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    Description

    Lustrous Decius Aureus

    Trajan Decius (AD 249-251). AV aureus (18mm, 4.53 gm, 11h). Rome, AD 250-251. IMP C M Q TRAIANVS DECIVS AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust of Decius right, viewed from behind / 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. A handsome aureus with full, brilliant luster and none of the waviness usually seen on aurei of Decius. NGC Choice MS 5/5 - 4/5.

    Born on the Danubian frontier, Gaius Messius Quintus Trajanus Decius came to the throne with a ready-made agenda for the restoration of Rome's fading glory. He tried several innovations on the financial front, including the introduction of a new coin denomination, the double-sestertius. Despite these measures, the gold coinage of Decius shows a sharp acceleration in the debasement witnessed over the previous two decades, which had seen the aureus drop from about 6.5 grams under Severus Alexander (AD 222-235) to about 4.5  grams under Philip I (AD 244-249). Aurei struck near the beginning of his reign average about the same as Philip's, but this plummets by more than a gram over the course of the next 18 months. Perhaps seeking to confiscate their estates and replenish the treasury, 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, execution and seizure of assets. 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.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    January, 2016
    3rd-4th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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