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Search results - "otho"
otho1~0.jpg
28 viewssalem
REVERSESl.jpg
123 viewsThis "Otho" with "VÍCTORIA PR" reverse is an ingenious fabrication created by the famous forger "Tardani". He had obviously realized that there were a few VICTORIA OTHONIS dies recut from Galba's VICTORIA PR dies and created this fictitious but possible coin with copies of real dies. I used to have this coin and another with the same dies is in the Berlin coin cabinet. Both are overweight, around 3.9 gr. It took some time to find a Galba minted with this particular reverse die but finally I succeeded. The final proof is seen in this coin, there are a few regions were the die has broken, ie before the die ever could have been used for an Otho coin. The coin is quite convincing because of the dies, but the surfaces were a bit strange and the legends unusual in profile.jmuona
OTHO_TAG.jpg
8 12 viewsSosius
Otho_Den_3.jpg
8 Otho Denarius51 viewsOTHO
AR Denarius
Jan. 15-March 8, 69 A.D.
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P Bare head r. / SEC – VRI – TAS P R Securitas standing l., holding wreath in r. hand and sceptre in l.
RIC 8
Ex Coliseum Coins
RI0045
4 commentsSosius
rjb_2017_07_04.jpg
6936 viewsOtho 69 AD
AR tetradrachm
Alexandria in Egypt
Obv "AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, LA"
Laureate bust right
Rev "EΛEYΘEPIA"
Eleutheria standing left holding wreath and transverse sceptre, leaning on a column
RPC I 5359, Milne 365
3 commentsmauseus
AncientRomanEmpire-AR-denarius-Otho-062500.jpg
Ancient Rome (Imperial): silver denarius of Otho, ca. January-April, 69 AD29 viewslordmarcovan
augustus_1.jpg
(02) AUGUSTUS32 views27 BC - 14 AD
struck ca. 7 BC
AE As 27 mm, 6.04 g
O: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, bare head right.
R: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F around large S C.
cf. RIC 431
Moneyer: M. Salvius Otho
laney
OTHO_RED.jpg
(08) OTHO46 viewsOTHO
69 AD
AR Billon Tetradrachm
O: LAUREATE HEAD OF OTHO, RIGHT
R: EIRENE, VEILED
ALEXANDRIA MINT
1 commentslaney
otho_denar_2rs.jpg
(08) OTHO70 views69 AD
AR Denarius 3.1 g
O: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right.
R: SECVRITAS P R, Securitas standing left, holding wreath in extended right hand and cradling long sceptre in left arm.
Rome, RIC 8
1 commentslaney
otho_eirene.jpg
(08) OTHO21 views69 AD
AR Billon Tetradrachm 24 mm; 10.83 g
O: LAUREATE HEAD OF OTHO, RIGHT
R: EIRENE, VEILED
ALEXANDRIA MINT
laney
otho_den_securitas.jpg
(08) OTHO24 views69 AD.
AR Denarius (17-18 mm, 3.15 g)
Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, Bare head to right.
Rev. SECVRITAS P R Securitas standing left, holding wreath and scepter.
Rome mint, RIC 8; BMC 17.
laney
roma_numis_auction_otho_glk_2.jpg
(08) OTHO13 views15 January - 8 March 69 AD
AR Denarius 18 mm, 2.82 g
O: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right
R: SECVRITAS P R, Securitas, draped, standing left, holding wreath in extended right hand, cradling sceptre in left arm
Rome; RIC 10; BMCRE 19; BN 11-13. Very Rare
Ex. Roma Numismatics auction 01.2019
laney
coins211.JPG
006a. Nero / Poppaea31 viewsAlexandria, Egypt: Nero / Poppaea

Poppaea was married first to Rufrius Crispinus, then to the future (brief) emperor Otho. When Poppaea became mistress of the emperor Nero, Otho's friend, Nero appointed Otho to an important post as governor of Lusitai. Nero married Poppaea, and Poppaea was given the title Augusta. Poppaea and Nero had a daughter, Claudia, who did not live long. Poppaea urged Nero to kill his mother, Agrippina the Younger, and to divorce and later murder his first wife, Octavia. She is also reported to have persuaded Nero to kill the philosopher Seneca, who had supported Nero's previous mistress, Acte Claudia. Nero supposedly kicked her when she was pregnant in 65 C.E. and she died.

Billon tetradrachm, AD 54-68 (year 10 = AD 64) . 11.79gm, 24mm. Radiate head of Nero right / Bust of Poppaea right. Emmett 128 (10); Milne 218. F+ with some corrosion on reverse. Purchased from C. & L. Deland in 1973.
ecoli
101112.jpg
008. Otho 69 AD314 viewsOTHO. 69 AD.

Otho remains an enigma - part profligate Neronian wastrel and part conscientious military commander willing to give his life for the good of the state. Our sources are at a loss to explain the paradox. Neither Otho's person nor his bearing suggested such great courage. He is said to have been of moderate height, splay-footed and bandy-legged, but almost feminine in his care of his person. He had the hair of his body plucked out, and because of the thinness of his locks wore a wig so carefully fashioned and fitted to his head, that no one suspected it. Moreover, they say that he used to shave every day and smear his face with moist bread, beginning the practice with the appearance of the first down, so as never to have a beard; also that he used to celebrate the rites of Isis publicly in the linen garment prescribed by the cult.

AR Denarius (18mm, 3.20 gm). Bare head left / Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre. RIC I 12; RSC 19. Fine. Ex-CNG
2 commentsecoli73
AS Augusto RIC 431.jpg
01-24 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)74 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 28 mm 11.7 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "CAESAR AVGVST[PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "M SALVIVS OTH[O III VI]R A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #431 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 Pag.331 - BMCRE #226 (=BMCRR #4693) - Cohen Vol.1 #515 Pag.139 - DVM #100b Pag.71 - CBN #687
mdelvalle
RIC_431_AS_Octavio_Augusto.jpg
01-24 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)22 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 28 mm 11.7 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "CAESAR AVGVST[PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "M SALVIVS OTH[O III VI]R A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #431 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 Pag.331 - BMCRE #226 (=BMCRR #4693) - Cohen Vol.1 #515 Pag.139 - DVM #100b Pag.71 - CBN #687
mdelvalle
AS Augusto RIC 431_1.jpg
01-25 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)62 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 25 mm 7.3 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "CAESAR AVGVST [PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "M SALVIVS OTH[O III VI]R A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #431 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 Pag.331 - BMCRE #226 (=BMCRR #4693) - Cohen Vol.1 #515 Pag.139 - DVM #100b Pag.71 - CBN #687
mdelvalle
RIC_431_AS_Octavio_Augusto_1.jpg
01-25 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)22 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 25 mm 7.3 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "CAESAR AVGVST [PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "M SALVIVS OTH[O III VI]R A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #431 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 Pag.331 - BMCRE #226 (=BMCRR #4693) - Cohen Vol.1 #515 Pag.139 - DVM #100b Pag.71 - CBN #687
mdelvalle
AS Augusto RIC 432.jpg
01-26 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)107 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 27 mm 9.6 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "[CAE]SAR AVGVST PONT [MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a izquierda.
Rev: "M SALVI[VS OT]HO III VIR A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #432 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 var Pag.331 - Cohen Vol.1 #516 Pag.139 - DVM #100b var Pag.71 - CBN #708
mdelvalle
RIC_432_AS_Octavio_Augusto.jpg
01-26 - AUGUSTO (27 A.C. - 14 D.C.)25 viewsAE AS (Serie de los Triunviros Monetales) 27 mm 9.6 gr.
Legado Monetario M SALVIUS OTHO

Anv: "[CAE]SAR AVGVST PONT [MAX TRIBVNIC POT]" - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a izquierda.
Rev: "M SALVI[VS OT]HO III VIR A A A F F" - Leyenda alrededor de gran "S C ".
"SENATUS CONSULTO" - Era potestad del Senado la promulgación de la acuñación de las emisiones de bronce (cobre) - Ley Julia (19-15 A.C.)

Acuñada 7 A.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: C

Referencias: RIC Vol.1 #432 Pag.75 - Sear RCTV Vol.1 #1685 var Pag.331 - Cohen Vol.1 #516 Pag.139 - DVM #100b var Pag.71 - CBN #708
mdelvalle
Personajes_Imperiales_2.jpg
02 - Personalities of the Empire58 viewsCalígula, Claudius, Britannicus , Agrippina jr., Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Domitila, Titus, Domitia and Julia Titi1 commentsmdelvalle
Otho-RIC-6.jpg
031. Otho.16 viewsDenarius, 69 AD, Rome mint.
Obverse: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG / bust of Otho.
Reverse: PONT MAX / Ceres standing, holding corn ears and cornucopiae.
3.22 gm., 18 mm.
RIC #6.
Callimachus
Galba,_RIC_204.jpg
07 01 Galba RIC 20449 viewsGalba. 8 June 68-15 Jan. 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. (3.22g, 19.3mm, 6 h). Obv: IMP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG, bust, laureate draped right. Rev: ROMA RENASCES, Roma standing left, holding Victory on globe and transverse eagle tipped scepter. RIC 204. Ex HBJ.

Galba’s reign marked the end of the Julio-Claudian’s rule of Rome. Rated R3 in the RIC, this type appears fairly scarce with 2 examples in the Reka Devnia hoard, and only 2 in Berk’s photofile. Galba, the first of the 4 emperors of 69 A.D, was governor of Hispania Tarraconensis during Nero’s reign. He was assassinated after 7 months of rule and succeeded by his former supporter, Otho
3 commentsLucas H
Galba_RIC_I_189.jpg
07 Galba RIC I 18937 viewsGalba April 3-Jan. 15, 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint 69 A.D. (3.15g, 18.9m, 6h). Obv: [I]MP SER GALBA CAESAR AVG, laureate and draped bust right. Rev: [DI]VA AVGVSTA, Livia standing left, holding patera and scepter. RIC I 189, RSC 55a. ACCG IV, 59.

Upon Nero’s death, Galba was governor of Hispania Terraconensis, and marched to Rome. His short reign was ended by his murder in a plot hatched by Otho and the Praetorians. Many of his economic measures had been unpopular, including his refusal to “bribe” the Praetorians upon his ascension.
1 commentsLucas H
galba,_RIC_I_167.jpg
07 Galba, RIC I 16749 viewsGalba July, 68-Jan., 69. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Aug-Oct 68 A.D. (3.07g, 17.8mm, 6h). Obv: IMP SER GALBA AVG, bare head right. Rev: SPQR OB CS in 3 lines within oak wreath. RIC I 167, RSC 287, Sear 2109.

Upon the death of Nero, Galba’s troops proclaimed him emperor on April 3, 68 A.D. Governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, he marched on Rome and assumed the throne, but was assassinated in a plot by Otho on January 15, 69 beginning the year of 4 emperors.
1 commentsLucas H
Otho.jpg
07 Otho53 viewsOtho AR Denarius. Rome Mint, 69 AD. IMP OTHO CAES(AR AVG TR P), bewigged head right / PAX ORBIS (TERR)ARVM, Pax standing left, holding branch and caduceus. RSC 4a. Weight 3.27 g. Die Axis 6 hr.1 commentsmix_val
Otho_RIC_I_3_1.jpg
08 01 Otho RIC I 483 viewsOtho. 15 Jan. to April 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 69 A.D. (3.27g, 18.9mm, 6h). Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right. Obv: PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax, draped, standing left, right holding branch, and left caduceus. RIC I 4, RCV 2156, RSC 3. Ex Warren Esty Personal Collection.

At 3 months, Otho had the shortest reign in the Year of the Four Emperors. During much of Nero’s reign, Otho administered Lusitania, and followed Galba when he marched on Rome. Upon Galba’s naming another as his successor to the throne, with some of the rankers of the Praetorian Guard, Otho staged a coup, had Galba murdered, and was declared Emperor.

THis is an odd reverse message for an emperor complicit in the murder of his one-time allie and predecessor Galba, while the legeons of Vitellius were Marching on Rome. PAX ORBIS TERRARVM "Peace on the Earth" is ironic given the civil war going on in Rome at the time.
5 commentsLucas H
Otho_RIC_I_12~0.jpg
08 02 Otho RIC I 1221 viewsOtho. 15 Jan. to April 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. 69 A.D. (3.23, 18.5mm, 6h). Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head left. SECVRITAS P R, Securitas standing left, wreath in right, scepter in left. RIC I 12, RSC 19. Ex Forum.

While coins of Otho are fairly rare given the short length of his reign, this issue is perhaps more so with the left facing bust. (RIC 3). Otho supported Galba’s revolt, and then turned on Galba when he wasn't named Galba's heir. He committed suicide after his forces were defeated by those of Vitellius during the Year of the Four Emperors. A nicely centered and well toned coin.
Lucas H
othocomb.jpg
08. OTHO25 views69 AD
AR Billon Tetradrachm
O: LAUREATE HEAD OF OTHO, RIGHT
R: EIRENE, VEILED
ALEXANDRIA MINT
laney
Vitellius_RIC_I_81.jpg
09 01 Vitellius RIC I 8167 viewsVitellius 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Rome Mint. Late April-Dec 20, 69 A.D. (2.91g, 18.8mm, 5h). Obv: A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TR P, laureate head right. Rev: LIBERTAS RESTITVTA, Libertas, draped, standing facing, head right, r. holding pileus, l. scepter. RIC I 81, RSC 48. Ex CNG 258, Lot 367.

In the year of 4 emperors, Vitellius assumed the throne after his German legions proclaimed him emperor, marched on Rome, and murdered Otho. Vitellius only ruled for mere months before Vespasian’s eastern legions arrived and murdered him in turn. He was known for his gluttony. I have a Vitellius denarius, but couldn't help picking up this nice example from a reputable dealer for a reasonable price.
2 commentsLucas H
Civil_Wars_RIC_I_121.jpg
09.5 Civil Wars RIC I 12148 viewsCivil Wars. 69 A.D. AR Denarius. Southern Gaul mint. 69 A.D. (2.97g, 18.5mm, 6h). Obv: FIDES, above EXERCITVVM, below clasped hands. Rev: FIDES, above,PRAETORIANORVM, blow, Clasped r. hands. RIC I 121; RCV 2048.

This is thought to be an issue by pro Vitellian forces in southern Gaul for the purpose of influencing Otho’s Praetorians in the capital. In March 69 AD, Vitellian commander Fabius Valens entered Italy from Southern Gaul at the head of a small band to sway the loyalty of Otho’s forces, and this type of coin would have been “bribe” money for that purpose.
1 commentsLucas H
12_caes_portraits_coll_res_lt.jpg
12 CAESARS PORTRAITS164 viewsObverse images from my collection.
R 1: Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula
R 2: Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho
R 3: Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, Domitian
2 commentslaney
RIC_8_Denario_Oton_1.jpg
16-01 - OTÓN (15/01/69 - 16/04/69 D.C.)21 viewsAR Denario 16/18 mm 3.0 gr.

Anv: "IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P " - Busto a cabeza desnuda viendo a derecha.
Rev: "SECV-RI-TAS P R" - Securitas (La Seguridad) estante a izq. portando guirnalda/corona de laureles en mano der. y cetro vert. en izq.

Acuñada 69 D.C.
Ceca: Roma
Rareza: R2

Referencias: RIC I #8 P.260, Sear RCTV I #2162 P.417, BMCRE I #17 P.366, Cohen I #17 P.353, DVM #8 Pag.45, CBN #10, RSC II #17 P.33
mdelvalle
Saladin_A788.jpg
1701a, Saladin, 1169-11932029 viewsAYYUBID: Saladin, 1169-1193, AR dirham (2.92g), Halab, AH580, A-788, lovely struck, well-centered & bold, Extremely Fine, Scarce.

His name in Arabic, in full, is SALAH AD-DIN YUSUF IBN AYYUB ("Righteousness of the Faith, Joseph, Son of Job"), also called AL-MALIK AN-NASIR SALAH AD-DIN YUSUF I (b. 1137/38, Tikrit, Mesopotamia--d. March 4, 1193, Damascus), Muslim sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and the most famous of Muslim heroes.

In wars against the Christian crusaders, he achieved final success with the disciplined capture of Jerusalem (Oct. 2, 1187), ending its 88-year occupation by the Franks. The great Christian counterattack of the Third Crusade was then stalemated by Saladin's military genius.

Saladin was born into a prominent Kurdish family. On the night of his birth, his father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, gathered his family and moved to Aleppo, there entering the service of 'Imad ad-Din Zangi ibn Aq Sonqur, the powerful Turkish governor in northern Syria. Growing up in Ba'lbek and Damascus, Saladin was apparently an undistinguished youth, with a greater taste for religious studies than military training.
His formal career began when he joined the staff of his uncle Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, an important military commander under the amir Nureddin, son and successor of Zangi. During three military expeditions led by Shirkuh into Egypt to prevent its falling to the Latin-Christian (Frankish) rulers of the states established by the First Crusade, a complex, three-way struggle developed between Amalric I, the Latin king of Jerusalem, Shawar, the powerful vizier of the Egyptian Fatimid caliph, and Shirkuh. After Shirkuh's death and after ordering Shawar's assassination, Saladin, in 1169 at the age of 31, was appointed both commander of the Syrian troops and vizier of Egypt.

His relatively quick rise to power must be attributed not only to the clannish nepotism of his Kurdish family but also to his own emerging talents. As vizier of Egypt, he received the title king (malik), although he was generally known as the sultan. Saladin's position was further enhanced when, in 1171, he abolished the Shi'i Fatimid caliphate, proclaimed a return to Sunnah in Egypt, and consequently became its sole ruler.

Although he remained for a time theoretically a vassal of Nureddin, that relationship ended with the Syrian emir's death in 1174. Using his rich agricultural possessions in Egypt as a financial base, Saladin soon moved into Syria with a small but strictly disciplined army to claim the regency on behalf of the young son of his former suzerain.
Soon, however, he abandoned this claim, and from 1174 until 1186 he zealously pursued a goal of uniting, under his own standard, all the Muslim territories of Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt.

This he accomplished by skillful diplomacy backed when necessary by the swift and resolute use of military force. Gradually, his reputation grew as a generous and virtuous but firm ruler, devoid of pretense, licentiousness, and cruelty. In contrast to the bitter dissension and intense rivalry that had up to then hampered the Muslims in their resistance to the crusaders, Saladin's singleness of purpose induced them to rearm both physically and spiritually.

Saladin's every act was inspired by an intense and unwavering devotion to the idea of jihad ("holy war")-the Muslim equivalent of the Christian crusade. It was an essential part of his policy to encourage the growth and spread of Muslim religious institutions.

He courted its scholars and preachers, founded colleges and mosques for their use, and commissioned them to write edifying works especially on the jihad itself. Through moral regeneration, which was a genuine part of his own way of life, he tried to re-create in his own realm some of the same zeal and enthusiasm that had proved so valuable to the first generations of Muslims when, five centuries before, they had conquered half the known world.

Saladin also succeeded in turning the military balance of power in his favour-more by uniting and disciplining a great number of unruly forces than by employing new or improved military techniques. When at last, in 1187, he was able to throw his full strength into the struggle with the Latin crusader kingdoms, his armies were their equals. On July 4, 1187, aided by his own military good sense and by a phenomenal lack of it on the part of his enemy, Saladin trapped and destroyed in one blow an exhausted and thirst-crazed army of crusaders at Hattin, near Tiberias in northern Palestine.

So great were the losses in the ranks of the crusaders in this one battle that the Muslims were quickly able to overrun nearly the entire Kingdom of Jerusalem. Acre, Toron, Beirut, Sidon, Nazareth, Caesarea, Nabulus, Jaffa (Yafo), and Ascalon (Ashqelon) fell within three months.

