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Portraits Of Power - The Faces Of Imperial Rome

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 Posted 02/27/2021  12:46 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Cornelia Salonina, Wife of Gallienus, died after 268


AR Antoninianus
Time of Husband's joint rule
SALONINA AVG, draped bust right on crescent
VENVS FELIX, Venus seated left, child at feet


AE Antoninianus, time of husband's sole reign
Antioch mint
SALONINA AVG, draped bust right on crescent
IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter, peacock at feet, star above left


Silvered AE Antoninianus, time of Husband's sole reign
SALONINA AVG, draped bust right on crescent
FECVNDITAS AVG, (Salonina as?) Fecunditas standing left, holding cornucopiae, Child (Quintus Gallienus?) at feet, Δ right field
I have heard it argued that this may have been minted in commemoration of the imperial couple's youngest child, ostensibly named Quintus Julius Gallienus from a single surviving coin. This child evidently died in infancy.


Salonina was a woman of unknown but probably noble birth, and had been married to Gallienus for at least a decade when her husband and father in law became emperors. Almost nothing is known of her life or personality, but it is mentioned that she deeply disapproved of the elevation of her son Saloninus to Caesar and his removal to the care of a bodyguard in Gaul. She is not mentioned after the fall of her husband, although it is not clear whether she perished along with the males of that dynasty, or was allowed to retire to obscurity.
Edited by Finn235
02/27/2021 12:46 am
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 Posted 02/27/2021  12:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Valerian II Caesar, d. 258

As Caesar

AR Antoninianus, Cologne
VALERIANVS CAES, Draped radiate bust right
IOVI CRESCENTI, infant Jupiter riding on goat right


AR Antoninianus, Viminacium
P LIC VALERIANVS CAES, Draped radiate bust right
IOVI CRESCENTI, infant Jupiter riding on goat right


BI Antoninianus, Antioch
P LIC COR VALERIANVS CAES, draped radiate bust right
VICTORIA PART, Victory presenting wreath to emperor (Valerian?) holding spear and globe


Posthumous


AR Antoninianus, Cologne
DIVO VALERIANO CAES, Radiate draped bust right
CONSECRATIO, Soul of Valerian II on flying eagle right

Valerian II was the eldest son of Gallienus and Salonina, and was elevated to the rank of Caesar sometime between late 253 and 256. He was sent to Sirmium in Illyria (present-day Serbia) to establish imperial presence there, and was entrusted to Ingenuus, the governor of those provinces. In 258 Valerian II was dead; no cause of death was given to his parents. Gallienus suspected foul play by Ingenuus, who was demoted and then rose in rebellion against Gallienus. Valerian II was probably in his later teenage years at the time of his death, and was deified by his father and grandfather.
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 Posted 02/27/2021  10:06 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Saloninus
Caesar, 258 - 260
Augustus, 260 (briefly)



AR Antoninianus, Cologne
SALON VALERIANVS CAES, Radiate draped bust right
PIETAS AVG, Priestly implements



AE Antoninianus, Rome
LIC COR SAL VALERIANVS CAES, draped radiate bust right
PIETAS AVGG, Priestly implements



BI Antoninianus, Rome
LIC COR SAL VALERIANVS N CAES, Radiate draped bust right
PRINC IVVENT, Saloninus standing, holding spear and standard
Note the particularly mature portrait of Saloninus - this was likely minted very close to his death.

*Numismatic note 1 - Coins minted as Augustus exist, but are extremely rare, minted only at Cologne while under siege by Postumus. Approximately 60-75 are known.

*Numismatic note 2 - Coins of Saloninus muled with a Divus Valerian II exist, but Saloninus was not honored after his death.


Saloninus was the younger brother of Valerian II, and was raised to the rank of Caesar when the latter was killed in 258. Gallienus had to stabilize the Illyrian provinces following the revolt of Ingenuus, so Saloninus was sent to Gaul under the care of the Praetorian Prefect Silvanus, who was a trusted and loyal companion of Gallienus. In about July of 260, the Gallic troops under the command of Postumus routed a Germanic war band laden with booty. The Romans demanded to keep the loot for themselves as a bonus, but Saloninus (or Silvanus acting on his behalf) ordered the troops to turn over the spoils. The army mutinied, declared for Postumus, and laid seige to Saloninus at Cologne. In a desparate attempt to rally loyalty to the teenaged Caesar, Saloninus was proclaimed Augustus by his troops, but perished when Cologne fell to Postumus only days later. Saloninus was about 18 at the time.
Edited by Finn235
02/27/2021 10:07 am
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 Posted 02/27/2021  10:54 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Worth the wait. Enjoyed the updates, Steve. Interesting to see how varied the Gallienus portraits are.
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 Posted 03/03/2021  5:43 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Really nice coins again Steve! And cool little write ups..
I am finding this thread very informative Thanks!
Good find on the Salonina with the child reverse..Very interesting!
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 Posted 04/20/2021  11:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Chapter X: Usurpers and the Gallic Empire

