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    Decius, Arch-Persecutor

    Trajan Decius (AD 249-251). AV aureus (18mm, 3.87 gm, 6h). Rome, AD 250-251. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust of Decius right / VBERITAS AVG, Uberitas standing left, holding pileus in right hand and cornucopia cradled in left arm. RIC --, cf. 28 (bust also draped). Cohen 104. Calic├│ 3299. An attractive piece with full, brilliant luster and none of the waviness often seen on aurei of Decius. NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 4/5.

    Born on the Danubian frontier, Gaius Messius Quintus Decius rapidly rose to a series of important positions, including the governorships of Spain and Moesia Inferior. In AD 248-249, when the Emperor Philip I faced a series of revolts and usurpations, Decius convinced him not to abdicate. Philip instead placed Decius at the head of an army sent to the Danubian front to crush the usurper Pacatian and eject Gothic invaders. With these tasks accomplished by June of AD 249, Decius' soldiers proclaimed him emperor, much against his wishes (or so he claimed). His army defeated Philip in battle near Verona in September; the Senate enthusiastically approved his elevation and gave him the additional name of Trajan in honor of the great second-century emperor. Decius seems to have come to the throne with a ready-made agenda for the restoration of Rome's fading glory. He cracked down harshly on those he believed were undermining the ancient traditions of Rome. Christianity was particularly singled out, and thousands of Christians were forced to either make sacrifice to Rome's gods or face torture and execution. Renewed barbarian invasions late in AD 250 took his attention away from domestic affairs. Seeking a decisive battle, Decius pursued the fleeing Goths into the marshes of Abrittus and straight into an ambush. Decius and about half of his army perished in the debacle, the first time a Roman emperor had fallen to a foreign enemy. The Christians claimed it was God's revenge on an arch-persecutor. In any case, the catastrophe at Abrittus accelerated the Roman Empire's slide into anarchy.




    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    13th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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