This Week In History

First Constitutional Settlement – January 13, 27 BC

After the Battle at Actium with Marc Antony and Cleopatra in 31 BC, Octavian remained in Egypt to get everything settled and under control. Once that was completed, he headed to the eastern part of the Rome’s territory to meet with the various leaders and get their support, having defeated Antony, who had set up the previous appointments. Convinced all was well, Octavian returned to Rome in August of 29 BC to participate in celebrations for three consecutive days, given in honor of the triumps in Dalmatia, Actium and Egypt. You will find examples of Octavian coins at the end of this post. Octavian was the last man standing from the Second Triumvirate and held the position of consul from 31 BC until 23 BC. Using what he called “universal consent”, a non-legal term for his dominance of the R...

Festival of Pax – January 3

Pax was the Roman goddess of peace, carried over from the Greek goddess Eirene. She was the daughter of Jupiter (Zeus) and Justitia (Themis), the goddess of justice and order. Although sources have conflicting dates, one of the dates listed is January 3 as being when the Festival of Pax was celebrated. Celebrated as Pax Romana and Pax Augusta, she was celebrated since the 2nd century BC. In hopes of blessing of peace, images were placed at the feet of Pax during the festival to promote positive energy in their interactions. Augustus had a sanctuary dedicated to Pax erected on the Campus Martius, called the Ara Pacis. It was dedicated on January 30, 9 BC – January 30 being one of the other possible dates listed for the annual festival. Along with the altar in Rome, Seutonius writes there wa...

Pertinax Declared Emperor – January 1, 193 AD

The Roman emperor, Commodus, was murdered on December 31, 192 AD by Praetorian prefect Quintus Aemilius Laetus, Commodus’s mistress Marcia and chamberlain Eclectus. At the time, Publius Helvius Pertinax was the urban prefect and was rushed to the Praetorian camp and declared emperor on January 1, 193. Upon ascending to the throne, Pertinax immediately ran into issues with the Praetorians, who suspected he was part of the conspiracy to rid the world of Commodus and expected to be rewarded in helping him gain his new title. This is a category of  Denarius. Pertinax felt the military needed stricter discipline as they were getting too accustom to a licentious living, and instituted reforms, which they resisted and hated him for it. He also did not want to pay the Praetorians the donative they...

Galba Born – December 24, 3 BC

Servius Sulpicius Galba was born on December 24, 3 BC in Terracina, Italy to C. Sulpicius Galba and Mummia Achaica. His family was well-connected – his paternal grandfather was Servius Sulpicius Galba, praetor in 54 BC and his maternal grandfather was politician Quintus Lutatius Catulus. Galba’s mother died shortly after his birth and his father remarried Livia Ocellina, a distant relative of the Roman empress Livia. Livia adopted Galba and he changed his name to Lucius Livius Ocella Sulpicius Galba. In his youth, Galba was remarked by both Augustus and Tiberius to have great abilities and destined to be important.  This  is a category of  silver denarius. Galba married Aemilia Lepida, who was connected through the marriages of some of her relatives to various members of the house of Julii...

Martin Luther Excommunicated – December 10, 1520 AD

Martin Luther was originally an Augustinian friar, a Catholic religious order. As time went on, he moved away from some of the core Catholic teachings, insisting that the Bible was the only source of knowledge from God. He believed one could not purchase or earn through good deeds his way to salvation – it could only be attained through the acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His teachings put him at odds with the Roman Catholic Church and the pope, writing his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, when confronting the Dominican friar, Johann Tetzel. Tetzel was a Grand Inquisitor of Heresy to Poland and was in the practice of selling indulgences for money in exchange for freedom from God’s punishment of sin. This is a category of  martin luther coin. From 1510-1520, Luther preached about th...

Pope Clement VII Escapes – December 6, 1527 AD

When Giulio di Giuliano de’ Medici became Pope Clement VII on November 19, 1523, the Italian War had already been raging for two years. The election of Charles V as Holy Roman Emperor and the allying of Pope Leo X with Charles against Martin Luther provoked the war of the Holy Roman Empire, Henry VIII of England and the Papal States against King Francis I of France and the Republic of Venice. Clement sent the Archbishop of Capua to the kings of France, England and Spain to try to end the war. The mission failed and Francis invaded Milan. In return, Clement joined with the other Italian princes, Republic of Venice and France against the Imperial and Spanish forces. In doing so, Parma and Piacenza became Papal States, the Medici rule over Florence and free passage of the French troops ...

