Classical Numismatics Discussion Members' Gallery
  Welcome Guest. Please login or register.

Members' Gallery Home | Member Collections | Last Added | Last Comments | Most Viewed | Top Rated | My Favorities | Search Galleries
Search results - "plunder"
0ac Conquest of Macedonia13 viewsPaullus Aemilius Lepidus, moneyer
109-100 BC


Veiled head of Concord, right, PAVLLVS LEPIDVS CONCORDIA
TER above trophy, L. Aemelius Lepidus on right, Perseus and his two sons as prisoners on left, PAVLLVS in ex.

Seaby, Aemelia 10

L. Aemelius Paullus defeated the Macedonians in 168 BC and brought Perseus and his sons to Rome to adorn his triumph.

Three days after the battle Perseus arrived at Amphipolis, and from that city he sent heralds with a caduceus to Paulus. In the meanwhile Hippias, Midon, and Pantauchus, the principal men among the king's friends who had fled from the field of battle to Beroea, went and made their surrender to the Roman consul. In the case of others also, their fears prompted them, one after another, to do the same. The consul sent his son Q. Fabius, together with L. Lentulus and Q. Metellus, with despatches to Rome announcing his victory. He gave the spoils taken from the enemy's army lying on the field of battle to the foot soldiers and the plunder from the surrounding country to the cavalry on condition that they were not absent from the camp more than two nights. The camp at Pydna was shifted to a site nearer the sea. First of all Beroea, then Thessalonica and Pella, and almost the whole of Macedonia, city by city, surrendered within two days.

Livy, History of Rome, 44.45
1aw Vespasian44 views69-79

Laureate head, right, IMP CAES VESP AVG CEN
Salus seated left with patera, SALVS AVG

RIC 513 (C2)

Suetonius wrote: The Flavians seized power, and the Empire, long troubled and adrift, afflicted by the usurpations and deaths of three emperors, at last achieved stability. True they were an obscure family, with no great names to boast of, yet one our country has no need to be ashamed of. . . . Vespasian was born in the Sabine country, in the little village of Falacrinae just beyond Reate (Rieti), on the 17th of November 9 AD in the consulship of Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus, five years before the death of Augustus. He was raised by his paternal grandmother Tertulla on her estate at Cosa. . . .

Under Claudius, he was sent to Germany (in 41 AD) to command a legion, thanks to the influence of Narcissus. From there he was posted to Britain (in 43 AD), where partly under the leadership of Aulus Plautius and partly that of Claudius himself, he fought thirty times, subjugating two powerful tribes, more than twenty strongholds, and the offshore island of Vectis (the Isle of Wight). This earned him triumphal regalia, and a little later two priesthoods and the consulship (in 51 AD) which he held for the last two months of the year. . . . He won, by lot, the governorship of Africa (in 63 AD), ruling it soundly and with considerable dignity. . . .

An ancient and well-established belief became widespread in the East that the ruler of the world at this time would arise from Judaea. This prophecy as events proved referred to the future Emperor of Rome, but was taken by the Jews to apply to them. They rebelled, killed their governor, and routed the consular ruler of Syria also, when he arrived to restore order, capturing an Eagle. To crush the rebels needed a considerable force under an enterprising leader, who would nevertheless not abuse power. Vespasian was chosen, as a man of proven vigour, from whom little need be feared, since his name and origins were quite obscure. Two legions with eight divisions of cavalry and ten cohorts of auxiliaries were added to the army in Judaea, and Vespasian took his elder son, Titus, along as one of his lieutenants. . . .

Yet Vespasian made no move, though his follower were ready and eager, until he was roused to action by the fortuitous support of a group of soldiers unknown to him, and based elsewhere. Two thousand men, of the three legions in Moesia reinforcing Otho’s forces, despite hearing on the march that he had been defeated and had committed suicide, had continued on to Aquileia, and there taken advantage of the temporary chaos to plunder at will. Fearing that if they returned they would be held to account and punished, they decided to choose and appoint an emperor of their own, on the basis that they were every bit as worthy of doing so as the Spanish legions who had appointed Galba, or the Praetorian Guard which had elected Otho, or the German army which had chosen Vitellius. They went through the list of serving consular governors, rejecting them for one reason or another, until in the end they unanimously adopted Vespasian, who was recommended strongly by some members of the Third Legion, which had been transferred to Moesia from Syria immediately prior to Nero’s death. . . .

Vespasian, an unheralded and newly-forged emperor, as yet lacked even a modicum of prestige and divine majesty, but this too he acquired. . . . Returning to Rome (in 70 AD) attended by such auspices, having won great renown, and after a triumph awarded for the Jewish War, he added eight consulships (AD 70-72, 74-77, 79) to his former one, and assumed the censorship. He first considered it essential to strengthen the State, which was unstable and well nigh fatally weakened, and then to enhance its role further during his reign. . . .
2 commentsBlindado
1ce Severus Alexander27 views222-235


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.
1cq Trajan Decius24 views249-251


Laureate, cuirassed bust, right, MP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG
Dacia standing left holding draco standard, or staff surmounted by a donkey's head, DACIA SC

RIC 101b

The Byzantine historian Zosimus recorded in his New History: [Philip], thinking that he had by these means established himself in the possession of the empire, he made an expedition against the Carpi, who had plundered all the country about the Ister. . . . As there were at that time many disturbances in the empire, the eastern provinces, which were uneasy, partly, owing to the exactions of exorbitant tributes, and partly to their dislike of Priscus, their governor, who was a man of an intolerably evil disposition, wished for innovation, and set up Papianus for emperor, while the inhabitants of Moesia and Pannonia were more inclined to Marinus.

Philip, being disturbed by these events, desired the senate cither to assist him against such imminent dangers, or, if they were displeased with his government, to suffer him to lay it down and dismiss him quietly. No person making a reply to this, Decius, a person of illustrious birth and rank, and moreover gifted, with every virtue, observed, that he was unwise in being so much concerned at those events, for they would vanish of themselves, and could not possibly long subsist. And though the event corresponded with the conjecture of Decius, which long experience in the world had enabled him to make, Papianus and Marinus being taken off, yet Philip was still in fear, knowing how obnoxious the officers in that country were to the army. He therefore desired Decius to assume the command of the legions in Moesia and Pannonia. As he refused this under the plea that it was inconvenient both for Philip and himself, Philip made use of the rhetoric of necessity, as the Thessalians term it, and compelled him to go to Pannonia to punish the accomplices of Marinus. The army in that country, finding that Decius punished all that had offended, thought it most politic to avoid the present danger and to set up a sovereign who would better consult the good of the state, and who, being more expert both in civil and military affairs, might without difficulty conquer Philip.

For this purpose they clothed Decius in purple, and notwithstanding all his apprehensions of future mischances, compelled him to assume the supreme authority. Philip therefore, on hearing that Decius was thus made emperor, collected all his forces to overpower him. The supporters of Decius, though they knew that the enemy had greatly the advantage in numbers, still retained their confidence, trusting to the general skill and prudence of Decius in affairs. And when the two armies engaged, although the one was superior in number, yet the other so excelled it in discipline and conduct, that a great number of Philip's partisans were slain and he himself amongst them, together with his son, on whom he had conferred the title of Caesar. Decius thus acquired the empire.

The Scythians, taking advantage of the disorder which every where prevailed through the negligence of Philip, crossed the Tanais, and pillaged the countries in the vicinity of Thrace. But Decius, marching against them, was not only victorious in every battle, but recovered the spoils they had taken, and endeavoured to cut off their retreat to their own country, intending to destroy them all, to prevent their ever again, making a similar incursion. For this purpose he posted Gallus on the bank of the Tanais with a competent force, and led in person the remainder of his army against the enemy. This expedition exceeded to his utmost wish; but Gallus, who was disposed to innovation, sent agents to the Barbarians, requesting their concurrence in a conspiracy against Decius. To this they gave a willing assent, and Gallus retained his post on the bank of the Tanais, but the Barbarians divided themselves into three battalions, the first of which posted itself behind a marsh. Decius having destroyed a considerable number of the first battalion, the second advanced, which he likewise defeated, and discovered part of the third, which lay near the marsh. Gallus sent intelligence to him, that he might march against them across the fen. Proceeding therefore incautiously in an unknown place, he and his army became entangled in the mire, and under that disadvantage were so assailed by the missiles of the Barbarians, that not one of them escaped with life. Thus ended the life of the excellent emperor Decius.

Eutropius wrote: DECIUS, a native of Lower Pannonia, born at Budalia, assumed the government. . . . When he and his son had reigned two years, they were both killed in the country of the Barbarians, and enrolled among the gods.
1cu Trebonianus Gallus24 views251-253

AE Viminacium

Laureate, draped bust, right, IMP C GALLVS P FELIX AVG
Moesia standing facing, head left, hands outstretched over a bull and a lion at her sides, PMS COL VIM

Moushmov 56

For Gallus' perfidy against Decius, see the Decius entry. Zosimus reports regarding Gallus' reign: Gallus, who declared his son Volusianus his associate in the empire, published an open declaration, that Decius and his army had perished by his contrivance. The Barbarians now became more prosperous than before. For Callus not only permitted them to return home with the plunder, but promised to pay them annually a sum of money, and allowed them to carry off all the noblest captives; most of whom had been taken at Philippopolis in Thrace.

Gallus, having made these regulations, came to Rome, priding himself on the peace he had made with the Barbarians. And though he at first spoke with approbation of Decius's mode of government, and adopted one of his sons, yet, after some time was elapsed, fearing that some of them who were fond of new projects might recur to a recapitulation of the princely virtues of Decius, and therefore might at some opportunity give the empire to his son, he concerted the young man's destruction, without regard either to his own adoption of him, or to common honour and justice.

Gallus was so supine in the administration of the empire, that the Scythians in the first place terrified all the neighbouring nations, and then laid waste all the countries as far by degrees as the sea coast; not leaving one nation subject to the Romans unpillaged, and taking almost all the unfortified towns, and many that were fortified. Besides the war on every side, which was insupportably burdensome to them, the cities and villages were infested with a pestilence, which swept away the remainder of mankind in those regions; nor was so great a mortality ever known in any former period.

At this crisis, observing that the emperors were unable to defend the state, but neglected all without the walls of Rome, the Goths, the Borani, the Urugundi, and the Carpi once more plundered the cities of Europe of all that had been left in them; while in another quarter, the Persians invaded Asia, in which they acquired possession of Mesopotamia, and proceeded even as far as Antioch in Syria, took that city, which is the metropolis of all the east, destroyed many of the inhabitants, and carried the remainder into captivity, returning home with immense plunder, after they had destroyed all the buildings in the city, both public and private, without meeting with the least resistance. And indeed the Persians had a fair opportunity to have made themselves masters of all Asia, had they not been so overjoyed at their excessive spoils, as to be contented with keeping and carrying home what they had acquired.

