et Roma (When the Colosseum falls, so shall Rome)
Quando cadet Roma, cadet et mundus. (When Rome falls, so shall the world)
Note that he used coliseus, i.e. he made the name a masculine noun. This form is no longer in use.

In 1749, as a very early example of historic preservation, Pope Benedict XIV forbade the use of the Colosseum as a quarry. He consecrated the building to the Passion of Christ and installed Stations of the Cross, declaring it sanctified by the blood of the Christian martyrs who were thought to have perished there. Later popes initiated various stabilization and restoration projects. Every Good Friday the pope leads a procession within the ellipse in memory of Christian martyrs. However, there is no historical evidence that Christians were tortured and killed in the Colosseum [2]. It is presumed that the majority of Christian martyrdom in Rome took place at the Circus Maximus.

In recent years, the local authorities of Rome have illuminated the Colosseum all night long whenever someone condemned to the death penalty gets commuted or released.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Forum Romanum and Palatino~0.jpg
Italy- Rome- Forum Romanum and Palatino34 viewsPalatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy.

Legend tells us that Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. (See Founding of Rome for a more detailed account of the myth.)

The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine. The ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus. The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- Largo (di Torre) Argentina.jpg
Italy- Rome- Largo (di Torre) Argentina47 viewsLargo di Torre Argentina is a square in Rome that hosts four Republican Roman temples, and the reminings of Pompey's Theater. It is located in the ancient Campus Martius.

Common knowledge refers the name of the square to a Torre Argentina, which is not related to the South American country, but to the city of Strasbourg, whose original name was Argentoratum. In 1503, in fact, John Burckhardt from Strasbourg built in via del Sudario a palace (now at number 44), Casa del Bucardo, annexing a tower, called Torre Argentoratina from the name of his hometown.

After Italian unification, it was decided to reconstruct part of Rome (1909), demolishing the zone of Torre Argentina, where the remainings of a medieval tower, Torre Papito or Torre Boccamazzi, and of one temple were to be included in the new buildings. During the works (1927), however, the colossal head and arms of a marble statue were discovered. The archeological investigation brought to light the presence of a holy area, dating to the Republican era, with four temples and part of Pompey's Theater.

The buildings
The four temples, designated today by the letters A, B, C, and D, front onto a paved street, which was reconstructed in the imperial era, after 80 AD fire.

Temple A was built in the 3rd century BC, and is probably the Temple of Juturna built by Gaius Lutatius Catulus after his victory against Carthaginians in 241 BC. It was later rebuilt into a church, whoes aprses are still present.

Temple B, a circular temple with six columns remaining, was built by Quintus Lutatius Catulus in 101 BC to celebrate his victory over Cimbri; it was Aedes Fortunae Huiusce Diei, a temple devoted to the Luck of the Current Day. The colossal statue found during excavations and now kept in the Capitoline Museums was the statue of the goddess herself. Only the head, the arms, and the legs were of marble: the other parts, covered by the dress, were of bronze.

Temple C is the most ancient of the three, dating back to 4th or 3rd century BC, and was probably devoted to Feronia the ancient Italic goddess of fertility. After the fire of 80 AD, this temple was restored, and the white and black mosaic of the inner temple cell dates back to this restoration.

Temple D is the largest of the four, dates back to 2nd century BC with Late Republican restorations, and was devoted to Lares Permarini, but only a small part of it has been excavated (a street covers the most of it).

Teatro Argentina is a 18th century theater, where Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville debuted in 1816, as well as Giuseppe Verdi's I due Foscari (1844) and La battaglia di Legnano (1849).

Located in the Largo Argentina is the Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter for homeless cats (of which Rome has many). The presence of the shelter proves to be a point of interest for both tourists and locals, as the historical area abounds with various breeds of cat, cavorting and lounging about on the ancient (and semi-ancient) ruins.
John Schou
Italy- Rome- The Palatino.jpg
Italy- Rome- The Palatino27 viewsPalatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy.

Legend tells us that Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. (See Founding of Rome for a more detailed account of the myth.)

The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine. The ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus. The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the 3 columns of the temple of the Castores~0.jpg
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the 3 columns of the temple of the Castores27 viewsPalatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy.

Legend tells us that Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. (See Founding of Rome for a more detailed account of the myth.)

The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine. The ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus. The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the 3 columns of the temple of the Castores and view of the temple of Saturn.jpg
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the 3 columns of the temple of the Castores and view of the temple of Saturn50 viewsPalatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy.

Legend tells us that Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. (See Founding of Rome for a more detailed account of the myth.)

The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine. The ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus. The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

John Schou
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the Forum Romanum.jpg
Italy- Rome- The Palatino and view of the Forum Romanum24 viewsPalatine Hill
The Palatine Hill (Latin Palatium) is the centermost of the seven hills of Rome and is one of the most ancient parts of the city of Rome in Italy.

Legend tells us that Rome has its origins on the Palatine. Indeed, recent excavations show that people lived there since approximately 1000 BC. According to Roman mythology, the Palatine hill was where Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive. According to this legend, the shepherd Faustulus found the infants and, with his wife, Acca Larentia, raised the children. When they were older this is where Romulus decided to build Rome. (See Founding of Rome for a more detailed account of the myth.)

The emperors of Rome built their palaces on the Palatine. The ruins of the palaces of Caesar Augustus, Tiberius and Diocletianus are still to be seen. The term 'palace' itself stems from Palatium.

Palatine hill is some 70 meters high and looks down on one side upon the Forum Romanum and on the other side upon the Circus Maximus. The site is now a large open-air museum and can be visited during day time. The entrance can be found near the Arch of Titus on the Forum Romanum.

John Schou
PET170_Qasr_al-Bint.jpg
Jordan, Petra - Qasr al-Bint137 viewsIt’s known locally by the name of Qasr al-Bint al-Faroun, ‘the Palace of Pharaoh’s Daughter’, but it’s really a Nabataean temple, probably originally dedicated to Dushrat. The Qasr al-Bint is one of the best preserved free-standing buildings in Petra and stands in a sacred precinct at the far end of the city’s Cardo. In front of the temple steps is a substantial open-air altar platform. The area still further in the foreground of the picture is now used as a Bedouin taxi rank, where the tired tourist who no longer wishes to walk can hire a camel or donkey for the trip back to the start of the Siq. Abu Galyon
Rama 9_comm.jpg
King Rama 9 of Thailand, 60th Anniversary25 viewsKing Rama 9 of Thailand, 60 th Anniversary Celebrations of His Majesty's Accession to the Throne. These coins were issued on 9 June 2006.

His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej was born December 5, 1927; he is officially styled "the Great" (Thai: มหาราช, Maharaja) and also known as Rama IX. His name, Bhumibol Adulyadej, means "Strength of the Land, Incomparable Power". Having reigned since June 9, 1946, Bhumibol is the world's longest-serving current Head of State and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.

Although Bhumibol is a constitutional monarch, he has several times made decisive interventions in Thai politics, including the political crisis of 2005-2006. Bhumibol has been widely credited with facilitating Thailand's transition to democracy in the 1990s.

Bhumibol uses his great wealth to fund numerous development projects, particularly in rural areas. He is immensely popular in Thailand, and is revered by all Thais.

In May 2006, UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, presented the United Nations' first Human Development Lifetime Achievement Award to Bhumibol.

Bhumibol is an accomplished jazz musician and composer. He was awarded honorary membership of the Vienna Institute of Music and Arts at the age of 32. He used to play jazz music on air on the Or Sor radio station. In his travels, he has played with such jazz legends as Benny Goodman, Jack Teagarden, Lionel Hampton and Maynard Ferguson. His songs can often be heard at social gatherings and are performed in concerts.

Bhumibol is also a painter, photographer, author and translator. His book Phra Mahachanok is based on a traditional Jataka story of Buddhist scripture. The Story of Thong Daeng is the story of his dog Thong Daeng. He is also the only Thai monarch—and possibly the only monarch in the world, to hold a patent; holding one in 1993 for a waste water aerator named "Chai Pattana" and several patents on rainmaking since 1955: the "sandwich" rainmaking patent in 1999 and lately the "supersandwich" patent in 2003.

Bhumibol is an accomplished sailor and sailboat designer. He won a gold medal for sailing in the Fourth Southeast Asian Peninsular (SEAP) Games in 1967, together with HRH Princess Ubol Ratana who he tied for points. This accomplishment is all the more remarkable given Bhumibol's lack of binocular depth perception. Bhumibol has also sailed the Gulf of Thailand from Hua Hin to Toey Harbour in Sattahip, covering 60 nautical miles in a 14-hour journey on the "Vega 1", an OK Class dinghy he built.

Like his father, a former naval engineer, Bhumibol was an avid boat designer and builder. He produced several small sail-boat designs in the International Enterprise, OK, and Moth Classes. His designs in the Moth class include the “Mod”, “Super Mod”, and “Micro Mod”.

Bhumibol was crowned King of Thailand on May 5, 1950 at the Royal Palace in Bangkok where he pronounced his Oath of Succession "I will reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people" ("เราจะครองแผ่นดินโดยธรรม เพื่อประโยชน์สุขแห่งมหาชนชาวสยาม").


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhumibol_Adulyadej




Cleisthenes
AntPiusSestBetrothal.jpg
MAFJ1 The Betrothal of Marcus Aurelius and Faustina Junior38 viewsAntoninus Pius

Sestertius
ca 140

Laureate head of Antoninus Pius, right, ANTONINVS AVG PIVS PP TRP COS III
CONCORDIAE - Antoninus Pius standing right on left, holding Concordia, shaking hands with Faustina I to right; Marcus Aurelius and Faustina below in center, also shaking hands.

RIC 601

Marcus Annius Verus was born in Rome in 121. He was first betrothed to the daughter of Aelius Caesar, but after Aelius' death, Antoninus Pius adopted him. He took the name Marcus Aelius Aurelius Verus.

The Historia Augusta records: Marcus Antoninus was a man who devoted himself to philosophy throughout his life and he excels all the principles in purity of character. His father was Annius Verus, who died during his praetorship. . . . His mother was Domitia Lucilla, daughter of the consul Calvisius Tullus. . . .He was brought up partly in the place where he was born and partly in the house of his grandfather Verus, next to the Lateran Palace. He was to marry his first cousin, Annia Faustina. . . . He assumed the toga of manhood in his fifteenth year [134] and at once was betrothed, at Hadrian's wish, to the daughter of Lucius Commodus. . . . After Hadrian's death, Pius immediately got his wife to ask Marcus if he would break off his betrothal to the daughter of Lucius Commodus and marry their own daughter Faustina (whom Hadrian had wanted to marry Commodus' son, even though he was badly matched in age). After thinking the matter over, Marcus replied he was willing. When this was arranged, Pius designated Marcus to be consul with himself [139]. . . and gave him the name of Caesar.

Marcus, at least, was given a choice, and would already have known Faustina well. One can imagine that Faustina, if she was old enough to grasp the implications, was relieved at the prospect of marrying the studious young man rather than someone far older than her.
1 commentsBlindado
Maximinus_II_RIC_VI_75b.JPG
Maximinus II, 309 - 313 AD31 viewsObv: IMP C GAL VAL MAXIMINVS PF AVG, laureate head of Maximinus II facing right.

Rev: HERCVLI VICTORI, Hercules standing right, leaning on club, holding lion-skin, eight-pointed star and Γ in left field; SMN in exergue.

Note: Hercules is depicted in the same pose as the Farnese Hercules, a massive marble sculpture, which depicts a muscular yet weary Hercules leaning on his club, which has his lion-skin draped over it. He has just performed the last of The Twelve Labors, which is suggested by the apples of the Hesperides he holds behind his back. The Farnese Hercules is probably an enlarged copy made in the early third century A.D., signed by Glykon, from an original by Lysippos that would have been made in the fourth century B.C. The copy was made for the Baths of Caracalla in Rome (dedicated in 216 A.D.), where it was recovered in 1546. Today it is in Naples National Archaeological Museum. The statue was well-liked by the Romans, and copies have been found in many Roman palaces and gymnasiums. It is one of the most famous sculptures of antiquity, and has fixed the image of the mythic hero in the human imagination. ~Credit: Forvm

Billon Follis, Nicomedia mint, 312 AD

3.6 grams, 21 mm, 180°

RIC VI 75b, S14860
1 commentsSPQR Coins
Metapontum_AE_2.JPG
Metapontum, Lucania58 views300-250 BC
AE16 (16mm, 3.09g)
O: Veiled head of Demeter right, wearing stephane.
R: Ear of barley; long leaf with VE monogram above to left, MET[A] to right.
Johnston 57; SNG ANS 573; SNG Cop 1259; HN Italy 1693
ex Praefectus Coins

“They found the illustrious goddess sitting near the road, just the way
they had left her. Then they led her to the palace of their father.
She was walking behind them, sad in her heart.
She was wearing a veil on her head, and a long dark robe
trailed around the delicate feet of the goddess.”
~ Homeric Hymn to Demeter
1 commentsEnodia
CGallus.jpg
Nero / Caius Cestius Gallus58 viewsSELEUCIS and PIERIA, Antioch. Nero. AD 54-68. Æ As (30.5mm, 15.36 g, 12h).
Caius Cestius Gallus, legatus Syriae. Dated year 115 of the Caesarean Era (AD 66/7).
O: Laureate head right; coiled serpent to right. IM • NER • CLAV • CAESAR
R: ЄΠI ΓAIOY KЄCTIO Y ΛNTIO ЄT • ЄIP in five lines within wreath (In the magistracy of Gaius Cestius, Antioch, year 115)
- McAlee 294 = Superior, (9 December 1989), lot 2827 (same dies); RPC I – Extremely rare, the second known.

Josephus lays much of the blame for the Jewish revolt at the feet of Florus, the Roman procurator of Judaea. Florus was notorious for his cruelty and greed. In 66 C.E. he demanded 17 talents from the temple treasury, using the pretense that it was needed by the Emperor. The Jews refused, ridiculing his request by taking up a mock collection for the “poor Florus.”

Florus responded by sending troops to loot and pillage the Upper-Marketplace in Jerusalem. Thousands of Jews were killed, including woman and children. Rather than bringing the city under control, Josephus reasons, “What more need be said? It was Florus who constrained us to take up war with the Romans, for we preferred to perish together rather than by degrees. The war in fact began in the second year of the procuratorship of Florus and in the twelfth of Nero's reign.”

The Sicarii, or “dagger-men,” took the fortress of Masada and killed the Roman garrison stationed there, establishing the first rebel stronghold. The fortress of Antonia was also captured and the Roman soldiers stationed there were slain. The remaining Roman holdouts surrendered under the agreement that their lives would be spared but they too were slaughtered. At the same time, the daily sacrifices for the Emperor were discontinued. A mixture of elation and fear gripped Jerusalem as they awaited the inevitable Roman response.

Gaius Cestius Gallus, Legate of Syria in 66 C.E., was the response. On Nero’s order, he assembled a force at Antioch comprised of legio XII Fulminata, detachments from the three other legions based in Syria, six cohorts of auxiliary infantry and four alae of cavalry. He also had military support from the Jewish ruler Herod Agrippa II and two other client kings, Antiochus IV of Commagene and Sohaemus of Emesa.

Within three months Gallus, with his force of over 30,000 troops, began working their way down from Galilee to Jerusalem, attacking key cities such as Chabulon, Joppa and Antipatris. Although enduring successful raids from the rebels, the Romans finally enter and set fire to the suburbs of Jerusalem as the rebels retreated to the safety of the temple fortress.

After setting fire to Bezetha, north of the temple, Gallus encamped in front of the royal palace, southwest of the temple. At that time, Josephus says he could have easily taken the city since pro-Roman Jews were ready to open the gates of the city for him. A six day delay, however, strengthened the insurgents. The zealots attacked and killed the pro-peace faction in the city, murdering their leaders, then assaulted the Romans from the wall. The advance units of the Romans employ the Testudo, overlapping their shields over themselves like the back of a tortoise, and began undermining the walls. After five days they are on the verge of success when, for an undetermined cause, Gallus called off the attack. In History of the Jews, Professor Heinrich Graetz suggests: “[Cestius Gallus] did not deem it advisable to continue the combat against heroic enthusiasts and embark on a lengthy campaign at that season, when the autumn rains would soon commence . . . and might prevent the army from receiving provisions. On that account probably he thought it more prudent to retrace his steps.” Whatever the reason, Gallus decided to abruptly leave Jerusalem.

Gallus, with evidently little battlefield experience, suffered one humiliating defeat after another during the retreat. By the battles end the losses amounted to 5,300 infantry, 480 cavalry, all the pack animals, artillery and the eagle standard of the legio XII Fulminata. With the rebels emboldened by their shocking victory, the stage is set for the Romans to return in greater force. This time, however, Nero would send general Vespasian.

Cestius Gallus died a broken man in 67 C.E. Tacitus described the outbreak of the revolt to Gallus death as follows: “the endurance of the Jews lasted till Gessius Florus was procurator. In his time the war broke out. Cestius Gallus, legate of Syria, who attempted to crush it, had to fight several battles, generally with ill-success. Cestius dying, either in the course of nature, or from vexation.” - The Histories V
4 commentsNemonater
Lg008_quad_sm.jpg
Nerva Aequitas Ӕ As (c. 97 A.D.)8 viewsIMP NERVA CAES [AVG P M TR P ? COS ? P P], laureate head right / AEQVITAS AVGVST + S - C across fields, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae

Ӕ, oval 25+ to 28mm, 10.23g, die axis 7.5h, base metal seems yellow, orichalcum? Can it be a dupontius?

Mint: Rome. Regnal period is end 96 – Jan 98 AD, so 97 is the most probable minting year.

End of the obverse legend is missing, so TR P and COS numbers are unknown. Thus three types are possible:

TR P COS II --> RIC II 51, Sear 3060 var
TR P COS III --> RIC II 77, Cohen 7, BMC 127, Sear 3060
TR P II COS III --> RIC II 94, Cohen 10

IMPerator NERVA CAESar AVGustus Pontifex Maximus (the high priest, starting with Augustus the emperor was always the head of state religion) TRibunitia Potestas (Tribunal power, the function of the tribune of the people, originally an important republican official, was "hijacked" by Augustus when he was building the imperial structure of power and subsequently became another emperor's title, renewed every year and thus very useful for dating coins, no number means first year of reign, II second), COnSul (under the Empire, the office of Consul remained of some importance and was held by the Emperor with some frequency) II or III (Nerva started his 3d consulship in 97, so II would mean minting year of 96, he also became a consul for 98, but since he died in January, COS IIII is very rare), Pater Patriae (Father of his Country, the title was held by most Augusti but usually not at the very beginning of the reign, in this case it was probably assumed immediately because of Nerva's old age). Aequitas = justice, equality, conformity, symmetry. Nemesis was originally understood as honest distributor of fortune, neither bad nor good, but in due proportion. Later it gained aspects of justice and divine retribution, but in Nemesis-Aequitas her qualities of honest dealing is emphasized. Aequitas Augusti symbolizes honesty, equality and justice of the emperor towards his subjects. The scales here mean honest measure rather than justice, and the cornucopia is self explanatory. SC = [Ex] Senatus Consulto (Senatus is genitive, Consulto is ablative of Consultum) = by decree of the Senate, i. e. the authority of the Senate approved minting of this coin (necessary to justify issue of copper alloy coins for which the intrinsic value was not obvious). As or assarius – the basic Roman bronze coin, reintroduced and firmly established for centuries by Augustus (often minted of pure red copper).

On the obverse to the right of the neck there is a mysterious symbol (looks like a special field mint mark in LRB, but these were not used before 4th century I think), which is too far in to be a distorted letter of the legend.

NERVA, *8 Nov 30 (or 35) AD (Narni, central Italy) † 27 Jan 98 AD (aged 67 or 62) Gardens of Sallust, Rome ‡ 18 Sep 96 – 27 Jan 98 (effectively abdicated in autumn 97 naming Trajan as his successor)

Marcus Cocceius Nerva was born in the village of Narni, 50 kilometers north of Rome. Ancient sources report the date as either 30 or 35. He had at least one attested sister, named Cocceia, who married Lucius Salvius Titianus Otho, the brother of the earlier Emperor Otho. Like Vespasian, the founder of the Flavian dynasty, Nerva was a member of the Italian nobility rather than one of the elite of Rome. Nevertheless, the Cocceii were among the most esteemed and prominent political families of the late Republic and early Empire, attaining consulships in each successive generation. The direct ancestors of Nerva on his father's side, all named Marcus Cocceius Nerva, were associated with imperial circles from the time of Augustus.

Not much of Nerva's early life or career is recorded, but it appears he did not pursue the usual administrative or military career. He was praetor-elect in the year 65 and, like his ancestors, moved in imperial circles as a skilled diplomat and strategist. He received many high honors during the reign of Nero and Flavians, including two ordinary (!) consulships of 71 and 90, usually for services that remained unclear, so probably of highly delicate and clandestine nature, e. g. he played a prominent role of uncovering at least two major conspiracies against the ruling emperors. During 69, the transitional Year of the Four Emperors he was nowhere to be seen, but then emerged on the winning Flavian side, which was quite a feat for a former Neronian loyalist and a relative of one of the defeated emperors, Otho. It is also known that Nerva had excellent literary abilities praised by his contemporaries.

On 18 September, 96, Domitian was assassinated in a palace conspiracy organised by court officials. The same day the Senate proclaimed Nerva emperor in somewhat obscure circumstances. Modern historians believe Nerva was proclaimed Emperor solely on the initiative of the Senate, within hours after the news of the assassination broke, to avoid the inevitable civil unrest, and neither him nor the Senate had anything to do with the conspiracy. The change of government was welcome particularly to the senators, who had been harshly persecuted during Domitian's reign. As an immediate gesture of goodwill towards his supporters, Nerva publicly swore that no senators would be put to death as long as he remained in office. He called an end to trials based on treason, released those who had been imprisoned under these charges, and granted amnesty to many who had been exiled. All properties which had been confiscated by Domitian were returned to their respective families. Nerva also sought to involve the Senate in his government, but this was not entirely successful.

Nerva had to introduce a number of measures to gain support among the Roman populace. As was the custom by this time, a change of emperor was to bring with it a generous payment of gifts and money to the people and the army. This was followed by a string of economic reforms intended to alleviate the burden of taxation from the most needy Romans. Furthermore, numerous taxes were remitted and privileges granted to Roman provinces. Before long, Nerva's expenses strained the economy of Rome and necessitated the formation of a special commission of economy to drastically reduce expenditures. The most superfluous religious sacrifices, games and horse races were abolished, while new income was generated from Domitian's former possessions. Because he reigned only briefly, Nerva's public works were few, instead completing projects which had been initiated under Flavian rule. This included extensive repairs to the Roman road system and the expansion of the aqueducts. The only major landmarks constructed under Nerva were a granary, known as the Horrea Nervae, and a small Imperial Forum begun by Domitian, which linked the Forum of Augustus to the Temple of Peace.

Despite Nerva's measures to remain popular with the Senate and the Roman people, support for Domitian remained strong in the army, which led to problems. Upon his accession, he had ordered a halt to treason trials, but at the same time allowed the prosecution of informers by the Senate to continue. This measure led to chaos, as everyone acted in his own interests while trying to settle scores with personal enemies.

The situation was further aggravated by the absence of a clear successor, made more pressing because of Nerva's old age and sickness. In October 97 these tensions came to a head when the Praetorian Guard laid siege to the Imperial Palace and took Nerva hostage. He was forced to submit to their demands, agreeing to hand over those responsible for Domitian's death. Nerva was unharmed in this assault, but his authority was damaged beyond repair. He realized that his position was no longer tenable without the support of an heir who had the approval of both the army and the people. Shortly thereafter, he announced the adoption of Trajan as his successor, and with this decision all but abdicated.

On 1 January, 98, at the start of his fourth consulship, Nerva suffered a stroke during a private audience. Shortly thereafter he was struck by a fever and died. His largest legacies were avoiding the civil war after the fall of Flavians and establishing a new dynasty that ruled almost until the end of the 2nd century and achieved "the golden age" of the Roman empire.
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Nerva Denarius - Concordia Exercitum (RIC II 3)155 viewsAR Denarius
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Obv: Laureate bust of Nerva (R)
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Rev: CLASPED HANDS holding legionary Eagle placed upon prow. CONCORDIA EXERCITUM (Harmony with the Army) in exergue.

On the same day as Domitian's assassination, the Senate declared the elderly Nerva emperor. He vowed to restore liberties which had been curtailed during the autocratic government of Domitian. However, Nerva who was 66 years old and childless, struggled in his inability to assert his authority over the Roman army.

In October 97 these tensions came to a head when the Praetorian Guard, led by Casperius Aelianus, laid siege to the Imperial Palace and took Nerva hostage. He was forced to submit to their demands, agreeing to hand over those responsible for Domitian's death and even giving a speech thanking the rebellious Praetorians! Nerva was unharmed in this assault, but his authority was damaged beyond repair. He realized that his position was no longer tenable and shortly thereafter, he announced the adoption of Trajan as his successor, and with this decision all but abdicated.

This wonderfully ironic issue was no doubt minted in the wake of the Praetorian revolt in an effort to assure the masses that the emperor was still in control.

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Nerva, 18 September 96 - 25 January 98 A.D., Antioch, Syria195 viewsBronze AE 26, BMC Syria, p. 182, 261, aVF, Antioch mint, weight 13.524g, maximum diameter 25.0mm, die axis 0o, Jan - Sep 97 A.D.; Obverse: IMP CAESAR NERVA AVG III COS, laureate head right; Reverse: large S C in wreath, D below; unbelievable portrait. Ex FORVM. Photo courtesy FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families
Nerva (96-98 A.D.)

David Wend

Introduction
Although short, the reign of Marcus Cocceius Nerva (A.D. 96-98) is pivotal. The first of Edward Gibbon's so-called "Five Good Emperors," Nerva is credited with beginning the practice of adopting his heir rather than selecting a blood relative. Claimed as an ancestor by all the emperors down to Severus Alexander, he has traditionally been regarded with much good will at the expense of his predecessor, Domitian.

Ancestry
Nerva could claim eminent ancestry on both sides of his family. On the paternal side, his great-grandfather, M. Cocceius Nerva, was consul in 36 B.C.; his grandfather, a distinguished jurist of the same name, accompanied Tiberius on his retirement to Capri in 26 A.D. On his mother's side an aunt, Rubellia Bassa, was the great-granddaughter of Tiberius. In addition, a great-uncle, L. Cocceius Nerva, played a part in the negotiations that secured a treaty between Octavian and Antony in 40 B.C

Early Career and Life under Domitian
Nerva was born on 8 November, 30 A.D. Little is known of his upbringing beyond the fact that he belonged to a senatorial family and pursued neither a military nor a public speaking career. On the other hand, he did hold various priesthoods and was a praetor-designate. More importantly, as praetor designate in 65, Nerva was instrumental in revealing the conspiracy of Piso against the emperor Nero.

As a result, he received triumphal ornaments and his statue was placed in the palace. Following Nero's fall in 68, Nerva must have realized that support of Vespasian and the Flavian cause was in his best interests. In 71 his loyalty was rewarded with a joint consulship with the emperor, the only time that Vespasian ever held the office without his son Titus. It was under the reign of Vespasian's other son, Domitian, that Nerva's political fortunes were ultimately determined, however. He shared the ordinary consulship with Domitian in 90, an honor that was perhaps the result of his alerting the emperor about the revolt of Antonius Saturninus, the governor of Upper Germany, in 89. Even so, like so many others of the senatorial class, Nerva came under scrutiny in the final years of Domitian's reign, when the emperor was unwilling to tolerate any criticism.

Whether or not Nerva was forced to withdraw from public life during Domitian's final years remains an open question. What is not in dispute is that he was named emperor on the same day that Domitian was assassinated in September, 96. Indeed, in some respects the accession was improbable, since it placed the Empire under the control of a feeble sexagenarian and long-time Flavian supporter with close ties to the unpopular Domitian. On the other hand, Nerva had proven to be a capable senator, one with political connections and an ability to negotiate. Moreover, he had no children, thereby ensuring that the state would not become his hereditary possession.

Imperial Initiatives
Upon taking office, Nerva made immediate changes. He ordered the palace of Domitian to be renamed the House of the People, while he himself resided at the Horti Sallustiani, the favorite residence of Vespasian. More significantly, he took an oath before the senate that he would refrain from executing its members. He also released those who had been imprisoned by Domitian and recalled exiles not found guilty of serious crimes. Nevertheless, Nerva still allowed the prosecution of informers by the senate, a measure that led to chaos, as everyone acted in his own interests while trying to settle scores with personal enemies.

In the area of economic administration Nerva, like Domitian, was keen on maintaining a balanced budget. In early 97, after appointing a commission of five consular senators to give advice on reducing expenditures, he proceeded to abolish many sacrifices, races, and games. Similarly, he allowed no gold or silver statues to be made of himself. Even so, there was some room for municipal expenditure. For the urban poor of Italy he granted allotments of land worth 60 million sesterces, and he exempted parents and their children from a 5% inheritance tax. He also made loans to Italian landowners on the condition that they pay interest of 5% to their municipality to support the children of needy families. These alimentary schemes were later extended by Trajan, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.

