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    Claudius II: Roman Savior

    Claudius II Gothicus (AD 268-270). AV aureus (19mm, 4.98 gm, 12h). NGC MS 5/5 - 3/5. Milan, AD 268-269. IMP CLAVDIVS P F AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Claudius II right / VICTORIA AVG, Victory advancing left, holding wreath and palm branch. RIC --.  Calicó 3957 (R3). Extremely rare! Somewhat matte surfaces, tiny reverse scuff, otherwise an impressive coin with an outstanding portrait of this heroic ruler.

    The first of the Danubian soldier-emperors who rescued the Roman Empire from the great anarchy of the mid third century, Claudius II Gothicus had a brief but momentous reign that was later viewed as a turning point in history. Born about AD 214, Marcus Aurelius Valerius Claudius followed the military career adopted by so many of his countrymen. He rose to high command in the reign of Gallienus, who favored Danubian professional soldiers like Claudius. During a siege in mid-AD 268, Gallienus was assassinated and Claudius acclaimed as emperor in his place by his fellow officers. The Senate approved Claudius' elevation, and Claudius in turn pledged to seek the advice of senators and treat them with respect. A combination of military invasion and diplomatic overtures won back the rebellious regions of southern Gaul and Spain, which had fallen in with the separatist Gallo-Roman Empire years before. But a major crisis erupted in AD 269, when a massive force of Goths crossed the Danube and began plundering Claudius' Balkan homeland. Claudius maneuvered his legions to trap the Goths on a mountain near Naissus (modern Nish), then tightened the noose. After losing more than 50,000 warriors to battle, disease and starvation, the Goths capitulated early in AD 270. It was the kind of annihilating victory the Roman Empire badly needed after decades of defeat and dissolution, and Claudius was hailed as the savior of his nation. The Senate voted him the title of Gothicus, by which he is still known. But Claudius never lived to enjoy his triumph, for he contracted the plague and died in the summer of AD 270. He was immediately defied and greatly mourned. Despite reigning less than two years, he was so fondly remembered that more than 35 years later, Constantine the Great claimed a family connection to him and struck coins in his honor. 

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