ROMAN EMPIRE, Marius, May – September, 269 AD, antoninianus


ROMAN EMPIRE, Marius, May – September, 269 AD, antoninianius, no date (269 AD), Cologne mint, Obverse: radiate bust R, IMP C M AVR MARIVS P F AVG, Reverse: clasped hands, CONCORDIA MILITVM, billon, 18.5mm, 3.23g, SR11119, crude, some pitting rev., VF/F

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Marius was a guy in the army of Postumus the rebel in Germany. When Postumus was assassinated, the assembled soldiers, for reasons not clear today, collectively said “How about him?” A month or so later they collectively changed their mind and murdered him too.

The Roman Empire was a system of theoretically constrained autocracy. The Emperor was supposed to be accepted by the Senate, which was supposed to be representing the people. It became difficult to restrain the autocrats. The succession problem was never solved. Many Emperors were murdered. In the 4th century AD the Empire was split for administrative purposes into eastern and western branches, the west devolving into local kingdoms in the 5th century AD, while the eastern branch continued as what we call the Byzantine Empire until 1453.

“Ancient Coins” includes Greek and Roman coins and those of neighbors and successors, geographically from Morocco and Spain all the way to Afghanistan. Date ranges for these begin with the world’s earliest coins of the 8th century BC to, in an extreme case, the end of Byzantine Empire, 1453 AD.