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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ Recovery of the Empire ▸ AurelianView Options:  |  |  |   

Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D.

L Domitius Aurelianus was born in Sirmium about 207 A.D. Of humble background, Aurelian rose in the ranks to become one of Rome's greatest generals. Proclaimed emperor around 270 A.D., he quickly crushed the various usurpers, restoring to its largest extent except for the Dacia, which was abandoned permanently. Aurelian then embarked on a series of public works meant to restore the empire's shattered infrastructure. His brilliant rule was cut short by a court conspiracy ending in his assassination in 275 A.D. Rome in 271 A.D.


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In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.
RA83500. Billon denarius, MER-RIC 1854, RIC V 73, Venèra 1503, BnF XII 260, Cohen VI 257, Choice VF, excellent centering, silvering, weight 2.756 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, die axis 0o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 11th issue, early - Sep 275 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory walking left, wreath extended in right, palm frond in left, bound captive in Parthian garb seated left on left at Victory's feet, head turned back looking at Victory, B in exergue; scarce; $200.00 (€178.00)
 


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Sear identifies this denomination for Aurelian as either an as or a reduced sestertius. The as (or reduced sestertius) is a very scarce denomination this late in the empire.
RA76203. Bronze as, MER-RIC 1871, Göbl MIR 145d0(1), BnF XII 297, Hunter IV 33, SRCV III 11646, RIC V 80 var. (officina number), Hunter IV 27 var. (4th officina), VF, well centered, nice green patina, flan crack, weight 6.041 g, maximum diameter 26.7 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina(?), Rome mint, issue 11, early - September 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse CONCORDIA AVG (harmony of the Emperor), Emperor and empress clasping hands, above and between them a radiate and draped bust of Sol right; $135.00 (€120.15)
 


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Ticinum was a municipality and an important military site (a castrum) under the Roman Empire. In 476, Odoacer defeated Flavius Orestes at Ticinum after a long siege. To punish the city for helping his rival, Odoacer destroyed it completely. After the Lombard's conquest, Pavia became the capital of their kingdom, 568 - 774.
RA70549. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 1550, BnF XII 634, Göbl MIR 78Ab3, RIC V 152, Venèra 5548 - 5609, Hunter IV 63, Cohen VI 183, SRCV III 11587, Choice gVF, perfect centering, some silvering, light scratches, a few reverse legend letters unstruck (filled die), weight 4.655 g, maximum diameter 22.4 mm, die axis 0o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 4th emission, late 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse PROVIDEN DEOR (the foresight of the gods), Fides on left holding standard in each hand, facing Sol, standing left, raising his right hand commanding the sun to rise and holding globe in left hand, TXXT in exergue; $110.00 (€97.90)
 


Palmyrene Empire, Aurelian and Vabalathus, 270 - 275 A.D.

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Vabalathus, son of the Palmyran king Odenathus and Zenobia, was declared Augustus but Aurelian defeated his forces. He and Zenobia were then taken to Rome where they lived in great comfort. The abbreviated titles of Vabalathus most likely were, Vir Clarissimus Romanorum (or Rex) Imperator Dux Romanorum. The portraits of Vabalathus are interesting because they display both the Roman laurel and the Hellenistic royal diadem.
RA79908. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 3107, RIC V 381, BnF XII 1248a, Hunter IV 7, Göbl MIR 353, Cohen VI 1, SRCV III 11718, gVF, white metal, toned, uneven strike, porosity, slightly off center, weight 3.703 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 270o, 5th officina, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, Nov 270 - Mar 272 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right, E below; reverse VABALATHVS V C R IM D R, laureate, diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right; $100.00 (€89.00)
 


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In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.
RA83898. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2993, BnF XII 1186, RIC V 368 corr., Venèra 10426 - 10450, Thibouville 2266, Maravielle 661, Navis-Mühlen 106, VF, full circles strike, near full silvering, flan crack, light deposits, weight 4.313 g, maximum diameter 24.4 mm, die axis 0o, 4th officina, Cyzicus (Kapu Dagh, Turkey) mint, issue 8, phase 2, spring 273 - spring 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse RESTITVTOR ORBIS (to the restorer of the world), Aurelian on right, holding scepter in left, standing left, extending right to woman who crowns him with wreath, ∆ C in exergue; $90.00 (€80.10)
 


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In 275, Aurelian prepared a campaign against the Sassanids in Asia Minor. In Thrace, while waiting to cross the Bosphorus with his army, he ordered severe punishments for corrupt soldiers and made a list of high-ranking officers marked for execution. In September, Aurelian fell victim to a conspiracy of the Praetorian Guard and was murdered near Byzantium (Istanbul, Turkey).
RA90410. Billon denarius, MER-RIC 1844, RIC V 73, Venèra 1496, BnF XII 238, Cohen VI 255, F, weight 2.013 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 1st officina, Rome mint, 11th issue, early - Sep 275; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory walking left, wreath in right hand, palm frond against shoulder in left; a bound captive seated left at feet with head turned right, in exergue; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


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The reverse legend abbreviates Genius Illyriciani, dedicating the coin to the Genius of [the army in] Illyria (western Balkans).
RA90724. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 2027, Venèra II 6029, La Venèra 1069, Cohen VI 103, RIC V 223 var. (Q right), VF, uneven strike,, weight 3.146 g, maximum diameter 23.0 mm, die axis 180o, 4th officina, Siscia (Sisak, Croatia) mint, emission 2, Nov 270; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse GENIVS ILLVR, Genius standing left, nude but for kalathos on head and cloak over shoulder, patera in right hand, cornucopia in left hand, standard in ground behind, Q left, nothing in exergue; variety not in RIC; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