Meantime the Scythians of Europe were in perfect security and went over into Asia, spoiling all the country as far as Cappodocia, Pesinus, and Ephesus, until Aemilianus, commander of the Pannonian legions, endeavouring as much as possible to encourage his troops, whom the prosperity of the Barbarians had so disheartened that they durst not face them, and reminding them of the renown of Roman courage, surprised the Barbarians that were in that neighbourhood. Having destroyed great numbers of them, and led his forces into their country, removing every obstruction to his progress, and at length freeing the subjects of the Roman empire from their ferocity, he was appointed emperor by his army. On this he collected all the forces of that country, who were become more bold since his successes against the Barbarians, and directed his march towards Italy, with the design of fighting Gallus, who was as yet. unprepared to contend with him. For Gallus had never heard of what had occurred in the east, and therefore made only what accidental preparations were in his reach, while Valerianus went to bring the Celtic and German legions. But Aemilianus advanced with great speed into Italy, and the armies were very near to each other, when the soldiers of Gallus, reflecting that his force was much inferior to the enemy both in number and strength, and likewise that he was a negligent indolent man, put him and his son to death, and going over to the party of Aemilianus, appeared to establish his authority.
1de Postumus31 views259-268


Radiate, draped & cuirassed bust, right, IMP C POTVMVS PF AVG
Virtus standing right, holding spear & shield, VIRTVS AVG

RIC 93

Postumus rebelled against Gallienus and ruled Gaul, Spain, and Britain. Eutropius wrote: When affairs were in this desperate condition, and the Roman empire almost ruined, POSTUMUS, a man of very obscure birth, assumed the purple in Gaul, and held the government with such ability for ten years, that he recruited the provinces, which had been almost ruined, by his great energy and judgment; but he was killed in a mutiny of the army, because he would not deliver up Moguntiacum, which had rebelled against him, to be plundered by the soldiers, at the time when Lucius Aelianus was endeavouring to effect a change of government.

According to the Historia Augusta: This man, most valiant in war and most steadfast in peace, was so highly respected for his whole manner of life that he was even entrusted by Gallienus with the care of his son Saloninus (whom he had placed in command of Gaul), as the guardian of his life and conduct and his instructor in the duties of a ruler.- Nevertheless, as some writers assert though it does not accord with his character he afterwards broke faith and after slaying Saloninus seized the imperial power. As others, however, have related with greater truth, the Gauls themselves, hating Gallienus most bitterly and being unwilling to endure a boy as their emperor, hailed as their ruler the man who was holding the rule in trust for another, and despatching soldiers they slew the boy. When he was slain, Postumus was gladly accepted by the entire army and by all the Gauls, and for seven years he performed such exploits that he completely restored the provinces of Gaul. . . . Great, indeed, was the love felt for Postumus in the hearts of all the people of Gaul because he had thrust back all the German tribes and had restored the Roman Empire to its former security. But when he began to conduct himself with the greatest sternness, the Gauls, following their custom of always desiring a change of government, at the instigation of Lollianus put him to death.

Zonaras adds: Galienus, when he had learned of [his son's death], proceeded against Postumus, and, when he had engaged him, was initially beaten and then prevailed, with the result that Postumus fled. Then Auriolus was sent to chase him down. Though able to capture him, he was unwilling to pursue him for long, but, coming back, he said that he was unable to capture him. Thus Postumus, having escaped, next organized an army. Galienus again marched upon him and, after he had penned him in a certain city of Gaul, besieged the usurper. In the siege, the sovereign was struck in the back by an arrow and, having become ill as a result, broke off the siege.
1di Claudius Gothicus26 views268-270

AE antoninianus

Radiate cuirassed bust right, IMP C CLAVDIVS AVG
Liberlitas stg, LIBERALITAS AVG

RIC 57

Zosimus recorded: When the troops were calmed by their commanders, Claudius was chosen emperor, having previously been designed for that dignity by general consent. Aureolus, who had for a long time kept himself out of the hands of Gallienus, presently sent agents to Claudius, to effect a peace. Surrendering himself, he was killed by the guards of the emperor, who still remembered the hatred they bore against him for his treachery.

The Scythians were by this time so elated by their former success, that they appointed a place of meeting with the Heruli, Peucae, and Gothi, near the river Tyra, which empties itself into the Pontus; where having built six thousand vessels, and put on board them three hundred and twenty thousand men, they sailed across the Pontus, and made an attempt on Tomes, a fortified town, but were repulsed from it. From thence they proceed to Marcianopolis, a city of Mysia, but failing there likewise in their attack on it, they took the opportunity of a favourable wind and sailed forward. . . . they passed through the Hellespont, and arrived at Mount Athos. Having there refitted and careened their vessels, they laid siege to Cassandria and Thessalonica, which they were near taking by means of machines which they raised against the walls. But hearing that the emperor was advancing with an army, they went into the interior, plundering all the neighbourhood of Doberus and Pelagonia. There they sustained a loss of three thousand men, who were met with by the Dalmatian cavalry, and with the rest of their force engaged the army of the emperor. Great numbers were slain in this battle on both sides, but the Romans, by a pretended flight, drew the Barbarians into an ambuscade and killed more than fifty thousand of them.

Egypt being thus reduecd by the Palmyrenians, the Barbarians, who survived the battle of Naissus between Claudius and the Scythians, defending themselves with their carriages which went before them, marched towards Macedon, but were so distressed by the want of necessaries, that many of them and of their beasts perished with hunger. They were met likewise by the Roman cavalry, who having killed many of them, drove the rest towards Mount Haemus; where being surrounded by the Roman army, they lost a vast number of men. But a quarrel ensuing between the Roman horse and foot soldiers, the emperor wishing the foot to engage the Barbarians, the Romans, after a smart engagement, were defeated with considerable loss, but the cavalry, coming up immediately, redeemed in some degree the miscarriage of the infantry. After this battle, the Barbarians proceeded on their march, and were pursued by the Romans. The pirates who cruized about Crete and Rhodes retired without doing any thing worthy of mention; and being attacked by the plague on their way home, some of them died in Thrace and some in Macedon. All that survived were either admitted into the Roman legions, or had lands assigned for them to cultivate and so become husbandmen. Nor was the plague confined to the Barbarians alone, but began to infest the Romans, many of whom died, and amongst the rest Claudius, a person adorned with every virtue. His death was a severe loss to his subjeets, and was consequently much regretted by them.
1ea Licinius16 views308-324


Laureate head, right, IMP LIC LICINIVS P F AVG
Jupiter standing left with thunderbolt and sceptre, eagle at foot with wreath in its beak, A over μ (Mu) over dot in right field, dot SIS dot in ex, IOVI CONSERVATORI

RIC 225a var

According to Zonaras: Maximinus took as colleague in his rule Licinius, who derived his lineage from the Dacians and was the brother-in-law of Constantine the Great. After he had made him colleague in his sovereignty and left him in Illyricum to defend the Thracians, who were being plundered by barbarians, he himself proceeded to Rome, to battle against Maxentius. Then, being suspicious of his own soldiers and fearing lest they desert to the enemy, he desisted from battle and departed. He regretted his appointment of Licinius, first plotted secretly against him, and then openly joined battle with him. He attacked him, was repulsed, defeated, and fled, and in his flight did away with himself. . . .

Eutropius adds: CONSTANTINE, being a man of great energy, bent upon effecting whatever he had settled in his mind, and aspiring to the sovereignty of the whole world, proceeded to make war on Licinius, although he had formed a connexion with him by marriage, for his sister Constantia was married to Licinius. And first of all be overthrew him, by a sudden attack, at Cibalae in Pannonia, where he was making vast preparations for war; and after becoming master of Dardania, Maesia, and Macedonia, took possession also of several other provinces.

There were then various contests between them, and peace made and broken. At last Licinius, defeated in a battle at Nicomedia by sea and land, surrendered himself, and, in violation of an oath taken by Constantine, was put to death, after being divested of the purple, at Thessalonica.
1ek Magnentius18 views350-353


Bare-headed, draped & cuirassed bust, right, D N MAGNEN-TIVS P F AVG

RIC 173

Zosimus recorded: Magnentius thus gained the empire, and possessed himself all the nations beyond the Alps, and the whole of Italy. Vetranio, general of the Pannonian army, upon hearing of the good fortune of Magnentius, was himself inflamed with the same desire, and was declared emperor by the legions that were with him, at Mursa, a city of Pannonia. While affairs were thus situated, the Persians plundered the eastern countries, particularly Mesopotamia. But Constantine, though he was defeated by the Persians, yet resolved to subdue the factions of Magnentius and Vetranio. . . . Constantius advanced from the east against Magnentius, but deemed it best first to win over Vetranio to his interest, as it was difficult to oppose two rebels at once. On the other hand, Magnentius used great endeavours to make Vetranio his friend, and thus to put an end to the war against Constantius. Both therefore sent agents to Vetranio, who chose to adopt the friendship of Constantius rather than that of Magnentius. The ambassadors of Magnentius returned without effecting their purpose. Constantius desired that both armies might join, to undertake the war against Magnentius. To which proposal Vetranio readily assented. . . . When the soldiers heard this, having been previously corrupted by valuable presents, they cried out, that they would have no mock emperors, and immediately began to strip the purple from Vetranio, and pulled him from the throne with the determination to reduce him to a private station. . . . 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 now gaining the victory, by the army of Magnentius taking to flight, a terrible slaughter ensued. Magnentius, therefore being deprived ofall hope, and apprehensive lest the remnant of his army should deliver him to Constantius, deemed it best to retire from Pannonia, and to enter Italy, in order to raise an army there for another attempt. But when he heard that the people of Rome were in favour of Constantius, either from hatred to himself, or because they had heard of the event of the battle, he resolved to cross the Alps, and .seek for himself a refuge among the nations on that side. Hearing however that Constantius had likewise engaged the Barbarians near the Rhine against him, and that |65 he could not enter Gaul, as some officers had obstructed his passage thither in order to make their court to Constantius, nor through Spain into Mauritania, on account of the Roman allies there who studied to please Constantius. In these circumstances he preferred a voluntary death to a dishonourable life, and chose rather to die by his own hand than by that of his enemy.

Thus died Magnentius, having been emperor three years and six months. He was of Barbarian extraction, but lived among the Leti, a people of Gaul. He understood Latin, was bold when favoured by fortune, but cowardly in adversity, ingenious in concealing his natural evil disposition, and deemed by those who did not know him to be a man of candour and goodness. I have thought it just to make these observations concerning Magnentius, that the world may be acquainted With his true character, since it has been the opinion of some that he performed much good, who never in his life did any thing with a good intention.
1eu Theodosius24 views379-395


Pearl diademed, draped & cuirassed bust right, D N THEODOSIVS P F AVG
VOT V MVLT X within wreath, ASISC in ex

RIC 29d

Zosimus recorded: [Valentinian] commanded some legions from the stations in Pannonia and Moesia, to embark for Africa [to crush a rebellion]. On this the Sarmatians and the Quadi. . . , availing themselves, of the opportunity afforded by the departure of the legions for Africa, invaded the Pannonians and Moesians. . . . The barbarians therefore revenged themselves by plundering all the country along the Ister, carrying off all that they found in the towns. The Pannonians were by these means exposed to the cruelty of the barbarians, while the soldiers were extremely negligent in the defence of their towns, and committed as much mischief as the Barbarians themselves in all places on this side of the river. But Moesia was free from harm, because Theodosius, who commanded the forces there, courageously resisted the Barbarians, and routed them when they attacked him. By that victory he not only acquired great renown, but subsequently attained the imperial dignity. . . .