Because he reigned only briefly, Nerva's public works were few. By early 98 he dedicated the forum that Domitian had built to connect the Forum of Augustus with the Forum of Peace. It became known as the Forum of Nerva, or the Forum Transitorium. Nerva also built granaries, made repairs to the Colosseum when the Tiber flooded, and continued the program of road building and repairs inaugurated under the Flavians. In addition, pantomime performances, supressed by Domitian, were restored.

In the military realm, Nerva established veterans' colonies in Africa, a practice that was continued by the emperor Trajan. Normal military privileges were continued and some auxiliary units assumed the epithet Nervia or Nerviana. We are not well informed beyond these details, and any military action that may have occurred while Nerva was emperor is known sketchy at best.

Nature of Nerva's Government
Nerva's major appointments favored men whom he knew and trusted, and who had long served and been rewarded by the Flavians. Typical was Sextus Julius Frontinus. A consul under Vespasian and governor of Britain twenty years earlier, Frontinus came out of retirement to become curator of the water supply, an office that had long been subject to abuse and mismanagement. He helped to put an end to the abuses and published a significant work on Rome's water supply, De aquis urbis Romae. As a reward for his service, Frontinus was named consul for the second time in 98. Similarly, the emperor's own amici were often senators with Flavian ties, men who, by virtue of their links to the previous regime, were valuable to Nerva for what they knew. Thus do we find the likes of A. Didius Gallus Fabricius Veiiento, one of Domitian's ill-reputed counselors, seated next to Nerva at an imperial dinner. Nerva was less willing to consult the Senate as a whole. In many cases he preferred the opinions of his own consilium, and was less submissive than many senators would have liked. This attitude may have been responsible for hostile discontent among several senators.

Mutiny of the Praetorians and the Adoption of Trajan
It was not long before the assassination of Domitian came to work against the new emperor. Dissatisfied that Domitian had not been deified after his death, the praetorian guards mutinied under Casperius Aelianus in October 97. Taking the emperor as hostage, they demanded that Nerva hand over Domitian's murderers. The emperor not only relented, but was forced to give a public speech of thanks to the mutineers for their actions. His authority compomised, Nerva used the occasion of a victory in Pannonia over the Germans in late October, 97 to announce the adoption of Marcus Ulpius Traianus, governor of Upper Germany, as his successor. The new Caesar was immediately acclaimed imperator and granted the tribunicia potestas. Nerva's public announcement of the adoption settled succession as fact; he allowed no time to oppose his decision. From the German victory, Nerva assumed the epithet Germanicus and conferred the title on Trajan as well. He also made Trajan his consular colleague in 98.

Death and Deification
On January 1, 98, the start of his fourth consulship, Nerva suffered a stroke during a private audience. Three weeks later he died at his villa in the Gardens of Sallust. From his headquarters at Cologne, Trajan insisted that Nerva's ashes be placed in the mausoleum of Augustus and asked the senate to vote on his deification. We are further told that he dedicated a temple to Nerva, yet no trace of it has ever been found. Nor was a commemorative series of coins issued for the Deified Nerva in the wake of his death, but only ten years later.

Conclusion
Nerva's reign was more concerned with the continuation of an existing political system than with the birth of a new age. Indeed, his economic policies, his relationship with the senate, and the men whom he chose to govern and to offer him advice all show signs of Flavian influence. In many respects, Nerva was the right man at the right time. His immediate accession following Domitian's murder prevented anarchy and civil war, while his age, poor health and moderate views were perfect attributes for a government that offered a bridge between Domitian's stormy reign and the emperorships of the stable rulers to follow.

Copyright (C) 1998, David Wend.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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PAMPHYLIA, Aspendos83 viewsPAMPHYLIA, Aspendos. Circa 380-325 BC.

Greek ASPENDOS, modern BELKIS, ancient city of Pamphylia, now in southwestern Turkey. It is noted for its Roman ruins. A wide range of coinage from the 5th century BC onward attests to the city's wealth. Aspendus was occupied by Alexander the Great in 333 BC and later passed from Pergamene to Roman rule in 133 BC. According to Cicero, it was plundered of many of its artistic treasures by the provincial governor Verres. The hilltop ruins of the city include a basilica, an agora, and some rock-cut tombs of Phrygian design. A huge theatre, one of the finest in the world, is carved out of the northeast flank of the hill. It was designed by the Roman architect Zeno in honour of the emperor Marcus Aurelius (reigned AD 161-180)

The present-day Belkiz was once situated on the banks of the River Eurymedon, now known as the Kopru Cay. In ancient times it was navigable; in fact, according to Strabo, the Persians anchored their ships there in 468 B.C., before the epic battle against the Delian Confederation.

It is commonly believed that Aspendos was founded by colonists from Argos. One thing is certain: right from the beginning of the 5th century, Aspendos and Side were the only two towns to mint coins. An important river trading port, it was occupied by Alexander the Great in 333 B.C. because it refused to pay tribute to the Macedonian king. It became an ally of Rome after the Battle of Sipylum in 190 B.C. and entered the Roman Empire.

The town is built against two hills: on the "great hill" or Buyuk Tepe stood the acropolis, with the agora, basilica, nymphaeum and bouleuterion or "council chamber". Of all these buildings, which were the very hub of the town, only ruins remain. About one kilometer north of the town, one can still see the remains of the Roman aqueduct that supplied Aspendos with water, transporting it from a distance of over twenty kilometers, and which still maintains its original height.

Aspendos' theatre is the best preserved Roman theatre anywhere in Turkey. It was designed during the 2nd century A.D. by the architect Zeno, son of Theodore and originally from Aspendos. Its two benefactors— the brothers Curtius Crispinus and Curtius Auspicatus —dedicated it to the Imperial family as can be seen from certain engravings on the stones. Discovered in 1871 by Count Landskonski during one of his trips to the region, the theatre is in excellent condition thanks to the top quality of the calcareous stone and to the fact that the Seljuks turned it into a palace, reinforcing the entire north wing with bricks. Its thirty-nine tiers of steps—96 meters long—could seat about twenty thousand spectators. At the top, the elegant gallery and covered arcade sheltered spectators. One is immediately struck by the integrity and architectural distinction of the stage building, consisting of a Irons scacnae which opens with five doors onto the proscenium and scanned by two orders of windows which also project onto the outside wall. There is an amusing anecdote about the construction of this theatre—in which numerous plays are still held, given its formidable acoustics — and the aqueduct just outside the town: in ancient times, the King of Aspendos had a daughter of rare beauty named Semiramis, contended by two architects; the king decided to marry her off to the one who built an important public work in the shortest space of time. The two suitors thus got down to work and completed two public works at the same time: the theatre and the aquaduct. As the sovereign liked both buildings, he thought it right and just to divide his daughter in half. Whereas the designer of the aquaduct accepted the Solomonic division, the other preferred to grant the princess wholly to her rival. In this way, the sovereign understood that the designer of the theatre had not only built a magnificent theatre— which was the pride of the town—, but would also be an excellent husband to his daughter; consequently he granted him her hand in marriage

AR Stater (21mm, 10.76 g). Two wrestlers grappling; DA between / Slinger to right; triskeles in field. Tekin Series D; SNG France 87 (same reverse die). Ex-CNG B9FV15E
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Pergamon54 viewsThe oldest section of Pergamon, the acropolis or upper city, sits on an impressive steep ridge between two tributaries of the Caicus river. The ridge is naturally fortified on all but the S side which slopes down to the Caicus valley floor. The Caicus valley provides access from Pergamon to the Aegean coast and the port town of Elaea in the W and the Persian Royal Road to the E.

The upper city, which was fortified in the 4th or 3rd century B.C. contains the 3rd century Sanctuary of Athena, the oldest cult center of the city as well as palace quarters, barracks, and arsenals. In the 2nd century B.C. the 10,000 seat theater, the library adjacent to the Sanctuary of Athena, and the Great Altar of Zeus and Athena were added. In the 2nd century A.D. the monumental Trajaneum was erected on what must have been an earlier unknown cult center. From the upper agora a paved main street leads S and downslope to the middle city.

The city of Pergamon began to extend down the S slope in the 3rd century B.C. and during the 2nd century a massive building program completely transformed the entire lower slope. The major construction in the area was the gigantic gymnasium complex which extended down three large terraces linked by vaulted stairways and passages. The complex encorporated three open training courts, a covered track or xystus, a small theater or odeum, several shrines, and two large baths. Other major sections of the middle city included the Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore and, below the gymnasium along the main street leading to the Eumenes' Gate, the lower agora. North and E of the gymnasium massive terraces support the streets and houses of the residential quarter. In the first half of the 2nd century B.C. Eumenes II strengthened the entire fortification system of Pergamon and enclosed all of the middle city, which extended almost to the base of the south slope, within the new walls.

During the Roman Imperial period the city continued to expand southward and spread over the plain and the area occuppied by modern Bergama. The large Sanctuary of the Egyptian Gods (the "Kizil Avlu"), numerous bridges, and remains of the Roman stadium, theater, and amphitheater remain visible today.

Pergamon emerged as a power during the struggle for territorial control following the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C. By the middle of the 3rd century Pergamon had been established as an independent state under the leadership of the Attalid dynasty. The power of the Attalids and the city grew as a result of successful battles against the Gauls of central Anatolia and careful political alliances with Rome.

The peak period of Pergamene power and achievement was reached during the reign of Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.). The kingdom had grown to include most of western Anatolia and was rich in agriculture and industry. Noted industrial exports included textiles, fine pottery, and "Pergamene paper" or parchment. The last industry developed when Ptolemy, reportedly jealous of the growing fame of the library in Pergamon, prohibited the export of papyrus from Egypt. Eumenes II enlarged the city of Pergamon to include all of the southern slope and enclosed the city with a new and stronger fortification wall. In addition to the major new constructions in the lower city Eumenes also commissioned the Great Altar of Zeus and Athena, the theater, and the new library in the upper city.

In the 2nd century B.C. Pergamon rivalled Athens and Alexandria as centers of Hellenic culture. The city possessed one of the greatest libraries of antiquity, monumental gymnasia, and numerous religious sanctuaries, including the Asklepion outside the city walls. Pergamon was a haven for noted philosophers and artists and was the center of a major movement in Hellenistic sculpture. The Attalids supported the arts and learning in Pergamon and elsewhere and made major donations, such as the Stoa of Attalos II in Athens.

The last Attalid ruler, Attalos III, bequeathed the kingdom of Pergamon to Rome in 133 B.C. During Roman rule the prosperity of Pergamon continued and the city had a period of commercial expansion. The city itself expanded to the plain S and W of the acropolis across the flat land now occuppied by modern Bergama.

See: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/siteindex?lookup=Pergamon

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Pisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. 105 viewsPisidia, Antioch. Septimius Severus. 198-217 AD. AE 22mm (5.21 gm). Obverse: Laureate, head left. Reverse: Mên standing facing, head right, foot on bucranium, holding sceptre and Nike on globe; cock at feet left. SNG France 3, 1118. Cleaning scratches, very fine. Ex Tom Vossen.

De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves. By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
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PLOTINA, The lady that changed history.142 views(An incredible PORTRAIT in the format of a Sestertius of PLOTINA)
The most influential of all Roman Empresses, she was interested in philosophy and in the doctrines of Epicurus, virtue, dignity and simplicity. She provided Romans with fairer taxation, improved education, assisted the poor, and tried to make Roman society ever more tolerant. Plotina was well known for her high moral standards and her kindness, as well as for her support for her husband: she travelled with him to the East and was present at his deathbed. It is said that when Plotina entered the imperial palace after her husband Trajan had become Emperor, she turned to those gathered at the steps and declared “I enter here such a woman as I would wish to be when I leave.” Plotina was instrumental in ensuring that Hadrian, who she greatly liked and was Trajan’s ward, succeeded peacefully to the throne on Trajan’s death
sunwukong
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Punic Juba I Billon 4 units11 viewsJuba I Billon 4 units
37 mm ; 32 gr.
Octostyle temple / Facade of two-storeyed building (the royal palace ?); in ex.; Néo-Punic legend.

Müller III, 43,57 ; Mazard 91 ; SNG 534

VERY RARE
Tanit
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Rama V, King Chulalongkorn the Great (1853- 1910 AD), Thailand36 viewsKing Rama V, AR, 1 baht, R.S. 126, 1907 AD, 31m, 14.9 g, Royal Mint: Bangkok. Obverse: head of Rama V facing L, King's "first" name (สมเด็จพระปรมินทรมหาจุฬาลงกรณ์) above, his "last" name (พระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว) below . Reverse: The Coat of Arms of Chulalongkorn--On the top of the coat of arms is the Great Victory Crown of Thailand, the most important royal regalia and the symbol of kingship. Under the crown is the symbol of the Royal House of Chakri, the King's royal family, which is a disc intersected with a trident. The royal multi-tiered umbrellas of state are also present on either side of the crown. To both sides of the coat of arms are the other regalia, the royal sword and the royal baton. In the background is the draped robe - either the Royal robe of the King or the robe of the Order of Chulachomklao - an order created by the King. The supporters are two mythical creatures, one is the Royal Lion, rajasiha, and the other is Elephant Lion, gaja-siha. The shield itself is partitioned into three parts, signifying the Thai part of the Kingdom (the 3-headed elephant) on the top, the Laotian suzerainty (another elephant), and the Malay suzerainty (two "kris", or Malayan short swords). The chain under the Arms is a necklace that is a part of the Order of Chulachomklao. The ribbon under the Arms is inscribed with the motto (in Pali, the language of the Buddhist canon) which may be translated as "Unity brings happiness." Khrueng Thep (กรุงสยาม--Bangkok) left, Rama V (รัชกาลที่) right, one baht (บาทหนึ่ง) below. RS 126 has the regnal date 40 over the 127; EF, Rare.

Rama V, King Chulalongkorn the Great (1853- 1910 AD); during his 42-year reign, King Chulalongkorn (the fifth king of the Chakri Dynasty) succeeded in establishing a government based on the western system, which ultimately paved the way for the present democracy. He reformed the rule of law, established a proper judicial system and introduced compulsory military service, improving the country's national defense. He introduced the Baht (still in use today) as the official currency and made taxes directly payable to the government, cutting out the corrupt middlemen. King Chulalongkorn also set up Siam's first hospital based on western medical practices, the first medical school and a nationwide education system.

The Thai Nation rightly reveres King Chulalongkorn. The preservation of Thailand's sovereignty and independence, in contrast to other Asian countries that capitulated to colonialism, was a direct result of his efforts. His skills of diplomacy abroad and ability to form a central government at home endeared him to the people. His reign was one of the most successful of any monarch in any country in the world and through his vision and leadership; a small, traditional Kingdom was transformed into a modern Nation at the heart of Asian affairs.
(http://www.chiangmai-chiangrai.com/chulalongkorn_rama_5.html)

On his first enthronement, King Chulalongkorn issued a royal decree that all the people born during his reign would be born free; he had determined that slavery should eventually disappear from his realm. In order not to create a social upheaval suddenly, King Rama V took gradual measures to release slaves to freedom, and in 1905 he issued a law for the abolition of slavery. Thus the Thai people won freedom without any struggle.

The first public museum was established by King Rama V in 1880 at the Concordia Building inside the Grand Palace compound. Later, when the viceroy or Uparat position was replaced by the crown Prince position, the Palace of the Uparat or the Front Palace was vacant. In 1887 the museum was moved to the Front Palace and developed to be the National Museum.


In 1917, Siam (Thailand) opened its first university. It was named after this beloved King: Chulalongkorn University was referred to as "the Harvard of Asia" by President Bill Clinton of the United States.

Cleisthenes
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Roman Empire / Emperor Didius Julianus, Bronze sestertius105 viewsDidius Julianus, AE sestertius

Obverse : IMP CAES M DID SE VERIVLIAN AVG
Laureate head right.

Reverse : P M TR P COS Fortuna standing holding rudder set on globe and cornucopiae , S C at sides

Fine , weight 21.290g, maximum diameter 28.6mm, die axis 180o, 28 Mar - 2 Jun 193 A.D.

Rare. RIC IV 15 , Cohen 12 (30 Fr.), SRCV II 6076

From the Sam Mansourati collection.

“Auction of the Empire”, Didius Julianus became an emperor placing the biggest bid.

Caesar Marcus Didius Severus Julianus Augustus, the son of Quintus Petronius Didius Severus and Aemilia Clara, was born in Milan on either 30 January 133 or 2 February 137 with the correct date being unknown. He was raised and educated in the household of Domitia Lucilla, mother of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and rose through Roman public distinction through the support of the Emperor and his mother. In 170 CE, Julianus commanded the XXII Primigenia Legion in Mogontiacum (Mainz), Germany. Then he replaced Pertinax as proconsul of Africa., and Pertinax, now emperor, was murdered by the Praetorian Guard. This began the event known as, “Auction of the Empire”, which Didius Julianus is infamous for winning. He outbidded the father-in-law of Pertinax, Titus Flavius Claudius Sulpicianus, who was the prefect of Rome, by offering to pay the Praetorian Guard 25000 sesterces for the throne.The Senate declared Julianus emperor in fear of the Roman army, but his rule was to be short-lived; Three other generals and governors across the empire declared themselves the rightful heir, and Septimius Severus marched on Rome. The people of Rome despised and rejected Julianus from the start, because they believed he was involved with the corruption. Without the support of Rome, the Imperial Guard would not fight for Julianus and Severus marched into the palace, declared himself emperor, and killed Didius Julianus after just sixty-six days of rule.
2 commentsSam
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Roman Empire, Constantine I AE follis, Constantinople, RIC 3569 views18mm
3 gm

Obv: CONSTANTI-NVS MAX AVG
laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right

Rev: CONSTANTINI-ANA DAFNE, Victory seated left on cippus,
head right, holding palm branch in each hand; trophy before, captive seated before her;
Left field: Epsilon
Mintmark: CONS.
RIC VII 35.


One of the scarcer issues of Constantine. The precise meaning of this curious legend is unclear, though various theories have been advanced. Dafne (or Daphne) was the name of a Constantinian fortress on the Danube, of the imperial palace in Constantinople, and of a celebrated park south of Antioch (the source of the city's water supply) where a statue of the Empress Helena had been erected. Daphne also means 'laurel' and the type may simply be in commemoration of Constantine's numerous military victories
Tim v
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Struck c.1615 - 1616, Louis XIII and Anne d'Autriche. AE (Brass) Jeton7 viewsObverse: LVDO•XIII D G FR•ET•NA•ANNA•AVSTR•HISPAN. Crowned jugate busts of Louis XIII and Anne facing right, both wearing ruffs.
Reverse: Crown and two branches above two hearts, between which are the scrolled words CARITAS / *SPES* / *FIDES* in three lines above * L * - * A * (for Louis and Anne) either side of facing eagle. Below, scroll bearing the words •HANS•LAVFER•; in exergue H – L (for Hans Laufer) either side of floral device.

Struck at Nuremburg, Germany
Die engraver: Hans Laufer
Dimensions: 27.1mm | Weight: 3.87gms | Die Axis: 12
Ref. M: 3714 | Feuardent: 12329

Hans Laufer became Guild master at Nuremburg in 1611, though he had been responsible for issuing jetons from 1607. He died in 1632.

Louis XIII became king of France and Navarre in 1610, shortly before his ninth birthday, after his father Henry IV was assassinated. He ruled France until he died of Tuberculosis in 1643. Anne was betrothed to him at the age of eleven and, on 24th November 1615, they were married by proxy in Burgos. The marriage following the tradition of cementing military and political alliances between France and Spain that had begun with the marriage of Philip II of Spain to Elisabeth of Valois in 1559 as part of the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis. Anne and Louis, both fourteen years old, were pressured to consummate their marriage in order to forestall any possibility of future annulment, but this was ignored and Louis' mother, Marie de Medici, continued to conduct herself as Queen of France, without showing any deference to her daughter-in-law. However, in 1617, Louis conspired with Charles d'Albert, Duke of Luynes, to dispense with his mother's influence and she was ousted in a palace coup d'état which also saw her favourite, Concino Concini, assassinated. Louis turned now to Cardinal Richelieu as his advisor but Anne was opposed to Richelieu and became embroiled in several intrigues against him. This inevitably created tension between Louis and Anne. But despite this, and after having endured several stillbirths, in 1638 Anne finally gave birth to a son, the future Louis XIV, and the Bourbon line was further secured when in 1640 she gave birth to a second son, Philippe.
*Alex
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Struck c.1667, Louis XIV and Marie-Thérèse, AE (Copper) Jeton3 viewsObverse: +LVD•XIIII•ET•MAR•THER•D•G•FRA•ET•NAV•REX•ET•REG. Busts of Louis XIV and Marie Therese facing one another. To the left, draped and laureate bust of Louis XVI facing right. To the right, draped bust of Marie Therese facing left, small crown on the back of her head.
Reverse: MAIESTATI•AC•AETERNIT•GALL•IMPERII•SACRVM+. Front view of the new Louvre Palace in Paris.

Struck at indeterminate mint, possibly Lisse, Netherlands
Engraved by Jean Varin or faithfully copied from his dies
Diameter: 27.5mm | Weight: 5.7gms | Die Axis: 6
Ref. Feuardent: 13082

The site of the Louvre was originally a fortress, built in the middle ages by King Philippe-Auguste (1165-1223). Between 1364 and 1380, Charles V (1338-1380) undertook work on this building to transform it into a castle, turning the old fort into a comfortable residence.
François I (1494-1547), known as the sovereign of the Renaissance, demolished the castle begun by Charles V and rebuilt it as the Louvre Palace and Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) had the Tuileries Palace built alongside.
Then King Henri IV (1553-1610), began further modernisations and had a large gallery built between the Louvre Palace and Tuileries Palace to facilitate movement between the seat of power and his apartments. The modernisation work begun by Henri IV was not completed until the reign of Louis XIV, and it is this that is commemorated on this jeton. It was Louis XIV who, before moving on to his work at Versailles, entrusted the development of the gardens to André Le Nôtre. But when the court of the Sun King moved to his new Palace of Versailles the Louvre Palace became somewhat run down and was occupied by a variety of intellectuals and artists who took up residence there.
*Alex
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Thailand "ancient" Ayudhaya, Silver bullet coin -- 1 Baht, King Songthom, 1612 - 1628 AD101 viewsAyudhaya Kingdom; King Songthom, 1612 - 1628 AD; AR "Bullet" Coin, 14.7 gms, EF.

The kingdom of Ayutthaya (Thai: อยุธยา) was a Thai kingdom that existed from 1350 to 1767. King Ramathibodi I (Uthong) founded Ayutthaya as the capital of his kingdom in 1350 and absorbed Sukhothai, 640 km to the north, in 1376. Over the next four centuries the kingdom expanded to become the nation of Siam, whose borders were roughly those of modern Thailand, except for the north, the Kingdom of Lannathai. Ayutthaya was friendly towards foreign traders, including the Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Persians, and later the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, British and French, permitting them to set up villages outside the city walls. The court of King Narai (1656-1688) had strong links with that of King Louis XIV of France, whose ambassadors compared the city in size and wealth to Paris.

After a bloody period of dynastic struggle, Ayutthaya entered into what has been called its golden age, a relatively peaceful episode in the second quarter of the eighteenth century when art, literature, and learning flourished. There were foreign wars. The Ayutthaya fought with Nguyen Lords (Vietnamese rulers of South Vietnam) for control of Cambodia starting around 1715. But a greater threat came from Burma, where the new Alaungpaya dynasty had subdued the Shan states.

In 1765 Thai territory was invaded by two Burmese armies that converged on Ayutthaya. The only notable example of successful resistance to these forces was found at the village of Bang Rajan. After a lengthy siege, the city capitulated and was burned in 1767. Ayutthaya's art treasures, the libraries containing its literature, and the archives housing its historic records were almost totally destroyed, and the city was left in ruins.

The country was reduced to chaos. Provinces were proclaimed independent states under military leaders, rogue monks, and cadet members of the royal family. The Thais were saved from Burmese subjugation, however, by an opportune Chinese invasion of Burma and by the leadership of a Thai military commander, Phraya Taksin.

All that remains of the old city are some impressive ruins of the royal palace. King Taksin established a capital at Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya from the present capital, Bangkok (Kruen Thep).

The ruins of the historic city of Ayutthaya and "associated historic towns" in the Ayutthaya historical park have been listed by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

The city of Ayutthaya was refounded near the old city, and is now capital of the Ayutthaya province.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayutthaya_kingdom
Cleisthenes
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The palace was overcrowded that day !18 viewsAE/Billon scyphate from Alexis III ( 1195 - 1203 )philippe B2
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Tibet,‭ ‬c.‭ ‬1850-1948‭3 viewsAR Ga-den Tangka,‭ ‬27mm,‭ ‬4.3g, 12h.
Obv.:‭ ‬Eight auspicious symbols arrayed around lotus:‭ ‬umbrella of sovereignty,‭ ‬two golden fish of good fortune,‭ ‬amphora of ambrosia,‭ ‬lotus,‭ ‬conch shell,‭ ‬emblem of endless rebirth,‭ ‬banner of victory,‭ ‬and wheel of empire.‭
‬Rev.:‭ ‬dga‭'‬-ldan pho-brang-phyod-las-rnam-rgyal,‭ ‬within eight circles.‭ (‬The Palace of‭ ‬Ga-den is victorious in all directions‭)
16-343-23
John Anthony
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Time of Darius I - Xerxes II132 viewsACHAEMENID PERSIAN EMPIRE. Time of Darius I - Xerxes II Circa 485-420 B.C.E. AV daric. 16mm, 8.36g. O:Persian king or hero in kneeling-running stance right, holding spear and bow. R: Incuse punch. Carradice Type IIIb A/B (pl. XIII, 27).

In 550 BC Cyrus the Great founded the Achaemenid Persian Empire by amalgamating the Iranian tribes of the Medes and the Persians. Cyrus then looked to the west. His army defeated the Lydians and their king Croesus in 547 BC and in the following year the Persian army marched into the kingdoms of Ionia, Caria and Lykia, on what is now the west coast of Turkey.

It was there that the Persians first came into contact with coinage. From here it spread over the next century throughout the Persian Empire as far as Afghanistan and Egypt. After conquering Lydia in 547 BC, the Persians adopted the Lydian tradition of minting coins. Soon the local 'lion and bull' croesid coins were replaced by a new Achaemenid coinage.

The gold daric, named after the Persian king Darius I (521-486 BC), and the silver siglos (or shekel) were the main denominations. An archer, representing the Persian king, appeared on the obverse (front) of the coin. The reverse consisted of a rectangular punch. These coins were minted in the western part of the Achaemenid Empire. Their production continued long after the death of Darius, until the conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century BC. (Comments from britishmuseum.org)

After the destruction of the Kingdom of Judah, the Jews were taken into the seventy-year Babylonian captivity. When ancient Persia took control of Babylon, Haman, the royal vizier, convinced King Ahasuerus to destroy all the Jews. Esther, Ahasuerus's queen and, unknown to him, a Jew, interceded on behalf of her people. By law the King could not rescind the order to slaughter the Jews, so he issued a second decree that permitted the Jews to defend themselves with armed force.

The King replaced Haman with Mordecai, a palace official, cousin and foster parent of Esther. The Jews defeated Haman, killing his ten sons that were leading the attacks, and then hanged Haman. The day after the battle was designated as a day of feasting and rejoicing. Scholars identify King Ahasuerus as the historical king Xerxes I, 486 - 465 BCE. Xerxes is the Greek version of his name but the Babylonians knew him as Khshayarsha. The Hebrew name Ahasuerus, appears to be derived from Khshayarsha, with the letter A added at the beginning.
3 commentsNemonater
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Trajan Decius; Tarsus, Cilicia24 viewsCILICIA, Tarsus. Trajan Decius. AD 249-251. Æ (33mm, 19.74 g, 6h). Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Lion attacking bull right. SNG Levante 1161 (same dies); SNG France 1764 (same dies). VF, earthen black-green patina.

From the Kelly J. Krizan, M.D. Collection.

Pompey subjected Tarsus to Rome, and it became capital of the Roman province of Cilicia, the metropolis where the governor resided. In 66 BC, the inhabitants received Roman citizenship. To flatter Julius Caesar, for a time it took the name Juliopolis. It was also here that Cleopatra and Mark Antony met and was the scene of the celebrated feasts they gave during the construction of their fleet (41 BC). In William Shakespeare's 1606 play Antony and Cleopatra (Act 5, Scene 2), after Antony's death Cleopatra says she is going to Cydnus to meet Antony, i.e., she will commit suicide to meet him in the afterlife; "Go fetch / My best attires: I am again for Cydnus, / To meet Mark Antony"

When the province of Cilicia was divided, Tarsus remained the civil and religious metropolis of Cilicia Prima, and was a grand city with palaces, marketplaces, roads and bridges, baths, fountains and waterworks, a gymnasium on the banks of the Cydnus, and a stadium. Tarsus was later eclipsed by nearby Adana, but remained important as a port and shipyard. Several Roman emperors were interred here: Marcus Claudius Tacitus, Maximinus II, and Julian the Apostate, who planned to move his capital here from Antioch if he returned from his Persian expedition.

Tarsus was the city where, according to the Acts of the Apostles, "Saul of Tarsus"[Acts 9:11] was born, but he was "brought up" ([Acts 22:3]) in Jerusalem. Saul became Paul the apostle after his encounter with Christ (Acts 9:11; 21:39; 22:3), and he briefly returned here after his conversion (Acts 9:30). From here Barnabas retrieved him to help with the work in Syrian Antioch (Acts 11:25).

