Numismatica Ars Classica, Zurich   |   Auction 111   |   24 September 2018 Sort by Lot-NumberSort by Estimate
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Lot 205

Estimate: 8'000 CHF   |   Starting price: 6'400 CHF Price realized: 8'500 CHF
Aurelian, 270 – 275. Binio, Antiochia end 273, AV 5.82 g. IMP C AVRELIANVS AVG Radiate and cuirassed bust r. Rev. RESTITVTOR ORIENTIS Sol standing l., raising r. hand and holding whip in l.; at each side, bound captive seated. C –. RIC –. RIC Online temp. 3185. Göbl 372a = Estiot 165. CBN –. Calicó –.
Very rare. A magnificent portrait of excellent style, minor edge marks and
flan slightly bent, otherwise extremely fine
Ex Gorny & Mosch sale 219, 2014, 490. From the Collection of a Retired Banker.
The empire that Aurelian inherited at the behest of his army was in shambles, and the task he faced was nothing less than Herculian in scope. This rare binio records the first of his two great successes, which he achieved through his military genius, indomitable spirit and inexhaustible constitution. Romans were still suffering from the disastrous years of Gallienus, who, despite his most valiant efforts, could not keep the empire intact. Just when he was starting to redress these manifold catastrophies in 268, Gallienus was murdered by conspirators in his own command. Among these men were his successor Claudius II, and Aurelian, who would soon have his turn at the helm. Claudius was remarkably energetic and the soldiers were upset when his great promise was cut short by the plague. He was replaced briefly by a relative, Quintillus, who courted senators but failed with soldiers, and who as a result was murdered in the wake of a rebellion raised by Aurelian, who had scored great victories against the Goths and Heruli in Greece. Aurelian worked tirelessly during his five-year reign, initially repelling barbarian invasions of the Balkans and Italy, and crushing uprisings within the army. With the local threats addressed, Aurelian set his sights on recovering the provinces that had been lost to Palmyra in the east and to Gallo-Romans in the west. Early in his reign Aurelian had granted the Palmyrene rulers Zenobia and Vabalathus the lofty titles they desired, and he even struck coinage jointly with Vabalathus at Antioch and Alexandria. But by the spring of 272 he led his army east, liberating one city after another in Asia Minor and causing the surrender of Zenobia and Vabalathus in 272. The recovery of Egypt by the future emperor Probus and a follow-up campaign by Aurelian against a Palmyrene rebel named Antiochus finished matters in the east. Aurelian returned to Rome for a spectacular triumph at which the captured king and queen were displayed in golden chains before hundreds of thousands of cheering citizens. At this time Aurelian claimed the well-earned title "restorer of the orient" (restitvtor orientis) that occurs on the reverse of this remarkable coin. In the near future Aurelian would score an equally important victory when he recovered the westernmost provinces, by which he returned the empire to its healthiest state in recent memory. After achieving this greatness, Aurelian styled himself on coins as "restorer of the world" (restitvtor orbis) and "God and Lord" (deus et dominus), and even described himself as having been "born God and Master" (deo et domino nato).

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