When the affairs of the empire were reduced to this low condition, Victor, who commanded the Roman cavalry, escaping the danger with some of his troops, entered Macedon and Thessaly. From thence he proceeded into Moesia and Pannonia, and informed Gratian, who was then in that quarter, of what had occurred, and of the loss of the emperor [Valens] and his army. Gratian received the intelligence without uneasiness, and was little grieved at the death of his uncle, a disagreement having existed between them. Finding himself unable to manage affairs, Thrace being ravaged by the Barbarians, as were likewise Pannonia and Moesia, and the towns upon the Rhine being infested by the neighbouring Barbarians without controul, he chose for his associate in the empire, Theodosius, who was a native of a town called Cauca, in the part of Spain called Hispania Callaecia, and who possessed great knowledge and experience of military affairs. Having given him the government of Thrace and the eastern provinces, Gratian himself proceeded to the west of Gaul, in order, if possible, to compose affairs in that quarter. . . .

During the stay of the new emperor, Theodosius, at Thesslonica, a great concourse arrived there from all parts of persons soliciting him on business, both public and private; who having obtained of him whatever he could conveniently grant, returned, to their homes. As a great multitude of the Scythians beyond the Ister, the Gotthi, and the Taiphali, and other tribes that formerly dwelt among them, had crossed the river, and were driven to infest the Roman dominions, because the Huns, had expelled them from their own country, the emperor Theodosius prepared for war with all his forces. . . . The army having made this good use of the occasion afforded by fortune, the affairs of Thrace, which had been on the brink of ruin, were now, the Barbarians being crushed beyond all hope, re-established in peace. . . .

Meanwhile, the emperor Theodosius, residing in Thessalonica, was easy of access to all who wished to see him. Having commenced his reign in luxury and indolence, he threw the magistracy into disorder, and increased the number of his military officers. . . . As he squandered the public money without consideration, bestowing it on unworthy persons, he consequently impoverished himself. He therefore sold the government of provinces to any who would purchase them, without regard to the reputation or ablity of the persons, esteeming him the best qualified who brought him the most gold or silver. . . .

Maximus, who deemed his appointments inferior to his merits, being only governor of the countries formerly under Gratian, projected how to depose the young Valentinian from the empire. . . . This so much surprised Valentinian, and rendered his situation so desperate, that his courtiers were alarmed lest he should be taken by Maximus and put to death. He, therefore, immediately embarked,and sailed to Thessalonica with his mother Justina. . . . [A]rriving at Thessalonica, they sent messengers to the emperor Theodosius, intreating him now at least to revenge the injuries committed against the family of Valentinian. . . . The emperor, being delivered from this alarm, marched with great resolution with his whole army against Maximus. . . . Theodosius, having passed through Pannonia and the defiles of the Appennines, attacked unawares the forces of Maximus before they were prepared for him. A part of his army, having pursued them with the utmost speed, forced their way through the gates of Aquileia, the guards being too few to resist them. Maximus was torn from his imperial throne while in the act of distributing money to his soldiers, and being stripped of his imperial robes, was brought to Theodosius, who, having in reproach enumerated some of his crimes against the commonwealth, delivered him to the common executioner to receive due punishment. . . . The emperor Theodosius, having consigned Italy, Spain, Celtica, and Libya to his son Honorius, died of a disease on his journey towards Constantinople.
312. Victorinus27 viewsMarcus Piav(v)onius Victorinus was emperor of the successionist Gallic Empire from 268 to 270 or 271, following the brief reign of Marius.

Victorinus, born to a family of great wealth, was a soldier under Postumus, the first of the so-called Gallic emperors. Victorinus held the title of tribunus praetorianorum in 266/267, and was co-consul with Postumus in 267 or 268. Following the death of Marius, Victorinus was declared emperor by the troops located at Augusta Treverorum (Trier, Germany), and he was recognized by the provinces of Gaul and Britain, but not Spain, which reunited with the Roman Empire.

During his reign, Victorinus successfully prevented the city of Augustodunum Haeduorum (Autun, France) from rejoining the Roman Empire. The city was besieged for seven months, before it was stormed and plundered.

Victorinus was murdered in 270 or early 271 by Attitianus, one of his officers, whose wife Victorinus had supposedly seduced. Victorinus' mother, Victoria (or Vitruvia), continued to hold power after the death of Victorinus and she arranged for his deification and, after considerable payment to the troops, the appointment of Tetricus I as his successor.

Victorinus is listed among the Thirty Tyrants in the Historia Augusta. The (dubius) Historia Augusta equally has a short description of Victorinus the Younger, allegedly the son of Victorinus that was appointed Emperor by his family the day his father was murdered, and would have been killed immediately afterwards by the troops.

Victorinus antoninianus. IMP C VICTORINVS P F AVG, radiate, draped & cuirassed bust right / PAX AVG, Pax standing left. RIC 118, Cohen 79.
501. Constantine I Lyons Sol14 viewsLyons

Originally, the important city in this area was that of Vienne, at a crossroads of Celtic trails, and port for the Greek trade. They had been largly Hellanised during the 2nd - 1st centuries BCE, then caught up in the conflicts involving Rome and Athens. Roman traders had settled there and competition started a revolt, driving the Romans to the north. At the present site of Lyons, they sought and received refuge from the Gallic tribe called Segusiavi. At that time, Lyons was just a tribe of Celts occupying the top of a hill, later to be called Fourviere. A Roman settlement was begun, and then later used by Julius Caesar to launch his campaigns against the Helvetii in 58 BCE.

The site of Lyons, being on a crossroads as well as a connection to the Mediterranean, was early recognised as being strategically important. In 43 BCE, the city of Lugdunum became an official Roman colony recognised by the Roman senate, founded by the governor of Gallia Comata (province of Comata), Lucius Munatius Plancus. Later, in 27 BCE, then Emperor Augustus divided Gallia Comata into three provinces, and Lugdunum became the capital of Gallia Lugdunensis. [The third province was Gallia Aquitania.]

Lyons became the financial center for taxation purposes of Aquitania and Lugdunum provinces, and an official mint was established there. Also, the state cult honoring Augustus [or the present Emperor] was established at Lyons, drawing many pilgrims and supplicants. Drusus, the father of Claudius, (born 10 BCE) was stationed at Lyons, being in charge of Gallia Comata. Also, a cohort of Roman policemen were stationed at lyons, to protect the mint. A bronze inscription found at Lyons records the speech given to the Roman Senate in 48 CE by Emperor Claudius, arguing for the acceptance of admission of senators from Gallia Comata.

Through Lyons [and Vienne] passed the great roads leading to the different regions of Gaul and towards Italy. Trade with Gaul, Britain and Germany passed through Lyons, mostly supplying Roman colonies on the the frontier. Later, these routes were paved by the Romans to facilitate trade and troop movement. Lyons became an important trade and military center. However, intercity rivalry with Vienne to the south never died, and indeed Vienne became jealous over time.

Lyons was burnt to the ground in 65 CE but quickly rebuilt. It prospered until 197 when it was sacked in a civil war. The city of Lyons had backed the unfortunate loser in a battle between two Roman generals. Cities to the south [Arles, Vienne, and to the north, Trier] took over the economic functions of Lyons; and the city of Lyons was again plundered 269. Lyons fought back, and the trade wars raged on, until early in the 4th century when the aqueducts of Lyons were destroyed. Without water, the hillsite of Lyons [the Fourviere Hill] became untenable. The merchants moved down to the city below, or out of the city entirely. The protection of Lyons was thus much more difficult. And the decline of the Roman Empire also spelled the decline of many of its cities.

RIC VII Lyons 34 C3

510. Valentinian I51 viewsFlavius Valentinianus, known in English as Valentinian I, (321 - November 17, 375) was a Roman Emperor (364 - 375). He was born at Cibalis, in Pannonia, the son of a successful general, Gratian the Elder.

He had been an officer of the Praetorian guard under Julian and Jovian, and had risen high in the imperial service. Of robust frame and distinguished appearance, he possessed great courage and military capacity. After the death of Jovian, he was chosen emperor in his forty-third year by the officers of the army at Nicaea in Bithynia on February 26, 364, and shortly afterwards named his brother Valens colleague with him in the empire.

The two brothers, after passing through the chief cities of the neighbouring district, arranged the partition of the empire at Naissus (Nissa) in Upper Moesia. As Western Roman Emperor, Valentinian took Italia, Illyricum, Hispania, the Gauls, Britain and Africa, leaving to Eastern Roman Emperor Valens the eastern half of the Balkan peninsula, Greece, Aegyptus, Syria and Asia Minor as far as Persia. They were immediately confronted by the revolt of Procopius, a relative of the deceased Julian. Valens managed to defeat his army at Thyatria in Lydia in 366, and Procopius was executed shortly afterwards.

During the short reign of Valentinian there were wars in Africa, in Germany and in Britain, and Rome came into collision with barbarian peoples never of heard before, specifically the Burgundians, and the Saxons.

Valentinian's chief work was guarding the frontiers and establishing military positions. Milan was at first his headquarters for settling the affairs of northern Italy. The following year (365) Valentinian was at Paris, and then at Reims, to direct the operations of his generals against the Alamanni. These people, defeated at Scarpona (Charpeigne) and Catelauni (Châlons-en-Champagne) by Jovinus, were driven back to the German bank of the Rhine, and checked for a while by a chain of military posts and fortresses. At the close of 367, however, they suddenly crossed the Rhine, attacked Moguntiacum (Mainz) and plundered the city. Valentinian attacked them at Solicinium (Sulz am Neckar, in the Neckar valley, or Schwetzingen) with a large army, and defeated them with great slaughter. But his own losses were so considerable that Valentinian abandoned the idea of following up his success.

Later, in 374, Valentinian made peace with their king, Macrianus, who from that time remained a true friend of the Romans. The next three years he spent at Trier, which he chiefly made his headquarters, organizing the defence of the Rhine frontier, and personally superintending the construction of numerous forts.

During his reign the coasts of Gaul were harassed by the Saxon pirates, with whom the Picts and Scots of northern Britain joined hands, and ravaged the island from the Antonine Wall to the shores of Kent. In 368 Count Theodosius was sent to drive back the invaders; in this he was completely successful, and established a new British province, called Valentia in honour of the emperor.

In Africa, Firmus, raised the standard of revolt, being joined by the provincials, who had been rendered desperate by the cruelty and extortions of Comes Romanus, the military governor. The services of Theodosius were again requisitioned. He landed in Africa with a small band of veterans, and Firmus, to avoid being taken prisoner, committed suicide.

In 374 the Quadi, a Germanic tribe in what is now Moravia and Slovakia, resenting the erection of Roman forts to the north of the Danube in what they considered to be their own territory, and further exasperated by the treacherous murder of their king, Gabinius, crossed the river and laid waste the province of Pannonia. The emperor in April, 375 entered Illyricum with a powerful army. But during an audience to an embassy from the Quadi at Brigetio on the Danube (near Komárom, Hungary), Valentinian suffered a burst blood vessel in the skull while angrily yelling at the people gathered. This injury resulted in his death on November 17, 375.

His general administration seems to have been thoroughly honest and able, in some respects beneficent. If Valentinian was hard and exacting in the matter of taxes, he spent them in the defence and improvement of his dominions, not in idle show or luxury. Though himself a plain and almost illiterate soldier, Valentinian was a founder of schools. He also provided medical attendance for the poor of Rome, by appointing a physician for each of the fourteen districts of the city.

Valentinian was a Christian but permitted absolute religious freedom to all his subjects. Against all abuses, both civil and ecclesiastical, Valentinian steadily set his face, even against the increasing wealth and worldliness of the clergy. His chief flaw was his temper, which at times was frightful, and showed itself in its full fierceness in the punishment of persons accused of witchcraft, fortune-telling or magical practices.

