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    Description

    Mint State 'Star' Probus Aureus

    Probus (AD 276-282). AV aureus (20mm, 5.09 gm, 5h). NGC MS★ 5/5 - 4/5. Antioch, 1st officina, ca. late AD 280-early AD 281. IMP C M AVR-PROBVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Probus right, seen from front / VICTORIAE AVG, Victory in biga galloping right, whip in right hand, reins in left; A below. RIC V.II 918. Brilliantly struck from fresh dies on lustrous flan with frosty surfaces.

    Marcus Aurelius Probus was one of a series of tough military men from the Balkan provinces who rescued the Roman Empire from certain destruction in the late third century. Born in Sirmium in AD 232, he was the son of a peasant gardener who entered the army as a teenager and rose steadily through the ranks in a time of near constant warfare against invading barbarian war bands. By AD 276, he had achieved command of the Roman field armies in Syria and Egypt and was well-positioned to seize the throne when the elderly emperor Tacitus died. With the eastern frontiers secure, Probus hurried to Rome and won the approval of the Senate before setting off for Gaul to confront the Goths, Franks and Alemanni in succession. He crushed attempted invasions and even led his army across the Rhine to stage punitive raids in barbarian territory. Having dealt with the barbarians, Probus faced revolts by the Roman usurpers Proculus, Bonosus and Saturninus and put down each in turn. Despite years of frenzied military activity, Probus also found time to put his army to work repairing irrigation canals, roads, walls, and other infrastructure, as well as encouraging viticulture in war-ravaged Gaul. He wistfully hoped for such a profound universal peace that all armies could be disbanded. After celebrating a well-deserved triumph in Rome in AD 282, Probus departed for the Danube to prepare for a long-planned invasion of Persia. He paused at Sirmium to supervise a land reclamation project, but word soon arrived that the troops of Gaul, tired of digging ditches, had revolted and declared their general Carus as emperor. Before Probus could respond effectively, the mutiny spread through his own troops. Probus sought refuge in a guard tower, but the mutineers forced their way in and butchered him. So dangerous were the times that even an emperor as capable as Probus could not escape a grisly and undeserved death.

    The coinage of Probus is varied and interesting, particularly for the wide variety of obverse bust types he employed. The reverse of this beautiful aureus likely celebrates a victory over the revolt of Saturninus in AD 280-281.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
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