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lg004_quad_sm.jpg
"As de Nîmes" or "crocodile" Ӕ dupondius of Nemausus (9 - 3 BC), honoring Augustus and Agrippa33 viewsIMP DIVI F , Heads of Agrippa (left) and Augustus (right) back to back, Agrippa wearing rostral crown and Augustus the oak-wreath / COL NEM, crocodile right chained to palm-shoot with short dense fronds and tip right; two short palm offshoots left and right below, above on left a wreath with two long ties streaming right.

Ӕ, 24.5 x 3+ mm, 13.23g, die axis 3h; on both sides there are remains of what appears to be gold plating, perhaps it was a votive offering? Rough edges and slight scrapes on flan typical for this kind of coin, due to primitive technology (filing) of flan preparation.

IMPerator DIVI Filius. Mint of COLonia NEMausus (currently Nîmes, France). Known as "As de Nîmes", it is actually a dupontius (lit. "two-pounder") = 2 ases (sometimes cut in halves to get change). Dupondii were often made out of a golden-colored copper alloy (type of brass) "orichalcum" and this appears to be such case.

Key ID points: oak-wreath (microphotography shows that at least one leaf has a complicated shape, although distinguishing oak from laurel is very difficult) – earlier versions have Augustus bareheaded, no PP on obverse as in later versions, no NE ligature, palm with short fronds with tip right (later versions have tip left and sometimes long fronds). Not typical: no clear laurel wreath together with the rostral crown, gold (?) plating (!), both features really baffling.

But still clearly a "middle" kind of the croc dupondius, known as "type III": RIC I 158, RPC I 524, Sear 1730. It is often conservatively dated to 10 BC - 10 AD, but these days it is usually narrowed to 9/8 - 3 BC.

It is a commemorative issue, honoring the victory over Mark Antony and conquest of Egypt in 30 BC. The heads of Augustus and Agrippa were probably positioned to remind familiar obverses of Roman republican coins with two-faced Janus. Palm branch was a common symbol of victory, in this case grown into a tree, like the victories of Augustus and Agrippa grown into the empire. The two offshoots at the bottom may mean two sons of Agrippa, Gaius and Lucius, who were supposed to be Augustus' heirs and were patrons of the colony. Palm may also be a symbol of the local Nemausian deity, which was probably worshiped in a sacred grove. When these coins were minted, the colony was mostly populated by the settled veterans of Augustus' campaigns, hence the reminiscence of the most famous victory, but some of the original Celtic culture probably survived and was assimilated by Romans. The crocodile is not only the symbol of Egypt, like in the famous Octavian's coins AEGYPTO CAPTA. It is also a representation of Mark Antony, powerful and scary both in water and on land, but a bit slow and stupid. The shape of the crocodile with tail up was specifically chosen to remind of the shape of ship on very common "legionary" denarius series, which Mark Antony minted to pay his armies just before Actium. It is probably also related to the popular contemporary caricature of Cleopatra, riding on and simultaneously copulating with a crocodile, holding a palm branch in her hand as if in triumph. There the crocodile also symbolized Mark Antony.

Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa was born c. 64-62 BC somewhere in rural Italy. His family was of humble and plebeian origins, but rich, of equestrian rank. Agrippa was about the same age as Octavian, and the two were educated together and became close friends. He probably first served in Caesar's Spanish campaign of 46–45 BC. Caesar regarded him highly enough to send him with Octavius in 45 BC to train in Illyria. When Octavian returned to Rome after Caesar's assassination, Agrippa became his close lieutenant, performing many tasks. He probably started his political career in 43 BC as a tribune of the people and then a member of the Senate. Then he was one of the leading Octavian's generals, finally becoming THE leading general and admiral in the civil wars of the subsequent years.

In 38 as a governor of Transalpine Gaul Agrippa undertook an expedition to Germania, thus becoming the first Roman general since Julius Caesar to cross the Rhine. During this foray he helped the Germanic tribe of Ubii (who previously allied themselves with Caesar in 55 BC) to resettle on the west bank of the Rhine. A shrine was dedicated there, possibly to Divus Caesar whom Ubii fondly remembered, and the village became known as Ara Ubiorum, "Altar of Ubians". This quickly would become an important Roman settlement. Agrippina the Younger, Agrippa's granddaughter, wife of Emperor Claudius and mother of Emperor Nero, would be born there in 15 AD. In 50 AD she would sponsor this village to be upgraded to a colonia, and it would be renamed Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (colony of Claudius [at] the Altar of Agrippinians – Ubii renamed themselves as Agrippinians to honor the augusta!), abbreviated as CCAA, later to become the capital of new Roman province, Germania Inferior.

In 37 BC Octavian recalled Agrippa back to Rome and arranged for him to win the consular elections, he desperately needed help in naval warfare with Sextus Pompey, the youngest son of Pompey the Great, who styled himself as the last supporter of the republican cause, but in reality became a pirate king, an irony since his father was the one who virtually exterminated piracy in all the Roman waters. He forced humiliating armistice on the triumvirs in 39 BC and when Octavian renewed the hostilities a year later, defeated him in a decisive naval battle of Messina. New fleet had to be built and trained, and Agrippa was the man for the job. Agrippa's solution was creating a huge secret naval base he called Portus Iulius by connecting together lakes Avernus, Avernus and the natural inner and outer harbors behind Cape Misenum at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples. He also created a larger type of ship and developed a new naval weapon: harpax – a ballista-launched grapnel shot with mechanisms that allowed pulling enemy ships close for easy boarding. It replaced the previous boarding device that Romans used since the First Punic War, corvus – effective, but extremely cumbersome. A later defence against it were scythe blades on long poles for cutting ropes, but since this invention was developed in secret, the enemy had no chance to prepare anything like it. It all has proved extremely effective: in a series of naval engagements Agrippa annihilated the fleet of Sextus, forced him to abandon his bases and run away. For this Agrippa was awarded an unprecedented honour that no Roman before or after him received: a rostral crown, "corona rostrata", a wreath decorated in front by a prow and beak of a ship.

That's why Virgil (Aeneid VIII, 683-684), describing Agrippa at Actium, says: "…belli insigne superbum, tempora navali fulgent rostrata corona." "…the proud military decoration, gleams on his brow the naval rostral crown". Actium, the decisive battle between forces of Octavian and Mark Antony, may appear boring compared to the war with Sextus, but it probably turned out this way due to Agrippa's victories in preliminary naval engagements and taking over all the strategy from Octavian.

In between the wars Agrippa has shown an unusual talent in city planning, not only constructing many new public buildings etc., but also greatly improving Rome's sanitation by doing a complete overhaul of all the aqueducts and sewers. Typically, it was Augustus who later would boast that "he had found the city of brick but left it of marble", forgetting that, just like in his naval successes, it was Agrippa who did most of the work. Agrippa had building programs in other Roman cities as well, a magnificent temple (currently known as Maison Carrée) survives in Nîmes itself, which was probably built by Agrippa.

Later relationship between Augustus and Agrippa seemed colder for a while, Agrippa seemed to even go into "exile", but modern historians agree that it was just a ploy: Augustus wanted others to think that Agrippa was his "rival" while in truth he was keeping a significant army far away from Rome, ready to come to the rescue in case Augustus' political machinations fail. It is confirmed by the fact that later Agrippa was recalled and given authority almost equal to Augustus himself, not to mention that he married Augustus' only biological child. The last years of Agrippa's life were spent governing the eastern provinces, were he won respect even of the Jews. He also restored Crimea to Roman Empire. His last service was starting the conquest of the upper Danube, were later the province of Pannonia would be. He suddenly died of illness in 12 BC, aged ~51.

Agrippa had several children through his three marriages. Through some of his children, Agrippa would become ancestor to many subsequent members of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He has numerous other legacies.
Yurii P
Neron Semis.jpg
14-08 - NERON (54 - 68 D.C.)67 viewsAE Semis 20 mm 4.8 gr.

Anv: "IMP NERO CAESAR AVG" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP P - S C" - Roma con yelmo sentada a izquierda Sobre una coraza militar, portando una corona en mano derecha levantada y Parazonium (espada militar corta, ancha y sin punta, que llevaban los Jefes militares como señal de distinción) en izquierda.

