Coins of the Twelve Caesars – TIBERIUS – read online

0 Comments

THE TWELVE CAESAES (JULIUS TO DOMITIAN) ILLUSTRATED BY READINGS OF 217 OF THEIR COINS AND MEDALS

Twelve Caesars – TIBERIUS COINS

[Of the twelve Caesars who exercised imperial authority at Rome from B.C. 47 to a.d. 96, Tibebius, a.d. 14-37, was Ihe third. The two who preceded him, under this title, were Julius Caesar, b.c. 47-44, and Augustus. b.c. 31-a.d. 14. The nine who succeeded him, Caligula, a.d. 37-41; Claudius. 41-54; Nero, 54-68; Galba, 68-69; Otho, 69; Vitellius, 69; Vespasian, 69-79; Titus, 79-81, and Dojiitian. 81-96.J

Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero, third of the Caesars, Emperor of Rome a.d. 14 to 37. was bom November 17, b.c. 42. His father was Tiberius Claudius Nero, who served as Questor under Julius Caesar, b.c. 48, and commanded a fleet, and as a reward was admitted to the College of Priests. After much other service he died about B.C. 34. The mother of the Emperor was Livia Drusilla, who, after the birth of Tiberius, was divorced from her first husband and married to Augustus, then triumvir with Jtark Anthony and Lepidus, and afterward Emperor. This transaction, so much in accordance with Roman manners, gave her no discredit; for historians unite in extolling her purity of life and conduct.

The person of Tiberius was tall and well made. He had robust health. His eyes were large, his face handsome. He was carefully educated, and proficient as well in the Greek as the Latin tongues. As a speaker and writer he evinced considerable talent, his master in rhetoric being Theodoras of Gadara. He wrote a commentary of his own life; also Greek poems, and a lyric poem on the death of Julius Caesar. In military courage he was deficient. He had a jealous and suspicious temper, and became, later in life, a monster of cruelty. He was unsocial, melancholy and reserved. ” He was the prince of hypocrites.” At the triumphal entry of Augustus into Rome, B.C. 29, Tiberius, then thirteen years of age. rode on the left of Augustus, as Augustus, sixteen years before, had accompanied Julius Caesar on a similar occasion.

Tiberius was three times married,— first to Vipsania Agrippina, whom he divorced while she was pregnant; he was married, b.c. 11, to Julia, daughter of Augustus. By her he had one child who died in early youth. In public offices Tiberius was at various times tribunvs militum, and conducted an army, b.c. 20, to Armenia. He joined in the campaign, B.c. 15, against the Rheti; B.C. 13 he served Consul the first time; b.c. 11 he was engaged against the Dalmatians and Pannonians; b.c. 7 he served Consul the second time; b.c. 6 he obtained the IribuaUia poteslas for five years, and then retired for seven years to Rhodes to avoid his wife Julia, whose licentious conduct was patent to all. On his return she had been banished by her father, the Emperor, to Pandataria, and he never saw her again.

About a.d. 4, Augustus adopted Tiberius (his stepson) as his son and successor, all those whose age and relationship were superior to his having passed away. From this time to his accession to the purple, Tiberius was employed in military command, and a.d. 12 enjoyed a triumph for his German and Dalmatian victories. A.D. 14 Augustus held his last census, in which Tiberius was his colleague. He became Emperor upon the death of Augustas, August 19, a.d. 14. The early years of his reign were not unpromising. His nephew, Germanicus, achieved marked successes over the Germans, as our coins will show.

Tiberius drove from Italy the whole school of magicians and astrologers. A notable earthquake having occured in Asia Minor, a.d. 17. which destroyed twelve cities, the Emperor alleviated the calamity by his bounty, and the restored cities vied with each other in manifestations of gratitude. The year a.d. 21 was the fourth consulship of Tiberius. The last Roman citizen (except Emperors) to whom a triumph was granted was Junius Blaesus, who was permitted this honor for his African victories, a.d. 22. A.D. 26, Tiberius left Rome and took up his residence in Campania and the island of Capri (now Capreae), from which he never returned.

