Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 204

Estimate: 75'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 60'000 CHF ---
Tetricus I, 271 – 274. Aureus, Cologne 271, AV 4.44 g. IMP C G P ESV TETRICVS AVG Laureate and cuirassed bust l. Rev. VICTORIA GER M Tetricus, holding globe and sceptre, standing l., crowned by Victory, holding wreath and palm branch; in l. field, bound captive seated l. C 195 var. (different bust). RIC 38 var. (different bust). Schulte 2. L. Dussubieux and B. Gratuze, "Nature et origine des objets en verre retrouvés à Begram et à Bara," De l'Indus à l'Oxus: Archéologie de l'Asie centrale (2003), 285 (this coin). Calicó –.
Extremely rare. A very elegant portrait work of a very talented master engraver.
Lovely light reddish tone and extremely fine
Ex CNG sale 87, 2011, 1122. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.
In A.D. 271, the unpopular Gallic Emperor, Victorinus, was killed by his own troops, perhaps at the instigation of his own mother, Victoria. Upon the death of her son, Victoria bribed the army to recognize the governor of Gallia Aquitania as the new ruler of the Gallic Empire. This man, C. Pius Esuvius Tetricus, was proclaimed emperor at Burdigala (modern Bordeaux) in the autumn of A.D. 271 and subsequently became known to history as Tetricus I. The relatively brief reign of Tetricus I was fraught with difficulties from the start. He was not recognised in all territories that had previously belonged to the breakaway Gallic Empire. Instead of looking to Gaul as the centre of power, the provinces of Hispania and Lusitania and even the German city of Argentoratum (modern Strasbourg) now recognised the Roman Emperor, Aurelian as their master. Even more troubling were the increasing raids of Germanic peoples into Gaul across the Rhine frontier. Tetricus I enjoyed several major victories over the barbarians early in his reign. The present aureus was struck at Cologne as part of a military donative celebrating one such victory. Soon, however, the Gallic emperor struggled to hold the Rhine and was pushed back from the frontier. His inability to stem the Germanic tide resulted in the transfer of the capital of the Gallic Empire from its traditional seat at Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium (modern Cologne) to Treveri (modern Trier) and increasing discontent in the army. As if the Germanic situation was not dire enough, in A.D. 273, Aurelian mounted a campaign against Tetricus I, who had elevated his son, Tetricus II, to the post of Caesar. The forces of the rival emperors met at the Catalaunian Fields (modern Châlons-en-Champagne) in A.D. 274, but the ancient sources disagree as to what happened next. According to one, probably later and propagandistic account, Tetricus I immediately surrendered while quoting a line from Virgil’s Aeneid (eripe me his invicte malis [”rescue me undefeated from these troubles”]). The difficulties of empire were too great for him. Other accounts that are usually preferred by modern scholars indicate that Tetricus I was defeated in battle before he surrendered to Aurelian. However, his army continued to fight to a bloody end out of despair. In A.D. 274, Tetricus I and Tetricus II, together with Zenobia, the conquered queen of the breakaway Palmyrene Empire, were forced to walk in the triumphal procession of Aurelian at Rome. In a remarkable twist, the triumphant Aurelian did not execute these usurpers at the conclusion of the procession, but instead pardoned them and gave them minor administrative positions within the Roman Empire. Aurelian’s generosity towards his enemies on this occasion is a true bright spot in what was otherwise an age of unrelenting violence and bloodshed. Tetricus I was made a senator and appointed corrector (governor of a minor province) of Lucania et Bruttii in southern Italy. He died of natural causes shortly thereafter.

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