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Additional References: RCV 2201; BMC 39
Notes: Laureate head right / Tripod-lebes surmounted by dolphin right; below, raven standing right. NGC Grade: choice XF.
Obverse: Vitellius (Latin: Aulus Vitellius Germanicus Augustus; 24 September 15 - 22 December 69) was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was proclaimed emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
Vitellius was the first to add the honorific cognomen Germanicus to his name instead of Caesar upon his accession; the latter name had fallen into disrepute in many quarters because of the actions of Nero.
His claim to the throne was soon challenged by legions stationed in the eastern provinces, who proclaimed their commander Vespasian emperor instead. War ensued, leading to a crushing defeat for Vitellius at the Second Battle of Bedriacum in northern Italy. Once he realized his support was wavering, Vitellius prepared to abdicate in favor of Vespasian but was executed in Rome by Vespasian's soldiers on 22 December 69.
Reverse: A sacrificial tripod is a three-legged piece of religious furniture used for offerings or other ritual procedures. As a seat or stand, the tripod is the most stable furniture construction for uneven ground, hence its use is universal and ancient. It is particularly associated with Apollo and the Delphic oracle in Ancient Greece, and the word "tripod" comes from the Greek meaning "three-footed".
Denomination: In the Roman currency system, the denarius was a small silver coin first minted about 211 BC during the Second Punic War. It became the most common coin produced for circulation but was slowly debased in weight and silver content until its replacement by the double denarius, called the antoninianus, early in the 3rd century AD. The word denarius is derived from the Latin dēnī "containing ten", as its value was 10 asses, although in the middle of the 2nd century BC it was recalibrated so that it was now worth sixteen asses or four sestertii. It is the origin of several modern words such as the currency name dinar; it is also the origin for the common noun for money in Italian denaro, in Portuguese dinheiro and in Spanish dinero.
Period: Imperial Rome. As the Roman Republic began to implode because of corruption and infighting among powerful members of the Roman Senate, a new type of Roman Republican coinage emerges, that of the military strongmen who dominated and fought among each other before the final fall of the Republic. The drama surrounding the fall of the Roman Republic is a story full of political intrigue, military action, betrayal, murder and sex scandals. Different parts of this story have been told and retold by ancient historians, modern day scholars, dozens of Hollywood movies and even an HBO miniseries. All of the actors in this great drama, Crassus, Pompey, Julius Caesar, Brutus and Cassius, Mark Antony and Cleopatra and the last man standing at the end of it all, Octavian (later known as the first emperor of Rome, Emperor Augustus) all minted coins during this time bearing their names and propaganda images supporting their factions and political ideals.
Culture: Ancient Rome. A famous catch phrase "Rome was not built in a day" definitely applies to the Roman civilization. Rome stated as a series of small villages among the famous seven hills of Rome along the river Tiber. Eventually through conquest, diplomacy, wise policies of indirect rule and assimilation, the Romans were able to not only unify the Italian peninsula, but though a series of brutal wars against regional powers established a great Empire that spanned Europe, Asia and Africa, making the Mediterrean Sea and "Roman Lake."
All Roman coinage can generally be divided into eight time periods as described below. An interesting thing about Roman coins minted during these eight time periods is that you can literally see the "Rise and Fall" of the Roman Empire on its coinage as the sharp imagery and pure silver and gold coins of the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period gradually devolves into crude, illegible and heavily debased coins of the "Barracks Emperors" and "Barbarian" Period.
Item created by: gdm on 2016-08-12 15:01:32. Last edited by gdm on 2016-08-12 15:40:21
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