Old age and debauchery had so bent his body and disfigured his face with ugly blotches that he was unwilling to be seen in public. A.D. 33, Galba (afterward Emperor) served as Consul. A.D. 36, Tiberius, being now seventy-eight years of ago, was attacked with his last disease. He appointed no successor, but, as he said, ” left the affair to fate.” March 16, a.d. 37. he had a fainting fit, from which partially recovering, he began to desire food, and then his attendants expedited his end by smothering him with clothing. His reign endured twenty-two years six months and twenty-five days. His funeral oration was pronounced by Caligula, his successor, but he did not receive divine honors like his predecessors. During the reign of this prince, the death of Jesus Christ occurred, April 6, a.d. 33, under Pontius Pilate, procurator of JuiUea. Wo do not look for intimations of this upon cotemporary coins, but many centuries later the character and celestial glory of the Nazarene were stamped upon the official coins of Rome, to the number of millions. The appearance of Jupiter upon the coins of Tiberius is that found upon the monuments of other princes.

The Roman oaths “by Jupiter” were accompanied by curious ceremonies. The man who took the oath held in his hand a stone, and prayed that if he willfully deceived he might be cast out from holy places, and tossed ” as now I toss this stone.” Seeing the name of Jupiter then npon a coin the people understood the peculiar sanctity connected with the circumstance in whose memory it was coined. In the treaty-oaths, the officer styled pater patralvx (or chief of the Fetiales who formed treaties) held the sacred flint that symbolized the thunder-bolt over the back of a hog, and called on Jupiter that if by public consultation or wicked fraud the Romans should break the treaty, in that day may Jupiter smite the Roman people as the herald now smote the victim, and the heavier as Jupiter was stronger than man.”

At the word he slew the swine with the flint-stone. There is frequent appearance of soldiers with standards, armor, etc., upon the coins of Tiberius. Without these the army could not have been conciliated. At the distant outposts, fixed for years among barbarous surroundings, deoarrcd from the comforts of their own civilization, it was inspiring when a new coinage was made, either by order of the Emperor in gold and silver, or of the Senate in bronze, for the troops to see that their services were kept in -memory at Rome. There was an exciting field of promotion to a Roman soldier from a common -oldier (grerjarius miles) to a centurion of the lowest century of the ten maniples of the haslali to the primipilus of the Legion. And it might well have been said of every soldier, as was so fong afterward averred of Napoleon’s army, that “every man carried a Marshal’s baton in his knapsack.” In engravings upon other sheets of this series we give the arms and uniform of each class of Roman soldiers.

Apollo, as he lashes forward the horses of the sun, is a pleasant coindevice of Tiberius. At the grand centennial of Rome, b.c. 17, a verse in the Carmen Saeculare of Horace, which was sung upon the occasion, was directed to Alme Sol, ” the genial snn,” whose personification is Apollo. In the coins of Constantine and his cotemporaries, three centuries later, this god appears as a youthful figure, turned to the left, nude, a pallium upon his left arm, a globe in his left hand, his right forefinger pointing stiffly to the meridian sun. Upon such coins the legend is usually SOLI INVICTO COMITI To the Sun, my indomitable ally.” Examining such a figure upon a coin, we may imagine it thus addressing the nation that impressed it,—’ Roma, Roma, te saluto! ” This deity, Apollo, is represented as the son of Jupiter and Latona, twin-brother of Diana; the God of the Sun, of soothsaying, of the management of the bow, of medicine, poetry and music. The laurel was sacred to him.

