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  1. Octavian as Augustus, 27 BC (1)
  2. Tiberius augustus, 14 (1)
  3. In the name of Nero Claudius Drusus, brother of Tiberius and father of Claudius (1)
  4. Nero augustus, 54 (1)
  5. Vespasian, 69 (2)
  6. Titus caesar, 69 (1)
  7. Domitian augustus, 81 (1)
  8. Domitia, wife of Domitian (1)
  9. Nerva, 96 (1)
  10. Trajan, 98 (2)
  11. Matidia, daughter of Trajan (1)
  12. Hadrian, 117 (3)
  13. Antoninus Pius, 138-161 (4)
  14. Faustina I, wife of Antoninus Pius (3)
  15. Marcus Aurelius caesar, 139 (1)
  16. Faustina II, wife of Marcus Aurelius and daughter of Antoninus Pius (1)
  17. Commodus, 177 (1)
  18. Crispina, wife of Commodus (1)
  19. Pertinax, January 1st (1)
  20. Septimius Severus, 193 (4)
  21. Julia Domna, wife of Septimius Severus (1)
  22. Caracalla, 198 (5)
  23. Plautilla, wife of Caracalla (1)
  24. Geta caesar, 198 (2)
  25. Elagabalus 218 (2)
  26. Severus Alexander, 222 (1)
  27. Gordian III, 238 (1)
  28. Philip II caesar, 244 (1)
  29. Trajan Decius, 249 (1)
  30. Herennia Etruscilla, wife of Trajan Decius. (1)
  31. Trebonianus Gallus, 251 (2)
  32. Volusian, 251 (1)
  33. Gallienus, 253 (3)
  34. Postumus, 260 (1)
  35. Aurelian, 270 (1)
  36. Tacitus, 275 (1)
  37. Probus, 276 (3)
  38. Carus, 282 (1)
  39. Numerian augustus, 283 (1)
  40. Carinus, 283 (1)
  41. Julian I of Pannonia, October (1)
  42. Diocletian, 284-305 (3)
  43. Maximianus augustus, first reign 286 (3)
  44. Constantius I Chlorus caesar, 293 (1)
  45. Constantius I Chlorus augustus, 305 (1)
  46. Galerius Maximianus caesar, 293 (1)
  47. Severus II caesar, 305 (1)
  48. Maximinus II Daia caesar, 305 (1)
  49. Maxentius, 307 (1)
  50. Licinius I, 308 (1)
  51. Licinius II caesar, 317 (1)
  52. Constantine I, 307 (7)
  53. Crispus caesar, 316 (1)
  54. Constantine II caesar, 316 (2)
  55. Constantius III, 8th February (1)
  56. Justa Gratia Honoria, sister of Valentinian III (1)

Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 102   |   24 October 2017 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 555

Estimate: 20'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 16'000 CHF Price realized: 22'000 CHF
Aureus, Siscia 274-275, AV 5.26 g. IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. RESTITV – TOR ORIENTIS Sol standing r., head l., wearing cloak around the shoulders, raising r. hand and holding globe in l. C 214 var. (different bust). RIC 374 (Antiochia). Göbl 219a0. CBN p. 162 and pl. 80, 138. Calicó 4028 (Antiochia).
Of the highest rarity, only the second specimen known for the mint of Siscia and one of very
few of this reverse type. An exceptional portrait, the work of a skilled master engraver,
struck in high relief and with a lovely reddish tone. Good extremely fine
Ex Gemini sale VII, 2011, 835.
This spectacular aureus celebrates Aurelian’s great victory over the breakaway Palmyrene Empire of Queen Zenobia and her son Vaballathus. In A.D. 270, while Claudius II Gothicus was still Roman emperor and distracted by the problems in the western regions of the Roman Empire, the armies of Palmyra overran the Roman provinces of Syria, Arabia, and Egypt. By the beginning of A.D. 271, the first full year of Aurelian’s reign, Palmyrene forces had begun an invasion of Roman Asia Minor, conquering Galatia and making inroads into Bithynia. Initially Zenobia and Vaballathus recognized Aurelian as emperor and attempted to establish a modus vivendi between the Palmyrene Empire and that of Rome. Aurelian, still occupied by a flood of Germanic invaders in the west, accepted this situation while Vaballathus claimed the subordinate title of rex (king), but once he began to style himself as an eastern Augustus (and the situation on the Danube frontier had stabilized) Aurelian ceased to be so understanding.
In A.D. 272 Aurelian marched into Asia Minor at the head of an army bent on crushing the Palmyrene Empire and destroying any city or person that resisted him in achieving this goal. At the city of Tyana in Cappadocia, however, the emperor was warned by the philosopher and miracle-worker Apollonius of Tyana to abstain from shedding the blood of the innocent in his war against Zenobia and Vaballathus. The emperor heeded Apollonius’ warning, and after sparing Tyana many of the other cities expelled their Palmyrene garrisons and surrendered. Moving on into Syria Aurelian defeated Zenobia first at Immae and then at Emesa, forcing the queen to flee home to Palmyra. There she was besieged and ultimately captured by Aurelian in the summer of A.D. 272.
Like Tyana, Palmyra was spared destruction, but Aurelian installed a garrison of 600 archers in the city to guarantee the good behaviour of its citizens who were now without their queen. This seems to have done little good since the Palmyrenes revolted again under the leadership of a certain Septimius Apsaios in A.D. 273. He attempted to entice the Roman governor of Mesopotamia to claim the imperial purple with Palmyrene support, but when this failed he proclaimed a relative of Zenobia as a rival Augustus. At this development Aurelian returned and crushed the revolt with great violence. The Palmyrenes were brutally slaughtered, the temples and houses were plundered, and the city was razed to the ground. With this act of destruction Aurelian at last put an end to the Palmyrene threat to the eastern provinces of the Roman Empire once and for all. Thus he could rightly claim to be the ”Restorer of the East” (Restitutor Orientis) as he does on this coin.
Sol Invictus on the reverse appears not only as an allusion to the East, but also because Aurelian had a special affinity for the god, particularly in relation to the conquest of Palmyra. After the destruction of the city, Aurelian is said to have carried off the local cult statue of Shams (a Semitic solar deity) which he erected in a new temple of Sol in Rome. This temple was dedicated in A.D. 274, shortly before this coin was struck.

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