Already by this time a Christian community probably existed, although the first recorded bishop, Helenus, dates only from the third century; Helenus visited Antioch several times in connection with the dispute concerning Paul of Samosata. Later bishops of Tarsus included Lupus, present at the Council of Ancyra in 314; Theodorus, at the Council of Nicaea in 325; Helladius, who was condemned at the Council of Ephesus and who appealed to the bishop of Rome in 433; above all the celebrated exegete Diodorus, teacher of Theodore of Mopsuestia and consequently one of the fathers of Nestorianism. From the sixth century the metropolitan see of Tarsus had seven suffragan bishoprics; the Greek archdiocese is again mentioned in the tenth century , and existed until the twentieth century upheavals, part of the Patriarchate of Antioch.

Owing to the importance of Tarsus, many martyrs were put to death here, among them being Saint Pelagia, Saint Boniface, Saint Marinus, Saint Diomedes, Saint Quiricus and Saint Julitta.

At about the end of the tenth century, the Armenians established a diocese of their rite; Saint Nerses of Lambroun was its most distinguished representative in the twelfth century.

A cave in Tarsus is one of a number of places claiming to be the location of the legend of the Seven Sleepers, common to Christianity and Islam.
ecoli
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Turkey, Ankara, Anatolian Museum of Civilisations.31 viewsA relief of Hittite troops and palace officials, dating to the second half of the 8th cent. BC.
Photograph by Will Hooton
*Alex
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Turkey, Istanbul, Boukoleon Palace47 views9-6-2015
This section was built in the reign of Emperor Theophilus (829-42 AD).
The brick walls would have been clad in Marble.
The three doorways led to a balcony.
The Sea reached up to the walls in those days.
After being ransacked by the "4th Crusade" in 1204 AD, it remained abandoned, even after Michael VIII retook the city in 1261 AD.
The Ottomans never took this section over.
In 1873 AD it was partially destroyed to make way for the railway line that began at Sirkeci Station.
Masis
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Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum54 views9-6-2015
The south-western section of the Great Palace (dated to the reign of Emperor Justinian, 527-65 AD) was excavated in the years 1935-38 and 1951-54 by the University of St. Andrews.
This section comprised a Peristyle courtyard, decorated in Mosaics.
The Austrian Academy of Sciences undertook preservation work on the Mosaics in the years 1983-97.
In the photo above, you can also see the pipes inside the walls that would have water and heating.
Masis
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Turkey, Istanbul, Mosaic Museum51 viewsOutside the Museum is an array of columns, capitals, entablature and even marble Lions.Masis
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Vietnam (French Protectorate of Annam). Thanh Thai (1888-1907).10 viewsBarker: 107.1-107.8, KM 628, Yeoman 2, Toda --, Novak 107.

10 van/phan (cast copper alloy). 4.79 g., 26.28 mm., 0◦

Obv: Thanh-Thai-Thong-Bao.

Rev: Tap-Van.

The coins were cast by Emperor Nguyen Thanh Thai under the reign title Thanh Thai. Emperor Thành Thái took a course of passive-resistance against the French, making his feelings clear via symbolic gestures and biting remarks. He feigned insanity to escape the constant scrutiny of the French spies who thoroughly infiltrated his palace. With his enemies believing he was a harmless lunatic, Thành Thái was able to work more forcefully for Vietnamese autonomy while waiting for the right time to throw off colonial rule. He was on his way to join a resistance movement in China when he was arrested by French forces who declared him insane and forced him to abdicate.
Stkp
SeptSeverus.jpg
[1001a] Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.63 viewsSilver denarius, RIC 32, RSC 301, VF, 2.966g, 16.8mm, 180o, Rome mint, 194 A.D.; obverse L SEPT SEV PERT AVG IMP III, laureate head right; reverse LIBERO PATRI, Liber (Bacchus) standing left, in right ocnochoe over panther, thysus in left; excellent portrait; scarce. Ex FORVM.

De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves. By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
SeptSevArDen.jpg
[1001b] Septimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D.45 viewsSeptimius Severus, 9 April 193 - 4 February 211 A.D., Silver denarius, RIC 119A. aF. Rome. Obverse: L. SEP. SEVERVS PER. AVG. P. M. IMP. XI, His bearded and laureated head right. Reverse: SALVTI AVGG. Salus seated left feeding serpent arising from altar(?). Scarce. Ex FORVM.


De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Septimius Severus (193-211 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Introduction
Lucius Septimius Severus restored stability to the Roman empire after the tumultuous reign of the emperor Commodus and the civil wars that erupted in the wake of Commodus' murder. However, by giving greater pay and benefits to soldiers and annexing the troublesome lands of northern Mesopotamia into the Roman empire, Septimius Severus brought increasing financial and military burdens to Rome's government. His prudent administration allowed these burdens to be met during his eighteen years on the throne, but his reign was not entirely sunny. The bloodiness with which Severus gained and maintained control of the empire tarnished his generally positive reputation.

Severus' Early Life and Acclamation
Severus was born 11 April 145 in the African city of Lepcis Magna, whose magnificent ruins are located in modern Libya, 130 miles east of Tripoli. Septimius Severus came from a distinguished local family with cousins who received suffect consulships in Rome under Antoninus Pius. The future emperor's father seems not to have held any major offices, but the grandfather may have been the wealthy equestrian Septimius Severus commemorated by the Flavian-era poet Statius.

The future emperor was helped in his early career by one of his consular cousins, who arranged entry into the senate and the favor of the emperor Marcus Aurelius. Life as a senator meant a life of travel from one government posting to another. Moorish attacks on his intended post of Baetica (southern Spain) forced Severus to serve his quaestorship in Sardinia. He then traveled to Africa as a legate and returned to Rome to be a tribune of the plebs. Around the year 175 he married Paccia Marciana, who seems also to have been of African origin. The childless marriage lasted a decade or so until her death.

Severus' career continued to flourish as the empire passed from Marcus to Commodus. The young senator held a praetorship, then served in Spain, commanded a legion in Syria and held the governorships of Gallia Lugdunensis (central France), Sicily and Upper Pannonia (easternmost Austria and western Hungary). While in Gallia Lugdunensis in 187, the now-widowed future emperor married Julia Domna, a woman from a prominent family of the Syrian city of Emesa. Two sons quickly arrived, eleven months apart: Bassianus (known to history as Caracalla) in April of the year 188, and Geta in March 189.

News of Pertinax's assassination 28 March 193 in an uprising by the praetorian guard quickly reached Pannonia, and only twelve days later on 9 April 193, Severus was proclaimed emperor. Septimius Severus had the strong support of the armies along the Rhine and Danube, but the loyalty of the governor of Britain, Clodius Albinus, was in doubt. Severus' envoys from Pannonia offered Albinus the title of Caesar, which he accepted.

The Civil Wars with Albinus, Niger, and Didius Julianus
In the city of Rome, Didius Julianus gained the support of the praetorian troops and was promoted as the successor to Pertinax. Although Julianus' authority did not extend much beyond Italy, Severus understood that legitimacy for a Roman emperor meant having one's authority accepted in Rome. He and his army began a swift march to the city. They met practically no resistance on their advance from Pannonia into northern Italy, as Julianus' supporters defected. By the beginning of June when Severus reached Interamna, 50 miles north of Rome, even the praetorian guard stationed in the capital switched sides. Didius Julianus was declared a public enemy and killed. Septimius Severus entered Rome without a fight.

Civil war was not yet over. Another provincial governor also had his eyes on the throne. In Syria, Pescennius Niger had been proclaimed emperor on news of Pertinax's death, and the eastern provinces quickly went under his authority. Byzantium became Niger's base of operations as he prepared to fight the armies of the west loyal to Severus.

Niger was unable to maintain further advances into Europe. The fighting moved to the Asian shore of the Propontis, and in late December 193 or early January 194, Niger was defeated in a battle near Nicaea and fled south. Asia and Bithynia fell under Severus' control, and Egypt soon recognized Severus' authority. By late spring, Niger was defeated near Issus and the remainder of his support collapsed. Syria was pacified. Niger was killed fleeing Antioch. Byzantium, however, refused to surrender to Severan forces. Niger's head was sent to the city to persuade the besieged citizens to give up, but to no avail. The Byzantines held out for another year before surrender. As punishment for their stubbornness, the walls of their city were destroyed.

Severus' Eastern Campaigns
During the fighting, two of the peoples of upper Mesopotamia -- the Osrhoeni and the Adiabeni -- captured some Roman garrisons and made an unsuccessful attack on the Roman-allied city of Nisibis. After the defeat of Niger, these peoples offered to return Roman captives and what remained of the seized treasures if the remaining Roman garrisons were removed from the region. Severus refused the offer and prepared for war against the two peoples, as well as against an Arabian tribe that had aided Niger. In the spring of 195, Severus marched an army through the desert into upper Mesopotamia. The native peoples quickly surrendered, and Severus added to his name the victorious titles Arabicus and Adiabenicus. Much of the upper third of Mesopotamia was organized as a Roman province, though the king of Osrhoene was allowed to retain control of a diminished realm.

The tottering Parthian empire was less and less able to control those peoples living in the border regions with Rome. Rome's eastern frontier was entering a period of instability, and Severus responded with an interventionist policy of attack and annexation. Some senators feared that increased involvement in Mesopotamia would only embroil Rome in local squabbles at great expense. The emperor, however, would remain consistent in his active eastern policy.

Legitimization of the Severan Dynasty
Severus also took steps to cement his legitimacy as emperor by connecting himself to the Antonine dynasty. Severus now proclaimed himself the son of Marcus Aurelius, which allowed him to trace his authority, through adoption, back to the emperor Nerva. Julia Domna was awarded the title "Mother of the Camp" (mater castrorum), a title only previously given to the empress Faustina the Younger, Marcus' wife. Bassianus, the emperor's elder son, was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and given the title Caesar. It was this last step that marked a decisive break with Albinus.

Albinus had remained in Britain as governor during the struggles between Severus and Niger. Although Albinus had not attempted open revolt against the emperor, he seems to have been in communication with senators about future moves.[[3]] By the end of 195, Albinus was declared a public enemy by Severus. The governor of Britain responded by proclaiming himself emperor and invading Gaul.

A weary Roman populace used the anonymity of the crowd at the chariot races to complain about renewed civil war, but it was Gaul that bore the brunt of the fighting. Albinus and his supporters were able to inflict losses on the occasion of the initial attacks, but disorder was so great that opportunistic soldiers could easily operate on their own within the lands under Albinus' nominal control.

The tide began to turn early in 197, and after a Severan victory at Tournus, Albinus found himself and his army trapped near Lyon. A battle broke out 19 February 197. In the initial fighting, Albinus' troops forced the Severans into retreat, during which Severus fell off his horse. When the Severan cavalry appeared, however, Albinus' army was routed. Lyon was sacked and Albinus, who was trapped in a house along the river Rhône, committed suicide. Severus ordered Albinus' head to be cut off and sent to Rome for display. Many of Albinus' supporters were killed, including a large number of Spanish and Gallic aristocrats. Albinus' wife and children were killed, as were many of the wives of his supporters. Tradition also told of the mutilation of bodies and denial of proper burial. The emperor revealed a penchant for cruelty that troubled even his fervent supporters. A purge of the senate soon followed. Included among the victims was Pertinax's father-in-law, Sulpicianus.

Severus and the Roman Military
Severus brought many changes to the Roman military. Soldiers' pay was increased by half, they were allowed to be married while in service, and greater opportunities were provided for promotion into officer ranks and the civil service. The entire praetorian guard, discredited by the murder of Pertinax and the auctioning of their support to Julianus, was dismissed. The emperor created a new, larger praetorian guard out of provincial soldiers from the legions. Increases were also made to the two other security forces based in Rome: the urban cohorts, who maintained order; and the night watch, who fought fires and dealt with overnight disturbances, break-ins and other petty crime. These military reforms proved expensive, but the measures may well have increased soldiers' performance and morale in an increasingly unsettled age.

One location that remained unsettled was the eastern frontier. In 197 Nisibis had again been under siege, and the emperor prepared for another eastern campaign. Three new legions were raised, though one was left behind in central Italy to maintain order. The Roman armies easily swept through upper Mesopotamia, traveling down the Euphrates to sack Seleucia, Babylon and Ctesiphon, which had been abandoned by the Parthian king Vologaeses V. On 28 January 198 -- the centenary of Trajan's accession -- Severus took the victorious title Parthicus Maximus and promoted both of his sons: Caracalla to the rank of Augustus and Geta to the rank of Caesar.

Before embarking on the eastern campaign, the emperor had named Gaius Fulvius Plautianus as a praetorian prefect. Plautianus came from the emperor's home town of Lepcis, and the prefect may even have been a relative of the emperor. The victories in Mesopotamia were followed by tours of eastern provinces, including Egypt. Plautianus accompanied Severus throughout the travels, and by the year 201 Plautianus was the emperor's closest confidant and advisor. Plautianus was also praetorian prefect without peer after having arranged the murder of his last colleague in the post.

Upon the return to Rome in 202, the influence of Plautianus was at its height. Comparisons were made with Sejanus, the powerful praetorian prefect under the emperor Tiberius. Plautianus, who earlier had been adlected into the senate, was now awarded consular rank, and his daughter Plautilla was married to Caracalla. The wealth Plautianus had acquired from his close connection with the emperor enabled him to provide a dowry said to have been worthy of fifty princesses. Celebrations and games also marked the decennalia, the beginning of the tenth year of Severus' reign. Later in the year the enlarged imperial family traveled to Lepcis, where native sons Severus and Plautianus could display their prestige and power.

The following year the imperial family returned to Rome, where an arch, still standing today, was dedicated to the emperor at the western end of the Forum. Preparations were also being made for the Secular Games, which were thought to have originated in earliest Rome and were to be held every 110 years. Augustus celebrated the Secular Games in 17 B.C., and Domitian in A.D. 88, six years too early. (Claudius used the excuse of Rome's 800th year to hold the games in A.D. 47.) In 204 Severus would preside over ten days of ceremonies and spectacles.

By the end of 204, Plautianus was finding his influence with the emperor on the wane. Caracalla was not happy to be the husband of Plautilla. Julia Domna resented Plautianus' criticisms and investigations against her. Severus was tiring of his praetorian prefect's ostentation, which at times seemed to surpass that of the emperor himself. The emperor's ailing brother, Geta, also denounced Plautianus, and after Geta's death the praetorian prefect found himself being bypassed by the emperor. In January 205 a soldier named Saturninus revealed to the emperor a plot by Plautianus to have Severus and Caracalla killed. Plautianus was summoned to the imperial palace and executed. His children were exiled, and Caracalla divorced Plautilla. Some observers suspected the story of a plot was merely a ruse to cover up long-term plans for Plautianus' removal.

Severus and Roman Law
Two new praetorian prefects were named to replace Plautianus, one of whom was the eminent jurist Papinian. The emperor's position as ultimate appeals judge had brought an ever-increasing legal workload to his office. During the second century, a career path for legal experts was established, and an emperor came to rely heavily upon his consilium, an advisory panel of experienced jurists, in rendering decisions. Severus brought these jurists to even greater prominence. A diligent administrator and conscientious judge, the emperor appreciated legal reasoning and nurtured its development. His reign ushered in the golden age of Roman jurisprudence, and his court employed the talents of the three greatest Roman lawyers: Papinian, Paul and Ulpian.

The order Severus was able to impose on the empire through both the force of arms and the force of law failed to extend to his own family. His now teenaged sons, Caracalla and Geta, displayed a reckless sibling rivalry that sometimes resulted in physical injury. The emperor believed the lack of responsibilities in Rome contributed to the ill-will between his sons and decided that the family would travel to Britain to oversee military operations there. Caracalla was involved in directing the army's campaigns, while Geta was given civilian authority and a promotion to joint emperor with his father and brother.

Severus was now into his 60s. Chronic gout limited his activities and sapped his strength. The emperor's health continued to deteriorate in Britain, and he became ever more intent on trying to improve the bitter relationship between his two sons. He is reported to have given his sons three pieces of advice: "Get along; pay off the soldiers; and disregard everyone else." The first piece of advice would not be heeded.

Severus died in York on 4 February 211 at the age of 65. His reign lasted nearly 18 years, a duration that would not be matched until Diocletian. Culturally and ideologically Septimius Severus connected his reign to the earlier Antonine era, but the reforms he enacted would eventually alter the very character of Roman government. By creating a larger and more expensive army and increasing the influence of lawyers in administration, Severus planted the seeds that would develop into the highly militaristic and bureaucratic government of the later empire.

Copyright (C) 1998, Michael L. Meckler. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors; http://www.roman-emperors.org/sepsev.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ArcadiusManusDei.jpg
[1601b] Arcadius, 19 January 383 - 1 May 408 A.D.63 viewsARCADIUS AE2. Struck at Constantinople, 378-383 AD. Obverse: D N ARCADIVS P F AVG, diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right, holding spear and shield, Hand of God above holding wreath; Reverse - GLORIA ROMANORVM, emperor standing facing, head left, holding standard & resting shield at side, bound captive seated on ground to left, head right, CONG in exergue. RIC 53b. Scarce. Extremely Fine, some roughness and corrosion.


De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors and their Families


Arcadius (395-408 A.D.)

Geoffrey S. Nathan
University of California at Los Angeles

Introduction and Early Life
The ineffectual life and reign of Flavius Arcadius are of considerably less importance than the quite significant developments that occurred during his reign. Born either in 377 or 378 to then general Theodosius and Aelia Flavia Flacilla, he and his younger brother, Honorius, ruled the eastern and western halves of the Roman Empire respectively from 395.

Shortly after his birth, his father was raised to the imperial purple in 379. Events in Illyricum with the massive influx of Ostrogothic and Visigothic peoples had resulted in the defeat of the Roman army and the death of the emperor, Valens. Theodosius' first task was to confront the Visigoths who had been ravaging the Balkans. Perhaps in the wake of this difficult and almost insurmountable task, the emperor wanted to insure that his infant son would bear some legitimacy should he die on campaign. Whatever the reason, Arcadius was proclaimed Augustus in January of 383 at the age of five or six. In the following year, his younger brother was born and it seems as if Theodosius initially had been interested in preserving the theoretical position of his elder son. While Arcadius enjoyed the status of Augustus, Honorius only achieved the office of consul posterior in 386. Perhaps the eastern emperor had wanted to avoid the possible conflicts that arose earlier in the century with the family of Constantine. Recent events in the west with the assassination of Gratian by Magnus Maximus may have also played a part: Theodosius initially had to leave the murder of his imperial colleague unavenged and leave the boy- emperor, Valentinian II, largely undefended. The profusion of emperors may well have been seen by Theodosius as kindling for civil war. His own autocratic tendencies may have also meant that he saw only one possible successor for himself.

Nevertheless, Theodosius gave Arcadius very little independence in early life. When he went to campaign against Magnus in the late 380's, he placed his son under the Praetorian Prefect of the East, Tatian, who was the de facto emperor in Theodosius' absence. This began a long series of regencies for Arcadius. The strength of Tatian's position with the eastern governing class made the office of Praetorian Prefect all the more powerful in Constantinople, which in turn made it easier to dominate future emperors. When Theodosius replaced Tatian with the more malleable and more ambitious Rufinus in 392, he had appointed a minister who would centralize even greater authority under the prefecture.

By 393, the emperor's situation had changed radically. When events in the west demanded his attention again, Theodosius was in a much stronger position. The ascendancy of the general, Arbogast, and his own puppet emperor, Eugenius, in the west provided Theodosius an opportunity and, indeed, the obligation to take full control of the Empire. The chance for having his own two sons ruling both halves of Rome not only seemed practical and feasible, but such an arrangement would establish himself as the head of a new dynasty. With thoughts in that direction, Honorius was made Augustus in 393 and accompanied his father west in the summer of 394. Arcadius, although near his majority, was nevertheless placed again under the guardianship (epitropos) of the Prefect of the East. In January of 395, Theodosius the Great died and his two sons took theoretical control of the two halves of the Roman Empire.

Early Reign and the Dominance of Rufinus and Eutropius (395-399)
Arcadius was eighteen when he assumed the throne in the east. We do not know whether or not he was ready for the responsibilities. During the mid-380's, the young emperor had been educated in part by Themistius, a famous pagan statesman, philosopher, and speaker. In what way he affected Arcadius is impossible to say, but surely his teachings must have included statecraft. Perhaps because of this influence, the new emperor's attempt to establish himself as an independent force can be seen in a series of laws passed at his accession. In contrast to trying to create a military image for himself, which would not be allowed either by Rufinus or by the eastern court, he attempted to portray himself as a pious Christian emperor. He enacted several comprehensive laws against heresy and paganism.

This was not necessarily an ineffectual strategy. By celebrating his religious piety, he expressed his power in the only way available to an emperor largely controlled by his ministers. He also perhaps sought to gain support and power from the local governing and religious hierarchies in Constantinople. Arcadius also perhaps thought that he was carrying on in the tradition of his father and so, by extension, might share in some of his glory. Rufinus in contrast wanted to tie himself to the emperor through a marriage connection to his daughter. But in April of 395, Arcadius had taken advantage of the Prefect's temporary absence to marry Aelia Eudoxia, whose guardian, the general, Promotus, had been a bitter enemy of Rufinus. Arcadius had been aided in this move by his own grand chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi), Eutropius, and it perhaps indicated the degree to which he wanted to be free of any regent.

But in reality, Arcadius gained little if any power. Rufinus assumed full control of the east, and the Vandal Stilicho, Theodosius' closest advisor and general, took control of Honorius in the west. The tension between east and west quickly grew when Stilicho, in command of all the eastern and western armies, tried to press his guardianship over Arcadius as well. Moreover, there was considerable resentment against Rufinus in the east for using his office to greatly enrich himself and perhaps, too, because he was a westerner. Rufinus, understanding the perils around him, acted quickly. He had Arcadius demand the return of the eastern armies at once. Stilicho acquiesced, perhaps because the general was basing his claim of guardianship on his own legitimacy: to have taken control of the east and Arcadius by force would have undermined his position there and perhaps in the west. The soldiers returned under the command of the Gothic general, Gainas. With the control of the field army, it seemed as if Rufinus was going to be more thoroughly in control of the east and over Arcadius.

He did not long enjoy his victory. When Arcadius and Rufinus came to greet the armies at Hebdoman near Constantinople in November of 395, the soldiers turned on the Praetorian Prefect and cut him down in front of the emperor. Whether Stilicho instigated the assassination is a matter of some debate, but if he did, he received no benefit from it. The armies remained and Arcadius soon fell under the sway of other ministers. Nevertheless, despite the shock and fear Arcadius may have felt at witnessing such a brutal murder, he probably missed Rufinus' presence not at all and even thought it might provide an opportunity to assert his own authority. For the bureaucracy, the death meant that maintaining civilian control over the army was paramount to their own survival.

Soon thereafter, Eutropius assumed Rufinus' place in dominating Arcadius. Since the grand chamberlain could control access to the emperor and commanded the powerful palace bureaucracy, he was well-placed to dictate what and whom the emperor saw and heard. Military officers--frequently Germanic--who dominated the western government, were held suspect by fearful and jealous civil administrators in Constantinople. Eutropius used that fear to his advantage and froze out any access they may have had to the circles of power. His decision to effectively eliminate the military's input in decision-making would eventually lead to his demise.

It is difficult to determine how popular Eutropius was either with Arcadius or with the wider population. As a eunuch and a former slave, the sources generally portray him very negatively. He nevertheless seems to have enjoyed some support from the emperor, likely aided by Eudoxia with whom the grand chamberlain had close ties. The emperor happily took annual vacations in Galatia, apparently upon the Eutropius' suggestion. Moreover, the chamberlain showed great personal courage and talent in leading a campaign against invading Huns in 397/8, for which he won the consulship and the rank of patrician in the following year of 399. He also seems to have gained considerable support from the local clergy by procuring the patriarchate of Constantinople in 398 for John Chrysostom.

Despite Eutropius' rise to power, however, eastern policy changed little. The religious policies of Theodosius and Arcadius continued, including the forced closure of pagan temples in Gaza. More significantly, tension between the two halves of the empire persisted as Stilicho continued to press for his position as guardian. Although Stilicho led periodic raids into Greece and Thrace to attack the new Visigothic king, Alaric, his victories were incomplete and were more likely meant to keep the Germanic people out of western territory. This meant, among other things, that the Visigoths were an enduring problem for the east. Eutropius in turn supported the revolt of the Count Gildo in Africa, which was under western control, in an attempt to destabilize Stilicho's control and further eastern domains.

The failure of the revolt in 398 was the first step in Eutropius' downfall. The decision to exclude the military men of the period, particularly among the growing importance of Germanic officers, created a dangerous situation. By 399, the dissatisfaction with east-west affairs and the Gildo fiasco resulted in a revolt by the Gothic count, Tribigild. He was apparently in collusion with Gainas, who had taken advantage of the crisis to be named chief general in the east (magister utriusque militiae). Gainas quickly reached an agreement with the rebel and part of the settlement was the dismissal of Eutropius, to which Arcadius--at Eudoxia's urging--agreed. The chamberlain took refuge in the Hagia Sophia, and was exiled to Cyprus. But shortly thereafter, in the autumn of 399, Eutropius was recalled, tried and executed in Chalcedon.

The Age of Eudoxia (400-404)
The death of Eutropius precipitated a serious crisis. Gainas, who had wanted high office for years, now tried to force the hand of Arcadius. Having come to a quick resolution with Tribigild, he moved from Thrace towards Constantinople in 400. With the Germanic troops supporting him, Gainas tried for six months to initiate his own primacy-- including seizing the imperial palace--but which failed. He was forced to withdraw personally from the city to regroup and planned to use his troops remaining there to seize the entire city. But they were slaughtered by the inhabitiants and he fled first to Thrace and then to Asia. Eventually Gainas was killed by the Huns later in that year. His attempted coup ensured that Germanic officers would never again be trusted by the eastern government and would forever be kept out of any important decision-making roles.

The likely successor to Eutropius had been the anti-Germanic leader, Aurelianus, who had succeeded to the Prefecture of the East in 399. But Gainas had exiled him, having forced Arcadius to hand him over, and although Aurelianus returned triumphantly after Gainas' departure, he appears to have lost his hold over the emperor. In the meantime, Aelia Eudoxia had done much to forward her own place in the government. In January of 400, she had been named Augusta, a singular distinction offered to only three other women in the previous century. Her position thus gained a semi-official legitimacy afforded to very few Roman empresses. It has been assumed that because of her beauty, her intelligence, and her fecundity (she bore Arcadius five children), she was able to assert her influence to a point where she was the new power behind the throne.

That assessment, while held by many scholars, is not entirely accurate. While there were several events in which she played a crucial part, they were not terribly important moments during Arcadius' reign. But because Eudoxia was enormously wealthy, because she delivered a male heir in 401, and because she was involved in a highly publicized and drawn out political fight with John Chrysostom, this belief that there was an assumption of power is based more on the notoriety of her acts than on actual control. The fact that there was no one clearly dominating the government nor the emperor during this time implies perhaps that Arcadius had more power during these five years of his reign than at any other time.

There are several indications that he did try to improve and assert his own position. The emperor and his court immediately came to some understanding with the west. The east at the very least gave Honorius and Stilicho moral support in their increasing problems with Alaric. In 402, the feeling of goodwill was sealed by a joint consulship between Arcadius and his brother. The emperor also sought to establish his own military prowess and Christian piety with the erection of a column set up in the Hippodrome of Constantinople in 402/3. The column depicted his military victory over Gainas, crowned with a capital emblazoned with the Greek letters chi-rho, symbolizing his devotion to Christ. Arcadius' son, Theodosius II, was born in 401, and was quickly made Augustus at the age of eight months. The eastern ruler was thus interested in assuring his own dynasty.

In all these things, the emperor was largely successful, but they were largely overshadowed by the feud between his empress and the bishop of Constantinople. Eudoxia had already shown herself able in pushing her interests during the baptism of her son. The Bishop of Constantinople, however, was a much tougher opponent than her husband. John Chrysostom, a strong believer in social justice, had boorishly attacked Eudoxia and many of her friends for the conspicuous luxury in which they lived and displayed themselves. At the height of these attacks, John compared the empress to Jezebel. Eudoxia in turn used her considerable influence to inflame hostility among the clergy against the bishop. Working through Bishop Theophilus of Alexandria, in 403 Chrysostom was deposed and forced into exile at a Church council convened by the emperor (the Synod of the Oak at Chalcedon). However, there was soon such turmoil and uproar in the imperial city that the bishop was recalled a few days later. But the public feuding between Eudoxia and Chrysostom continued until at last she had him banished again in 404, this time permanently. Among other things, it caused a breach between Arcadius and his brother, who had, with Pope Innocent I, tried to support Chrysostom.

Eudoxia's victory was short-lived, however. In October of 404, the Augusta died of a miscarriage. Her death was seen by some as retribution for dismissing John. Whatever the reason, her end also signaled a complete retreat into the background by the emperor and no further initiatives seem to have been pushed by the 27-year-old Augustus.