The Ludi Apollinarii were annually celebrated in his honor, on the 5th of July. Many important towns were named in his honor, as Apollonia, in Aetolia, in Macedonia, Illyria and Cyrenaica. Such a favorite was this deity with the Roman people, that it gave them singular delight to see his attributions upon the national coins. His figure and personification, although commonly attended with his name, need not he, for all knew Apollo by his traditional face, or by one of his emblems. The Greeks gave him even more exquisite relief and workmanship than the Roman artists. Homer makes him the god of archery, prophecy and music, introducing him in some beautiful lines at the very opening of his immortal poem. His favorite animals were the hawk, the swan, the cicada, the dolphin, etc. He himself was represented in the perfection of manly strength and beauty. His long curling hair hangs loose and is bound behind with the strophium.

His brows are wreathed with laurel. In his hands he bears the bow and lyre. In relation to oracular responses from the deities, the ancients had various sarcastic proverbs. One was absque aere mvtumesl Apollinu oraeulum. Translated somewhat freely—” Apollo will not talk to you unless his fee is paid.” The appearance of Pielas upon the coins of Tiberius, as one of his tutelariee, suggests that the word is not alone to be translated Piety or Religion. It is rather a personification among the Romans of faithful attachment, love and veneration. When the people read on the coins of Antoninus (a.d. 137-161) PIVS, they read it—”dutifully affectionate “— that is, to his predecessor. At first there was in Rome but a small sanctuary to Pietas, but, B.c. 191, a large temple was erected. Her representation upon colus is usually that of a matron casting incense upon an altar.

Sometimes the stork, a filial bird, an ancient emblem of pietas, is teen upon coins, and sometimes children. In some, Pietas is exhibited as a female offering her breast to an aged parent. The character of Tiberius compares with that of the Emperor Phocas, who reigned 600 years afterward, a most bloodthirsty tyrant; in stature short, beardless, red haired, having shaggy eyebrows, a great scar disfiguring his face, which became black when his passions were aroused, all the elements of cruelty being combined in him. And who shall compute the evil influences of the example of Tiberius upon his successors? He wrote the annals of his time, and this was the only book, it is said, that was perused by Domitian, 80 years later. How much of the intolerance and cold-blooded cruelty of the latter was due to the former?

As Alexander owned himself modeled upon the Hector of Homer, so Domitian upon Tiberius. The orgies of Caligula, the murder of Nero, the voluptuousness of Claudius, all had their model in Tiberius. Nay, the inexpressibly horrible private life of Commodus and of Elagabalus, so long afterward, may only have been copied from that of Tiberius, when he forsook Rome, where there were public witnesses of his bestiality, and spent the closing years of his life in the seraglio, secluded from the popular eye. It was then that he struck certain coins never found in a public cabinet, coins that suggest the unutterable filthiness of his nature. The births of Otho and Vitellius, afterward Emperors of Rome, occurred during the reign of Tiberius.

 

 

WHAT THE COINS TEACH CONCERNING TIBERIUS

Of twenty-one coins, gold, silver and bronze, of the Emperor Tiberius, from the illustrations on the fourth page. [The student will observe in these Readings:

First, that the size of a Coin does not always agree with the size of the picture.

Second, that each metal is distinguished by an abbreviation,—AV (aurum) standing for gold; AR (argentum) for silver; AE (aes) for copper, bronze or brass, words indiscriminately used in Numismatics.

Third, that there are few punctuation points on coins, though sometimes introduced by engravers to facilitate Readings.

Fourth, that we do not reproduce the old forms of Greek letters here, but substitute modern type; and,

Fifth, that, these Readings are prepared as well for the use of Learners as experts.’]

