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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |Crisis and Decline| ▸ |Hostilian||View Options:  |  |  |   

Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D.

Hostilian was always in the shadow of his brother Herennius, who enjoyed the privileges of being older and heir. In the beginning of 251, Trajan Decius elevated his son Herennius to co-emperor and Hostilian succeeded him in the titles of caesar and princeps iuventutis (prince of youth). Decius and Herennius then set out on campaign against king Cniva of the Goths, to punish him for raids on the Danubian frontier. Hostilian remained in Rome due to his inexperience, and empress Herennia was named regent. The campaign proved to be a disaster. Both Herennius and Decius died in the Battle of Abrittus and became the first two emperors to be killed by a foreign army in battle. The armies in the Danube acclaimed Trebonianus Gallus emperor, but the Senate acknowledged Hostilian's right to the throne. Trebonianus respected the will of Rome and adopted Hostilian. Later in 251, the Plague of Cyprian broke out in the Empire. Hostilian died from the epidemic at Viminacium in Moesia. He was only 21 years old, the first emperor in 40 years to die of natural causes, and one of only 13 in the entire history of the Roman empire.


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

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Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after. McAlee notes, "Hostilian's Antiochene provincial coins are the rarest of the emperors of the 3rd century."
RY84647. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1159d (V. Rare); Prieur 651 (3 spec.); BMC Galatia, p. 226, 627 var. (no officina indicated); Dura 573 var. (Z, 7th officina), VF, centered, edge crack, weight 10.321 g, maximum diameter 25.1 mm, die axis 0o, 6th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse Γ OYAL OCTΛIAN ME KYINTOC KECAB, bareheaded and draped bust right, from the front, S below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing right on palm branch, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; SOLD


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The reverse legend dedicates this coin to the Prince of Youth, Hostilian. When Augustus ruled Rome, he was not called emperor or king, he was the Princeps, the "first of men." In the empire, the designated successors to the emperor were named caesar and also given the title Princeps Juventutis, the "first of youths." This is the origin of the English word prince, meaning the son of a monarch.
RS12273. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 181, RSC IV 34, SRCV III 9561, Choice gVF, weight 3.921 g, maximum diameter 22.45 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251 A.D.; obverse C VALENS HOSTIL MES QVINTVS N C, radiate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse PRINCIPI IVVENTVTIS (to the Prince of Youth), Hostilian standing half left, grounded standard upright in right hand, inverted spear in left hand; scarce; SOLD


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Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian. He was the father of Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome. In early Rome, he was second in importance only to Jupiter, and the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began and ended the season for military campaigning and farming.
RS85482. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 177b, RSC IV 15, Hunter III 3, SRCV III 9556, VF, well centered on a tight flan, light toning, slightest corrosion, weight 4.011 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251 A.D.; obverse C VALENS HOSTIL MES QVINTVS N C, radiate and draped bust right; reverse MARTI PROPVGNATORI (to Mars the defender), Mars advancing right, helmeted and wearing military garb, paludamentum flying behind, transverse spear in right hand, shield on left arm; scarce; SOLD


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Ancient Counterfeit

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Counterfeit coins of this period are much rarer than earlier counterfeit denarii.
SH58909. Fouree silver plated antoninianus, cf. RIC IV 174b (official, Rome mint, 251 A.D., rare), VF, rough, corrosion, no silver plate remaining, weight 4.161 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 180o, unofficial mint, obverse C VALENS HOSTIL MES QVINTVS N, radiate and draped bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVGG (harmony between the two emperors), clasped hands; ex Ancient Numismatic Enterprise; very rare; SOLD


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Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after.
RS72392. Billon antoninianus, An apparently unpublished variant of a rare type; RIC IV 201 (R) var. (C OVL OSTIL...), RSC IV 65 var. (same), SRCV III 9569 var. (same), aVF, rough, porous, debased, weight 4.839 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch mint, as caesar, late 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse C OVAL OSTIL MES COVINTVS CAESAR, radiate and draped bust right, small VII below bust; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory running left, extending wreath before her in right, palm frond upright in left; ex Classical Numismatic Group; this is the only example of this variant known to Forum; SOLD


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Uberitas is the personification of fruitfulness, primarily agricultural fertility.
RS49577. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 200(a), SRCV III 9568 var, Choice VF, flat strike, weight 3.988 g, maximum diameter 22.7 mm, die axis 180o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251 A.D.; obverse C OVL OSTIL MES COVINTVS CAESAR, radiate and draped bust right; reverse VBERITAS AVG (to the abundance of the emperor), Uberitas standing left, purse (or udder?) in right, cornucopia in left; rare; SOLD


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Antioch, Seleukis and Pieria, Syria

