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Balbinus






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Balbinus (Decimus Caelius). Emperor with Pupienus, AD 238. As soon as the news reached Rome from Africa that Gordian I and Gordian II were dead, and that Maximinus was approaching Italy with a powerful army, the frightened senate assembled in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus and created two Augusti on 8th July: Balbinus and Pupienus.


And so equal was the degree of power entrusted to each, that it extended to a division between them of the supreme pontificate. Balbinus was born AD 178 and descended from a very noble family. At the period of his elevation to Augustal rank and authority. he had attained 60 years of age; previously to which he had governed several provinces, with a high character for the justice and the mildness of his administration. He had also been twice consul. Although his great riches had given him a turn for pleasure, yet he had kept himself within the bounds of moderation, and required no common repute for forensic acquirements and for poetical talents. Pursuant to a senatorial decree, his coleague, a bold and experienced warrior, was sent to command the army levied to repel the invasion of Maximinus; whilst Balbinus, naturally timid, and holding in awe the very name of the Thracian savage, who had instituted the assasination of Severus Alexander, remained at Rome; his tadk, scarcely a less difficult one. being to keep down the spirit of sedition and tulmult prevailing between the soldiery and the people, whose quarrels filled the capital with bloodshed. Further to win the popular favour, the new emperors were obliged to name the younger Gordian III as Caesar, on the very day of their own election.

Pupienus who was at Ravenna when Maximinus and his son Maximus were slain before Aquileia (AD 238) returned to Rome; where he met with the most joyous reception from Balbinus, the senators, and the peole at large. Both emperors then devoted themselves to the duties of their joint government; and notwhithstanding mutual jealousies occasionally displayed by the one towards the other, they conducted public affairs together, upon the whole, in a wise, disinterested and efficient manner. This state of things however did not last long. Balbinus was preparing to commence hostilities against the insurgent Goths, and Pupienus had already marched to repel an invasion of the Persians. At this citical juncture, the venal and sauguinary Praetorians, bearing a grudge against the two Augusti for having been chosen, not by themselves but by the senate, and moreover not less displeased at their endevours to restore military discipline, took advantage of the Capitoline games absorbing public attention, to assail the palace and murder both emperors under circumstances of the most revolting and outrageous cruelty. Thus was the imperial career of Balbinus and his brave colleague terminated after three months of being emperors.

The style and titles of Balbinus on his coins (which are all rare, especially those in gold) are IMP C D CAEL BALBINVS AVG; some with radiated, others with laureled heads. See Pupienus.

"The medals of Balbinus (says Capt. Smyth, p 251), whether Latin, Greek, or Egytian, are all rare and of high price - the denarii and sesertii being the most common; nor are any colonial, or small brass known. Although the arts were now on the decline, moneyers still possessed the power of executing accurate likenesses; for a comparison of the heads of Balbinus and Pupienus, throughout all the metals and sizes, affords internal evidence of the fidelity of their resemblance."

The large sized silver of this emperor has the head with radiated crown,; the smaller sized has the head laureated. Akerman i 462.
The following are the rarest reverses under this short reign:
- Gold: VOTIS DECENNALIBVS, within a garland
- Silver: AMOR MVTV S AVGG, two hands joined (large size)
- First brass: FIDES PVBLICA, two hands holding a caduceus. LIBERALITAS AVGVSTORVM, six figures.
- Second brass: CONCORDIA AVGG - IOVI CONSERVATORI. Jupiter standing. VOTIS DECENNALIBVS.















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