But Saladin's crowning achievement and the most disastrous blow to the whole crusading movement came on Oct. 2, 1187, when Jerusalem, holy to both Muslim and Christian alike, surrendered to the Sultan's army after 88 years in the hands of the Franks. In stark contrast to the city's conquest by the Christians, when blood flowed freely during the barbaric slaughter of its inhabitants, the Muslim reconquest was marked by the civilized and courteous behaviour of Saladin and his troops. His sudden success, which in 1189 saw the crusaders reduced to the occupation of only three cities, was, however, marred by his failure to capture Tyre, an almost impregnable coastal fortress to which the scattered Christian survivors of the recent battles flocked. It was to be the rallying point of the Latin counterattack.

Most probably, Saladin did not anticipate the European reaction to his capture of Jerusalem, an event that deeply shocked the West and to which it responded with a new call for a crusade. In addition to many great nobles and famous knights, this crusade, the third, brought the kings of three countries into the struggle.

The magnitude of the Christian effort and the lasting impression it made on contemporaries gave the name of Saladin, as their gallant and chivalrous enemy, an added lustre that his military victories alone could never confer on him.

The Crusade itself was long and exhausting, and, despite the obvious, though at times impulsive, military genius of Richard I the Lion-Heart, it achieved almost nothing. Therein lies the greatest-but often unrecognized--achievement of Saladin. With tired and unwilling feudal levies, committed to fight only a limited season each year, his indomitable will enabled him to fight the greatest champions of Christendom to a draw. The crusaders retained little more than a precarious foothold on the Levantine coast, and when King Richard set sail from the Orient in October 1192, the battle was over.

Saladin withdrew to his capital at Damascus. Soon, the long campaigning seasons and the endless hours in the saddle caught up with him, and he died. While his relatives were already scrambling for pieces of the empire, his friends found that the most powerful and most generous ruler in the Muslim world had not left enough money to pay for his own grave.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
H.A.R. Gibb, "The Arabic Sources for the Life of Saladin," Speculum, 25:58-72 (1950). C.W. Wilson's English translation of one of the most important Arabic works, The Life of Saladin (1897), was reprinted in 1971. The best biography to date is Stanley Lane-Poole, Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, new ed. (1926, reprinted 1964), although it does not take account of all the sources.
See: http://stp.ling.uu.se/~kamalk/language/saladin.html
Ed. J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
NeroTetPoppaea.jpg
1as Poppaea38 viewsWife of Nero, died 65 AD

Tetradrachm

Radiate head, right, NERW LKAU KAIS SEB GER AV
Poppaea, portrait right, POPPAIA SEBASTH, LIA to rt

Milne 209

Poppaea Sabina (AD 30-65) after AD 63 known as Poppaea Augusta Sabina and sometimes referred to as Poppaea Sabina the Younger to differentiate her from her mother of the same name, was the second wife of the Emperor Nero from AD 62. Prior to this she was the wife of the future Emperor Otho. Suetonius noted, "He married two wives after Octavia. The first was Poppaea Sabina (from AD 62), daughter of an ex-quaestor, married at that time to a Roman knight. . . . Nero doted on Poppeia, whom he married twelve days after divorcing Octavia, yet he caused her death by kicking her when she was pregnant and ill, because she complained of his coming home late from the races. She had borne him a daughter, Claudia Augusta, who died in infancy."
Blindado
GalbaDenVictory.jpg
1at Galba31 views68-69

Denarius

Laureate head, right, SER GALBA IMP CAESAR AVG P M TR P
Victory standing on globe, VICTORIA PR

RIC 111

Suetonius recorded: Servius Galba, the future emperor was born on the 24th of December, 3BC, in the consulship of Marcus Valerius Messala and Gnaeus Lentulus, at a hillside mansion near Terracina, on the left of the road to Fundi (Fondi). He was formally adopted by his stepmother Livia Ocellina, and took the name Livius and the surname Ocella, also changing his forename to Lucius, until he became Emperor.

It is common knowledge that when calling on Augustus to pay his respects, with other boys of his age, the Emperor pinched his cheek, and said in Greek: ‘You too will have a taste of power, my child.’ And when Tiberius heard the prophecy that Galba would be emperor in old age, he commented: ‘Well let him be, it’s no concern of mine.’

Galba achieved office before the usual age and as praetor (in 20AD), controlling the games at the Floralia, he was the first to introduce a display of tightrope-walking elephants. He next governed Aquitania, for almost a year, and not long afterwards held the consulship for six months (in 33AD). When Caligula was assassinated (in 41AD), Galba chose neutrality though many urged him to seize the opportunity for power. Claudius expressed his gratitude by including him among his intimate friends, and Galba was shown such consideration that the expedition to Britain was delayed to allow him to recover from a sudden but minor indisposition. Later he was proconsul in Africa for two years (44/45AD), being singled out, and so avoiding the usual lottery, to restore order in the province, which was riven by internecine rivalry and an indigenous revolt. He re-established peace, by the exercise of ruthless discipline, and the display of justice even in the most trifling matters. . . .

But when word from the City arrived that Nero was dead and that the people had sworn allegiance to him, he set aside the title of governor and assumed that of Caesar. He then began his march to Rome in a general’s cloak, with a dagger, hanging from his neck, at his chest, and did not resume the toga until his main rivals had been eliminated, namely the commander of the Praetorian Guard in Rome, Nymphidius Sabinus, and the commanders in Germany and Africa, Fonteius Capito and Clodius Macer. . . . His prestige and popularity were greater while winning power than wielding it, though he showed evidence of being a more than capable ruler, loved less, unfortunately, for his good qualities than he was hated for his bad ones.

He was even warned of the danger of imminent assassination, the day before his death, by a soothsayer, as he offered the morning sacrifice. Shortly afterwards he learnt that Otho had secured the Guards camp, and when his staff advised him to carry the day by his presence and prestige, by going there immediately, he opted instead to stay put, but gather a strong bodyguard of legionaries from their billets around the City. He did however don a linen corselet, though saying that frankly it would serve little against so many weapons. False reports, put about by the conspirators to lure him into appearing in public, deceived a few of his close supporters, who rashly told him the rebellion was over, the plotters overthrown, and that the rest of the troops were on their way to congratulate him and carry out his orders. So he went to meet them, with such confidence, that when a soldier boasted of killing Otho, he snapped out: ‘On whose authority?’ before hastening on to the Forum. The cavalrymen who had been ordered to find and kill him, who were spurring through the streets scattering the crowds of civilians, now caught sight of him in the distance and halted an instant before galloping towards him and cutting him down, while his staff ran for their lives.
Blindado
OthoDenSecuritas.jpg
1au Otho36 views69

Denarius
Bewigged head, right, IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P
Securitas stg., SECVRITAS P R

RIC 10

Suetonius wrote: Otho was born on the 28th of April 32 AD, in the consulship of Furius Camillus Arruntius and Domitius Ahenobarbus, Nero’s father. In early youth he was so profligate and insolent that he earned many a beating from his own father. . . . After his father died, he feigned love for an influential freedwoman at Court, though she was old and decrepit, in order to win her favour, and then used her to insinuate himself among the emperor’s friends, easily achieving the role of Nero’s chief favourite, not only because they were of a similar disposition, but also some say because of a sexual relationship. . . .

Otho had hoped to be adopted by Galba as his successor, and anticipated the announcement daily. But Piso was chosen, dashing Otho’s hopes, and causing him to resort to force, prompted not only by feelings of resentment but also by his mounting debts. He declared that frankly he would have to declare himself bankrupt, unless he became emperor. . . . When the moment was finally ripe, . . . his friends hoisted him on their shoulders and acclaimed him Emperor. Everyone they met joined the throng, as readily as if they were sworn accomplices and a part of the conspiracy, and that is how Otho arrived at his headquarters, amidst cheering and the brandishing of swords. He at once sent men to kill Galba and Piso. . . .

Meanwhile the army in Germany had sworn allegiance to Vitellius. When the news reached Otho he persuaded the Senate to send a deputation, advising the soldiers to maintain peace and order, since an emperor had already been chosen. However he also sent envoys with letters and personal messages, offering to share power with Vitellius, and marry his daughter. With civil war clearly inevitable, on the approach of Vitellius’s advance guard, who had marched on Rome led by their generals, . . . Otho began his campaign vigorously, and indeed too hastily. . . .

His army won three engagements, but of a minor nature, firstly in the Alps, then near Placentia, and finally at a place called Castor’s, and were ultimately defeated in a decisive and treacherous encounter at Betriacum (on the 14th April). . . . After this defeat, Otho resolved to commit suicide, more from feelings of shame, which many have thought justified, and a reluctance to continue the struggle with such high cost to life and property, than from any diffidence or fear of failure shown by his soldiers. . . . On waking at dawn (on the 16th of April, AD69), he promptly dealt himself a single knife-blow in the left side of his chest, and first concealing and then showing the wound to those who rushed in at the sound of his groaning, he breathed his last. . . . Otho was thirty-six years old when he died, on the ninety-second day of his reign. . . .

Neither his bodily form nor appearance suggested great courage. He is said to have been of medium height, bandy-legged and splay-footed, though as fastidious as a woman in personal matters. He had his body-hair plucked, and wore a toupee to cover his scanty locks, so well-made and so close-fitting that its presence was not apparent.
Blindado
VespDenSalus.jpg
1aw Vespasian44 views69-79

Denarius
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
22066.jpg
22066 Augustus/ IMP Countermark16 viewsAugustus/Large SC
AE As. 7 BC.
Obv: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT,
bare head left
Rev: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F
Legend around large S C.
With IMP monogram countermark.
Mint: Rome 26.1mm 5.4g
RIC I (second edition) Augustus 431
1 commentsBlayne W
otho diobol.jpg
69 AD - OTHO AE diobol - struck Jan.- Apr. 69 AD39 viewsobv: [AYTOK] MAPK OTH[WN] KA[IC CEB] (laureate head right)
rev: Isis head with LA mintmark (LA {regnal year} =69 AD)
ref: Milne ?
mint: Alexandria
6.92gms, 24mm
Rare

One of the earliest denominations, the diobol was introduced by Augustus and continued to be struck until the reign of Elagabalus.
berserker
otho denar.jpg
69 AD - OTHO AR denarius - struck Jan-Apr 69 AD49 viewsobv: IMP.OTHO.CAESAR.AVG.TR.P (bewigged head right)
rev: SECVRITAS.PR (Securitas standing left, holding wreath & scepter)
ref: RIC10, C.15, BMC19
mint: Rome
3.26gms, 19mm
Very rare

Unfortunately this coin was broken, and the sticking is disfigure sufficiently.
berserker
Nero AE Sestertius.jpg
706a, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.73 views6, Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D. AE setertius, Date: 66 AD; RIC I 516, 36.71 mm; 25.5 grams; aVF. Obverse: IMP NERO CAESAR AVG PONT MAX TR POT PP, Laureate bust right; Reverse: S C, ROMA, Roma seated left, exceptional portrait and full obverse legends. Ex Ancient Imports.

NERO (54-68 A.D.)

It is difficult for the modern student of history to realize just how popular Nero actually was, at least at the beginning of his reign. Rome looked upon her new Emperor with hope. He was the student of Seneca, and he had a sensitive nature. He loved art, music, literature, and theatre. He was also devoted to horses and horse racing—a devotion shared by many of his subjects. The plebs loved their new Emperor. As Professor of Classics Judith P. Hallett (University of Maryland, College Park) says, “It is not clear to me that Nero ever changed or that Nero ever grew-up, and that was both his strength and his weakness. Nero was an extraordinarily popular Emperor: he was like Elvis” (The Roman Empire in the First Century, III. Dir. Margaret Koval and Lyn Goldfarb. 2001. DVD. PBS/Warner Bros. 2003).

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

Herbert W. Benario
Emory University

Introduction and Sources
The five Julio-Claudian emperors are very different one from the other. Augustus dominates in prestige and achievement from the enormous impact he had upon the Roman state and his long service to Rome, during which he attained unrivaled auctoritas. Tiberius was clearly the only possible successor when Augustus died in AD 14, but, upon his death twenty-three years later, the next three were a peculiar mix of viciousness, arrogance, and inexperience. Gaius, better known as Caligula, is generally styled a monster, whose brief tenure did Rome no service. His successor Claudius, his uncle, was a capable man who served Rome well, but was condemned for being subject to his wives and freedmen. The last of the dynasty, Nero, reigned more than three times as long as Gaius, and the damage for which he was responsible to the state was correspondingly greater. An emperor who is well described by statements such as these, "But above all he was carried away by a craze for popularity and he was jealous of all who in any way stirred the feeling of the mob." and "What an artist the world is losing!" and who is above all remembered for crimes against his mother and the Christians was indeed a sad falling-off from the levels of Augustus and Tiberius. Few will argue that Nero does not rank as one of the worst emperors of all.

The prime sources for Nero's life and reign are Tacitus' Annales 12-16, Suetonius' Life of Nero, and Dio Cassius' Roman History 61-63, written in the early third century. Additional valuable material comes from inscriptions, coinage, papyri, and archaeology.


Early Life
He was born on December 15, 37, at Antium, the son of Cnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbusand Agrippina. Domitius was a member of an ancient noble family, consul in 32; Agrippina was the daughter of the popular Germanicus, who had died in 19, and Agrippina, daughter of Agrippa, Augustus' closest associate, and Julia, the emperor's daughter, and thus in direct descent from the first princeps. When the child was born, his uncle Gaius had only recently become emperor. The relationship between mother and uncle was difficult, and Agrippina suffered occasional humiliation. But the family survived the short reign of the "crazy" emperor, and when he was assassinated, it chanced that Agrippina's uncle, Claudius, was the chosen of the praetorian guard, although there may have been a conspiracy to accomplish this.

Ahenobarbus had died in 40, so the son was now the responsibility of Agrippina alone. She lived as a private citizen for much of the decade, until the death of Messalina, the emperor's wife, in 48 made competition among several likely candidates to become the new empress inevitable. Although Roman law forbade marriage between uncle and niece, an eloquent speech in the senate by Lucius Vitellius, Claudius' closest advisor in the senatorial order, persuaded his audience that the public good required their union. The marriage took place in 49, and soon thereafter the philosopher Seneca [[PIR2 A617]] was recalled from exile to become the young Domitius' tutor, a relationship which endured for some dozen years.

His advance was thereafter rapid. He was adopted by Claudius the following year and took the name Tiberius Claudius Nero Caesar or Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus, was preferred to Claudius' natural son, Britannicus, who was about three years younger, was betrothed to the emperor's daughter Octavia, and was, in the eyes of the people, the clear successor to the emperor. In 54, Claudius died, having eaten some poisoned mushrooms, responsibility for which was believed to be Agrippina's, and the young Nero, not yet seventeen years old, was hailed on October 13 as emperor by the praetorian guard.


The First Years of Rule
The first five years of Nero's rule are customarily called the quinquennium, a period of good government under the influence, not always coinciding, of three people, his mother, Seneca, and Sextus Afranius Burrus, the praetorian prefect. The latter two were allies in their "education" of the emperor. Seneca continued his philosophical and rhetorical training, Burrus was more involved in advising on the actualities of government. They often combined their influence against Agrippina, who, having made her son emperor, never let him forget the debt he owed his mother, until finally, and fatally, he moved against her.

Nero's betrothal to Octavia was a significant step in his ultimate accession to the throne, as it were, but she was too quiet, too shy, too modest for his taste. He was early attracted to Poppaea Sabina, the wife of Otho, and she continually goaded him to break from Octavia and to show himself an adult by opposing his mother. In his private life, Nero honed the musical and artistic tastes which were his chief interest, but, at this stage, they were kept private, at the instigation of Seneca and Burrus.

As the year 59 began, Nero had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday and now felt the need to employ the powers which he possessed as emperor as he wished, without the limits imposed by others. Poppaea's urgings had their effect, first of all, at the very onset of the year, with Nero's murder of his mother in the Bay of Naples.

Agrippina had tried desperately to retain her influence with her son, going so far as to have intercourse with him. But the break between them proved irrevocable, and Nero undertook various devices to eliminate his mother without the appearance of guilt on his part. The choice was a splendid vessel which would collapse while she was on board. As this happened, she swam ashore and, when her attendant, having cried out that she was Agrippina, was clubbed to death, Agrippina knew what was going on. She sent Nero a message that she was well; his response was to send a detachment of sailors to finish the job. When she was struck across the head, she bared her womb and said, "Strike here, Anicetus, strike here, for this bore Nero," and she was brutally murdered.

Nero was petrified with fear when he learned that the deed had been done, yet his popularity with the plebs of Rome was not impaired. This matricide, however, proved a turning point in his life and principate. It appeared that all shackles were now removed. The influence of Seneca and Burrus began to wane, and when Burrus died in 62, Seneca realized that his powers of persuasion were at an end and soon went into retirement. Britannicus had died as early as 55; now Octavia was to follow, and Nero became free to marry Poppaea. It may be that it had been Burrus rather than Agrippina who had continually urged that Nero's position depended in large part upon his marriage to Octavia. Burrus' successor as commander of the praetorian guard, although now with a colleague, was Ofonius Tigellinus, quite the opposite of Burrus in character and outlook. Tigellinus became Nero's "evil twin," urging and assisting in the performance of crimes and the satisfaction of lusts.


Administrative and Foreign Policy
With Seneca and Burrus in charge of administration at home, the first half-dozen years of Nero's principate ran smoothly. He himself devoted his attention to his artistic, literary, and physical bents, with music, poetry, and chariot racing to the fore. But his advisors were able to keep these performances and displays private, with small, select audiences on hand. Yet there was a gradual trend toward public performance, with the establishment of games. Further, he spent many nights roaming the city in disguise, with numerous companions, who terrorized the streets and attacked individuals. Those who dared to defend themselves often faced death afterward, because they had shown disrespect for the emperor. The die was being cast for the last phases of Nero's reign.


The Great Fire at Rome and The Punishment
of the Christians
The year 64 was the most significant of Nero's principate up to this point. His mother and wife were dead, as was Burrus, and Seneca, unable to maintain his influence over Nero without his colleague's support, had withdrawn into private life. The abysmal Tigellinus was now the foremost advisor of the still young emperor, a man whose origin was from the lowest levels of society and who can accurately be described as criminal in outlook and action. Yet Nero must have considered that he was happier than he had ever been in his life. Those who had constrained his enjoyment of his (seemingly) limitless power were gone, he was married to Poppaea, a woman with all advantages save for a bad character the empire was essentially at peace, and the people of Rome enjoyed a full measure of panem et circenses. But then occurred one of the greatest disasters that the city of Rome, in its long history, had ever endured.

The fire began in the southeastern angle of the Circus Maximus, spreading through the shops which clustered there, and raged for the better part of a week. There was brief success in controlling the blaze, but then it burst forth once more, so that many people claimed that the fires were deliberately set. After about a fortnight, the fire burned itself out, having consumed ten of the fourteen Augustan regions into which the city had been divided.

Nero was in Antium through much of the disaster, but his efforts at relief were substantial. Yet many believed that he had been responsible, so that he could perform his own work comparing the current fate of Rome to the downfall of Troy. All his efforts to assist the stricken city could not remove the suspicion that "the emperor had fiddled while Rome burned." He lost favor even among the plebs who had been enthusiastic supporters, particularly when his plans for the rebuilding of the city revealed that a very large part of the center was to become his new home.

As his popularity waned, Nero and Tigellinus realized that individuals were needed who could be charged with the disaster. It so happened that there was such a group ready at hand, Christians, who had made themselves unpopular because of their refusal to worship the emperor, their way of life, and their secret meetings. Further, at this time two of their most significant "teachers" were in Rome, Peter and Paul. They were ideal scapegoats, individuals whom most Romans loathed, and who had continually sung of the forthcoming end of the world.