Thirty Tyrants* and the Divided Empire, AD 260 - 273


Macrianus Minor
Usurper v. Gallienus, 260 - 261


BI Antoninianus, Antioch
IMP C FVL MACRIANVS P F AVG, Radiate, cuirassed bust right
IOVI CONSERVATORI, Jupiter seated left, holding scepter and patera, eagle and star to left

Fulvius Macrianus was a senior financial officer who accompanied Valerian on his Eastern campaign against the Sassanians. With the capture of Valerian in 260, he suddenly found himself in possession of a very large sum of money, surrounded by loyal and disheartened troops, and ruled by an emperor too distant to mount an effective resistance. He was reportedly unable to claim the purple himself due to a deformity in one of his legs, but bribed the soldiers to proclaim for his two sons, Macrianus Minor and Quietus.

After securing the loyalty of at least Egypt and Antioch, Macrianus and his father marched west to meet Gallienus in battle, but were headed off by Aureolus in Thrace, defeated, and executed.


*Note - the Thirty Tyrants is the name given by the Historia Augusta, a sensationalist and often patently wrong "history" written during the later reign of Constantine. It claims that Gallienus faced thirty usurpers during his reign, only about 2/3 of which are historical figures, several came to power long after he was deposed, and several did not control a mint and thus did not issue coins.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  12:05 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Quietus
Usurper v. Gallienus, 260 - 261


BI (gilt?) Antoninianus
IMP C FVL QVIETVS PF AVG, Radiate draped bust right
APOLINI CONSERVA, Apollo standing left, holding branch and resting hand on lyre on ground, star to left
*This antoninianus has a distinctive gold coloration, and may have been gilt at one time to attempt to pass as a double-aureus or binio.

Quietus was the brother of Macrianus, and was left to secure the East while his father and brother sought to destroy Gallienus. Quietus attempted to fortify himself in Emesa, but was defeated by Odaenathus, the king of Palmyra.

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 Posted 04/21/2021  12:15 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
The Gallic Empire


Postumus, 260 - 269


BI Antoninianus
IMP C POSTVMVS PF AVG, Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
P M TR P COS II P P, Postumus, helmeted and in military garb, standing left, holding globe and spear

As was common with the military emperors, virtually nothing is known about the early life of the first Gallic emperor. He rose through the ranks of the army, and in 259 was entrusted with the command of the armies guarding the Rhine frontier against the marauding Goths. Serving for a time under the young Saloninus, the army mutinied in 260, when, demoralized by the capture of emperor Valerian on the Sassanian front, they were further denied the collection of their war booty from a routed Germanic raiding party in Gaul. Saloninus was assassinated, and Postumus was declared emperor by his troops in competition to Gallienus. He was able to consolidate his hold on the region, and by 261, Gaul, Germania, Hispania, and Britannia had all declared Postumus their emperor. Gallienus was too preoccupied with the invasions on the Danbue to deal with this usurper immediately, and so Postumus was able to establish a capital (Probably at Cologne) where he seems to have put together a senate. He was successful in repelling multiple incursions from the Germans, and was able to stabilize the areas almost to the point that life seemed to be returning to normal. In an unprecedented move, Postumus increased the silver purity of his antoninianii, and reintroduced bronze denominations, including the coveted Double Sestertius which had previously been introduced by Trajan Decius. In 265, Gallienus was finally able to stabilize the rest of the empire enough to attempt to retake the lost provinces by storm, but he was grievously wounded and forced to retreat and cease hostilities. Historians often take this as de facto recognition of the "Gallic Empire" as a separate and independent political entity.

The years 265 - 268 were unusually peaceful for the Gallic empire; however discontent seemed to grow toward the end of 268, possibly due to his subjects' increasing wishes for Postumus to march on Rome to reunite the empire under his rule, which Postumus did not seem keen to attempt. After dealing with a number of ephemeral usurpers (attested only through coinage), Postumus found his first real challenge in the usurper Laelianus, an army commander who had been elevated as a usurper by his troops in Mainz. Postumus marched to meet this challenger in early 269 and was victorious; however, when Mainz fell to the siege, Postumus' troops demanded to be allowed to loot the city as a bonus payment for their loyalty. Postumus refused, and was murdered on the spot by his disaffected troops.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  12:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Aureolus (Rebel loyal to Postumus, 268)


BI Antoninianus, Milan Mint
Struck in the name of Postumus
IMP POSTVMVS AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Postumus right
CONCORD AEQVIT, Concordia standing left on prow, holding patera and rudder, S in exergue

Born of obscure origins in the later Severan period, Aureolus was apparently employed as a horse groomer for the elite cavalry when Gallienus noticed his natural talent for military strategy. Aureolus quickly became one of Gallienus' most trusted companions, and was instrumental in suppressing the revolts of Ingenuus and Macrianus. His fall from grace is not well understood, but it is believed that Gallienus blamed him for the failure of the campaign against Postumus. Aureolus was demoted and seemingly resolved to strike back against his emperor; he declared his loyalty to Postumus, abandoned his post and took Milan by force. From this station, he minted coins for Postumus and entreated his new emperor to march on and take Rome, but Postumus declined. Gallienus marched and laid siege on Milan, but was murdered by his own troops during the siege. Aureolus surrendered to the new emperor, Claudius II, but was murdered by his own troops while in custody.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  12:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Marius, 269


