Carus, 282-283. Aureus (Gold, 21 mm, 4.46 g, 7 h), Rome, 283. IMP C M AVR CARVS P F AVG Laureate, draped and cuirassed bust of Carus to right. Rev. VIRTVS AVGG Mars advancing right, holding spear pointing forward in his right hand and trophy over his left shoulder. Calicó 4292. Cohen 109. RIC 34. Very rare. Lustrous, sharp and undoubtedly among the finest known, with a superb portrait of fine style. Minor traces of mounting at 12 o'clock on the obverse edge, otherwise, virtually as struck.
Carus was appointed prefect of the Praetorian Guard by Probus and succeeded to the throne after the latter had been murdered in Sirmium by revolting troops in the summer of 282. Emboldened by the death of the belligerent Probus, Iazygan forces soon crossed the Danube and started raiding Roman Pannonia. Carus, however, who was residing in the nearby base of Sirmium, quickly disabused the invaders by winning a decisive victory and repulsing them over the Danube in early 283. A few months later, Carus and his younger son, Numerian, led a successful offensive against the Sasanids, resulting in the sacking of the Persian capital Ktesiphon in the summer of 283. Unfortunately for the Romans, the victorious emperor died in July or August near Ktesiphon, allegedly due to a lightning strike, but perhaps more likely due to illness or an assassination planned by his Praetorian prefect, Lucius Flavius Aper. Shortly thereafter, his son, Numerian, withdrew the army to Syria.