Valentinian I; RIC IX, Siscia 15(a); C.37; second period: 24 Aug. 367-17 Nov. 375; common. obv. DN VALENTINI-ANVS PF AVG, bust cuir., drap., r., rev. SECVRITAS-REI PVBLICAE, Victory advancing l., holding wreath and trophy. l. field R above R with adnex, r. field F, ex. gamma SISC rev.Z dot (type xxxv)
709a, Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.42 viewsVITELLIUS AR silver denarius. RSC 72, RCV 2200. 19mm, 3.2 g. Obverse: A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVG TR P, laureate head right; Reverse - PONT MAXIM, Vesta seated right, holding scepter and patera. Quite decent. Ex. Incitatus Coins. Photo courtesy of Incitatus Coins.

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

Vitellius (69 A.D.)

John F. Donahue
College of William and Mary

It is often difficult to separate fact from fiction in assessing the life and reign of Vitellius. Maligned in the ancient sources as gluttonous and cruel, he was also a victim of a hostile biographical tradition established in the regime of the Flavians who had overthrown him. Nevertheless, his decision to march against Rome in 69 was pivotal, since his subsequent defeat signalled the end of military anarchy and the beginning of an extended period of political stability under Vespasian and his successors.

Early Life and Career

Aulus Vitellius was born in September, 15 AD, the son of Lucius Vitellius and his wife Sestilia. One of the most successful public figures of the Julio-Claudian period, Lucius Vitellius was a three-time consul and a fellow censor with the emperor Claudius. Aulus seems to have moved with equal ease in aristocratic circles, successively winning the attention of the emperors Gaius, Claudius, and Nero through flattery and political skill.

Among his attested public offices, Vitellius was a curator of public works, a senatorial post concerned with the maintenance and repair of public buildings in Rome, and he was also proconsul of North Africa, where he served as a deputy to his brother, perhaps about 55 A. D. In addition, he held at least two priesthoods, the first as a member of the Arval Brethren, in whose rituals he participated from 57 A.D., and the second, as one of the quindecemviri sacris faciundis, a sacred college famous for its feasts.

With respect to marriage and family, Vitellius first wed a certain Petroniana, the daughter of a consul, sometime in the early to mid thirties A.D. The union produced a son, Petronianus, allegedly blind in one eye and emancipated from his father's control as a result of being named his mother's heir. Tradition records that Vitellius killed the boy shortly after emancipation amid charges of parricide; the marriage soon ended in divorce. A second marriage, to Galeria Fundana, daughter of an ex-praetor, was more stable than the first. It produced another son, who was eventually killed by the Flavians after the overthrow of Vitellius, as well as a daughter. Galeria is praised by Tacitus for her good qualities, and in the end it was she who saw to Vitellius' burial.

Rise to Power and Emperorship

Without doubt, the most fortuitous moment in Vitellius' political career was his appointment as governor of Lower Germany by the emperor Galba late in 68. The decision seemed to have caught everybody by surprise, including Vitellius himself, who, according to Suetonius, was in straitened circumstances at the time. The choice may have been made to reduce the possibility of rebellion by the Rhine armies, disaffected by Galba's refusal to reward them for their part in suppressing the earlier uprising of Julius Vindex. Ironically, it was Vitellius' lack of military achievement and his reputation for gambling and gluttony that may have also figured in his selection. Galba perhaps calculated that a man with little military experience who could now plunder a province to satisfy his own stomach would never become disloyal. If so, it was a critical misjudgement by the emperor.

The rebellion began on January 1, 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors"), when the legions of Upper Germany refused to renew their oath of allegiance to Galba. On January 2, Vitellius' own men, having heard of the previous day's events, saluted him as emperor at the instigation of the legionary legate Fabius Valens and his colleagues. Soon, in addition to the seven legions that Vitellius now had at his command in both Germanies, the forces in Gaul, Britain, and Raetia also came over to his side. Perhaps aware of his military inexperience, Vitellius did not immediately march on Rome himself. Instead, the advance was led by Valens and another legionary general, Aulus Caecina Alienus, with each man commanding a separate column. Vitellius would remain behind to mobilize a reserve force and follow later.

Caecina was already one hundred fifty miles on his way when news reached him that Galba had been overthrown and Otho had taken his place as emperor. Undeterred, he passed rapidly down the eastern borders of Gaul; Valens followed a more westerly route, quelling a mutiny along the way. By March both armies had successfully crossed the Alps and joined at Cremona, just north of the Po. Here they launced their Batavian auxiliaries against Otho's troops and routed them in the First Battle of Bedriacum. Otho killed himself on April 16, and three days later the soldiers in Rome swore their allegience to Vitellius. The senate too hailed him as emperor.

When Vitellius learned of these developments, he set out to Rome from Gaul. By all accounts the journey was a drunken feast marked by the lack of discipline of both the troops and the imperial entourage. Along the way he stopped at Lugdunum to present his six-year-old son Germanicus to the legions as his eventual successor. Later, at Cremona, Vitellius witnessed the corpse-filled battlefield of Otho's recent defeat with joy, unmoved by so many citizens denied a proper burial.

The emperor entered Rome in late June-early July. Conscious of making a break with the Julio-Claudian past, Vitellius was reluctant to assume the traditional titles of the princes, even though he enthusiastically made offerings to Nero and declared himself consul for life. To his credit, Vitellius did seem to show a measure of moderation in the transition to the principate. He assumed his powers gradually and was generally lenient to Otho's supporters, even pardoning Otho's brother Salvius Titianus, who had played a key role in the earlier regime. In addition, he participated in Senate meetings and continued the practice of providing entertainments for the Roman masses. An important practical change involved the awarding of posts customarily held by freedmen to equites, an indication of the growth of the imperial bureaucracy and its attractiveness to men of ambition.

In other matters, he replaced the existing praetorian guard and urban cohorts with sixteen praetorian cohorts and four urban units, all comprised of soldiers from the German armies. According to Tacitus, the decision prompted a mad scramble, with the men, and not their officers, choosing the branch of service that they preferred. The situation was clearly unsatisfactory but not surprising, given that Vitellius was a creation of his own troops. To secure his position further, he sent back to their old postings the legions that had fought for Otho, or he reassigned them to distant provinces. Yet discontent remained: the troops who had been defeated or betrayed at Bedriacum remained bitter, and detachments of three Moesian legions called upon by Otho were returned to their bases, having agitated against Vitellius at Aquileia.

Flavian Revolt

The Vitellian era at Rome was short-lived. By mid-July news had arrived that the legions of Egypt under Tiberius Julius Alexander had sworn allegiance to a rival emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the governor of Judaea and a successful and popular general. Vespasian was to hold Egypt while his colleague Mucianus, governor of Syria, was to invade Italy. Before the plan could be enacted, however, the Danube legions, former supporters of Otho, joined Vespasian's cause. Under the leadership of Antonius Primus, commander of the Sixth legion in Pannonia, and Cornelius Fuscus, imperial procurator in Illyricum, the legions made a rapid descent on Italy.

Although his forces were only half of what Vitellius commanded in Italy, Primus struck first before the emperor could muster additional reinforcements from Germany. To make matters worse for the Vitellians, Valens was ill, and Caecina, now consul, had begun collaborating with the Flavians. His troops refused to follow his lead, however, and arrested him at Hostilia near Cremona. They then joined the rest of the Vitellian forces trying to hold the Po River. With Vitellius still in Rome and his forces virtually leaderless, the two sides met in October in the Second Battle of Bedriacum. The emperor's troops were soundly defeated and Cremona was brutally sacked by the victors. In addition, Valens, whose health had recovered, was captured while raising an army for Vitellius in Gaul and Germany; he was eventually executed.

Meanwhile, Primus continued towards Rome. Vitellius made a weak attempt to thwart the advance at the Apennine passes, but his forces switched to the Flavian side without a fight at Narnia in mid-December. At Rome, matters were no better. Vespasian's elder brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, the city prefect, was successful in an effort to convince Vitellius to abdicate but was frustrated by the mob in Rome and the emperor's soldiers. Forced to flee to the Capitol, Sabinus was set upon by Vitellius' German troops and soon killed, with the venerable Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus set ablaze in the process. Within two days, the Flavian army fought its way into Rome. In a pathetic final move, Vitellius disguised himself in dirty clothing and hid in the imperial doorkeeper's quarters, leaning a couch and a mattress against the door for protection. Dragged from his hiding place by the Flavian forces, he was hauled off half-naked to the Forum, where he was tortured, killed, and tossed into the Tiber. The principate could now pass to Vespasian.


Vitellius has not escaped the hostility of his biographers. While he may well have been gluttonous, his depiction as indolent, cruel, and extravagant is based almost entirely on the propaganda of his enemies. On the other hand, whatever moderating tendencies he did show were overshadowed by his clear lack of military expertise, a deficiency that forced him to rely in critical situations on largely inneffective lieutenants. As a result he was no match for his Flavian successors, and his humiliating demise was perfectly in keeping with the overall failure of his reign.

Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Alexander II Zabinas62 viewsAlexander II Zebina, Antioch, 128-123 BC, Houghton CSE 307, Sear 7127, SNGIs 2341, 21.14mm, 7g
OBV: Radiate head right
REV: BAΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΑΛΕΞΑΝΔΡΟΥ (BASILEOS ALEXANDROU), double cornucopiae bound with a fillet, club in left field

Zabinas, the "bought one", the pretender king who spent most of his
pathetic reign fighting Demetrius II and Antiochus VII. He failed to ward
off Antiochus and was forced to plunder the temples of Antioch in order to
come up with getaway money. Unfortunately he was captured and forced to
commit suicide.
1 commentsRomanorvm
Caracalla AE provincial, Nikopolis ad Istrum, Moesia Inferior (Nikyup, Bulgaria) (211 - 212 AD)14 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.,

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
Crispus ALAMANNIA DEVICTA Sirmium39 viewsThe Alamanni were continually engaged in conflicts with the Roman Empire. They launched a major invasion of Gaul and northern Italy in 268, when the Romans were forced to denude much of their German frontier of troops in response to a massive invasion of the Goths. Their depredations in the three parts of Gaul remained traumatic: Gregory of Tours (died ca 594) mentions their destructive force at the time of Valerian and Gallienus (253–260), when the Alemanni assembled under their "king", whom he calls Chrocus, "by the advice, it is said, of his wicked mother, and overran the whole of the Gauls, and destroyed from their foundations all the temples which had been built in ancient times. And coming to Clermont he set on fire, overthrew and destroyed that shrine which they call Vasso Galatae in the Gallic tongue," martyring many Christians (Historia Francorum Book I.32–34). Thus 6th century Gallo-Romans of Gregory's class, surrounded by the ruins of Roman temples and public buildings, attributed the destruction they saw to the plundering raids of the Alemanni.

In the early summer of 268, the Emperor Gallienus halted their advance in Italy, but then had to deal with the Goths. When the Gothic campaign ended in Roman victory at the Battle of Naissus in September, Gallienus' successor Claudius II Gothicus turned north to deal with the Alamanni, who were swarming over all Italy north of the Po River.

After efforts to secure a peaceful withdrawal failed, Claudius forced the Alamanni to battle at the Battle of Lake Benacus in November. The Alamanni were routed, forced back into Germany, and did not threaten Roman territory for many years afterwards.

Their most famous battle against Rome took place in Argentoratum (Strasbourg), in 357, where they were defeated by Julian, later Emperor of Rome, and their king Chnodomar ("Chonodomarius") was taken prisoner.