AE Antoninianus
IMP MARIVS P F AVG, Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right
SAEC FELICITAS, Felicitas standing left, holding caduceus and cornucopia


The story of Marius is one of my favorite from the Crisis era. Only the Historia Augusta paints a picture of this ephemeral emperor, who would otherwise have been dismissed as a usurper. According to the histories that survive, the untimely death of Postumus at the hands of his own troops was both unexpected and a challenge the Gallic Empire was unprepared for. In the absence of a clear legal successor, the now leaderless troops seem to have simply drawn lots from among their own ranks. From the chaos emerged Marcus Aurelius Marius, an army blacksmith of reportedly huge stature and build. It did not take long before Victorinus, a skilled politician and general under Postumus, rose to challenge Marius, who was summarily executed with a sword of his own manufacture. According to the Historia Augusta, Marius ruled just three days; however numismatics tell us that his reign produced at least a dozen reverse types from two mints - which simply would not have been possible in three day's time. It is likely that he reigned between one and three months.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  12:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Victorinus, 269 - 271

Lifetime


AE Antoninianus (with features of Marius)
IMP C PI VICTORINVS AVG, Radiate bust right
AEQVITAS AVG, Aequitas standing left, holding scales and cornucopiae
*The earliest antoninianii of Victorinus use recycled busts of Marius, further casting doubt on the official story that Marius ruled for only three days*


AE Antoninianus
IMP C VICTORINVS P F AVG, Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right
PAX AVG, Pax standing left, holding branch and scepter, V left, Star right

Posthumous

AE Antoninianus, Interregnum issue(?)
DIVO VICTORINO PIO, Radiate bust right
CONSECRATIO, Eagle standing right on globe, head left, wreath in its beak

Hailing from wealthy local origins, Victorinus was a trusted companion of Gallic emperor Postumus, and shared the consulship with his emperor in 268. Upon learning of the death of his predecessor and the election of Marius, Victorinus' troops declared him emperor, and Marius was effortlessly deposed. What he inherited however, was a fracturing empire, as news had just arrived of the glory and prowess of the new Roman emperor, Claudius II. Hispania deserted back to the central Roman Empire, and the rest of Victorinus' domain hung by a thread. Augustodunum Haeduorum (modern-day Autun) defected, and was besieged and sacked for its transgression. Claudius II then seems to have withdrawn his efforts, perhaps due to the more pressing issues with the Goths.

Victorinus had a reputation for being a womanizer, and this caught up with him in early 271, when he was murdered by an officer in his army whose wife he had seduced. Following the death of Victorinus, it appears that his mother Victoria held power until a successor could be procured. Victorinus was the only Gallic emperor deified and honored on posthumous coinage.
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 Posted 04/21/2021  5:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A lovely collection your displaying Steve!....
This is not an era I'm that up on so have learnt a great deal from your write ups....
Looking around the obverse wear on the Macrianus and Quietus portraits seems to be quite common place so yours are nice examples of the types...But these can get expensive yes?...
Love the detail on the Aureolus!...I'm assuming the reverse legend AEQVIT is what distinguishes these from Postumus?
Great Marius too!...Another tough to find Emperor..

Quote:
Victorinus was the only Gallic emperor deified and honored on posthumous coinage.

Didn't know this so thanks.

One I see is missing Laelianus VERY expensive!..Do you have plans to add him in the future?

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 Posted 04/21/2021  5:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Bob L to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
have learnt a great deal from your write ups


Me too! Thanks, Steve.
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 Posted 04/22/2021  1:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Finn235 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks guys!

@Paul - lots of questions!

- The Quietus and Macrianus were the two best examples I was able to snag, the Macrianus from a large lot from Leu, and the Quietus was a relatively inexpensive purchase from Savoca - they of course come much worse than mine, and much nicer - but nicer examples rapidly go from ~$100 to approaching $500-1,000.

- Coins are attributable to Aureolus on the basis of coming from Milan, which was not part of the Gallic Empire and had no business minting for Postumus otherwise. Stylistically, these are well-struck on tight flans, and the portrait is more squat and angular than from any of the Gallic mints - these also utilize officina marks in the exergue, which Cologne, Trier, and Lyon did not.

- And yeah, Laelianus is on the horizon, but I haven't been able to snag one yet, and probably won't until the current market frenzy dies down.
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 Posted 04/22/2021  5:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Palouche to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
@Paul - lots of questions!

Apologies! As I said not an area I knew a great deal about....Thought I'd ask the man who has the answers!
Thanks for the replies.....Interesting on the Aureolus as I didn't know it was down to the exergue mint mark....But I'm also sure the reverse legend AEQVIT is only attributed to him aswell?
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