The Final Years: Anthemius and Death (404-408)
The last years of Arcadius' reign were completely dominated by his Praetorian Prefect of the East, Anthemius. It was perhaps fitting that when the emperor seems to have been most retiring, the most able and energetic of his high ministers came to power. Anthemius worked hard to solve a series of governmental abuses, continue to push for Christianization, and secure the east from attack.

Anthemius first seems to have tried to reconcile with the west, so much so that there was a joint consulship between Anthemius and Stilicho in 405. This might have also been meant to symbolize the Prefect's new dominance, however. Additionally, a number of new laws were passed, curtailing paganism, Judaism and heresy. He tried to make use of the continuing problem of incoming Germanic peoples to combat the Isaurian tribes which had been plaguing Asia Minor since 403. While it failed to halt either group's incursions, it was nevertheless a practical and intelligent strategy. As a means of protecting the imperial capital, Anthemius also strengthened the walls around Constantinople. Our records for the last years of Arcadius' rule are quite spotty, but the emperor himself seems to have completely vanished, even symbolically, from the political scene.

In May of 408, Flavius Arcadius died at the age of 31 of unknown causes. Our only physical description of Arcadius is heavily influenced by the generally low regard in which he was held. The emperor was supposedly short, thin and dark-complected. A more kindly correspondent described him as good-natured and temperate. His son succeeded him without any controversy and the government remained unchanged. Arcadius thus left the world much as he entered it: without much significance and overshadowed by more powerful forces.

Assessment
Despite the ineffectual nature of Arcadius and his rule, a number of significant changes occurred during his stewardship of the eastern empire. His inability to forcefully or at least effectively govern meant that there were few consistent or long-range goals of his administration. With the exception of trying to emphasize the emperor's piety, an important development in the history of the Byzantine monarchy, Arcadius and his ministers were for the most part simply reacting to events.

The emperor became an even more remote figure to the general public. Even in the capital city itself, he was rarely seen: we read in one account that people came running to see the emperor for the first time when he happened to be praying in a local church. A series of "orientalizing" court practices no doubt continued in order to emphasize the symbolic separation of the emperor from the rest of society. The hieratic, almost semi- divine nature of the imperial person, also became a feature of the eastern ruler.

Perhaps of greatest importance was the political and cultural split between east and west. With the death of Theodosius, the two halves of the Roman Empire increasingly went their separate ways. For the most part, the west was thrown back upon its own resources, unable to deal with the problems of the fifth century. The east proved more compact and more resilient: it largely weathered the political storms from without and within.

Moreover, Constantinople fully became the imperial capital of the east, a Roma nova. The emperor rarely left the city and the palace officials became more influential than many of the more theoretically important ministers outside the city. Constantinople was also made an archepiscopate and Chrysostom and others started to push strongly for its primacy in the east. Both public and private building projects beautified and enlarged the city. Under Arcadius' reign, it truly became the second city of the Roman Empire.
Finally, the hard stance against Germanic officers in Roman government became a central feature in the east. While the reasons for this development were inspired largely out of fear and perhaps racism, the eastern Roman Empire did manage to avoid the largely detrimental succession of Germanic generalissimos who controlled the west in the fifth century. It also encouraged the eastern rulers in the following century to take hard lines against other peoples, including the Isaurians, the Huns and the Persians. Taken in all, the era of Arcadius was far more important than Arcadius himself. He perhaps had his father's pretensions, but none of the skills or powers necessary to leave his mark on the Empire.

By Geoffrey S. Nathan, University of California at Los Angeles
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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[1611a] Justinian I, 4 April 527 - 14 November 565 A.D.68 viewsBronze follis, S 201, choice VF, 22.147g, 43.8mm, 180o, 2nd officina, Nikomedia mint, 541 - 542 A.D.; Obverse: D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right, shield decorated with a horseman brandishing a spear, cross right; Reverse: large M, cross above, ANNO left, Xu (= year 15) right, B below, NIKO in ex; full circle strike on a huge flan. Ex FORVM.



De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Justinian (527-565 A.D.).

James Allan Evans
University of British Columbia

Introduction
The reign of Justinian was a turning-point in Late Antiquity. It is the period when paganism finally lost its long struggle to survive, and when the schism in Christianity between the Monophysite east and the Chalcedonian west became insurmountable. From a military viewpoint, it marked the last time that the Roman Empire could go on the offensive with hope of success. Africa and Italy were recovered, and a foothold was established in Spain. When Justinian died, the frontiers were still intact although the Balkans had been devastated by a series of raids and the Italian economy was in ruins. His extensive building program has left us the most celebrated example of Byzantine ecclesiastical architecture that still survives: Hagia Sophia in modern Istanbul. His reign was a period when classical culture was in sharp decline and yet it had a last flowering, with historians such as Procopius and Agathias working within the tradition inherited from Herodotus and Thucydides, and poets such as Paul the Silentiary who wrote some of the most sensuous poems that the classical tradition has ever produced. The Codex Justinianus, the Institutes and the Digest of Roman jurisprudence, all commissioned by Justinian, are monuments to the past achievements of Roman legal heritage. Justinian's reign sums up the past. It also provides a matrix for the future. In particular, there was the bubonic plague, which appeared in Constantinople in 542, for the first time in Europe, and then travelled round the empire in search of victims, returning to the capital for a new crop in 558. The plague ended a period of economic growth and initiated one of overstrained resources.

The 'Nika' Revolt
The 'Nika' Revolt which broke out in January, 532, in Constantinople, was an outburst of street violence which went far beyond the norms even in a society where a great deal of street violence was accepted. Every city worth notice had its chariot-racing factions which took their names from their racing colors: Reds, Whites, Blues and Greens. These were professional organizations initially responsible for fielding chariot-racing teams in the hippodromes, though by Justinian's time they were in charge of other shows as well. The Blues and the Greens were dominant, but the Reds and Whites attracted some supporters: the emperor Anastasius was a fan of the Reds. The aficionados of the factions were assigned their own blocs of seats in the Hippodrome in Constantinople, opposite the imperial loge, and the Blue and Green "demes" provided an outlet for the energies of the city's young males. G. M. Manojlovic in an influential article originally published in Serbo-Croat in 1904, argued that the "demes" were organized divisions of a city militia, and thus played an important role in the imperial defense structure. His thesis is now generally disregarded and the dominant view is that of Alan Cameron, that demos, whether used in the singular or plural, means simply "people" and the rioting of the "demes", the "fury of the Hippodrome", as Edward Gibbon called it, was hooliganism, which was also Gibbon's view. Efforts to make the Greens into supporters of Monophysitism and the Blues of Orthodoxy founder on lack of evidence. However, in support of Manojlovic's thesis, it must be said that, although we cannot show that the Blue and Green "demes" were an organized city militia, we hear of "Young Greens" both in Constantinople and Alexandria who bore arms, and in 540, when Antioch fell to the Persians, Blue and Green street-fighters continued to defend the city after the regular troops had fled.

Justinian and Theodora were known Blue supporters, and when street violence escalated under Justin I, Procopius claims that they encouraged it. But since Justinian became emperor he had taken a firmer, more even-handed stand. On Saturday, January 10, 532, the city prefect Eudaemon who had arrested some hooligans and found seven guilty of murder, had them hanged outside the city at Sycae, across the Golden Horn, but the scaffold broke and saved two of them from death, a Blue and a Green. Some monks from St. Conon's monastery nearby took the two men to sanctuary at the church of St Lawrence where the prefect set troops to watch. The following Tuesday while the two malefactors were still trapped in the church, the Blues and Greens begged Justinian to show mercy. He ignored the plea and made no reply. The Blues and Green continued their appeals until the twenty-second race (out of twenty-four) when they suddenly united and raised the watchword 'Nika'. Riots started and the court took refuge in the palace. That evening the mob burned the city prefect's praetorium.

Justinian tried to continue the games next day but only provoked more riot and arson. The rioting and destruction continued throughout the week; even the arrival of loyal troops from Thrace failed to restore order. On Sunday before sunrise, Justinian appeared in the Hippodrome where he repented publicly and promised an amnesty. The mob turned hostile, and Justinian retreated. The evening before Justinian had dismissed two nephews of the old emperor Anastasius, Hypatius and Pompey, against their will, from the palace and sent them home, and now the mob found Hypatius and proclaimed him emperor in the Hippodrome. Justinian was now ready to flee, and perhaps would have done so except for Theodora, who did not frighten easily. Instead Justinian decided to strike ruthlessly. Belisarius and Mundo made their separate ways into the Hippodrome where they fell on Hypatius' supporters who were crowded there, and the 'Nika' riot ended with a bloodbath.

A recent study of the riot by Geoffrey Greatrex has made the point that what was unique about it was not the actions of the mob so much as Justinian's attempts to deal with it. His first reaction was to placate: when the mob demanded that three of his ministers must go, the praetorian prefect of the East, John the Cappadocian, the Quaestor of the Sacred Palace Tribonian and the urban prefect Eudaemon, Justinian replaced them immediately. He hesitated when he should have been firm and aggravated the situation. It may well have been Theodora who emboldened him for the final act of repression. Procopius imagines Theodora on the last day engaging in formal debate about what should be done, and misquoting a famous maxim that was once offered the tyrant of Syracuse, Dionysius the Elder "Tyranny is a good shroud." Theodora emends it to "Kingship is a good shroud" and readers of Procopius may have thought wryly that the emendation was unnecessary. The formal debate, and Theodora's great scene, was probably a creation of Procopius' imagination, but a splendid one.

The 'Nika' revolt left Justinian firmly in charge. The mob was cowed and the senatorial opposition that surfaced during the revolt was forced underground. The damage to Constantinople was great, but it cleared the way for Justinian's own building program. Work in his new church of Hagia Sophia to replace the old Hagia Sophia that was destroyed in the rioting, started only forty-five days after the revolt was crushed. The two leaders of the Hippodrome massacre, Mundo and Belisarius, went on to new appointments: Mundo back to Illyricum as magister militum and Belisarius to make his reputation as the conqueror of the Vandals in Africa. The 530s were a decade of confidence and the 'Nika' riot was only a momentary crisis.

(for a detailed account of the reign of Justinian I, see: http://www.roman-emperors.org/justinia.htm)

Last Years
Misfortune crowded into the final years of Justinian's reign. There was another Samaritan revolt in midsummer, 556. Next year, in December, a great earthquake shook Constantinople and in May of the following year, the dome of Justinian's new Hagia Sophia collapsed, and had to be rebuilt with a new design. About the same time, the plague returned to the capital. Then in early 559 a horde of Kutrigur 'Huns' (proto-Bulgars) crossed the frozen Danube and advanced into the Balkans. It split into three columns: one pushed into Greece but got no further than Thermopylae, another advanced into the Gallipoli peninsula but got no further than the Long Wall, which was defended by a young officer from Justinian's native city, while the third, most dangerous spearhead led by the 'Hun' khan, Zabergan himself, made for Constantinople. Faced with this attack and without any forces for defense, Justinian called Belisarius out of retirement, and Belisarius, using a scratch force, the core of which was 300 of his veterans, ambushed the Kutrigur horde and routed it. Once the immediate danger was over, however, Justinian recalled Belisarius and took charge himself. The news that Justinian was reinforcing his Danube fleet made the Kutrigurs anxious and they agreed to a treaty which gave them a subsidy and safe passage back across the river. But as soon as they were north of the Danube, they were attacked by their rivals the Utigurs who were incited by Justinian to relieve them of their booty. The Kutrigurs raided Thrace again in 562, but they and the Utigurs were soon to fall prey to the Avars who swept out of the Asian steppes in the early 560s.

There was discontent in the capital. Street violence was on the increase again. There were bread shortages and water shortages. In late 562, there was a conspiracy which almost succeeded in killing the emperor. The chief conspirator was Marcellus, an argyroprates, a goldsmith and banker, and the conspiracy probably reflected the dissatisfaction of the business community. But Justinian was too old to learn to be frugal. He resorted to forced loans and requisitions and his successor found the treasury deeply in debt.

What remained of the great emperor's achievement? His successor Justin II, out of a combination of necessity and foolhardiness, denied the 'barbarians' the subsidies which had played a major role in Justinian's defense of the frontiers, and, to be fair, which had also been provided by emperors before him. Subsidies had been part of Anastasius' policy as well, but that was before the plague, while the imperial economy was still expanding. The result of Justin II's change of policy was renewed hostility with Persia and a shift of power in the Balkans. In 567 the Avars and Lombards joined forces against the Gepids and destroyed them. But the Lombards distrusted their allies and next year they migrated into Italy where Narses had just been removed from command and recalled, though he disobeyed orders and stayed in Rome until his death. By the end of the century only a third of Italy was in Byzantine hands. On the eastern frontier, Justin alienated the Ghassanid allies and lost the fortress of Daras, a reverse which overwhelmed his frangible sanity. For this Justinian can hardly be blamed. No one can deny his greatness; a recent study by Asterios Gerostergios even lionizes him. But if we look at his reign with the unforgiving eye of hindsight, it appears to be a brilliant effort to stem the tide of history, and in the end, it was more a failure than a moderate success.

Copyright (C) 1998, James Allan Evans. Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

The Church we know today as Hagia Sophia - or Divine Wisdom, its true name - was dedicated by the Emperor Justinian in 537AD. Through many visitudes Justinian's cathedral church of Constantinople still stands, its soring vaults and amazing dome testiments to the human spirit, the engineering talents of its builders and Divine inspiration. In the same fashion that Vespasian's Collesium (the Flavian Amphitheatre) is symbolic of Rome, Justinian's Hagia Sophia is a symbol of Byzantium.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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[1642c] Constantine VII and Romanus II, 6 Apr 945 - 9 Nov 959 A.D.62 viewsGold solidus, SBCV 1751; DOC III part 2, 15, gVF, Constantinople mint, weight 4.332g, maximum diameter 20.8mm, die axis 180o. Obverse: Ihs XPS REX REGNANTIUM, bust of Christ facing wearing nimbus cruciger, pallium and colobium, raising right in benediction, Gospels in left; Reverse: COnSTAnT, crowned facing busts of Constantine VII, in a loros on left, and his son Romanus II, in a chlamys, they hold a long patriarchal cross; small "finder's scrape" on reverse, obverse die slightly rusted.

Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.
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[1642d] Constantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 945-950, Constantinople 60 viewsConstantine VII and Romanus I, Æ Follis, 7.59g, 25mm x 27mm, SB 1761; DO 26; VF, Constantinopleb; Obverse: Facing bust of Constantine VII with short beard, wearing crown and vertical loros, akakia in right hand, globus cruciger in left; Reverse: Legend in four lines: +COnST / En QEO bA / SILEVS R / OmEOn. Ex Beast Coins.


Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, 945-959 A.D.

Constantine VII (Greek: Κωνσταντίνος Ζ΄ Πορφυρογέννητος, Kōnstantinos VII Porphyrogennētos) Porphyrogenitus is a nickname that alludes to the Purple Room of the imperial palace, decorated with the stone porphyry, where legitimate children of reigning emperors were normally born.

In his book, A Short History of Byzantium, John Julius Norwich refers to Constantine VII as "The Scholar Emperor" (180). Norwich states, “He was, we are told, a passionate collector--not only of books and manuscripts but works of art of every kind; more remarkable still for a man of his class, he seems to have been an excellent painter. He was the most generous of patrons--to writers and scholars, artists and craftsmen. Finally, he was an excellent Emperor: a competent, conscientious and hard-working administrator and an inspired picker of men, whose appointments to military, naval, ecclesiastical, civil and academic posts were both imaginative and successful. He did much to develop higher education and took a special interest in the administration of justice" (181). In 947, Constantine VII, Porphyrogenitus ordered "the immediate restitution, without compensation, of all peasant lands thus, by the end of [his] reign, the condition of the landed peasantry—which formed the foundation of the whole economic and military strength of the Empire—was better off than it had been for a century . . . on 9 November 959, he died aged fifty-four, surrounded by his sorrowing family: his wife Helena, his five daughters and his twenty-year old son Romanus, now Emperor of Byzantium (182-3).

Works cited:
Norwich, John Julius, A Short History of Byzantium. London: Viking, 1997.

Edited by J.P.Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
man1pano.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)155 viewsManuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180). AE billon trachy; Sear 1964; 30mm, 3.91g.; Constantinople mint; aF. Obverse: MP-OV-The Virgin enthroned. Nimbate and wearing pallium and maphorium; Reverse: Maueil standing facing, wearing crown, holding labarum and globe surmounted by Patriachal cross. Ex SPQR.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ManuelStGeorge.jpg
[1663a] Byzantine Empire: Manuel I Comnenus Megas (1143-1180)---NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH---[1685a] Empire of Trebizond: Manuel I Komnenos Megas (1218-1263 AD)131 viewsMANUEL I COMNENUS AE tetarteron. 1143-1180 AD. 19mm, 2.8g. Obverse: Bust of St. George facing, beardless, wearing nimbus, tunic, cuirass and sagion, and holding spear. Reverse: MANVHL-DECPOT, bust of Manuel facing, wearing crown and loros, holding labarum & globe-cross. Simply wonderful style, very sharp for the issue. A gorgeous late Byzantine coin! Ex Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

MANUEL I COMNENUS (A.D. 1143-1180)

Andrew Stone
University of Western Australia

Introduction: Sources
The reign of the emperor Manuel I Comnenus (5 April 1143- 24 September 1180) could well be regarded as a high-water mark of Byzantine civilization. It was the apogee of the so-called "Comnenian Restoration". Politically, the emperor undertook an ambitious foreign policy which has been seen by some, particularly in the light of many ultimate failures, as "misguided imperialism", recent scholarship has come to question this traditional judgment and suggests instead that the the Comnenian foreign policy was rather an energetic seizing of the different opportunities that presented themselves in the rapidly changing constellations of powers of the time. Such measures were made possible by the internal security of the empire under this, its third, Comnenian incumbent, although there were a few other aspirants to the throne, not least among them the emperor's cousin Andronicus. Manuel and other key members of the "Comnenian system", as it has been called, were patrons of rhetoric and other forms of learning and literature, and Manuel himself became keenly interested in ecclesiastical affairs, even if here his imperialistic agenda was a factor as he tried to bring Constantinopolitan theology in line with that of the west in a bid to unite the Church under his crown.

In terms of volume of contemporary material, Manuel is the most eulogised of all Byzantine emperors, and the panegyric addressed to him supplements the two major Byzantine historians of the reign, the more critical Nicetas Choniates and the laudatory John Cinnamus, as primary sources for the student of the period to study. The Crusader historian William of Tyre met Manuel personally, and such was the scope of Manuel's diplomacy that he is mentioned incidentally in western sources, such as Romuald of Salerno. Among authors of the encomia (panegyrics) we have mentioned are Theodore Prodromus and the so-called "Manganeios" Prodromus, who wrote in verse, and the prose encomiasts Michael the Rhetor, Eustathius of Thessalonica and Euthymius Malaces, to name the most important. Manuel, with his penchant for the Latins and their ways, left a legacy of Byzantine resentment against these outsiders, which was to be ruthlessly exploited by Andronicus in the end.

Manuel as sebastokrator
Manuel was born in the imperial porphyry birthchamber on 28 November 1118. He was the fourth of John II's sons, so it seemed very unlikely that he would succeed. As a youth, Manuel evidently accompanied John on campaign, for in the Anatolian expedition of 1139-41 we find Manuel rashly charging a small group of the Turkish enemy, an action for which he was castigated by his father, even though John, we are told, was inwardly impressed (mention of the incident is made in John's deathbed speech in both John Cinnamus and Nicetas Choniates). John negotiated a marriage contract for Manuel with Conrad III of Germany; he was to marry Bertha of Sulzbach. It seems to have been John's plan to carve out a client principality for Manuel from Cilicia, Cyprus and Coele Syria. In the event, it was Manuel who succeeded him.

The Securing of the Succession 1143
In the article on John II it is related how the dying John chose his youngest son Manuel to succeed him in preference to his other surviving son Isaac. Manuel was acclaimed emperor by the armies on 5 April 1143. Manuel stayed in Cilicia, where the army was stationed, for thirty days, to complete the funeral rites for his father. He sent his father's right-hand man John Axuch, however, to Constantinople to confine Isaac to the Pantokrator Monastery and to effect a donation of two hundredweight of silver coin to the clergy of the Great Church. The surviving encomium of Michael Italicus, Teacher of the Gospel, for the new emperor can be regarded as a return gift for this largesse. In the meantime the Caesar John Roger, husband of Manuel's eldest sister Maria, had been plotting to seize the throne; the plot was, however, given away by his wife before it could take effect. Manuel marched home to enter Constantinople c. July 1143. He secured the good-will of the people by commanding that every household should be granted two gold coins. Isaac the younger (Manuel's brother) and Isaac the elder (Manuel's paternal uncle), were both released from captivity and reconciled with him. Manuel chose Michael Oxeites as the new patriarch and was crowned either in August or November 1143.

Manuel confirmed John Axuch in the office of Grand Domestic, that is, commander of the army, appointed John of Poutze as procurator of public taxes, grand commissioner and inspector of accounts and John Hagiotheodorites as chancellor. John of Poutze proved to be an oppressive tax collector, but was also unsusceptible to bribery. However, this John diverted monies levied for the navy into the treasury, which would, as we shall see, further Byzantine dependence on the maritime Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa.

Early Campaigns: 1144-1146
Manuel's first concern was to consolidate the work of his father in securing the eastern frontier. He sent a force under the brothers Andronicus and John Contostephanus against the recalcitrant Crusader prince Raymond of Antioch, which consisted of both an army and a navy, the latter commanded by Demetrius Branas. Raymond's army was routed, and the naval force inflicted no small damage on the coastal regions of the principality. In the meantime the Crusader city of Edessa fell to the Turkish atabeg Zengi. Raymond therefore travelled to Constantinople as a suppliant to Manuel. It was subsequently decided, in the light of Manuel's imperial status, that the terms under which he would marry Bertha of Sulzbach should be improved. Manuel asked for 500 knights, and Conrad happily granted them, being prepared to supply 2000 or 3000 if need be all for the sake of this alliance. Bertha took the Greek name Irene.

The Seljuk sultanate of Rum under Masud had become the ascendant Turkish power in Anatolia. Manuel himself supervised the rebuilding of the fortress of Melangeia on the Sangarius river in Bithynia (1145 or 1146). In the most daring campaign of these early years, after building the new fort of Pithecas in Bithynia, Manuel advanced as far into Turkish territory as Konya (Iconium), the Seljuk capital. He had been wounded in the foot by an arrow at a mighty battle at Philomelium (which had been Masud's headquarters), and the city had been rased; once at Konya, he allowed his troops to despoil the graves outside the city walls, before taking the road home.

Cinnamus relates that the gratutitous heroics which Manuel displayed on this campaign were calculated to impress Manuel's new bride. Manuel and his army were harried by Turks on the journey home. Manuel erected the fort of Pylae before leaving Anatolia.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of the reign of Manuel I Comnenus please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/mannycom.htm]

Frederick Barbarossa and the "two-emperor problem"
Frederick Barbarossa, who was to become a constant menace to Manuel's designs, had succeeded his uncle Conrad III in 1152, but unlike him proved in the end unprepared to make any territorial concessions in Italy. The origins of this "cold war" between the two empires cannot be dated with any certainty, but there may have been a tendency to date it too early. One school of thought would not date the outbreak of this rivalry to any earlier than 1159-60, the death of Manuel's German wife, Bertha-Irene. About this time there was a scare at Constantinople that Frederick Barbarossa would march on Byzantium, perhaps reflecting a desire on Frederick's part to crusade (which he eventually did, in the reign of Isaac II Angelus). The new Pope, Alexander III, by, as it would seem, offering to grant Manuel the imperial crown, used it as a bargaining chip to play off the emperors of west and east against one another. Manuel may have supported Alexander during the papal schism of 1160-1177 because he was the preferred candidate of Hungary and the Crusader states, both of which he hoped would recognise him as their feudal overlord. By this means he could claim sovereign rights over the crusading movement, and thereby turn it to his advantage. The playing off of Manuel against Frederick continued right up until 1177, the Peace of Venice, whereby Frederick agreed to recognise Pope Alexander, the autonomy of Sicily and of the northern Italian communes. But this result was not a foregone conclusion in the 1160s and early 1170s, and Manuel used Byzantine gold to win supporters in Italy and thereby keep Frederick occupied.

Marriage to Maria of Antioch 1161
Bertha-Irene died in late 1159/early 1160. Manuel sought to strengthen his ties with the Crusader principalities by selecting an eastern Latin princess for his wife. The exceedingly beautiful Maria of Antioch, daughter of Raymond of Antioch, was chosen, and the nuptials celebrated at Christmas, 1161.


Dynastic considerations 1169-1172
Manuel's wife Maria of Antioch gave birth to a baby boy 14 September 1169 in the porphyry marble birthchamber, the cause of great festivities. The infant was crowned emperor in 1171. With the death of Stephen III of Hungary in 1172, Stephen's brother Béla was sent out from Constantinople to assume the throne (though without Sirmium and Dalmatia being surrendered to the Hungarian crown). A husband for Maria Porphyrogenita was therefore required. At first it was proposed that she marry William II of Sicily, who was outraged when she failed to show up at Taranto on the appointed day, the emperor having had second thoughts.


The final months 1180
Manuel took ill in the month of March 1180. During this period of terminal illness the last major religious controversies took place. We are told that Manuel directed that the anathema pronounced against the god of Muhammad be removed from the abjuration against the Islamic faith declared by converts to Christianity. Manuel was opposed by the last patriarch of his reign, Theodosius Boradiotes (1179-1183), as well as, notably, by Eustathius of Thessalonica. Both parties were satisfied in the end upon a reading of the emperor's proposed amendments to the abjuration. This controversy would seem to be a different one from the one alluded to in Eustathius' funeral oration for Manuel, since Manuel is praised by Eustathius for his stance in it, which seems to have revolved around a book written by a convert from Islam that magnified the Father at the expense of the Son (and therefore had Arian overtones). It became apparent that the emperor was dying, and, on the advice of Theodosius, he renounced astrology. As his end approached, he assumed the monastic habit and the name Matthew, demanding that his wife Maria become a nun. Manuel's son Alexius was but eleven, and the minority would prove to be disastrous for Byzantium. Manuel died thirty-seven years and nine months from the beginning of his reign.

General strategies in Manuel's foreign policy
The funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica is an interesting document in that it discusses some of the general policies pursued over Manuel's reign. It endorses his policy of dividing his enemies, the Petchenegs, the Sicilian Normans and the Turks, among themselves by using Byzantine gold, a policy of "divide and rule". We have seen how this was applied especially in Italy. Another general policy was to create friendly buffer states on the frontiers of the empire, most notably Hungary (and Serbia) and the Crusader States. Manuel would deliberately underpin the most powerful potentate in each region (the king of Hungary, the king of Jerusalem, the sultan of Konya) and thereby emphasise his own absolute sovereignty. In the funeral oration this granting of autonomy is justified as the reward for good service, as in the parable of the talents. We also see in the panegyric of the 1170s the downplaying of the idea of world rule which was so prevalent in the reign of John. Although Manuel claimed sovereign rights over many of his neighbours, his territorial claims were limited: coastal southern Italy, Dalmatia and Sirmium, coastal Egypt. The Byzantines seem to have come to terms with the reality of nation states and it is in Manuel's reign that they begin to refer to themselves not only as "Romans", but as "Hellenes", in order to demarcate themselves from the barbarians surrounding them.

Manuel's taxation, government and army
Nicetas Choniates roundly criticises Manuel in his history for increasing taxes and lavishing money on his family and retainers, particularly his Latin favourites. We have also seen how money was spent in Manuel's ambitious foreign policy. Mention is made of two towers, one at Damalis, and one next to the monastery of the Mangana, between which a chain could be stretched to block the Bosphorus. Then there was the work done at both the Great Palace and the Palace of the Blachernae, galleries, a pavilion alla Turca and numerous mosaics. He also founded a monastery at Kataskepe at the mouth of the Black Sea, which was endowed from the imperial treasury.

Choniates further criticizes the continuation and spread of the granting of pronoiai, parcels of land, the income from each of which supported a soldier. Many of these were granted to foreigners, for example, Turks captured in the Meander campaigns were settled around Thessalonica. The pronoia would pay not only for a soldier's upkeep, but his expensive equipment, for in Manuel's reign the bow and arrow and circular shield had been replaced by a heavier western-style panoply of armour, large triangular shield and lance. Choniates laments how fashionable a practice it had become in Manuel's reign to forsake the land or one's trade and become enlisted in the army.

Manuel and the "Comnenian system"
Throughout Manuel's reign, as under his father John, the top tier of the aristocracy was formed by the emperor's family, the Comneni, and the families into which they married. The extended family was, however, by now becoming unwieldy, and beginning to lose its cohesion, as the example of Manuel's cousin Andronicus shows. Under Manuel it was degree of kinship to the emperor which determined one's rank, as synodal listings show. So it was that very quickly after Manuel's death the upper tier of the aristocracy splintered into separate groups, each with its own identity and interests.

