Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 94

Estimate: 40'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 32'000 CHF Price realized: 35'000 CHF
Carinus augustus, 283-285. Aureus, Siscia 284, AV 5.64 g. IMP C M AVR CARINVS P F AVG Laureate and cuirassed bust l. Rev. LIBERA – LITAS AVG Liberalitas standing l., holding tessera in r. hand and cornucopiae in l.; in r. field, star. C 48 var. (also draped). RIC 309 var. (also draped). Calicó 4347 (these dies).
Very rare. A very attractive and unusual portrait perfectly struck in high
relief. Virtually as struck and almost Fdc


Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 33, 6 April 2006, lot 579.

Details of the short-lived dynasty of Carus and his two sons, Carinus and Numerian, are scanty and imprecise, and in many respects unreliable due to a tradition of hostility amongst later writers. We do know that both Carinus and his younger brother were grown adults when their father was elevated to the purple, and that both were made Caesars at the same time late in A.D. 282. However, Carinus held the senior position and early in A.D. 283 was elevated to the rank of Augustus, sharing the ordinary consulship with his father. He was then left to guard the western half of the Empire while his father and brother left for the East in order to engage the Parthians.

After successfully campaigning in Parthia, Carus died suddenly of illness. Numerian was immediately acclaimed Augustus by his troops and concluded his father's Parthian campaign by turning the army around and heading back west. On the return journey he died under suspicious circumstances, and the commander of his personal bodyguard, Valerius Diocles, was acclaimed emperor.

Meanwhile in the West, Carinus was settling a disturbance that had developed in Roman Britain when news of Numerian's death and Diocles' subsequent elevation spread and revolt broke out. The insurrection was led by an official from northern Italy, the corrector Julian of Pannonia who had taken the title of Augustus, and Carinus marched south to confront the usurper. Early in A.D. 285 he quashed the revolt in battle either near Verona or in Illyria, and then proceeded to Moesia where he engaged the forces of Diocletian at the Battle of the Margus River. It is not known whether Carinus was defeated and slain in battle, which appears likely, or whether he was murdered by a jealous officer whose wife he had seduced, but he was killed at about this time leaving the Empire open to Diocletian.

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