Acuñada 66 D.C.
Ceca: Roma

Referencias: NO LISTADA, EN TODOS LOS CASOS DIFIEREN EN LA LEYENDA DEL REVERSO (una sola P) - RIC Vol.1 #549 var Pag.182 - BMCRE #402 var - Cohen Vol.1 #237 var Pag.295 - DVM #35 var Pag.87

Mr. Curtis Clay says:
"IMP P in place of IMP P P appears with some frequency on Lugdunese bronzes of Nero, but not often enough to justify the belief that it was intentional. I attribute it to carelessness, not planning ahead and running out of space before the intended legend was complete.
Nonetheless the error seems to be unrecorded for this particular type, so it is also "unpublished"!"
mdelvalle
RIC_549v_Semis_Neron.jpg
14-08 - NERON (54 - 68 D.C.)17 viewsAE Semis 20 mm 4.8 gr.

Anv: "IMP NERO CAESAR AVG" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "PONTIF MAX TR POT IMP P - S C" - Roma con yelmo sentada a izquierda Sobre una coraza militar, portando una corona en mano derecha levantada y Parazonium (espada militar corta, ancha y sin punta, que llevaban los Jefes militares como señal de distinción) en izquierda.

Acuñada 66 D.C.
Ceca: Roma

Referencias: NO LISTADA, EN TODOS LOS CASOS DIFIEREN EN LA LEYENDA DEL REVERSO (una sola P) - RIC Vol.1 #549 var Pag.182 - BMCRE #402 var - Cohen Vol.1 #237 var Pag.295 - DVM #35 var Pag.87

Mr. Curtis Clay says:
"IMP P in place of IMP P P appears with some frequency on Lugdunese bronzes of Nero, but not often enough to justify the belief that it was intentional. I attribute it to carelessness, not planning ahead and running out of space before the intended legend was complete.
Nonetheless the error seems to be unrecorded for this particular type, so it is also "unpublished"!"
mdelvalle
CarusAntClementia.jpg
1dp Carus24 views282-283

AE antoninianus

Radiate draped bust, right, IMP C M AVR CARVS P F AVG
Emperor standing right, receiving Victory on globe from Jupiter standing left, G between, XXI in ex, CLEMENTIA TEMP

RIC 118

The Historia Augusta recorded: Let us, rather, pass on to Carus, a mediocre man, so to speak, but one to be ranked with the good rather than the evil princes, yet a better ruler by far, had he not left Carinus to be his heir. . . . In regard to Cams' birthplace there is such divergence of statement among the various writers that by reason of the very great difference among them I am unable to tell what it really was. . . . He, then, after rising through the various civil and military grades, as the inscriptions on his statues show, was made prefect of the guard by Probus, and he won such affection among the soldiers that when Probus, that great emperor, was slain, he alone seemed wholly worthy of the imperial power. I am not unaware that many have suspected and, in fact, have put it into the records that Probus was slain by the treachery of Carus. This, however, neither the kindness of Probus toward Carus nor Carus' own character will permit us to believe, and there is the further reason that he avenged the death of Probus with the utmost severity and steadfastness. . . .

[Zonaras adds: Another war against Galienus was incited by Macrinus, who, having two sons, Macrianus and Quintus, attempted a usurpation. Because he was lame in one leg, he did not don the imperial mantle, but clad his sons in it.]

And so. . . , as soon as he received the imperial power, by the unanimous wish of all the soldiers he took up the war against the Persians for which Probus had been preparing. He gave to his sons the name of Caesar, planning to despatch Carinus, with some carefully selected men, to govern the provinces of Gaul, and to take along with himself Numerian, a most excellent and eloquent young man. . . . [H]e conquered Mesopotamia and advanced as far as Ctesiphon; and while the Persians were busied with internal strife he won the name of Conqueror of Persia. But when he advanced still further, desirous himself of glory and urged on most of all by his prefect, who in his wish to rule was seeking the destruction of both Carus and his sons as well, he met his death, according to some, by disease, according to others, through a stroke of lightning.

Zonaras wrote: He was a Gaul by ancestry, but brave and accomplished in matters of warfare. The account of his death has been variously composed by those who have done historical research. Some say that, having campaigned against the Huns, he was killed there. Others say that he was encamped by the River Tigris and that there, in the place where his army had thrown up a palisade, his tent was struck by lightning, and they record that, along with it, he too was destroyed.
Blindado
carnuntum_02a.JPG
2009-Austria - Carnuntum23 viewsEmperor Marcus Aurelius took advantage of Carnuntum's location in his wars against the Germanic tribes of Marcomanni and Quadi between 171 and 173 AD.
To the column at the arch planning a statue of Marcus Aurelius.
berserker
104193.jpg
302. BALBINUS129 viewsBALBINUS. 238 AD.

The relation between Balbinus and Pupienus had been clouded with suspicion from the start, with both fearing an assassination from the other. They were planning an enormous double campaign, Pupienus against the Parthians and Balbinus against the Carpians, but they quarrelled frequently. It was during one of these heavy discussions, on July 29, that the Praetorian guard decided to intervene. They stormed into the room containing the emperors and killed them both. On the same day, Gordian III, only 13 years old, was proclaimed emperor.

Together they ruled a little more than three months. Coins from their short reign show one of them on one side and two clasped hands on the other to show their joint power.

AR Denarius (21mm, 2.92 gm). Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Victory standing facing, head left, holding wreath and palm. RIC IV 8; BMCRE 37; RSC 27. Good VF, toned, Ex- CNG
1 commentsecoli
141207.jpg
302a Pupienus79 viewsPupienus, born about 178, was an example of ascension in the Roman hierarchical system due to military success. He started as a primus pilus and became a military tribune, praetor, consul (twice) and governor of several Roman provinces including the troublesome Germania Inferior. In 234 he was prefect of Rome and gained a reputation for severity.

The relation between Balbinus and Pupienus had been clouded with suspicion from the start, with both fearing an assassination from the other. They were planning an enormous double campaign, Pupienus against the Parthians and Balbinus against the Carpians, but they quarrelled frequently. It was during one of these heavy discussions, on July 29, that the Praetorian guard decided to intervene. They stormed into the room containing the emperors and killed them both. On the same day, the boy Caesar, generally known in English as Gordian III, was proclaimed emperor.

Pupienus. AD 238. Æ Sestertius (31mm, 25.78 g). Rome mint. Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right / Victory standing left, holding wreath and palm. RIC IV 23. Fair, brown patina.

Ex-CNG sale 141, lot 207, 215/100

Check
1 commentsecoli
CLAUD34LG.jpg
705a, Claudius, 25 January 41 - 13 October 54 A.D.62 viewsClaudius. 42-43 AD. AE As.
Claudius. 42-43 AD. AE As (29 mm, 10.87 g). Obverse: TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG P M TR P IMP P P, bare head right; Reverse: CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI / S - C, Constantiae in military dress standing left, holding spear; RIC I, 111; aVF. Ex Imperial Coins.



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

CLAUDIUS (41-54 A.D.)

Garrett G. Fagan
Pennsylvania State University

Ti. Claudius Nero Germanicus (b. 10 BC, d. 54 A.D.; emperor, 41-54 A.D.) was the third emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. His reign represents a turning point in the history of the Principate for a number of reasons, not the least for the manner of his accession and the implications it carried for the nature of the office. During his reign he promoted administrators who did not belong to the senatorial or equestrian classes, and was later vilified by authors who did. He followed Caesar in carrying Roman arms across the English Channel into Britain but, unlike his predecessor, he initiated the full-scale annexation of Britain as a province, which remains today the most closely studied corner of the Roman Empire. His relationships with his wives and children provide detailed insights into the perennial difficulties of the succession problem faced by all Roman Emperors. His final settlement in this regard was not lucky: he adopted his fourth wife's son, L. Domitius Ahenobarbus, who was to reign catastrophically as Nero and bring the dynasty to an end. Claudius's reign, therefore, was a mixture of successes and failures that leads into the last phase of the Julio-Claudian line.

