Author: Zach Beasley

Probus Born – August 19, 232 AD

According to most sources, Marcus Aurelius Probus was born on August 19, 232 AD in Sirmium, Pannonia Inferior (modern-day Sremska Mitrovica, Serbia). David Vagi notes in his two-volume work, “Coinage and History of the Roman Empire”, Probus may have actually been instead born in Siscia, given the interesting and unusual attention paid to that city on his coinage. In fact, his coinage itself displa...

Battle of Pharsalus – August 8, 48 BC

Pharsalus, modern-day Farsala, is a city in central Greece, in southern Thessaly. It was the site of one of the most important Roman battles – the climactic clash between Julius Caesar and Pompey the Great, on August 9, 48 BC. When Caesar crossed the Rubicon River with Legio XIII Gemina, a treasonous act in January of 49 BC, he knew he was declaring war against the Senate and the optimates. Althou...

Roman Provinces

The Roman Empire was sprawling and massive as they assimilated regions they conquered and mostly kept the population and cultures intact to a degree. In order to keep all of the provinces running smoothly, local mints were established to produce (mostly) base-metal coins. Over the course of the empire, more than 600 provincial mints provided the means for those not living in the large cities to co...

Battle of the Margus River – July, 285 AD

The crisis of the Third Century nearly destroyed the Roman Empire through instability of the position of emperor and various rebel breakaway empires. When Probus was murdered in 282 AD, Marcus Aurelius Carus was elevated by the military from his appointed position of prefect of the Praetorian Guard to Augustus, in turn naming his sons Carinus and Numerian as co-Caesari. Also during this time, Dioc...

Antique Coins: Animals

Another popular theme for collecting Antique Coins centers around animals. The ancient cultures loved animals and incorporated them on everything from pottery to mosaics to buildings and coins. Some animals are scarce to rare, such as bears, and some are extremely common, eagles and lions for example. And then there are the mythical animals, such as the sphinx, pegasus and hippocamp. There have be...

Great Fire in Rome – July 18/19, 64 AD

Written by Publius Cornelius Tacitus c.116 AD, “Ab Excessu divi Augusti Historiam Libri” includes this account of the devastating fire which consumed most of the capital of the Roman Empire in 64 AD (translated by Michael Grant in his 1989 edition of “The Annals of Imperial Rome”): “…Now started the most terrible and destructive fire which Rome had ever experienced. It began in the Cir...

Roman Republican Coins

The Roman Republican period began after the Roman Kingdom was overthrown by Roman nobles in 509 BC and lasted until the establishment of the Roman Empire by Octavian/Augustus in 27 BC. Although coinage began in the Greek world before the beginning of the Republic, sheep and lumps of bronze were used as vehicles of trade. The lumps of bronze had to be weighed during each transaction to determine th...

Hadrian Dies at Baiae – July 10, 138 AD

Trajan expanded the borders of the Roman Empire to its greatest extent and was hoping his adopted successor, Hadrian, would continue to conquer even more territory. Hadrian was an experienced soldier, having campaigned with Trajan against the Parthians as a legate in early 117. History doesn’t describe Hadrian as having done anything outstanding during the campaign, however, Trajan did appoint him...

Celtic Coins

Tribal kingdoms existed across Europe for centuries – the Greeks calling them Keltoi and the Romans referring to them as Galli, but both meaning “barbarian”. They spoke various Celtic languages and many produced coinage. Some of the art styles are very similar to those they were imitating, where others are extremely abstract. Sometimes the tribes were hired as mercenaries and oth...

Henry VIII of England and Anne of Cleves – July 9, 1540 AD

Henry Tudor was born on June 28, 1491, the third child and second son of King Henry VII of England and Elizabeth of York. His childhood was a steady stream of appointments and titles. Before his third birthday in 1493, he was appointed Constable of Dover Castle and Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Within the next year, he was appointed Earl Marshal of England and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and ind...

Women in Ancient Rome

Women in Ancient Rome often had a great deal of influence over how the Empire still lives with us today. Sometimes the devoted husband truly loved his wife and declared a long mourning period and had monuments built to his deceased, as in the case of Antoninus Pius and Faustina I. Other times, the wife was complicit or even assisted in the murder of her husband, as in the case of Claudius and Agri...

Elagabalus adopts Alexianus – June 26, 221 AD

Gessius Bassianus Alexianus was born in c.208/9 AD at Phoenicia-Arca Caesarea. He was the son of Marcus Julius Gessius Marcianus and Julia Avita Mamaea, making him the cousin of Elagabalus and part of the ruling Severan family. Not much is written about his youth, but it is documented he accompanied his cousin to Rome when Elagabalus was proclaimed emperor in 218.  This characters are in many Roma...

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