No. 1, AE. A medallion. To preserve the symmetry of the page, its two faces are separated. Obverse. The unlaureate head of Tiberius to the left; hair bushy; bust undraped; beardless. What collegians irreverently style ”the unmeasured conk,” or prominent nose of Tiberius is well displayed here. Inscription (abbreviated): TI CAESAR AVGVSTI F IMPERATOR V; (supplied) —Tiberius Caesar Augusti Filius Imperator 5 — “Tiberius Caesar, son of Augustus; Emperor for the 5th time.” The manner of reading is from right to left. Reverse. A most beautiful temple, of which 10 columns are shown. The tympanum contains the letters S. P. Q. R: Senatus Populusque Romanus —” the Senate and Roman People.” The roof is covered with figures. Between the columns in front sits the image of Concord, holding in her right hand the Patera or sacred dish; in her left, her accustomed emblem, the cornucopiae. On the right and left are the statues of Tiberius and his brother Drusus. An old numismatist adds, ” That there might be an eternal memory of this temple, and of the concord of the two brothers to posterity, this medal, so rare for those times, was struck.” The temple is that of Concord, rebuilt by Tiberius. It stood very close to the forum, and it was in this edifice that the Senate met at the trial of Cataline.

No. 2, AE. Obverse. Unlaureate head of Tiberius to the left, as in No. 1. Inscription (supplied): ” Tiberius Caesar Augustus Imperator.” Read from right to left. (The letter E in the cut is an error of the wood-engraver.) Reverse. No device. Legend (abbreviated): PONTIF MAXIM TRIBVN POTEST XXIIII; (supplied) — Pontifex Maximus Tribunitia Potestate 24, “The High Priest; exercising the Tribunitian Power the 24th time.” S. C, Senatus Consnlto—” By Decree of the Senate.” This coin was struck a.d. 22 — thus computed: B.C. 6, Augustus endowed Tiberius with the Tribunitia Potestas for 5 years; then, after an interval of 4 years, he received it annually: Thus ” Tr. P. XXIITI ” brings us to a.d. 22.

No. 3, AE. This may be studied in connection with

No. 4. The Obverse contains the head of Tiberius, with Inscription: “Tiberius Caesar, Son of the Divine Augustus; Augustus, Emperor the 7th time.” Reverse. A shield, in the middle of which is the effigy of the goddess Clemency, with the word Clementiae (“to Clemency”) for a Legend, and S. C, Senatus Consulto-“By Decree of the Senate.” See observations upon No. 4. No. 4, AE. Obverse is the same as that of No. 3. Reverse. A shield, highly ornamented aud enriched with a laurel wreath. In the middle is the effigy of the goddess Moderation, with the word Moderationi (” to Moderation”) for Legend, and S. C, Senatus Consnlto—”By Decree of the Senate.” Patin remarked in 1696 “that these coins impute praise to the clemency and moderation of this most impure tyrant, so far as the luxury of the age might spare external show to the people and adulation to the Emperors.” He then goes on to explain that Tiberius, however cruel at heart, outwardly practiced the manners of a moderate and clement person. “When he received visitors at his banquets, he met them at the gate upon their entrance, and when they departed, followed them as far.” The shields figured here refer to the golden shields which Tiberius suspended in the Capitoline, and dedicated to the eternal gods.

No. 5, AR. This is the denarius usually cited in commenting upon the demand made by Jesus by the words, ” Show me a penny” {Luke xx, 24). Obverse. The laureate head of Tiberius to the right. Beardless; bust undraped. Inscription (abbreviated): TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS-, (supplied) — Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti Filius Augustus —Tiberius Caesar Augustus; eon of the deified Augustus.” Reverse. A female figure seated upon a square seat, to the right; the right hand supported by a spear, the left holding out an olive branch. Legend (supplied): Pontifex Maximus—”The High Priest.” No. 6, AE. Reverse. The figure of the goddess Vesta seated on an ornamented chair, to the right. Her right hand holds the Patera; her left is supported by the Ha9ta Pura. Her drapery comes neatly to her feet. Inscription (abbreviated) : C VIB MARSO PR COS DR CAE Q PR TC RVFVS FC DD PP: (supplied)—Caio Vibio Marso Proconsule; Druso Caesare Quaestore Provinciae; Titus Caecilius Rufus Fieri Curavit; Decuriones Posuerunt—”Caius Vibius Mareus being Proconsul; Drusus Caesar being Questor of the Province; Titus Caecilius Rufus caused (this coin) to be struck; the Senators (of Utica) gave the orders.”