Robert Graves' fictional characterization of Claudius as an essentially benign man with a keen intelligence has tended to dominate the wider public's view of this emperor. Close study of the sources, however, reveals a somewhat different kind of man. In addition to his scholarly and cautious nature, he had a cruel streak, as suggested by his addiction to gladiatorial games and his fondness for watching his defeated opponents executed. He conducted closed-door (in camera ) trials of leading citizens that frequently resulted in their ruin or deaths -- an unprecedented and tyrannical pattern of behavior. He had his wife Messalina executed, and he personally presided over a kangaroo court in the Praetorian Camp in which many of her hangers-on lost their lives. He abandoned his own son Britannicus to his fate and favored the advancement of Nero as his successor. While he cannot be blamed for the disastrous way Nero's rule turned out, he must take some responsibility for putting that most unsuitable youth on the throne. At the same time, his reign was marked by some notable successes: the invasion of Britain, stability and good government in the provinces, and successful management of client kingdoms. Claudius, then, is a more enigmatic figure than the other Julio-Claudian emperors: at once careful, intelligent, aware and respectful of tradition, but given to bouts of rage and cruelty, willing to sacrifice precedent to expediency, and utterly ruthless in his treatment of those who crossed him. Augustus's suspicion that there was more to the timid Claudius than met the eye was more than fully borne out by the events of his unexpected reign.

The possibility has to be entertained that Claudius was a far more active participant in his own elevation than traditional accounts let on. There is just reason to suspect that he may even have been involved in planning the murder of Gaius (Caligula). Merely minutes before the assassination of Gaius, Claudius had departed for lunch; this appears altogether too fortuitous. This possibility, however, must remain pure speculation, since the ancient evidence offers nothing explicit in the way of support. On the other hand, we can hardly expect them to, given the later pattern of events. The whole issue of Claudius's possible involvement in the death of Gaius and his own subsequent acclamation by the Praetorian Guard must, therefore, remain moot . . . yet intriguing

Copyright 1998, 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.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
leBon.jpg
Auxonne in France, 1424-1427 AD., Duchy of Burgundy, Philippe le Bon, Blanc aux écus, Poey d'Avant # 5735.97 viewsFrance, Duchy of Burgundy, Auxonne mint (?), Philip the Good (Philippe le Bon, 1419-1467), struck 1424-1427 AD.,
AR blanc aux écus (26-28 mm / 3,27 g),
Obv.: + DVX : ET : COMES : BVRGVDIE , Ecus accolés de Bourgogne nouveau et Bourgogne ancien sous PhILIPVS.
Rev.: + SIT : NOMEN : DNI : BENEDICTVM , Croix longue entre un lis et un lion, au-dessus de PhILIPVS.
B., 1230 ; Dumas, 15-7-1 ; Poey d'Avant # 5735.

"PotatorII": "This coin is atributed to Auxonne mint because of the presence of a "secret dot" under the first letter (S) on reverse."

Rare

Imitation du blanc aux écus d'Henri VI d'Angleterre, frappé en France à partir de novembre 1422.

Philip the Good (French: Philippe le Bon), also Philip III, Duke of Burgundy (July 31, 1396 – June 15, 1467) was Duke of Burgundy from 1419 until his death. He was a member of a cadet line of the Valois dynasty (the then Royal family of France). During his reign Burgundy reached the height of its prosperity and prestige and became a leading center of the arts. Philip is known in history for his administrative reforms, patronage of Flemish artists such as Jan van Eyck, and the capture of Joan of Arc. During his reign he alternated between English and French alliances in an attempt to improve his dynasty's position.
Born in Dijon, he was the son of John the Fearless and Margaret of Bavaria-Straubing. On the 28 January 1405, he was named Count of Charolais in appanage of his father and probably on the same day he was engaged to Michele of Valois (1395–1422), daughter of Charles VI of France and Isabeau of Bavaria. They were married in June of 1409.
Philip subsequently married Bonne of Artois (1393–1425), daughter of Philip of Artois, Count of Eu, and also the widow of his uncle, Philip II, Count of Nevers, in Moulins-les-Engelbert on November 30, 1424. The latter is sometimes confused with Philip's biological aunt, also named Bonne (sister of John the Fearless, lived 1379 - 1399), in part due to the Papal Dispensation required for the marriage which made no distinction between a marital aunt and a biological aunt.
His third marriage, in Bruges on January 7, 1430 with Isabella of Portugal (1397 - December 17, 1471), daughter of John I of Portugal and Philippa of Lancaster, produced three sons:
* Antoine (September 30, 1430, Brussels – February 5, 1432, Brussels), Count of Charolais
* Joseph (April 24, 1432 – aft. May 6, 1432), Count of Charolais
* Charles (1433–1477), Count of Charolais and Philip's successor as Duke, called "Charles the Bold" or "Charles the Rash"
Philip also had some eighteen illegitimate children, including Antoine, bastard of Burgundy, by twenty four documented mistresses [1]. Another, Philip of Burgundy (1464-1524), bishop of Utrecht, was a fine amateur artist, and the subject of a biography in 1529.
Philip became duke of Burgundy, count of Flanders, Artois and Franche Comté when his father was assassinated in 1419. Philip accused Charles, the Dauphin of France and Philip's brother-in-law of planning the murder of his father which had taken place during a meeting between the two at Montereau, and so he continued to prosecute the civil war between the Burgundians and Armagnacs. In 1420 Philip allied himself with Henry V of England under the Treaty of Troyes. In 1423 the alliance was strengthened by the marriage of his sister Anne to John, Duke of Bedford, regent for Henry VI of England.
In 1430 Philip's troops captured Joan of Arc at Compiègne and later handed her over to the English who orchestrated a heresy trial against her, conducted by pro-Burgundian clerics. Despite this action against Joan of Arc, Philip's alliance with England was broken in 1435 when Philip signed the Treaty of Arras (which completely revoked the Treaty of Troyes) and thus recognised Charles VII as king of France. Philip signed for a variety of reasons, one of which may have been a desire to be recognised as the Premier Duke in France. Philip then attacked Calais, but this alliance with Charles was broken in 1439, with Philip supporting the revolt of the French nobles the following year (an event known as the Praguerie) and sheltering the Dauphin Louis.
Philip generally was preoccupied with matters in his own territories and seldom was directly involved in the Hundred Years' War, although he did play a role during a number of periods such as the campaign against Compiegne during which his troops captured Joan of Arc. He incorporated Namur into Burgundian territory in 1429 (March 1, by purchase from John III, Marquis of Namur), Hainault and Holland, Frisia and Zealand in 1432 (with the defeat of Countess Jacqueline in the last episode of the Hook and Cod wars); inherited the duchy of Brabant and Limburg and the margrave of Antwerp in 1430 (on the death of his cousin Philip of Saint-Pol); and purchased Luxembourg in 1443 from Elisabeth of Bohemia, Duchess of Luxembourg. Philip also managed to ensure his illegitimate son, David, was elected Bishop of Utrecht in 1456. It is not surprising that in 1435, Philip began to style himself "Grand Duke of the West". In 1463 Philip returned some of his territory to Louis XI. That year he also created an Estates-General based on the French model. The first meeting of the Estates-General was to obtain a loan for a war against France and to ensure support for the succession of his son, Charles I, to his dominions. Philip died in Bruges in 1467.

my ancient coin database
1 commentsArminius
Bronze_quadrans,_81-161_AD;_obv_diademed_and_draped_bust_of_Venus,_rev_dove_standing_right,_S-C_flanking_across_field.jpg
Bronze quadrans, 81-161 AD, obv diademed and draped bust of Venus, rev dov stand right, S-C flanking across field20 viewsMy first auction win! I'm very much all about deity, and am definitely planning to collect for the Greek and Roman deities if I can. Some near and dear to my heart, from preliminary scanning, I think will be hard to find (Hephaestus/Vulcan, I'm looking at you beautiful), but I'm happily determined. As to this particular coin, I cannot be happier to be starting out with Venus as my first coin, and first forum coin to boot!EvaJupiterSkies
Lg006GreekLarge_quad_sm~1.jpg
Caracalla AE provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior (Nikyup, Bulgaria) (211 - 212 AD)16 viewsΑΥ Κ Μ ΑΥΡ – [ANTΩNINOC], laureate, draped bust right / Y ΦΛ OYΛΠIAN – NIKOΠOΛIT + ΠΡOC I in exergue, Nemesis-Aequitas standing left, holding scales in extended right hand and measuring rod (whip? sceptre?) in the crook of left arm, wheel at foot left.

