Roman Empire

Tacitus, Emperor AD 275-276

RIC -; BN 391 = Estiot 38a (this coin); Calicó 4110a (this coin illus.), Superb Mint State

Siscia. IMP C M CLA TACITVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Tacitus right. Reverse: ROMAE AETE-RNAE, Roma seated left, holding globe and scepter; shield at her side.

Ex LHS 97 (10 May 2006), 74; Ex Leu 52 (15 May 1991), 254; A. Moretti Collection (NFA XXII, 1 June 1989), 109; Metropolitan Museum of Art / Joseph H. Durkee Collection (Sotheby’s, Zurich, 10 November 1972), 200; Serrure (29 November 1895), 14

After the murder of Aurelian the remorseful army gave up its perceived right to make emperors and instead asked the Senate to choose. At first the Senate feared to take up this request, but after a delay of nine months, on September 25, AD 275, settled on M. Claudius Tacitus, the incumbent princeps senatus as the new emperor. Tacitus immediately deified Aurelian and executed his murderers before embarking on ambitious reforms to restore the traditional powers of the Senate. In early AD 276, Tacitus defeated bands of unemployed Gothic mercenaries that had been plundering Asia Minor after the death of Aurelian. In June he began the westward march to deal with Germanic incursions into Gaul, but was struck down by fever and died while passing through Tyana in Cappadocia.