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    Description

    Claudius I (AD 41-54). AV aureus (18mm, 7.65 gm, 5h). NGC VF 4/5 - 4/5. Rome, AD 46-47. TI CLAVD CAESAR•AVG•P•M•TR•P•, laureate head of Claudius I right / IMPER RECEPT across top of front wall, view of the praetorian camp; in front is a wall with two small arched openings below and five battlements on top; above and behind it stands a soldier on guard left, holding spear in right hand; to left, an aquila erect; behind him is a pediment, in which is a crescent, on two pillars, flanked left and right by walls, each with a battlement above and arch below. RIC I 7. Calicó 359. Biaggi 205. A few small edge marks noted for accuracy.

    From the Morris Collection.

    This gold aureus bears a pleasing portrait of Claudius, fourth emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Son of the great general Drusus and Antonia, niece of the emperor Augustus, Tiberius Claudius Drusus seemed well-positioned when he was born in 10 BC. But a serious childhood illness left him with a limp, a stammer, and other uncouth qualities that made him the black sheep of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. While these problems barred him from a political career, such exclusion also granted him immunity from the family's murderous intrigues. Upon Caligula's assassination in January, AD 41, Claudius was the sole surviving Julio-Claudian male and, when members of the Praetorian Guard found him cowering behind a curtain in the palace, they immediately acclaimed him as Emperor. Claudius astutely awarded the Praetorians a substantial bonus, and with 10,000 heavily armed soldiers backing him, he easily forced the Senate to accept him as the next princeps. Once installed, Claudius surprised everyone by ruling with intelligence and moderation. In AD 43, he ordered the invasion and annexation of Britain, the first major addition of territory to the Empire since the days of Augustus. He chose provincial governors carefully and managed foreign relations with considerable skill. He erred only in his obsession with detail, his reliance on freedmen and cronies, and his atrocious taste in women. Messalina, his promiscuous third wife, ran wild as Empress and nearly brought down his regime with a sex-crazed conspiracy in AD 48. His next wife, Agrippina the Younger, used her wiles to enhance her own power and advance Nero, her son by a previous marriage, in the succession arrangements. This done, she fed Claudius a dish of poisoned mushrooms in October, AD 54 and brought his 13-year reign to an end. Despite many missteps and his unsavory demise, Claudius had been a fairly successful ruler and his regime set a pattern for the Flavians and the reigns that followed.


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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2019
    6th-7th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
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