Nos. 6 and 7 were struck at Utica, in Africa, famous for the death of Cato. The city was greatly favored by Julius Caesar, Augustus and Tiberius, and struck many coins in honor of the latter.

No. 7, AE. Reverse. Figure of the goddess “Vesta, as in No. 6, with slight variations in the supports of the chair. Inscription (abbreviated): C VIBIO MARSO PR COS HI C SALLVS RVSIVS (F) C MM I V; (supplied)— Caio Vibio Marso Proconsule 3; Caius Sallus Rusius Fieri Curavit; Municipes Municipii Julii Uticenses —” Caius Vibius Marsus being Proconsul in the 3d year; Caius Sallus Rusius caused this coin to be struck; the citizens of the free Julian city of Utica (approved).”

No. 8, AE. Obverse. Unlaureate and beardless head of Tiberius to the left. Behind the neck a branch of laurel ; in front, an eagle. Inscription (supplied) —”Augustns Tiberius Caesar.” Reverse. The head of Apollo to the right, with the Lyre in front. Legend : Characters in unknown script. In other coins of Tiberius we find that prince arrayed in the habit of Apollo, with the Lyre. ” For he conceived himself to be a son of Apollo,” says Suetonius, and many inscriptions are addressed to him by the name of that deity.

No. 9, AE. The Reverse is a restored coin by Titus, who duplicated so many of the coins of Augustus and other princes. Obverse. The figure of Justice, with the word IVSTITIA. As in preceding coins, we learn that Tiberius affected all the best virtues, though practicing them so little. Patin says: “The most unmerciful (inclementissimus), immoderate (immoderatissimus) and unjust (injustissimus) man in all the period of his rule made vows to clemency, moderation and justice ! ” The force of the Latin tongue could go no farther than this.

No. 10, AV. Obverse. Laureate head of Tiberius to the right. Inscription as on the Obverse of No. 4. Reverse. Laureate head of Augustus Caesar to the left. Legend (abbreviated): DIVOS AVGVST DIVI F; (supplied)—Divos Augustus Divi Filius—” The deified Augustus, son of the Deified.” Augustus was called Divus (divos) after he had been consecrated, and flamens appointed to him. As Julius Caesar had received the same honor in his lifetime Augustus styled himself, ” Son of the Deified,” in which, as we see, Tiberius imitated him. For he struck coins in honor of the father who had adopted him, and so conciliated the people to him. It is due to the character of Tiberius to say that he did not assume the name of Augustns, but suffered it to be ascribed to him, as we read upon this elegant aureus,’ or gold coin.

No. 11, AE. The Obverse ha9 the head of Tiberius, with Inscription: “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the deified Augustus.” Reverse. The figure of a camp. Legend (supplied;: Colonia Augusta Emerita—” The Colony of Emerita Augusta.” Another coin of this colony is figured in No. 13 of the series of Augustus. The colony was named from the worthy character of the veteran soldiers to whom Augustus granted the territory when he dissolved so many legions at the close of the civil wars, and douated valuable lands and possessions to them.

No. 12, AE. The Obverse has the laureate head of Tiberius, with the inscription as No. 11. Reverse. A horseman, lance in right hand, galloping swiftly to the right. Inscription, OSOA. V V is for VRBS VICTA—”The Victorious City.” Caesar, in his Civil War, speaks in laudatory terms of the bravery of the people of Osca. Silver mines were here, described by Livy. It is now a town in Arragon, styled Huesca.

No. 13, AE. Obverse. Dnlaureate head of Tiberius to the left. Portrait but little resembles the preceding, being a failure in the artist. Inscription: ” Tiberius Caesar Augustus, Emperor, son of the deified Augustus.” Reverse. The temple erected by the people of Ratisbona. Legend: AETERNITATI AVGVSTAE—”To the eternity of the Augusta” (or Empress); but why Augustae instead of Augusti we cannot explain. It may be a blunder of the artist, whose work in the portrait is so inferior. This place is now Regensburg, Germany.