On January 2, 366 the Alamanni crossed the frozen Rhine in large numbers, to invade the Gallic provinces.

In the great mixed invasion of 406, the Alamanni appear to have crossed the Rhine river, conquered and then settled what is today Alsace and a large part of Switzerland. Fredegar's Chronicle gives an account. At Alba Augusta (Aps) the devastation was so complete, that the Christian bishopric was removed to Viviers, but Gregory's account that at Mende in Lozère, also deep in the heart of Gaul, bishop Privatus was forced to sacrifice to idols in the very cave where he was later venerated may be a generic literary trope epitomizing the horrors of barbarian violence.

Sirmium RIC 49

Crispus AE3. 324-325 AD. FL IVL CRISPVS NOB CAES, laureate head right / ALAMANNIA DEVICTA, Victory advancing right, holding trophy & palm, treading upon bound captive on right, .SIRM. in ex.

need new pic
Eastern Europe. Imitation of Philip II of Macedon (Circa 200-0 BC)116 viewsTetradrachm (Kugelwange or "ball cheek" type)

20 mm, 11.46 g

Obverse: Stylized laureate head of Zeus right

Reverse: Stylized horse prancing left, pellet-in-annulet above, pelleted cross below.

Lanz 468-9; OTA 193/9.

Around the end of the 3rd century B.C., the Celtic Scordisci tribe started issuing their own local coinages imitating the types of Philip II of Macedon. These coinages had a limited volume of production and a restricted area of circulation, so their finds are not numerous and occur mostly in their own territory and in the neighboring territories of other Celtic or Celticized tribes. The Scordisci were originally formed after the Celtic invasion of Macedonia and Northern Greece (280-279 BC) which culminated in a great victory against the Greeks at Thermopylae and the sacking of Delphi, the center of the Greek world. The Celts then retreated back to the north of the Balkans (suffering many casualties along the way) and settled on the mouth of the Sava River calling themselves the Scordisci after the nearby Scordus (now Sar) mountains. The Scordisci, since they dominated the important Sava valley, the only route to Italy, in the second half of the 3rd century BC, gradually became the most powerful tribe in the central Balkans.

From 141 BC, the Scordisci were constantly involved in battles against Roman held Macedonia. They were defeated in 135 BC by Cosconius in Thrace. In 118 BC, according to a memorial stone discovered near Thessalonica, Sextus Pompeius, probably the grandfather of the triumvir, was slain fighting against them near Stobi. In 114 BC, they surprised and destroyed the army of Gaius Porcius Cato in the western mountains of Serbia, but were defeated by Minucius Rufus in 107 BC.

From time to time they still gave trouble to the Roman governors of Macedonia, whose territory they invaded, even advancing as far as Delphi for a second time and once again plundering the temple; but Lucius Cornelius Scipio Asiaticus finally overcame them in 88 BC and drove them back across the Danube. After this, the power of the Scordisci declined rapidly. This decline was more a result of the political situation in their surrounding territories rather than the effects of Roman campaigns, as their client tribes, especially the Pannonians, became more powerful and politically independent. Between 56 and 50 BC, the Scordisci were defeated by Burebista's Dacians (a Thracian king of the Getae and Dacian tribes), and became subject to him.
5 commentsNathan P
Galba, RIC 81, As of Sept-Dec. 68, Spanish mint (Tarraco?), 15 viewsÆ As (9.7g, Ø 18mm, 6h). Spanish mint (Tarraco?). Struck Sept-Dec. 68 AD.
Obv.: SER GALBA IMP [...AVGVSTVS?], laureate head right, globe at point of bust.
Rev.: QVADRAGENS REMISSAE around, S C in ex., triumphal arch with 2 equestrian statues, 3 prisoners followed by officer below.
RIC 81 (R) (in as RIC 80 var.)
Ex Walter C. Holt, April 2003

This is apparently an extremely rare coin. The portrait on this coin has suffered some damage, probably as damnatio memoriae following his murder at the hands of the Praetorians.

The reverse legend on this coin refers to the abolition of the 2½% (1/40th of 100) customs duty, a reward to Gaul and Spain for their support. According to Walter Holt, The relationship between captives and the remission of a tax is unclear. The identities of the captives on this type are unknown but they may refer to his predecessor Nero, Clodius Macer, his rival for the purple, and the fallen rebel Vindex, though their depiction as captives (as all are dead by now) causes some problems.
According to Clive Foss ("Roman Historical Coins"), the captives probably represent financial officials of Nero who plundered the province and denounced Galba.
Charles S
ISLAMIC, Delhi Sultanate, Muhammed Bin Tughlaq, AV Dinar43 viewsDelhi Sultanate, Muhammad Bin Tughlaq, 1325-51 AD, Gold Heavy Dinar, 24mm, 12.8g, AH 726 / 1326 AD, Hazrat Delhi mint

References: Rajgor; T1206, Goron and Goenka; D343

Legend Description & Translation
Obverse: 'al-wathiq bi-ta'yid al-rahman muhammad shah al-sultan' (invocation in the name of the Abbassid Caliph Al-Wathiq (Ibn Mutasim) together with the name of Mohd Shah (Tughlaq) and his title (Sultan).

Reverse: Within inner circle: 'ashhad an la illah illa allah wa ashhad an muhammad 'abdahu wa rasuluhu' (invocation of the Islamic faith - Kalima/Shahada - stating 'there is no God other than Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger').

Reverse: around outer margin: 'darb hazah al-dinar ba-hadrat Dehli sanh sitta wa ashrin wa sab'amayah' (this coin of the denomination dinar was struck in Venerable Delhi in the Year 726).

Mohammad bin Tughlaq was formally crowned in AH 725 (1325 AD), when his father (Ghiyas-ud-din Tughlaq, founder of the Tughlaq dynasty) met an accidental death in which Muhammad was implicated. Muhammad Bin Tughlaq is best remembered as a ruler who undertook a number of bold experiments, including coinage, and many administrative reforms that mostly failed due to his impatience and lack of judgement earning him the moniker of a 'wise fool' and an entry in the Urdu language dictionary where the word 'Tughlaqi' is immortalized as meaning 'eccentricity'. The famous Arab traveller from Morocco, Ibn Batuta, spent the maximum years of his travel in the court of Muhammad Bin Tughlaq as a 'Qazi' (Islamic Judge) from 1334-1343 AD ie 10 years, and documented his experience in his book 'Rahla' (The Journey).

Soon after his accession in 1325 AD, Muhammad experimented first with the weightage of the coins. The large influx of gold from his plunder of the South Indian campaign led him to increase the weight of the gold dinar from the standard of 172 grains (11g) to 202 grains (13g), however, due to the ensuing confusion between the weight differential of the standard vs heavy weight series, lack of popularity and acceptance among his subjects, the heavy weight series was soon withdrawn after 3 years.

The weight of these heavy series coins range from 12.7 to 13.0 grams and only 2 mints are known - Dehli and Shahr Sultanpur in Telangana (Deccan). The known dates for these coins is AH 725, 726 & 727 corresponding to the first 3 years of his reign ie 1325-27 AD. The featured coin is dated AH 726.

This coin type is indicated as the most rare of all Mohd Bin Tughlaq coins by Goron. Certainly, the calligraphy style is beautiful and the strike is full, bold and sharp with complete die impressions on both Obv & Rev. A lovely specimen of a remarkable but troubled ruler!
Italy, Rome, Arch of Titus665 viewsArch of Titus in Rome depicting the spoils of Jerusalem's temple.
Photo taken September 2005
Titus Pullo
Italy- Rome- The Arch of Constantine The Great.jpg
Italy- Rome- The Arch of Constantine The Great71 viewsArch of Constantine
The Arch of Constantine is a triumphal arch in Rome, situated between the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. It was erected to commemorate Constantine's victory over Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge on October 28, 312 AD. Dedicated in 315 AD, it is the latest of the extant triumphal arches in Rome, from which it differs by the extensive re-use of parts of earlier buildings.

General Description
The arch is 21 m high, 25.7 m wide and 7.4 m deep. It has three archways, the central one being 11.5 m high and 6.5 m wide, the lateral archways 7.4 m by 3.4 m each. The lower part of the monument is built of marble blocks, the top (called attic) is brickwork revetted with marble. A staircase formed in the thickness of the arch is entered from a door at some height from the ground, in the end towards the Palatine Hill. The general design with a main part structured by detached columns and an attic with the main inscription above is modelled after the example of the Arch of Septimius Severus on the Forum Romanum. It has been suggested that the lower part of the arch is re-used from an older monument, probably from the times of the emperor Hadrian (Conforto et al., 2001; for a defence of the view that the whole arch was constructed in the 4th century, see Pensabene & Panella). The arch spans the Via Triumphalis, the way taken by the emperors when they entered the city in triumph. This route started at the Campus Martius, led through the Circus Maximus and around the Palatine Hill; immediately after the Arch of Constantine, the procession would turn left and march along the Via Sacra to the Forum Romanum and on to the Capitoline Hill, passing both the Arches of Titus and Septimius Severus. During the Middle Ages, the Arch of Constantine was incorporated into one of the family strongholds of ancient Rome. Works of restoration were first carried out in the 18th century; the last excavations have taken place in the late 1990s, just before the Great Jubilee of 2000.

The decoration of the arch heavily uses parts of older monuments, which are given a new meaning in the context of the Constantinian building. As it celebrates the victory of Constantine, the new "historic" friezes illustrating his campaign in Italy convey the central meaning: the praise of the emperor, both in battle and in his civilian duties. The other imagery supports this purpose: decoration taken from the "golden times" of the Empire under Trajan, Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius places Constantine next to these "good emperors", and the content of the pieces evokes images of the victorious and pious ruler. Another explanation given for the re-use is the short time between the start of construction (late 312 at the earliest) and the dedication (summer 315), so the architects used existing artwork to make up for the lack of time to create new one. As yet another possible reason, it has often been suggested that the Romans of the 4th century lacked the artistic skill to produce acceptable artwork and therefore plundered the ancient buildings to adorn their contemporary monuments. This interpretation has become less prominent in more recent times, as the art of Late Antiquity has been appreciated in its own right. It is, of course, possible that a combination of two or all three of those explanations are correct, as they are not mutually exclusive.

Above the middle archway, the main inscription (see below) takes the most prominent place of the attic. It is identical on both sides of the arch. Flanking the inscription on both sides, there are pairs of relief panels above the minor archways, 8 in total. They were taken from an unknown monument erected in honour of Marcus Aurelius, and show (north side, left to right) the emperor's return to Rome after the campaign (adventus), the emperor leaving the city and saluted by a personification of the Via Flaminia, the emperor distributing money among the people (largitio), the emperor interrogating a German prisoner, (south side, left to right) a captured enemy chieftain led before the emperor, a similar scene with other prisoners, the emperor speaking to the troops (adlocutio), and the emperor sacrificing pig, sheep and bull. Together with three panels now in the Capitoline Museum, the reliefs were probably taken from a triumphal monument commemorating Marcus Aurelius' war against the Sarmatians from 169 - 175, which ended with his triumphant return in 176. On the largitio panel, the figure of Marcus Aurelius' son Commodus has been eradicated after the latter's damnatio memoriae. On top of each of the columns stand marble statues of Dacian prisoners from the times of Trajan, probably taken from the Forum of Trajan. From the same time date the two large (3 m high) panels decorating the attic on the small sides of the arch, showing scenes from the emperor's Dacian Wars. Together with the two reliefs on the inside of the central archway, they came from a large frieze celebrating the Dacian victory. The original place of this frieze was either the Forum of Trajan, as well, or the barracks of the emperor's horse guard on the Caelius.