Ӕ, 26 mm, 9.22 g, die axis 8h (turned coin)

I do not have access to any of the relevant provincial catalogs and cannot check any entries, but based on other similar coin descriptions on this site some numbers that may be close to this type are: AMNG I/1 1576-77, 1877-78; Varbanov (engl.) 3134, 3148, 3248; Hristova/Hoeft/Jekov (HrHJ) No. 8.18.35.4-5, 8.18.35.8

AY[TOKPATΩΡ] K[AICAP] = Imperator Caesar, Μ[ΑΡΚΟC] ΑΥ[ΡΗΛΙΟC] ANTΩNINOC = Marcus Aurelius Antoninus aka "Caracalla". NIKOΠOΛIT[ΩN] PROC I[CTPΩN] ("πρός"="toward", but also "near to", like Latin "ad"; Istros = the lower Danube). ΦΛ OYΛΠIAN = Flavius Ulpianus, who was Roman governor of Lower Moesia (Moesia Inferior) starting from 210 to about 213. Before 211 Septimius Severus was still in charge; Caracalla visited the city in 211-212, was displeased with it and closed the mint (it was reopened only after his death), so the likely minting years are 211-212. All governors of Lower Moesia had titles on coins of either ΗΓ[ΕΜΟΝΑΣ] (governor of equestrian rank) or ΥΠ[ΑΤΕΥΟΝΤΟΣ] of the province (ΤΗΣ ΕΠΑΡΧΕΙΑΣ) (consular legate of senatorial rank). Y before the name of Flavius Ulpianus indicates the latter.

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. It symbolizes honesty, equality and justice of the emperor towards his subjects. The scales here mean honest measure rather than justice, the long stick she carries is most probably a measuring rod, but may also be a whip (symbol of punishment) or a sceptre (symbol of imperial power). The wheel may be the Wheel of Fortune (Rota Fortunae), but may also just symbolize equality.

CARACALLA, *4 April 188 Lugdunum (Lyon, France) † 8 April 217 (aged 29) road between Edessa and Carrhae ‡ 26 Dec 211 – 8 Apr 217 (not counting joint rule with his father and brother)

His birth name was Lucius Septimius Bassianus, then he was renamed Marcus Aurelius Antoninus at the age of 7 as part of his father's attempt at union with the families of Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. He got the agnomen "Caracalla" after a Gallic hooded tunic that he habitually wore and made fashionable. He was also referred to as Tarautas, after a famously diminutive and violent gladiator of the time. The firstborn of the famous imperial couple Septimius Severus and Julia Domna, he was groomed to be emperor together with his brother Geta. They both were given titles of Caesars and even full Augusti before their father's death. But it was not going to happen, since the brothers hated each other. In 202 Caracalla was forced to marry the daughter of Gaius Fulvius Plautianus, Fulvia Plautilla, he immediately grew to hate them both. By 205 Caracalla had succeeded in having Plautianus executed for treason, probably fabricating the evidence of the plot himself. Then he banished his wife together with his own baby daughter first to Sicily and then to the largest of the Aeolian islands, Lipari. As soon as his father died, Caracalla ordered to strangle them both.

Septimius Severus died on 4 February 211 at Eboracum (present day York) while on campaign in Caledonia, north of Roman Britannia. Caracalla and Geta jointly ended the campaign by concluding a peace that returned the border to the line demarcated by Hadrian's Wall. During the journey back to Rome they continuously argued and finally decided to divide the empire, Caracalla was to rule in the west and Geta -- the east. They were persuaded not to do this, but their hostility was only increasing. On 26 December 211, at a reconciliation meeting arranged by their mother, Caracalla had Geta assassinated by members of the Praetorian Guard loyal to himself, Geta dying in his mother's arms. Caracalla then persecuted and executed most of Geta's supporters and ordered a damnatio memoriae pronounced by the Senate against his brother's memory. Geta's image was removed from all paintings, coins were melted down, statues were destroyed, his name was struck from papyrus records, and it became a capital offence to speak or write Geta's name. In the aftermath of the damnatio memoriae, an estimated 20,000 people were massacred. Those killed were Geta's inner circle of guards and advisers, friends, and other military staff under his employ.

In 213, about a year after Geta's death, Caracalla left Rome never to return. He went north to the German frontier to deal with restless Germanic tribes through wars and diplomacy. While there, Caracalla strengthened the frontier fortifications of Raetia and Germania Superior, collectively known as the Agri Decumates, so that it was able to withstand any further barbarian invasions for another twenty years. Then it became evident that he was preoccupied with Alexander the Great. He began openly mimicking Alexander in his personal style and started planning an invasion of "Persia", the Parthian Empire. He even arranged 16,000 of his men in Macedonian-style phalanxes, despite this foration being obsolete for centuries. Caracalla's mania for Alexander went so far that he persecuted philosophers of the Aristotelian school based on a legend that Aristotle had poisoned Alexander. This was a sign of Caracalla's increasingly erratic behaviour. When the inhabitants of Alexandria heard of Caracalla's claims that he had killed his brother Geta in self-defence, they produced a satire mocking this as well as Caracalla's other pretensions. So in 215 Caracalla travelled to Alexandria and responded to this insult by slaughtering the deputation of leading citizens who had unsuspectingly assembled before the city to greet his arrival, before setting his troops against Alexandria for several days of looting and plunder. Following the massacre at Alexandria, Caracalla moved east into Armenia. By 216 he had pushed through Armenia and south into Parthia and pursued a series of aggressive campaigns in the east against the Parthians, intended to bring more territory under direct Roman control. In the following winter, Caracalla retired to Edessa (Şanlıurfa, south-east Turkey) and began making preparations to renew the campaign by spring. On 8 April 217 Caracalla was travelling to visit a temple near Carrhae (Harran, southern Turkey), where in 53 BC the Romans had suffered a defeat at the hands of the Parthians. After stopping briefly to urinate, Caracalla was approached by a soldier, Justin Martialis, and stabbed to death. Martialis had been incensed by Caracalla's refusal to grant him the position of centurion, and the Praetorian Guard Prefect Macrinus, Caracalla's successor, saw the opportunity to use Martialis to end Caracalla's reign. In the immediate aftermath of Caracalla's death, his murderer, Martialis, was killed as well. Three days later, Macrinus declared himself emperor with the support of the Roman army.

Caracalla's reign was marked by domestic instability, the massacres he enacted against the people of Rome and elsewhere in the empire, and external invasions from the Germanic people. Surprisingly for such a brute, Caracalla was also notable for some statesmanship, perhaps due to some help of his mother, who stayed in Rome and performed many administrative duties in her son's absence. The most famous is the Antonine Constitution (Constitutio Antoniniana), aka the Edict of Caracalla, which granted Roman citizenship to nearly all freemen throughout the Roman Empire. The edict gave all the enfranchised men Caracalla's adopted praenomen and nomen: "Marcus Aurelius". Domestically, Caracalla was known for the construction of the Baths of Caracalla, which became the second-largest baths in Rome, and building a temple to Serapis, Graeco-Egyptian god of healing, whom he thought to be his divine patron, on the Quirinal Hill. The numismatists will always remember him because of the introduction of a new Roman coin denomination, currently designated "antoninianus" after him. The reduced silver purity of the new coins caused people to hoard the old denarii and thanks to this now we can enjoy lots of well-preserved early Roman silver coins.

Caracalla was one of the cruellest and most tyrannical Roman emperors. That was why in the 18th century Caracalla's memory was revived in the works of French artists trying to draw the parallels between him and King Louis XVI. But there were also other narratives surrounding his name: in the 12th century, Geoffrey of Monmouth started the legend of "Bassianus" as the king of Britain, who won the kingship by fighting his brother over it.
Yurii P
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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."

