Victorinus, Romano-Gallic Emperor, 269-271. 'Denarius' (Silver, 19 mm, 1.65 g, 1 h), an 'offstrike' from aureus dies, Treveri, early to mid 270. IMP VICTORINVS AVG Laureate and cuirassed half-length bust of Victorinus to right, holding spear over his right shoulder and shield on his left; breastplate decorated with gorgoneion. Rev. VIRTVS AVG Victorinus standing facing in military attire, head to right, holding signum in his left hand and upright spear with his right. Cohen -. De Witte -. Elmer -. RIC -. Sondermann -. Schulte -, cf. pl. 17, 11a-13a (for aurei struck from the same obverse die). Unpublished and unique, a spectacular issue of great importance. Struck in unusually good silver and with one of the most impressive portraits of the Romano-Gallic series. Very light porosity, otherwise, extremely fine.
M. Piavonius Victorinus was a Gallic aristocrat and military officer who climbed the career ladder under Postumus. We first hear of him through an inscription, found in Treveri, telling us that he served as the tribun of the Praetorian Guard at the time (CIL XIII 3679), and another inscription from northern Spain that names Victorinus as co-consul of Postumus in his fourth consulate (= 267 AD, CIL II 5736). There can thus be little doubt that Victorinus was Postumus' right-hand man and his most powerful general when the emperor was murdered by his troops in 269. The fact that the rebels acclaimed Marius, a common soldier of obscure background, emperor, and not Victorinus, indicates that the events either took the Praetorian Tribun off guard or that he was not on the scene. Marius, however, was removed few months later and Victorinus succeeded to the throne in the fall of 269. The new Romano-Gallic emperor faced a series of serious problems, for while he gained control over the British and the Rhine legions, the Spanish provinces were lost to Claudius II Gothicus and the important Gallic city of Augustodunum (Autun) stirred up a rebellion in the nearby hinterland. The emperor, fearing a domino effect, rushed to attack the city, which he conquered and brutally sacked after a siege of seven months. Having the central parts of the 'Gallic Empire' successfully restored, Victorinus was, however, not granted a long rule: in an ironic turn of fate, his downfall did not arise from a troop revolt, as was so often the case in this era, but allegedly from seducing the wife of one of his officers, who murdered him in return. Schulte dated the aurei of his group 2, to which our 'offstrike' belongs, to December 269-January 270 and connects them to the overcoming of Marius' revolt. The military nature of some of the coins, however, which celebrate a military victory rather than the disposal of his predecessor (Schulte 28: INVICTVS AVG, Victorinus on horseback right, spearing a fallen foe), and the fact that some types praise the mercy of the emperor (Schulte 18: INDVLGENTIA AVG, Victorinus standing right, raising kneeling Gallia), indicates that the issue must have been extended to after the fall of Augustodunum. These coins thus celebrate the victorious siege and, following the punishment of the city, the indulgence of Victorinus towards the rest of Gaul.