Main Section
The general layout of the main facade is identical on both sides of the arch. It is divided by four columns of Corinthian order made of Numidian yellow marble (giallo antico), one of which has been transferred into the Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano and was replaced by a white marble column. The columns stand on bases showing victory figures on front, and captured barbarians and Roman soldiers on the sides. The spandrels of the main archway are decorated with reliefs depicting victory figures with trophies, those of the smaller archways show river gods. Column bases and spandrel reliefs are from the times of Constantine. Above each lateral archway are pairs of round reliefs dated to the times of emperor Hadrian. They display scenes of hunting and sacrificing: (north side, left to right) hunt of a boar, sacrifice to Apollo, hunt of a lion, sacrifice to Hercules, (south side, left to right) departure for the hunt, sacrifice to Silvanus, hunt of a bear, sacrifice to Diana. The head of the emperor (originally Hadrian) has been reworked in all medaillons: on the north side, into Constantine in the hunting scenes and into Licinius or Constantius I in the sacrifice scenes; on the south side, vice versa. The reliefs, c. 2 m in diameter, were framed in porphyry; this framing is only extant on the right side of the northern facade. Similar medaillons, this time of Constantinian origin, are placed on the small sides of the arch; on the eastern side, showing the Sun rising, and on the western side, the Moon, both on chariots. The main piece from the time of Constantine is the "historical" relief frieze running around the monument under the round panels, one strip above each lateral archway and at the small sides of the arch. These reliefs depict scenes from the Italian campaign of Constantine against Maxentius which was the reason for the construction of the monument. The frieze starts at the western side with the "Departure from Milan". It continues on the southern, "outward" looking face, with the siege of a city, probably Verona, which was of great importance to the war in Northern Italy; also on that face, the Battle of Milvian Bridge with Constantine's army victorious and the enemy drowning in the river Tiber. On the eastern side, Constantine and his army enter Rome; the artist here has avoided to use the imagery of the triumph, as Constantine probably did not want to be shown triumphant over the Eternal City. On the northern face, looking "towards" the city, two strips with the emperor's actions after taking possession of Rome: Constantine speaking to the citizens on the Forum Romanum, and distributing money to the people.

Inner Sides of the Archways
In the central archway, there is one of the large panels of Trajan's Dacian War on either wall. Inside the lateral archways, eight portraits busts (two on each wall), destroyed to such an extent that it is not possible to identify them any more.

The main inscription reads:


Which means in English:

To the Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantinus, the greatest, pious, and blessed Augustus: because he, inspired by the divine, and by the greatness of his mind, has delivered the state from the tyrant and all of his followers at the same time, with his army and just force of arms, the Senate and People of Rome have dedicated this arch, decorated with triumphs.

The words instinctu divinitatis ("inspired by the divine") have been much commented. They are usually read as sign of Constantine's shifting religious affiliation: The Christian tradition, most notably Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea, relate the story of a vision of the Christian god to Constantine during the campaign, and that he was victorious in the sign of the cross at the Milvian Bridge. The official documents (esp. coins) still prominently display the Sun God until 324 AD, while Constantine started to support the Christian church from 312 on. In this situation, the vague wording of the inscription can be seen as the attempt to please all possible readers, being deliberately ambiguous, and acceptable to both pagans and Christians. As was customary, the vanquished enemy is not mentioned by name, but only referred to as "the tyrant", drawing on the notion of the rightful killing of a tyrannical ruler; together with the image of the "just war", it serves as justification of Constantine's civil war against his co-emperor Maxentius.

Two short inscriptions on the inside of the central archway transport a similar message: Constantine came not as conqueror, but freed Rome from occupation:

LIBERATORI VRBIS (liberator of the city) - FUNDATORI QVIETIS (founder of peace)

Over each of the small archways, inscriptions read:


They give a hint on the date of the arch: "Solemn vows for the 10th anniversary - for the 20th anniversary" and "as for the 10th, so for the 20th anniversary". Both refer to Constantine's decennalia, i.e. the 10th anniversary of his reign (counted from 306), which he celebrated in Rome in the summer of 315 AD. It can be assumed that the arch honouring his victory was inaugurated during his stay in the city.

John Schou
Lucania Thourioi Stater 385 - 360 BC.83 viewsObv ; Helmeted head of Athena, helmet decorated with Skylla holding trident.
Rev ; QOURIWN, bull butting; fish in exergue.
G/aVF , 20.8 mm, 7.44 gr.


Thourioi, was a city of Magna Graecia on the Gulf of Tarentum, near the site of the older Sybaris. It owed its origin to an attempt made in 452 BC by Sybarite exiles and their descendants to re-people their old home. The new settlement was crushed by Croton, but the Athenians lent aid to the fugitives and in 443 BC Pericles sent out to Thourioi a mixed body of colonists from various parts of Greece, among whom were Herodotus and the orator Lysias.
The pretensions of the Sybarite colonists led to dissensions and ultimately to their expulsion; peace was made with Croton, and also, after a period of war, with Tarentum, and Thourioi rose rapidly in power and drew settlers from all parts of Greece, especially from Peloponnesus, so that the tie to Athens was not always acknowledged. The oracle of Delphi determined that the city had no founder but Apollo, and in the Athenian Expedition in Sicily Thourioi was at first neutral, though it finally helped the Athenians.

Thourioi had a democratic constitution and good laws, and, though we hear little of its history till in 390 BC it received a severe defeat from the rising power of the Lucanians. Many beautiful coins testify to the wealth and splendor of its days of prosperity.

In the 4th century BC it continued to decline, and at length called in the help of the Romans against the Lucanians, and then in 282 BC against Tarentum. Thenceforward its position was dependent, and in the Second Punic War, after several vicissitudes, it was depopulated and plundered by Hannibal in 204 BC.

From The Sam Mansourati Collection.
3 commentsSam
M163 viewsTrajan AR Denarius

Attribution: RIC II, 128, Rome
Date: AD 103-111
Obverse: IMP TRAIANO AVG GER DAC P M TR P, laureate head r.,
slight drapery on l. shoulder
Reverse: COS V P P S P Q R OPTIMO PRINC, Victory stg. l., half draped,
wreath in r. hand, palm in l.
Size: 18 mm
Weight: 3.50 grams
(Image of Trajan courtesy of Pat Lawrence: British Museum, London)

“His association with the people was marked by affability and his intercourse with the senate by dignity, so that he was loved by all and dreaded by none save the enemy.” - Cassius Dio Roman History LXVIII.15

Pliny’s Panegyric provides evidence that Trajan had senatorial approval. Due to his prowess as a conqueror, the legions also extended their support to the popular emperor. The reverse of this coin is fitting for Trajan. His campaigns against Dacia are perhaps the highlight of his entire reign; so much so, that the senate erected Trajan’s column to commemorate the victory. This impressive stone column (100 ft. high) contains a spiral frieze retelling the glorious Dacian campaign against the “barbarian” ruler Decebalus. Trajan overcame several obstacles, but achieved success through the capture of Sarmizegethusa where the Dacian royal house was plundered. Decebalus escaped, but was pursued relentlessly. He eventually committed suicide rather than risk capture by the “ruthless" Romans. His severed head was recovered and exhibited on the steps leading up to the Capitol in Rome. Upon Trajan’s death in AD 117, a precedent was set which all rulers following him would be measured against.
9 commentsNoah
Nabataea: Malichus II (40-70 CE) Æ Unit13 viewsNabataean Kingdom, Malichus II, 40 - 70 A.D., Petra mint, gVF; Bronze AE 16, BMC 4-5, S 5703, gVF, 2.88g, 16.5mm, Petra mint, obverse jugate laureate and draped bust of Malichus II and Shaquilath II right; reverse two cornucopias, crossed and filleted, Aramaic legend, "Malichus, Shaquilath" in two lines above and one below cornucopia. During the King Malichus II reign, in 32 BC Herod the Great started a war against Nabatea, with the support of Cleopatra. The war started with Herod's army plundering Nabataea and with a large cavalry force, and the occupation of Dium. After this defeat the Nabatean forces amassed near Canatha in Syria, but were attacked and routed. Athenio (Cleopatra's General) sent Canathans to the aid of the Nabateans, and this force crushed Herod's army which then fled to Ormiza. One year later, Herod's army overran Nabataea. [6]
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
1 commentsecoli
Sicily. Messana. The Mamertinoi. Ae Quadruple Unit (288-278 BC).24 views27 mm, 19.38 g

Obverse: APEOΣ Laureate head of Ares to right; behind, helmet.

Reverse: MAMEPTINΩN Eagle standing to left on thunderbolt.

Calciati I, 92, 3. SNG ANS 402.

After the tyrant of Syracuse Agathocles died in 289 BC, the majority of his mercenaries became unemployed. Some bands dispersed but the Mamertines attempted to stay in Syracuse. Hailing from Campania (a region in southern Italy), perhaps related to the Samnites, the civilized Greeks did not take kindly to a large armed mob of uncultured barbaroi loitering around the Hellenistic center of Sicily. Barred from settling in Syracuse, these mercenaries headed north until they came across the town of Messana on the north-east tip of Sicily.

The city offered its hospitality to the band of mercenaries and in return the mercenaries slaughtered many of the men and leading figures of the city and claimed it for themselves. The women and possessions were split among the mercenaries as their own. It was at this time that the mercenaries seem to officially proclaim themselves as the Mamertines as they began to mint their own coinage. The name Mamertines means the sons of Mamers, Mamers being an Italic war god with the Latin equivalent of Mars. Soon afterwards, the Italian town of Rhegium suffered a similar fate.

With Messana and its sister city of Rhegium across the strait, the Mamertines held a commanding position in Sicily and the shipping routes that passed through the Strait of Messina. With Messana as a base of operations the Mamertines were able to plunder, pirate, and raid the surrounding countryside with considerable success. Syracuse was unable to react immediately due to its internal political disorder. This left Sicily split between Carthage in the west and disunited Greeks and Mamertines elsewhere.

When Hiero II of Syracuse attempted to dislodge the Mamertines in 265, they enlisted the aid of a nearby Carthaginian fleet, whose swift intervention forced Hiero to withdraw. The Mamertines soon regretted the Carthaginian occupation and appealed to Rome for protection, citing their status as Italians. Rome was hesitant to become entangled in a conflict outside of Italy or to come to the aid of the piratical Mamertines. Yet Rome's fear of a Carthaginian stronghold so close to Italy—and greed for plunder in what they assumed would be a short war against Syracuse—outweighed their concerns. The Romans invaded Sicily and marched to the Mamertines' aid.

