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    Extremely Rare Anthemius Solidus with Victory in Biga Shield

    Anthemius, Western Roman Empire (AD 467-472). AV solidus (22mm, 4.42 gm, 1h). NGC Choice XF★ 5/5 - 4/5. Milan. D N ANTHEMI-VS PERPET AVG, pearl-diademed, helmeted, cuirassed bust of Anthemius facing, spear in right hand over shoulder, shield in left decorated with Victory in biga motif / SALVS REI-PV-BLICAE, two emperors, in military attire, standing facing, spear in outer hand, supporting between them globus cruciger; MD in center field, COMOB in exergue. RIC X 2890. Cohen 6. Lacam 100. Very Rare.

    From the Morris Collection. Ex NAC Auction A, (27-28 February 1991), lot 2059.

    Born into a distinguished Constantinopolitan family, Anthemius was highly regarded as a general and magistrate, and had been considered a prime candidate for the East Roman throne when his father-in-law, the emperor Marcian, died in AD 457. Instead, Leo I got the job, but Anthemius took the setback in stride and won a series of military victories over the Goths and Huns on Leo's behalf. In the mid AD 460s, Vandal raids on Greece convinced Leo that he needed to cooperate with the West Roman regime headed by the half-barbarian generalissimo Ricimer. In AD 467, with Ricimer's approval, Leo appointed Anthemius to the vacant western throne. Anthemius reached Rome on April 12 and was duly hailed as Augustus by the Senate, but many Italians viewed him as a Greek interloper and this colored his relations with the locals from the outset. In AD 468, a massive joint naval expedition against the Vandals in North Africa came to grief, badly undermining Anthemius' position. Visigothic gains in Gaul further eroded his popularity over the next few years and caused a dangerous rift to develop between Anthemius and Ricimer. Leo tried to mediate by sending a highborn envoy named Olybrius to Italy in the spring of AD 472, but Ricimer decided Olybrius would prove a more pliable puppet emperor and marched against Rome to depose Anthemius. Rome underwent a three-month siege and finally fell to a determined attack on the Pons Aelius. Anthemius donned the garb of a beggar and tried to escape, but was identified, captured and beheaded, probably on July 11, AD 472.


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    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
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