UNCERTAIN GERMANIC TRIBES, Pseudo-Imperial coinage. Late 3rd-early 4th centuries. 'Aureus' (Gold, 20 mm, 6.30 g, 12 h), 'Gordian Group'. Imitating Gordian III, 238-244. IMP GORD[I]VS RES Laureate and draped bust of Gordian III to left. Rev. ADVENTVS AVG AVG Emperor on horseback to left, raising his right hand in salute and holding scepter in his left. A lovely and unusual piece with very interesting types and legends. Original suspension loop broken off and subsequently pierced, otherwise, very fine.
From the Aurum Barbarorum Collection.
There are two aspects that make this imitation particularly interesting. Firstly, the reverse was copied from the ubiquitous Adventus aurei of Trajan Decius, however, the Germanic artist oddly duplicated the AVG at the end of the legend. Secondly, on the obverse, the legend does not end on AVG, AV or PIVS, as is normal for the 'Gordian Group', but on RES. This is of great interest, for it has no equivalent on Roman coinage. It is, however, clearly reminiscent of the Latin word rex, 'king', a title frowned upon in Roman society ever since the overthrowing of Etruscan kingship in 509 BC. Whether the artist was fluent enough in Latin to know the word rex and apply it as a substitute for 'Augustus' we cannot say for sure, but as a Goth, he surely wouldn't have shared the Roman political reservations against it. In any case, he appears to have been confident enough in his Latin to understand some of the basics of Roman coin legends, which he reproduced much more accurately than many of his contemporaries.