Philip I, 244 – 249. Aureus 244-247, AV 4.62 g. IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. ANNONA AVGG Annona standing l., holding corn ears above modius and cornucopiae. C 23. RIC 28a. Calicó 3246.
Estimate: 30'000 CHF
Starting price: 24'000 CHF
Price realized: 24'000 CHF
Very rare and among the finest specimens known. A bold portrait,
virtually as struck and almost Fdc
Sold by Anton Tkalec, Zurich, 18 February 2002, lot 225.
Sold by Numismatica Genevensis SA, Geneva, auction 4, 11 December 2006, lot 216.
Despite his menacing portrait and vicious rise to power, Philip I – the son of a Romanised Arab sheikh – was one of the least effective of Rome's emperors. After the murder of the praetorian prefect Timesitheus and the coup-style murder of Gordian III on the Persian front, Philip stepped into the vacant role of emperor. Instead of capitalising on Gordian's recent military gains against the Sasanians, Philip patched up a hasty and humiliating treaty with Shapur I. We cannot be sure why Philip acted in this manner - either the campaign had begun to turn against the Romans or Philip was more concerned with being confirmed by the senate than continuing to prosecute the war. Philip proceeded to Rome to gain confirmation from the senate; the timetable for this is quite uncertain, as one inscription may suggest his arrival in July, 244, but the numismatic evidence calls for 245, as that is when his adventus types seem to have been struck. If the latter is correct, we must presume Philip stayed in Asia Minor either to oversee the Persian front or to attend to duties his brother Priscus eventually would assume. Once in Rome there was little time for rest. Philip spent much of 245 to 247 (the period during which this aureus was probably struck) on the Danube repelling invasions by the Carpi, and possibly Germans, but managed to return to Rome for the much-anticipated millennial celebrations held throughout 248. His glory in the capital suffered by several rebellions within the provincial armies. With so many catastrophes in one year, Philip was doomed. In the fall of 249 he was challenged and defeated by Trajan Decius, the commander who recently had restored order in Moesia and Pannonia.