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    Auction of the Empire

    Didius Julianus (AD 193). AR denarius (18mm, 3.12 gm, 12h).  Rome, March-May AD  193. IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head of Didius Julianus right / CONCORD MILIT, Concordia standing facing, head left, holding a legionary eagle in right hand and a vexillum in left. RIC 1. BMCRE 2. RSC 2 (corrected). Very rare! With a remarkably noble portrait for so ephemeral a ruler. Minor reverse flatness, otherwise Extremely Fine.

    Ex Heritage-Gemini Auction VIII (14 April 2011), lot 367.

    Didius Julianus had a prominent government career, including several provincial governorships in the reigns of Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. When the Emperor Pertinax was killed by the Praetorians after only a three-month reign, no ready successor was at hand. Pertinax's father-in-law, Flavius Sulpicianus, tried to get the troops to proclaim him emperor, but met with little enthusiasm. Sensing an opportunity, Didius Julianus rushed to the camp and began to make cash promises to the soldiers from outside the wall. Soon the scene became an auction, with Sulpicianus and Julianus striving to outbid each other for the favor of the troops. When Sulpicianus reached 20,000 sesterces per soldier, Julianus upped the bid by a whopping 5,000 sesterces. Sold! Confronted by the swords of the Praetorians, the Senate approved his elevation, but could not hide its disgust. Three provincial governors quickly declared themselves emperor; Septimius Severus, in Pannonia, was closest to Rome and immediately invaded Italy. With Julianus' authority in Rome rapidly deteriorating, Severus was able to send messages to the Praetorians, who renounced their allegiance to Julianus. Seeing their cue, the Senators proclaimed Severus emperor and passed a death sentence on Julianus. On June 1, AD 193, a Praetorian officer found the cringing Julianus hiding in the palace and dispatched him, ending his ignominious 65-day reign.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2014
    5th-6th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 370

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