Monday, 24 July 2023

Gold Medallion of Roman emperor Maxentius

After Maxentius drowned his body was decapitated, and his head was paraded through the streets of Rome.
On April 5, 2011, the auction firm Numismatica Ars Classica sold a rare Roman gold aurei medallion, which was a new world record price. The gold medallion depicts Roman emperor Maxentius and sold for $1.4m. Maxentius was Roman Emperor from 306 to 312. He was the son of former Emperor Maximian and the son-in-law of Emperor Galerius. The latter part of his reign was preoccupied with civil war. He was defeated at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, where Maxentius, with his army in flight, perished by drowning in the Tiber river.
The gold medallion is among the largest to survive, weighing eight aurei, and was part of cache intended for distribution to Maxentius’ military officers. Two survive with this example by far the finest. On the obverse, Maxentius portrays himself bareheaded at a time when all of his contemporaries are crowned, and on the reverse he wears the robes of a senator. Every aspect of the medallion must have been carefully considered. The patriotic reverse represents Maxentius as the one charged by Roma herself to deliver the capital from the degradations threatened.
The inscription “to Eternal Rome, guardian of our emperor” speaks of how Maxentius presented his case for sustaining the rebellion.