Their destruction was planned with the utmost precision and cruelty, for the entertainment of the populace. The venue was Nero's circus near the Mons Vaticanus. Christians were exposed to wild animals and were set ablaze, smeared with pitch, to illuminate the night. The executions were so grisly that even the populace displayed sympathy for the victims. Separately, Peter was crucified upside down on the Vatican hill and Paul was beheaded along the Via Ostiensis. But Nero's attempt, and hope, to shift all suspicion of arson to others failed. His popularity even among the lower classes was irrevocably impaired.

[For a detailed and interesting discussion of Nero’s reign please see http://www.roman-emperors.org/nero.htm]

The End - Nero's Death and its Aftermath
Nero's and Tigellinus' response to the conspiracy was immediate and long-lasting. The senatorial order was decimated, as one leading member after another was put to death or compelled to commit suicide. The year 66 saw the suicides of perhaps the most distinguished victims of the "reign of terror," Caius Petronius and Thrasea Paetus. Petronius, long a favorite of Nero because of his aesthetic taste, had been an able public servant before he turned to a life of ease and indolence. He was recognized as the arbiter elegantiae of Nero's circle, and may be the author of the Satyricon. At his death, he left for Nero a document which itemized many of the latter's crimes. Thrasea, a staunch Stoic who had been for some years an outspoken opponent of Nero's policies, committed suicide in the Socratic manner. This scene is the last episode in the surviving books of Tacitus' Annals.

In the year 68, revolt began in the provinces. . . the end of Nero's reign became inevitable. Galba claimed the throne and began his march from Spain. Nero panicked and was rapidly abandoned by his supporters. He finally committed suicide with assistance, on June 9, 68, and his body was tended and buried by three women who had been close to him in his younger days, chief of whom was Acte. His death scene is marked above all by the statement, "Qualis artifex pereo," (What an artist dies in me.) Even at the end he was more concerned with his private life than with the affairs of state.

The aftermath of Nero's death was cataclysmic. Galba was the first of four emperors who revealed the new secret of empire, that an emperor could be made elsewhere than in Rome. Civil war ensued, which was only ended by the victory of the fourth claimant, Vespasian, who established the brief dynasty of the Flavians. The dynasty of the Julio-Claudians was at an end.

Nero's popularity among the lower classes remained even after his death.

. . . .

It is not excessive to say that he was one of the worst of Rome's emperors in the first two centuries and more of the empire. Whatever talents he had, whatever good he may have done, all is overwhelmed by three events, the murder of his mother, the fire at Rome, and his savage treatment of the Christians.

Precisely these qualities are the reasons that he has remained so well known and has been the subject of many writers and opera composers in modern times. These works of fiction particularly merit mention: Henryk Sienkiewicz's Quo Vadis, one of the finest works of the 1907 Nobel Laureate in Literature, and John Hersey's The Conspiracy. Nero unquestionably will always be with us.

Copyright (C) 2006, Herbert W. Benario.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

1 commentsCleisthenes
GalbaAEAs.jpg
707a, Galba, 3 April 68 - 15 January 69 A.D.66 viewsGalba AE As, 68-69 AD; cf. SRC 727, 729ff; 27.85mm, 12g; Rome: Obverse: GALBA IMP CAESAR…, Laureate head right; Reverse: S P Q R OB CIV SER in oak wreath; gF+/F Ex. Ancient Imports.

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

Galba (68-69 A.D.)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary


Introduction
The evidence for the principate of Galba is unsatisfactory. The sources either concentrate on the personality of the man, thereby failing to offer a balanced account of his policies and a firm chronological base for his actions; or, they focus on the final two weeks of his life at the expense of the earlier part of his reign. As a result, a detailed account of his principate is difficult to write. Even so, Galba is noteworthy because he was neither related to nor adopted by his predecessor Nero. Thus, his accession marked the end of the nearly century-long control of the Principate by the Julio-Claudians. Additionally, Galba's declaration as emperor by his troops abroad set a precedent for the further political upheavals of 68-69. Although these events worked to Galba's favor initially, they soon came back to haunt him, ending his tumultuous rule after only seven months.

Early Life and Rise to Power
Born 24 December 3 BC in Tarracina, a town on the Appian Way, 65 miles south of Rome, Servius Galba was the son of C. Sulpicius Galba and Mummia Achaica. Galba's connection with the noble house of the Servii gave him great prestige and assured his acceptance among the highest levels of Julio-Claudian society. Adopted in his youth by Livia, the mother of the emperor Tiberius, he is said to have owed much of his early advancement to her. Upon her death, Livia made Galba her chief legatee, bequeathing him some 50 million sesterces. Tiberius, Livia's heir, reduced the amount, however, and then never paid it. Galba's marriage proved to be a further source of disappointment, as he outlived both his wife Lepida and their two sons. Nothing else is known of Galba's immediate family, other than that he remained a widower for the rest of his life.

Although the details of Galba's early political career are incomplete, the surviving record is one of an ambitious Roman making his way in the Emperor's service. Suetonius records that as praetor Galba put on a new kind of exhibition for the people - elephants walking on a rope. Later, he served as governor of the province of Aquitania, followed by a six-month term as consul at the beginning of 33. Ironically, as consul he was succeeded by Salvius Otho, whose own son would succeed Galba as emperor. Over the years three more governorships followed - Upper Germany (date unknown), North Africa (45) and Hispania Tarraconensis, the largest of Spain's three provinces (61). He was selected as a proconsul of Africa by the emperor Claudius himself instead of by the usual method of drawing lots. During his two-year tenure in the province he successfully restored internal order and quelled a revolt by the barbarians. As an imperial legate he was a governor in Spain for eight years under Nero, even though he was already in his early sixties when he assumed his duties. The appointment showed that Galba was still considered efficient and loyal. In all of these posts Galba generally displayed an enthusiasm for old-fashioned disciplina, a trait consistent with the traditional characterization of the man as a hard-bitten aristocrat of the old Republican type. Such service did not go unnoticed, as he was honored with triumphal insignia and three priesthoods during his career.

On the basis of his ancestry, family tradition and service to the state Galba was the most distinguished Roman alive (with the exception of the houses of the Julii and Claudii) at the time of Nero's demise in 68. The complex chain of events that would lead him to the Principate later that year began in March with the rebellion of Gaius Iulius Vindex, the governor of Gallia Lugdunensis. Vindex had begun to sound out provincial governors about support for a rebellion perhaps in late 67 or early 68. Galba did not respond but, because of his displeasure with Neronian misgovernment, neither did he inform the emperor of these treasonous solicitations. This, of course, left him dangerously exposed; moreover, he was already aware that Nero, anxious to remove anyone of distinguished birth and noble achievements, had ordered his death. Given these circumstances, Galba likely felt that he had no choice but to rebel.

In April, 68, while still in Spain, Galba "went public," positioning himself as a vir militaris, a military representative of the senate and people of Rome. For the moment, he refused the title of Emperor, but it is clear that the Principate was his goal. To this end, he organized a concilium of advisors in order to make it known that any decisions were not made by him alone but only after consultation with a group. The arrangement was meant to recall the Augustan Age relationship between the emperor and senate in Rome. Even more revealing of his imperial ambitions were legends like LIBERTAS RESTITUTA (Liberty Restored), ROM RENASC (Rome Reborn) and SALUS GENERIS HUMANI (Salvation of Mankind), preserved on his coinage from the period. Such evidence has brought into question the traditional assessment of Galba as nothing more than an ineffectual representative of a bygone antiquus rigor in favor of a more balanced portrait of a traditional constitutionalist eager to publicize the virtues of an Augustan-style Principate.
Events now began to move quickly. In May, 68 Lucius Clodius Macer, legate of the III legio Augusta in Africa, revolted from Nero and cut off the grain supply to Rome. Choosing not to recognize Galba, he called himself propraetor, issued his own coinage, and raised a new legion, the I Macriana liberatrix. Galba later had him executed. At the same time, 68, Lucius Verginius Rufus, legionary commander in Upper Germany, led a combined force of soldiers from Upper and Lower Germany in defeating Vindex at Vesontio in Gallia Lugdunensis. Verginius refused to accept a call to the emperorship by his own troops and by those from the Danube, however, thereby creating at Rome an opportunity for Galba's agents to win over Gaius Nymphidius Sabinus, the corrupt praetorian prefect since 65. Sabinus was able to turn the imperial guard against Nero on the promise that they would be rewarded financially by Galba upon his arrival. That was the end for Nero. Deposed by the senate and abandoned by his supporters, he committed suicide in June. At this point, encouraged to march on Rome by the praetorians and especially by Sabinus, who had his own designs on the throne, Galba hurriedly established broad-based political and financial support and assembled his own legion (subsequently known as the legio VII Gemina). As he departed from Spain, he abandoned the title of governor in favor of "Caesar," apparently in an attempt to lay claim to the entire inheritance of the Julio-Claudian house. Even so, he continued to proceed cautiously, and did not actually adopt the name of Caesar (and with it the emperorship) until sometime after he had left Spain.

The Principate of Galba
Meanwhile, Rome was anything but serene. An unusual force of soldiers, many of whom had been mustered by Nero to crush the attempt of Vindex, remained idle and restless. In addition, there was the matter concerning Nymphidius Sabinus. Intent on being the power behind the throne, Nymphidius had orchestrated a demand from the praetorians that Galba appoint him sole praetorian prefect for life. The senate capitulated to his pretensions and he began to have designs on the throne himself. In an attempt to rattle Galba, Nymphidius then sent messages of alarm to the emperor telling of unrest in both the city and abroad. When Galba ignored these reports, Nymphidius decided to launch a coup by presenting himself to the praetorians. The plan misfired, and the praetorians killed him when he appeared at their camp. Upon learning of the incident, Galba ordered the executions of Nymphidius' followers. To make matters worse, Galba's arrival was preceded by a confrontation with a boisterous band of soldiers who had been formed into a legion by Nero and were now demanding legionary standards and regular quarters. When they persisted, Galba's forces attacked, with the result that many of them were killed.
Thus it was amid carnage and fear that Galba arrived at the capital in October, 68, accompanied by Otho, the governor of Lusitania, who had joined the cause. Once Galba was within Rome, miscalculations and missteps seemed to multiply. First, he relied upon the advice of a corrupt circle of advisors, most notably: Titus Vinius, a general from Spain; Cornelius Laco, praetorian prefect; and his own freedman, Icelus. Second, he zealously attempted to recover some of Nero's more excessive expenditures by seizing the property of many citizens, a measure that seems to have gone too far and to have caused real hardship and resentment. Third, he created further ill-will by disbanding the imperial corps of German bodyguards, effectively abolishing a tradition that originated with Marius and had been endorsed by Augustus. Finally, he seriously alienated the military by refusing cash rewards for both the praetorians and for the soldiers in Upper Germany who had fought against Vindex.

This last act proved to be the beginning of the end for Galba. On 1 January 69 ("The Year of the Four Emperors"), the troops in Upper Germany refused to declare allegiance to him and instead followed the men stationed in Lower Germany in proclaiming their commander, Aulus Vitellius, as the new ruler. In response, Galba adopted Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus to show that he was still in charge and that his successor would not be chosen for him. Piso, although an aristocrat, was a man completely without administrative or military experience. The choice meant little to the remote armies, the praetorians or the senate, and it especially angered Otho, who had hoped to succeed Galba. Otho quickly organized a conspiracy among the praetorians with the now-familiar promise of a material reward, and on 15 January 69 they declared him emperor and publicly killed Galba; Piso, dragged from hiding in the temple of Vesta, was also butchered.

Assessment
In sum, Galba had displayed talent and ambition during his lengthy career. He enjoyed distinguished ancestry, moved easily among the Julio-Claudian emperors (with the exception of Nero towards the end of his principate), and had been awarded the highest military and religious honors of ancient Rome. His qualifications for the principate cannot be questioned. Even so, history has been unkind to him. Tacitus characterized Galba as "weak and old," a man "equal to the imperial office, if he had never held it." Modern historians of the Roman world have been no less critical. To be sure, Galba's greatest mistake lay in his general handling of the military. His treatment of the army in Upper Germany was heedless, his policy towards the praetorians short sighted. Given the climate in 68-69, Galba was unrealistic in expecting disciplina without paying the promised rewards. He was also guilty of relying on poor advisors, who shielded him from reality and ultimately allowed Otho's conspiracy to succeed. Additionally, the excessive power of his henchmen brought the regime into disfavor and made Galba himself the principal target of the hatred that his aides had incited. Finally, the appointment of Piso, a young man in no way equal to the challenges placed before him, further underscored the emperor's isolation and lack of judgment. In the end, the instability of the post-Julio-Claudian political landscape offered challenges more formidable than a tired, septuagenarian aristocrat could hope to overcome. Ironically, his regime proved no more successful than the Neronian government he was so eager to replace. Another year of bloodshed would be necessary before the Principate could once again stand firm.

Copyright (C) 1999, John Donahue.
Published: De Imperatoribus Romanis: An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.


Cleisthenes
roman_emperor_otho.jpg
708a, Otho64 viewsOtho (69 A.D.)
John Donahue
College of William and Mary

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

Cleisthenes
VitelliusARdenariusVesta.jpg
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.

Assessment

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 http://www.roman-emperors.org/startup.htm. Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VespasianPax_RICii10.jpg
710a, Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D.134 viewsSilver denarius, RIC II, 10, aVF, 3.5 g, 18mm, Rome mint, 69-71 AD; Obverse: IMP CAESA[R] VESPASIANV[S AV]G - Laureate head right; Reverse: COS ITER [T]R POT - Pax seated left holding branch and caduceus. Ex Imperial Coins.


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

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.





Cleisthenes
mothone2.jpg
Achaea. Messinia, Mothone. Geta as Caesar94 views
Obv: Bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: Athena standing left, holding phiale and scepter.
AD 198-209. Æ22 Assarion.
BCD Peloponnesos 813.

ancientone
MothoneGeta.jpg
Achaea. Messinia, Mothone. Geta as Caesar 20 viewsObv: Bare-headed, draped, and cuirassed bust right.
Rev: Athena standing left, holding phiale and scepter.
AD 198-209. Æ22 Assarion.
BCD Peloponnesos 813.
ancientone
Baktria_Agothocleia+StratonI_SNG-ANS983_0.jpg
Agothocleia and Straton I8 viewsAgothocleia and Straton I. 135-125 BC. AE square medium (7.40 gm). Indian standard. Draped bust of Athena r. wearing crested helmet. ΒAΣIΛIΣΣA ΘEOTPOΠOY AΓAΘOKΛEIAΣ / Hercules seated l. on rock, club against thigh. Karoshthi legend Maharajasa tratarasa dhramikasa Maharajasa (of Great King Straton, the Just Savior). EF. Agora Auctions Sale 65 #060. Exceptionally nice for type. SNG ANS IX 983-986; Boperachichi Serie 3A; Mitchener 2 307; HGC 317 R1. Christian T
ATGlifetimeDrachmLydiaSardes.jpg
Alexander III The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C. Lifetime Issue104 viewsSilver drachm, Price 2553, VF, 4.297g, 16.4mm, 0o, Lydia, Sardes mint, c. 334 - 323 B.C. Lifetime Issue; Obverse: Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; Reverse: BASILEWS ALEXANDROU, Zeus enthroned left, eagle in right, scepter in left, EYE monogram left, rose under throne. Ex FORVM.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the 13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
AlexTheGreatMemphisTet.jpg
Alexander III The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C., Possible Lifetime Issue103 viewsThis is the same coin in my collection, different picture, as the Alexander tetradrachm listed as [300mem].

Silver tetradrachm, Price 3971, VF, 16.081g, 26.1mm, 0o, Egypt, Memphis mint, c. 332 - 323 or 323 - 305 B.C.; obverse Herakles' head right, clad in Nemean lion scalp headdress tied at neck; reverse ALEXANDROU, Zeus enthroned left, legs crossed, eagle in right, scepter in left, rose left, DI-O under throne. Ex Pavlos S. Pavlou. Ex FORVM, "The Memphis issues are among the finest style Alexander coins. Experts disagree on the date of this issue. Some identify it as a lifetime issue and others as a posthumous issue (Joseph Sermarini).

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsJames Fitzgerald
12_Caesar_portraits.jpg
Antony & The 12 Caesars256 viewsA variation on my other virtual coin trays. This one includes a lifetime portrait of Julius Caesar. It's difficult choosing which coin to include in this set, in some cases I only had one (Galba, Otho) but others I had many more to choose from. I do have better portraits of some but I thought these had more interesting reverse types or portrait styles:

Marcus Antonius denarius
Julius Caesar denarius
Augustus denarius
Tiberius denarius
Caligula AE As
Claudius AE As
Nero Dupondius
Galba AE As
Otho Tetradrachm
Vitellius denarius
Vespasian denarius
Titus denarius
Domitian denarius

Image is clickable for larger size.
To see the coins individually see them in my gallery.
9 commentsJay GT4
Augustus~0.jpg
Augustus86 viewsAugustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

Obverse:

Augustus with his bare head right

CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT

CAESAR: Ceasar, emperor
AVGVST: Agustus
PONT MAX: Pontifix Maximus,
TRIBVNIC: Tribunicia, tribunal
POT: POTESTAS, the people

Reverse:

M MAECILIVS TVLLVS III VIR A A A F F

M: Marcus
MAECILLIS: Maelcilius
TVLLVS: Tullus
IIIVIR: Triumviri
AAAFF: Auro, Argento, Aeri, Flando, Feriundo,

S . C, Senatus Consultum

I think the dots were used as centering devices, one see them sometimes on Soldiers/Standards coins although on this coin it is certainly a large dot.

Domination: AS, Copper

Mint: Rome

The Roman Moneyers (or you may prefer the title of Mint Magistrates) were also responsible for the minting of gold, silver and bronze coinage and they reported to the Senate. They were known as the Triumviri Monetales or Triumviri Auro, Argento, Aeri, Flando, Feriundo which is abbreviated as III VIR. A.A.A. F.F. which may be translated as 'Commision (or college) of three men under whom gold, silver and bronze coins were struck'. (Note that the order of the metals varies according to different references.) The title 'III VIR. A.A.A. F.F.' occurs rarely on Republic coins and when it is present it is usually seen in an abbreviated form such as 'III VIR'. It is interesting to note that the full title occurs frequently on the reverses of Augustan Aes

The College of the Three Moneyers was a revived republican tradition. This coin was struck under the supervision of Marcus Salvius Otho, an ancestor of the future emperor Otho. Later, the number of members was increased to four, and their names were not included on the coins.

TRP = This is short for tribunicia potestate - "with the power of the Tribune of the Plebs." The government of Rome was split into the Patricians (who were Senators) and the Plebians. Nine Tribunes of the Plebs were elected by both Plebs and Patricians every year to be in charge of the Plebian assembly. These Tribunes could not be injured because it could be punishable by death. They had veto powers, and they could prevent a law from being passed or an election. An emperor cannot technically rule on the Plebian assembly since he is a Patrician, but by taking the title he could be free from injury. On a coin, if this symbol is followed by a number, it depicts how many times he has been elected Tribune of the Plebs.
John Schou
RS001-Roman-AE_as,_Augustus_(ca_7_BC)-012500.JPG
AUGUSTUS (27 BC-14 AD), AE as, struck ca. 7 BC, moneyer M. Salvius Otho139 viewsObverse- CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, bare head of Augustus right.
Reverse - M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F around large S C.
RIC 431, 27.5mm, 11.4g.
NGC VG (Strike 3/5, Surfaces 4/5), cert. #4094567-002.
Ex-Incitatus Coins, Canada, May 2007, through VCoins store (purchased raw).
Comments: I find it interesting that the moneyer's name on this coin is the same as that of the emperor Otho who ruled 76 years later. I suspect the circa-7 BC moneyer named on this coin was the grandfather of that short-lived 69 AD emperor. This coin was part of my first Roman collection, was sold in 2008, and bought back in August 2011.
3 commentslordmarcovan
August_1.jpg
Augustus As27 viewsAugustus AE As, ca. 7 BC
Obv: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT, bare head of Augustus right
Rev: (name of moneyer) M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA FF, legeng around large S C in field

RIC I, 431
Tanit
August_as.jpg
Augustus As26 viewsAugustus Æ As.
Obv: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, bare head right
Rev: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F around large S C.

