GORDIAN III 243AD Sestertius Big Ancient Rare Roman Coin Security Cult i51166
Item: i51166 Authentic Ancient Roman Coin of. Gordian III – Roman Emperor : 238-244 A. Bronze Sestertius 28mm (17.37 grams) Rome mint 243-244 A. Reference: RIC 311a; Sear 8739; Cohen 333. IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG, laureate, draped, & cuirassed bust right SECV-RITAS AVG, S C in ex, Securitas seated left with scepter. Securitas – Security, as a goddess worshipped by the Romans, is delineated in a great variety of ways on their imperial coins. She appears for the most part under the form of a woman in matronly costume; though in some few instances she is but half clothed, having a veil thrown over the lower extremities. Sometimes she is quietly seated, as if perfectly at her ease and having nothing to fear. That is to say, her right or her left elbow rests on her chair, and the hand supports her head, as in Nero. Or else one of her arms is placed above the head; an attitude which ancient artists regarded as characteristic of repose. She holds in one or other of her hands either a sceptre, or a scipio, or the hasta pura, or a cornucopia, or a patera, or a globe. On some medals there is near her a lighted altar; on others she stands leaning against, or with her arm upon, a column or cippus, having sometimes the legs crossed in a tranquil, easy posture, carrying one of the above-mentioned symbols, or otherwise holding before her a branch or a crown of olive, or a palm branch. The meaning of these various attitudes and attributes is on the whole too evident to require explanation. There are medals of nearly all the emperors (with flagrant inappropriateness to most of the reigns) from Otho and Vitellius to Constans and Constantius jun. Which have for the type of their reverses this figure of Security, and present for their legend the word SECVRITAS, with the addition of the words, AVGVSTI, or AVGVSTORVM (security of the emperor or of the emperors); ORBIS (security of the world) ; PVBLICA (public security) ; PERPETVA (perpetual security) ; POPVLI ROMANI (security of the Roman people) TEMPORVM (of the Times) ; IMPERII (of the empire) SAECVLI (of the age) ; REPVBLICAE (of the republic), etc. The sestertius , or sesterce , pl. Sestertii was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions. During the Roman Empire it was a large brass coin. Helmed Roma head right, IIS behind Dioscuri riding right, ROMA in linear frame below. The name sestertius (originally semis-tertius) means “2 ½”, the coin’s original value in asses , and is a combination of semis “half” and tertius “third”, that is, “the third half” (0 ½ being the first half and 1 ½ the second half) or “half the third” (two units plus half the third unit, or half way between the second unit and the third). Parallel constructions exist in Danish with halvanden (1 ½), halvtredje (2 ½) and halvfjerde (3 ½). The form sesterce , derived from French , was once used in preference to the Latin form, but is now considered old-fashioned. It is abbreviated as (originally IIS). Example of a detailed portrait of Hadrian 117 to 138. The sestertius was introduced c. 211 BC as a small silver coin valued at one-quarter of a denarius (and thus one hundredth of an aureus). A silver denarius was supposed to weigh about 4.5 grams, valued at ten grams, with the silver sestertius valued at two and one-half grams. In practice, the coins were usually underweight. When the denarius was retariffed to sixteen asses (due to the gradual reduction in the size of bronze denominations), the sestertius was accordingly revalued to four asses, still equal to one quarter of a denarius. It was produced sporadically, far less often than the denarius, through 44 BC. Hostilian under Trajan Decius 250 AD. In or about 23 BC, with the coinage reform of Augustus , the denomination of sestertius was introduced as the large brass denomination. Augustus tariffed the value of the sestertius as 1/100 Aureus. The sestertius was produced as the largest brass denomination until the late 3rd century AD. Most were struck in the mint of Rome but from AD 64 during the reign of Nero (AD 5468) and Vespasian (AD 6979), the mint of Lyon (Lugdunum), supplemented production. Lyon sestertii can be recognised by a small globe, or legend stop, beneath the bust. The brass sestertius typically weighs in the region of 25 to 28 grammes, is around 3234 mm in diameter and about 4 mm thick. The distinction between bronze and brass was important to the Romans. Their name for brass was orichalcum , a word sometimes also spelled aurichalcum (echoing the word for a gold coin, aureus), meaning’gold-copper’, because of its shiny, gold-like appearance when the coins were newly struck (see, for example Pliny the Elder in his Natural History Book 34.4). Orichalcum was considered, by weight, to be worth about double that of bronze. This is why the half-sestertius, the dupondius , was around the same size and weight as the bronze as, but was worth two asses. Sestertii continued to be struck until the late 3rd century, although there was a marked deterioration in the quality of the metal used and the striking even though portraiture remained strong. Later emperors increasingly relied on melting down older sestertii, a process which led to the zinc component being gradually lost as it burned off in the high temperatures needed to melt copper (Zinc melts at 419 °C, Copper at 1085 °C). The shortfall was made up with bronze and even lead. Later sestertii tend to be darker in appearance as a result and are made from more crudely prepared blanks (see the Hostilian coin on this page). The gradual impact of inflation caused by debasement of the silver currency meant that the purchasing power of the sestertius and smaller denominations like the dupondius and as was steadily reduced. In the 1st century AD, everyday small change was dominated by the dupondius and as, but in the 2nd century, as inflation bit, the sestertius became the dominant small change. In the 3rd century silver coinage contained less and less silver, and more and more copper or bronze. By the 260s and 270s the main unit was the double-denarius, the antoninianus , but by then these small coins were almost all bronze. Although these coins were theoretically worth eight sestertii, the average sestertius was worth far more in plain terms of the metal they contained. Some of the last sestertii were struck by Aurelian (270275 AD). During the end of its issue, when sestertii were reduced in size and quality, the double sestertius was issued first by Trajan Decius (249251 AD) and later in large quantity by the ruler of a breakaway regime in the West called Postumus (259268 AD), who often used worn old sestertii to overstrike his image and legends on. The double sestertius was distinguished from the sestertius by the radiate crown worn by the emperor, a device used to distinguish the dupondius from the as and the antoninianus from the denarius. Eventually, the inevitable happened. Many sestertii were withdrawn by the state and by forgers, to melt down to make the debased antoninianus, which made inflation worse. In the coinage reforms of the 4th century, the sestertius played no part and passed into history. Sestertius of Hadrian , dupondius of Antoninus Pius , and as of Marcus Aurelius. As a unit of account. The sestertius was also used as a standard unit of account, represented on inscriptions with the monogram HS. Large values were recorded in terms of sestertium milia , thousands of sestertii, with the milia often omitted and implied. The hyper-wealthy general and politician of the late Roman Republic, Crassus (who fought in the war to defeat Spartacus), was said by Pliny the Elder to have had’estates worth 200 million sesterces’. A loaf of bread cost roughly half a sestertius, and a sextarius (0.5 liter) of wine anywhere from less than half to more than 1 sestertius. One modius (6.67 kg) of wheat in 79 AD Pompeii cost 7 sestertii, of rye 3 sestertii, a bucket 2 sestertii, a tunic 15 sestertii, a donkey 500 sestertii. A writing tablet from Londinium (Roman London), dated to c. 75125 AD, records the sale of a Gallic slave girl called Fortunata for 600 denarii, equal to 2,400 sestertii, to a man called Vegetus. It is difficult to make any comparisons with modern coinage or prices, but for most of the 1st century AD the ordinary legionary was paid 900 sestertii per annum, rising to 1,200 under Domitian (81-96 AD), the equivalent of 3.3 sestertii per day. Half of this was deducted for living costs, leaving the soldier (if he was lucky enough actually to get paid) with about 1.65 sestertii per day. A sestertius of Nero , struck at Rome in 64 AD. The reverse depicts the emperor on horseback with a companion. The legend reads DECVRSIO,’a military exercise’. Sestertii are highly valued by numismatists , since their large size gave caelatores (engravers) a large area in which to produce detailed portraits and reverse types. The most celebrated are those produced for Nero (54-68 AD) between the years 64 and 68 AD, created by some of the most accomplished coin engravers in history. The brutally realistic portraits of this emperor, and the elegant reverse designs, greatly impressed and influenced the artists of the Renaissance. The series issued by Hadrian (117-138 AD), recording his travels around the Roman Empire, brilliantly depicts the Empire at its height, and included the first representation on a coin of the figure of Britannia ; it was revived by Charles II , and was a feature of United Kingdom coinage until the 2008 redesign. In ancient Roman religion , Concordia is the goddess who embodies agreement in marriage and society. Her Greek equivalent is usually regarded as Harmonia , with musical harmony a metaphor for an ideal of social concord or entente in the political discourse of the Republican era. Concordia Augusta was cultivated in the context of Imperial cult. Dedicatory inscriptions to her, on behalf of emperors and members of the imperial family, were common. In art, Concordia was depicted sitting, wearing a long cloak and holding onto a patera (sacrificial bowl), a cornucopia (symbol of prosperity), or a caduceus (symbol of peace). She was often shown in between two other figures, such as standing between two members of the Imperial family shaking hands. She was associated with a pair of female deities, such as Pax and Salus , or Securitas and Fortuna. Paired “Security and Luck” could also be represented by Hercules and Mercury. The oldest Temple of Concord , built in 367 BC by Marcus Furius Camillus , stood on the Roman Forum. Other temples and shrines in Rome dedicated to Concordia were largely geographically related to the main temple, and included (in date order). A bronze shrine (aedicula) of Concord erected by the aedile Gnaeus Flavius in 304 BC “in Graecostasis ” and “in area Volcani” (placing it on the Graecostasis, close to the main temple of Concord). It must have been destroyed when the main temple was enlarged by Opimius in 121 BC. One built on the arx (probably on the east side, overlooked the main temple of Concord below). It was probably vowed by the praetor Lucius Manlius in 218 BC after quelling a mutiny among his troops in Cisalpine Gaul. With building work commencing in 217 and dedication occurring on 5 February 216. A temple to Concordia Nova, marking the end Julius Caesar had brought to civil war. It was voted by the senate in 44 BC. But was possibly never built. A temple built by Livia according to Ovid’s Fasti VI. 637638 (“te quoque magnifica, Concordia, dedicat aede Livia quam caro praestitit ipsa viro” – the only literary reference to this temple). The description of the Porticus Liviae follows immediately, and it is probable therefore that the temple was close to or within the porticus, but the small rectangular structure marked on the Marble Plan frg. 10 can hardly have been a temple deserving of the epithet “magnifica” (HJ 316). In Pompeii , the high priestess Eumachia dedicated a building to Concordia Augusta. Harmonians and some Discordians equate Concordia with Aneris. Her opposite is thus Discordia, or the Greek Eris. Marcus Antonius Gordianus Pius. , known in English as Gordian III , was Roman Emperor from 238 to 244. Gordian was the son of Antonia Gordiana and his father was an unnamed Roman Senator who died before 238. Antonia Gordiana was the daughter of Emperor Gordian I and younger sister of Emperor Gordian II. Very little is known on his early life before becoming Roman Emperor. Gordian had assumed the name of his maternal grandfather in 238. Following the murder of emperor Alexander Severus in Moguntiacum (modern Mainz), the capital of the Roman province Germania Inferior , Maximinus Thrax was acclaimed emperor, despite strong opposition of the Roman senate and the majority of the population. In response to what was considered in Rome as a rebellion, Gordian’s grandfather and uncle, Gordian I and II, were proclaimed joint emperors in the Africa Province. Their revolt was suppressed within a month by Cappellianus, governor of Numidia and a loyal supporter of Maximinus Thrax. The elder Gordians died, but public opinion cherished their memory as peace loving and literate men, victims of Maximinus’ oppression. Meanwhile, Maximinus was on the verge of marching on Rome and the Senate elected Pupienus and Balbinus as joint emperors. These senators were not popular men and the population of Rome was still shocked by the elder Gordian’s fate, so that the Senate decided to take the teenager Gordian, rename him Marcus Antonius Gordianus as his grandfather, and raise him to the rank of Caesar and imperial heir. Pupienus and Balbinus defeated Maximinus, mainly due to the defection of several legions , namely the Parthica II who assassinated Maximinus. But their joint reign was doomed from the start with popular riots, military discontent and even an enormous fire that consumed Rome in June 238. Pupienus and Balbinus were killed by the Praetorian guard and Gordian proclaimed sole emperor. Due to Gordian’s age, the imperial government was surrendered to the aristocratic families, who controlled the affairs of Rome through the senate. In 240, Sabinianus revolted in the African province, but the situation was dealt quickly. In 241, Gordian was married to Furia Sabinia Tranquillina , daughter of the newly appointed praetorian prefect, Timesitheus. As chief of the Praetorian guard and father in law of the emperor, Timesitheus quickly became the de facto ruler of the Roman empire. In the 3rd century, the Roman frontiers weakened against the Germanic tribes across the Rhine and Danube , and the Sassanid kingdom across the Euphrates increased its own attacks. When the Persians under Shapur I invaded Mesopotamia , the young emperor opened the doors of the Temple of Janus for the last time in Roman history, and sent a huge army to the East. The Sassanids were driven back over the Euphrates and defeated in the Battle of Resaena (243). The campaign was a success and Gordian, who had joined the army, was planning an invasion of the enemy’s territory, when his father-in-law died in unclear circumstances. Without Timesitheus, the campaign, and the emperor’s security, were at risk. Marcus Julius Philippus, also known as Philip the Arab , stepped in at this moment as the new Praetorian Prefect and the campaign proceeded. In the beginning of 244, the Persians counter-attacked. Persian sources claim that a battle was fought (Battle of Misiche) near modern Fallujah (Iraq) and resulted in a major Roman defeat and the death of Gordian III. Roman sources do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died far away, upstream of the Euphrates. Although ancient sources often described Philip, who succeeded Gordian as emperor, as having murdered Gordian at Zaitha (Qalat es Salihiyah), the cause of Gordian’s death is unknown. Gordian’s youth and good nature, along with the deaths of his grandfather and uncle and his own tragic fate at the hands of another usurper, granted him the everlasting esteem of the Romans. Despite the opposition of the new emperor, Gordian was deified by the Senate after his death, in order to appease the population and avoid riots. 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