The sixty day emperor

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by savitale, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    I recently acquired this one for my Roman Emperor collection. I'm up to about four now.



    Florian, 276. Antoninianus (Silvered bronze, 22 mm, 4.08 g, 5 h), Rome, July-August 276. IMP C FLORIANVS AVG Radiate, draped and cuirassed bust of Florian to right. Rev. PROVIDENTIA AVG / XXIA Providentia standing front, head to left, holding baton in her right hand and cornucopiae in her left; at her feet to left, globe. RIC 37 corr. (bust also cuirassed). RIC V online 4213. Venèra 2439-61. Well struck and nearly fully silvered. Extremely fine. From the collection of Regierungsrat Dr. iur. Hans Krähenbühl, privately acquired from Münzen & Medaillen AG on 13 April 197 [Description from Leu Numismatik Auction 22, lot 362, October 23, 2021.]

    Florian (r. 276 CE) is among the emperors in the running for shortest time in office. In the Epitome de Caesaribus, Aurelius Victor (c. 320-390) writes his reign was 60 days. Eutropius generously gives him two months and twenty days (Breviarium ab urbe condita, IX.16), though he also writes that Florian ‘did nothing worthy of mention’.

    Why so short? Well it appears he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time in history. As the half brother to Tacitus (same mother, different father) Florian succeeded him without much fanfare, though there is some discrepancy about whether or not he was confirmed by the Senate. Unfortunately, only days or weeks later Probus, an experienced and popular general, was declared emperor by his armies in the East. So Tacitus turned his army around (he was fighting the Heruli, a Germanic tribe which had been causing all sorts of trouble in Greece and Byzantium) and met Probus and his army in modern-day Turkey.

    If there was any battle at all, it certainly was not the kind about which epics are composed. Zosimus writes that many of Florian’s troops perished because they were not accustomed to the heat (Historia Nova, 1.31). According to some sources, Florian was killed by his remaining troops when they decided to favor Probus instead (e.g., Historia Augusta, Tacitus, 13); according to others when his troops decided for Probus, Florian ‘cut open his veins’ (Victor 36).

    There’s not a lot to say about Florian but the Historia Augusta does provide us with an interesting story which takes place after his death. Apparently there were two large statues, made of marble and 30 feet high, in the likeness of the two brothers Tacitus and Florian. At one point they were struck by lightning, an event the augers interpreted as meaning there would be a great emperor from their family who would rule the entire world. This emperor would claim the throne exactly 1000 years after the lightning strike. Florian and Tacitus both left many children, the ancient author writes, ‘whose descendants, I suppose, are awaiting the coming of the thousandth year’ (Historia Augusta, Tacitus, 13).
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Amazing example, congrats.

    Florian (276 A.D.)
    Æ(S) Antoninianus
    O: IMP C M ANN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate and cuirassed bust right.
    R: PROVIDEN DEOR, Providentia standing right, holding two ensigns, facing Sol standing left, raising right hand and holding globe; star in lower centre, mintmark –/–//KA(•)Γ(•).
    Serdica Mint
    RIC 111, BNC p.408

    Published on Wildwinds!
  4. Ocatarinetabellatchitchix

    Ocatarinetabellatchitchix Supporter! Supporter

    Here are the two guys, probably the same engraver at Lugdunum, don’t you think so ? Were they really brothers ? Same mother with a difference in age of almost 35 years ? Maybe…

  5. Romancollector

    Romancollector Well-Known Member

    Nice pickup. I was the underbidder on that coin in the Leu Auction! As it stands, I do not have a Florian, but I do have a Tacitus which I acquired at NYINC.
    ominus1, savitale and Roman Collector like this.
  6. Orange Julius

    Orange Julius Well-Known Member

    That’s a great coin! The portrait is terrific! Here’s the best Florian I have… I also have 3 really ugly examples from group lots.
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  7. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Lovely example, @savitale!

    This a chance to show off this Florian ...

    Florian, AD 276.
    Roman billon Aurelianus, 3.28 g, 21.2 mm, 12 h.
    Cyzicus, officina 3; issue 1, AD 276.
    Obv: IMP FLORIANVS AVG, Bust right, radiate, cuirassed and draped with paludamentum.
    Rev: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Victory stg. r., holding wreath in r. hand and palm against l. shoulder, facing Emperor in military dress stg. l., r. hand outstretched and holding long sceptre in l. hand; T in exergue.
    Refs: RIC 116; MER/RIC temp #4530; Cohen 15; CBN 1982-3; RCV 11853; Hunter 20.
  8. ominus1

    ominus1 LOOK OUT!!...HE'S GOT A GUN!! Supporter

    ..that's one of the best portraits i've ever seen of him...:)..i have 2 of this'un lQQkin' like his bro and the other not...he was a 3rd century kind of emperor...(not able to buy life insurance:smuggrin:) IMG_0851.JPG IMG_0852.JPG
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  9. Ryro

    Ryro Trying to remove supporter status Supporter

  10. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    I couldn’t find any source for the year of Florian’s birth, so I can’t really say. I suspect that if they were believed to be brothers their age difference was much less than 35 years.
  11. Andres2

    Andres2 Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the write up, savitale
    I only have one Florian, looks as it been in a fire:
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  12. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    A fabulous coin @savitale !