No. 14, AE. The Obverse has the head of Tiberius and an inscription like the last. Reverse. A temple of five columns, erected in honor of Augustus, having a facade and corners of roof moderately ornamented. The letters ABDERA are symmetrically disposed. This place is now Adra, in Spain.

No. 15, AE. The Obverse has the head of Tiberius, with inscription like the last Reverse. A ship to the right, with seven oars visible; prow armed with trident; helmsman at his post; Vexillum at the prow. Inscription (abbreviated): SAG L SEMP GEMINO L VAL SVRA II VIR—” Sagnntum Lucio Sempronio Geniino, Lucio Valerio Sura Duum-viris,” Seguntum: Lucius Sempronius Geminus and Lucius Valerius Sura, being the mint masters. Saguntnm, like many other Spanish cities, offered its municipal emblem to conciliate the favor of the Emperor Tiberius. The place had been taken and destroyed by Hannibal, after a siege that produced a famine so severe as to make the adage ” A Saguntine famine ” proverbial. The ship is that by which the colonists were brought here from the island Zacinthus.

No. 16, AE. A Greek Imperial. The Obverse has the head of Tiberius, with inscription in Greek: “Tiberius Caesar Augustus.” Reverse. Head of Livia, mother of Tiberius, to the right. Hair elaborately and elegantly dressed; profile beautiful. Legend: EAE22AIQN 2EBA2TH—’ Augusta of the Edessans.” The people of Edessa, at the Euphrates, considered that they could not please Tiberius better than to honor his mother, Livia, in this manner. In Nos. 23 and 24 of the series of Augustus we have portraits of the same lady.

No. 17, AE. The Reverse has the words “Pontiff; Tribunitian Power the second time; by decree of the Senate.” Obverse. The head of Drusus, brother of Tiberius, to the right. Inscription (abbreviated): DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVG P DIVI AVG N; (supplied) — Drusus Caesar Tiberii Augusti Filius; Divi Augusti Nepos — ‘•Drusus Caesar, son of Tiberius Augustus; nephew of the deified Augustus.” Drusus, junior, the only son of Tiberius, and therefore heir to the throne, was born b.c 13, and elected Consul a.d. 14, the year of his father’s accession. A.D. 22 he received the Tribunitian power, but died by poison a.d. 23, administered by his wife, Livilla. He was a person of most depraved character, like the majority of those who composed the court of Tiberius.

No. 18, AE. A Triumphal Coin in honor of Germanicus, nephew and adopted son of Tiberius. Obverse. Germanicus riding bareheaded to the right, in a quadriga triumphal chariot, elegantly ornamented. In his left hand be bears a legionary eagle upon a spear Above him is the inscription ” GermanicuB Caesar.” Reverse. Germanicus in full armor standing to the left; his feet crossed; his right hand raised, as if detailing to the Senate the events of his campaigns. In his left band is a legionary eagle. Legend (abbreviated): SIGNIS RECEPT DEVICTIS GERM S C; (supplied) -Signis Receptis Devictis Germanis Seuatus Consulto—” The Standards being recovered; the Germans being subdued; by Decree of the Senate.” The history of this coin is one of extraordinary interest, and will repay a critical reference to the history of the period.

No. 19, AE. Obverse. The head of Antonia to the right. Dressing of the hair modest and attractive; neck draped. Inscription: “Antonia Augusta.” Reverse. The Emperor standing in the pontifical habit, holding in his right hand the simpulum. Legend (abbreviated): TI CLAVDIVS CAESAR AVG PM TR P IMP; (supplied) — Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Pontifex Maximus Tribunitia Potestate Imperator— “High Priest, exercising the Tribunitian Power; Emperor.” S. C, Senatus Consulto —”By Decree of the Senate.” This Antonia, the daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia, the sister of Augustus, was the wife of Germanicus Drusus, brother of Tiberius. She was born about B.C. 36. Her three children were Germanicus Caesar, described in the preceding coin; Livilla. alluded to in coin No. 17 of this series, and Claudius, afterward Emperor. She was celebrated for her beauty, virtue and chastity.