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my ancient coin database
1 commentsArminius
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IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG / P M S COL VIM / Ӕ30 (239-240 AD)18 viewsIMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, cuirassed bust right / P M S CO - L VIM, personification of Moesia standing facing, head left, arms outstretched over a lion (right) and a bull (left). AN • I • in exergue.

Ӕ, 29-30+mm, 16.75g, die axis 1h (slightly turned medal alignment), material: looks like red copper.

IMP CAES M ANT GORDIANVS AVG = Imperator Caesar Marcus Antonius Gordianus Augustus, P M S COL VIM = Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium = Colony of Viminacium, in the province of Upper Moesia, AN•I• = the first year. 238 AD was the infamous "year of the 6 emperors", so 239-240 was the first sole ruling year of Gordian III. The bull is the symbol of Legio VII Claudia, based in the capital of Moesia Superior, Viminacium itself, and the lion is the symbol of Legio IV Flavia Felix based in another city of Moesia Superior, Singidunum (modern Belgrade). Due to size this is most probably a sestertius, but large dupondius is another possibility, since it is clearly made of red copper and sestertii were typically made of expensive "gold-like" orichalcum, a kind of brass (but in this time of civil strife they could have used a cheaper replacement). Literature fails to clearly identify the denomination of this type.

A straightforward ID due to size and clear legends, this is AMNG 71; Martin 1.01.1 minted in Viminacium, Moesia Superior (Kostolac, Serbia).

Gordian III was Roman Emperor from 238 AD to 244 AD. At the age of 13, he became the youngest sole legal Roman emperor throughout the existence of the united Roman Empire. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known of his early life before his acclamation. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238 AD.

In 235, following the murder of Emperor Alexander Severus, Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed Emperor. In the following years, there was a growing opposition against Maximinus in the Roman senate and amongst the majority of the population of Rome. In 238 (to become infamous as "the year of six emperors") a rebellion broke out in the Africa Province, where Gordian's grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors. This revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax. The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace-loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus' oppression.

Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors. These senators were not popular and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordians' fate, so the Senate decided to take the teenage Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus like his grandfather, and raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus, mainly due to the defection of several legions, particularly the II Parthica, who assassinated Maximinus. However, their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. On July 29, Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian Guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor.

Due to Gordian's age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the Senate. In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was quickly brought under control. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus. As chief of the Praetorian Guard and father in law of the Emperor, Timesitheus quickly became the de facto ruler of the Roman Empire.

In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube, and the Sassanid Empire across the Euphrates increased its own attacks. When the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia, the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, and sent a large army to the East. The Sassanids were driven back over the Euphrates and defeated in the Battle of Resaena (243). The campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy's territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, and the Emperor's security, were at risk.

Gaius Julius Priscus and, later on, his own brother Marcus Julius Philippus, also known as Philip the Arab, stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefects and the campaign proceeded. Around February 244, the Persians fought back fiercely to halt the Roman advance to Ctesiphon. Persian sources claim that a battle occurred (Battle of Misiche) near modern Fallujah (Iraq) and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away from Misiche, at Zaitha (Qalat es Salihiyah) in northern Mesopotamia. Modern scholarship does not unanimously accept this course of the events. One view holds that Gordian died at Zaitha, murdered by his frustrated army, while the role of Philip is unknown. Other scholars have concluded that Gordian died in battle against the Sassanids.
Philip transferred the body of the deceased emperor to Rome and arranged for his deification. Gordian's youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of the enemy, earned him the lasting esteem of the Romans.
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Italy, Sybaris, Planning assumptions of Sybaris (Lucania)181 viewsPlanning assumptions of Sybaris by Archaeological Museum of Sibaritide (Sibari, Cs, Italy)Taras
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Italy, Thurium, Planning assumptions of Thurium (Lucania)254 viewsPlanning assumptions of Thurium, by Archaeological Museum of Sibaritide (Sibari, Cs, Italy).1 commentsTaras
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MAFJ9 Away to War26 viewsMarcus Aurelius

Sestertius
170

Laureate head, right, M ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIIII
Aurelius on horse right holding spear, soldier in front with spear and shield, three soldiers behind him with standards, COS III PROFECTIO AVG S C

RIC 977

Marcus twice between 168 and 174 had to command armies in Germany and Pannonia, which took him to a rough, often cold and dark frontier not fit for other members of the imperial family. A RAND study of US military personnel subjected to repeated and lengthy deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq concluded, "Researchers found that cumulative months of deployment matter. More cumulative months of deployment increased the risk of divorce among military couples, regardless of when the couple married or when the deployment occurred. The risk of divorce was higher for hostile deployments than for non-hostile deployments. . . ." People are people, and similar strains appear to have affected Marcus and Faustina, and may have contributed to Commodus' personal development into a monster in the absence of his father.

Marcus' generals held the Marcommani at bay during the Parthian war, but on Lucius' return, according to the Historia Augusta, "[B]oth the emperors [in 68] set forth, clad in military cloak. Both the Victuali and Marcomanni were throwing everything into disorder, and other peoples as well, who had taken flight under pressure from the more distant barbarians, were going to make war unless they were allowed in. The emperors' departure produced no small gain, for, when they had come as far as Aquileia, most of the kings withdrew, together with their peoples, and put to death those responsible for the disturbances. . . . Marcus. . . believed that the barbarians were feigning both their retreat and other measures purporting to offer military security--to avoid being crushed by the weight of such great preparations; and he held they must press on. Finally, having crossed the Alps, they proceeded a considerable distance and settled everything pertinent to the defense of Italy and Illyricum." Lucius died during the return to Rome in 169, and Marcus became the sole ruler of the empire.

The Marcommani nevertheless invaded Italy in 170 and besieged Aquileia, and Marcus returned to war, planning an offensive on the Danube. Eutropius recorded:

Having persevered, therefore, with the greatest labour and patience, for three whole years at Carnuntum, he brought the Marcomannic war to an end; a war which the Quadi, Vandals, Sarmatians, Suevi, and all the barbarians in that quarter, had joined with the Marcomanni in raising; he killed several thousand men, and, having delivered the Pannonians from slavery, triumphed a second time at Rome with his son Commodus Antoninus, whom he had previously made Caesar. As he had no money to give his soldiers, in consequence of the treasury having been exhausted for the support of the war, and as he was unwilling to lay any tax on the provinces or the senate, he sold off all his imperial furniture and decorations, by an auction held in the forum of the emperor Trajan, consisting of vessels of gold, cups of crystal and murrha, silk garments belonging to his wife and himself, embroidered with gold, and numbers of jewelled ornaments. This sale was continued through two successive months, and a great quantity of money was raised from it.
1 commentsBlindado
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Roman Empire, Maximinus I Thrax Sestertius247 viewsObv. MAXIMINVS PIVS AVG GERM, Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Rev. SALVS AVGVSTI S C, Salus seated left on throne, feeding, with her right hand, snake rising right from altar to left.
Mint: Rome, 235-238 AD.

20mm 20.18g

RIC 85, BMC 175, Cohen 92


Ex Nomos 1, 6 May 2009, 159.
Ex Bank Leu 18, 5 May 1977, 368. From the collection of Ph. S.

Salus was considered since the time of the Flavians as one of the most important ideals of the Roman Empire and embodied health and safety. Salus is here not only to express the personal health of the ruler, but also connected to the well-being of the people and a general sense of security.
Although Maximinus led successful campaigns against the Jazygen tribe and against the Dacians (title GERMANICVS), he was not particularly popular in the Senate, because he denied the Senate in Rome probably the usual voice and his rule largely based on the Rhine and Danube regions. Other reasons for the resistance in the Senate played the (historians controversial) origin of the Maximinus from Thrace and also from very simple conditions, which the nobiles did not think befitting.
In addition, his campaigns were so costly that he allegedly even had to take money from the poor and grain supply of Rome. Although he pushed forward not only military expenditure but also the development of the road network, the ruler's budgetary planning attempt to remedy the foreign policy problems of Rome through elaborate campaigns met with general misunderstanding, which was especially prevalent in the south and east of the empire, where only the increased tax pressured but the people did not notice the successes. Maximinus evidently did not understand how to efficiently promote his policy. For these reasons, it came after only three years in office to surveys against the Emperor, which ultimately led to his murder by his own troops.
7 commentskc
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Roman Empire, Otho, Denarius CERES AVG 112 viewsSH79667. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, Rome mint, weight 3.272g, maximum diameter 17.5mm, die axis 180o, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverse CERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection

This is the rarest Otho denarius type and one of the rarest 1st century Roman denarii. Only two museums, Paris and ANS, hold examples. A further specimen was found in archeological context in Denmark in 1990s. Besides these, four additional specimens are known. This coin has the best portrait and is clearly the most attractive of the seven known. Jyrki Muona obtained it in 2002 at the NYINC from Glenn Woods.

Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverse legend PONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is simply a reverse legend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAX Ceres type. However, as Butcher et al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverse legend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVG type was struck on second issue 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAX legend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.
4 commentsJoe Sermarini
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[1106a] Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D.75 viewsSilver antoninianus, RIC 84, RSC 109, VF, Rome, 4.101g, 24.0mm, 0o, 241 - 243 A.D. Obverse: IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, radiate draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: IOVI STATORI, Jupiter standing facing, head right, thunderbolt in left and scepter in right. Ex FORVM.

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

Gordian III (238-244 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Relatively few details are known about the five-and-a-half year reign of the teenage emperor Gordian III. Continuity with the Severan era seems to have marked both the policy and personnel of his government. Security along the frontiers remained the most pressing concern, and the young emperor would die while on campaign against the expanding Sassanian empire and its energetic leader, Shapur I.

The future emperor was born in Rome on 20 January 225. His mother was a daughter of the senator Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus (known later to historians as Gordian I). His father was undoubtedly a senator, but the name of his father is today unknown. The father was already dead before the start of the African uprising, involving the boy's grandfather, against the emperor Maximinus Thrax in early 238. At the time of the revolt, Maximinus was in Pannonia leading military campaigns to protect the Danube region. Maximinus' representative in Rome was a loyal Praetorian Prefect, Vitalianus. Gordian I's 13-year-old grandson faced no hardships as a result of the revolt, because Vitalianus was assassinated by agents sent by Gordian I before the African uprising was revealed in Rome.

Senators in Rome quickly acknowledged Gordian I as emperor, but the revolt in Africa was soon suppressed. After the deaths of the boy's grandfather (Gordian I) and uncle (Gordian II) were announced in Rome, probably near the end of April 238, a select group of 20 senators decided upon two of their own, Pupienus and Balbinus, as new emperors who would continue to lead the uprising against Maximinus. Not all senators were pleased with the selections, and they immediately stirred up their clients and dependents to prevent a public proclamation of the new emperors. Pupienus, moreover, had been an unpopular urban prefect, and many ordinary Romans were quite willing to take part in rioting against his accession. The grandson of Gordian I made a perfect focal point to represent the concerns of the critics of Pupienus and Balbinus. The 13-year-old was brought from his home, named Marcus Antonius Gordianus after his grandfather, and proclaimed Caesar and imperial heir by the senate.

After the death of Maximinus at the siege of Aquileia, perhaps in early June 238, conflicts between the two emperors Pupienus and Balbinus, and among the emperors, soldiers and ordinary Romans, came to the fore. Sometime during the summer, soldiers of the Praetorian Guard became unruly during a festival, stormed into the imperial complex on the Palatine, and captured, tortured and killed the emperors. The young Caesar was then proclaimed emperor by both the soldiers and the senate.

Little reliable information is available about the first few years of Gordian III's reign. Pupienus and Balbinus suffered damnatio memoriae, though it is difficult to ascertain how many other members of the senatorial elite (if any) were either dismissed from their posts or executed by the new regime. The families prominent during the Severan dynasty, and even some families prominent under the Antonines, continued to control offices and commands with a teenage emperor on the throne. In 240, an uprising again originated in the province of Africa, with the proconsul Sabinianus proclaimed emperor. Like the uprising of Gordian I in Africa two years earlier, this uprising was quickly suppressed, but unlike the events of 238, the revolt of Sabinianus failed to gain support in other parts of the empire.

In late 240 or early 241, Gordian III appointed Timesitheus as pretorian prefect. Timesitheus, who was of Eastern origin, had a long career in the imperial service as a procurator in provinces ranging from Arabia to Gaul and from Asia to Germany. Timesitheus' proven abilities quickly made him the central figure in Gordian III's government, and the praetorian prefect's authority was enhanced by the marriage of his daughter, Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, to the young emperor in the summer of 241.

Maintaining security along the frontiers remained the emperor's most serious challenge. Difficulties along the Danube continued, but the greater danger was in the East. The aggressive expansion of the renewed Persian empire under the Sassanian emperor Ardashir I continued under his son and successor, Shapur I. The focus of that expansion was in upper Mesopotamia (in what today is southeastern Turkey, northern Syria and northern Iraq), much of which had been under direct Roman control for more than a generation. Ardashir may already have captured Nisibis and Carrhae during the final months of Maximinus' reign. In 240, the ailing Ardashir seems to have made his son Shapur co-regent. During this year Hatra, the location of Rome's easternmost military garrison, (today in northern Iraq roughly 55 miles south of Mosul), was captured by the Sassanians.

Planning for a massive Roman military counterattack was soon underway. Soldiers travelled from the West during the following year, when Carrhae and Nisibis were retaken, and the Romans won a decisive victory at Resaina. Gordian III joined his army in upper Mesopotamia for campaigning in 243, but during the year the emperor's father-in-law, Timesitheus, died of an illness. The surviving Praetorian Prefect, C. Julius Priscus, convinced the emperor to appoint his brother M. Julius Philippus -- who would succeed Gordian III as the emperor Philip the Arab -- as Timesitheus' successor. The campaign against the Sassanians continued as the Roman army proceeded to march down the Euphrates during the fall and early winter.

Early in 244, the Roman and Sassanian armies met near the city of Misiche (modern Fallujah in Iraq, 40 miles west of Baghdad). Shapur's forces were triumphant, and the city was renamed Peroz-Shapur, "Victorious [is] Shapur." Shapur commemorated his victory with a sculpture and trilingual inscription (at Naqsh-i-Rustam in modern-day Iran) that claimed that Gordian III was killed in the battle.

Roman sources do not mention this battle, indicating instead that Gordian III died near Circesium, along the Euphrates some 250 miles upstream from Peroz-Shapur, and that a cenotaph was built at a location named Zaitha. Philip is universally blamed in these sources for causing Gordian III's death, either directly or by fomenting discontent with the emperor by cutting off the troops' supplies. Philip, who was proclaimed Gordian III's successor by the army, seems to have reported that the 19-year-old emperor died of an illness.

However Gordian III died, it seems unlikely to have been as a direct result of the battle at Misiche/Peroz-Shapur. The emperor's Persian campaigns were promoted within the Roman Empire as a success. Other than the loss of Hatra, the Sassanians gained control over no additional territory as a result of the war, and Shapur did not disturb Roman interests in upper Mesopotamia for nearly eight years. Gordian III was deified after his death, and the positive portrayal his reign received was reinforced by the negative portrayals of his successor, Philip.

Gordian III was a child emperor, but his reign was not perceived as having been burdened by the troubles faced by other young emperors (such as Nero, Commodus and Elagabalus). Competent administrators held important posts, and cultural traditions appear to have been upheld. Gordian III's unlikely accession and seemingly stable reign reveal that child emperors, like modern-day constitutional monarchs, had their advantage: a distance from political decision-making and factionalism that enabled the emperor to be a symbol of unity for the various constituency groups (aristocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, urban residents) in Roman society. The paucity of information about Gordian III's reign makes it difficult to know whether the young emperor truly lived up to such an ideal, but the positive historical tradition about him gives one the suspicion that perhaps he did.

