(121) Postumus - AV aureus, A.D. 264, 5.98 g. (inv. 91.227).
Obverse: Cuirassed and helmeted bust of Postumus l.; POSTVMVS AVG(VSTVS): Postumus Augustus.
Reverse: Victoria standing r., l. foot on rocks, writing VOT(A)/X on shield; QVINQVENNALES POSTVMI AVG(VSTI): quinquennalia of Postumus Augustus.
Provenance: Bank Leu, 1988.
Bibliography: P.H. Webb, The Roman Imperial Coinage V.2 (London 1933) 35.

When Gallienus' father and co-emperor, Valerian, was captured by the Persians at Edessa, the obscure Marcus Cassianus Latinius Postumus, in charge of a force on the Rhine, was acclaimed Augustus by his troops. His separatist empire included not only Gaul but also eventually Britain and northern Spain. He ruled there for eight years, waging constant wars against the Germans. His troops murdered him in A.D. 269, when he captured Mainz and forbade them to plunder the city.

Postumus employed excellent die-cutters, and they developed a series of fine, boldly individualized portraits. This aureus celebrates the fifth anniversary of his reign in A.D. 264. Postumus, who identified himself with Hercules and who is described by his admiring biographer, Trebellius Pollio, as a dashing character, is shown with an elaborate crested helmet, his upturned nose giving him a somewhat foreign and impetuous look. The reverse depicts Victoria inscribing Vot(a) X on a shield, reference to vows anticipating a tenth anniversary of his reign.


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