Literature
The various aristocratic courts, that of the emperor and other key members of the extended family, most notably the sebastokrator Isaac Comnenus the elder and the sebastokratorissa Irene, widow of Manuel's brother Andronicus, attracted literati who would seek to serve under them. Such figures would not only turn their hands to literature, encomia in prose or poetry, expositions on mythology, commentaries on Homer or the philosophers, historical chronicles and even, in this period, romances - the twelfth century is a high point of literary production at Constantinople, so much so that some have even talked of a "Comnenian renaissance" - but they would seek to perform more menial, such as administrative, duties to support themselves. Such men would often come from noble families whose prestige had been eclipsed by the Comnenian upper tier of the aristocracy. Serving under a lord was one way of advancing oneself, entering the Church was another.

The patriarchal church and education
The deacons of the church of St Sophia were a powerful group, the chartophylax being second only to the patriarch. These deacons would either go on to become bishops in the provinces, or possibly first hold one of the professorial chairs associated with the patriarchal church. First there were the "teachers", didaskaloi of the Gospels, Epistles and Psalter. Then there was the maistor ton rhetoron, "master of the rhetors", responsible for delivering speeches in praise of the emperor on January 6 each year and of the patriarch on the Saturday prior to Palm Sunday, as well as for other state occasions. And there was the hypatos ton philosophon, "consul of the philosophers", an office which had lapsed but was revived under Manuel.

Character and Legacy
Was Byzantium of the middle to late twelfth century living on borrowed time? Until recently this was the verdict of many scholars. Yet John II and Manuel had, if there is any kernel of truth in their encomia, at least temporarily reversed the overrunning of Anatolia by the Turks, and Manuel had won Dalmatia and Sirmium from Hungary. But Byzantine collapse was rapid, which is the reason why scholars have searched in the reigns of John and Manuel for the beginnings of the disintegration that occurred under the last Comneni and the Angeli. The history and comments of Nicetas Choniates have been adduced as vindicating this view. The victory of the military aristocracy that the establishment of the Comnenian dynasty represents has been seen as both the reason for the temporary reversal of Byzantine fortunes - government by three very capable autocrats - and of ultimate failure, because of the splintering into factions that oligarchy, such as was present in the Comnenian system, foments. A Marxist interpretation is that the feudalisation of the Byzantine Empire, the depletion of the free peasantry, that began to take place in the middle period was the reason for its ultimate failure. But to the Byzantines at the time Byzantium seemed to be holding its own; the "nations" around were being kept at bay, and even though the panegyric of renovation is less evident than in the reign of John II, the emperor remains despotes, "master" of the oikoumene, "world". Indeed, Manuel would be remembered in France, Genoa and the Crusader States as the most powerful sovereign in the world.

We have mentioned the funeral oration for Manuel by Eustathius of Thessalonica. This contains a series of vignettes of the personal aspects of Manuel. There are commonplaces: the emperor is able to endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold, lack of sleep and so on, and sweats copiously in his endeavours on the empire's part. Although these ideas have been recycled from earlier reigns, notably that of John II, the contemporary historians agree that Manuel was an indefatigable and daring warrior. However, there are more specifically individual touches in the Eustathian oration. Manuel had a manly suntan and was tall in stature. The emperor was capable of clever talk, but could also talk to others on a man-to-man basis. Eustathius makes much of the emperor's book-learning (Cinnamus claims to have discussed Aristotle with the emperor). The restoration of churches was a major concern for Manuel. He also had some expertise in medicine (he had tended Conrad III of Germany and Baldwin III of Jerusalem personally). Manuel showed temperance in eating and drinking, with a certain liking for beer as well as wine, the latter being mixed sour after the manner of ascetics. Likewise, he would not slumber long. He would generally choose walking over riding. The oration closes on the widow and orphan Manuel has left behind. The situation resulting for the Byzantine Empire at this stage, with the vacuum created by Manuel would result in no less than implosion.

Copyright (C) 2003, Andrew Stone.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
PontiusPilate29BCHendin648.jpg
[18H648] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 29 BC48 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, "SIMPULUM;" Hendin 648, AVF/VF, 15.3mm, 2.20 grams, struck 29 C.E. Nice round, good weight Pontius Pilate Prutah.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
PontiusPilate30BCHendin649.jpg
[18H649] Pontius Pilate Prefect under Tiberius Prutah, "LIZ", 30 BC70 viewsPONTIUS PILATE PRUTAH, 'LIZ;' Hendin 649, VF, 15.5mm, 1.90 grams. Struck 30 C.E. Nice historic coin.

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
PontiusPilate31BCHendin650.jpg
[18H650] Pontius Pilate prefect for Tiberius Prutah, 31 BC68 viewsPONTIUS PILATUS PRUTAH. Hendin 650, aVF, 14.3mm, 1.94 grams. Minted 31 C.E. FULL "LIH" Date, (H partially hidden behind pretty patina can be revealed.)

THE COINS OF PONTIUS PILATE
Jean-Philippe Fontanille

INTRODUCTION
They are not really beautiful, or truly rare, nor are they of very great monetary value. Yet these apparently modest coins carry in their weight an era and an act which would have immense consequence to the history of the world. Indeed, they are closely associated with three basic factors which saw the foundation of Christianity :
1 - The temporal proximity : Most modern experts agree in recognising that the year now designated 30 C.E. marked the trial and the death of Jesus. Given that time-frame, Pilate's coins were minted in 29, 30 and 31 C.E.
2 - The geographic proximity : The most credible hypothesis indicates that these particular coins where struck in Jerusalem, the city in which the significant events took place.
3 - The human proximity : Pontius Pilate himself designed and put the coins into circulation, and of course he was the man who conducted the trial and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.

So it is that everyone, whether a believer or simply a lover of history or of numismatics, will find in these coins direct evidence of and witness to an episode the memory of which has survived 2000 years : A momentous event which has to a great extent fashioned the world we know.

Throughout this article we will also note the exceptional character of Pilate's coins: Exceptional in the nature of the images they bear, for the numerous variants they offer, for the presence of countermarks, and above all for the part their originator played in history. The putative appearance of these coins imprints on the Turin shroud has yet to be confirmed by more solid scientific proofs.

Pilate's coins are Roman coins, the words on them are Greek, they were circulated in Judea, and today they are to be found distributed among world-wide collectors after having spent 2000 years buried in the earth. They were minted and used during a period which produced an event destined to change the face of the world, and issued at the command of one of the principal actors in that event. An amazing and dramatic destiny for apparently such humble and unassuming little coins !

For 35 years Pilate's coins were passed from hand to hand every day. They knew the scent of spice-stalls, heard the merchants' ranting, smelled the sweat and dust of daily works. They were alive to the sounds of Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin voices ¬ now haggling over a price, now offering prayers to YHVH, Jesus or Jupiter.

Nobody prays to Jupiter any more [?], but Pilate's coins are surviving witnesses to a time when the first Christians were considered as a messianic sect among several others in the midst of Judaism in crisis. The absolute split between Judaism and Christianity took place from about 70 C.E, the year which marked the tragic ending of the first Jewish rebellion. It was from that time, too, that Pilate's money ceased to be used.

Like each one of us, who carries always a few small coins in the bottom of our pockets; there is no doubt that some of Pilate's coins resonated to the last words of the most famous of all supplicants. A very long story had its beginning...

2. MANUFACTURE AND CIRCULATION
LOCATION OF MINTS
Although the prefects had their residencies in Cesarea, the administrative capital of the province, it seems that their money was minted in Jerusalem. Indeed, a specimen dated year 31 has been found in this town in an incomplete state of manufacture.

DURATION OF USE
It would seem that Pilate's money was in current use for at least 35 years. Indeed, some of it has been discovered among other coins during the excavation of remains of dwellings destroyed by the Romans during the first Jewish revolt, which is evidence that they were still in use at that time.

AREA OF CIRCULATION
These coins circulated far beyond the frontiers of Judea. Some samples have been discovered as far away as Antioch in present-day Turkey, nearly 500 kilometres from Jerusalem where they were minted. Others have also been found in Jordan. These limits represent a circulation area of at least 100.000 square kilometres, that is five times larger than the size of the state of Israel. Taking into account that it was a time when distances were expressed in terms of days of march, one begins to see the important influence of these coins.

3. THE IMAGES AND THE TEXTS
THE SIMPULUM
A fairly frequent symbol from the Roman religion of the time, the simpulum was a utensil used by the priests during their religious ceremonies. This little ladle, provided with shaft and a handle, allowed the priests to taste the wine which they poured onto the head of an animal destined for sacrifice, after which the soothsayer was empowered to examine the animal's entrails for signs and portents sent to men by the Gods through the medium of the interpreter. As I pointed, none of this would have been obvious at first sight of the motif except perhaps to a Roman citizen. However, it throws some light on the theory put forward by F.A. Banks [Coins of the Bible Days].

This wasn't the first time that the simpulum appeared on Roman coins, but it is the first time it figured alone. This fact gives an additional specificity to Pilate's coins, not only in the context of Judea but also in comparison with all the other coins of the Empire.

THE THREE EARS OF BARLEY
The three ears or barley are featured on the opposing face of the simpulum. Unlike the simpulum, these ears of barley are not in contravention of the Jewish Law. The motif is nevertheless distinctive because it is the first time it appears on a Judean coin. The motif would reappear twelve years later on one of Herod Agrippa's coin, then on another, much rarer, of Agrippa II (ears of barley held in a hand). After that, the motif disappeared altogether from ancient Jewish coins.

THE LITUUS
The lituus was the wooden staff which the augurs held in the right hand; it symbolised their authority and their pastoral vocation. It was raised toward heavens while the priests invoked the Gods and made their predictions. Legend records that Romulus used it at the time of Rome's foundation in 753 B.C.E. It is interesting to note that the cross used in present times is the direct descendant of the lituus. As with the simpulum, Pilate's coinage is exceptional in that it alone displays the lituus as the sole object illustrated on the face.

THE WREATH
The laurel wreath is a symbol of power and victory, and figures on various ancient Greek and Roman coins. In Judea it can be found during the reign of John Hyrcanus I (134 to 104 B.C.E.). After that, Herod Antipas, speaker for Pilate, used it on all his coins. On Pilate's coins, the laurel wreath figures on the reverse side of the lituus, framing the date.

THE DATES
The notation of dates uses a code invented by the Greeks whereby each letter of the alphabet was assigned a number. This code would be used again in Judaism under the name of Guematria. The system is simple : the first ten letters of the alphabet are linked to units (1,2,3...), the following ten letters to tens (10,20,30...) and the four remaining letters to the first four hundreds. The "L" is an abbreviation meaning "year". Tiberius became emperor on September 17 of year 14 C.E, so we have :

LIS = Year 29 C.E. * LIZ = Year 30 C.E. * LIH = Year 31 C.E.

THE TEXTS
The legends on Pontius Pilate's coins are written in Greek. Judea, governed by the Ptolemy dynasty (301 to 198 B.C.E) then by the Syrians until 63 B.C.E, came under the same powerful influence of the Hellenic culture which touched the other territories of the ancient Persian Empire won by Alexander the Great. In spite of a certain amount of resistance, this Hellenistic heritage eventually crept into every aspect of daily life. Apart from the dates, the texts on Pilate's coinage consisted of only three different words : - TIBEPIOY KAICAPOC (Of Tiberius Emperor) on all three coins; - IOYLIA KAICAPOC (Empress Julia) added to the coin of year 29.
http://www.numismalink.com/fontanille1.html


Pontius Pilate
After the deposition of the eldest son of Herod, Archelaus (who had succeeded his father as ethnarch), Judea was placed under the rule of a Roman procurator. Pilate, who was the fifth, succeeding Valerius Gratus in A.D. 26, had greater authority than most procurators under the empire, for in addition to the ordinary duty of financial administration, he had supreme power judicially. His unusually long period of office (A.D. 26-36) covers the whole of the active ministry both of St. John the Baptist and of Jesus Christ.
As procurator Pilate was necessarily of equestrian rank, but beyond that we know little of his family or origin. Some have thought that he was only a freedman, deriving his name from pileus (the cap of freed slaves) but for this there seems to be no adequate evidence, and it is unlikely that a freedman would attain to a post of such importance. The Pontii were a Samnite gens. Pilate owed his appointment to the influence of Sejanus. The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Cæsarea; where there was a military force of about 3,000 soldiers. These soldiers came up to Jerusalem at the time of the feasts, when the city was full of strangers, and there was greater danger of disturbances, hence it was that Pilate had come to Jerusalem at the time of the Crucifixion. His name will be forever covered with infamy because of the part which he took in this matter, though at the time it appeared to him of small importance.
Pilate is a type of the worldly man, knowing the right and anxious to do it so far as it can be done without personal sacrifice of any kind, but yielding easily to pressure from those whose interest it is that he should act otherwise. He would gladly have acquitted Christ, and even made serious efforts in that direction, but gave way at once when his own position was threatened.
The other events of his rule are not of very great importance. Philo (Ad Gaium, 38) speaks of him as inflexible, merciless, and obstinate. The Jews hated him and his administration, for he was not only very severe, but showed little consideration for their susceptibilities. Some standards bearing the image of Tiberius, which had been set up by him in Jerusalem, caused an outbreak which would have ended in a massacre had not Pilate given way. At a later date Tiberius ordered him to remove certain gilt shields, which he had set up in Jerusalem in spite of the remonstrances of the people. The incident mentioned in St. Luke 13:1, of the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with the sacrifices, is not elsewhere referred to, but is quite in keeping with other authentic events of his rule. He was, therefore, anxious that no further hostile reports should be sent to the emperor concerning him.
The tendency, already discernible in the canonical Gospels, to lay stress on the efforts of Pilate to acquit Christ, and thus pass as lenient a judgment as possible upon his crime, goes further in the apocryphal Gospels and led in later years to the claim that he actually became a Christian. The Abyssinian Church reckons him as a saint, and assigns 25 June to him and to Claudia Procula, his wife. The belief that she became a Christian goes back to the second century, and may be found in Origen (Hom., in Mat., xxxv). The Greek Church assigns her a feast on 27 October. Tertullian and Justin Martyr both speak of a report on the Crucifixion (not extant) sent in by Pilate to Tiberius, from which idea a large amount of apocryphal literature originated. Some of these were Christian in origin (Gospel of Nicodemus), others came from the heathen, but these have all perished.
His rule was brought to an end through trouble which arose in Samaria. An imposter had given out that it was in his power to discover the sacred vessels which, as he alleged, had been hidden by Moses on Mount Gerizim, whither armed Samaritans came in large numbers. Pilate seems to have thought the whole affair was a blind, covering some other more important design, for he hurried forces to attack them, and many were slain. They appealed to Vitellius, who was at that time legate in Syria, saying that nothing political had been intended, and complaining of Pilate's whole administration. He was summoned to Rome to answer their charges, but before he could reach the city the Emperor Tiberius had died.
Catholic Encyclopedia: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12083c.htm

As the man who presided over the trial of Jesus, who found no fault with the defendant and washed his hands of the affair by referring it back to the Jewish mob, but who signed the final death warrant, Pontius Pilate represents almost a byword for ambivalence.
He appears in a poor light in all four Gospels and in a favourable light in the apocryphal Gospel of Peter where the Jews take all the blame for Jesus' death.
In the later Acts of Pilate, he is both cleared of responsibility for the Crucifixion and is said to have converted to Christianity.
In the drama of the Passion, Pilate is a ditherer who drifts towards pardoning Jesus, then drifts away again. He tries to pass the buck several times, makes the decision to save Jesus, then capitulates.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, the late Robert Runcie once wrote, "It would have been better for the moral health of Christianity if the blame had stayed with Pilate."
In a poignant moment in the course of the trial, Pontius Pilate responds to an assertion by Jesus by asking "What is truth?"
The truth about Pilate is difficult to ascertain since records are few. Legends say he was a Spaniard or a German, but most likely he was a natural-born Roman citizen from central Italy.
But the fact that he was definitely the Procurator of Judea from 26 to 36 AD helps to establish Jesus as a real person and fixes him in time.
The official residence of the procurators was the palace of Herod at Caesarea, a mainly non-Jewish city where a force of some 3,000 Roman soldiers were based.
These would come to Jerusalem during the time of feasts when there was a greater danger of disturbances. This would explain Pilate's presence in the city during the time of the Crucifixion.
Pilate is recorded by several contemporary historians; his name is inscribed on Roman coins and on a stone dug up in Caesarea in the 1960s with the words, PONTIUS PILATUS PRAEFECTUS PROVINCIAE JUDAEAE.
The governorship of Judea was only a second-rate posting, though having the Jewish religious capital, Jerusalem, on its patch would have increased its importance.
Pilate ruled in conjunction with the Jewish authorities and was under orders from Emperor Tiberius, to respect their culture. He was a soldier rather than a diplomat.
The Jews relied on the Romans to keep their own rebellious factions under control. But they appeared to hate Pilate.
One contemporary Jewish historian Philo, describes him as a violent thug, fond of executions without trial. Another, Josephus, records that, at the start of his term, Pilate provoked the Jews by ordering the imperial standards to be carried into Jerusalem.
But he backed off from an all-out confrontation. On the other hand, later, he helped himself to Jewish revenues to build an aqueduct.
When, according to Josephus, bands of resistance fighters, supported by crowds of ordinary people, sabotaged the project by getting in the way of Pilate's workmen, he sent in his soldiers. Hundreds were massacred.
Anne Wroe, author of a recent book Pilate: the Biography of an Invented Man, says that for some modern scholars, given this propensity for violence when the occasion warranted, the idea of Pilate as a waverer is nonsense.
A Roman governor, they point out, would not have wasted two minutes thinking about a shabby Jewish villain, one among many. Wroe's depiction of Pilate, however, suggests he was something of a pragmatist.
His first duty was to keep the peace in Judea and to keep the revenues flowing back to Rome. "Should I have jeopardised the peace for the sake of some Jew who may have been innocent?", she has Pilate asking. "Should I have defied a furious crowd, maybe butchered them, to save one life?"
Whatever the truth about the real Pontius Pilate, such dilemmas are what he has come to symbolise.
Anne Wroe makes the modern comparisons of Neville Chamberlain in 1938. Bill McSweeney, of the Irish School of Ecumenics suggests that "without the Pilates of Anglo-Irish politics, we might never have had the Good Friday Agreement".
Tony Blair has said of Pilate: "It is possible to view Pilate as the archetypal politician, caught on the horns of a dilemma."
Even if, in reality, the Jesus affair was nothing but a small side-show in the career of Pontius Pilate, it had monumental repercussions for his image.
His inclusion in the Christian creeds, in the words of Robert Runcie, "binds the eternal realms to the stumbling, messy chronology of earthly time and place".
BBC: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1273594.stm

The Ethiopian Church recognized Pilate as a saint in the sixth century, based on the account in the Acts of Pilate

Although historians can pinpoint the exact date of death of many distinguished historical figures, the date of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remains a matter of scholarly debate. Christ’s birth is most often dated between 7-5 BC (some scholars have suggested, however, His birth was as early as 20 BC). Christ’s Death and Resurrection is dated between 29-36 AD.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
TrajSepphorisGalilee.jpg
[18H907] Trajan, 25 January 98 - 8 or 9 August 117 A.D., Sepphoris, Galilee219 viewsBronze AE 23, Hendin 907, BMC 5, Fair, 7.41g, 23.1mm, 0o, Sepphoris mint, 98 - 117 A.D.; obverse TPAIANOS AYTO]-KPA[TWP EDWKEN, laureate head right; reverse SEPFW/RHNWN, eight-branched palm bearing two bunches of dates.

At the crossroads of the Via Maris and the Acre-Tiberias roads, Sepphoris was the capital of Galilee and Herod Antipas' first capital. Damaged by a riot, Antipas ordered Sepphoris be rebuilt. Flavius Josephus described the rebuilt Sepphoris as the "ornament of all Galilee." Since Sepphoris was only five miles north of Nazareth, Jesus and Joseph may have found work in Antipas' rebuilding projects. Sepphoris was built on a hill and visible for miles. This may be the city that Jesus spoke of when He said, "A city set on a hill cannot be hidden."

Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a brilliant general and administrator was adopted and proclaimed emperor by the aging Nerva in 98 A.D. Regarded as one of Rome's greatest emperors, Trajan was responsible for the annexation of Dacia, the invasion of Arabia and an extensive and lavish building program across the empire. Under Trajan, Rome reached its greatest extent. Shortly after the annexation of Mesopotamia and Armenia, Trajan was forced to withdraw from most of the new Arabian provinces. While returning to Rome to direct operations against the new threats, Trajan died at Selinus in Cilicia.
See: http://www.forumancientcoins.com/catalog/indexfrm.asp?vpar=55&pos=0.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Trajan (A.D. 98-117)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
"During a happy period of more than fourscore years, the public administration was conducted by the virtue and abilities of Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, and the two Antonines. It is the design of this and of the two succeeding chapters to describe the prosperous condition of their empire, and afterwards, from the death of Marcus Antoninus, to deduce the most important circumstances of its decline and fall, a revolution which will ever be remembered and is still felt by the nations of the earth."

This is perhaps the most important and best known of all Edward Gibbon's famous dicta about his vast subject, and particularly that period which he admired the most. It was a concatenation of chance and events which brought to the first position of the principate five men, each very different from the others, who each, in his own way, brought integrity and a sense of public duty to his tasks. Nerva's tenure was brief, as many no doubt had expected and hoped it would be, and perhaps his greatest achievement was to choose Trajan as his adoptive son and intended successor. It was a splendid choice. Trajan was one of Rome's most admirable figures, a man who merited the renown which he enjoyed in his lifetime and in subsequent generations.

The sources for the man and his principate are disappointingly skimpy. There is no contemporaneous historian who can illuminate the period. Tacitus speaks only occasionally of Trajan, there is no biography by Suetonius, nor even one by the author of the late and largely fraudulent Historia Augusta. (However, a modern version of what such a life might have been like has been composed by A. Birley, entirely based upon ancient evidence. It is very useful.) Pliny the Younger tells us the most, in his Panegyricus, his long address of thanks to the emperor upon assuming the consulship in late 100, and in his letters. Pliny was a wordy and congenial man, who reveals a great deal about his senatorial peers and their relations with the emperor, above all, of course, his own. The most important part is the tenth book of his Epistulae, which contains the correspondence between him, while serving in Bithynia, and the emperor, to whom he referred all manner of problems, important as well as trivial. Best known are the pair (96,97) dealing with the Christians and what was to be done with them. These would be extraordinarily valuable if we could be sure that the imperial replies stemmed directly from Trajan, but that is more than one can claim. The imperial chancellery had developed greatly in previous decades and might pen these communications after only the most general directions from the emperor. The letters are nonetheless unique in the insight they offer into the emperor's mind.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, wrote a long imperial history which has survived only in abbreviated form in book LXVIII for the Trajanic period. The rhetorician Dio of Prusa, a contemporary of the emperor, offers little of value. Fourth-century epitomators, Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, offer some useful material. Inscriptions, coins, papyri, and legal texts are of major importance. Since Trajan was a builder of many significant projects, archaeology contributes mightily to our understanding of the man.

Early Life and Career
The patria of the Ulpii was Italica, in Spanish Baetica , where their ancestors had settled late in the third century B.C. This indicates that the Italian origin was paramount, yet it has recently been cogently argued that the family's ancestry was local, with Trajan senior actually a Traius who was adopted into the family of the Ulpii. Trajan's father was the first member of the family to pursue a senatorial career; it proved to be a very successful one. Born probably about the year 30, he perhaps commanded a legion under Corbulo in the early sixties and then was legate of legio X Fretensis under Vespasian, governor of Judaea. Success in the Jewish War was rewarded by the governorship of an unknown province and then a consulate in 70. He was thereafter adlected by the emperor in patricios and sent to govern Baetica. Then followed the governorship of one of the major military provinces, Syria, where he prevented a Parthian threat of invasion, and in 79/80 he was proconsul of Asia, one of the two provinces (the other was Africa) which capped a senatorial career. His public service now effectively over, he lived on in honor and distinction, in all likelihood seeing his son emperor. He probably died before 100. He was deified in 113 and his titulature read divus Traianus pater. Since his son was also the adoptive son of Nerva, the emperor had officially two fathers, a unique circumstance.

The son was born in Italica on September 18, 53; his mother was Marcia, who had given birth to a daughter, Ulpia Marciana, five years before the birth of the son. In the mid seventies, he was a legionary legate under his father in Syria. He then married a lady from Nemausus (Nimes) in Gallia Narbonensis, Pompeia Plotina, was quaestor about 78 and praetor about 84. In 86, he became one of the child Hadrian's guardians. He was then appointed legate of legio VII Gemina in Hispania Tarraconensis, from which he marched at Domitian's orders in 89 to crush the uprising of Antonius Saturninus along the Rhine. He next fought in Domitian's war against the Germans along Rhine and Danube and was rewarded with an ordinary consulship in 91. Soon followed the governorship of Moesia inferior and then that of Germania superior, with his headquarters at Moguntiacum (Mainz), whither Hadrian brought him the news in autumn 97 that he had been adopted by the emperor Nerva, as co-ruler and intended successor. Already recipient of the title imperator and possessor of the tribunician power, when Nerva died on January 27, 98, Trajan became emperor in a smooth transition of power which marked the next three quarters of a century.

Early Years through the Dacian Wars
Trajan did not return immediately to Rome. He chose to stay in his German province and settle affairs on that frontier. He showed that he approved Domitian's arrangements, with the establishment of two provinces, their large military garrisons, and the beginnings of the limes. Those who might have wished for a renewed war of conquest against the Germans were disappointed. The historian Tacitus may well have been one of these.

Trajan then visited the crucial Danube provinces of Pannonia and Moesia, where the Dacian king Decebalus had caused much difficulty for the Romans and had inflicted a heavy defeat upon a Roman army about a decade before. Domitian had established a modus vivendi with Decebalus, essentially buying his good behavior, but the latter had then continued his activities hostile to Rome. Trajan clearly thought that this corner of empire would require his personal attention and a lasting and satisfactory solution.

Trajan spent the year 100 in Rome, seeing to the honors and deification of his predecessor, establishing good and sensitive relations with the senate, in sharp contrast with Domitian's "war against the senate." Yet his policies essentially continued Domitian's; he was no less master of the state and the ultimate authority over individuals, but his good nature and respect for those who had until recently been his peers if not his superiors won him great favor. He was called optimus by the people and that word began to appear among his titulature, although it had not been decreed by the senate. Yet his thoughts were ever on the Danube. Preparations for a great campaign were under way, particularly with transfers of legions and their attendant auxiliaries from Germany and Britain and other provinces and the establishment of two new ones, II Traiana and XXX Ulpia, which brought the total muster to 30, the highest number yet reached in the empire's history.

In 101 the emperor took the field. The war was one which required all his military abilities and all the engineering and discipline for which the Roman army was renowned. Trajan was fortunate to have Apollodorus of Damascus in his service, who built a roadway through the Iron Gates by cantilevering it from the sheer face of the rock so that the army seemingly marched on water. He was also to build a great bridge across the Danube, with 60 stone piers (traces of this bridge still survive). When Trajan was ready to move he moved with great speed, probably driving into the heart of Dacian territory with two columns, until, in 102, Decebalus chose to capitulate. He prostrated himself before Trajan and swore obedience; he was to become a client king. Trajan returned to Rome and added the title Dacicus to his titulature.

Decebalus, however, once left to his own devices, undertook to challenge Rome again, by raids across the Danube into Roman territory and by attempting to stir up some of the tribes north of the river against her. Trajan took the field again in 106, intending this time to finish the job of Decebalus' subjugation. It was a brutal struggle, with some of the characteristics of a war of extirpation, until the Dacian king, driven from his capital of Sarmizegethusa and hunted like an animal, chose to commit suicide rather than to be paraded in a Roman triumph and then be put to death.

The war was over. It had taxed Roman resources, with 11 legions involved, but the rewards were great. Trajan celebrated a great triumph, which lasted 123 days and entertained the populace with a vast display of gladiators and animals. The land was established as a province, the first on the north side of the Danube. Much of the native population which had survived warfare was killed or enslaved, their place taken by immigrants from other parts of the empire. The vast wealth of Dacian mines came to Rome as war booty, enabling Trajan to support an extensive building program almost everywhere, but above all in Italy and in Rome. In the capital, Apollodorus designed and built in the huge forum already under construction a sculpted column, precisely 100 Roman feet high, with 23 spiral bands filled with 2500 figures, which depicted, like a scroll being unwound, the history of both Dacian wars. It was, and still is, one of the great achievements of imperial "propaganda." In southern Dacia, at Adamklissi, a large tropaeum was built on a hill, visible from a great distance, as a tangible statement of Rome's domination. Its effect was similar to that of Augustus' monument at La Turbie above Monaco; both were constant reminders for the inhabitants who gazed at it that they had once been free and were now subjects of a greater power.