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This type refers to Aurelian's defeat of Zenobia's Palmyrene Empire in the east. The captives wear Parthian caps and are typically attributed as Persians. The real captives were more likely Palmyreans. Typical of Roman propaganda, Zenobia's Sasanian supporters are depicted to glorify Aurelian's victory and mask that this was an internal revolt and civil war.
RA79584. Billon antoninianus, MER-RIC 1533, RIC V 151, Hunter IV 61, BnF XII 592 - 594, Venèra 5005 - 5064, Thibouville 2213, Gloucester 275, Colonne 604, Komin 826, Choice EF, near full silvering, nice portrait, bold strike, weight 4.079 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 180o, 3rd officina, Ticinum (Pavia, Italy) mint, 2nd emission, Jun - Sep 274 A.D.; obverse IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right; reverse ORIENS AVG (the rising sun of the Emperor), Sol advancing left, radiate, nude but for chlamys over shoulders and left arm, raising right hand commanding the sun to rise, globe in left hand, two bound captives seated flanking at feet, right foot on captive on left, captive on right looking back at Sol, star left, TXXT in exergue; ex Ancient Imports; $80.00 (€71.20)
 


Click for a larger photo
In 274, Rome greeted Aurelian as Restitutor Orbis ("Restorer of the World") and accorded him a magnificent triumph (victory procession), which was graced by his captives Tetricus I and his son Tetricus II. Aurelian's conquests of the Palmyran Empire and the Gallic Empire reunited the Roman Empire.
RB71718. Billon denarius, MER-RIC 1854, RIC V 73, Venèra 1503, BnF XII 260, Cohen VI 257, VF, weight 2.554 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, 2nd officina, Rome mint, 11th issue, early - Sep 275 A.D.; obverse IMP AVRELIANVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse VICTORIA AVG (the victory of the Emperor), Victory walking left, wreath extended in right, palm frond in left, bound captive in Parthian garb seated left on left at Victory's feet, head turned back looking at Victory, B in exergue; scarce; $70.00 (€62.30)
 


Aurelian, August or September 270 - October or November 275 A.D., Roman Provincial Egypt

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In 273, Aurelian increased Rome's daily bread ration to nearly 1.5 pounds and added pig fat to the list of foods distributed free to the populace.
RX84118. Billon tetradrachm, Dattari 5489, Geissen 3083, Milne 4426, Curtis 1781, SNG Milan 1977, SNG Cop 879, SNG Hunter 4781, BMC Alexandria 2360, Kampmann 106.40, Emmett 3924, gVF, nice brown chocolate surfaces, well centered on a tight flan, weight 7.685 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 0o, Alexandria mint, 29 Aug 273 - 28 Aug 274 A.D.; obverse A K Λ ∆OM AYPHΛIANOC CEB, laureate and cuirassed bust right; reverse eagle standing slightly left, head turned back right, tail right, wings open, wreath in beak, ETOVC E (year 5) upward on left; $70.00 (€62.30)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVRELIANVSAVG
AVRELIANVSAVGCONS
AVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSINVICTAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPAVRELIANVSPIVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSINVICTVSAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSINVICTVSPAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCAVRELIANVSPIVSFELAVG
IMPCDAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSPAVG
IMPCLDOMAVRELIANVSPFAVG
IMPCAESLDOMAVRELIANVSAVG
IMPDEOETDOMINONATOAVRELIANOAVG
SOLDOMIMPROM
SOLDOMIMPROMANI
SOLDOMINVSIMPERIROMAN


REFERENCES

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Bland, R. "The Blackmoor Hoard" in CHRB III (1982).
Bland, R. "The Coinage of Vabalathus and Zenobia from Antioch and Alexandria" in NC 171 (2011).
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Estiot, S. "Le double trésor de Colonne (Jura), terminus 298 AD" in TM XVII (1998), pp. 107-180.
Estiot, S. "Le Trésor de Maravielle" in TM V (1983), pp. 9 - 115.
Estiot, S. "L'Or romain entre crise et restitution (270-276 apr. J.-C.). I. Aurélien" in Journal des Savants 1 (1999), pp. 51-148.
Estiot, S. Monnaies de l'Empire Romain Volume XII, D'Aurélien à Florien (270-276 après J.-C.). Bibliotheque nationale de France. (Paris, 2004).
Estiot, S. Ripostiglio della Venèra, Nuovo Catalogo Illustrato, Volume II/1: Aureliano. (Verona, 1995).
Göbl, R. et al. Moneta Imperii Romani, Band 47: Die Münzprägung des Kaisers Aurelianus (270/275). (Vienna, 1985).
Kellner, H.-J., L. Zemmer-Plank, & E. Kellner. Ein römischer Münzschatz von Navis-Mühlen im Wipptal. (Innsbruck, 1984).
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Monnaies de l'Empire Romain / Roman Imperial Coinage AD 268-276 (RIC V Online) http://www.ric.mom.fr
Pflaum, H.-G., P. Bastien, "La trouvaille de monnaies romaines de Thibouville (Eure)" in Gallia XIX (1961), pp. 71-104; Gallia XX (1962), pp. 255-315.
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Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 3: The Accession of Maximinus I to the Death of Carinus AD 235 - AD 285. (London, 2005).
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Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Tuesday, March 28, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Aurelian