When the Mamertines learned that the Romans were approaching, they persuaded the Carthaginian general to withdraw his forces from the city. The general, regretting this decision to abandon the city, took the fateful steps of allying with Hiero. The combined Carthaginian and Syracusan forces then besieged Messana. After attempts to negotiate a truce failed, Carthage and Rome began hostilities. Both sides were confident of a quick and decisive victory. Neither side anticipated the horror that was to come: a ferocious, generation-long war that would transform the Roman and Carthaginian empires, upend the balance of power in the western Mediterranean, and set the stage for Hannibal's avenging assault on Italy.
Nathan P
Taras, Calabria57 views344-334 BC (Period IV)
AR Didrachm (20mm, 7.54g)
Signed by the Kal... engraver. 
O: Nude horseman right, wearing shield on left arm and holding two spears in left hand, preparing to thrust third spear held in right hand; |- behind, Δ before, ΚΑΛ and Δ below.
R: Phalanthos astride dolphin right, holding crested helmet; stars flanking, ΤΑΡΑΣ to left, ΚΑΛ below.
Vlasto 545; Cote 215; McGill II, 41; Evans IV, H3; HN Italy 896; SNG ANS 971; Sear 345
ex Monarch Beach

Archidamos III reigned as King of Sparta from 360 BC until his death in 338. Summoned by the Tarentines to assist them in the first Lucanian war, he lead a mercenary army to Manduria in Calabria, where he fell in battle against the combined forces of the Messapians and Lucanians.
The historian Diodorus suggests that the death of Archidamos and the massacre of his army was divine vengeance for his plundering of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.

The 4th century artist known to us only as the KAL engraver was arguably the finest die engraver in Magna Graecia. Specializing in common everyday scenes and eschewing the more aristocratic themes, his work had a certain elegance and sensitivity rarely seen in numismatic art.
The dolphin rider on this coin is bowing his head slightly and looking very pensively at the helmet in his hands. Is Phalanthos mourning for King Archidamos here? Sir Arthur Evans thought so, and the two stars on this reverse (one off flan), representing the Dioskouri and therefore Sparta the Mother City, lends credence to this idea. If so, then no other engraver could have captured this moment and this emotion quite like KAL…
1 commentsEnodia
Thrace, Apollonia Pontica36 viewsApollonia Pontica was founded by Miletos towards the end of the seventh century. Strabo says the greater part of the city occupied an offshore island, which must have been the present Sveti Kyrikos, but it extended over the Sozopol peninusla and Greeks also settled on the Atiya peninsula, a few kilometres to the north. The site was evidently chosen for its two excellent harbours - the city's emblem on coins was an anchor and a prawn - rather than trade. Its immediate hinterland was rugged and had no easy routes to the interior. The growing seaborne traffic plying the western Black Sea coast had shown the need for a port of call for revictualling and repairs between the Bosphoran harbours and such wealthy trading colonies as Histria and Olbia, established some half a century ealier further north." R F Hoddinott, Bulgaria in Antiquity, p 33

Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites Apollonia del Ponto: Two large gates and an island are known where the celebrated Sanctuary of Apollo and the major part of the ancient city were situated. A Greek inscription records the reconstruction of the ruined city and of the famous sanctuary by a Thracian tribe. The Imperial coins continue to use the name Apollonia until the 3d c. A.D., when the name Sozopol appears. During the Byzantine Empire Sozopol was the seat of a bishop, a rich and prosperous city that was frequented by the Genoese until it fell under Turkish domination in 1383. Today it is a modest town. Nothing of the ancient city remains visible above ground. Early excavations furnished little clarification. It is certainly on the island of St. Ciriaco where the stele of Anaxandros was found that the Temple of Apollo must be sought since all the material found in 1904, including a series of terracotta figurines datable to the 6th c. B.C., is connected with that cult; on the island of St. George there are traces of Byzantine construction. Both older and more recent excavations at Kalfata and the port of Giardino brought to light rich Greek necropoleis containing painted funerary vases dating between the 5th and the 2d c. B.C. The promontory is called Cape Kolokuntas (pumpkins) because of the great number of tumuli in the area. They are scattered over the upland and contain dromoi and funerary chambers, as was the Thracian custom. There are also cultural blendings as in the tumulus of Mapes, with dromoi and painted sarcophagi, where the Greek influence dominates.

Xenophon 7, 5 describes the Salmydessian coast between Apollonia and the Bosphorus:

...they [Xenophon and his troops] continued the march with Seuthes, and, keeping the Pontus upon the right through the country of the millet-eating Thracians, as they are called, arrived at Salmydessus. Here many vessels sailing to the Pontus run aground and are wrecked; for there are shoals that extend far and wide. [7.5.13] And the Thracians who dwell on this coast have boundary stones set up and each group of them plunder the ships that are wrecked within their own limits; but in earlier days, before they fixed the boundaries, it was said that in the course of their plundering many of them used to be killed by one another. [7.5.14] Here there were found great numbers of beds and boxes, quantities of written books, and an abundance of all the other articles that shipowners carry in wooden chests.

Apollonia Pontica, 450 - 400 BC. Silver Drachm. Anchor. / Gorgoneian facing with wild hair and a protruding tongure. VF
Thrace. Thasos (Circa 480-463 BC)31 viewsAR Stater

22 mm, 8.44 g

Obverse: Ithyphallic satyr advancing right, carrying off protesting nymph.
Reverse: Quadripartite incuse square.

Le Rider, Thasiennes, 5; SNG Copenhagen 1010-2; HGC 6, 331.

Both location and mineral riches aided the thriving economy of the North Aegean island of Thasos. According to Herodotos (VI, 46), the city derived 200-300 talents annually from her exploitation of its local silver mines as well as mines controlled on the Thracian mainland opposite the island city-state. Additionally, Thasos gained much material wealth as a producer and exporter of high quality wines, and it was perhaps due to this trade in wine that her coinage spread throughout the Aegean making it a widely recognized and accepted coinage in distant lands.

Thracians for the most part were illiterate, with no alphabet of their own and no written history or literature. Aristotle, though no doubt exaggerating, wrote that Thracians were unable to count beyond four. What we know about Thracians is largely through the prism of what the Greeks and Romans have written and from archeological findings (including coins). We know they were fiercely independent, powerful, and feared, excelling in warfare, horsemanship, and metalwork. Thracians regarded war and plunder as the noblest way of life. Another ancient Greek philosopher, Xenophanes, described Thracians as being "large, powerfully built men," with "a skin white, delicate and cold," and "largely red-haired." Among the noteworthy Thracians of history are thought to be the gladiator Spartacus and the fable-writer Aesop.

The motif of the satyr abducting a maenad appears on several northern Greek coins. In the case of Thasos, this Dionysiac motif served to promote the island's famous wine. Satyrs belong to the retinue of Dionysos (the god of wine) while maenads were the immortal female followers of Dionysos.

This particular series of coinage likely terminated with the capture of Thasos by Athens in 463 BC after its revolt two years earlier. The terms under which Thasos surrendered were harsh and involved the loss of most of her sources of revenue, except that from her famous wine.
1 commentsNathan P
Thurii, Lucania56 views300-280 BC
AR Didrachm (21mm, 7.67g)
O: Head of Athena right, wearing crested Attic helmet ornamented with Skylla hurling a stone.
R: Bull butting right; ΘOYPIΩN and ΘE above, tunny fish in ex.
SNG ANS 1081; HN Italy 1870; Sear 443v (no inscription on exergual line)
From the Frederick H. Rindge collection; ex Jack H. Beymer

Rising from the ruins of New Sybaris, Thurii was originally planned by Perikles of Athens as a Greek utopia. Scientists, artists, poets and philosophers from all over the Greek mainland were encouraged to immigrate to southern Italy around 443 BC to help establish this new city tucked against the mountains between two rivers on the west coast of the Tarentine Gulf. Among those accepting the challenge was Herodotus, who finished his ‘Histories’ here before his death in 420. The sophist Protagoras of Abdera also came, and was commissioned to write the new city’s democratic constitution.
However this idea of a peaceful colony of free-thinkers was destined to be short-lived. By 413 BC the colony was at war with mother-city Athens, and in 390 Thourii suffered a significant defeat by the Lucanians. In response the Thurians called in help from Rome to deal with this threat, and then again in 282 for its’ war with Taras. The city was plundered by Hannibal of Carthage during the second Punic war, who left it in ruin.
2 commentsEnodia
Titus RIC II 0112127 viewsTitus. 79-81 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 80 A.D. 1 Jan- 30 June. (3.46 g, 18.87 mm, 6h). Obv: r. to l, out-IMP TITVS CAES VESPASIAN AVG P M. Rev: l. to r., in-TRP IX IMP XV COS VIII PP, dolphin coiled around anchor. RIC 112, RSC 309, BMC 72, Sear 2517. Ex David Hendin.

This type may have been issued as a part of a series to commemorate the opening of the Flavian Amphitheater, or Colosseum which was begun under Vespasian and financed, at least in part, by the treasure plundered from the Jewish Temple during the sack of Jerusalem.
8 commentsLucas H
Turkey, Elaioussa Sebaste, Islands off Cilicia, Theater68 viewsElaiussa, meaning olive, was founded in the 2nd century B.C. on a tiny island attached to the the southern coast of Anatolia (in modern-day Turkey) by a narrow isthmus in Mediterranean Sea. During the reign of Augustus, the Cappadocian king Archelaus founded a new city on the isthmus. Archelaus called it Sebaste, which is the Greek equivalent word of the Latin "Augusta." The city entered a golden age when Vespasian purged Cilicia of pirates in 74 A.D. Towards the end of the 3rd century A.D. however its importance began to wane, due in large part to incursions by the Sassanian King Shapur I in 260 and later by the Isaurians. When its neighbor Corycus began to flourish in the 6th century A.D., Elaiussa Sebaste slowly disappeared from history.

The theater, dating to the 2nd century A.D., is small with only 23 rows of seats, whose steps and decorations unfortunately succumbed to centuries of plunder. Next to the theater is the agora, built in all great probability during the imperial period. At the entrance of the agora, which is surrounded by a semi-destroyed defense wall once rose two monumental fountains in the shape of lions. Inside the agora stands a large church, its floor is covered by sand to protect the mosaic pavement. Elaiussa's only temple stands outside the city on a hill overlooking the sea; only two of the Corinthian columns of this temple, which had 12 on the long and 6 on the short side originally, are standing today. A large bath complex among the lemon groves between the temple and the agora was built with a Roman technique little used in Anatolia. The necropolis is the richest and most impressive of cities of ancient Cilicia. The "Avenue of Graves," located on a hill to the north of the city, preserves close to a hundred graves of various shapes and sizes scattered among the lemon trees. The ancient aqueducts that carried water to the ruins from the Lamos ("Lemon") river also adorn the city’s two entrances. The aqueduct to the west of the city in particular is in relatively good condition. Centuries ago the aqueduct actually ran all the way to Corycus.
Joe Sermarini
Vespasian RIC II 155962 viewsVespasian 69-79 A.D. AR Denarius. Antioch Mint 72-73 A.D. (3.18g, 17.2mm, 6h). Obv: IMP CAES VESP AVG P M COS IIII, laureate head right. Rev: Vespasian standing right in quadriga with branch and sceptre. RIC II 1563, RPC II 1931, RCV 2279.

Commemorating the Judea Capta Triumphal parade, celebrated in 71 AD., this is one of the more rarely issued eastern denari of the Flavian reign. Typical of Antioch, this coin has a high relief portrait. This is issue formed part of the last issue of Vespasian’s denarii from the Syrian region. The suppression of the revolt in Judea was the highpoint of the Flavians' successes, and allowed Vespasian to have much needed coin from the plunder of the Second Temple in Jerusalum, coin that his predecessors, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius lacked as they assumed the purple.
5 commentsLucas H
[1117] Tacitus, 25 September 275 - 12 April 276 A.D.51 viewsSilvered Antoninianus. RIC 210. Weight, Size. aVF. Minted in Antioch. Obverse:– IMP C M CL TACITVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; Reverse:– CLEMENTIA TEMP, Emperor standing right receiving globe from Jupiter, both holding scepters, Z below figures; XXI in exegrue. Ex Maridvnvm.

