Roman Empire

Aelius, Caesar AD 136-138

RIC 444c; BMC 1004; Calicó 1449, Superb Mint State

Rome, under Hadrian, AD 137. L AELIVS CAESAR, bare head of Aelius left. Reverse: TRIB POT COS II, PIE-TAS acrosss field, Pietas standing right, sacrificing over alter at her feet to right, and holding box of perfumes..

Ex New York Sale XLV (8 January 2019), 275

Hadrian had long considered his brother-in-law L. Julius Ursus Servianus as his unofficial heir, but his advanced age (he was in his 90s) made him a poor choice. Out of respect for Servianus, Hadrian began to groom the old man’s grandson Cn. Pedanius Fuscus Salinator II to succeed him. However, after the emperor fell seriously ill and almost died in AD 136 he changed his mind and instead selected L. Ceionius Commodus as his intended successor. Despite great public outcry, Ceionius was adopted the following year and assumed the new name L. Aelius Caesar. Hadrian then ordered the executions of Servianus and Salinator, either because they had made a coup attempt or the emperor simply wanted to leave no doubt about his intended heir. Aelius briefly took up a command on the Danube frontier before returning to Rome where he died of a hemorrhage on January 24, AD 128. Thus were the ghosts of Servianus and Salinator appeased.