Administration and Social Policy
The chief feature of Trajan's administration was his good relations with the senate, which allowed him to accomplish whatever he wished without general opposition. His auctoritas was more important than his imperium. At the very beginning of Trajan's reign, the historian Tacitus, in the biography of his father-in-law Agricola, spoke of the newly won compatibility of one-man rule and individual liberty established by Nerva and expanded by Trajan (Agr. 3.1, primo statim beatissimi saeculi ortu Nerva Caesar res olim dissociabiles miscuerit, principatum ac libertatem, augeatque cotidie felicitatem temporum Nerva Traianus,….) [13] At the end of the work, Tacitus comments, when speaking of Agricola's death, that he had forecast the principate of Trajan but had died too soon to see it (Agr. 44.5, ei non licuit durare in hanc beatissimi saeculi lucem ac principem Traianum videre, quod augurio votisque apud nostras aures ominabatur,….) Whether one believes that principate and liberty had truly been made compatible or not, this evidently was the belief of the aristocracy of Rome. Trajan, by character and actions, contributed to this belief, and he undertook to reward his associates with high office and significant promotions. During his principate, he himself held only 6 consulates, while arranging for third consulates for several of his friends. Vespasian had been consul 9 times, Titus 8, Domitian 17! In the history of the empire there were only 12 or 13 private who reached the eminence of third consulates. Agrippa had been the first, L. Vitellius the second. Under Trajan there were 3: Sex. Iulius Frontinus (100), T. Vestricius Spurinna (100), and L. Licinius Sura (107). There were also 10 who held second consulships: L. Iulius Ursus Servianus (102), M.' Laberius Maximus (103), Q. Glitius Atilius Agricola (103), P. Metilius Sabinus Nepos (103?), Sex. Attius Suburanus Aemilianus (104), Ti. Iulius Candidus Marius Celsus (105), C. Antius A. Iulius Quadratus (105), Q. Sosius Senecio (107), A. Cornelius Palma Frontonianus (109), and L. Publilius Celsus (113). These men were essentially his close associates from pre-imperial days and his prime military commanders in the Dacian wars.

One major administrative innovation can be credited to Trajan. This was the introduction of curators who, as representatives of the central government, assumed financial control of local communities, both in Italy and the provinces. Pliny in Bithynia is the best known of these imperial officials. The inexorable shift from freedmen to equestrians in the imperial ministries continued, to culminate under Hadrian, and he devoted much attention and considerable state resources to the expansion of the alimentary system, which purposed to support orphans throughout Italy. The splendid arch at Beneventum represents Trajan as a civilian emperor, with scenes of ordinary life and numerous children depicted, which underscored the prosperity of Italy.

The satirist Juvenal, a contemporary of the emperor, in one of his best known judgments, laments that the citizen of Rome, once master of the world, is now content only with "bread and circuses."

Nam qui dabat olim / imperium, fasces, legiones, omnia, nunc se / continet, atque duas tantum res anxius optat, / panem et circenses. (X 78-81)

Trajan certainly took advantage of that mood, indeed exacerbated it, by improving the reliabilty of the grain supply (the harbor at Ostia and the distribution system as exemplified in the Mercati in Rome). Fronto did not entirely approve, if indeed he approved at all. The plebs esteemed the emperor for the glory he had brought Rome, for the great wealth he had won which he turned to public uses, and for his personality and manner. Though emperor, he prided himself upon being civilis, a term which indicated comportment suitable for a Roman citizen.

There was only one major addition to the Rome's empire other than Dacia in the first decade and a half of Trajan's reign. This was the province of Arabia, which followed upon the absorption of the Nabataean kingdom (105-106).

Building Projects
Trajan had significant effect upon the infrastructure of both Rome and Italy. His greatest monument in the city, if the single word "monument" can effectively describe the complex, was the forum which bore his name, much the largest, and the last, of the series known as the "imperial fora." Excavation for a new forum had already begun under Domitian, but it was Apollodorus who designed and built the whole. Enormous in its extent, the Basilica Ulpia was the centerpiece, the largest wood roofed building in the Roman world. In the open courtyard before it was an equestrian statue of Trajan, behind it was the column; there were libraries, one for Latin scrolls, the other for Greek, on each side. A significant omission was a temple; this circumstance was later rectified by Hadrian, who built a large temple to the deified Trajan and Plotina.

The column was both a history in stone and the intended mausoleum for the emperor, whose ashes were indeed placed in the column base. An inscription over the doorway, somewhat cryptic because part of the text has disappeared, reads as follows:

Senatus populusque Romanus imp. Caesari divi Nervae f. Nervae Traiano Aug. Germ. Dacico pontif. Maximo trib. pot. XVII imp. VI p.p. ad declarandum quantae altitudinis mons et locus tant[is oper]ibus sit egestus (Smallwood 378)

On the north side of the forum, built into the slopes of the Quirinal hill, were the Markets of Trajan, which served as a shopping mall and the headquarters of the annona, the agency responsible for the receipt and distribution of grain.

On the Esquiline hill was constructed the first of the huge imperial baths, using a large part of Nero's Domus Aurea as its foundations. On the other side of the river a new aqueduct was constructed, which drew its water from Lake Bracciano and ran some 60 kilometers to the heights of the Janiculum Hill. It was dedicated in 109. A section of its channel survives in the basement of the American Academy in Rome.

The arch in Beneventum is the most significant monument elsewhere in Italy. It was dedicated in 114, to mark the beginning of the new Via Traiana, which offered an easier route to Brundisium than that of the ancient Via Appia.

Trajan devoted much attention to the construction and improvement of harbors. His new hexagonal harbor at Ostia at last made that port the most significant in Italy, supplanting Puteoli, so that henceforth the grain ships docked there and their cargo was shipped by barge up the Tiber to Rome. Terracina benefited as well from harbor improvements, and the Via Appia now ran directly through the city along a new route, with some 130 Roman feet of sheer cliff being cut away so that the highway could bend along the coast. Ancona on the Adriatic Sea became the major harbor on that coast for central Italy in 114-115, and Trajan's activity was commemorated by an arch. The inscription reports that the senate and people dedicated it to the []iprovidentissimo principi quod accessum Italiae hoc etiam addito ex pecunia sua portu tutiorem navigantibus reddiderit (Smallwood 387). Centumcellae, the modern Civitavecchia, also profited from a new harbor. The emperor enjoyed staying there, and on at least one occasion summoned his consilium there.

Elsewhere in the empire the great bridge at Alcantara in Spain, spanning the Tagus River, still in use, testifies to the significant attention the emperor gave to the improvement of communication throughout his entire domain.

Family Relations; the Women
After the death of his father, Trajan had no close male relatives. His life was as closely linked with his wife and female relations as that of any of his predecessors; these women played enormously important roles in the empire's public life, and received honors perhaps unparalleled. His wife, Pompeia Plotina, is reported to have said, when she entered the imperial palace in Rome for the first time, that she hoped she would leave it the same person she was when she entered. She received the title Augusta no later than 105. She survived Trajan, dying probably in 121, and was honored by Hadrian with a temple, which she shared with her husband, in the great forum which the latter had built.

His sister Marciana, five years his elder, and he shared a close affection. She received the title Augusta, along with Plotina, in 105 and was deified in 112 upon her death. Her daughter Matidia became Augusta upon her mother's death, and in her turn was deified in 119. Both women received substantial monuments in the Campus Martius, there being basilicas of each and a temple of divae Matidiae. Hadrian was responsible for these buildings, which were located near the later temple of the deified Hadrian, not far from the column of Marcus Aurelius.

Matidia's daughter, Sabina, was married to Hadrian in the year 100. The union survived almost to the end of Hadrian's subsequent principate, in spite of the mutual loathing that they had for each other. Sabina was Trajan's great niece, and thereby furnished Hadrian a crucial link to Trajan.

The women played public roles as significant as any of their predecessors. They traveled with the emperor on public business and were involved in major decisions. They were honored throughout the empire, on monuments as well as in inscriptions. Plotina, Marciana, and Matidia, for example, were all honored on the arch at Ancona along with Trajan.

The Parthian War
In 113, Trajan began preparations for a decisive war against Parthia. He had been a "civilian" emperor for seven years, since his victory over the Dacians, and may well have yearned for a last, great military achievement, which would rival that of Alexander the Great. Yet there was a significant cause for war in the Realpolitik of Roman-Parthian relations, since the Parthians had placed a candidate of their choice upon the throne of Armenia without consultation and approval of Rome. When Trajan departed Rome for Antioch, in a leisurely tour of the eastern empire while his army was being mustered, he probably intended to destroy at last Parthia's capabilities to rival Rome's power and to reduce her to the status of a province (or provinces). It was a great enterprise, marked by initial success but ultimate disappointment and failure.

In 114 he attacked the enemy through Armenia and then, over three more years, turned east and south, passing through Mesopotamia and taking Babylon and the capital of Ctesiphon. He then is said to have reached the Persian Gulf and to have lamented that he was too old to go further in Alexander's footsteps. In early 116 he received the title Parthicus.

The territories, however, which had been handily won, were much more difficult to hold. Uprisings among the conquered peoples, and particularly among the Jews in Palestine and the Diaspora, caused him to gradually resign Roman rule over these newly-established provinces as he returned westward. The revolts were brutally suppressed. In mid 117, Trajan, now a sick man, was slowly returning to Italy, having left Hadrian in command in the east, when he died in Selinus of Cilicia on August 9, having designated Hadrian as his successor while on his death bed. Rumor had it that Plotina and Matidia were responsible for the choice, made when the emperor was already dead. Be that as it may, there was no realistic rival to Hadrian, linked by blood and marriage to Trajan and now in command of the empire's largest military forces. Hadrian received notification of his designation on August 11, and that day marked his dies imperii. Among Hadrian's first acts was to give up all of Trajan's eastern conquests.

Trajan's honors and reputation
Hadrian saw to it that Trajan received all customary honors: the late emperor was declared a divus, his victories were commemorated in a great triumph, and his ashes were placed in the base of his column. Trajan's reputation remained unimpaired, in spite of the ultimate failure of his last campaigns. Early in his principate, he had unofficially been honored with the title optimus, "the best," which long described him even before it became, in 114, part of his official titulature. His correspondence with Pliny enables posterity to gain an intimate sense of the emperor in action. His concern for justice and the well-being of his subjects is underscored by his comment to Pliny, when faced with the question of the Christians, that they were not to be sought out, "nor is it appropriate to our age." At the onset of his principate, Tacitus called Trajan's accession the beginning of a beatissimum saeculum, and so it remained in the public mind. Admired by the people, respected by the senatorial aristocracy, he faced no internal difficulties, with no rival nor opposition. His powers were as extensive as Domitian's had been, but his use and display of these powers were very different from those of his predecessor, who had claimed to be deus et dominus. Not claiming to be a god, he was recognized in the official iconography of sculpture as Jupiter's viceregent on earth, so depicted on the attic reliefs of the Beneventan arch. The passage of time increased Trajan's aura rather than diminished it. In the late fourth century, when the Roman Empire had dramatically changed in character from what it had been in Trajan's time, each new emperor was hailed with the prayer, felicior Augusto, melior Traiano, "may he be luckier than Augustus and better than Trajan." That reputation has essentially survived into the present day.

Copyright (C) 2000, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
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[1901a] Ardashir I, The Great (AD 224-241) 1467 viewsSASANIAN EMPIRE. Ardashir I, 224-241 AD. AR Drachm; Göbl 10; 4.27 gm; Toned VF. Obverse: Crowned draped bust; Reverse: Fire-altar. Ex Pegasi.

Ardashir I, The Great (AD 226-241)

Ardashir I (early Middle Persian Arđaxšēr "Who has the Divine Order as his Kingdom"), also known as Ardashīr-i Pāpagān "Ardashir, son of Pāpağ" Ardeshiri Babakan, and as Artaxerxes, was ruler of Persia (226–241) and the founder of the Sassanid dynasty (226–651). Other variants of his name appear as Artaxares, Artashastra, Ardaxshir, Ardasher, Artashir and Artakhshathra.

Early Years
Ardashir I was born in the late 2nd century in Istakhr, (located today in Iran) a vassal kingdom of the Parthian Empire. His father Pāpağ (sometimes written as Pāpak or Babak) deposed the previous king, Gochihr, and took his throne. His mother may have been named Rodhagh. During his father's reign, Ardashir I ruled the town of Darabjird and received the title of "argbadh". Upon Pāpağ's death, Ardashir I's elder brother Šāpūr ascended to the throne. However, Ardashir I rebelled against his brother and took the kingship for himself in 208.

Ardashir I rapidly extended his territory, demanding fealty from the local princes of Fars and gaining control over the neighboring provinces of Kerman, Isfahan, Susiana, and Mesene. This expansion brought the attention of the Arsacid Great King Artabanus IV (216–224), Ardashir I's overlord and ruler of the Parthian Empire, who marched against him in 224. Their armies clashed at Hormizdeghan, and Artabanus IV was killed. Ardashir I went on to invade the western provinces of the now-defunct Parthian Empire. This led to a confrontation between Kurds and Aradshir I which is recorded in a historical text named "Book of the Deeds of Ardashir son of Babak". It is written in Pahlavi script. In this book, the author explains the battle between King of the Kurds, "Madig" and Ardashir I.

Crowned in 226 as the sole ruler of Persia, and taking the title Šāhānšāh "King of Kings" (his consort Adhur-Anahid took the title "Queen of Queens"), Ardashir I finally brought the 400 year-old Parthian Empire to an end and began four centuries of Sassanid rule.
Over the next few years, Ardashir I further expanded his new empire to the east and northwest, conquering the provinces of Sistan, Gorgan, Khorasan, Margiana (in modern Turkmenistan), Balkh, and Chorasmia. Bahrain and Mosul were also added to Sassanid possessions. Furthermore, the Kings of Kushan, Turan, and Mekran recognized Ardashir as their overlord. In the West, assaults against Hatra, Armenia and Adiabene met with less success.

Religion and State
According to historian Arthur Christensen, the Sassanid state as established by Ardashir I was characterized by two general trends which differentiated it from its Parthian predecessor: a strong political centralization and organized state sponsorship of Zoroastrianism.

The Parthian Empire had consisted of a loose federation of vassal kingdoms under the suzerainty of the Great King. Ardashir I, perhaps seeing from his own successes the weaknesses of such decentralized authority, established a strong central government by which to rule Persia. The empire was divided into cantons, the dimensions of which were based on military considerations. These cantons were designed to resist the influence of hereditary interests and feudal rivalries. Local governors who descended from the ruling family bore the title of shāh. In an attempt to protect royal authority from regional challenges, the personal domains of the Sassanids and branch families family were scattered across the empire. While the old feudal princes (vāspuhrs) remained, they were required to render military service with their local troops (for the most part peasant levies). The lesser nobility was cultivated as a source of military strength, forming the elite cavalry of the army, and the royal household found a useful (and presumably reliable) military force through the hiring of mercenaries.

Zoroastrianism had existed in the Parthian Empire, and its holy text, the Avesta, had likely been compiled during the years of the Arsacid dynasty. The Sassanids could trace their heritage to the Temple of Anahita at Staxr, where Ardashir I's grandfather had been a dignitary. Under Ardashir I, the Zoroastrian (sometimes called Mazdean) religion was promoted and regulated by the state. The Sassanids built fire temples and, under royal direction, a new and official version of the Avesta was compiled by a cleric named Tansār. The government officially backed the Zurvanist doctrine of the religion, which emphasized the concept of time as the "original principle", over the competing doctrine of Vayism, which stressed the importance of space over time. Despite this state backing of a particular sect, it appears that other religious practices were tolerated so long as they did not interfere with the political authority of the Sassanids.

In other domestic affairs, Ardashir I maintained his familial base in Fars, erecting such structures as the Ghal'eh Dokhtar and the Palace of Ardashir. Despite these impressive structures, he established his government at the old Parthian capital of Ctesiphon on the Tigris River. He also rebuilt the city of Seleucia, located just across the river, which had been destroyed by the Romans in 165, renaming it Veh-Ardashir. Trade was promoted and important ports at Mesene and Charax were repaired or constructed.

War with Rome
In the latter years of his reign, Ardashir I engaged in a series of armed conflicts with Persia's great rival to the west – the Roman Empire.

Ardashir I's expansionist tendencies had been frustrated by his failed invasions of Armenia, where a relative of the former Arsacid rulers of Parthia sat on the throne. Given Armenia's traditional position as an ally of the Romans, Ardashir I may have seen his primary opponent not in the Armenian and Caucasian troops he had faced, but in Rome and her legions.

In 230 Ardashir I led his army into the Roman province of Mesopotamia, unsuccessfully besieging the fortress town of Nisibis. At the same time, his cavalry ranged far enough past the Roman border to threaten Syria and Cappadocia. It seems that the Romans saw fit to attempt a diplomatic solution to the crisis, reminding the Persians of the superiority of Roman arms, but to no avail. Ardashir I campaigned unsuccessfully against Roman border outposts again the following year (231). As a result, the Roman emperor Alexander Severus (222–235) moved to the east, establishing his headquarters at Antioch, but experienced difficulties in bringing his troops together and thus made another attempt at diplomacy, which Ardashir I rebuffed.

Finally, in 232, Severus led his legions in a three-pronged assault on the Persians. However, the separate army groups did not advance in a coordinated fashion, and Ardashir I was able to take advantage of the disorder and concentrate his forces against the enemy advancing through Armenia, where he was able to halt the Roman advance. Hearing of the Roman plans to march on his capital at Ctesiphon, Ardashir I left only a token screening force in the north and met the enemy force that was advancing to the south, apparently defeating it in a decisive manner. However, one can discern that the Persians must have suffered considerable losses as well, as no attempt was made to pursue the fleeing Romans. Both leaders must have had reason to avoid further campaigning, as Severus returned to Europe in the following year (233) and Ardashir I did not renew his attacks for several years, probably focusing his energies in the east.

On 237 Ardashir I, along with his son and successor Shapur I (241–272), again invaded Mesopotamia. This effort resulted in successful assaults on Nisibis and Carrhae and the shock this caused in Rome led the emperor to revive the Roman client-state of Osroene. In 241, Ardashir I and Shapur finally overcame the stubborn fortress of Hatra. Ardashir I died later in the year.

Final Assessment
Ardashir I was an energetic king, responsible for the resurgence of Persia, the strengthening of Zoroastrianism, and the establishment of a dynasty that would endure for four centuries. While his campaigns against Rome met with only limited success, he achieved more against them than the Parthians had done in many decades and prepared the way for the substantial successes his son and successor Shapur I would enjoy against the same enemy.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
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[2400a] Pergamon, Mysia: AE14, ca. 300 BC70 viewsMYSIA, PERGAMON, Æ14, ca. 300 BC. BMC 15, SGC 3965. 2.0 gm. VF/aVF; Pergamon mint. Obverse: Head of Athena right, in close fitting crested helmet; Reverse; ATHENAS - NIKHFOPOY either side of owl standing, facing, wings closed; all within olive-wreath. Obverse device a clean strike of a lovely Athena. Ex Inclinatiorama.

The city of ancient Pergamon (or Pergamum, today's Bergama) was created by the newly-founded royal dynasty in the mid-third century BCE. It became one of the classic late-Hellenistic cities, on a dramatically steep site, with imaginatiave solutions to the urban design problems created by the site, wonderfully embellished by the generous attention of its royal (and other) patrons. The site divides into two main sections, the steep upper town and the flat lower town. Though today's Bergama is entirely in the lower areas, a number of important remains have survived even there: the Asklepieion, one of the major healing centres of antiqity, the Red Hall (Serapeum), the stadium, a Roman Bridge and tunnel. But it is the upper town that captures the imagination, with its extensive remains, innovations, and drama.
http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~prchrdsn/pergamon.htm

The Attalids, the descendants of Attalus, the father of Philetaerus who came to power in 282 BC, were among the most loyal supporters of Rome among the Hellenistic successor states. Under Attalus I, they allied with Rome against Philip V of Macedon, during the first and second Macedonian Wars, and again under Eumenes II, against Perseus of Macedon, during the Third Macedonian War. For support against the Seleucids, the Attalids were rewarded with all the former Seleucid domains in Asia Minor.

The Attalids ruled with intelligence and generosity. Many documents survive showing how the Attalids would support the growth of towns through sending in skilled artisans and by remitting taxes. They allowed the Greek cities in their domains to maintain nominal independence. They sent gifts to Greek cultural sites like Delphi, Delos, and Athens. They defeated the invading Celts. They remodeled the Acropolis of Pergamum after the Acropolis in Athens. When Attalus III died without an heir in 133 BC he bequeathed Pergamon to Rome, in order to prevent a civil war.

The Great Altar of Pergamon is in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin. The base of this altar remains on the upper part of the Acropolis. Other notable structures still in existence on the upper part of the Acropolis include: a Hellenistic theater with a seating capacity of 10,000; the Sanctuary of Trajan (also known as the Trajaneum); the Sancturay of Athena; the Library; royal palaces; the Heroön; the Temple of Dionysus; the Upper Agora; and the Roman baths complex. Pergamon's library on the Acropolis is the second best in the ancient Greek civilisation (the ancient Library of Pergamum), after that of Alexandria. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance to use in codices, called pergaminus or parchment after the city. This was made of fine calf skin, a predecessor of vellum. The lower part of the Acropolis has the following structures: the Upper Gymnasium, the Middle Gymnasium, the Lower Gymnasium, the Temple of Demeter, the Sanctuary of Hera, the House of Attalus, the Lower Agora and the Gate of Eumenes.

Three km south of the Acropolis was the Sanctuary of Asclepius (also known as the Asclepeion), the god of healing. In this place people with health problems could bath in the water of the sacred spring, and in the patients' dreams Asklepios would appear in a vision to tell them how to cure their illness. Archeology has found lots of gifts and dedications that people would make afterwards, such as small terracotta body parts, no doubt representing what had been healed. Notable extant structures in the Asclepeion include the Roman theater, the North Stoa, the South Stoa, the Temple of Asclepius, a circular treatment center (sometimes known as the Temple of Telesphorus), a healing spring, an underground passageway, a library, the Via Tecta (or the Sacred Way, which is a colonnaded street leading to the sanctuary) and a propylon.

Pergamon's other notable structure is the Serapis Temple (Serapeum) which was later transformed into the Red Basilica complex (or Kızıl Avlu in Turkish), about 1 km south of the Acropolis. It consists of a main building and two round towers. In the first century AD, the Christian Church at Pergamon inside the main building of the Red Basilica was one of the Seven Churches to which the Book of Revelation was addressed (Revelation 1:12, ESV).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pergamon

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
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[2400d] Pergamene Kingdom, Mysia, Western Asia Minor, Philetairos I, 282 - 263 B.C.46 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Meydancikkale 3000, SNG Paris 1603 var, SNG Von Aulock -, SNG Cop -, VF, Pergamon mint, 16.629g, 28.1mm, 0o, c. 265 - 263 B.C. Obverse: head of Philetaerus right in taenia; Reverse: FILETAIROU downward on right, Athena enthroned left, right hand on shield before her, spear over shoulder in left, leaf above arm, bow right; high relief portrait; very rare. Ex FORVM. Photo by jpfjr.

This coin bears the first portrait of Philetairos, the founder of the Pergamene Kingdom, 282 -263 B.C. Hoard evidence and recent studies indicate it was struck at the end of his reign. Philetairos first struck in the name of Lysimachos, then posthumous Alexander types under Seleukos I, then Seleukos and Herakles (see coin 309p) portrait types under Antiochos I, and lastly this type with his own portrait. This same reverse was used for the Seleukos I portrait types. Philetairos' coinage is known for its magnificent realistic portraits and this coin is an excellent example. Very rare and absent from most major collections (Joseph Sermarini).

Attalid Dynasty(270-133 BC) - capital at Pergamum

Founded by Philetairos, the Greek secretary of Alexander the Great's general Lysimachus.

In his monograph "The Pergamene Mint Under Philetaerus" (The American Numismatic Society, No.76, 1936), Edward T. Newell notes, "The event which precipitated the end of Lysimachus' empire and resulted in the rise to power of the Attalid Dynasty, was the execution in 286-5 B.C. of his son, the heir apparent Agathocles. For Philetareus the situation had now become impossible. He belonged to the faction which had gathered about that able and much beloved young man--in opposition to the party headed by Lysimachus' wife, the ambitious Arsinoe, scheming for the preferment of her own children. So after having functioned for many years as the governor of Pergamum and the trusted guardian of the great treasure there deposited, Philetaerus was now forced to take steps for his own safety. Sometime between 284 and 282 B.C. many of the Asiatic cities and certain officers of Lysimachus openly rebelled and called upon Seleucus for aid. Philetaerus also wrote to the Syrian king, placing himself, and the treasure under his care, at the latter's disposal. Seleucus led his army, together with a large contingent of elephants, into the Asiatic provinces of Lysimachus. On the plain of Corupedium in Lydia there occurred the final and decisive battle in which, as is well known, Lysimachus lost both life and empire" (3-5).

When [Lysimachus] fell fighting Seleucus, Philetairos (a eunuch) withdrew with his commander's military war chest to a mountain fortress that ultimately became his palace acropolis of Pergamum. He gained royal recognition through his successful efforts at repulsing the Gallic invasion of western Anatolia in 270-269 BC. Philetairos drove the Gauls into the Phrygian highlands where they settled in the region thereafter known as Galatia. He became recognized by the Greek cities of the coastal region as a liberator and savior and established his hegemony over them. Since he had no children, his domain passed to the four sons of his brother, Attalus I. Normally, so many rival dynasts would have spelled disaster (as it eventually did in Syria and Egypt), but the Attalids became celebrated for their cooperation at state building. They handed the royal authority from one to another in succession and managed to elevate their realm into the top echelon of Mediterranean states.

Particularly skillful diplomacy with Rome enabled the Attalids to enjoy further success during the early second century BC. At their peak under Eumenes II, c. 190-168 BC, they controlled the entire western seaboard of Anatolia and much of Phrygian highland as well. In direct competition with the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, the Attalids succeeded at establishing Pergamum as a leading cultural center, its library second only to that of Alexandria, its sculpture, woven tapestries, and ceramics prized throughout the Mediterranean. An expressive, highly baroque style of sculpture known as the Asian school, set important trends in the Greek world and profoundly influenced artistic development at Rome. The Attalids likewise competed for control of the eastern luxury trade, relying on the overland route of the now ancient Persian Royal Road across Anatolia.

When a dynastic dispute threatened to undermine the stability of Pergamum at the end of the second century BC, King Attalus III (138-133) left his royal domain to the people of the Roman Republic in his will. His nobles were concerned about security after his passing, and to prevent a dynastic dispute (which ultimately did arise) he wrote this into his will as a form of "poison pill." At his demise in 133 BC, ambassadors brought the report of his bequest to Rome, where it was accepted and secured by military intervention. By 126 BC the royal territories of Pergamum became the Roman province of Asia, the richest of all Roman provinces.

Abusive exploitation by Roman tax collectors (publicans) induced a province-wide revolt in Asia in 88 BC (encouraged by Mithridates VI Eupator), culminating in the massacre reportedly of some 80,000 Romans, Italians, their families, and servants throughout the province. L. Cornelius Sulla restored order in 84 BC just prior to his assumption of the dictatorship at Rome. Indemnities imposed by Sulla remained burdensome throughout the following decade, but the resilience and economic vitality of the province ultimately enabled impressive recovery.

In 63 BC the Roman orator and senator, M. Tullius Cicero, stated that approximately 40% of tribute raised by the Republican empire came from Asia alone. The merger of Greco-Roman culture was probably most successfully achieved here. In the imperial era, cities such as Pergamum, Ephesus, Sardis, and Miletus ranked among the leading cultural centers of the Roman world.

http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:n9hG5pYVUV0J:web.ics.purdue.edu/~rauhn/hellenistic_world.htm+Philetairos&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=29

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
1stPhiletairosTet.jpg
[2400d] Pergamene Kingdom, Mysia, Western Asia Minor, Philetairos I, 282 - 263 B.C.52 viewsSilver tetradrachm, Meydancikkale 3000, SNG Paris 1603 var, SNG Von Aulock -, SNG Cop -, VF, Pergamon mint, 16.629g, 28.1mm, 0o, c. 265 - 263 B.C. Obverse: head of Philetaerus right in taenia; Reverse: FILETAIROU downward on right, Athena enthroned left, right hand on shield before her, spear over shoulder in left, leaf above arm, bow right; high relief portrait; very rare. Ex FORVM.

This coin bears the first portrait of Philetairos, the founder of the Pergamene Kingdom, 282 -263 B.C. Hoard evidence and recent studies indicate it was struck at the end of his reign. Philetairos first struck in the name of Lysimachos, then posthumous Alexander types under Seleukos I, then Seleukos and Herakles (see coin 309p) portrait types under Antiochos I, and lastly this type with his own portrait. This same reverse was used for the Seleukos I portrait types. Philetairos' coinage is known for its magnificent realistic portraits and this coin is an excellent example. Very rare and absent from most major collections.

Attalid Dynasty(270-133 BC) - capital at Pergamum

Founded by Philetairos, the Greek secretary of Alexander the Great's general Lysimachus.

In his monograph "The Pergamene Mint Under Philetaerus" (The American Numismatic Society, No.76, 1936), Edward T. Newell notes, "The event which precipitated the end of Lysimachus' empire and resulted in the rise to power of the Attalid Dynasty, was the execution in 286-5 B.C. of his son, the heir apparent Agathocles. For Philetareus the situation had now become impossible. He belonged to the faction which had gathered about that able and much beloved young man--in opposition to the party headed by Lysimachus' wife, the ambitious Arsinoe, scheming for the preferment of her own children. So after having functioned for many years as the governor of Pergamum and the trusted guardian of the great treasure there deposited, Philetaerus was now forced to take steps for his own safety. Sometime between 284 and 282 B.C. many of the Asiatic cities and certain officers of Lysimachus openly rebelled and called upon Seleucus for aid. Philetaerus also wrote to the Syrian king, placing himself, and the treasure under his care, at the latter's disposal. Seleucus led his army, together with a large contingent of elephants, into the Asiatic provinces of Lysimachus. On the plain of Corupedium in Lydia there occurred the final and decisive battle in which, as is well known, Lysimachus lost both life and empire" (3-5).