RIC 431 - sear5 #1685

Tanit
augustus.jpg
Augustus as Moneyer M. Salvis Otho28 viewsCopper as, Rome mint
Obverse: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT, Augustus bare head left
Reverse: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAAFF, SC in center

Struck under the supervision of Moneyer Marcus Salvius Otho
2 commentsDk0311USMC
Augustus_otho.jpg
Augustus moneyer's series AE As39 viewsCAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT

Rev. M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR A A A FF around large SC

Rome 7 BC
Sear 1685
Titus Pullo
Augustus M SALVIVS OTHO RIC 431.jpg
Augustus Moneyer's As RIC 431298 viewsAS, 30mm, 9.73g.

Obverse: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBUNIC POT, bare head R.

Reverse: M SALVIVS OTHO around large SC.

Rome, 7BCE.

RIC 431, Common.

It could do with some more cleaning on the reverse, to bring out the SC, but I've never had the confidence to do it.
4 commentsRobert_Brenchley
Augustus_Ae_As_by_Otho_jpg.jpg
Augustus, AE As, 7 BC, Rome, M. Salvius Otho as moneyer17 viewsAugustus, AE As, 7 BC, Rome, M. Salvius Otho as moneyer
CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT
Bare head of Augustus right,
M SALVIVS OTHO IIIVIR AAAFF
Legend surrounding large S . C
28mm, RIC I, 431
Antonivs Protti
Augustus_RIC_I_431.jpg
Augustus, AE AS, RIC I 4319 viewsAugustus
27 B.C. – 14 A.D.

Coin: AE As

Obverse: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, Bare headed bust facing right.
Reverse: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR A A A F F, around S●C

Weight: 3.07 g, Diameter: 25.2 x 25 x 1.2 mm, Die axis: 160°, Mint: Rome, issued in 7 B.C. by the Moneyer, M. Salvius Otho, Reference: RIC I 431

This Monetal Triumvir was the Grandfather of Emperor Otho, and had served the Praetorship.
Masis
Augustus_RIC_I_431_Second_example.jpg
Augustus, AE As, RIC I 431 Second example8 viewsAugustus
27 B.C. – 14 A.D.

Coin: AE As

Obverse: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, Bare headed bust facing right.
Reverse: M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR A A A F F, around S●C

Weight: 7.39 g, Diameter: 25.4 x 24.5 x 2 mm, Die axis: 140°, Mint: Rome, issued in 7 B.C. by the Moneyer, M. Salvius Otho, Reference: RIC I 431

This Monetal Triumvir was the Grandfather of Emperor Otho, and had served the Praetorship.
Masis
0030-320np_noir.jpg
Augustus, As134 viewsAs struck in 7 BC
CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRBUNIC POT, Bare head of Augustus left
M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA FF, around SC
11.18 gr
Ref : RCV # 1685 var, Cohen # 516
Potator II
my-augustus.jpg
Augustus, M Salvius Otho, Moneyer15 viewsAugustus AE As. Rome, 7 B.C. CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNEC POT, Bare head left / M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F, Legend around large S C. RIC 432Holding_History
otho.jpg
BCC RI28X 66 viewsRoman Imperial
AR Denarius
Otho Caesar Augustus 69 CE
Obv:[IMP OTH]O CAESAR AVG TR P
Bare head right
Rev:SECVRITAS P R
Securitas standing left, holding wreath and scepter
17.5mm 3.11gm. Axis: 180
RIC 10?
v-drome
thothorses_2_k.jpg
Bosporan Kingdom, Tiberius Julius Thothorses, c. AD 278-308/95 viewsAE Stater, 20mm, 7.6g, 12h; Uncertain mint (Panticapaeum?), AD 290.
Obv.: ΒΑΣΙΛΕΩΣ ΘΟΘΩΡΣΟΥ; Diademed, draped bust of king right.
Rev.: Laureate head of Diocletian right, tamga in right field // ΖΠΦ (587 = 290 AD).
Reference: cf. Anokhin 735, Mionnet 2, 160ff.
Notes: eBay, 10/23/15, rq
John Anthony
Caligula_RIC_16.jpg
Caligula RIC 001674 viewsSH86638. Silver denarius, RIC I 16 (R2, Rome), RSC I 2, Lyon 167, BnF II 21, BMCRE I 17, cf. SRCV I 1807 (aureus), VF, toned, attractive portraits, bumps and marks, some pitting, lamination defects, ex jewelry, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, weight 3.443g, maximum diameter 18.2mm, die axis 180o, 2nd emission, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR POT (counterclockwise from lower right), laureate head of Caligula right; reverse DIVVS AVG PATER PATRIAE (counterclockwise from lower right), radiate head of Divus Augustus right; ex Classical Numismatic Group, e-auction 69 (23 July 2003), lot 90
Ex: Forum Ancient coins, March 2, 2018.


This is my second denarius of Gaius. I was extremely happy to get this one. I know the surfaces are a bit rough, but it is still a VF example of a rare coin. Denarii of Caligula do not show up for sale very often outside of large auction houses. When they do appear they are often very expensive. I waited for about 2 1/2 years for a coin like this to show up. As soon as it did I bought it.

I want to share a quick word about where I bought this coin. It was a purchase from Forum Ancient Coins. Coins are guaranteed authentic for eternity, and the service is second to none. Forum is also an incredible source of information concerning ancient coins. If you have a question about ancient coins, chances are that question has been asked and answered on Forum Ancient Coins. Many experts frequent this site and they are always willing to share their expertise.

Anyone trying to assemble a set of the 12 Caesars in silver will need to find a denarius of Gaius. His is one of the most difficult to add along with denarii of Claudius and Otho. It has also been suggested by some that it is the fault of 12 Caesars collectors that drives the prices so high. While true that there is a lot of competition for these coins when they appear, it is also true that there are alternatives to the denarii of Gaius. One popular choice is the Vesta As. These are quite common and can be had in nice condition for reasonable prices.

On the obverse we have the typical portrait of Gaius, while on the reverse we see a portrait of his great grandfather Augustus. Augustus is depicted as a Divus or god. The reverse legend "Pater Patriae" refers to Augustus as the father of the country. One reason Augustus was on the reverse was to remind the people of Rome of their emperor's connection to the Julio-Claudian ruling dynasty.

Why are denarii of Gaius so scarce? One explanation is has to do with Gresham's law or bad money drives out good money. The theory is that the monetary reforms of Nero, which debased to coinage in both weight and fineness, caused people to hoard the older more valuable coins of emperors like Caligula and Claudius. The problem with this explanation is that there are plenty of "tribute penny" denarii of Tiberius. The other possibility is that perhaps smaller numbers of Gaius' denarii were originally minted. Maybe there was already enough silver coinage circulating and therefore fewer were needed. Whatever the real reason, we are unlikely to ever get a satisfactory answer.
5 commentsorfew
Cilicia_Mallus_2.PNG
CILICIA. Mallus. Otho8 viewsCILICIA. Mallus. Otho (AD 69)

Obverse: laureate head of Otho right

Reverse: cult image of Atargatis facing, arms extended, holding spear in right hand and flower in left, barley stalk rising from each shoulder.

AE 22mm
Macedonian Warrior
Civil_Wars_RIC_121.jpg
Civil Wars of 68-69 Clasped Hands71 viewsCivil Wars of 68-69 AD AR denarius. 3.49 g. Minted by pro-Vitellian forces in Southern Gaul.
O: FIDES EXERCITVVM, two clasped hands.
R: FIDES PRAETORIANORVM, two clasped hands.
-BMC 65; Martin 7; RIC² 121 (Group IV) , Ex Jonathan P. Rosen, Ex Auktion Myers/Adams 7, New York 1974, Nr. 269.

The message of a unified fidelity, or loyalty, of the 'armies' (FIDES EXERCITVVM) and the praetorians (FIDES PRAETORIANORVM) would only be an effective propaganda tool if it was distributed among the praetorians.

David R Sear, writing in RCV, agrees with Kraay (Num. Chron 1949, pp 78.) that this interesting, anonymous civil war issue was produced on behalf of Vitellius, to be used as 'bribe money' to suborn the soldiers, as well as the Praetorian Guard, loyal to Otho in the capital. "In March 69 AD, Vitellian commander Fabius Valens entered Italy from Southern Gaul at the head of a small band of secret agents. Their mission was to infiltrate the capital, especially the ranks of the Praetorians, with the object of disseminating pro-Vitellian propaganda and dissociating the guards from their allegiance to Otho. These coins, struck in advance in Southern Gaul, would thus have played a vital role as 'bribe money'. Despite these covert activities, the Praetorians remained loyal to their Emperor, though all was to be for naught, as the following month, the invading army of Vitellius was victorious at the battle of Bedriacum, and Otho took his own life" - David R Sear

Here is the ad from the New york times December 1, 1974 page 208, advertising the Myers/Adams auction 7:
Several thousand foreign coin collectors are expected here next weekend for the biggest event on their winter calendar, the third annual New York International Numismatic Convention. The three‐day show will be held in the Albert Hall of the Americana Hotel, Seventh Avenue between 52d and 53rd Streets. It will open at 11 A.M. on Friday, with the exhibit area and the dealer bourse to remain open till 8 P.M. On Saturday the hours are 10 A.M. to 8 P.M., and on Sunday from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. There will be an admission charge of 50 cents, for which a badge will be issued that will be good for all three days.
As its title indicates, the show emphasizes foreign numismatics to the point of almost excluding U.S. material. This holds true in exhibits as well as in the bourse and throughout the convention program. All of the exhibits are, again, invitational—noncompetitive—and were selected to assure representation of a wide range of international numismatic interests.

One symbol of the convention's success is that the, number of exhibitors and dealers has grown each year. This year there will be 67 bourse tables, roughly a quarter of them occupied by dealers from Europe and Canada; the remainder will be taken by leading U.S. dealers who have established reputations as specialists in ancient and foreign coins.
The convention will have two auctions, both described in some detail in this column a couple of weeks ago. The first, a “prologue” to the convention, will he the Myers/ Adams auction of ancient Greek and Roman coins at 7 P.M. on Thursday. The second, a two‐session sale of foreign coins and paper money, will be conducted by Henry Christensen, Inc., at 7 P.M. on Friday and 1:30 P.M. on Saturday.
3 commentsNemonater
CivilWarsJupiter_RIC_125a.jpg
Civil Wars of 68-69 Jupiter / Vesta48 viewsCivil Wars. Silver Denarius (3.09 g), AD 68-69 Uncertain mint in Southern Gaul, ca. AD 69.
O: I O M CAPITOLINVS, diademed and heroic bust of Jupiter Capitolinus left, small branch before, with slight mantle showing on near shoulder.
R: VESTA P R QVIRITIVM, Vesta seated left, holding patera and torch.
- RIC 125a (Group IV); AM 96; BMC 72; RSC 432. Ex Dr. Rainer Pudill; Ex Auktionshaus H. D. Rauch GmbH Summer 2010 Lot 490

Struck for Vitellius, perhaps by his commander Fabius Valens, in southern Gaul shortly before the First Battle of Bedriacum, which saw the annihilation of Otho's forces in mid-April, AD 69. This type draws on the two most important cults in Rome. The figure of Jupiter Optimus Maximus Capitolinus invokes the invincible might of Rome, while the figure of Vesta, who was the goddess of the Rome's sacred hearth, symbolizes the Empire's permanence.
1 commentsNemonater
Nero_37.jpg
E74 viewsNero AE As

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

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

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

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

Nero’s reign is marked by a time of financial bleeding of the imperial coffers. His “projects” and excesses were so vast, that the emperor needed to find money wherever he could. One of his most heinous rampages saw him coercing wealthy citizens to will their possessions and fortunes to him prior to forcing them to commit suicide. The Great Fire of AD 64, which started in the neighborhood of the Circus Maximus and spread rapidly to 10 of Rome’s 14 regions, brought the emperor’s popularity further down as tensions reached the boiling point. This is partially due to the fact that he diverted the blame for the fire in the direction of an emerging religious “cult”, the Christians (who were persecuted unmercifully). It is said that he even tied some Christians to posts and had them tarred and lit to illuminate his parties in the royal gardens. Later several conspiracies were unraveled and quelled, but in the end, Nero pushed his luck too far. The revolts of Vindex, Rufus, and Galba were the beginning of the end for the emperor. He was abandoned by his guards and found himself alone at the palace. One of his freedmen, Phaon, led him out of the city to a villa. There Nero committed suicide by stabbing himself in the neck (although his private secretary Epaphroditus finished the job). His last words were, “What an artist the world is losing!” He died in AD 68 at age 30.
4 commentsNoah
EB0395_scaled.JPG
EB0395 Otho, AR Denarius, 69 AD17 viewsOtho, AR Denarius, 69 AD
Obv: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P Wigged head right.
Rev: SECVRITAS PR Securitas standing left, holding wreath & sceptre.
References: RIC 10
Diameter: 17.5mm, Weight: 2.99 grams
Note: Sold.
1 commentsEB
EB1030_scaled.JPG
EB1030 Otho / Wreath6 viewsSYRIA, Seleukis and Pieria. Antioch. Otho, AE 23, 69 AD.
Obverse: Laureate head right.
Reverse: SC within laurel-wreath.
References: RPC 4319; BMC Galatia etc. pg. 177, 213.
Diameter: 23mm, Weight: 7.88g.
Ex: Superior Stamp & Coin.
EB
5RsJMg7AYzc32d4Q6MedLN8t3kZ92K.jpg
EGYPT, Alexandria, Otho,1 viewsEGYPT, Alexandria, Otho, AD 69 BI Tetradrachm 24mm, 12.12 gm. 11h, Dated AL (AD 69) Eleutheria. BMC 209, RPC 5359,Ancient Aussie
coin405.JPG
Egypt, Alexandria; Nero45 viewsNero, 54-68 AD

The traditional portrait of Nero's dissolute life derives at least in part from the years which fallowed soon after his accession; the attraction of Poppaea Sabina who was married first to Rufrius Crispinus end then to Otho (himself a close friend of Nero), may have had same connection with the divorce, exile, and murder of Nero's first wife, Octavia, Claudius' daughter. Poppaea became Nero's mistress in 58 A.D., and the next year Agrippina herself was murdered, with Nero's knowledge. In 62 AD, appeared a counselor, Gaius Ofonius Tigellinus, who had been exiled in 39 A.D. by Caius for adultery with Agrippina, but who returned to find favor with Nero and a post for himself as praetorian prefect, from which position he exerted a further degenerating influence on Nero.

Egypt, Alexandria, Nero, 54-68 AD, Billon Tetradrachm, 65/66 AD. Obv.: Radiate head r. Rev.: LIB, bust Alexandria in elephant’s skin r. BMC 163/64.
ecoli
AntoninusPius_AltarAgathodaimon.jpg
Emmett 1449 - Antoninus Pius drachm , Altar of Agothodaimon w. statue39 viewsEGYPT, Alexandria. Antoninus Pius. AD 138-161. Æ Drachm (22.46 g, 11h). Dated RY 15 (AD 151/2). Laureate and draped bust left / Statue of Agathodaimon standing facing within tetrastyle façade; akroterion decorated with aphlasta flanking central figure of Mt. Argaeus. Köln 1673 (same obv. die); cf. Dattari 2999 bis; cf. Milne 2164; Emmett 1449. G. 1673 Kampmann-Ganschow 35.534 mattpat
FAKE2b.JPG
Fake RIC 1642 viewsThis is the commonest Otho fake nowdays. Said to come from the Lipanoff studios, it pops out in different grades, metals and patinations over and over again. Unfortunately it was illustrated in ERIC I as the real thing. The obverse is cut imitating a real existing die, alhough the lettering is clearly off. The reverse is unlike the goddess on authentic coins, with what one might call a "celtic touch" Victory´s legs are in a wrong position and reveal the nature of this coin.
A thing to remember is that the person who cut these dies could easily have made a really convincing job - the "errors" are certainly intentional.
3.74 gr, max 19.5 mm, die-axis 6.
jmuona
fake1B.JPG
Fake RIC 1925 viewsIf the colour of the coin or the strange portrait do not warn, the spelling "OTO" on the obverse suffices to show this is a fake. The hair-do is close to right for the late Otho type. The low forehead, big nose and the strange smile make this an easy one to spot. The AEQVITAS is off in many ways - the face is too cute, the figure too thick and the details of clothing wrong.
4.14 gr, max 20 mm, die-axis 12.
jmuona
FAKE19b.JPG
Fake RIC 20v45 viewsA rarely seen fake with everything a little bit off, but not much. The locks in the front part of the hair are too thick and immediately reveal the nature of this one, but they might work well if the coin had considerably more wear. The face is unusal, but not impossible, this type of a muscular neck is not known for Otho, however. Ceres is quite good, although the corn-ears are too detailed. The reverse letters with long serifs is too different from that of the obverse for the coin to be genuine.
3.46 gr, max 19 mm, die-axis 12.
jmuona
otho_fake_denarius.jpg
Fake RIC 2240 viewsThis is a fake dating probably to the late 19th century. The portrait is fairly good but the letters are poorly executed and the combination of long early obverse legend with late reverse is fatal. Otho on horseback is quite crudely executed and the horse is "modern". This coin is in the Bruxelles coin cabinet and I have included it to show the similarity with the corresponding aureus fake included from the Oxford university collection. Unfortunately the equipment I had with me was totally inadequate in the light available.jmuona
otho1B.jpg
Fake RIC 22a203 viewsHere we have a series of late Otho obverses. The one on the left (RIC 10) and in the middle (RIC 22) are authentic coins minted with the same obverse die. The one on the right is a cast copy (RIC 22) based on the same die (but not either of these coins!!). The forger has overdone the job in making the coin look better. Clearly the original one had worn hair and the added detail is not well executed. The neck has been slightly modified as well, but all in all this would fool the majority of buyers. The reverse has fatal flaws revealing the casting - please have a look at the accompanying detailed image.jmuona
otho10b.jpg
Fake RIC 22a232 viewsA detail of the reverse of a genuine RIC 22 Otho on horsback denarius (left) and a modern cast made from a coin minted with same dies (right). Note the sharp detail in recessed parts of the real coin - pellets behind the horse's neck etc - all absent or mushy in the cast coin, althoug it appears to be less "worn". Also note that the forger has re-cut the emperor´s leg, the original having been in a different angle clearly still visible in the more worn authentic coin.
An extra bonus: both the original and the host of the fake (copied to the cast) show a shadow-line of Otho's forehead below the front leg as they were minted with a clashed die.
3 commentsjmuona
fakerepB.JPG
Fake RIC 840 viewsThese are often called "Museum replicas" and similar things are sold at museums. A copy of a real coin, cast in wrong metal and stamprd with "R" for replica. Without the "R" and the surface manipulated this can be very convincing as a heavily worn, affordable Otho.jmuona
PETERROSAb.JPG
Fake RIC-31 viewsThis coin copies the short obverse legend PAX Otho, listed in RIC I, but not in the second edition. The type is about as common/rare as the long obverse type (RIC4).
This coin is made from Peter Rosa dies, which in turn were copies of real ones. Whether an original "Rosa" or not, I do not know.
5.05 gr, max 19 mm, die-axis 1.
jmuona
othoRIC14.jpg
First_RIC 14125 viewsThis is the commonest VICTORIA type. This particular die-combination is known to me from more than 10 coins!1 commentsjmuona
othoric14~0.JPG
First_RIC 1421 viewsjmuona
othoRIC16.jpg
First_RIC 16119 viewsThis coin, although quite worn, is dear to me. I used to think it was from the Apostolo Zeno collection. A more detailed study has shown that although very similar in strike and wear to the die-match coin in Zeno collection, this is not the same one. The die-combination is common, ie. in Otho terms. 3.04 gr, die-axis 6.1 commentsjmuona
RI16errorB.JPG
First_RIC 1638 viewsThis coin is minted with a die that has a spelling error. Instead of OTHONIS, OTHONS on the reverse. Three coins minted with this reverse die are known to me. Such errors are very rare in early Rome mint production. 3.24 gr, die-axis 6.1 commentsjmuona
othoRIC17.jpg
First_RIC 1754 viewsBoth left facing VICTORIA types are quite rare. Several of the Victory on globe reverse dies have the legend re-engraved, the original dies having been of Galba's VICTORIA PR reverse type. 2.75 gr, die-axis 6.jmuona
otho17_3.jpg
First_RIC 178 viewsjmuona
otho17.jpg
First_RIC 1713 viewsjmuona
othoRIC4.jpg
First_RIC 476 viewsAnother fairly usual early Otho type. The obverse die shows a powerful and determined Otho. 3.53 gr, die-axis 6.jmuona
othoRIC8dr.jpg
First_RIC 872 viewsThe slightly draped bust dies are few in number. This obverse die was used to mint at least RIC 3, RIC 4, RIC 7 and RIC 8 coins. There is no reason to believe that the draped bust coins formed a special issue.1 commentsjmuona
RIC10b.jpg
First_RIC 892 viewsThis is a new picture of my long-time favourite. Comes from an old Italian collection the story goes - thank you Ed for that. Luckily the name is mostly off flan so I could "afford" it. As a type without comparison the commonest Otho. 3.55 gr, die-axis 7.1 commentsjmuona
otho8_2.jpg
First_RIC 810 viewsjmuona
otho8_1b.jpg
First_RIC 812 viewsjmuona
otho8_6.jpg
First_RIC 816 viewsjmuona
otho8_5.jpg
First_RIC 843 viewsjmuona
otho8_4.jpg
First_RIC 818 viewsjmuona
otho8_3.jpg
First_RIC 86 viewsjmuona
otho8_2~0.jpg
First_RIC 87 viewsjmuona
otho8_7.jpg
First_RIC 86 viewsjmuona
GREECE_OTTO_I_5_DRACH_1833.jpg
GREECE - OTTO I34 viewsGREECE - Othon I/Otto I (1832-1862) AR 5 Drachma, 1833-A. Obv.: Portrait left, ΟΘΟΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΕ ΤΗΣ ΕΛΛΑΔΟΣ. Rev.: Crowned arms in wreath; 5 ΔΡΑΧΜΑΙ/1833/* Privy mark and Mintmark to left and right of date. Reference: KM-20.dpaul7
NeroOtho.jpg
IMP•OTHO Monogram168 viewsNero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D., Tripolis, Phoenicia, Otho countermark
9273. Bronze AE 23, SGI 628, BMC Phoenicia 39, F, Tripolis mint, 7.21g, 22.9mm, 0o, obverse laureate head of Nero, countermarked IMP•OTHO (emperor Otho, 15 Jan - 17 Apr 69 A.D.); reverse TRIPWLEITWN LQOT (= seleukid era year 379 = 67/68 A.D.), conjoined busts of the Dioscuri right, two stars above; sold.
whitetd49
Year2Shekel.jpg
Judaea, First Revolt Shekel, Year 2127 viewsJudaea, First Jewish War AR Shekel. Dated year 2 (AD 67/8)
O: Hebrew script read from right to left SKL ISRAL “Shekel of Israel”, the date Shin Bet, "Year Two" of the revolution, above Omer cup with beaded rim
R: Hebrew script YRUSLIM H KDOSA “Jerusalem the Holy” around sprig of three pomegranates.

