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    Description

    Rare Doomed Heir

    Aelius Caesar (AD 136-138). AV aureus (19mm, 7.32 gm, 6h).  Rome, AD 137. L AELIVS CAESAR, bare head of Aelius left / TRIB POT COS II, Concordia seated left on high-backed throne, holding patera in extended right hand and resting left elbow on cornucopia set on chair; CONCORD in exergue. RIC 443c. Calicó 1445 (S4). BMCRE 999. Cohen 12. Rare and handsome, with a superb portrait of Hadrian's doomed first choice for heir. NGC Choice VF ★ 5/5 - 5/5, Fine Style.

    Handsome and affable, Aelius Caesar began life in around AD 104 as Lucius Ceionius Commodus, son of a distinguished senator. Lucius rose steadily through the ladder of public offices until he attracted the attention of the Emperor Hadrian, who in mid-AD 136 named him Caesar and heir to the throne. Historians have long speculated as to why Hadrian chose Aelius, some even postulating that he was Hadrian's illegitimate son. However, Aelius may well have been far more competent than chroniclers of the time allowed. He left for Pannonia that year to gain experience managing a province and make himself known to the military; however, he returned to Rome in the winter of AD 137 having contracted tuberculosis. He died early on January 1, AD 138, prompting Hadrian to remark that he had "leaned against a tottering wall." Aelius' son, the future Lucius Verus, eventually became co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius, and his family name of Commodus was given to Marcus' own son and successor.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2016
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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