When [Lysimachus] fell fighting Seleucus, Philetairos (a eunuch) withdrew with his commander's military war chest to a mountain fortress that ultimately became his palace acropolis of Pergamum. He gained royal recognition through his successful efforts at repulsing the Gallic invasion of western Anatolia in 270-269 BC. Philetairos drove the Gauls into the Phrygian highlands where they settled in the region thereafter known as Galatia. He became recognized by the Greek cities of the coastal region as a liberator and savior and established his hegemony over them. Since he had no children, his domain passed to the four sons of his brother, Attalus I. Normally, so many rival dynasts would have spelled disaster (as it eventually did in Syria and Egypt), but the Attalids became celebrated for their cooperation at state building. They handed the royal authority from one to another in succession and managed to elevate their realm into the top echelon of Mediterranean states.

Particularly skillful diplomacy with Rome enabled the Attalids to enjoy further success during the early second century BC. At their peak under Eumenes II, c. 190-168 BC, they controlled the entire western seaboard of Anatolia and much of Phrygian highland as well. In direct competition with the Ptolemies and the Seleucids, the Attalids succeeded at establishing Pergamum as a leading cultural center, its library second only to that of Alexandria, its sculpture, woven tapestries, and ceramics prized throughout the Mediterranean. An expressive, highly baroque style of sculpture known as the Asian school, set important trends in the Greek world and profoundly influenced artistic development at Rome. The Attalids likewise competed for control of the eastern luxury trade, relying on the overland route of the now ancient Persian Royal Road across Anatolia.

When a dynastic dispute threatened to undermine the stability of Pergamum at the end of the second century BC, King Attalus III (138-133) left his royal domain to the people of the Roman Republic in his will. His nobles were concerned about security after his passing, and to prevent a dynastic dispute (which ultimately did arise) he wrote this into his will as a form of "poison pill." At his demise in 133 BC, ambassadors brought the report of his bequest to Rome, where it was accepted and secured by military intervention. By 126 BC the royal territories of Pergamum became the Roman province of Asia, the richest of all Roman provinces.

Abusive exploitation by Roman tax collectors (publicans) induced a province-wide revolt in Asia in 88 BC (encouraged by Mithridates VI Eupator), culminating in the massacre reportedly of some 80,000 Romans, Italians, their families, and servants throughout the province. L. Cornelius Sulla restored order in 84 BC just prior to his assumption of the dictatorship at Rome. Indemnities imposed by Sulla remained burdensome throughout the following decade, but the resilience and economic vitality of the province ultimately enabled impressive recovery.

In 63 BC the Roman orator and senator, M. Tullius Cicero, stated that approximately 40% of tribute raised by the Republican empire came from Asia alone. The merger of Greco-Roman culture was probably most successfully achieved here. In the imperial era, cities such as Pergamum, Ephesus, Sardis, and Miletus ranked among the leading cultural centers of the Roman world.

http://72.14.235.104/search?q=cache:n9hG5pYVUV0J:web.ics.purdue.edu/~rauhn/hellenistic_world.htm+Philetairos&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=29

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
AntoninusPiusAequitasSear4053.jpg
[904a] Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.127 viewsAntoninus Pius, AD 138 to 161. Silver denarius. Sear-4053; gVF; Rome;16.4 x 17.9 mm, 3.61 g; issue of AD 138; Obverse : Head of Antoninus Pius right, with IMP T AEL CAES HADRI ANTONINVS around; Reverse : Aequitas standing left, holding scales and a cornucopiae, with AVG PIVS P M TR P COS DES II around. This is an interesting part of the Antoninus Pius series, struck in the first year of his reign, using his adoptive name of Hadrianus, and with the reverse inscription a continuation from the obverse.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

Introduction
The long reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius is often described as a period of peace and quiet before the storm which followed and plagued his successor, Marcus Aurelius. In addition to the relative peacefulness, this emperor set the tone for a low-keyed imperial administration which differed markedly from those of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian. Antoninus managed to govern the empire capably and yet with such a gentle hand that he earned the respect, acclaim, and love of his subjects.

Early Life
The future emperor was born T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus on September 19, A.D. 86 at Lanuvium, an old Latin city southeast of Rome. His father's family had originally migrated to Rome from Nemausus (Nîmes) in Narbonese Gaul, but his paternal grandfather, T. Aurelius Fulvus, had served twice as Roman consul and also as city prefect and his father, Aurelius Fulvus, also held the consulship. The future emperor's mother was Arria Fadilla and her father, Arrius Antoninus, had also been consul twice. Young Antoninus was raised at Lorium, on the via Aurelia, where he later built a palace.

Career Under Hadrian
Very little is known about Antoninus' life before he became emperor. The brief biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae credited to Julius Capitolinus refers to his services as quaestor, praetor, and consul and P. von Rohden's entry in Pauly-Wissowa dates his tenure of these offices to A.D. 112, 117, and 120 respectively. At some point between A.D. 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria Faustina, the daughter of M. Annius Verus. Hadrian later appointed Antoninus as one of his consular administrators of Italy and between A.D. 130 and 135 Antoninus served as proconsul of Asia.
Antoninus had achieved a distinguished career under Hadrian. and could have retired from imperial service with great pride, but events in A.D. 138 changed Antoninus' future quite radically. Early in the year, the death of Aelius Verus, whom Hadrian had previously adopted and named Caesar, opened a new path. Hadrian met with the Senate and announced his decision to adopt Antoninus as his son and heir and to share both proconsular and tribunician power with him. After giving this offer careful thought, Antoninus accepted and agreed in return to adopt as his heirs his wife's nephew, M. Antoninus, the future Marcus Aurelius, and L. Verus, the son of Aelius Verus.

Imperial Reign
When Hadrian died in the following summer, Antoninus oversaw the conveyance of his body from Baiae to Rome for interment in the new imperial tomb (now Castel Sant' Angelo). To honor his adoptive father, Antoninus set up a magnificent shield, established a priesthood, and, against serious opposition in the Senate, requested and bargained for senatorial confirmation of Hadrian's deification. Antoninus' devotion to Hadrian's memory is one of the reasons cited for the Senate's bestowal upon the new emperor of the name "pius". After initially refusing the Senate's recognition of Antoninus as "pater patriae", the new emperor accepted the honor with thanks. He declined, however, the Senate's decree authorizing the renaming of the months of September and October after the new emperor and empress. The Senate did honor the new empress with the title of "Augusta". On her death only a few years later in A.D. 141, the Senate deified Faustina and voted her a temple and priestesses. In memory of his wife, Antoninus also instituted an alimentary program, similar to those of his immediate predecessors, which combined loans to Italian farmers with funds, generated by interest on those loans, set aside for the care of orphaned girls. On coins these orphans are designated as puellae Faustinianae.

Antoninus returned all of Italy's share of the aurum coronarium, the money raised in honor of his accession, and one-half of that contributed from the provinces. His economic policy in general was relatively conservative and avoided luxurious waste while supporting public works of practical application. His procurators were told to keep provincial tribute reasonable and they were held accountable for exceeding fixed bounds. The provinces in general prospered under his administration and the use of informers was ended. Julius Capitolinus summarizes the excellence of Antoninus' administration when he says: "With such care did he govern all peoples under him that he looked after all things and all men as if they were his own." In spite of his caution in raising imperial revenues, however, Antoninus provided regular gifts of money to the people and to the soldiers and produced spectacular public games with a great variety of animals on display. The emperor also used his own funds to distribute oil, grain, and wine free in a time of famine and helped relieve the devastation caused in Rome by fire, flood, and a collapse of stands in the Circus Maximus and by fires and earthquakes in the provinces.

Although the reigns of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian, had seen prolific building activity in Rome and throughout the empire, Antoninus chose to be less lavish in his public works projects. He felt an obligation to complete work begun or promised by Hadrian. Antoninus completed the Mausoleum of Hadrian along the Tiber and built the temples of the Divine Hadrian in the Campus Martius and of Faustina in the Forum. He also restored the oldest bridge in Rome, the Pons Sublicius, the Graecostadium, and the Colosseum. He may even have put some finishing touches on the Pantheon because Julius Capitolinus mentions restoration of a templum Agrippae, but the text may be corrupt and the temple of the Divine Augustus, the restoration of which is recorded on some of Antoninus' coins, may be the intended reference here. Outside Rome, Antoninus repaired several roads and renovated ports in Alexandria, Caieta, and Terracina, a bath at Ostia, an aqueduct at Antium, and the temples in his birthplace, Lanuvium.

Although some sources suggest that Antoninus went in person to Egypt and Syria to put down a revolt of peoples along the Red Sea, Julius Capitolinus says that Antoninus made his home in Rome where he could receive messages from all parts of the empire equally quickly . He also states that to avoid burdening the provinces with the expenses of housing an emperor and his associates Antoninus took expeditions out of Rome only to his estates in Campania. If correct, these actions marked a decided break with the visibility of his two predecessors in the provinces and recreated a more Rome- and Italy-centered empire. Wilhelm Weber commented on this policy: "As if, perhaps, in criticism of Hadrian's conception of his task, he sat like a beneficent spider at the centre of his web, power radiating steadily from him to the farthest bounds of the empire and as steadily returning to him again. For the last time in Imperial history the Emperor was wholly one with Rome and its centralization."

During his third consulship (A.D. 140-144), Antoninus issued a series of unusual coins and medallions which featured entirely new or modified religious/mythological images. Jocelyn Toynbee correctly pointed out that these types were issued to prepare for the celebration of Rome's nine hundredth birthday in A.D. 147/148 and she also discussed two images which represent the emperor's reaction against Hadrian's "cosmopolitanism" and his attempt to restore Rome and Italy to a superior position over the provinces. This unusual series, issued especially in bronze, commemorated Rome's connection to her distant roots from Trojans, Latins, and Sabines and honored gods who had protected the city in the past. Themes associated with Aeneas, Romulus, Numa Pompilius, and Augustus by implication tied in Antoninus as successor to these four model Roman leaders. Although the death of Faustina may have motivated Antoninus' display of public piety to some degree on these coins and medallions, the series also set the tone for the games and rituals of the birthday celebration in 147/148, renewed religious values, and restored Rome's proper relationship with protective gods who had brought the city past success both in war and in peace. Another series of coins, the "anonymous quadrantes", combines a portrait of a god or goddess on the obverse with a reverse symbol of an animal associated with the same deity. The absence of an imperial portrait or any inscription aside from the S.C. authorization of the Senate makes it especially difficult to date this series. However, the similarity of the Jupiter and Venus portraits to images of Antoninus and Faustina and other links to Antoninus' coin-types make it probable that several of these types were issued in Antoninus' reign, perhaps again in connection with Rome's birthday celebration in A.D. 147/148.

Although Antoninus' reign was generally peaceful, Capitolinus says that he fought wars, through legates, against the Britons, Moors, Germans, Dacians, and the Alans and suppressed revolts in Achaea, in Egypt, and among the Jews. The war in Britain was fought around A.D. 142 against the Brigantes and led to the construction of the Antonine Wall across the island as a second line of defense north of Hadrian's Wall. In foreign relations, the emperor's authority was respected among peoples bordering on the empire. Antoninus approved the appointment of kings for the Armenians, for the Lazi, and for the Quadi and he successfully prevented a Parthian attack on Armenia by sending the Parthian king a letter of warning.

Antoninus did continue his predecessor's interest in law and his imperial legislation is cited frequently in Justinian's Digest. Several lawyers served in the emperor's consilium and presumably advised him on legal matters. Antoninus' legislation included protections for slaves, freedmen, and for illegitimate children and further defined family and inheritance law, including consideration of a daughter's wishes in marriage arrangements.

In preparation for the succession, Antoninus' daughter Faustina married Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 145 and she soon became Augusta in place of her deceased mother. Marcus Aurelius was associated in imperial powers and he and L. Verus both held the consulship multiple times in preparation for their accession. Antoninus made sure that he would leave the Empire secure and in sound financial condition and his adopted sons inherited a large surplus (reportedly 675 million denarii) in the Treasury .

Antoninus Pius died in March of A.D. 161, after giving the appropriate imperial watchword which so typified his reign, "equanimity". He was soon afterward deified by the Senate. His adopted sons and successors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, erected a column of red granite in his honor in the Campus Martius. The marble base for this column, which is preserved in the Vatican, includes a sculpted image of the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius expressed his enduring love and respect for his adoptive father: "Do all things as a disciple of Antoninus. Think of his constancy in every act rationally undertaken, his invariable equability, his piety, his serenity of countenance, his sweetness of disposition, his contempt for the bubble of fame, and his zeal for getting a true grasp of affairs." In many ways Antoninus Pius was a model emperor who justifiably earned comparison with his own model, Numa Pompilius, and provided the Empire with a period of fortune, religious piety, and security perhaps unmatched in imperial annals.

Copyright (C) 1998, Richard D. Weigel.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.



Cleisthenes
AntoPiusDenar.jpg
[904z] Antoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D.143 viewsAntoninus Pius, August 138 - 7 March 161 A.D. Silver denarius, RIC 232, RSC 271, F, Rome, 1.699g, 17.3mm, 0o, 153 - 154 A.D. Obverse: ANTONINVS AVG PIVS P P TR P XVII, laureate head right; Reverse: COS IIII, Fortuna standing right, cornucopia in left, long rudder on globe in right.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Antoninus Pius (A.D. 138-161)

Richard D. Weigel
Western Kentucky University

Introduction
The long reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius is often described as a period of peace and quiet before the storm which followed and plagued his successor, Marcus Aurelius. In addition to the relative peacefulness, this emperor set the tone for a low-keyed imperial administration which differed markedly from those of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian. Antoninus managed to govern the empire capably and yet with such a gentle hand that he earned the respect, acclaim, and love of his subjects.

Early Life
The future emperor was born T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus on September 19, A.D. 86 at Lanuvium, an old Latin city southeast of Rome. His father's family had originally migrated to Rome from Nemausus (Nîmes) in Narbonese Gaul, but his paternal grandfather, T. Aurelius Fulvus, had served twice as Roman consul and also as city prefect and his father, Aurelius Fulvus, also held the consulship. The future emperor's mother was Arria Fadilla and her father, Arrius Antoninus, had also been consul twice. Young Antoninus was raised at Lorium, on the via Aurelia, where he later built a palace.

Career Under Hadrian
Very little is known about Antoninus' life before he became emperor. The brief biography in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae credited to Julius Capitolinus refers to his services as quaestor, praetor, and consul and P. von Rohden's entry in Pauly-Wissowa dates his tenure of these offices to A.D. 112, 117, and 120 respectively. At some point between A.D. 110 and 115, Antoninus married Annia Galeria Faustina, the daughter of M. Annius Verus. Hadrian later appointed Antoninus as one of his consular administrators of Italy and between A.D. 130 and 135 Antoninus served as proconsul of Asia.
Antoninus had achieved a distinguished career under Hadrian. and could have retired from imperial service with great pride, but events in A.D. 138 changed Antoninus' future quite radically. Early in the year, the death of Aelius Verus, whom Hadrian had previously adopted and named Caesar, opened a new path. Hadrian met with the Senate and announced his decision to adopt Antoninus as his son and heir and to share both proconsular and tribunician power with him. After giving this offer careful thought, Antoninus accepted and agreed in return to adopt as his heirs his wife's nephew, M. Antoninus, the future Marcus Aurelius, and L. Verus, the son of Aelius Verus.

Imperial Reign
When Hadrian died in the following summer, Antoninus oversaw the conveyance of his body from Baiae to Rome for interment in the new imperial tomb (now Castel Sant' Angelo). To honor his adoptive father, Antoninus set up a magnificent shield, established a priesthood, and, against serious opposition in the Senate, requested and bargained for senatorial confirmation of Hadrian's deification. Antoninus' devotion to Hadrian's memory is one of the reasons cited for the Senate's bestowal upon the new emperor of the name "pius". After initially refusing the Senate's recognition of Antoninus as "pater patriae", the new emperor accepted the honor with thanks. He declined, however, the Senate's decree authorizing the renaming of the months of September and October after the new emperor and empress. The Senate did honor the new empress with the title of "Augusta". On her death only a few years later in A.D. 141, the Senate deified Faustina and voted her a temple and priestesses. In memory of his wife, Antoninus also instituted an alimentary program, similar to those of his immediate predecessors, which combined loans to Italian farmers with funds, generated by interest on those loans, set aside for the care of orphaned girls. On coins these orphans are designated as puellae Faustinianae.

Antoninus returned all of Italy's share of the aurum coronarium, the money raised in honor of his accession, and one-half of that contributed from the provinces. His economic policy in general was relatively conservative and avoided luxurious waste while supporting public works of practical application. His procurators were told to keep provincial tribute reasonable and they were held accountable for exceeding fixed bounds. The provinces in general prospered under his administration and the use of informers was ended. Julius Capitolinus summarizes the excellence of Antoninus' administration when he says: "With such care did he govern all peoples under him that he looked after all things and all men as if they were his own." In spite of his caution in raising imperial revenues, however, Antoninus provided regular gifts of money to the people and to the soldiers and produced spectacular public games with a great variety of animals on display. The emperor also used his own funds to distribute oil, grain, and wine free in a time of famine and helped relieve the devastation caused in Rome by fire, flood, and a collapse of stands in the Circus Maximus and by fires and earthquakes in the provinces.

Although the reigns of his two immediate predecessors, Trajan and Hadrian, had seen prolific building activity in Rome and throughout the empire, Antoninus chose to be less lavish in his public works projects. He felt an obligation to complete work begun or promised by Hadrian. Antoninus completed the Mausoleum of Hadrian along the Tiber and built the temples of the Divine Hadrian in the Campus Martius and of Faustina in the Forum. He also restored the oldest bridge in Rome, the Pons Sublicius, the Graecostadium, and the Colosseum. He may even have put some finishing touches on the Pantheon because Julius Capitolinus mentions restoration of a templum Agrippae, but the text may be corrupt and the temple of the Divine Augustus, the restoration of which is recorded on some of Antoninus' coins, may be the intended reference here. Outside Rome, Antoninus repaired several roads and renovated ports in Alexandria, Caieta, and Terracina, a bath at Ostia, an aqueduct at Antium, and the temples in his birthplace, Lanuvium.

Although some sources suggest that Antoninus went in person to Egypt and Syria to put down a revolt of peoples along the Red Sea, Julius Capitolinus says that Antoninus made his home in Rome where he could receive messages from all parts of the empire equally quickly . He also states that to avoid burdening the provinces with the expenses of housing an emperor and his associates Antoninus took expeditions out of Rome only to his estates in Campania. If correct, these actions marked a decided break with the visibility of his two predecessors in the provinces and recreated a more Rome- and Italy-centered empire. Wilhelm Weber commented on this policy: "As if, perhaps, in criticism of Hadrian's conception of his task, he sat like a beneficent spider at the centre of his web, power radiating steadily from him to the farthest bounds of the empire and as steadily returning to him again. For the last time in Imperial history the Emperor was wholly one with Rome and its centralization."

During his third consulship (A.D. 140-144), Antoninus issued a series of unusual coins and medallions which featured entirely new or modified religious/mythological images. Jocelyn Toynbee correctly pointed out that these types were issued to prepare for the celebration of Rome's nine hundredth birthday in A.D. 147/148 and she also discussed two images which represent the emperor's reaction against Hadrian's "cosmopolitanism" and his attempt to restore Rome and Italy to a superior position over the provinces. This unusual series, issued especially in bronze, commemorated Rome's connection to her distant roots from Trojans, Latins, and Sabines and honored gods who had protected the city in the past. Themes associated with Aeneas, Romulus, Numa Pompilius, and Augustus by implication tied in Antoninus as successor to these four model Roman leaders. Although the death of Faustina may have motivated Antoninus' display of public piety to some degree on these coins and medallions, the series also set the tone for the games and rituals of the birthday celebration in 147/148, renewed religious values, and restored Rome's proper relationship with protective gods who had brought the city past success both in war and in peace. Another series of coins, the "anonymous quadrantes", combines a portrait of a god or goddess on the obverse with a reverse symbol of an animal associated with the same deity. The absence of an imperial portrait or any inscription aside from the S.C. authorization of the Senate makes it especially difficult to date this series. However, the similarity of the Jupiter and Venus portraits to images of Antoninus and Faustina and other links to Antoninus' coin-types make it probable that several of these types were issued in Antoninus' reign, perhaps again in connection with Rome's birthday celebration in A.D. 147/148.

Although Antoninus' reign was generally peaceful, Capitolinus says that he fought wars, through legates, against the Britons, Moors, Germans, Dacians, and the Alans and suppressed revolts in Achaea, in Egypt, and among the Jews. The war in Britain was fought around A.D. 142 against the Brigantes and led to the construction of the Antonine Wall across the island as a second line of defense north of Hadrian's Wall. In foreign relations, the emperor's authority was respected among peoples bordering on the empire. Antoninus approved the appointment of kings for the Armenians, for the Lazi, and for the Quadi and he successfully prevented a Parthian attack on Armenia by sending the Parthian king a letter of warning.

Antoninus did continue his predecessor's interest in law and his imperial legislation is cited frequently in Justinian's Digest. Several lawyers served in the emperor's consilium and presumably advised him on legal matters. Antoninus' legislation included protections for slaves, freedmen, and for illegitimate children and further defined family and inheritance law, including consideration of a daughter's wishes in marriage arrangements.

In preparation for the succession, Antoninus' daughter Faustina married Marcus Aurelius in A.D. 145 and she soon became Augusta in place of her deceased mother. Marcus Aurelius was associated in imperial powers and he and L. Verus both held the consulship multiple times in preparation for their accession. Antoninus made sure that he would leave the Empire secure and in sound financial condition and his adopted sons inherited a large surplus (reportedly 675 million denarii) in the Treasury .

Antoninus Pius died in March of A.D. 161, after giving the appropriate imperial watchword which so typified his reign, "equanimity". He was soon afterward deified by the Senate. His adopted sons and successors, Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, erected a column of red granite in his honor in the Campus Martius. The marble base for this column, which is preserved in the Vatican, includes a sculpted image of the apotheosis of Antoninus and Faustina. In his Meditations, Marcus Aurelius expressed his enduring love and respect for his adoptive father: "Do all things as a disciple of Antoninus. Think of his constancy in every act rationally undertaken, his invariable equability, his piety, his serenity of countenance, his sweetness of disposition, his contempt for the bubble of fame, and his zeal for getting a true grasp of affairs." In many ways Antoninus Pius was a model emperor who justifiably earned comparison with his own model, Numa Pompilius, and provided the Empire with a period of fortune, religious piety, and security perhaps unmatched in imperial annals.

Copyright (C) 1998, Richard D. Weigel.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
MarcusAureliusLiberalitas_sestertius.jpg
[905a] Marcus Aurelius, 7 March 161 - 17 March 180 A.D.137 viewsMARCUS AURELIUS AE [b[Sestertius. RIC 1222. 30mm, 24.5g. Struck at Rome, 177 AD. Obverse: M ANTONINUS AVG GERM SARM TR P XXXI, laureate head right; Reverse: LIBERALITAS AVG VII IMP VIIII COS III P P, Liberalitas standing left holding coin counter & cornucopia, SC in fields. Nice portrait. Ex Incitatus. Photo courtesy of Incitatus.


De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families

Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180)

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University


Introduction and Sources
The Vita of the emperor in the collection known as the Historia Augusta identifies him in its heading as Marcus Antoninus Philosophus, "Marcus Antoninus the Philosopher." Toward the end of the work, the following is reported about him, sententia Platonis semper in ore illius fuit, florere civitates si aut philosophi imperarent aut imperantes philosopharentur (27.7), "Plato's judgment was always on his lips, that states flourished if philosophers ruled or rulers were philosophers." It is this quality of Marcus' character which has made him a unique figure in Roman history, since he was the first emperor whose life was molded by, and devoted to, philosophy (Julian was the second and last). His reign was long and troubled, and in some ways showed the weaknesses of empire which ultimately led to the "Decline and Fall," yet his personal reputation, indeed his sanctity, have never failed of admirers. Contributing to his fame and reputation is a slender volume of Stoic philosophy which served as a kind of diary while he was involved in military campaigns, the Meditations, a book which can be described as an aureus libellus, a little golden book.

The sources for understanding Marcus and his reign are varied but generally disappointing. There is no major historian. The chief literary sources are the biography in the Historia Augusta, as well as those of Hadrian, Antoninus, Verus, and Avidius Cassius. Debate about this collection of imperial biographies has been heated and contentious for more than a century. In all likelihood, it is the work of a single author writing in the last years of the fourth-century. The information offered ranges from the precisely accurate to the wildly imaginative.

Cassius Dio, who wrote in the decade of the 230s, produced a long history of the empire which has survived, for our period, only in an abbreviated version. Fourth century historians, such as Aurelius Victor and Eutropius, occasionally furnish bits of information. Marcus' teacher, Fronto, a distinguished orator and rhetorician, is extremely useful. Papyri, inscriptions, coins, legal writings, and some of the church writers, such as Tertullian, Eusebius, and Orosius, are very important. Archaeology and art history, with their interpretation of monuments, make the history of Marcus' principate literally visible and offer important clues for understanding the context of his actions.

Early Life
He was born M. Annius Verus on April 26, 121, the scion of a distinguished family of Spanish origin (PIR2 A697). His father was Annius Verus (PIR2 A696), his mother Domitia Lucilla (PIR2 D183). His grandfather held his second consulate in that year and went on to reach a third in 126, a rare distinction in the entire history of the principate, and also served Hadrian as city prefect. The youth's education embraced both rhetoric and philosophy; his manner was serious, his intellectual pursuits deep and devoted, so that the emperor Hadrian took an interest in him and called him "Verissimus," "Most truthful," by punning on his name. He received public honors from an early age and seems to have long been in Hadrian's mind as a potential successor. When Hadrian's first choice as successor, L. Ceionius Commodus, died before his adoptive father, the second choice proved more fruitful. The distinguished senator T. Aurelius Fulvus Boionius Arrius Antoninus, from Cisalpine Gaul, did succeed Hadrian, whose arrangements for the succession planned for the next generation as well. He required Antoninus to adopt the young Verus, now to be known as M. Aelius Aurelius Verus, as well as Commodus' son, henceforth known as L. Aelius Aurelius Commodus (PIR2 C606). The former was a bit more than seventeen years old, the latter was eight.

Career under Antoninus Pius
The long tenure of Antoninus Pius proved one of the most peaceful and prosperous in Roman history. The emperor himself was disinclined to military undertakings and never left Italy during his reign. Disturbances to the pax Romana occurred on the fringes of empire. Responses were decisive and successful, with legates in charge in the provinces. As a consequence, neither Caesar gained military experience nor was shown to the armies, a failing which later could have proved decisive and disastrous. Marcus rose steadily through the cursus honorum, holding consulates in 140 and 145, combining magistracies with priesthoods. He received the tribunicia potestas in 147, and perhaps also imperium proconsulare. Yet he never neglected the artes liberals. His closest contacts were with Fronto (c.95-c.160), the distinguished rhetorician and orator. His acquaintance included many other distinguished thinkers, such as Herodes Atticus (c.95-177), the Athenian millionaire and sophist, and Aelius Aristides (117-c.181), two of whose great speeches have survived and which reveal much of the mood and beliefs of the age. Yet it was Epictetus (c.50-c.120) who had the greatest philosophical impact and made him a firm Stoic. In the year 161 Marcus celebrated his fortieth birthday, a figure of noble appearance and unblemished character. He was leading a life which gave him as much honor and glory as he could have desired, probably much more than his private nature enjoyed, yet his life, and that of the empire, was soon to change. The emperor died on March 7, but not before clearly indicating to magistrates and senate alike his desire that Marcus succeed him by having the statue of Fortuna, which had been in his bedroom, transferred to Marcus. There was no opposition, no contrary voice, to his succession. He immediately chose his brother as co-emperor, as Hadrian had planned. From the beginning of the year they were joint consuls and held office for the entire year. Their official titulature was now Imperator Caesar M. Aurelius Antoninus Augustus and Imperator Caesar L. Aurelius Verus Augustus. The military qualities adumbrated by the word Imperator were soon much in demand, for the empire was under pressure in the year 161 in Britain, in Raetia, and in the east, where Parthia once again posed a significant danger.

