Featured PACATIANVS Chronicles

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Ocatarinetabellatchitchix, Jul 12, 2020.

  1. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    248 AD
    Philip the Arab is emperor for almost 4 years. But the Danubian legions are tired of him; they rebelled and proclaimed their own emperor, a commander named Pacatian. He managed to control Upper Moesia for a very short period of time (a few weeks to a few months). Philip responded to the revolt by sending Decius to solve the problem. On the approach of Decius, Pacatian was killed by his own troops sometime between the spring of 248 AD and the first months of 249 AD. Later Decius was convinced by the legions in the region to claim the position of Emperor and march on Rome. He challenged Philip in Macedonia and defeated him becoming the first Balkan Emperor of Rome. For 300 years, this usurper was only known by his coinage. But at the beginning of the 20th century, research were made showing that Zosimus (460-520 AD) and Zonaras ( 1074-1130 AD) reported the revolt in their writings.

    Zosimus New history 1, 20: Priscus, their governor, who was a man of an intolerably evil disposition, wished for innovation, and set up Papianus for emperor, while the inhabitants of Moesia and Pannonia were more inclined to Marinus.


    Pacatian's coins seem to have been struck in the Moesia region (Balkans). Viminacium is the most probable site for his mint, and there is a noticeable similarity of style if we compare with the local Aes coinage; but some scholars believe it is a bit strange that no provincials issues were produced there in his name... The usurper's coinage consists totally of antoniniani, most of which appear to have been overstruck over coins of other Emperors. Seven different reverses were used on the antoniniani of Pacatian : Concordia, Felicitas, Fides, Fortuna, Pax, Roma and Victory. One type even celebrates the 1001st anniversary of the founding of Rome :
    ROMAE AETER(nae) AN(no) MILL(esimo) ET PRIMO "The thousand and first year of Eternal Rome". This allows us to date the time of his rebellion around the end of 248 AD to the beginning of 249 AD. Now let's make a travel in time to find the re-discovery of this Emperor who disappear for almost 1450 years.

    Father Etienne Chamillard, a zealous Jesuit, is the first collector who discovered a coin of the unknown Emperor PACATIANVS. He considered him as a Gallic Tyran ( he found it in the Pyrenees region in France) and made his antoninianus published by Andre Morel in 1695 ( Specimen Universae Rei Nummariae Antiquae). Around the same time, M.Rainsant, a doctor and guardian of "the Cabinet des Médailles " of the King in Versailles discovered another specimen of Pacatian's coin.


    Banduri included Pacatian in his Numismata Imperatorum Romanorum, but as an usurper of the times of Trajan Decius. Even if at the time the authenticity of the coinage of this ruler was doubtful, some other specimen were discovered and published by different collectors.


    Eckhel in his Doctrina Numorum Veterum detected that the obverse legend has been misread for almost a hundred year : it should be read IMP TI CL MAR PACATIANVS and not IMP T IVLIUS MAR PACATIANVS


    In Langres (France) is found the first example of Pacatian with the reverse ROMAE AETER AN MILL ET PRIMO proving that he lived during the time of Decius and not that of Gallienus.
    Mionnet in his De la rareté et du prix des médailles romaines described the 5 different reverses known in the great Collections of the beginning of the 19th century. Around this same time, coins with a new reverse of Providencia are circulating in the numismatic world : they are in fact forgeries made by a certain Carl Wilhelm Becker...


    Cohen in Description historique des Monnaies frappées sous l'Empire romain listed the 7 known reverses plus a new type of Becker's fake. He also gave the precision that Becker's creations are in fine silver, unlike authentic coins which are alloys of poor quality.

    In 1875 there were about 30 known specimen of Pacatian's antoniniani listed. The number increased with with the archaeological excavations carried out everywhere in the old Roman colonies. In 1986 was found the first coin of the usurper in Britain, and at this time they were 69 Pacatian known. British Museum owns 4 of them : https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/term/BIOG96214
    there is a consensus that there are around 100 examples today around the world.

    Fun facts
    : the cheapest one ever sold was probably acquired by Curtis Clay in an auction in 2004: he paid 20$ for a lot of 3 coins including the rare Pacatian...
    Numismatik Naumann had one for sale last April, estimated at 4,800 EUR. The coin finally went unsold ; is it because it was described as " slightly tooled" ?

    Now it's time to show off. If you have a Pacatianus in your collection, please show it here ! If not, post one of your Decius or Philip who played an important role in the story. Here is my contribution :
    Trajan Decius Viminacium
    Philip I Viminacium
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2020
    Limes, TheRed, Marsyas Mike and 25 others like this.
  2. Avatar

    Guest User Guest

    to hide this ad.
  3. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the interesting write up about Pacatianus.

    as requested:

    P1130816.JPG P1130814 (3).JPG P1160835b.jpg
    TheRed, Marsyas Mike, Finn235 and 9 others like this.
  4. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    COMMAGENE, Zeugma.