Click for a larger photo
Hostilian was the younger son of Trajan Decius. After the latter's death, Hostilian was elevated to Augustus by his father's successor Trebonianus Gallus. He died of plague shortly after. McAlee notes, "Hostilian's Antiochene provincial coins are the rarest of the emperors of the 3rd century."
RY84386. Billon tetradrachm, McAlee 1160 (very rare); Prieur 647 (5 spec.); BMC Galatia, p. 226, 626; Dura 568 var. (1st officina), F, well centered, rough, weight 10.240 g, maximum diameter 27.6 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - summer 251 A.D.; obverse Γ OYAL OCTΛIAN ME KYINTOC KECAB, bareheaded and draped bust right, from the front, S below; reverse ∆HMAPX EΞOYCIAC (holder of Tribunitian power), eagle standing right on palm branch, head right, wings open, wreath in beak, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; very rare; SOLD


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RIC and RSC list this type only with the marks •, ••, ••• and IV while our coin appears to read ••••. Other issues display both forms of four.

Uberitas is the personification of fruitfulness, primarily agricultural fertility.
RS45586. Silver antoninianus, RIC IV 200(b) var. (officina IV), RSC IV 63 a-c var. (same), SRCV III 9568, F, weight 4.340 g, maximum diameter 23.6 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 250 - early 251 A.D.; obverse C OVAL OSTIL MES COVINTVS CAESAR, radiate and draped bust right, •••• below; reverse VBERITAS AVG (to the abundance of the emperor), Uberitas standing left, purse (or udder?) in right hand, cornucopia in left hand; rare; SOLD


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Viminacium, Moesia Superior

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Viminacium was a Roman Colony founded by Gordian III in 239 A.D. The usual legend is P.M.S. COL. VIM., abbreviating Provinciae Moesiae Superioris Colonia Viminacium. The usual type is a female personification of Moesia standing between a lion and a bull. The bull and the lion were symbols of the Legions VII and IV, which were quartered in the province.
RP29248. Bronze AE 26, Varbanov I 193 (R4), H-J Viminacium 68 (R3), gF, weight 8.726 g, maximum diameter 25.5 mm, die axis 0o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, as caesar, mid 250 - Nov 251 A.D.; obverse C VAL HOST M QVINTVS C, draped and cuirassed bust right; reverse P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing facing, head left, extending hands over bull on left standing right and lion on right standing left, AN XII (year 12 of the Viminacium colonial era) in exergue; SOLD


Hostilian, Summer - November 251 A.D., Viminacium, Moesia Superior

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The caesar obverse legend with the date AN XIII on the reverse must be an engraver’s error or a hybrid, because Hostilian was already made Augustus in AN XII.

Hostilian died in Viminacium in 251, the city and year where this coin was struck! After Herennius and Decius died in the Battle of Abrittus and became the first two emperors to be killed by a foreign army in battle. The armies in the Danube acclaimed Trebonianus Gallus emperor, but Rome acknowledged the rights of Decius' son, Hostilian. Trebonianus respected the will of Rome and adopted Hostilian. Later in 251, the Plague of Cyprian broke out in the Empire. Hostilian died in the epidemic at Viminacium. He was only 21 years old, the first emperor in 40 years to die of natural causes, one of only 13.
RP40092. Bronze AE 28, RPC Online IX 43 (7 specs), H-J Viminacium 75 (R8), AMNG I/I 158, Boric-Breskovic 1375, BMC Thrace p. 18, 36; SNG Budapest 495, Varbanov -, F, weight 12.084 g, maximum diameter 28.2 mm, die axis 45o, Viminacium (Stari Kostolac, Serbia) mint, as caesar, c. autumn - Nov 251 A.D.; obverse C VAL HOST M QVINTVS CAE, bare-headed cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse P M S COL VIM, Moesia standing facing, head left, extending hands over bull on left standing right and lion on right standing left, AN XIII (year 13 of the Viminacium colonial era) in exergue; rare; SOLD




  




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OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

COVALOSTILMESCOVINTVSAVG
COVALOSTILMESCOVINTVSCAESAR
COVLOSTILMESCOVINTVSCAESAR
CVALENSHOSTILMESQVINTVSNC
CVALENSHOSMESQVINTVSNC
CVALHOSMESQVINTVSNC
CVALHOSTMESQVINTVSNC
CVALHOSTILMESQVINTVSNC
CVALENSHOSTILMESCOVINTVSAVG
CVALENSHOSTILMESQVINTVSAVG
IMPCAECVALHOSMESQVINTVSAVG
IMPCMESQVINTVSAVG


REFERENCES|

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. Two: From Didius Julianus to Constantius I, 193 AD - 335 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 5: Gordian I to Valerian II. (Paris, 1885).
Mattingly, H., E. Sydenham & C. Sutherland. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol IV, From Pertinax to Uranius Antoninus. (London, 1986).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. III. Pertinax to Aemilian. (Oxford, 1977).
Seaby, H. & D. Sear. Roman Silver Coins, Vol. IV, Gordian III to Postumus. (London, 1982).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values III, The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Monday, October 14, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Hostilian