This coin was minted during times of great upheaval in Judaea as well as the rest of the Roman empire.

As Jewish factions were fighting for control in Jerusalem, General Vespasian's armies invaded Galilee in 67 CE with 60,000 men as they began the effort to quell the rebellion started a year earlier. Vespasian captured the commander of Galilee, Josephus ben Matthias, in the little mountain town of Jotapata, which fell after a fierce siege of 47 days. It was the second bloodiest battle of the revolt, surpassed only by the sacking of Jerusalem, and the longest except for Jerusalem and Masada.

Driven from Galilee, Zealot rebels and thousands of refugees arrived in Judea, causing even greater political turmoil in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, back in Rome in 68 CE, Nero commits suicide, plunging the Empire into a civil war. Galba, Otho and Vitellius would assume the purple till Vespasian, leaving the battle in Judaea to Titus, brought the matter to a conclusion in 69.
6 commentsNemonater
bosporos_thothorses_Anokhin568.jpg
Kingdom of Bosporus, Thothorses,Anokhin 56827 viewsThothorses, AD 279-303
AE 20, 7.41g, 19.6mm, 15°
298/299 AD
obv. BACILEWC QOQORCOV
Bust, draped and diademed head r., B before
rev. Bust of Diocletian(?), draped and laureate, r.
beneath EPF (P revers, = 595 = year 298/299 AD)
in r. field tamgha of Thothorses #1 (MacDonald p.118)
ref. Anokhin 568; MacDonald 646/3; BMC 78, 117 var.
F+, some green incrustations
Jochen
BOSPORUS_K_THOTHORSES.jpg
KINGDOM OF BOSPORUS--Thothorses21 viewsKINGDOM OF BOSPORUS--Thothorses (286 - 310 AD) AE Stater. Thothorses & Diocletian - 300-301 AD. BASILEWS QOQWRSOU, diademed draped bust of king right / laureate head of Diocletian right, VPF below, tamgha before. A thicker coin; did not scan well. Beautiful in the hand.dpaul7
coin266.jpg
KINGDOM of KIMMERISCHER BOSPOROS9 viewsKingdom of Bosporus, Thothorses & Diocletian, AE Stater. BASILEWS QOQWRSOU, Bust of Thothorses right, 3 globes before / Bust of Diocletian right between tamga and 3 globes. Anoukhin 743d; Mionnet 2, 160-162.cars100
Lesotho.jpg
Lesotho31 viewsKm17 - 2 Lisente - 1979-1989
Km55 - 2 Lisente - 1992
Km55a - 2 Lisente - 1992
Daniel F
RPCMallosXXXXb.jpg
MallusXXXX58 viewsAs (?), a unique coin from Cilicia, Mallus. The flan is bevelled - not known from Mallus otherwise - suggesting Antiochian influence. Similar to Antiochus IV group 2 & 3 coins (sensu Butcher), which also have bevelled flans and resemble coins of Galba and Otho from Antioch. The general of the Eastern army, Vespasianus and the Syrian legate Mucianus swore allience with Otho at the time. This was done for tactical reasons most likely. 8.51 gr, max 25 mm, die-axis 12.
The coin is published in Tuukka Talvio´s Festschrift and a pdf of the article will be soon available as a Forum resource.
Another coin minted with same dies has appeared. Salem Alshdaifat has interpreted the legends partly differently, as they are less legible in that specimen. However, he has come to the same general conclusion about the attribution of the coin independently.
jmuona
OthoPax.jpg
Marcus Salvius Otho126 viewsAD 69 January 15 to mid-April. 20mm, 3.35 g. Rome mint.
O: IMP M OTHO C[AESA]R AVG TR P, Bare head right
R: PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax standing left, holding olive branch and caduceus.
- RIC I 4; RSC 3.

Otho assumed the title of Pont Max on March 9, 69. This type was therefore likely struck in the first two of his three month reign. Mattingly observed that PAX ORBIS TERRARVM could have been Otho's cry to counter the "Salus Generis" and "Pax P R" of the Galban faction of the civil wars.

Long before there was Metta World Peace, there was Otho. While his earlier denarii took features from Nero's coinage and Plutarch says Otho took Nero's name, signing imperial documents "Nero Otho", this is much less offensive than the fact that Nero took Otho's wife.

For some very interesting reading on the style and composition of Otho denarii, see http://www.forumancientcoins.com/numiswiki/view.asp?key=Denarii%20of%20Otho
4 commentsNemonater
8AD0D433-FCB1-456C-8F6E-511EC18EAAFF.jpeg
MESSENIA, Mothone. Geta.8 viewsMESSENIA, Mothone. Geta. As Caesar, AD 198-209. Æ Assarion. Bareheaded, draped, and cuirassed bust right / Tyche standing left, holding rudder and cornucopia. BCD Peloponnesos 812 (same dies); BCD Peloponnesos –; BMC –; SNG Copenhagen –; NCP –.ecoli
IMG_0410.jpg
MINT II Normanby 1451 var. 15 viewsDIVO VICTORINO PO, Radiate head right
PROVIDENTIA AVG, Providentia standing left
Normanby 1451 var.
Posthumous issue. Note the othographic error in the obverse legend. An obverse die link to a specimen offered in the Numismatic Circular for April 1995, no. 1613.
Weight 1.55g
Adrianus
NeroStatiliaMessalinaGalbaI.jpg
Nero and Statilia Messalina Galba countermark93 viewsNero & Statilia Messalina, Æ27 as, Galba ctmk., 10.54g Nicaea, Bythinia,
O: NERWN K[LAU]DIOS KAISAR SEBASTOS GE, laureate head left, rectangular countermark GALB[A].
R: ME[SSALEIN]A [GYNE SEBASTOY] Statilia Messalina as Securitas seated right.
Unique mule - Obverse die RPC 2057, Reverse die RPC 2061; Listed in Wildwinds as RPC 2061cf, countermark Howgego 591

Statilia Messalina was the third and last wife of Nero, empress from 66-68. Her great beauty and intelligence kept her alive during some of the most turbulent years of the early empire.

After several failed attempts to strangle his first wife, Claudia Octavia, to death, Nero divorced her for barrenness and she was forced into suicide. Nero kicked his second wife, Poppaea Sabina who was pregnant at the time, to death. Going into a deep depression (Women, can't live with them, can't live without them!) he found comfort in his new bride, Statilia Messalina. All it took was the forced suicide of her husband and Nero was able to have her all to himself.

She must have been a most clever woman as she survived the revolution and civil war that followed, even being betrothed to Otho before he too met an untimely end. Suetonius reports that of the two letters Otho wrote the night before he committed suicide, one of them was to Statilia.
1 commentsNemonater
Lg008_quad_sm.jpg
Nerva Aequitas Ӕ As (c. 97 A.D.)7 viewsIMP NERVA CAES [AVG P M TR P ? COS ? P P], laureate head right / AEQVITAS AVGVST + S - C across fields, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 1 January, 98, at the start of his fourth consulship, Nerva suffered a stroke during a private audience. Shortly thereafter he was struck by a fever and died. His largest legacies were avoiding the civil war after the fall of Flavians and establishing a new dynasty that ruled almost until the end of the 2nd century and achieved "the golden age" of the Roman empire.
Yurii P
00056-Otho.jpg
Otho 37 viewsOtho Denarius
19 mm 3.37 gm
O: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P
Bare head right.
R: SECVRITAS P R
Securitas standing left, holding wreath and scepter.
3 commentsKoffy
01g~0.jpg
OTHO65 viewsAR denarius. 69 A.D (3.42 gm). Bare head right with wig. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P / Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.SECVRITAS P R. RIC I 10; BMCRE 19; BN 7; RSC 15.
Triton VII. Lot 881.
CNG photograph.
2 commentsbenito
00otho.jpg
OTHO91 viewsAR denarius. 69 A.D (3.42 gm). Bare head right with wig. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P / Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.SECVRITAS P R. RIC I 10; BMCRE 19; BN 7; RSC 15.
Triton VII. Lot 881.

2 commentsbenito
2580362.jpg
Otho20 viewsOtho. AD 69. AR Denarius (18mm, 3.05 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck January-April. Bare head right / Securitas standing left, holding wreath and scepter. RIC I 10; RSC 15.3 commentsTLP
Otho.jpg
Otho61 viewsRoman Empire
Otho
(Reign as 7th Emperor of the Roman Empire Jan. 15, 69-April 16, 69AD)
(b. 32 AD, d. 69 AD)


Obverse: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, Bare head of Otho facing right

Reverse: Inverse of obverse design due to brockage error




Silver Denarius
Minted in Rome Jan. 69-April 69 AD



Translations:

IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P=Imperator(Commander-in-Chief) Marcus Otho Caesar Emperor Tribune of the Plebs



Reference:
RIC I 1, 4, 8, 16, 14 or 17
2 commentsSphinx357
IMG_2118_(1).JPG
Otho69 viewsOtho Billon Tetradrachm of Alexandria . YEAR 1
C. 69 AD
13.44g
25mm
obv. Otho laureate head right, LA before / rev. bust of Alexandria right in elephant skin headdress. RPC 5358. Dattari 324
Grey tone with good metal and detail. SCARCE
Ex John Casey Collection


5 commentsRandygeki(h2)
othotet.jpg
Otho (69 A.D.)96 viewsEgypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: AYTOK MAPK OΘΩNOΣ KAIΣ ΣEB, laureate head right, LA (year 1) lower right.
R: EΛEY-ΘEPIA, Eleutheria (Liberty) standing left, wreath in extended right hand, scepter in left hand, leaning with left elbow on column, simpulum (ladle used for tasting and pouring sacrificial libations) left in lower left field.
12.58g
24.4mm
Milne 359; RPC I 5354 (5 spec.); Dattari 327; BMC Alexandria p. 25, 208; Curtis 238; Kampmann 18.6; Emmett 184

Ex. Jyrki Muona Collection

This variety with a simpulum on the reverse is much rarer than the same type without this control symbol. RPC reports only 5 specimens with the simpulum and 17 specimens without it. This variety is missing from the important collections in Cologne, Paris, and Milan, and we know of only one example offered at auction in the past two decades (CNG 76, 12 Sep 2007, lot 3152, VF, $430 plus fees).


Published on Wildwinds!
6 commentsMat
otho1.jpg
Otho (69 A.D.)35 viewsEgypt, Alexandria
Billon Tetradrachm
O: ΑΥΤΟΚ ΜΑΡΚ ΟΘΩΝΟΣ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒ, laureate head right; L A (date) to right.
R:ΡΩΜΗ, helmeted and cuirassed bust of Roma right, holding shield and spear.
13.4g
23mm
 Dattari (Savio) 330; K&G 18.9; RPC I 5362; Emmett 186.1

Published on Wildwinds!
1 commentsMat
RS035-Roman-AR_denarius,_Otho_(69_AD)-062500.JPG
OTHO (69 AD), AR denarius, Ceres67 viewsObverse- IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right.
Reverse- PONT MAX, Ceres standing left, holding corn ears in right hand, cornucopia in left.
Silver version of RIC 20 (an aureus), 3.1 g.
NGC F (Strike 3/5, Surface 3/5), cert. #4095350-003.
Ex- Harlan J. Berk, Ltd., November, 2007.
Comments: "Rare second issue of reign", according to HJB. This was the keystone of my original Roman Imperial collection, and the only coin for which I crossed the $500 threshold. When forced to sell my collection after a 2008 layoff, I put it on eBay and took a loss. It went to a buddy, however, and he let me buy it back in August of 2010. I was always fascinated by this short-lived emperor who only lasted three months, and this coin is probably tied with my Zeno solidus as my favorite Roman.
4 commentslordmarcovan
TW-08.jpg
Otho (A.D. 69)22 viewsAR Denarius, A.D. 69, Rome, 18mm, 2.90g, 180°, RIC I 8.
Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P. Bare head right.
Rev: SECURITAS P R. Securitas standing left, holding wreath and scepter.
1 commentsMarti Vltori
Otho_RPC4318.jpg
Otho - Bronze of Antioch - RPC 431813 viewsObv: IMP M OTHO CAE AVG, laureate head right
Rev: Large S C across field within wreath composed of eight sets of leaves
Weight: 14,11 g
Mint: Syria, Seleucis and Pieria. Antiochia ad Orontem
Date: 69 AD
Ref: McAlee 320b. RPC 4318
Provenance: 2011 September Long Beach Signature World & Ancient Coins Auction (12.09.2011), lot 26053
vs1969
Otho1.jpg
Otho Alexandria.1 viewsOtho, tet minted between Jan-April 69AD, 12.6gm. RPC 5368.Ancient Aussie
008.jpg
Otho AR Denarius63 viewsRIC I 8 Rome, RSC 17, RCV 2162, BMCRE 18
3.16 g, 17 mm x 19 mm
69 AD.
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right
SECVRI-TAS P R, Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.
R2
1 commentsMark Z2
Otho_ric_19.png
Otho AR Denarius86 viewsOtho, 69.
Denarius, Rome;
3.03 g.
Obv: Head r .IMP M OTHO CAESAR AUG TR P
Rev:Equitas stands l. with scales and scepter. PONT MAX
BMC 6; Coh. 9; RIC² 19.
Fine tone fine
Ex: The Jyrki Muona collection
auction Fritz Rudolf Künker 304, Osnabrück March 2018, No. 1073
auction Fritz Rudolf Künker 312, Osnabrück October 2018, No. 2822.

I am thrilled to have bought my second denarius of Otho. Otho was the second of the emperors n the year of the four emperors in 69 CE. After losing a battle to Aulus Vitellius he took his own life rather than needlessly spill more blood.

I absolutely love the portrait on this coin. It is rendered in a truly artistic style. The PONT MAX reverse is rarer than the SECURITAS reverse of my first coin of OTHO. This coin was struck on a rather large flan and the quality of silver is very nice indeed.

After winning this coin I was contacted by Dr. Jyrki Muona who informed me that the coin once belonged to him. Dr. Muona has written on the topic of coins of Otho including the paper "The Rome mint coins of Marcus Salvius Otho". I am very pleased to own a coin of Otho from his collection.

Some have claimed that Otho was an insignificant historical figure and that his coins are only collected because collecting the 12 Caesars based on the book by Suetonius means that one needs a coin of Otho. I would have to disagree. Otho ruled in a time of civil war during a truly formative century for the Roman empire. He also gave his life to spare others. To me this makes him significant enough for me.
6 commentsorfew
Otho_1.jpg
OTHO Denarius RIC 17, Victory72 viewsOBV: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right
REV: VICTORIA OTHONIS, Victory standing left on globe, wreath extended in right, palm frond in left
3.179 g, maximum diameter 18.7 mm, die axis 180 degrees
very rare (RIC R3)
Minted at Rome, Jan-Feb 69 A.D
Ex Forum
2 commentsLegatus
Screen_Shot_2019-01-12_at_10_45_12_PM.png
Otho RIC 000455 viewsOtho. AD 69. AR Denarius
(19mm,2.87 g, 6h). Rome mint.
Obv: Bare head right IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P
Rev: Pax standing left, holding olive branch and caduceus. PAX ORBIS TERRARVM
RIC I 4; RSC 3. Good Fine. toned
1 commentsorfew
otho_combined.jpeg
Otho RIC 0008137 viewsOtho AR Denarius.69 AD Rome Mint. 17.89 mm 3.08 g
Obv: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bewigged head right
Rev: SECVRI-TAS P R, Securitas standing left, holding wreath & scepter. RIC I, 8,(R2) RSC 17.