Copyright (C) 2001, Michael L. Meckler
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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[1106b] Gordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D. (Nicaea, Bithynia, N.W. Asia Minor)52 viewsGordian III, 29 July 238 - 25 February 244 A.D., Nicaea, Bithynia, N.W. Asia Minor. Bronze AE 20, S 3671, SNG Cop 526, VF, Nicaea, Bithynia, 2.950g, 18.8mm, 180o, 238 - 244 A.D. Obverse M ANT GOPDIANOC AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse: NIKAI / EWN, two legionary eagles between two standards. Ex FORVM.

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

Gordian III (238-244 A.D.)

Michael L. Meckler
Ohio State University

Relatively few details are known about the five-and-a-half year reign of the teenage emperor Gordian III. Continuity with the Severan era seems to have marked both the policy and personnel of his government. Security along the frontiers remained the most pressing concern, and the young emperor would die while on campaign against the expanding Sassanian empire and its energetic leader, Shapur I.

The future emperor was born in Rome on 20 January 225. His mother was a daughter of the senator Marcus Antonius Gordianus Sempronianus Romanus (known later to historians as Gordian I). His father was undoubtedly a senator, but the name of his father is today unknown. The father was already dead before the start of the African uprising, involving the boy's grandfather, against the emperor Maximinus Thrax in early 238. At the time of the revolt, Maximinus was in Pannonia leading military campaigns to protect the Danube region. Maximinus' representative in Rome was a loyal Praetorian Prefect, Vitalianus. Gordian I's 13-year-old grandson faced no hardships as a result of the revolt, because Vitalianus was assassinated by agents sent by Gordian I before the African uprising was revealed in Rome.

Senators in Rome quickly acknowledged Gordian I as emperor, but the revolt in Africa was soon suppressed. After the deaths of the boy's grandfather (Gordian I) and uncle (Gordian II) were announced in Rome, probably near the end of April 238, a select group of 20 senators decided upon two of their own, Pupienus and Balbinus, as new emperors who would continue to lead the uprising against Maximinus. Not all senators were pleased with the selections, and they immediately stirred up their clients and dependents to prevent a public proclamation of the new emperors. Pupienus, moreover, had been an unpopular urban prefect, and many ordinary Romans were quite willing to take part in rioting against his accession. The grandson of Gordian I made a perfect focal point to represent the concerns of the critics of Pupienus and Balbinus. The 13-year-old was brought from his home, named Marcus Antonius Gordianus after his grandfather, and proclaimed Caesar and imperial heir by the senate.

After the death of Maximinus at the siege of Aquileia, perhaps in early June 238, conflicts between the two emperors Pupienus and Balbinus, and among the emperors, soldiers and ordinary Romans, came to the fore. Sometime during the summer, soldiers of the Praetorian Guard became unruly during a festival, stormed into the imperial complex on the Palatine, and captured, tortured and killed the emperors. The young Caesar was then proclaimed emperor by both the soldiers and the senate.

Little reliable information is available about the first few years of Gordian III's reign. Pupienus and Balbinus suffered damnatio memoriae, though it is difficult to ascertain how many other members of the senatorial elite (if any) were either dismissed from their posts or executed by the new regime. The families prominent during the Severan dynasty, and even some families prominent under the Antonines, continued to control offices and commands with a teenage emperor on the throne. In 240, an uprising again originated in the province of Africa, with the proconsul Sabinianus proclaimed emperor. Like the uprising of Gordian I in Africa two years earlier, this uprising was quickly suppressed, but unlike the events of 238, the revolt of Sabinianus failed to gain support in other parts of the empire.

In late 240 or early 241, Gordian III appointed Timesitheus as pretorian prefect. Timesitheus, who was of Eastern origin, had a long career in the imperial service as a procurator in provinces ranging from Arabia to Gaul and from Asia to Germany. Timesitheus' proven abilities quickly made him the central figure in Gordian III's government, and the praetorian prefect's authority was enhanced by the marriage of his daughter, Furia Sabinia Tranquillina, to the young emperor in the summer of 241.

Maintaining security along the frontiers remained the emperor's most serious challenge. Difficulties along the Danube continued, but the greater danger was in the East. The aggressive expansion of the renewed Persian empire under the Sassanian emperor Ardashir I continued under his son and successor, Shapur I. The focus of that expansion was in upper Mesopotamia (in what today is southeastern Turkey, northern Syria and northern Iraq), much of which had been under direct Roman control for more than a generation. Ardashir may already have captured Nisibis and Carrhae during the final months of Maximinus' reign. In 240, the ailing Ardashir seems to have made his son Shapur co-regent. During this year Hatra, the location of Rome's easternmost military garrison, (today in northern Iraq roughly 55 miles south of Mosul), was captured by the Sassanians.

Planning for a massive Roman military counterattack was soon underway. Soldiers travelled from the West during the following year, when Carrhae and Nisibis were retaken, and the Romans won a decisive victory at Resaina. Gordian III joined his army in upper Mesopotamia for campaigning in 243, but during the year the emperor's father-in-law, Timesitheus, died of an illness. The surviving Praetorian Prefect, C. Julius Priscus, convinced the emperor to appoint his brother M. Julius Philippus -- who would succeed Gordian III as the emperor Philip the Arab -- as Timesitheus' successor. The campaign against the Sassanians continued as the Roman army proceeded to march down the Euphrates during the fall and early winter.

Early in 244, the Roman and Sassanian armies met near the city of Misiche (modern Fallujah in Iraq, 40 miles west of Baghdad). Shapur's forces were triumphant, and the city was renamed Peroz-Shapur, "Victorious [is] Shapur." Shapur commemorated his victory with a sculpture and trilingual inscription (at Naqsh-i-Rustam in modern-day Iran) that claimed that Gordian III was killed in the battle.

Roman sources do not mention this battle, indicating instead that Gordian III died near Circesium, along the Euphrates some 250 miles upstream from Peroz-Shapur, and that a cenotaph was built at a location named Zaitha. Philip is universally blamed in these sources for causing Gordian III's death, either directly or by fomenting discontent with the emperor by cutting off the troops' supplies. Philip, who was proclaimed Gordian III's successor by the army, seems to have reported that the 19-year-old emperor died of an illness.

However Gordian III died, it seems unlikely to have been as a direct result of the battle at Misiche/Peroz-Shapur. The emperor's Persian campaigns were promoted within the Roman Empire as a success. Other than the loss of Hatra, the Sassanians gained control over no additional territory as a result of the war, and Shapur did not disturb Roman interests in upper Mesopotamia for nearly eight years. Gordian III was deified after his death, and the positive portrayal his reign received was reinforced by the negative portrayals of his successor, Philip.

Gordian III was a child emperor, but his reign was not perceived as having been burdened by the troubles faced by other young emperors (such as Nero, Commodus and Elagabalus). Competent administrators held important posts, and cultural traditions appear to have been upheld. Gordian III's unlikely accession and seemingly stable reign reveal that child emperors, like modern-day constitutional monarchs, had their advantage: a distance from political decision-making and factionalism that enabled the emperor to be a symbol of unity for the various constituency groups (aristocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, urban residents) in Roman society. The paucity of information about Gordian III's reign makes it difficult to know whether the young emperor truly lived up to such an ideal, but the positive historical tradition about him gives one the suspicion that perhaps he did.

Copyright (C) 2001, Michael L. Meckler
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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[1119a] Probus, Antoninianus, 276-282 A.D.84 viewsProbus (AD 276-282) AE Antoninianus; Obverse: Radiate bust, left, wearing imperial mantel and holding scepter surmounted by eagle IMP. PROBVS P. F. AVG. Reverse: Cult image of Roma seated within six column temple ROMAE AETER. R thunderbolt A in exergue; Rome mint 21mm x 22mm, 3.59g; VF; RIC, Vol. 5. Part 2, #183.


De Imperatoribus Romanis,
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Probus (276-282 A.D.) and Rival Claimants (Proculus, Bonosus, and Saturninus)of the 280s

Robin Mc Mahon
New York University

Probus's Background
M. Aurelius Probus was most likely born in Sirmium in 232 A.D. It is difficult to reconstruct Probus' career before he became emperor because of the unreliable nature of the account in the Historia Augusta, but it is certainly possible that he was a tribune under Valerian. Perhaps all that can be said with any reliability is that he served in the military and was on Aurelian's staff during his Eastern campaigns. There is a certain amount of confusion in the sources about him because of the fact that he has often been confused with a certain Tenagino Probus, who served as prefect in Egypt under Claudius II Gothicus.

