Roman Empire

Numerian, Co-Emperor AD 283-284

RIC 404; Calicó 4315 (this coin illus.), Superb Mint State

Rome. IMP NVMERIANVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right, slight drapery on far shoulder. Reverse: Salus seated left, feeding from patera serpent rising from altar.

Ex NAC 33 (6 April 2006), 582

In AD 282, M. Aurelius Numerius Numerianus, the younger son of Carus, was elevated to the rank of Caesar by his father and in the following year joined him on a major campaign against the Sasanian Persians. The successful war ground to halt, however, after the death of Carus and Numerian ensured an orderly retreat. Like Carinus, Numerian assumed the title of Augustus at this time and began the march West, perhaps to challenge his brother for the entirety of the Empire. Then something strange happened. After setting out from Emesa in Syria, the Praetorian Prefect Arrius Aper reported that Numerian had complained of an inflammation of his eyes and insisted on traveling by closed coach. By the time the army had reached Bithynia, the coach had begun to emit a foul odor. When the curtains were opened the dead and decaying corpse of the emperor was found inside. It was widely believed that Aper had killed him and then attempted to cover up the deed.