Above is a photo of an Otho denarius. It is probably the most common Otho denarius one can find for sale. Still, like all coins of Otho there is quite a bit of competition for them when they appear for sale. What I like about this one is the portrait. It is also a bonus that his name is on the flan.
Otho rules for three months in 69 CE and was the second in the year of the 4 emperors. He committed suicide rather than subject the empire to useless bloodshed.
4 commentsorfew
Otho_RIC_8.jpg
Otho RIC 840 viewsObv: IMP M OTHO CAESΛR AVG TR P, bare head right
Rev: SECVRITAS P R, Securitas, draped, standing left, holding wreath in right hand and cradling sceptre in left
Mint: Rome, 15 January-8 March AD 69
Size: 2.89g, 19mm, 7h.
ID: RIC 8; RSC 17; BMC 17-18; BN 10.
2 commentsickster
Otho_tet.jpg
Otho Tetradrachm271 viewsAYTOKPATWP M OΘWN KAICAP CEBACTOC
Laureate head right
ETOYC A
Eagle, wings raised, standing left on two laurel branches, wreath in beak, palm branch in left field, crescent between eagle's legs

Seleucis and Pieria, Antioch ad Orontem

69 AD

14.44g

Prieur-101, RPC-4199, McAlee-316.
Rare
ex-ANE

Amazing jet black toning

From Numiswiki:
"Having to contest the crown with his competitor Vitellius, whom he three times defeated, Otho was vanquished in his turn at the battle of Bedriacum and rather than be the coccasion of further bloodshed in civil war, he preferred making the sacrifice of his life, and with a frimness wholly unlooked for from so effeminately luxurious a character,deliberately slew himself with his own hand. He died on the 16th of April 69 AD, in the 37th year of his age, having reigned only ninety-five days."
8 commentsJay GT4
Otho.jpg
Otho – RIC-1476 viewsAR Denarius (3.03 gm). IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right / VICTORIA OTHONIS. Victory, draped, flying right with wreath & palm. RIC 14, RSC 27, BMC 22, RCV 21641 commentsBud Stewart
Otho_denarius.png
Otho, denarius24 viewsOtho, denarius
Rome mint.
2,89 g. 19 mm.
Obv. IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right
Rev. SECVRITAS P R, Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.
RIC 8
Broken and repaired.
1 commentsMarsman
0082-210np_noir.jpg
Otho, Denarius - *349 viewsDenarius minted in Rome in 69 AD
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, Bare head of Otho right
SECURITAS PR, Securitas standing left
3.50 gr
Ref : RIC # 8, RCV #2162, Cohen #17
15 commentsPotator II
Otho_RIC_8.JPG
Otho, January 15 - April 17, 69 AD50 viewsObv: IMP OTHO CAESAR TR P, Head of Otho, bewigged, facing right.

Rev: (SECV)RITAS PR, Securitas standing left, holding a wreath and a scepter.

Silver Denarius, Rome mint, Jan. - Feb. 69 AD

3.4 grams, 19.2 mm, 180°

RIC I 8, RSC 17, S2162, VM 8
1 commentsSPQR Coins
OTHO-1-ROMAN.jpg
Otho, RIC I-16 Rome30 viewsAR Denarius
Rome mint, 69 B.C.
19mm, 3.13g
RIC I-16, RSCv.2-24, RCVv.1-2165

Obverse:
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P
Bare head right.

Reverse:
VICTORIA OTHONIS
Victory, draped, alighting left, right holding wreath, left palm.
2 commentsrubadub
fake1.jpg
Otho-Vespasian mule26 viewsThis coin I failed to obtain, but I suspect it may be an authentic Ancient counterfeit combining a Second/Third period Otho obverse with a Vespasian reverse. Said to have been found in UK by a detectorist. Very interesting. UPDATE: another coin combining a similar type of obverse and Domitian as Caesar reverse was sold on ebay recently. It is definitely more suspicious and I regard it as a modern forgery. This coin may be of same stock as well.jmuona
Otho.PNG
Otho. EGYPT, Alexandria. . AD 69. Æ23. Obol.67 viewsObv. Laureate head right. [MAPK OΘΩN - KAIΣ ΣEB AYT].
Rev. Canopic jar to right; LA (Year 1) before.
References: RPC 5371 (8 spec.).
23mm, 3.18 grams.
4 commentsCanaan
EM_075_AE29_Otho.JPG
Otho: 69 AD "The Year of the Four Emperors"34 viewsAE29; Antioch, Seleukis & Pieria, Syria.
Obv. - laureate head right; IMP M OTHO CAE AVG
Rev. - SC in wreath of eight laurel leaves.
RPC 4320
13.40 grams
29mm
cmcdon0923
EM_072_AE23_Otho.jpg
Otho: 69 AD "The Year of the Four Emperors"12 viewsÆ23; Antioch, Seleukis & Pieria. Struck AD 69.
Obv. - laureate head facing right; IMP M OTHO CAE AVG around
Rev. - Large SC with dot above, within laurel wreath
RPC 4321
8.58 grams
23.5 mm
cmcdon0923
Vespasian~0.jpg
RIC 0002 Vespasian denarius405 viewsIMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG
Laur. head of Vespasian right

IVDAEA
Judaea as mourning captive seated right on ground at foot of trophy.

Celebrating the success of Vespasian and Titus in quelling the first Jewish Revolt. Portrait looks like a cross between Otho and Vitellius

Rome 69-70 AD

RIC 2 (C2); Sear 2296

3.285g

Ex-Maridvnvm; Ex-Forum!

8 commentsJay GT4
Otho_01.jpg
RIC 1, p.260, 8 - Otho, Securitas 32 viewsOtho
Denarius, Rome, AD 69
Obv.: IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, Bare head right
Rev.: SECVRITAS PR, Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre
Ag, 3.28g, 19x17mm
Ref.: RIC² 8, RIC 8, Kankelfitz 3
1 commentsshanxi
RIC16forgb.JPG
RIC 16 Ancient counterfeit26 viewsA typical silver-foil plated Ancient counterfeit. Two other unoffical coins with the same dies are known to me, one in the Madrid coin cabinet. The VICTORIA OTHONIS reverse should be united with a long obverse legend die with an early Otho coiffure. The legend cannot be seen from this specimen, but the hair is clearly of the very late type. This incorrect combination immediately reveals the forgery. Both dies appear to be copies of official ones.
2.39 gr, max 18 mm, die-axis 8.
jmuona
othofake4a.jpg
RIC 16 Ancient counterfeit20 viewsYet another counterfeit of this type. Plated and if intact, this would be quite convincing even today.jmuona
othofake3a.jpg
RIC 16 Ancient counterfeit14 viewsConsidering how uncommon this type is as a genuine Rome mint product, the plated ones are really surprisingly frequent.jmuona
RI19forgeryB.JPG
RIC 19 Ancient counterfeit43 viewsThis is a peculiar coin. Clearly not produced with the silver-foil method, but rather by a surface enriched silver method. Both dies are convincing and the lettering is excellent and typical of the late Otho coins. The hair-do is correct for the type.
2.72 gr, max 18 mm, die-axis 6.
1 commentsjmuona
RIC_19_forgeryB.JPG
RIC 19 Ancient counterfeit29 viewsPlated forgery with breaks on the surface foil clearly visible on obverse. The obverse die imitates or possibly copies an early Otho die with long legend, the reverse is that of a coin, which should be combined with a short obverse legend. This is a feature seen on many of these Ancient counterfeits. With only two legends available, one might think this should not be that difficult to get right. Perhaps it was intentional? Another possibility is that the forgers did not know how to read and as the long obverse legend coins were commoner, this mix-up happened easily.
2.72 gr, max 18 mm, die-axis 12.
jmuona
othofake2a.jpg
RIC 22 Modern fake21 viewsI have chosen to call this a Modern fake, although I believe it to be from the late 1800s. Faks with the same obverse or an obverse very similar to this exist both in gold and silver. There are other examples in my gallery as well.jmuona
RICothoforb.JPG
RIC 8 Ancient counterfeit29 viewsA plated forgery and an unusually ugly one. The flat-headed, pig-necked portrait is badly off and the obverse legends are too widely spaced and inconsistent. The reverse has a moderately succesfull Securitas, the legend appears to read "..VR-I-IASPR".
2.95 gr, max 18 mm, die-axis 6.
jmuona
othofake1a.jpg
RIC 8 Ancient counterfeit18 viewsThis type with a smile never seen in a genuine coin is known from many collections. e.g. Paris.jmuona
othoreplica2a.jpg
RIC 8 replica28 viewsThis box contained the three replicas: Galba, Otho, Vitellius-jmuona
othoreplica1a.jpg
RIC 8 replica35 viewsCast replica based on real dies, offered as a gift to ?businesspeople and including "authentication" for the replica's quality by an offical source.jmuona
TheCivilWarsComp.jpg
Roman Civil Wars 68-6991 viewsNero, Vindex, Galba, Otho, Vitellius x2 and Vespasian x38 commentsNemonater
Poppaea.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE PROVINCIAL, Poppaea Wife of Nero,62-65 AD33 viewsPoppaea Wife of Nero,62-65 AD

obv: POPPAIA SEBASTH,Diademed and draped bust right.
rev: Headdress of Isis, P-E to either side, all within laurel wreath.
Mint Perinthus (later called Heraclea, present-day Marmaraereglisi)

RPC I 1756; Varbanov 3695

Poppaea Sabina, daughter of T. Ollius, was married three times -
firstly to the praetorian prefect Rufrius Crispinus, then to the future emperor Otho,
and finally to Nero, who divorced Octavia in A.D. 62 in order to marry her.
She died three years later, the victim of her husband who kicked her in a fit of temper.
George
coin02a.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, AUGUSTUS - Copper as - Moneyers' series - M Salvius Otho - Rome 7BC30 viewsObv: "CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT" bare hd. of Augustus l.
Rev: "M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA FF" around large SC.
III VIR AAA FF - III viri aere argento auro flando feiundo - 3 men, for the casting and striking of copper, silver, and gold.
11.35g - 28mm - s.1685v - RIC 431.
Comment
Sear, both lists and illustrates this coin as head right. Is it a mule, or a limitation of Sear?
jerseyjohnjames
AUG-2-MOY.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus, AE AS31 viewsDenom: AE As
Obv: CAESAR AVGVST PONT MAX TRIBVNIC POT
Laureate head right
Rev: M SALVIVS OTHO IIIVIR A A A F F S C
M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA F F around large S C
Mint: Rome
RIC-I-431; Cohen-515;
Dia. 25.9 mm
9.44 gm
Augustus
MYoung
augustus.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus, AE Cut As7 viewsAs cut (Semis)
M SALVIVS OTHO III VIR AAA FF
RIC 432
Numis-Student
bpJ1A2AugustusBarbMon.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Augustus, Provincial Imitation124 viewsObv: VGUSTVS TRIBVNIC POTEST (sic)
Legend in three lines within oak wreath.
Rev: M SALVIVS OTHO III A A A F F
Legend around large S C (sic)
Dupondius, 9.7 gm 24 mm
Comment: Misspelled Aug. on obverse. Backward S on reverse. From Curtis Clay: "Curiously, standard dupondii of this moneyer seem to be attested ONLY in ancient imitations, BMC p. 44 note, RIC p. 75 note. Presumably these imitations copy an official issue which has not yet come to light, since it seems unlikely that ancient counterfeiters/imitators would create new coin types by switching names on the prototypes they were copying."
1 commentsMassanutten
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ROMAN EMPIRE, Nero, AV Aureus, A.D.66-6764 views- Auréus, Néron, Rome, 66-67
Avers : IMP NERO CAESAR - AVGVSTVS Tête laurée de Néron à droite.
Revers : IVPPITER - CVSTOS Jupiter trônant à gauche, tenant un foudre de la main droite et un sceptre long de la gauche.
Cohen 120 | RIC 63

Monetary reform 64 allowed to restore state finances while supporting the people of the Empire the price thereof. This year 64 is marked by the Great Fire of Rome and its consequences, including the persecution against Christians in the city. The following year, it was the discovery of the conspiracy of Piso, the death of Seneca and Lucan. In 66 Tiridates king of Armenia was inducted in Rome. Nero then went to Greece, where he performed on stage and proclaimed "Freedom of Greece." Excess the Emperor cause at the beginning of the year 68 a wave of discontent which culminated in the rebellion of Vindex in Gaul, Galba and Otho Spain. Nero is declared a public enemy by the Senate. He committed suicide on June 9 not to fall alive into the hands of his enemies.
1 commentsbgaut
RIC20S.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Otho denarius, RIC 20var.176 viewsRIC II 2nd ed. lists this type in gold only,although it is the least rare PONT MAX reverse Otho denarius. This is the best of its type known in my view. With full legends, an unusual small portrait and a great reverse. Weight 3.61 gr. 5 commentsjmuona
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ROMAN EMPIRE, Otho denarius, RIC 21.198 viewsA very rare type of Othos smallest issue. The portrait is truely great and overall the coin shows unusually fine detail. Although the flan has flaws, I have not seen a better Otho Jupiter coin. Weight 3.35 gr.8 commentsjmuona
85563q00.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D.13 viewsRS85563. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (R3, 7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, weight 3.272 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverse CERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rarest Otho denarius type; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Glenn Woods (NYINC, 2002)Joe Sermarini
Otho.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, Otho, AR Denarius16 viewsNumis-Student
othocert.JPG
ROMAN EMPIRE, Otho, Denarius57 viewsDenarius, March - April 69 (Rome)
Obv: IMPOTHOCAESARAVGTRP - Bare head right.
Rev: PONTMAX - Ceres standing left, holding grain ears and cornucopia.

1 commentsanthivs
OTHO.jpg
ROMAN EMPIRE, OTHO, DENARIUS29 viewsOtho (AD 69), denarius,
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head r.,
rev. PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax stg. left., holding branch and caduceus
2 commentsanthivs
79667q00.jpg
Roman Empire, Otho, Denarius CERES AVG 109 viewsSH79667. Silver denarius, Muona Otho 10b; Butcher-Ponting-Muona 6; ANSCD 1958.217.1; BnF III 1; RIC I 1 (7 spec. known, all minted with the same die-pair), Nice VF, the best portrait and most attractive of the seven known specimens, light rose toning, a few light marks and spots of porosity, Rome mint, weight 3.272g, maximum diameter 17.5mm, die axis 180o, 9 Mar - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TRP, bare head right; reverse CERES AVG, Ceres standing left, grain-ears raised in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; from the Jyrki Muona Collection

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

Otho minted three separate issues. The first and second issues followed Galba's standard of 90% silver. Otho's third issue was debased to 80% silver. All coins of the third issue share the reverse legend PONT MAX, perhaps to make it easy to distinguish the debased coins. One might think our rare coin is simply a reverse legend error for Otho's third issue, PONT MAX Ceres type. However, as Butcher et al. have shown, this is not the case. If CERES AVG was a simple reverse legend error, the flan would be 80% silver. This CERES AVG type was struck on second issue 90% silver flans, probably during planning for the third issue, and perhaps only for testing. The type was apparently not distributed, and was withdrawn, and melted when it was decided to debase the coinage and use the PONT MAX legend. It appears a small number were released, most likely by mistake.
4 commentsJoe Sermarini
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ROMAN EMPIRE, OTHO, Denarius RIC 8787 viewsDenarius minted in Rome in 69 AD
IMP M OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, Bare head of Otho right
SECURITAS PR, Securitas standing left
3.50 gr
Ref : RIC # 8, RCV # 2162, Cohen #17
11 commentsPotator II
otho.jpg
Roman Otho Denarius43 viewsOtho. 69 AD. AR Denarius.
Obv: IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P, bare head right
Rev: PAX ORBIS TERRARVM, Pax standing left, holding branch and caduceus.

RIC 6 (R) var. (head l.). BMCRE 4 var. RSC 2157 var.

Rare

1 commentsTanit
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Roman, OTHO210 viewsAR denarius. 69 A.D (3.42 gm). Bare head right with wig. IMP OTHO CAESAR AVG TR P / Securitas standing left, holding wreath and sceptre.SECVRITAS P R. RIC I 10; BMCRE 19; BN 7; RSC 15.
2 commentsbenito
Vespasian r103-o.jpg
Roman, Vespasian576 viewsI love this portrait! The sneer/scowl seems so real!

TITVS FLAVIVS VESPASIANVS, born in 9 AD to Vespasia Polla and Flavius Sabinus, entered public service and was serving as Governor of Judaea in 68 when Nero committed suicide. The eastern legions resented the quick succession of Nero, Galba, Otho, and Vitellius, since the Rhine legions had caused it all. In July of 69 the eastern legions proclaimed Vespasian, and the legions of Illyricum followed. Vitellius was killed on December 20, 69 and Vespasian reigned mildly for the next ten years. He died of illness on June 23, 79, was succeeded by his older son Titus, and was deified by the Senate.
4 commentsjimwho523
RPC5359_3B.jpg
RPC5359110 viewsTetradrachm, Eleutheria, no simpulum. This coin was included in a as yet unpublished study. It shows nicely the minting method used in Egypt at the time. The silver content of the metal used is low and the surface has been treated with acid to remove the copper and then restruck to solidify the silver. The same method was in use in Rome during the last month of Otho´s reign, but as the silver content was much higher, the "purified" surface cannot be observed as easily. [5.67 gr], die-axis 12.3 commentsjmuona
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RPC536528 viewsHemidrachm, bust of Isis. These larger bronzes of Otho from Alexandria are very rare coins. 11.46 gr, max 30 mm, die-axis 12.jmuona
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RPC537018 viewsObol, long obverse legend. RPC lists one coin.jmuona
Saladin (Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub).jpg
Salah ad-Din Yusuf Ibn Ayyub71 viewsHis name in Arabic, in full, is SALAH AD-DIN YUSUF IBN AYYUB ("Righteousness of the Faith, Joseph, Son of Job"), also called AL-MALIK AN-NASIR SALAH AD-DIN YUSUF I (b. 1137/38, Tikrit, Mesopotamia--d. March 4, 1193, Damascus), Muslim sultan of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, and Palestine, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty, and the most famous of Muslim heroes.

In wars against the Christian crusaders, he achieved final success with the disciplined capture of Jerusalem (Oct. 2, 1187), ending its 88-year occupation by the Franks. The great Christian counterattack of the Third Crusade was then stalemated by Saladin's military genius.

Saladin was born into a prominent Kurdish family. On the night of his birth, his father, Najm ad-Din Ayyub, gathered his family and moved to Aleppo, there entering the service of 'Imad ad-Din Zangi ibn Aq Sonqur, the powerful Turkish governor in northern Syria. Growing up in Ba'lbek and Damascus, Saladin was apparently an undistinguished youth, with a greater taste for religious studies than military training.

His formal career began when he joined the staff of his uncle Asad ad-Din Shirkuh, an important military commander under the amir Nureddin, son and successor of Zangi. During three military expeditions led by Shirkuh into Egypt to prevent its falling to the Latin-Christian (Frankish) rulers of the states established by the First Crusade, a complex, three-way struggle developed between Amalric I, the Latin king of Jerusalem, Shawar, the powerful vizier of the Egyptian Fatimid caliph, and Shirkuh. After Shirkuh's death and after ordering Shawar's assassination, Saladin, in 1169 at the age of 31, was appointed both commander of the Syrian troops and vizier of Egypt.

His relatively quick rise to power must be attributed not only to the clannish nepotism of his Kurdish family but also to his own emerging talents. As vizier of Egypt, he received the title king (malik), although he was generally known as the sultan. Saladin's position was further enhanced when, in 1171, he abolished the Shi'i Fatimid caliphate, proclaimed a return to Sunnah in Egypt, and consequently became its sole ruler.

Although he remained for a time theoretically a vassal of Nureddin, that relationship ended with the Syrian emir's death in 1174. Using his rich agricultural possessions in Egypt as a financial base, Saladin soon moved into Syria with a small but strictly disciplined army to claim the regency on behalf of the young son of his former suzerain.
Soon, however, he abandoned this claim, and from 1174 until 1186 he zealously pursued a goal of uniting, under his own standard, all the Muslim territories of Syria, northern Mesopotamia, Palestine, and Egypt.

