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    Lustrous Julian II Gold Solidus

    Julian II 'The Philosopher' (AD 360-363). AV solidus (21mm, 4.51 gm, 7h). NGC Choice AU 5/5 - 3/5, scuffs. Sirmium, AD 361-363. FL CL IVLIA-NVS P F AVG, pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust of Julian II right, seen from front, with slight beard / VIRTVS EXERCI-TVS ROMANORVM, soldier advancing right, helmeted head left, trophy in left hand over shoulder, grasping with right hand the hair of a small captive kneeling right, hands bound behind back; * SIRM wreath in exergue. RIC VIII 96. Fully lustrous with magnificent portrait. Scuff on reverse across part of legend.

    From the Collection of a Philhellene. Ex Triton I (2 December 1997), lot 1716.

    Late in AD 359, Constantius ordered Julian to send a third of his army to the Eastern front to help fight the Persians. Instead, Julian's legions revolted and proclaimed him Augustus. A full-scale civil war was avoided by Constantius' timely death in AD 361. Now sole emperor, Julian brought his reform-minded administration to Constantinople and tried to strip the Christian church of its privileged position while restoring Paganism to official favor. He ran into stiff resistance and even ridicule at all levels, to which his touchy personality responded poorly. Perhaps seeking to get away from his domestic troubles, he embarked on a massive invasion of Persia in AD 363. At first victorious, his army soon suffered Persian scorched earth tactics and found itself surrounded, without resupply, deep in the Iranian desert. Julian rode out with his vanguard to repel an attack and fell mortally wounded by a spear thrown either by a Persian, or a disgruntled Christian in his own army. Like his hero Alexander the Great, he died without naming a successor. The army chose Jovian, a Christian, as his replacement, abruptly ending the brief Pagan restoration. Despite his unfulfilled legacy, Julian's restless intelligence and manifold abilities make him one of the most dynamic characters of Late Antiquity, one whose like would not be seen again until the Renaissance.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
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