Roman Empire

Didius Julianus, Emperor AD 193

RIC 3; BMC 7; Calicó 2399, Superb Extremely Fine

Rome. IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate and draped bust of Didius Julianus right. Reverse: RECTOR ORBIS, emperor, togate, standing facing, head left, holding globe and roll.

Ex Millenia Collection (Goldberg 46, 26 May 2008), 115

Desirous of personal riches, the Praetorian Guard wished to make the successor of Pertinax the man most likely to pay them well. A bidding war took place between Pertinax’s father-in-law who was in the Praetorian camp and the wealthy proconsular governor of Africa, M. Didius Severus Julianus, who was outside the walls shouting out offers. After hours of bidding, Julianus purchased the title of Augustus with payment of 25,000 sestertii to each member of the guard. The cowering Senate immediately recognized him as Emperor, but the shameful method by which he rose to power made him deeply unpopular. In response, three generals were proclaimed rival Emperors: Septimius Severus in Pannonia, Pescennius Niger in Syria, and Clodius Albinus in Britannia. Upon the arrival of Severus in Rome, on June 1, AD 195, Julianus was condemned and executed. He had only reigned for 66 days.