This he accomplished by skillful diplomacy backed when necessary by the swift and resolute use of military force. Gradually, his reputation grew as a generous and virtuous but firm ruler, devoid of pretense, licentiousness, and cruelty. In contrast to the bitter dissension and intense rivalry that had up to then hampered the Muslims in their resistance to the crusaders, Saladin's singleness of purpose induced them to rearm both physically and spiritually.

Saladin's every act was inspired by an intense and unwavering devotion to the idea of jihad ("holy war")-the Muslim equivalent of the Christian crusade. It was an essential part of his policy to encourage the growth and spread of Muslim religious institutions.

He courted its scholars and preachers, founded colleges and mosques for their use, and commissioned them to write edifying works especially on the jihad itself. Through moral regeneration, which was a genuine part of his own way of life, he tried to re-create in his own realm some of the same zeal and enthusiasm that had proved so valuable to the first generations of Muslims when, five centuries before, they had conquered half the known world.

Saladin also succeeded in turning the military balance of power in his favour-more by uniting and disciplining a great number of unruly forces than by employing new or improved military techniques. When at last, in 1187, he was able to throw his full strength into the struggle with the Latin crusader kingdoms, his armies were their equals. On July 4, 1187, aided by his own military good sense and by a phenomenal lack of it on the part of his enemy, Saladin trapped and destroyed in one blow an exhausted and thirst-crazed army of crusaders at Hattin, near Tiberias in northern Palestine.

So great were the losses in the ranks of the crusaders in this one battle that the Muslims were quickly able to overrun nearly the entire Kingdom of Jerusalem. Acre, Toron, Beirut, Sidon, Nazareth, Caesarea, Nabulus, Jaffa (Yafo), and Ascalon (Ashqelon) fell within three months.

But Saladin's crowning achievement and the most disastrous blow to the whole crusading movement came on Oct. 2, 1187, when Jerusalem, holy to both Muslim and Christian alike, surrendered to the Sultan's army after 88 years in the hands of the Franks. In stark contrast to the city's conquest by the Christians, when blood flowed freely during the barbaric slaughter of its inhabitants, the Muslim reconquest was marked by the civilized and courteous behaviour of Saladin and his troops. His sudden success, which in 1189 saw the crusaders reduced to the occupation of only three cities, was, however, marred by his failure to capture Tyre, an almost impregnable coastal fortress to which the scattered Christian survivors of the recent battles flocked. It was to be the rallying point of the Latin counterattack.

Most probably, Saladin did not anticipate the European reaction to his capture of Jerusalem, an event that deeply shocked the West and to which it responded with a new call for a crusade. In addition to many great nobles and famous knights, this crusade, the third, brought the kings of three countries into the struggle.

The magnitude of the Christian effort and the lasting impression it made on contemporaries gave the name of Saladin, as their gallant and chivalrous enemy, an added lustre that his military victories alone could never confer on him.

The Crusade itself was long and exhausting, and, despite the obvious, though at times impulsive, military genius of Richard I the Lion-Heart, it achieved almost nothing. Therein lies the greatest-but often unrecognized--achievement of Saladin. With tired and unwilling feudal levies, committed to fight only a limited season each year, his indomitable will enabled him to fight the greatest champions of Christendom to a draw. The crusaders retained little more than a precarious foothold on the Levantine coast, and when King Richard set sail from the Orient in October 1192, the battle was over.

Saladin withdrew to his capital at Damascus. Soon, the long campaigning seasons and the endless hours in the saddle caught up with him, and he died. While his relatives were already scrambling for pieces of the empire, his friends found that the most powerful and most generous ruler in the Muslim world had not left enough money to pay for his own grave.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
H.A.R. Gibb, "The Arabic Sources for the Life of Saladin," Speculum, 25:58-72 (1950). C.W. Wilson's English translation of one of the most important Arabic works, The Life of Saladin (1897), was reprinted in 1971. The best biography to date is Stanley Lane-Poole, Saladin and the Fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, new ed. (1926, reprinted 1964), although it does not take account of all the sources.
See: http://stp.ling.uu.se/~kamalk/language/saladin.html

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
othoRIC-.jpg
Second_RIC -89 viewsCuriously, this coin type used to be very rare earlier. Old auction catalogues show it very rarely but during the last 20 years many have appeared. Although double-struck, this coin has great surfaces and an interesting portrait.1 commentsjmuona
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Second_RIC -10 viewsjmuona
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Second_RIC -5 viewsjmuona
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Second_RIC -4 viewsjmuona
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Second_RIC -10 viewsjmuona
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Second_RIC -11 viewsjmuona
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Second_RIC 10132 viewsThis is the second commonest Otho type. This is one of my favourite coins, the obverse die is a masterpiece in my view. 3.48 gr, die-axis 6.1 commentsjmuona
othozuz.JPG
Second_RIC 10_zuz22 viewsBaar Kochba revolt "denarius", originally a SECVRITAS Otho Rome mint coin. On the lower left of the obverse one can see the name clearly and on the other side remnants of the original reverse legend "..CV RI T..." as well as the wreath held by Secvritas are visible. The common host coins the zuz were struck on are denarii of Trajan, Vespasian and Domitian; Titus, Nerva, Nero and Galba being less frequent. Otho is distinctly rare and a restruck Vitellius I have not seen.
It is fun to try to figure out the original type.
jmuona
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Second_RIC 1241 viewsThe left-facing Otho coins are uncommon, the SECVRITAS being the more frequent one. Very few left-facing dies are known.jmuona
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Second_RIC 2148 viewsThis is the rarest Otho denarius. Seven coins, all minted with the same die-pair, are known. ANS and Paris are the only major museums to have this one. 3.27 gr, die-axis 6.1 commentsjmuona
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Second_RIC 680 viewsTogether with RIC 2, this is by far the rarest Otho type. About 10 coins are known.jmuona
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Second_RIC 649 viewsVery few dies - less than 20 - are known with the left facing bust of Otho. The coins are rare and the Pax rarer than the Secvritas. This one has an unusually large flan. 3.45 gr, die-axis 6.2 commentsjmuona
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Sicily, Syracuse, Agathocles, CNS II pg. 249, 12135 viewsSicily, Syracuse, Agathocles, struck circa 317 B.C. AE, 19mm 5.91g, CNS II pg. 249, 121; SNG ANS 545-548
O: Laureate head of Apollo, l.
R: Triskeles of winged feet
3 commentscasata137ec
2ore_sm_1759.JPG
Sweden - Adolf Fredrik (1751-1771) 2 ore SM - SM 16853 viewsRev: two crossed arrows (indicating the origin of the cupper from the province of Dalarna), crown in upper field, 2 ÖR - SM in side fields and 1759 below.

Obv: A. F. S. G. V. R (Adolphus Fridericus Svecorum Gothorum Vandalorumque Rex); lion standing l. on shield with royal crown abowe and surrounded by the Swedish three crowns.

Adolph Frederick was the first king of the house of Holstein - Gottorp. He was a weak king in the hands of the Swedish parliamentary government. But his regin was fairly peacefull. He is most famous for his death that occured after he consumed a very large meal, topped off with 14 servings of his favourite dessert: semla served in a bowl of hot milk. He is thus remembered by Swedish school children as "the king who ate himself to death."
pierre_p77
12_Caesars.jpg
The 12 Caesars + One Virtual tray423 viewsAfter seeing Potator's image of his 12 Caesar's I was inspired to do my own (of course including Mark Antony! While compiling my list I realized I'm missing a Julius Caesar portrait so a non portrait had to fill in. It's difficult choosing which coin to include in this set, in some cases I only had one (Galba) but others I had many more to choose from (Flavians). I do have better portraits of some but I thought these had more interesting types:

Marcus Antonius denarius
Julius Caesar denarius
Augustus denarius
Tiberius denarius
Caligula AE As
Claudius AE As
Nero Dupondius
Galba AE As
Otho Tetradrachm
Vitellius denarius
Vespasian denarius
Titus denarius
Domitian denarius

Image is clickable for larger size.
To see the coins individually see them in my gallery.
13 commentsJay GT4
The_12_Caesars_opt.jpg
The Twelve Caesars90 viewsA denarius of each of the first 12 Caesars: Julius Caesar, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian2 commentsLegatus
XII_CAESARS.JPG
THE TWELVE CAESARS103 views First Row
1: Julius Caesar, RSC 39
2: Augustus, RIC 51
3: Tiberius, RIC 26
4: Caligula (plated), RIC 18

Second Row
5: Claudius (plated), RIC 39
6: Nero, RIC 47
7: Galba, RIC 167
8: Otho, RIC 8

Third Row
9: Vitellius, RIC 66
10: Vespasian, RIC 334
11: Titus, RIC 206
12: Domitian, RIC 173

To see individual coins with descriptions, click links below

Imperators through the Julio-Claudian Emperors
Civil War through Flavian Dynasty
4 commentsSPQR Coins
12_Caesars.jpg
THE TWELVE CAESARS110 viewsFirst Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
1: Julius Caesar
2: Augustus
3: Tiberius
4: Caligula

Second Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
5: Claudius
6: Nero
7: Galba
8: Otho

Third Row
(Click on an Emperor's name to see the full description of the coin)
9: Vitellius
10: Vespasian
11: Titus
12: Domitian
8 commentsSPQR Matt
Five_Emperors.jpg
The Year of the Five Emperors124 viewsThe Year of the Five Emperors refers to the year 193 AD, in which there were five claimants for the title of Roman Emperor. The five were Pertinax, Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger, Clodius Albinus and Septimius Severus.

The political unrest began with the murder of Commodus on New Year’s Eve 192 AD. Once Commodus was assassinated, Pertinax was named emperor but immediately had opposition coming from the Praetorian Guard. They plotted an assassination of Pertinax and carried it out. Pertinax was killed while trying to resist the troops. He was only emperor for three months. Didius Julianus succeeded Pertinax as emperor but was overrun by Septimius Severus and executed on June 1. Severus was declared Caesar by the Senate but Pescinnius Niger was quickly made his enemy when he declared himself emperor. This started the civil war between Niger and Severus as both gathered troops and fought throughout the vast Roman Empire. Due to this war, Severus allowed Clodius Albinus, who he saw as a threat to his throne, to be co-Caesar so that Severus did not have to preoccupy himself with the duties of the empire so he could go win the civil war he was waging against Niger. Most historians count Severus and Albinus as two emperors even though they ruled simultaneously. The Severan dynasty was created out of the chaos of 193 AD. and Septimius Severus started this dynasty. Overall, most sources denote this year in Roman history as a year of civil war since there were rapidly changing emperors who were fighting against one another to gain a foothold as Caesar. - Wikipedia
6 commentsNemonater
ThessalianLeague_BCD-ThessalyII-870.jpg
Thessalian League.12 viewsThessaly, Larissa. Thessalian League. Mid-first C. BC. AR Double Victoriatus (6.04 gm). Head of Zeus r. crowned with oak wreath. / Athena Itonia advancing r., brandishing spear & shield. ΘΕΣΣΑ-ΛΩΝ to l. & r. Magistrates ΔΑ-ΜΟΘΟΙ & ΦΙΛΟΞΕΝΙ (Damothoinos & Philoxenides) above & below. gVF. ex-CNG. BCD Thessaly II 870.3-.4; BMC Thessaly 7 13, 14; HGC 4 #210; McClean 4746; SNG Ashmolean 3790; SNG Cop -.Christian T
othoRIC19.jpg
Third_RIC 1938 viewsThe AEQVITAS reverse type is quite rare. The obverse legends are mostly off the flan on this coin, but the bust is struck in high profile. 3.50 gr, die-axis 5. jmuona
RIC19.jpg
Third_RIC 1969 viewsThis splendid portrait coin of Otho I obtained from a Helios auction (ex-Lynn). I decided to part with it and the coin found a new keeper in the NYINC. I am sure she/he will be happy with it!3 commentsjmuona
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Third_RIC 1944 viewsIn spite of the die-break I like this one quite a lot. The portrait is of the late Otho style. 3.53 gr, die-axis 6.2 commentsjmuona
otho19_2.jpg
Third_RIC 199 viewsjmuona
othoRIC20var.jpg
Third_RIC 20var138 viewsAlthough the commonest PONT MAX reverse type, RIC erraneously suggested it does not exist at all in silver. This is a beautiful coin, although Otho looks slightly too neat to my liking on this particular die. 3.61 gr, die-axis 6.1 commentsjmuona
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Third_RIC 20var7 viewsjmuona
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Third_RIC 20var5 viewsjmuona
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Third_RIC 20var8 viewsjmuona
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Third_RIC 2131 viewsThe Jupiter reverse PONT MAX coin is quite rare.jmuona
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Third_RIC 2196 viewsThe flan is far from perfect, but both strikes are great and there is very little wear. The nicest Jupiter Otho I know of - some have nice smooth flans, but are inferior in other respects. 3.35 gr, die-axis 6.6 commentsjmuona
otho21.jpg
Third_RIC 2115 viewsBoth hair and Jupiter's drapery re-cut.jmuona
othoRIC22b.jpg
Third_RIC 2273 viewsThe Otho on horseback type is my favourite. This coin shows clashed die damage on reverse - the line following Otho's forehead and hairline can be seen right to the horse's hind feet. 3.05 gr, die-axis 6.jmuona
otho22.jpg
Third_RIC 2230 viewsFive dies of the Otho on horseback reverse are known. I have been fortunate to obtain them all. This one - also used for the previous coin - is the one seen most often. jmuona
othoriderdies.jpg
Third_RIC 2231 viewsFive different dies with Otho on horseback (RIC 22) are known. Two of them I have included as separate coins in this gallery, the three remaining ones are united in one image here. The die on the right is known from a single coin. jmuona
othohorsea.jpg
Third_RIC 2219 viewsjmuona
othoRIC24.jpg
Third_RIC 2457 viewsThis particular coin I have sold, but I think about it every now and then. Inspite of the poor flan, it had definite appeal. The type is quite rare.jmuona
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Third_RIC 2411 viewsjmuona
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Third_RIC 2429 viewsjmuona
thothorses.jpg
Thothorses, 285 - 309 A.D. Bronze stater29 viewsKingdom of Bosporus, Thothorses, 285 - 309 A.D. Bronze stater, MacDonald 645/1, Fine, Panticapaeum mint, 7.216g, 19.2mm, 0o, 298/299 A.D.; obverse BACI“Λ”EWC “Θ”O“Θ”OPCOV, diademed head of Thothoreses right, three pellets right; reverse , laureate, draped bust of Diocletian right, three pellets behind, date Eq“F”(= year 595 BE) below. The year is difficult to read. It could be a different year. Ex FORVMPodiceps
thothorses~0.jpg
Thothorses; Bust of Thothorses/ Bust of Diocletian24 viewsKingdom of Bosporus, Thothorses, 279 - 309 A.D. Billon stater, BMC Pontos p. 78, 5 var (date), VF, Pantikapaion mint, 7.615g, 19.2mm, 0o, 294-295 or 295-296 A.D.; obverse BACI“L”EWC “Q”O“Q”WPCOY, diademed bust of Thothorses right, X in front; reverse , laureate and draped bust of the Roman emperor Diocletian right, symbol right, bP(retrograde)“F” across fields (year 591 or 592). Ex FORVMPodiceps
Titus_as_caesar_AVG1.jpg
Titus as Caesar RIC-143690 viewsAR Denarius, 2.89g
Ephesus Mint, 71 AD (Vespasian)
Obv: IMPERATOR T CAESAR AVGVSTI F; Head of Titus, laureate, r.
Rev: AVG and EPHE in oak wreath
RIC 1436 (R2). BMC 464. RSC 23. RPC 841 (3 spec.). BNC 357.
Ex Harry N. Sneh Collection.

This R2 denarius has the rare occurrence for Flavian silver of IMPERATOR actually spelled out. A very neat thing!

The portrait has an almost Otho-like quality to it, especially the hair. Another variant of the type is bareheaded.

Please forgive the flan crack and the blotchy toning.
2 commentsDavid Atherton
Vespasian-RIC-847.jpg
Vespasian86 viewsAR denarius
Weight: 3.52 g
76 AD
Obverse: IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG / laureate head of Vespasian right
Reverse: COS VII / Eagle with wings spread, standing front on low garlanded base, head left
RIC 847

The reverse is possibly a reference to Mucianus death, which occured around the time the coin was minted. After the death of Galba (69), Mucianus and Vespasian (who was at the time in Iudaea) both swore allegiance to Otho, but when the civil war broke out Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the imperial throne...
4 commentsMarcus Lepidus
Vespasian_529.jpg
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
VITELLIUS__69_AD__AR_Denarius.jpg
Vitellius (with Otho portrait) AR Denarius. Victory51 viewsVitellius (with Otho portrait) AR Denarius.
A VITELLIVS GERMAN IMP TRP, laureate head right
Victory seated left, holding patera in right hand and palm branch in left.
2.82gm. RSC 119; RIC 88
3 commentsAntonivs Protti
Vitellius,_AR_Denarius__Tarraco,_Spain__3_69g__Clasped_Hands__RIC_30__Ex_Friume_Hoard.jpg
Vitellius Denarius - Ex Friume Hoard40 viewsVitellius. 16 Apr. - 22 Dec. AD 69. AR Denarius, May-June AD 69. Tarraco, Spain. 3.69g. 18mm. 7h. A VITELLIVS IMP GERMAN, his laureate head rt., globe at point of bust. / FIDES EXERCITVVM (VM ligatured), clasping right hands. RIC 30; BMCRE 114; SB 52; RSC 33a.

Ex Friume Hoard, Portugal, deposited c. AD 95-6 and found in 1953.
Fausta
Justinan1Nikomedia.jpg
[1611a] Justinian I, 4 April 527 - 14 November 565 A.D.68 viewsBronze follis, S 201, choice VF, 22.147g, 43.8mm, 180o, 2nd officina, Nikomedia mint, 541 - 542 A.D.; Obverse: D N IVSTINIANVS PP AVG, helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, globus cruciger in right, shield decorated with a horseman brandishing a spear, cross right; Reverse: large M, cross above, ANNO left, Xu (= year 15) right, B below, NIKO in ex; full circle strike on a huge flan. Ex FORVM.



De Imperatoribus Romanis
An Online Encyclopedia of Roman Emperors

Justinian (527-565 A.D.).

James Allan Evans
University of British Columbia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin754.jpg
[18H759a] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta49 viewsVespasian. 69-71 AD. AR Denarius;17mm, 3.28g; Hendin 759, RIC 15. Obverse: Laureate head right; Reverse: Jewess seated right, on ground, mourning below right of trophy, IVDAEA below. Ex Imperial Coins.

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

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VesJudCapt.jpg
[18H759] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta173 viewsSilver denarius, Hendin 759, RIC 15, BM 35, RSC 226, S 2296, Fair, 2.344g, 17.0mm, 180o, Rome mint, 69-70 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIANVS AVG, laureate head right; reverse IVDAEA in exergue, Jewess, mourning, seated at right of trophy.

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

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
VespasianJudaeaCaptaHendin779.jpg
[18H779] Vespasian, 1 July 69 - 24 June 79 A.D., Judaea Capta issue130 viewsOrichalcum dupondius, Hendin 779, RIC II 1160, BMCRE 809 (same dies), aVF, Lugdunum mint, 9.969g, 27.7mm, 180o, 71 A.D.; obverse IMP CAESAR VESPASIAN AVG COS III, radiate head right, globe at point of bust; reverse VICTORIA NAVALIS S C, Victory standing right on a prow, wreath in right, palm frond over should in left (Refers to a victory on the Sea of Galilee during the recapture of Judaea); rough; rare (R2). Ex FORVM.