De Imperatoribus Romanis, An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Tacitus (275-276 A.D.)

Robin Mc Mahon
New York University

Full name, Marcus Claudius Tacitus; name as Emperor, Imperator Caesar Marcus Claudius Tacitus Pius Felix Invictus Augustus. We have no reliable information on the earlier career of the Emperor Tacitus. All that is known with any degree of certainty is that in 273 he was consul along with Julius Placidianus. All the statements in the Historia Augusta regarding Tacitus' earlier career, including the claim he was related to the historian Tacitus, have been rejected by historians as fictitious. The most reliable sources for Tacitus' reign, Zosimus and Zonaras, state that he was chosen Emperor by the army following the assassination of Aurelian in the fall of 275, most likely in November. At the time of his elevation he was in Interamna (modern Terni, about 60 miles north of Rome). From there he made his way to Rome where he was confirmed as Emperor by the Senate. Tradition has it that he was 75 years old at the time, but there is no way to confirm this.

As Emperor, Tacitus first had Aurelian deified, then seized and executed many individuals involved in plotting Aurelian's murder. Tacitus then turned his attention to the defense of the Empire. Although the Franks, Alamanni, and Longiones posed threats in the north, Tacitus determined that the greater danger lay in the East. Aurelian had enlisted the aid of several barbarian tribes, including the Heruli and Maeotidae (referred to as Scythians in the sources), for a projected invasion of Parthia. Aurelian's murder cancelled these plans. Feeling cheated of their opportunity for plunder, the tribes attacked the Roman provinces in Asia Minor, overrunning Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia and Cilicia, and caused terrible destruction. Tacitus appointed his half-brother Florian Praetorian Prefect. They campaigned in the East against the invaders, winning Tacitus the title Gothicus Maximus.

Tacitus, however, did not long enjoy his victory: on his way back to Europe, he died. Zosimus and Zonaras preserve the report that Tacitus had appointed a relative of his, Maximinus, as governor of Syria. Maximinus was murdered; then the assassins, fearing Tacitus's reaction, murdered him. It was alleged that some of them had also had a hand in murdering Aurelian. The Historia Augusta more eccentrically reports that Tacitus became ill with a fever and started showing signs of megalomania: but as the month September Tacitus allegedly wanted named after himself dates his accession incorrectly, the story appears to be a fabrication. Tacitus died some time in June of 276. His memory was neither condemned nor deified.

Tacitus held the consulship at least twice, first in 273 and again in 276. There is numismatic evidence of a third consulship but there is no record of a third in any of the fasti, that is, the lists of consuls. Because of the paucity of the sources and the brevity of his reign, little can be said of his policies. It is unlikely that the military would choose as Emperor anyone like the contemplative, abstemious civilian the Historia Augusta portrays. A hint may be given by the fact that Tacitus's colleague in the consulship of 273, Julius Placidianus, commanded an army corps in Narbonensis and later went on to be a Praetorian Perfect. Nevertheless, some numismatic and epigraphic evidence suggests that Tacitus sought to strike a milder tone than his predecessor. Prominent among his coin legends is Clementia Temporum [the reverse type in my collection]. Unlike both Aurelian and Tacitus' successor, Probus, Tacitus did not take the title, deus et dominus natus ["born god and master"]. He also issued no Sol Invictus coins honoring Aurelian's favorite deity. Some of his coins revive the SC (senatus consulto) marking senatorial authority for the issue, which had been missing in previous reigns. Tacitus also used the Genius Senatus, inscriptions which had disappeared under Valerian. Further, in some inscriptions he is styled auctor verae libertatis ["originator of true liberty"], and on coins restitutor rei publicae ["restorer of the state"].


Tacitus largely fell out of the ancient historiographical record. The best sources are Zosimus and Zonaras. The Historia Augusta creates its own fiction of Tacitus out of forged documents, bogus names and faulty chronology. Tacitus deserved better than oblivion or fabrication, having halted potentially serious raiding in the East.

Two problems emerge from the evidence for Tacitus's short reign. The first is the six-month interregnum said to have intervened between the death of Aurelian and Tacitus' accession. The years 260-285 have been the subject of close chronological scrutiny, and it has been shown that, although there might have been a brief interval between emperors (something not uncommon), amounting to a few weeks, anything longer is not possible. The error appears to have originated in the Latin historians, who confused the duration of Tacitus' and Florian's reign with the brief period between the reigns of Aurelian and Tacitus.

The second question is whether or not the edict of the Emperor Gallienus, which had excluded senators from military commands and any other dealings with the military, was set aside during the reigns of Tacitus and Florian. Aurelius Victor reports that Gallienus, acting largely through fear of revolts and usurpation, replaced the senators in military offices with Equites. Several passages in the Historia Augusta claim that these edicts were suspended for the duration of the reigns of Tacitus and Florian. The overwhelming consensus among historians, however, is that the passages in the Historia Augusta are unhistorical: no credible evidence suggests that Gallienus' edicts were even temporarily set aside.

Copyright (C) 2000, Robin Mc Mahon. Used by permission.

Tacitus was an elderly senator in the reign of Aurelian, and after the latter's death was selected as Augustus by the senate. After personally leading his army in a successful campaign against a Gothic invasion, the emperor, aged around 75, died (Joseph Sermarini, FORVM;

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

[1206] Tetricus I, mid 271 - spring 274 A.D. (Mainz or Trier)45 viewsBronze antoninianus, RIC 88, S 11239, aVF, Mainz or Trier, 2.151g, 18.0mm, 0o, 273 - 274 A.D.; obverse IMP TETRICVS P F AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse LAETITIA AVGG, Laetitia standing left, wreath in right, anchor in left.

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

Tetricus (271-274 AD)

Michel Polfer
Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg

Of noble origin, C. Pius Esuvius Tetricus was the last emperor of the so-called imperium Galliarum. According to Eutropius (Eutrop. 9.10), he had senatorial rank and occupied the post of praeses provinciae Aquitaniae at the time when Victorinus was murdered at Cologne in early 271 AD. Through the influence of Victoria, the mother of Victorinus, who bribed the troops in his favour, Tetricus, although absent, was proclaimed emperor and took the purple near Burdigalia (Bordeaux) (Eutrop. 9.10) in spring of the same year.

Tetricus I was recognised as legitimate emperor in Gaul and Britain, but not in Spain. On his way from Burdigalia to Augusta Treverorum (Trier), he fought a successful campaign against Germanic hordes which had taken the opportunity offered by the murder of Victorinus to cross the Rhine frontier and to plunder. Installed in his capital only at the end of 271 AD, Tetricus I again had to engage the Germans early in the following year. At the end of this campaign, in late 272 AD, he returned to establish himself in Trier, which remained his capital until his overthrow by the emperor Aurelian. It was in Trier that he celebrated his entry into his second consulship on 1 January 273 and that he elevated, probably in late spring or early summer of the same year, his son Tetricus II to the rank of Caesar.

Tetricus I took no steps to extend the authority of his Gallic Empire beyond Gaul and Britain, thus leaving the initiative to the legitimate emperor Aurelian. While Aurelian was still campaigning in the East, Tetricus I was, however, able to restore the authority of the Gallic Empire in south-eastern Aquitania and western Narbonensis, which had since the reign of Claudius Gothicus been controlled by the Empire.

On his victorious return from the eastern part of the empire in 273 AD, Aurelian immediately set out for the reconquest of the western part of the Empire. Tetricus I and his son - who had spent late 273 and early 274 AD in Trier and had entered there upon their first joint consulship on 1 January 274 AD - had to move southwards to meet Aurelian and his army advancing into northern Gaul. The decisive battle took place in February or March 274 AD, near Châlons-sur-Marne. During the battle, Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II surrendered to Aurelian, while their troops, left to fend for themselves, continued to fight in despair, thus causing heavy losses on both sides.

According to some literary sources (SHA Tyr. Trig. 24. 3; Eutrop. 9.13.2; Aurel. Vict. 35.4), Tetricus I, wearied by the insubordination of his soldiers and facing the revolt of Faustinus, had previously offered to betray his army if Aurelian would come to his rescue, quoting Vergil in his letter to Aurelian: "eripe me his, invicte, malis" (Vergil, Aen. VI, 365). The victorious Aurelian spared the life of both Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II.

In spring of 274 AD, both Tetrici were put on display in Rome during Aurelian's triumph, but Aurelian kept his side of the bargain and pardoned them. Tetricus I was even given the office of corrector Lucaniae (Aurel. Vict. 35.5; Eutrop 9.13) and quietly ended his life in Italy, where he died at an advanced age at an unknown date (Eutrop. 9.13).

It is, however, likely that this account of the end of the Gallic Empire only reflects the position of the Aurelianic propaganda and it is therefore open to suspicion. There is good evidence to suggest that Tetricus I remained resolute and confident in his political and military strength to the last and did not betray his troops. After his military defeat at Châlons-sur-Marne and his subsequent humiliation, he would thus have owed his life not to his own previous treachery, but rather to Aurelian's need to establish and stabilise his own administration in the western part of the empire.

Copyright by Michel Polfer, Centre Universitaire de Luxembourg; published on De ImperatoribusRomanis, An Online Encyclopedia of the Roman Emperors and their Families;

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
[2402] Kingdom of Pergamon, Attalos I AR Tetradrachm. 241-197 BC.89 viewsAttalos I, AR Tetradrachm. SNG von Aulock 1358. 28mm - 16.8 grams. aVF. Obverse: Laureate & diademed head of Philetairos right; Reverse: FILETAIROU, Athena enthroned left, holding wreath in right hand, left elbow resting on shield set on ground behind, spear below; grape bunch to outer left, A to inner left, bow to outer right. Ex Nemesis.

Attalus I

Attalus I (in Greek Attalos) Soter (Greek: "Savior"; 269 BC – 197 BC) ruled Pergamon, a Greek polis in what is now Turkey, first as dynast, later as king, from 241 BC to 197 BC. He was the second cousin (some say the grand-nephew) and the adoptive son of Eumenes I, whom he succeeded, and was the first of the Attalid dynasty to assume the title of king in 238 BC. He was the son of Attalus (in Greek Attalos) and wife Antiochis, Princess of Syria.

Attalus won an important victory over the Galatians, newly arrived Celtic tribes from Thrace, who had been, for more than a generation, plundering and exacting tribute throughout most of Asia Minor without any serious check. This victory, celebrated by the triumphal monument at Pergamon, famous for its Dying Gaul, and the liberation from the Gallic "terror" which it represented, earned for Attalus the name of "Soter", and the title of "king."

A courageous and capable general and loyal ally of Rome, he played a significant role in the first and second Macedonian Wars, waged against Philip V of Macedon. He conducted numerous naval operations, harassing Macedonian interests throughout the Aegean, winning honors, collecting spoils, and gaining for Pergamon possession of the Greek islands of Aegina during the first war, and Andros during the second, twice narrowly escaping capture at the hands of Philip.

He died in 197 BC, shortly before the end of the second war, at the age of 72, having suffered an apparent stroke while addressing a Boeotian war council some months before. He enjoyed a famously happy domestic life, shared with his wife and four sons. He was succeeded as king by his son Eumenes II.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

37 files on 1 page(s)