Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 159

Estimate: 15'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 12'000 CHF Price realized: 24'000 CHF
Claudius, 41 – 54. Aureus 41-42, AV 7.75 g. TI CLAVD CAESAR AVG GERM P M TR P Laureate head r. Rev. CONSTANTIAE AVGVSTI Constantia seated l. on curule chair, raising r. hand; her feet on stool. C 5. BMC 11. RIC 13. Von Kaenel 200 (these dies). CBN 27. Calicó 338.
A bold portrait of fine style and a lovely reddish tone, Extremely fine
Ex NAC 21, 2001, 380 and NAC 64, 2012, Alberto Campana, 1107 sales. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.
By the time the emperor Claudius came to the throne after the murder of his depraved nephew Caligula, he had been properly schooled in how terribly people can treat one another. Indeed, it was his enduring, impotent position in the eye of the Julio- Claudian storm that made him the central character in Robert Graves’ classic work of historical fiction, I, Claudius. As a child he could not benefit from his father, who died before he reached his first year, and he apparently suffered a lack of love from his mother, the otherwise admirable Antonia, who, according to Suetonius (Claudius 3) described him as “a monster: a man whom nature had not finished but had merely begun”. In the bigger picture, Claudius’ physical disabilities served him well, for he survived the treacherous reigns of Tiberius and Caligula (though not unscathed, for he suffered through the aftermath of many deplorable acts). His 13-year reign was entirely unexpected. In one of Tacitus’ most memorable and personal passages, he states about Claudius: “The more I think about history, ancient or modern, the more ironical all human affairs seem. In public opinion, expectation, and esteem no one appeared a less likely candidate for the throne than the man for whom destiny was secretly reserving it.” For most Romans, Claudius’ reign was a pleasant departure from the more oppressive reigns of Tiberius and Caligula, both of whom were generally disliked. Claudius seems to have been popular with the people and often with the army, but he usually was at odds with the senate, from whom he demanded hard work and dedication.

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