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

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (A.D. 69-79)

John Donahue
College of William and Mary

Introduction

Titus Flavius Vespasianus (b. A.D. 9, d. A.D. 79, emperor A.D. 69-79) restored peace and stability to an empire in disarray following the death of Nero in A.D. 68. In the process he established the Flavian dynasty as the legitimate successor to the Imperial throne. Although we lack many details about the events and chronology of his reign, Vespasian provided practical leadership and a return to stable government - accomplishments which, when combined with his other achievements, make his emperorship particularly notable within the history of the Principate.

Early Life and Career

Vespasian was born at Falacrina near Sabine Reate on 17 November, A.D. 9, the son of T. Flavius Sabinus, a successful tax collector and banker, and Vespasia Polla. Both parents were of equestrian status. Few details of his first fifteen years survive, yet it appears that his father and mother were often away from home on business for long periods. As a result, Vespasian's early education became the responsibility of his paternal grandmother, Tertulla. [[1]] In about A.D. 25 Vespasian assumed the toga virilis and later accepted the wearing of the latus clavus, and with it the senatorial path that his older brother, T. Flavius Sabinus, had already chosen. [[2]] Although many of the particulars are lacking, the posts typically occupied by one intent upon a senatorial career soon followed: a military tribunate in Thrace, perhaps for three or four years; a quaestorship in Crete-Cyrene; and the offices of aedile and praetor, successively, under the emperor Gaius. [[3]]

It was during this period that Vespasian married Flavia Domitilla. Daughter of a treasury clerk and former mistress of an African knight, Flavia lacked the social standing and family connections that the politically ambitious usually sought through marriage. In any case, the couple produced three children, a daughter, also named Flavia Domitilla, and two sons, the future emperors Titus and Domitian . Flavia did not live to witness her husband's emperorship and after her death Vespasian returned to his former mistress Caenis, who had been secretary to Antonia (daughter of Marc Antony and mother of Claudius). Caenis apparently exerted considerable influence over Vespasian, prompting Suetonius to assert that she remained his wife in all but name, even after he became emperor. [[4]]

Following the assassination of Gaius on 24 January, A.D. 41, Vespasian advanced rapidly, thanks in large part to the new princeps Claudius, whose favor the Flavians had wisely secured with that of Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius' freedmen, especially Narcissus. [[5]] The emperor soon dispatched Vespasian to Argentoratum (Strasbourg) as legatus legionis II Augustae, apparently to prepare the legion for the invasion of Britain. Vespasian first appeared at the battle of Medway in A.D. 43, and soon thereafter led his legion across the south of England, where he engaged the enemy thirty times in battle, subdued two tribes, and conquered the Isle of Wight. According to Suetonius, these operations were conducted partly under Claudius and partly under Vespasian's commander, Aulus Plautius. Vespasian's contributions, however, did not go unnoticed; he received the ornamenta triumphalia and two priesthoods from Claudius for his exploits in Britain. [[6]]

By the end of A.D. 51 Vespasian had reached the consulship, the pinnacle of a political career at Rome. For reasons that remain obscure he withdrew from political life at this point, only to return when chosen proconsul of Africa about A.D. 63-64. His subsequent administration of the province was marked by severity and parsimony, earning him a reputation for being scrupulous but unpopular. [[7]] Upon completion of his term, Vespasian returned to Rome where, as a senior senator, he became a man of influence in the emperor Nero's court. [[8]] Important enough to be included on Nero's tour of Greece in A.D. 66-67, Vespasian soon found himself in the vicinity of increasing political turbulence in the East. The situation would prove pivotal in advancing his career.

Judaea and the Accession to Power

In response to rioting in Caesarea and Jerusalem that had led to the slaughter in the latter city of Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers, Nero granted to Vespasian in A.D. 66 a special command in the East with the objective of settling the revolt in Judaea. By spring A.D. 67, with 60,000 legionaries, auxiliaries, and allies under his control, Vespasian set out to subdue Galilee and then to cut off Jerusalem. Success was quick and decisive. By October all of Galilee had been pacified and plans for the strategic encirclement of Jerusalem were soon formed. [[9]] Meanwhile, at the other end of the empire, the revolts of Gaius Iulius Vindex, governor of Gallia Lugdunensis, and Servius Sulpicius Galba , governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, had brought Nero's reign to the brink of collapse. The emperor committed suicide in June, A.D. 68, thereby ensuring chaos for the next eighteen months, as first Galba and then Marcus Salvius Otho and Aulus Vitellius acceded to power. Each lacked broad-based military and senatorial support; each would be violently deposed in turn. [[10]]

Still occupied with plans against Jerusalem, Vespasian swore allegiance to each emperor. Shortly after Vitellius assumed power in spring, A.D. 69, however, Vespasian met on the border of Judaea and Syria with Gaius Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, and after a series of private and public consultations, the two decided to revolt. [[11]] On July 1, at the urging of Tiberius Alexander, prefect of Egypt, the legions of Alexandria declared for Vespasian, as did the legions of Judaea two days later. By August all of Syria and the Danube legions had done likewise. Vespasian next dispatched Mucianus to Italy with 20,000 troops, while he set out from Syria to Alexandria in order to control grain shipments for the purpose of starving Italy into submission. [[12]] The siege of Jerusalem he placed in the hands of his son Titus.

Meanwhile, the Danubian legions, unwilling to wait for Mucianus' arrival, began their march against Vitellius ' forces. The latter army, suffering from a lack of discipline and training, and unaccustomed to the heat of Rome, was defeated at Cremona in late October. [[13]] By mid-December the Flavian forces had reached Carsulae, 95 kilometers north of Rome on the Flaminian Road, where the Vitellians, with no further hope of reinforcements, soon surrendered. At Rome, unable to persuade his followers to accept terms for his abdication, Vitellius was in peril. On the morning of December 20 the Flavian army entered Rome. By that afternoon, the emperor was dead. [[14]]

Tacitus records that by December 22, A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, owing largely to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions, most with Julio-Claudian precedents, on the new emperor. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers that has uniquely survived in Vespasian's case, or is an attempt to limit or expand such powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the lex sanctioned all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people. [[15]]

What does seem clear is that Vespasian felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted his accession and at every opportunity he accumulated multiple consulships and imperial salutations. He also actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his son. The initiative was fulfilled when Titus succeeded his father in A.D. 79.[[16]]

Emperorship

Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars. Although many particulars are missing, a portrait nevertheles emerges of a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire. Concerning Rome itself, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on vacated lots, restored the Capitol (burned in A.D. 69), and also began work on several new buildings: a temple to the deified Claudius on the Caelian Hill, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero ; a temple of Peace near the Forum; and the magnificent Colosseum (Flavian Amphitheatre), located on the site of the lake of Nero 's Golden House. [[17]]

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces for these projects and for others aimed at putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. [[18]] The measures are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. There were occasional political problems as well: Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was exiled after A.D. 75 and later executed; Marcellus Eprius and A. Alienus Caecina were condemned by Titus for conspiracy, the former committing suicide, the latter executed in A.D. 79.
As Suetonius claims, however, in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor. [[19]] Thus do we find the princeps offering subventions to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, restoring many cities throughout the empire, and granting state salaries for the first time to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus, and he also put on lavish state dinners to assist the food trades. [[20]]

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern. He restored the depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders with eligible Italian and provincial candidates and reduced the backlog of pending court cases at Rome. Vespasian also re-established discipline in the army, while punishing or dismissing large numbers of Vitellius ' men. [[21]]
Beyond Rome, the emperor increased the number of legions in the East and continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period. [[22]]

Death and Assessment

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully - at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country on 23 June, A.D. 79, after contracting a brief illness. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" [[23]] In fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his internment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability ro rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for the "good emperors" of the second century.

Bibliography

Since the scholarship on Vespasian is more comprehensive than can be treated here, the works listed below are main accounts or bear directly upon issues discussed in the entry above. A comprehensive modern anglophone study of this emperor is yet to be produced.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Flaviani, 2 vols. Rieti, 1983.

Atti congresso internazionale di studi Vespasianei, 2 vols. Rieti, 1981.

Bosworth, A.B. "Vespasian and the Provinces: Some Problems of the Early 70s A.D." Athenaeum 51 (1973): 49-78.

Brunt, P. A. "Lex de imperio Vespasiani." JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

D'Espèrey, S. Franchet. "Vespasien, Titus et la littérature." ANRW II.32.5: 3048-3086.

Dudley, D. and Webster, G. The Roman Conquest of Britain. London, 1965.

Gonzalez, J. "The Lex Irnitana: A New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

Grant, M. The Roman Emperors: A Biographical Guide to the Rulers of Rome, 31 B.C. - A.D. 476. New York, 1985.

Homo, L. Vespasien, l'Empereur du bons sens (69-79 ap. J.-C.). Paris, 1949.

Levi, M.A. "I Flavi." ANRW II.2: 177-207.

McCrum, M. and Woodhead, A. G. Select Documents of the Principates of the Flavian Emperors Including the Year of the Revolution. Cambridge, 1966.

Nicols, John. Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae. Wiesbaden, 1978.

Scarre, C. Chronicle of the Roman Emperors. The Reign-by-Reign Record of the Rulers of Imperial Rome. London, 1995.

Suddington, D. B. The Development of the Roman Auxiliary Forces from Caesar to Vespasian, 49 B.C. - A.D. 79. Harare: U. of Zimbabwe, 1982.

Syme, R. Tacitus. Oxford, 1958.

Wardel, David. "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol." Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

Wellesley, K. The Long Year: A.D. 69. Bristol, 1989, 2nd ed.


Notes

[[1]] Suet. Vesp. 2.1. Suetonius remains the major source but see also Tac. Hist. 2-5; Cass. Dio 65; Joseph. BJ 3-4.

[[2]] Suetonius (Vesp. 2.1) claims that Vespasian did not accept the latus clavus, the broad striped toga worn by one aspiring to a senatorial career, immediately. The delay, however, was perhaps no more than three years. See J. Nicols, Vespasian and the Partes Flavianae (Wiesbaden, 1978), 2.

[[3]] Military tribunate and quaestorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3; aedileship: ibid., 5.3, in which Gaius, furious that Vespasian had not kept the streets clean, as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with filth;,they complied by stuffing his toga with as much as it could hold. See also Dio 59.12.2-3; praetorship: Suet. Vesp. 2.3, in which Vespasian is depicted as one of Gaius' leading adulators, an account consistent with Tacitus' portrayal (Hist 1.50.4; 2.5.1) of his early career. For a more complete discussion of these posts and attendant problems of dating, see Nicols, Vespasian, 2-7.

[[4]] Marriage and Caenis: Suet. Vesp. 3; Cass. Dio 65.14.

[[5]] Nicols, Vespasian, 12-39.

[[6]] Suet. Vesp. 4.1 For additional details on Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see D. Dudley and G. Webster, The Roman Conquest of Britain (London, 1965), 55 ff., 98.

[[7]] Concerning Vespasian's years between his consulship and proconsulship, see Suet. Vesp. 4.2 and Nicols, Vespasian, 9. On his unpopularity in Africa, see Suet. Vesp. 4.3, an account of a riot at Hadrumentum, where he was once pelted with turnips. In recording that Africa supported Vitellius in A.D. 69, Tacitus too suggests popular dissatisfaction with Vespasian's proconsulship. See Hist. 2.97.2.

[[8]] This despite the fact that the sources record two rebukes of Vespasian, one for extorting money from a young man seeking career advancement (Suet. Vesp. 4.3), the other for either leaving the room or dozing off during one of the emperor's recitals (Suet. Vesp. 4.4 and 14, which places the transgression in Greece; Tac. (Ann. 16.5.3), who makes Rome and the Quinquennial Games of A.D. 65 the setting; A. Braithwaite, C. Suetoni Tranquilli Divus Vespasianus, Oxford, 1927, 30, who argues for both Greece and Rome).

[[9]] Subjugation of Galilee: Joseph. BJ 3.65-4.106; siege of Jerusalem: ibid., 4.366-376, 414.

[[10]] Revolt of Vindex: Suet. Nero 40; Tac. Ann. 14.4; revolt of Galba: Suet. Galba 10; Plut. Galba, 4-5; suicide of Nero: Suet. Nero 49; Cass. Dio 63.29.2. For the most complete account of the period between Nero's death and the accession of Vespasian, see K. Wellesley, The Long Year: A.D. 69, 2nd. ed. (Bristol, 1989).

[[11]] Tac. Hist. 2.76.

[[12]] Troops in support of Vespasian: Suet. Vit. 15; Mucianus and his forces: Tac. Hist. 2.83; Vespasian and grain shipments: Joseph. BJ 4.605 ff.; see also Tac. Hist. 3.48, on Vespasian's possible plan to shut off grain shipments to Italy from Carthage as well.

[[13]] On Vitellius' army and its lack of discipline, see Tac. Hist. 2.93-94; illness of army: ibid., 2.99.1; Cremona: ibid., 3.32-33.

[[14]] On Vitellius' last days, see Tac. Hist. 3.68-81. On the complicated issue of Vitellius' death date, see L. Holzapfel, "Römische Kaiserdaten," Klio 13 (1913): 301.

[[15]] Honors, etc. Tac. Hist. 4.3. For more on the lex de imperio Vespasiani, see P. A. Brunt, "Lex de imperio Vespasiani," JRS (67) 1977: 95-116.

[[16]] Omens: Suet. Vesp. 5; consulships and honors: ibid., 8; succession of sons: ibid., 25.

[[17]] On Vespasian's restoration of Rome, see Suet. Vesp. 9; Cass. Dio 65.10; D. Wardel, "Vespasian, Helvidius Priscus and the Restoration of the Capitol," Historia 45 (1996): 208-222.

[[18]] Suet. Vesp. 16.

[[19]] Ibid.; Tac. Hist. 1.50.

[[20]] Suet. Vesp. 17-19.

[[21]] Ibid., 8-10.

[[22]] On Vespasian's exploits in Britain, see esp. Tac., Agricola, eds. R. M. Ogilvie and I. A. Richmond (1967), and W. S. Hanson, Agricola and the Conquest of the North (1987); on the granting of Latin rights in Spain, see, e.g., J. Gonzalez, "The Lex Irnitana: a New Copy of the Flavian Municipal Law." JRS 76 (1986): 147-243.

[[23]] For this witticism and other anecdotes concerning Vespasian's sense of humor, see Suet. Vesp. 23.

Copyright (C) 1998, John Donahue. Published on De Imperatoribus Romanis, an Online Encyplopedia of Roman Rulers and their Families.
http://www.roman-emperors.org/vespasia.htm
Used by permission.

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
1 commentsCleisthenes
ATGlifetime TetMemphis.jpg
[300mem] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Tetradrachm (Possible Lifetime Issue)80 viewsAlexander III, The Great; 336-323BC. AR tetradrachm; Price 3971, SNG Cop.7; 16.07g. Memphis mint, Egypt. Possible Lifetime issue. Obverse: Beardless bust of young Herakles right wearing lions scalp. Reverse: Zeus enthroned left; holding eagle in outstretched right hand and sceptre in left , rose in left field; between legs of throne and O next to right leg of throne; gVF/VF, light encrustation obverse, small chip reverse; together with several light scratches both sides. Ex Pavlos S. Pavlou. Ex FORVM, "The Memphis issues are among the finest style Alexander coins. Experts disagree on the date of this issue. Some identify it as a lifetime issue and others as a posthumous issue (Joseph Sermarini)..

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
ATG_Susa_Price3827_incitatus.jpg
[300sus] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Tetradrachm (Lifetime Issue)52 viewsAlexander III, AR silver tetradrachm; Price 3827; struck 336-323 BC. Susa mint; VF; Sturck during the lifetime of Alexander the Great. Obverse: Head of Herakles right in lion skin; Reverse - AΛEΞANΔPOY, Zeus seated left with eagle & scepter; monogram in left field, monogram below throne; BASILEOS below. Ex Incitatus.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."
--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
ATGlifetimeDrachm.jpg
[301aby] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323 BC, AR Drachm (Lifetime Issue)66 viewsAlexander III, 336-323 BC, Silver Drachm; Minted during lifetime of Alexander the Great. Price-1503, Müller-907, struck 328-323BC at Abydus, 4.27 grams, 17.3 mm. Nice VF. Obverse: Head of young Herakles facing right, clad in lion's skin; Reverse: Zeus enthoned facing left, holding eagle and sceptre, his legs are parallel and resting on a stool, Hermes standing facing left in left field, monogram beneath throne. A very nice specimen of a lifetime drachm of Alexander III 'the Great' with Hermes as the mint symbol in the left field of the reverse. Just a touch of wear on both surfaces, but still quite attractive. Ex Glenn W. Woods.

Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do
so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached
epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his
description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.

Cleisthenes
ATGBronzeAE19Price310.jpg
[302mac] Alexander III, The Great, 336-323, AE19 (Lifetime Issue)42 viewsAlexander III, The Great, Macedonian Kingdom, 336 - 323 B.C. Minted during lifetime of Alexander the Great. Bronze AE 19, Price 310, VF, Macedonian, 6.613g, 19.1mm, 90o, c. 336 - c. 323 B.C. Obverse: head of Herakles right, in lion skin headdress; Reverse: ALEXANDRS, club above, quiver and bow below, P upper right. Ex FORVM.


Alexandros III Philippou Makedonon (356-323 BC)

"Alexander III of Macedon, better known as Alexander the Great, single-handedly changed the entire nature of the ancient world in little more than ten years.

Born in the northern Greek kingdom of Macedonia in 356 BC, to Philip II and his formidable wife Olympias, Alexander was educated by the philosopher Aristotle. Following his father's assassination in 336 BC, he inherited a powerful yet volatile kingdom, which he had to secure - along with the rest of the Greek city states - before he could set out to conquer the massive Persian Empire, in revenge for Persia's earlier attempts to conquer Greece.

Against overwhelming odds, he led his army to victories across the Persian territories of Asia Minor, Syria and Egypt without incurring a single defeat. With his greatest victory at the Battle of Gaugamela, in what is now northern Iraq, in 331 BC, the young king of Macedonia, leader of the Greeks, Overlord of Asia Minor and Pharaoh of Egypt also became Great King of Persia at the age of 25.

Over the next eight years, in his capacity as king, commander, politician, scholar and explorer, Alexander led his army a further 11,000 miles, founding over 70 cities and creating an empire that stretched across three continents and covered some two million square miles.

The entire area from Greece in the west, north to the Danube, south into Egypt and as far east as the Indian Punjab, was linked together in a vast international network of trade and commerce. This was united by a common Greek language and culture, whilst the king himself adopted foreign customs in order to rule his millions of ethnically diverse subjects.

Primarily a soldier, Alexander was an acknowledged military genius who always led by example, although his belief in his own indestructibility meant he was often reckless with his own life and that of those he expected to follow him. The fact that his army only refused to do so once, in the13 years of a reign during which there was constant fighting, indicates the loyalty he inspired.

Following his death in 323 BC at the age of only 32, his empire was torn apart in the power struggles of his successors. Yet Alexander's mythical status rapidly reached epic proportions and inspired individuals as diverse as Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV and Napoleon.

He continues to be portrayed according to the bias of those interpreting his achievements. He is either Alexander the Great or Iskander the Accursed, chivalrous knight or bloody monster, benign multi-culturalist or racist imperialist - but above all he is fully deserving of his description as 'the most significant secular individual in history'."

By Dr. Joann Fletcher
http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/alexander_the_great.shtml

"When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer."--attributed to Plutarch, The Moralia.
http://www.pothos.org/alexander.asp?paraID=96

Edited by J. P. Fitzgerald, Jr.
Cleisthenes
   
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