Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 105   |   9 May 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 95





Estimate: 35'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 28'000 CHF Price realized: 42'000 CHF
Numerianus augustus, 283 – 284. Aureus, Siscia 283-284, AV 4.57 g. IMP C NVMERIANVS P F AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust r. Rev. ABVNDANTIA AVGG Abundantia standing l., emptying cornucopiae. C 2 var. (not draped). RIC 451 var. (not draped). Calicó 4298 var. (not draped).
Very rare and in exceptional condition for the issue. A lovely portrait of fine style,
Two insignificant edge marks, otherwise virtually as struck and almost Fdc

Provenance

Sold by Numismatica Ars Classica, Zürich, auction 54, 24 May 2010, lot 596.

When Numerian’s father Carus died under mysterious circumstances near the river Tigris, the great offensive father and son had been leading against the Sasanians ground to a hault. Ancient sources tell us Carus died from a lightning strike, but modern historians are sceptical: most believe he was murdered by his prefect Aper. Until that point the campaign had been a great success, as father and son had not only defeated the Quadi and Sarmatians on their eastward trek, but in 283 they had sacked Ctesiphon. The 30-year-old Numerian might have been competent, but he was now in an awkward position, surrounded by ambitious subordinates and an army paralyzed by superstition. Whether he was startled by his father’s mysterious death, uncomfortable with supreme authority, or if he wisely reacted to a change in military circumstances, Numerian made a quick and unfavorable peace with the Persian king Varhan II and led the bulk of his army on a westward retreat. On that arduous journey to meet his brother, Carinus, who was ruling in the West, Numerian died – again under mysterious circumstances. This is a familiar tale of the late third century, and it is only of historical interest because one of his commanders Diocles, better known as Diocletian, was elected emperor in his place. As a consequence the Roman world was to be completely reordered and stabilized, ushering in the foundations of the social and political institutions of the Dark Ages and the Medieval world.

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