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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Year of 5 Emperors| ▸ |Didius Julianus||View Options:  |  |  | 

Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

Didius Julianus was born in 133 A.D. and followed a military career. He rose to the rank of legion commander, then Consul and Proconsul of Africa. After Pertinax was murdered, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's personal bodyguard force) advertised that they were offering the throne to the highest bidder. If not the richest, Didius Julianus was one the richest men in Rome and offered 25,000 sestertii for each man! The Roman people were incensed by the auction and several provincial governors rose up against him. As Septimius Severus approached Rome, only 66 days into his reign, Didius Julianus was betrayed and beheaded by the Praetorians.


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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in Rome
SH89752. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 14a; Woodward, Didius, p. 79 (dies 11/E); Banti 1, Nice F, excellent portrait, attractive dark brown patina, typical tight flan, weight 18.230 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia Militum standing half left, head left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; ex CNG e-auction 276 (21 Mar 2012), lot 420 (sold for $2520 including buyer's fees); rare; $1980.00 (1742.40)


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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The features of this coin have been recut (tooled) to make them appear less worn.
RB91536. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 16 (R), Woodward Didius, p. 79; BMCRE V 28, Hunter III 10, Banti 6, Cohen III 17, SRCV II 6077, TOOLED, weight 12.191 g, maximum diameter 26.2 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, late May - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse RECTOR ORBIS (Master of the World), Didius Julianus standing slightly left, head left, togate, globe in extended right hand, scroll in left hand at side, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, TOOLED, AS IS, NO RETURNS; rare; $300.00 (264.00)


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Didius Julianus was born in 133 A.D. and followed a military career. He rose to the rank of legion commander, then Consul and Proconsul of Africa. After Pertinax was murdered, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's personal bodyguard force) advertised that they were offering the throne to the highest bidder. If not the richest, Didius Julianus was one the richest men in Rome and offered 25,000 sestertii for each man! The Roman people were incensed by the auction and several provincial governors rose up against him. As Septimius Severus approached Rome, only 66 days into his reign, Didius Julianus was betrayed and beheaded by the Praetorians. Coins of Didius Julianus are very rare due to his short reign.
SH87943. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 16 (R), Woodward Didius, p. 79 (unlisted dies); BMCRE V 28, Hunter III 10, Banti 6, Cohen III 17, SRCV II 6077, gVF, pleasing portrait, dark brown patina, areas of minor porosity, some light scratches, weight 20.309 g, maximum diameter 27.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late May - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse RECTOR ORBIS (Master of the World), Didius Julianus standing slightly left, head left, togate, globe in extended right hand, scroll in left hand at side, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; ex Noble Numismatics, auction 117, lot 4773; ex Dr V. J. A. Flynn Collection; ex CNG Triton XII (6 Jan 2009), lot 654 (realized $3450 including buyer fees); ex White Mountain Collection; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

IMPCAESMDIDIVLIANAVG
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REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calic, E. The Roman Avrei, Vol. II: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayn, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. III: De Marco Aurelio a Caracalla (Del 161 d.C. al 217 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 4: Septimius Severus to Maximinus Thrax. (Paris, 1884).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. IV: From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 5: Pertinax to Elagabalus. (London, 1950).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & Sear, D. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. III, Pertinax to Balbinus and Pupienus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. II: The Accession of Nerva to the Overthrow of the Severan Dynasty AD 96 - AD 235. (London, 2002).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).
Woodward, A. "The coinage of Didius Julianus and his family" in NC (1961) pp. 71 - 90, pls. VI - X.

Catalog current as of Tuesday, December 10, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Didius Julianus