Aurelian. 270-275 AD, Serdica Mint

Aurelian. 270-275 AD, Serdica Mint


AR Antoninianus, 4.34g (20mm, 7h). Radiate and cuirassed bust right / Sol standing left, extending arm and holding globe, spurning captive with foot; S below exergual line.

References: RIC 277 var. (off. S, not P). BN 1006 var. (officina)

Grade: Iridescent surfaces. Areas of porosity on obverse and reverse and some overall wear. VF+  (re1009)

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Aurelian, though reasonably unknown to the laity, stands as a colossal figure of the third century Roman Empire and as one of the most significant personages in the annals of Roman imperial figureheads.  His reign was brief (270-275), but within it forged a new future for the Roman Empire, ensuring its survival until the final fall of Constantinople in 1453.

He was a soldier emperor, and under his leadership the Roman army ably drove out invaders that had proceeded so far south as the Italian peninsula.  He drove hordes of Goths, Visigoths, and Vandals back from Roman territory across the Danube; he defeated the Macrommani and the Quadi, forcing the German tribesmen north of the Rhine once again.  Moreover, he all but forced the resurgent Parthians back into their lands east of the Tigris and Euphrates. In short, he restored the Roman Empire, which had been teetering on the brink of total collapse to its position as mistress of the Western World.  Evidence of his military prowess may still be seen in Rome to this day, as the massive edifice known as the Aurelian Wall encircles what was once the boundary of that great city. Despite his achievements, and, indeed, it is possible that he would have brought even more power, possessions, and peoples under Rome.