    My own, and only, Florianus

    Florianus, Antoninianus - Lyon (Lugdunum) mint, 3rd emission, 1st officina
    IMP C M AN FLORIANVS AVG, radiate, draped and cuirassed bust right seen from front (A)
    TEMPORVM FELICITAS, Felicitas standing raight, holding caduceus in right hand and cornucopia in left hand. I at exergue (1st officina)
    4.1 gr
    Ref : RCV # 11874v., Bastien # 146 pl. XVI, RIC # 12, C # 89, La Venèra hoard # II.2/2632

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  13. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Very nice example, @savitale. I can't think of anyone memorable who ruled in 1276 AD. Ghengis Khan was long dead by then.
    savitale likes this.
  14. Tejas

    Tejas Well-Known Member

    Great coins shown here, I love the OP coin.

    Here are some from my collection:


    Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 13.40.01.png


    Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 13.40.58.png


    Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 13.41.58.png


    Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 13.42.49.png

    Another Siscia Screenshot 2022-01-25 at 13.43.37.png

    I also have an example from Serdica, which I need to photograph.
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  15. Archeocultura

    Archeocultura Well-Known Member

    My Florians are not of a very high standard: Securitas, Aequitas and Felicitas promise more than sixty days.... V-I Florianus 000 Securitas 10-023.jpg V-I Florianus 025 Aequitas 10-273.jpg V-I Florianus 4145 Temp Felicitas 10-293.jpg
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  16. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    What an interesting Felicitas on the reverse, @Cucumbor! Her face looks like a lioness!

    Perhaps ancient Roman goddesses were into furry cosplay!

    Florian Felicitas Furry Cosplay Q.jpg
    Faustina Sr PIETAS AVG altar denarius veiled bust.jpg

    Florian Felicitas Furry Cosplay closeup.jpg Faustina Sr PIETAS AVG altar denarius veiled bust close-up.jpg
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  17. savitale

    savitale Well-Known Member

    Ha! I didn't think to check. Apparently 1276 was the year of the Four Popes, which doesn't bode well for strong leadership.
  18. ancient coin hunter

    ancient coin hunter 3rd Century Usurper

    Florianus (A.D. 275-276)

    Type: Silvered AE antoninianus, 23mm 4.1 grams, bulk of silvering intact.

    Obverse: IMP FLORIANVS AVG, Radiate portrait right, draped and cuirassed.

    Reverse: CONCORDIA MILITVM, Victory standing right, presenting wreath of victory to Florian standing opposite and holding spear.

    Mintmark: S. (Cyzicus)

    Reference: Cohen 15; Sear 11853.


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  19. gsimonel

    gsimonel Well-Known Member

    Yeah. Well, 276 A.D. wasn't much better, was it?
    ominus1 likes this.
  20. curtislclay

    curtislclay Well-Known Member

    Florian at Lugdunum carries on the TEMPORVM FELICITAS type of Tacitus, but with two changes: Felicitas stands right rather than left, and she holds her cornucopia with its lower tip pointed away from rather than towards her body. Pointing towards her body is the standard way to hold a cornucopia.

    This rotation of the cornucopia in Florian's type seems to go unnoticed in the standard catalogues, Cohen, RIC, Bastien, Estiot's Paris catalogue, and the new RIC revised online.

    There is a rare Felicitas antoninianus of Florian that uses Tacitus' type with cornucopia tip pointing inwards (RIC online temp. 4130), but according to Bastien 133 this is just due to Florian's re-use of an old reverse die of Tacitus.
  21. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member

    Tacitus? Edit needed here?
    I thought the old stories about Tacitus being an old many had been put to rest years ago. I do not see a 70 something face on coins. We must not take the later historians as gospel in any event. Of course we get a different face from each mint and must not expect every die cutter to get the face just right in any short reign.
    rs2440bb1399.jpg rs2450bb1821.jpg rs2455bb2964.jpg rs2460bb2239.jpg

    I have only one Florian as well. I doubt that I would have even that one were it not for finding it quite by accident at a 1998 coin show in the stock of a dealer who had less interest in the man than I did. A lot of the appeal to me was the spelling out of the name Annius and the silvering.
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