Obverse: DIVO CLAVDIO OPTIMO IMP; Laureate Bust of the Emperor Facing Right
Reverse: REQVIES OPTIMOR MERIT; Claudius Seated to the Left on a Curule Bench
Claudius Gothicus was a native of Illyricum who rose to high rank in the Roman army, ultimately serving as the deputy commander of the army under Emperor Gallienus. During the siege of Milan, Claudius conspired along with Aurelian and Heraclianus to murder Gallienus in August of 268 A.D. After the successful execution, Claudius was elevated to the throne. Immeadiatey after assuming the throne, Claudius had to deal with barbarian invaders, specifically the Alemanni who managed to infiltrate Northern Italy. After repelling these invaders, Claudius stopped by Rome to pay homage to the Senate and the people while en route to the Balkans. There, he delivered a resounding defeat to the much larger Goth army, eliminating them as a threat to the empire for the next hundred years and earning him the nickname, “Gothicus.” With the Eastern front secured, Claudius now turned his attentions to Gaul where the opening moves of a campaign to suppress the Gallic secessionist state had already begun. However, before the anticipated invasion could be staged, Claudius fell victim to the plague at Sirmium and passed away in January of 270 A.D.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This ancient coin is a memorial an emperor’s reign passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.