Accession to Power
After the murder of Aurelian, the Senate chose as his successor the septuagenarian senator, Tacitus, who took up the burdens of state and headed with the army to the East. The Eruli had overrun Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and finally Cilicia, where Tacitus, with help from his half-brother Florianus, defeated them. Tacitus, however, either died of an illness or was killed by his own troops; he was succeeded by Florianus. In the meantime, Probus had been declared Emperor by his own troops in mid-276, and prepared to meet Florianus, who was marching from the Bosporus, having broken off his victorious engagement against the Eruli. Florianus was acknowledged in Rome and was supported by Gaul, Spain, Britain, and Italy; Probus was supported by Syria, Phoenicia, Palestine and Egypt. The two fought a desultory campaign near Tarsus. With a much smaller force, Probus decided his best strategy would be to avoid a pitched battle and let the heat overcome the troops of Florianus. The latter, having reigned barely two months, was murdered by his own troops. Probus became sole Emperor, possibly by August 276.
Probus in the West: 276-279
His first order of business was to punish the murderers of Aurelian, who may have also had a hand in the murder of Tacitus. On the basis of numismatic evidence, Probus appears to have traveled from the east across the Propontis, and then through the provinces of Thrace, Moesia and Pannonia. It is at this time that he must have defeated the Goths because he already had the title Gothicus by 277 A.D. Shortly after he arrived at the Rhine River he made a trip to Rome to have his powers ratified by the Senate.

Following the death of Postumus in 258, the situation in Gaul had rapidly deteriorated and numerous bands of invaders had swept across the Rhine. In the south, the Longiones, together with the Alamanni, had advanced through the Neckar valley into Gaul. The Franks had crossed the Rhine further north. In order to meet this simultaneous threat, Probus divided his forces having his generals campaign against the Franks, while he himself fought against the Longiones and Alamanni. Both Probus and his generals were victorious; in fact, Probus even captured Semnon, the leader of the Longiones, with his son. Both groups of invaders agreed to terms and booty and prisoners were returned; in the end, Probus allowed Semnon and his son their freedom.

Probus is next reported to have fought victoriously against the Burgundians and to have secured his victory with some ingenuity. Because his forces were smaller than those of the invaders, he wanted to engage the enemy on terms as favorable as possible; the Romans were on one side of the river and the barbarians were on the other. Probus was able to induce them to cross the river by having his soldiers hurl insults at them, and being enraged, they began crossing the river. Before the barbarians were able to organize themselves, the Roman army soundly routed them. Smarting from their defeat, the enemy did not live up to their end of the treaty, with the result that, in a second battle, they were again worsted by Probus. The barbarians who were taken prisoner were enrolled in the Roman Army and sent to Britain.

Not content with merely defeating the barbarians along the Rhine, Probus took important steps to secure the boundary for the future. He planned and constructed a series of forts and depots on the German side of the Rhine at various crossing points, which he garrisoned with troops. Further, Probus apparently took measures to restore economic stability to Gaul by encouraging the planting of vineyards. Probus' titles Gothicus Maximus and Germanicus Maximus suggest claims to the success of his operations in the area.

Events in the East 279-280
The sources do not give many details of Probus's activities in Raetia and Illyricum, but Zosimus does say he repulsed an invasion of Vandals from Illyricum in a battle along a river generally identified as the Lech. In 279, theatre of operations was Lycia. Zosimus records the curious story of the adventures and death of a robber chieftain name Lydius who may be the same individual called Palfuerius in the Historia Augusta. In order to prevent further troubles, Probus constructed fortresses, and settled large groups of veterans in this area, giving them land in exchange for the promise that their sons would also serve in the legions when they were old enough.

Probus's Military and Economic Activities In Egypt
Meanwhile, Probus had sent his generals to Egypt, where the Blemmyes were stirring up trouble in 280; they had broken through the border, advanced up the Nile, and, in league with the city of Ptolemais, captured the city of Koptus. They were eventually expelled and order was restored by Probus' generals. Once Probus had restored order, he set about the task of a large-scale reconstruction of the dikes, canals, and bridges along the Nile, something which not been done since it had been undertaken by Augustus in the years 27-25 B.C. More specifically, the Vita Probi notes, "On the Nile, moreover, he did so much that his sole efforts added greatly to the tithes of grain. He constructed bridges and temples porticos and basilicas, all by the labour of the soldiers, he opened up many river-mouths, and drained many marshes, and put in their place grain-fields and farms"(9.3-4). The importance of this type of work cannot be underestimated since a large percentage of the food supply for Rome came from Egypt and the African provinces.

The Revolts of Proculus, Bonosus, and Saturninus
According to the Historia Augusta, although the Persian King, Vahram II, had made peaceful overtures, Probus had rejected these and was planning to push the war forward when he was faced with a series of revolts both in the West and East. It is difficult to place them in their exact time-frame since the sources do not agree. Nevertheless, the situation was serious enough for Probus to cancel his plans for war with Persia and hurry back to the West. On his return Probus settled large numbers of barbarians in the Empire. Perhaps this was done to repopulate areas which had been left abandoned by the effects of invasions and plague. This policy, which Probus did not begin, and which was continued by his successors was, however, destined to bring trouble to Rome in the future.

The writer of the Vita Probi in the Historia Augusta indicates that in 280 A.D. Proculus revolted in the vicinity of the city of Lugdunum, which had been severely dealt with by Aurelian and, for reasons not given, spurred on by this fear, had adopted a hostile attitude towards Probus. Proculus apparently had some connections to the Franks and he had hoped to rally them to his cause. They appear, however, to have handed him over to Probus when he arrived on the scene. Probably at the same time, Bonosus revolted. His rebellion seems to have been serious as it appears to have required considerable force to be suppressed. Bonosus, an officer in charge of the Rhine fleet, had somehow let the Germans slip over the border and burn the fleet. Fearful of retribution, he apparently took shelter in proclaiming himself emperor. He was, in spite of his lapse with the fleet, an excellent soldier. The fighting was only stopped when Bonosus, despairing of his position, hanged himself. Probus spared the lives of his sons as well as that of his wife.

Julius Saturninus, one of Probus 's commanders in Syria, probably seized power in the year 281. A close friend and associate of Probus, he may have been compelled to adopt the purple by his unruly troops. Although he initially rejected a request of the people of Alexandria to put on the purple, he later changed his mind and proclaimed himself Augustus. In any case, Probus planned to put down the rebellion. However, Saturninus was killed by his own troops before Probus had a chance to act.

The sources do not provide much in the way of material to analyze the extent of these revolts and how widespread the feeling was against Probus in the West. There are indications that the revolts were more than local affairs because inscriptions from as far away as Spain have been found where Probus's name has been erased.

In 281 Probus was in Rome to celebrate his victories. Although the Historia Augusta goes into great detail to describe the events of Probus’s triumph and celebrations of his victories in respect to the number of animals and prisoners involved, there may be some truth to its description because Zosimus states there was a uprising which at this time required a force of soldiers to suppress. On a more substantial note, Probus completed the wall around Rome which had been begun by Aurelian.

Probus' Assassination
Probus was too anxious to push ahead with his plans for an invasion of Persia, which had been postponed due to the revolts and unrest in the West, and, to this end, he left Rome in 282 and proceeded first to his native town of Sirmium when news came that M. Aurelius Carus, Perfect of the Guard, had been proclaimed emperor. When troops sent by Probus to quell the rebellion went over to Carus, Probus' remaining troops killed the emperor. His death occurred sometime between September or October 282.
Copyright (C) 1999, Robin Mc Mahon. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of the Roman Emperors and their Families; http://www.roman-emperors.org/probus.htm. Used by permission.

Probus started as a simple soldier but advanced to general and was declared emperor after the death of Tacitus. Florian's murder left him as undisputed ruler. His leadership brought peace and prosperity but he was murdered by mutinous soldiers, enraged at being employed on public building projects. Joseph Sermarini, FORVM.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
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