Battle of Solway Moss – November 24, 1542 AD

King Henry VIII of England is well-known for his role in the separation of the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church, because of his disagreement with papal authority. He installed himself as Supreme Head of the Church of England and dissolved the monasteries. Henry’s dispute was with papal authority and not matters of doctrine, so his core beliefs were still founded in Catholicism, despite being excommunicated. This is a category of  england coins. Henry enacted the Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542, through which measures between those dates brought Wales in as a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England. When Henry broke ties with the Roman Catholic Church, he asked his nephew, King James V of Scotland to follow suit. James not only declined the request, but also refuse...

Restoration of the Temple – November 21, 164 BC

According to the Hebrew Bible, the First Temple of Jerusalem was built by King Solomon in 957 BC. It replaced the Tabernacle and local sanctuaries and altars that were constructed under Moses, described in the Book of Deuteronomy. The Temple was sacked by the Egyptian pharoah, Shishak, (Shoshenq I?), a few decades later, as detailed in the Book of Kings and Book of Chronicles. This is a category of  temple coins The Temple saw various reconstruction efforts, but it wasn’t until Jehoash, King of Judah, invested considerable funds in 835 BC to see it seriously rebuilt. The Temple remained intact until c.700 BC when the Assyrian King, Sennacherib, stripped it once again and in 586 BC, the Temple was completely destroyed when the Babylonians sacked the city. The Babylonian Empire fell in 539 B...

Saint Leo – November 10, 461 AD

Leo I was born c.400 AD in Tuscany. By the age of 31, while he was a deacon, he had already established enough influence and credibility that he was able to apply to Cyril of Alexandria that Rome’s patriarchal jurisdiction should take priority in Palestine over that of the claims of the Juvenal of Jerusalem. At the same time, John the Ascetic (who would later become Saint John Cassian), dedicated to him the treatise against Nestorius, the Archbishop of Constantinople, written at his request. Even the emperor of Rome, Theodosius II, respected Leo to the point he was chosen to settle the dispute between the two highest officials in Gaul – Flavius Aetius and Caecina Decius Aginatus Albinus. While Leo was on the mission to Gaul, Pope Sixtus III died and Leo was unanimously elected to succeed h...

Maurice of Nassau – November 1, 1582 AD

Upon the death in 1618 of his eldest half-brother, Philip William, Prince of Orange, Maurice of Nassau, the son of William of Orange, he became the new sovereign Prince of Orange. However, well before that event, Maurice was already well-versed in military and government affairs. He became the governor of Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht on November 1, 1582. This is a category of  silver coins. Maurice was born to William the Silent and Princess Anna of Saxony in 1567. He was named after his maternal grandfather, the Elector Maurice of Saxony, who was an accomplished general. His father was murdered in 1584 and he took over as the “stadtholder” or steward of the state of Holland and Zeeland. William of Orange was the leader of the successful Dutch Revolt against the Spanish Empire. In 1587, Ma...

Carthage Falls to the Vandals – October 24, 439 AD

Gaiseric (also spelled Genseric and Geiseric) was born in Hungary, c.389 AD, the illegitimate son of King Godigisel of the Vandals. Godigisel was slain in battle against the Franks in 406, during the Crossing of the Rhine. Upon his death, his son Gunderic took the throne. He ruled for 22 years, often clashing with the Visigoths who were much more numerous. Gaiseric was crowned king in 428, when the Vandals were settled in Hispania Baetica. This  is a category of  Carthage coins. Gaiseric had great vision and ambition, but his relatively small Germanic tribe was in constant conflict with other tribes in the area. He decided to move all 20-80,000 of his people to North Africa, which was at the time under Roman Imperial rule and leave the fighting in Hispania to the Visigoths and Suebi. It is...

The Sixth Crusade – October 17, 1244 AD

The Crusades were Catholic Church sanctioned military campaigns during the Middle Ages, beginning with pleas from the Byzantine Empire, under Alexius I, to the Pope to help with the Turkish threat in Constantinople, in 1095 AD. The last Crusade was undertaken in the 15th Century and meant to counter the expansion of the Ottoman Empire. The First Crusade resulted in the creation of four Crusader States – County of Edessa, Principality of Antioch, County of Tripoli and Kingdom of Jerusalem. Frederick II was ambitious and many modern historians call him “the first modern ruler” because of the efficient centralized government system he established in Sicily and southern Italy. When he was three, he was crowned King of Sicily and co-ruled with his mother. He was King of Germany, Burgundy and It...

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