    Philip I the Arab. 247-249 AD.

    Æ31, 19.2g; 6h

    Obv.: AYTOK K M IOYΛI ФIΛIΠΠOC CЄB; Laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right.

    Rev.: ZЄYGM-ATЄΩN; Peribolos containing grove of trees, seen in perspective; tetrastyle temple in distance, draped figure within (Zeus?); in exergue, capricorn to right.

    Reference: Butcher 31c; BMC 35.





    Phillip II as Caesar, A.D. 244-246

    AR Antoninianus, 25mm, 4.1 grams

    Rome, A.D. 244-246

    Obverse: M IVL PHILIPPVS CAES, radiate and draped bust right

    Reverse: PRINCIPI IVVENT, prince standing left, holding globe and spear; to left, captive seated left

    Reference RIC 219

    From the Eng Collection


  5. 7Calbrey

    7Calbrey Well-Known Member

    Fantastic and really historic write-up. It proves how a coin could shed light on a possibly hidden part of History. Congrats.. Hope to find a coin of Pacatianus. I chose this silver Tet of Trajan Decius. Struck at Antioch. BMC 578.

    Decius O         BMC 578.JPG DeciusTraj.JPG
  6. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    The write-up was fine but needs to include a survey of the history of false coins under this name. "Slightly tooled" would scare away some people since only a slight bit more tooling would be required to turn a Volusian or Philip into a Pacatian.
    galba68 and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  7. Ricardo123

    Ricardo123 Active Member

    No pacatian but trajano decio
    Ric 10 249-250 ad

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yow! Cool coins, and scholarship to match! I'm needing this!
  9. Priscus__attalus

    Priscus__attalus New Member

    Hi! I have this antoninianus that I have attributed to Pacatianus. I have found it in a lot of 40 roman coins, which I have bought in the Balkans.

    The state of preservation is very poor, and the flan is broken but the bust is pretty clear. Part of the legend is still visible. I hope you like it.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  10. Priscus__attalus

    Priscus__attalus New Member

    Sorry, but I am new and I don't understand how upload an image.

    I will be back.
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  11. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    When you reply, on the bottom of the page select " UPLOAD A FILE" and when you have chosen your picture select "FULL IMAGE". It should work
    +VGO.DVCKS likes this.
  12. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    I'm new too. Been there, Done that.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Being a usurper must have felt like having a tiger by the tail. First your troops are elevating you to the throne, then when there's trouble on the horizon, they'll whack you.

    No thanks. I'd have preferred to be an olive grower or even a goatherd.
  14. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Or somebody who plants cabbages like Diocletian!
  15. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    All the way back to when I was a kid, in Isaac Asimov's histories of the Roman Republic and Empire (2 vol.s), he noted that during the period of the 'Barracks Emperors,' the average reign was 2 1/2 years.
    In a similar vein, this is going to be old news to that that many people on this forum. But the interval from Valerian to Gallienus, with the attendant beginnnings, anyway, of a fully functional dynastic element, was the exception that proves the rule. Whether usurpation was directly involved (as it was, often as not), the common denominator ran heavily to assassination, only occasionally 'relieved' by death in battle on the frontiers. Thank you, not the best time to be a reigning 'monarch.'
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2020
  16. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...If anyone you know could use a brilliantly concise, surprisingly comprehensive introduction to Roman history --and it can still be found-- Asimov is highly recommended.
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Yes! Cabbages. I would prefer cabbages as my subjects. They don't get quite so ornery and stabby if you forget to water them.
    People have told me mine is fake. I'm not sure why they keep saying that. One guy did offer me 25 cents for it.

  18. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    Yes! How did he even make it to retirement? Mostly by killing a whole lot of other people.
  19. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter I dig ancient coins...

    Yes the first guy he killed was the praetorian prefect Arius Aper whom Diocletian (correctly or incorrectly) blamed for the death of Numerian. He was killed by a sword blow in front of the assembled army. Diocletian went on to kill lots more people including folks in Alexandria and many Christians among others.
    Alegandron and +VGO.DVCKS like this.
  20. +VGO.DVCKS

    +VGO.DVCKS Well-Known Member

    ...After I mentioned Valerian and Gallienus as the main exceptions for the shelf-life of 'Barracks' emperors, it was initially embarrassing to be reminded of Diocletian. But his sheer longevity is one primary reason his reign is seen as the cut-off point for that whole era. ...I've got a fairly solid outline of Imperial history ...somehwere... but it's rusty!
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page