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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Year of 5 Emperors ▸ Clodius AlbinusView Options:  |  |  | 

Clodius Albinus, Late 195 or Early 196 - 19 February 197 A.D.

African by birth, Clodius Albinus had a distinguished military career and was made governor of Britain. After the praetorian prefect "sold" the imperial throne to Didius Julianus, Pescennius Niger was proclaimed emperor by the legions in Syria; Septimius Severus by the troops in Illyricum and Pannonia; and Albinus by the armies in Britain and Gaul. In the civil war that followed, Albinus allied with Septimius Severus, who had captured Rome. Albinus "Septimius" to his name and accepted the title of Caesar. Albinus remained effective ruler of much of the west, with three British legions and one Spanish. After the death of Niger in 194, Severus resolved to make himself the absolute master of the Empire. After he narrowly escaped assassination by Severus' messenger, Albinus proclaimed himself emperor and crossed into Gaul, bringing a large part of the British garrison with him. He defeated Severus' legate Virius Lupus and made Lugdunum his headquarters. He was, however, unable to win the allegiance of the Rhine legions. On 19 February 197 Albinus met Severus' army at the Battle of Lugdunum. After a hard-fought battle, with 150,000 troops on each side, Albinus was defeated and killed himself, or was captured and executed. Severus had his naked body laid out on the ground and, in an act of humiliation, rode his horse over it. Albinus' headless body was thrown into the Rhne, together with the corpses of his murdered family. Severus sent his head to Rome as a warning to his supporters. The town of Lugdunum was plundered, and the adherents of Albinus were cruelly persecuted.


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Fortuna was the goddess of luck, fortune, and fate. She might bring good luck, or bad. This coin was dedicated to Fortuna Reduci in the hope that she would help Clodius Albinus safely return to Rome. Apparently she wasn't impressed. Despite being caesar and consul when this coin was struck, Clodius remained in Britain. In 195 A.D., after consolidating his position, Septimius declared Clodius a public enemy. After Clodius was defeated in 197 A.D., his body, along with the bodies of his wife and children, were thrown into the Rhone at Lugdunum. Only his head returned to Rome - sent as a warning to others who might oppose Septimius.
RB77426. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 53a (R), Cayn III 17, BMCRE V 533, Cohen III 34, SRCV II 6150, Hunter II - (p. xliii), aF, weight 17.522 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 194 - 195A.D.; obverse D CL SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head right; reverse FORT REDVCI COS II, Fortuna seated left, holding tiller of rudder set on globe with right hand, cornucopia in left hand, wheel under seat, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; rare; $160.00 (142.40)


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The Historia Augusta says of Albinus, "...he was both of noble rank there and traced his descent from noble families at Rome, namely the Postumii, the Albini, and the Ceionii...He was born at Hadrumetum in a modest home, in slender circumstances, and of righteous parents, Ceionius Postumus and Aurelia Messalina, and he was their first-born son. When taken from his mother's womb, unlike the common run of infants, who are red at birth, he was very white in hue, and for this reason he was named Albinus. The truth of this is proved by a letter which his father wrote to Aelius Bassianus, then proconsul of Africa, and, as it seems, a kinsman of the family...'A son was born to me on the seventh day before the Kalends of December, and so white was his body at birth that it was whiter than the linen clothes in which we wrapped him. I acknowledged him, therefore, as one of the family of the Albini, who are common kin to you and me, and bestowed upon him the name Albinus. And now remember, I pray you, our country, yourself, and me.'"
SH33434. Silver denarius, RIC IV 7 (R1), BMCRE V 98, Cohen III 48, SRCV II 6144, gVF, choice portrait, weight 3.277 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 194 A.D.; obverse D CLOD SEPT ALBIN CAES, bare head right; reverse MINER PACIF COS II, Minerva, helmeted, standing left, olive branch in right hand, resting left on grounded shield, spear leans against arm; scarce (RIC R1); SOLD


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The Historia Augusta says of Clodius Albinus, "He was tall of stature, with unkempt curly hair and a broad expanse of brow. His skin was wonderfully white; many indeed think it was from this that he got his name. He had a womanish voice, almost as shrill as a eunuch's. He was easily roused, his anger was terrible, his rage relentless. In his pleasures he was changeable, for he sometimes craved wine and sometimes abstained. He had a thorough knowledge of arms and was not ineptly called the Catiline of his age."
SH32694. Silver denarius, RIC IV 19, SRCV II 6167, BMCRE V 271, RSC III 21, gVF, weight 2.303 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, issued as Augustus; obverse IMP CAE D CLO SEP ALB AVG, laureate head right; reverse FIDES LEGION COS II, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; mint luster, iridescent toning; rare; SOLD







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

DCLODIVSALBINVSCAES
DCLODSEPTALBINCAES
DCLSEPTALBINCAES
IMPCAEDCLOSEPALBAVG
IMPCAESDCLALBINAVG
IMPCAESDCLOALBINAVG
IMPCAESDCLOSEPALBAVG
IMPCAESDCLODSEPALBAVG


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).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, April 25, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Clodius Albinus