Numismatik Naumann

Auction 143  –  4 - 5 August 2024

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Numismatik Naumann, Auction 143

Ancient and World Coins

Su, 04.08.2024, from 5:00 PM CEST
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Shortly before each lot is auctioned


★ Petronius Maximus Usurper ★

PETRONIUS MAXIMUS (Usurper, 455). GOLD Solidus. Rome.

Pearl-diademed, draped and cuirassed bust right.
Emperor standing facing, wearing crown with trefoil ornament, holding long cross and crowning Victory on globe, right foot on human-headed serpent.

RIC 2201; Depeyrot 48/1.

Extremely rare. Petronius Maximus was born in Rome in 397, coming from the prominent Anicia family. Thanks to his father, a consul, he began his long career at age 14 and soon became praetor, serving under three emperors, Honorius, Johannes, and Valentinian III. By 445 he was appointed patrician and had become the most distinguished and richest of the senators. He even financed a forum in Rome on the Caelian. When he came into conflict with Valentinian III, Petronius Maximus decided to get Flavius Aetius out of the way first, agreeing with the eunuch Heraclius to persuade the emperor to kill the important general. Petronius therefore asked to take the place of Aetius and, upon Valentinian's refusal, hired two assassins to kill the emperor in 455. Thereupon he forbade Empress Licinia Eudoxia to observe mourning for her husband's death and forced her to marry him, then appointed her son Palladius as caesar and gave him in marriage one of Valentinian and Licinia's daughters. Petronius failed, however, to gain recognition from the Eastern emperor, Marcian, and had to face the threat from North Africa. Licinia in fact asked for the help of Genseric's Vandals, who headed for Rome and caused terror and riots in the city. Petronius attempted to flee but was assassinated and thrown into the Tiber. Only gold Solidi were struck in his name, in the mints of Rome and Ravenna, and no silver or bronze denominations. His portrait is characterized by the sole use of the pearl diadem, in total contrast to the rosette diadem of the other emperors of the period.

Condition: Good very fine.

Weight: 4.44 g.
Diameter: 21 mm.

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Current bid 8'000 EUR 1 bid
Starting price 8'000 EUR
Estimate 10'000 EUR
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