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Discussion for 'WHO WAS TRAJAN DECIUS'

curtislclay wrote on 01/20/2008 12:26:54
Ross repeats the traditional view that the purpose of Decius' DIVI antoniniani was to glorify the most famous emperors of the past and encourage their worship, just as Decius insisted that every citizen of the empire had to sacrifice to the tradiational gods including the deified emperors. I believe that this interpretation is incorrect. The true motive behind the DIVI antoniniani was the decision to RESTRIKE AS ANTONINIANI ALL OLDER DENARII THAT WERE STILL IN CIRCULATION IN 251 AD. Since this would mean that the portraits of many earlier emperors would disappear from the circulating coinage, Decius decided to RESTORE coinage for these emperors, as earlier emperors too had done (Titus, Domitian, Nerva, Trajan, Aurelius and Verus) when they undertook major recoinages. However, Decius could not merely reissue earlier denarii with his own inscription attesting that he had restored the coins, because the new coins had to have radiate crowns to attest that they were antoniniani. Since the radiate crown could also be a sign of deification, he decided to restore antoniniani of those earlier emperors who had been CONSECRATED, with radiate crowns on their portrait, Divus as their title, and therefore CONSECRATIO as reverse legend, with the typical consecration reverse types of altar and eagle. Naturally Decius decided NOT to add his own legend claiming he was restoring the coins, since the restored coins were of necessity so different from the denarii they were intended to replace! Quite a few antoniniani of late in Decius' reign and early in Gallus' reign are found OVERSTRUCK on earlier denarii, and a few DIVI antoniniani too were overstruck on earlier denarii whose types can still be made out, proving that the DIVI antoniniani were part of the same reform, the restriking of old denarii into antoniniani in 251 AD. Curtis Clay

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