The Parthian War (161-166)
The incursion in northern Britain and the difficulties along the Danube were soon satisfactorily managed by legates. The danger in the East was of a different magnitude. Tensions between Rome and Parthia had intensified in the last years of Antoninus' reign over control of Armenia, the vast buffer state which had often aroused enmity between the two powers, since each wished to be able to impose a king favorable to its interests. With Antoninus' death and the uncertainty attendant upon a new emperor (in this case two, a dyarchy, for the first time in Rome's history), the Parthian monarch, Vologaeses III, struck rapidly, placed his own candidate upon the Armenian throne, and inflicted severe setbacks upon the Roman forces sent to oppose him. Marcus decided to send his colleague Lucius Verus, whose imperial prestige would underscore the seriousness of the empire's response. Verus lacked military experience and was sorely lacking in the attributes of leadership and command; further, he was notorious for being chiefly interested in amusements and luxury. But Marcus surrounded him with several of the best generals at the empire's disposal, chief among them Avidius Cassius (c.130-175) (PIR2 A1402). From 162 on, Rome's successes and conquests were extensive and decisive. Most of Parthia's significant cities and strongholds, such as Seleucia and Ctesiphon, were stormed and destroyed, and the army's movements eastward recalled the movements of Alexander the Great some five centuries earlier. By 166, Parthia had capitulated and a Roman nominee sat on the Armenian throne. The victory appeared to be the most decisive since Trajan's conquest of Dacia, but, when Verus returned to Italy with his triumphant army, there came also a devastating plague, which had enormous effect on all provinces.
As is the case with all ancient diseases, it is almost impossible to identify this one. In all likelihood, however, it was smallpox; how severe the toll was is debated. Clearly, it cast a pall over the triumph celebrated by the two emperors, who were honored with the titles Armeniacus and Parthicus. The last years of this decade were dominated by efforts to overcome the plague and provide succour to its victims. But already in 166, the German tribes smashed the Danubian limes, threatening the empire's stability and even existence, more than Parthia had ever done. The first campaigns were punctuated by the death of Verus in 169, leaving Marcus as sole emperor. And so began the most difficult period of his life.

The German Wars
Early in 169, the Marcomanni and Quadi crossed the Danube, penetrated the intervening provinces, and entered Italy. The culmination of their onslaught was a siege of Aquileia. The effect upon the inhabitants of the peninsula was frightful. This was the first invasion of Italy since the late second century B.C., when the Cimbri and Teutones had been separately crushed by Marius. Perhaps more vivid in the collective imagination was the sack of Rome by the Gauls in 387, when the city was saved only by the payment of ransom.
The two emperors hastened north, after a rapid mobilization of forces, which included the drafting of slaves, since the manpower potential of the empire had been so impaired by the consequences of the plague and the losses and troop commitments in the East. Verus died while in the north; Marcus returned to Rome with the body and gave his brother full honors. He then turned north again and began his counterattacks against the barbarians. He did not know it at the time, but he was destined to spend most of his remaining years on the northern frontier. The only interlude was caused by revolt in the east.

We have no record of Marcus' ultimate intentions in these campaigns, yet the various stages were clear. First and foremost, the enemy had to be driven out of Italy and then into their own territory beyond the Danube. He strove to isolate the tribes and then defeat them individually, so that the ultimate manpower superiority of the empire and its greater skill in warfare and logistics could more easily be brought to bear. It was a successful strategy, as one tribe after another suffered defeat and reestablished ties with Rome. But it was a time-consuming and expensive operation, requiring the recruitment of two new legions, II Italica and III Italica, the construction of many new camps, such as the legionary fortress at Regensburg, with success accruing year by year. He intended to create two new provinces, Marcomannia and Sarmatia, thereby eliminating the Hungarian Plain and the headwaters of the Elbe as staging areas for invasion.

This steady, slow progress was interrupted in 175 by the action of the distinguished general Avidius Cassius, governor of Syria, who claimed the empire for himself. Whether he responded to a rumor of Marcus' death or, as gossip had it, conspired with Marcus' wife, the emperor's response was quick and decisive. Leaving the northern wars, he traveled to the East, but Avidius was killed before Marcus arrived in the region. After spending time settling affairs and showing himself to some of the provinces, with particular attention shown to Athens, where he was initiated into the Eleusinian mysteries, as Hadrian and Verus had been. He returned to Italy and soon answered the call to duty once more on the northern frontier. He took with him as colleague his son Commodus, now merely sixteen years old but already long since marked out as his father's intended successor. The military campaigns proved successful, but in the spring of 180, when Marcus died, at least one more year of warfare was necessary for the attainment of the grand enterprise. Marcus recommended to Commodus continuation of the war, but the new emperor was eager to return to Rome and the ease and luxury of the imperial court and entered into a peace agreement. Never again was Rome to hold the upper hand in its dealings with the Germanic tribes beyond the now reestablished borders of the empire.

Administrative and Religious Policy
Marcus was a conscientious and careful administrator who devoted much attention to judicial matters. His appointments to major administrative positions were for the most part admirable. Difficult tasks were put in the charge of the most capable men; he was not afraid of comparison with his subordinates. Social mobility continued as it had been under his predecessors, with men from the provinces advancing into the upper echelons of the Roman aristocracy. Those of humble birth could make a good career; such a one was Pertinax (126-193), a gifted general, who in early 193 became emperor for a space of less than three months.

The judicial administration of Italy was put in the hands of iuridici, who represented the emperor and thus spoke with his authority. This was a practice which had been established by Hadrian but had been allowed to lapse by Antoninus. The centralization of government continued apace. The imperial finances were sorely stretched by the almost continuous wars. Trajan had brought great wealth, Decebalus' treasure, into the empire after his conquest of Dacia. No such profit awaited Marcus. When preparing for the northern wars, he auctioned off much of the imperial palace's valuables. In spite of the enormous expenses of war, Commodus found ample funds upon his accession as sole emperor for his expenditures and amusements.

Although Marcus was a devoted thinker and philosopher, he was deeply religious, at least outwardly. The state cult received full honor, and he recognized the validity of other people's beliefs, so that the variety of religions in the vast extent of the empire caused no difficulties for inhabitants or government, with one significant exception. The Christians were not hampered by any official policy; indeed the impact of the church spread enormously in the second century. Yet their availability as scapegoats for local crises made them subject to abuse or worse. There was violence against them in 167, and perhaps the worst stain on Marcus' principate stemmed from the pogrom of Christians in Lugdunum in southern France in 177. He did not cause it, nor, on the other hand, did he or his officials move to stop it. Indeed, Tertullian called him a friend of Christianity. Yet the events were a precursor of what would come in the century and a quarter which followed.

Building Programs and Monuments
Many of Marcus' predecessors transformed the face of the capital with their building programs, either by the vast range of their undertaking or by the extraordinary significance of individual monuments. Others did very little to leave a tangible mark. Marcus fell into the latter group. There is record of very few monuments for which he and his brother were responsible. Very early in their reign they honored the deceased Antoninus with a column in the Campus Martius, no longer in situ but largely surviving. The shaft, which seems not to have been sculpted, was used for the restoration of Augustus' obelisk, now in Piazza Montecitorio, in the eighteenth century. The base, which was sculpted on all four sides, is now on display in the Vatican Museum. The chief feature is the apotheosis of the emperor and his long deceased wife, the elder Faustina, as they are borne to heaven. Also presented on this relief are two eagles and personifications of the goddess Roma and of the Campus Martius, represented as a young male figure.

There were three arches which commemorated the military achievements of the two emperors. No trace has been found of an early monument to Verus. Two arches later honored Marcus, both of which have disappeared but have left significant sculptural remains. The eight rectangular reliefs preserved on the Arch of Constantine came from one arch. Similarly, the three reliefs displayed in the stairwell of the Conservatori Museum on the Capitoline Hill came from another. One relief has disappeared from the latter monument.

Certainly the best known monument of Marcus' principate is the column, which rises from Piazza Colonna. It is twin to Trajan's column in height and design, although the artistic craftsmanship of the reliefs which envelop the shaft is much inferior. The subject is Marcus' campaigns against the Marcomanni and Sarmati in the years 172-75. The most interesting panel represents the famous rainstorm, when the army, overwhelmed by drought, was suddenly saved by the divine intervention of rain. Although begun in the latter part of the decade, the column was not completed until 193, when Septimius Severus had become emperor.

The famous equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius, which survived the centuries near San Giovanni in Laterano because the rider was identified as Constantine, no longer greets the visitor to the Capitoline, where Michelangelo had placed it in the sixteenth century. It was removed in the 1980s because pollution was destroying it. After careful treatment and restoration, it is now displayed within the museum, with a replica placed in the center of the piazza.

Although outside Rome, mention should be made of the monumental frieze commemorating Lucius Verus' victory over the Parthians in 165. It was an ornament of the city of Ephesus; the extensive sculptural remains are now in the Ephesus Museum in Vienna.

Family
As part of Hadrian's plans for his succession, when Ceionius Commodus was his choice, Marcus was betrothed to the latter's daughter. But when Ceionius died and Antoninus became Hadrian's successor, that arrangement was nullified and Marcus was chosen for the Emperor's daughter, the younger Faustina (PIR2 A716). She had been born in 129, was hence eight years younger than he. They were married in 145; the marriage endured for thirty years. She bore him thirteen children, of whom several died young; the most important were a daughter, Lucilla, and a son Commodus. Lucilla was deployed for political purposes, married first to Lucius Verus in 164, when she was seventeen, and then, after his death, to Claudius Pompeianus Quintianus of Antioch, a much older man who was an important associate of her father /ii]PIR2 C973). Commodus became joint-emperor with his father in 177 and three years later ruled alone.

Faustina's reputation suffered much abuse. She was accused of employing poison and of murdering people, as well as being free with her favors with gladiators, sailors, and also men of rank, particularly Avidius Cassius. Yet Marcus trusted her implicitly and defended her vigorously. She accompanied him on several campaigns and was honored with the title mater castrorum. She was with him in camp at Halala in southern Cappadocia in the winter of 175 when she died in an accident. Marcus dedicated a temple to her honor and had the name of the city changed to Faustinopolis.

Death and Succession
In early 180, while Marcus and Commodus were fighting in the north, Marcus became ill. Which disease carried him off we do not know, but for some days Marcus took no food or drink, being now eager to die. He died on March 17, in the city of Vindobona, although one source reports that it was in Sirmium. His ashes were brought to Rome and placed in Hadrian's mausoleum. Commodus succeeded to all power without opposition, and soon withdrew from the war, thereby stymieing his father's designs and ambitions. It was a change of rulers that proved disastrous for people and empire. Dio called the succession a change from a golden kingdom to one of iron and rust.

Reputation
Gibbon called Marcus "that philosophic monarch," a combination of adjective and noun which sets Marcus apart from all other Roman emperors. His renown has, in subsequent centuries, suffered little, although he was by no means a "perfect" person. He was perhaps too tolerant of other people's failings, he himself used opium. The abundance of children whom his wife bore him included, alas, a male who was to prove one of Rome's worst rulers. How much better it would have been if Marcus had had no son and had chosen a successor by adoption, so that the line of the five good emperors, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus, Marcus, could have been extended. It was not to be, and for that Marcus must accept some responsibility.

Yet he was a man of ability and a sense of duty who sacrificed his own delights and interests to the well-being of the state. He was capax imperii, he did his best, and history has been kind to him. As Hamlet said to Horatio, when awaiting the appearance of the ghost of his father,

"He was a man! Take him for all in all, I shall not look upon his like again." (I 2, 187-88)

His memory remains vivid and tactile because of the famous column, the equestrian statue, and his slender volume of thoughts, written in Greek, the Meditations, from which I choose two quotations with which to conclude:

"If mind is common to us, then also the reason, whereby we are reasoning beings, is common. If this be so, then also the reason which enjoins what is to be done or left undone is common. If this be so, law also is common; if this be so, we are citizens; if this be so, we are partakers in one constitution; if this be so, the Universe is a kind of Commonwealth." (4.4)

"At dawn of day, when you dislike being called, have this thought ready: 'I am called to man's labour; why then do I make a difficulty if I am going out to do what I was born to do and what I was brought into the world for?'" (5.1; both in Farquharson's translation)

Copyright (C) 2001, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
CommodusRSC190.jpg
[906a]Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 Dec 192 A.D.168 viewsCOMMODUS AR silver denarius. RSC 190. RCV 5644. 16.5mm, 2.3g. F. Obverse: L AEL AVREL COMM AVG P FEL, bust of Commodus wearing lion skin in imitation of Hercules and Alexander the Great, facing right; Reverse: HER-CVL RO-MAN AV-GV either side of club of Hercules, all in wreath. RARE. Ex Incitatus.

This coin refers to Commodus' belief that he was Hercules reincarnated. According to the historian Herodian, "he issued orders that he was to be called not Commodus, son of Marcus, but Hercules, son of Jupiter. Abandoning the Roman and imperial mode of dress, he donned the lion-skin, and carried the club of Hercules..." (Joseph Sermarini).

De Imperatoribus Romanis:
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Commodus (A.D. 180-192)

Dennis Quinn

Marcus Aurelius Commodus Antoninus, the son of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius and his wife-cousin Faustina, was born in Lanuvium in 161 AD. Commodus was named Caesar at the age of 5, and co-Augustus at the age of 17, spending most of his early life accompanying his father on his campaigns against the Quadi and the Marcomanni along the Danubian frontier. His father died, possibly of the plague, at a military encampment at Bononia on the Danube on 17 March 180, leaving the Roman Empire to his nineteen-year-old son.[[1]] Upon hearing of his father's death, Commodus made preparations for Marcus' funeral, made concessions to the northern tribes, and made haste to return back to Rome in order to enjoy peace after nearly two decades of war. Commodus, and much of the Roman army behind him, entered the capital on 22 October, 180 in a triumphal procession, receiving a hero's welcome. Indeed, the youthful Commodus must have appeared in the parade as an icon of new, happier days to come; his arrival sparked the highest hopes in the Roman people, who believed he would rule as his father had ruled.[[2]]

The coins issued in his first year all display the triumphant general, a warrior in action who brought the spoils of victory to the citizens of Rome.[[3]] There is a great deal of evidence to support the fact that Commodus was popular among many of the people, at least for a majority of his reign. He seems to have been quite generous.[[4]]. Coin types from around 183 onward often contain the legend, Munificentia Augusta[[5]], indicating that generosity was indeed a part of his imperial program. Coins show nine occasions on which Commodus gave largesses, seven when he was sole emperor.[[6]] According to Dio, the emperor obtained some of this funding by taxing members of the senatorial class.[[7]] This policy of munificence certainly caused tensions between Commodus and the Senate. In 191 it was noted in the official Actus Urbis that the gods had given Commodus to Populus Senatusque Romanus. Normally the phrase Senatus Populusque Romanus was used. [[8]] While the Senate hated Commodus, the army and the lower classes loved him.[[9]] Because of the bad relationship between the Senate and Commodus as well as a senatorial conspiracy,[[10]] Rome "...was virtually governed by the praetorian prefects Perennis (182-185) and Cleander (186-9)."[[11]]

Commodus began to dress like the god Hercules, wearing lion skins and carrying a club.[[12]] Thus he appropriated the Antonines' traditional identification with Hercules, but even more aggressively. Commodus' complete identification with Hercules can be seen as an attempt to solidify his claim as new founder of Rome, which he now called the Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana. This was legitimized by his direct link to Hercules, son of Father Jupiter.[[13]] He probably took the title of Hercules officially some time before mid-September 192.[[14]]

While the literary sources, especially Dio, Herodian, and the Historia Augusta, all ridicule the antics of his later career, they also give important insight into Commodus' relationship to the people.[[15]] His most important maneuver to solidify his claims as Hercules Romanus was to show himself as the god to the Roman people by taking part in spectacles in the amphitheater. Not only would Commodus fight and defeat the most skilled gladiators, he would also test his talents by encountering the most ferocious of the beasts.[[16]]

Commodus won all of his bouts against the gladiators.[[17]] The slayer of wild beasts, Hercules, was the mythical symbol of Commodus' rule, as protector of the Empire.[[18]]

During his final years he declared that his age should be called the "Golden Age."[[19]] He wanted all to revel in peace and happiness in his age of glory, praise the felicitas Commodi, the glorious libertas, his pietas, providential, his victoria and virtus aeterna.[[20]] Commodus wanted there to be no doubt that this "Golden Age" had been achieved through his munificence as Nobilissimus Princeps. He had declared a brand new day in Rome, founding it anew in 190, declaring himself the new Romulus.[[21]] Rome was now to be called Colonia Lucia Annia Commodiana, as noted above, and deemed "the Immortal," "the Fortunate," "the Universal Colony of the Earth."[[22]] Coins represent the archaic rituals of city-[re]foundation, identifying Commodus as a new founder and his age as new days.[[23]]

Also in 190 he renamed all the months to correspond exactly with his titles. From January, they run as follows: Lucius, Aelius, Aurelius, Commodus, Augustus, Herculeus, Romanus, Exsuperatorius, Amazonius, Invictus, Felix, Pius.[[24]] According to Dio Cassius, the changing of the names of the months was all part of Commodus' megalomania.[[25]] Commodus was the first and last in the Antonine dynasty to change the names of the months.


The legions were renamed Commodianae, the fleet which imported grain from Africa was called Alexandria Commodiana Togata, the Senate was deemed the Commodian Fortunate Senate, his palace and the Roman people were all given the name Commodianus.[[26]] The day that these new names were announced was also given a new title: Dies Commodianus.[[27]] Indeed, the emperor presented himself with growing vigor as the center of Roman life and the fountainhead of religion. New expressions of old religious thought and new cults previously restricted to private worship invade the highest level of imperial power.[[28]]

If Eusebius of Caesarea [[29]] is to be believed, the reign of Commodus inaugurated a period of numerous conversions to Christianity. Commodus did not pursue his father's prohibitions against the Christians, although he did not actually change their legal position. Rather, he relaxed persecutions, after minor efforts early in his reign.[[30]] Tradition credits Commodus's policy to the influence of his concubine Marcia; she was probably his favorite,[[31]] but it is not clear that she was a Christian.[[32]] More likely, Commodus preferred to neglect the sect, so that persecutions would not detract from his claims to be leading the Empire through a "Golden Age."[[33]]

During his reign several attempts were made on Commodus' life.[[34]] After a few botched efforts, an orchestrated plot was carried out early in December 192, apparently including his mistress Marcia. On 31 December an athlete named Narcissus strangled him in his bath,[[35]] and the emperor's memory was cursed. This brought an end to the Antonine Dynasty.


SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Alföldy, G. "Der Friedesschluss des Kaisers Commodus mit den Germanen," Historia 20 (1971): 84-109.

Aymard, J. "Commode-Hercule foundateur de Rome," Revue des études latines 14 (1936): 340-64.

Birley, A. R. The African Emperor: Septimius Severus. -- rev. ed.-- London, 1988.
________. Marcus Aurelius: A Biography. London, 1987.

Breckenridge, J. D. "Roman Imperial Portraiture from Augustus to Gallienus," ANRW 2.17. 1 (1981): 477-512.

Chantraine, H. "Zur Religionspolitik des Commodus im Spiegel seiner Münzen," Römische Quartalschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 70 (1975): 1-31.

Ferguson, J. The Religions of the Roman Empire. Ithaca, 1970.

Fishwick, D. The Imperial Cult in the Latin West. Leiden, 1987.

Gagé, J. "La mystique imperiale et l'épreuve des jeux. Commode-Hercule et l'anthropologie hercaléenne," ANRW 2.17.2 (1981), 663-83.

Garzetti, A. From Tiberius to the Antonines. A History of the Roman Empire A. D. 14-192. London, 1974.

Grosso F. La lotta politica al tempo di Commodo. Turin, 1964.

Hammond, M. The Antonine Monarchy. Rome, 1956.

Helgeland, J. "Roman Army Religion," ANRW II.16.2 (1978): 1470-1505.

Howe, L. L. The Praetorian Prefect from Commodus to Diocletian (A. D. 180-305). Chicago, 1942.

Keresztes, P. "A Favorable Aspect of Commodus' Rule," in Hommages à Marcel Renard 2. Bruxelles, 1969.

Mattingly, R. The Roman Imperial Coinage. Volume III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus. London, 1930.

Nock, A. D. "The Emperor's Divine Comes," Journal of Roman Studies 37 (1947): 102-116.

Parker, H. M. D. A History of the Roman World from A. D. 138 to 337. London, 1935.
________. and B.H. Warmington. "Commodus." OCD2, col. 276.

Raubitschek, A. E. "Commodus and Athens." Studies in Honor of Theodore Leslie Shear. Hesperia, Supp. 8, 1948.

Rostovtzeff, M. I. "Commodus-Hercules in Britain," Journal of Roman Studies 13 (1923): 91-105.

Sordi, M. "Un senatore cristano dell'éta di Commodo." Epigraphica 17 (1959): 104-112.

Speidel, M. P. "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993): 109-114.

Stanton, G. R. "Marcus Aurelius, Lucius Verus, and Commodus: 1962-1972." ANRW II.2 (1975): 478-549.

Notes
[[1]] For a discussion of the circumstances surrounding the death of Marcus Aurelius, see A. R. Birley, Marcus Aurelius: A Biography -- rev. ed. -- (London, 1987), 210.
Aurelius Victor, De Caes. 16.4, writing around the year 360, claimed Aurelius died at Vindobona, modern Vienna. However, Tertullian, Apol. 25, who wrote some seventeen years after Marcus' death, fixed his place of death at Sirmium, twenty miles south of Bononia. A. R. Birley (Marcus Aurelius, 209-10) cogently argues Tertullian is much more accurate in his general description of where Marcus was campaigning during his last days.
For the dating of Marcus Aurelius' death and the accession of Commodus, see M. Hammond, The Antonine Monarchy (Rome, 1956), 179-80.

[[2]] For the army's attitude toward peace, the attitude of the city toward the peace, and the reception of the emperor and his forces into Rome, see Herodian, 1.7.1-4; for Commodus' subsequent political policies concerning the northern tribes, see G. Alföldy, "Der Friedesschluss des Kaisers Commodus mit den Germanen," Historia 20 (1971): 84-109.
For a commentary on the early years of Commodus in the public perception as days of optimism, see A. Garzetti, From Tiberius to the Antonines. A History of the Roman Empire A. D. 14-192 (London, 1974), 530. For a more critical, and much more negative portrayal, see the first chapter of F. Grosso, La lotta politica al tempo di Commodo (Turin, 1964).

[[3]]The gods Minerva and Jupiter Victor are invoked on the currency as harbingers of victory; Jupiter Conservator on his coins watches over Commodus and his Empire, and thanks is given to divine Providence (H. Mattingly, The Roman Imperial Coinage. Volume III: Antoninus Pius to Commodus, [London, 1930] 356-7, 366-7). In 181, new coin types appear defining the new reign of Commodus. Victory and peace are stressed. Coins extol Securitas Publica, Felicitas, Libertas, Annona, and Aequitas (ibid., 357).
By 186 Commodus is depicted as the victorious princes, the most noble of all born to the purple. Herodian (1.5.5) describes how Commodus boasted to his soldiers that he was born to be emperor. See also H. Chantraine, "Zur Religionspolitik des Commodus im Spiegel seiner Münzen," Römische Quatralschrift für christliche Altertumskunde und für Kirchengeschichte 70 (1975), 26. He is called Triumphator and Rector Orbis, and associated with the Nobilitas of Trojan descent (Mattingly, RIC III.359; idem, Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum. Volume IV: Antoninus Pius to Commodus, [Oxford, 1940], clxii).

[[4]] Dio tells us that Commodus liked giving gifts and often gave members of the populace 140 denarii apiece (Cass. Dio, 73.16), whereas the Historia Augusta reports that he gave each man 725 denarii (SHA, Comm., 16.3).

[[5]]Mattingly, RIC, III.358.

[[6]] Idem., CBM, IV.clxxiv.

[[7]]Cass. Dio, 73.16.

[[8]]M. P. Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993), 113.

[[9]]Mattingly, CBM, IV.xii. Commodus was also popular amongst the northern divisions of the army because he allowed them to wield axes in battle, a practice banned by all preceding emperors. See, Speidel, JRS 83 (1993), 114.

[[10]]Infra, n. 34.

[[11]] H. Parker and B.H. Warmington, OCD2, s.v. "Commodus," col. 276; after 189, he was influenced by his mistress Marcia, Eclectus his chamberlain, and Laetus (who became praetorian prefect in 191 (Idem.).

[[12]]Herodian, 1.14.8. Hadrian appears on medallions in lion skins; but as far as the sources tell us, he never appeared in public in them. See J. Toynbee, Roman Medallions,(New York, 1986), 208.
He would often appear at public festivals and shows dressed in purple robes embroidered with gold. He would wear a crown made of gold, inlaid with the finest gems of India. He often carried a herald's staff as if imitating the god Mercury. According to Dio Cassius, Commodus' lion's skin and club were carried before him in the procession, and at the theaters these vestiges of Hercules were placed on a gilded chair for all to see (Cass. Dio, 73.17). For the implications of the golden chair carried in procession in relation to the imperial cult, see D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West, (Leiden, 1987-91 ), 555.

[[13]] H. M. D. Parker, A History of the Roman World from A. D. 138 to 337, (London, 1935), 34; For medallions that express the relationship between Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and Lucius Verus extolling Hercules as a symbol of civic virtue, see Toynbee, Roman Medallions, 208. For a general statement on the symbolism of Hercules in the Antonine age, see M. Hammond, The Antonine Monarchy, 238.
For a discussion of Commodus' association with Hercules, see
Rostovtzeff, "Commodus-Hercules," 104-6.
Herodian spells out the emperor's metamorphosis in detail (1.14.8).

[[14]]See Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor," 114. He argues this general date because a papyrus from Egypt's Fayum records Hercules in Commodus' title on 11 October 192.

[[15]]For a preliminary example, Herodian writes (1.13.8), "people in general responded well to him."

[[16]]As Dio reports, Commodus, with his own hands, gave the finishing stroke to five hippopotami at one time. Commodus also killed two elephants, several rhinoceroses, and a giraffe with the greatest of ease. (Cass. Dio, 73.10), and with his left hand (ibid., 73.19). Herodian maintains that from his specially constructed terrace which encircled the arena (enabling Commodus to avoid risking his life by fighting these animals at close quarters), the emperor also killed deer, roebuck, various horned animals, lions, and leopards, always killing them painlessly with a single blow. He purportedly killed one hundred leopards with one hundred javelins, and he cleanly shot the heads off countless ostriches with crescent-headed arrows. The crowd cheered as these headless birds continued to run around the amphitheater (1.15-4-6; for Commodus' popularity at these brutal spectacles, see Birley, The African Emperor, 86) (and Dio tells his readers that in public Commodus was less brutal than he was in private [73.17ff]).

[[17]] According to Herodian (1.15-17), "In his gladiatorial combats, he defeated his opponents with ease, and he did no more than wound them, since they all submitted to him, but only because they knew he was the emperor, not because he was truly a gladiator."

[[18]]Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.360.

[[19]]Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[20]] Mattingly, RIC, III.361. For Commodus' propaganda of peace, see W. Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.392.

[[21]] W. Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.392-3. In 189 a coin type was issued with the legend Romulus Conditor, perhaps indicating he began the official renaming process during that year. For a discussion on Commodus as Romulus, see A. D. Nock, "The Emperor's Divine Comes," Journal of Roman Studies 37 (1947), 103.

[[22]] HA, Comm. 7.1; Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[23]]Mattingly, RIC, III.361. See also, Webber, "The Antonines," CAH, XI.386.

[[24]]The title Felix is first used by the emperor Commodus, and is used in the titles of almost all successive emperors to the fifth century. See, D. Fishwick, The Imperial Cult in the Latin West (Leiden, 1987-91), 473.
HA, Comm., 12.315; Cass. Dio, 73.15; Herodian, I.14.9. These new names for the months seem to have actually been used, at least by the army, as confirmed by Tittianus' Altar. See M. P. Speidel, "Commodus the God-Emperor and the Army," Journal of Roman Studies 83 (1993), 112.

[[25]] Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[26]]Legions:Idem.; the Grain fleet: SHA, Comm., 12.7. For a further discussion of Commodus' newly named fleet, see, A. Garzetti, From Tiberius to the Antonines, 547. For coins issued extolling the fleet, see Mattingly, CBM, IV.clxix; RIC, III.359; the Senate: Cass. Dio, 73.15; the Imperial Palace: SHA, Comm., 12.7; the Roman People: Ibid., 15.5.

[[27]]Cass. Dio, 73.15.

[[28]]Mattingly, CBM, IV.clxxxiv.

[[29]]Eusebius, Hist.Ecc., 5.21.1.

[[30]]For a discussion of the treatment of Christianity during the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus as well as persecutions during the reign of Commodus, see Keresztes, "A Favorable Aspect," 374, 376-377.

[[31]]Herodian, 1.16.4; Dio, 73.4. A Medallion from early 192 shows Commodus juxtaposed with the goddess Roma, which some scholars have argued incorporates the features of Marcia. See, Roman Medallions, "Introduction." Commodus was married, however, to a woman named Crispina. He commissioned several coins early in his rule to honor her.

[[32]]The Christian apologist Hippolytus tells that she was a Christian (Philos. 9.2.12), Dio tells that she simply favored the Christians (73.4). Herodian does not take a stand on the matter either way (1.16.4).

[[33]]Cass. Dio, 73.15. He pronounces Commodus' edict that his rule should be henceforth called the "Golden Age."

[[34]]H. Parker and B.H. Warmington note that Commodus..."resorted to government by means of favorites...which was exacerbated by an abortive conspiracy promoted by Lucilla and Ummidius Quadratus (182)." (OCD2, col. 276).

[[35]]Herodian, 1.17.2-11; Dio Cass., 73.22; SHA, Comm.,17.1-2.

Copyright (C) 1998, Dennis Quinn. This file may be copied on the condition that the entire contents, including the header and this copyright notice, remain intact. Used by Permission.

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