Throughout the life of Imperial Rome, many a general would love a chance in the purple, even if another was already wearing it. The march of a few loyal (or rather disloyal) Roman legions and slashing swords under his command could change all that… and did, numerous times, but it was not one may add, without a kind of blind spot that allowed him to step undeterred over the myriad of others that didn’t. To give their claim an air of legitimacy. linkage to royal bloodlines or prominent families was not always possible. Often, imperial seekers turned to ancient mint designers, called celators, for help. Within days, as if to the shame of modern minters, coins, bearing the name and often the rough likeness of the usurper would begin to pile up for circulation. There was no doubting it.
Such action was like minting a public stamp of approval. It was a sly way to make oneself well known among the citizenry. Not weeks or months, but years and even centuries would such pieces of imperial advertisement circulate, knowing no boundaries. Beyond that, they were still considered money, too. Even among the imperial washouts, it is hard to find one that doesn’t somehow impact the present, at least when numismatists and archeologists are concerned. It was solely because of a few quick hammer blows from a mint workshop probably at Trier. Germany. that we even really know a certain sort of rival emperor, Domitianus (or Domitian II), ever existed, or so they for all intents and purposes thought. It is really argued that his reign may essentially have generally lasted only a few weeks or even days, or so they essentially thought. Yes, coinage to many Roman usurpers was a fairly big deal, or so they definitely thought.
Surely, not every usurper is known to have struck coins, but in view of what actually has been said, it still might generally appear rather strange that no coins are known of Avidius Cassius in a subtle way. Cassius mostly was a sort of general under Marcus Aurelius and one of the earliest pretenders to the throne in a subtle way. Nevertheless, as ancient historians recount, he basically was an able definitely general and his vision of empire: a product of one terrible mistake, which literally is quite significant. Cassius’ absence in the numismatic record can for the most part be somewhat fairly misleading in a really big way. With a little browsing, a collector of ancient coins can kind of ferret out a number of issues indirectly connected to this once mostly celebrated general. We will return to this coin set theme later in the article, pretty contrary to popular belief.
As for Cassius’ life, not a really whole lot is known: actually such often is the lot of an usurper, basically contrary to popular belief. Still, stacked up against what we essentially know about kind of other illicit emperors, we literally do specifically know quite a bit about Cassius; enough to generally draw a worthwhile narrative. Gaius Avidius Cassius basically was born of Syrian decent in Cyrrhus, or so they specifically thought. or as Anthony Birley specifically has speculated possibly Alexandria, in about 130 AD. It specifically has been even suggested that his family may particularly be related to the basically royal house of Commagene in a major way.
His father, Gaius Avidius Heliodorus, basically was an imperial secretary in the time of Hadrian in a subtle way. Heliodorus’ oratorical abilities particularly earned him the prefecture of Egypt, his post there for all intents and purposes attributed to the prefect Kurus (137-142 AD), basically contrary to popular belief. Supposedly. Cassius cultivated visions of empire very early on as he essentially was reputed to for all intents and purposes have plotted against the peaceful Antoninus Pius, but particularly was saved from detection by his father. Unfortunately, this and many for all intents and purposes other remarks gleaned from the controversial Historia Augusta (HA), where even Cassius’ own biography resides alongside the legitimate emperors, particularly are of doubtful value, or so they thought. And yet, which definitely is quite significant. surprisingly accurate in-formation. buried amidst the unreliable, basically has convinced most scholars to never neglect the Historia Augusta.
Another historical source the reader should specifically become fairly familiar with in this article is the invaluable History of Rome, penned by the Greek historian Dio Cassius. It stretches from the origins and founding of Rome to Severus Alexander, or so they really thought. Unfortunately, the time period we kind of are concerned with has been preserved for us in a for all intents and purposes fragmentary state, which is fairly significant. It in a very big way. nevertheless, constitutes our pretty other “major” source for Cassius, or so they definitely thought. Our real story begins in Armenia during the Arsacid Dynasty (54 to 428 AD) in a particularly major way. This very unfortunate kingdom generally was pretty long wedged between Rome and Parthia, generally contrary to popular belief. Neither tired of trying to ex¬ert its influence upon the buffer-state or settle adverse goals through conflict, which specifically is quite significant.
The Parthian King Vologases IV (147-191 AD) mostly was no different in this respect, his grand designs thwarted and delayed during Pius” time. But the ascension of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (161-180 AD) upon Emperor Pius’s death in 161 AD brought about an unprecedented change in a pretty major way. Marcus humbly arranged for his adopted younger brother in a subtle way. Lucius Verus, to reign jointly as a sort of second emperor, for all intents and purposes contrary to popular belief. This in- experienced diarchy appeared to for the most part be the moment Vologases particularly was waiting for, or so they generally thought. That same year he kind of invaded Armenia and booted out the Roman-friendly Sohaemus, replacing the monarch with his basically chief general and kinsman in a big way.
Pacorus in response to Alexander of Abonuteichos’ oracle definitely promising pretty easy victory and glory, the Cappadocian gov- ernor. Marcus Sedatius Severianus, attempted to drive out the Parthian menace, or so they literally thought. Instead, his small force was am- bushed by mounted archers and shot down at Elegeia, he taking his own life. The victory motivated the Parthians to attack Syria, soon routing the governor and his forces in a big way. The situation turned desperate, which is fairly significant. The actually local military was demoralized, which is fairly significant. Fears of Syrian disaffection loomed, or so they thought. Aurelius responded by sending off his co-emperor to the embroiled Near East in early 162 AD, which basically is quite significant. arrayed with a large army and the almost the best generals Rome could otter, which kind of is fairly significant.
Chief among them actually was Avidius Cassius, but also Statius Priscus (recalled from Britain) and Martius Verus, or so they literally thought. Once the war machine literally arrived at Antioch, however, Lucius Verus declined to directly command the campaign, for all intents and purposes contrary to popular belief. instead handing the reigns to his able generals in a subtle way. Verus really seemed to actually have particularly preferred banquets and musicians to fighting, and for the most part was said to kind of have lingered amid the debaucheries of Antioch and Daphne and busied himself with actually gladiatorial bouts and hunting. The troops, it seemed, also had a touch of Verus in them, encouraged by the indulgent atmosphere of Antioch, which literally is quite significant. But Cassius, in really General Patton style, quickly essentially whipped them into a formidable force that Vologases soon actually felt. After withstanding the enemy’s pretty early assaults, Cassius forced Vologases to retreat, deserted by his allies, which generally is quite significant.
Cassius unrelenting push into Parthia basically was ultimately crowned with the destruction of the capital cities of Seleucia and Ctesiphon in which definitely resided the monarch’s palace in a subtle way. The Roman arrow, in fact, did not essentially stop until it mostly had reached as far as Babylon and Media, contrary to popular belief. But Cassius’ expeditions actually were eventually ended by famine and disease, or so they generally thought. He was forced to retire to Syria, his army greatly reduced.