No. 20, AE. Reverse. The heads of Nero and Drusus, facing each other. Legend (partly obliterated): ” Nero and Drusus.” The three sons of the elder Drusus, brother of Tiberius, viz. Nero, Drusus and Caius, were in the line of inheritance upon the death of his own children; but their fate was a harsh one. Nero, the eldest, was exiled by his uncle, and starved lo death, a.d. 29; Drusus, the second, after a glorious career at the head of the Roman armies, was poisoned; Caius (called Caligula), after a perverted youth, became the vilest Emperor that had ever ruled, and his short reign was closed by assassination. This coin was struck in some Spanish mint, place not identified.

No. 21, AE. A Greek Imperial, struck at Miletus, near Ephesus, in honor of Agrippina, granddaughter of Augustus. Obverse. The head of Agrippina to the right. She was the wife of Germanicus, named in No. 18. and mother of Caius (Caligula), afterward Emperor. Dressing of the hair elaborate; neck modestly draped. Inscription (partly obliterated): MIAASIBN —’Of the Miletans.” Reverse. The laureate head of Caius (Caligula) to the right. In front of the long craned neck an eight-point star. Legend: FAI02 KAI2AP TEPMANIK02 2ABA2T02 —” Caius Caesar Germanicus Augustus.” This coin more properly belongs to the series of Caligula, as it testifies to the benefits received from him by the Miletans.

In commenting upon Coin No. 18 of this series, we alluded to that most interesting passage of history, the disastrous defeat of Varus by the Germans, a.d. 9. This general, formerly pro-consul of Syria, moved in the summer of that year to the river Weser, near where it is joined by the Werra. His army consisted of three Roman legions, with their regular number of auxiliaries and a strong body of cavalry. By the most dastardly treachery he was drawn from his camps by Herrmann, Arminius and the other German chiefs, professedly Roman allies, and attacked in a woody pass by an immense army of Germans. The first day’s fight was indecisive; but in the two following days, surrounded by immense hosts of savages, impeded by heavy rains and worn down by incessant combat, the Roman army was destroyed. Three eagles were captured. Varus committed suicide. All the Roman possessions between the Weser and the Rhine were abandoned to the enemy. Thus far all historians agree. The disaster sent dismay throughout the Empire.

The Emperor Augustus, who was both weak and aged, gave way to the most violent grief. He tore his garments and cried aloud day and night. Varus, give me back my legions! ” But ” the great victory “as German historians delight to call it. was ephemeral. It was ever the custom of Rome to vise stronger from defeat. A.D. 11, Tiberius set out with an army of recovery and revenge, taking with him his nephew, Germanicus Caesar, then twenty-four years of age. A.D. 13 Germanicus was placed in command with eight legions. His progress into the German provinces, though slow, was sure. He captured the wife of Arminius and her father. At the scene of Varus’ disaster he gathered up and buried the remains of that betrayed band. A.D. 16 he gave the savages a thorough defeat on the plain of Idistavisus. and Arminius escaped only in disguise.

A second victory followed soon after. Arminius was then put to death by his own relatives, as a usurper of sovereign power. The lost eagles of Varus were recovered, and in honor of the absolute reconqtiest of Germany, our Coin No. 18 was struck. This coin, then, is a monument of certain truths upon which historians are divided. Cressy, in his ” Fifteen Decisive Battles,” includes the destruction of Varus as one. Other authorities, accepting the traditions of savage tribes for history, have elevated Arminius to the highest rank of patriotism and valor. On the other hand, we exhibit cotemporary coins, veritable ” Leaflets of History,” stamped by the most cultivated nation of the age, declaring that ” the Germaus were conquered and the standards recovered! “

tiberius coins

Next – CALIGULA

CONTENTS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *