AR Antoninianus. 4.55g, 23.4mm
MINTED: Rome mint, AD 238
REF: RIC IV 11; Cohen 6
OBVERSE: IMP CAES D CAEL BALBINVS AVG, bust of Balbinus, radiate, draped, cuirassed, right.
REVERSE: FIDES MVTVA AVGG, clasped right hands.
Good Very Fine. Excellent portrait and strike. Pleasantly toned with subtle golden highlights around obverse legend.
A classic reverse type for Balbinus, proclaiming mutual loyalty (FIDES MVTVA) between him and his co-emperor Pupienus. The irony, of course, was that the two men could not have hated each other more, and they quarreled constantly during their brief three month reign of the Roman Empire.
Balbinus was one of six men who bore the title of emperor in 238. He was a patrician and senator who had been appointed consul twice, once in 213 together with emperor Caracalla. When the rebellion of the Gordians I and II arose in Africa in 238, Balbinus was amongst the senators tasked by the Senate to co-ordinate the resistance against the despised 'barbarian' emperor Maximinus in Rome. When the Gordiani were killed, Balbinus and his colleague Pupienus were appointed co-emperors. They were however not well-liked by the people and were soon made to share power with Gordian III, the young grandson of Gordian I.
Balbinus and Pupienus came to hate each other from the moment they had to work together, and even after Maximinus had been defeated, they were in constant conflict and suspicious of each other. In the end, it was the Praetorian Guard who decided that they had enough of the struggle for power between the two. During a meeting between the two emperors, a group of Praetorian guards broke into their room, stripped them naked, and dragged them through the streets of Rome before murdering them. Their joint rule had lasted a mere three months.
BALBINUS . AD 238 . AR Antoninianus . "FIDES" . Excellent specimen
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