SPAIN, Bilbilis. Tiberius.
|Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 531. Estimate $1000.
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005.
Sold For $1250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.
14-37 AD. Æ 27mm (10.84 g, 6h). L. Aelius Sejanus, praetorian consul. Struck 31 AD. Laureate head right / MV (ligate) AV(ligate)GVSTA BILBILIS TI CÆSARE V [L ÆL]IO [SEIAN]O, large COS across field within wreath. RPC I 398; SNG Copenhagen 620. Good VF, green patina with orange overtones. Important historical type with the name of Sejanus removed in damnatio memoriae
Lucius Aelius Sejanus came from an up-and-coming equestrian family. He was the son of Lucius Seius Strabo, Tiberius' praefectus praetorio
; his brother, Lucius Seius Turbo was suffect consul in 18 AD; and he could claim kinship through his mother to Maecenas, Augustus' advisor. Early in his career, Sejanus served with Augustus' grandson Gaius in the east, and may have accompanied Drusus Caesar north to quell the mutinies which broke out upon Augustus' death. Initially he had been his father's colleague as praefectus praetorio
, but when Strabo had been promoted to the more prestigious post of praefectus Aegypti
, Sejanus retained sole command of the Guard, a post which, according to later historians, he used to his advantage. Consolidating them in a permanent encampment at the eastern edge of the city, he used the Guard to increase his power and influence over Tiberius. In 23 AD, upon the death of Drusus Caesar, Sejanus proposed marrying Drusus' widow Livilla, with whom he was allegedly having an affair. So indispensable had he become in maintaining order in the capital that Tiberius called him "the partner of my labors," a position which Sejanus carefully cultivated upon the emperor's retirement to Capri in 26 AD. Using the emperor's absence to his advantage, Sejanus imprisoned Germanicus' widow, Agrippina Senior, her sons Nero and Drusus Caesars, and their supporters on charges of treason. In 31 AD Sejanus was consul with Tiberius the first step, he hoped, to acquiring tribunician power and becoming the imperial heir. At the height of this power, however, Sejanus fell, when Tiberius, made aware of Sejanus' machinations, condemned his consular colleague in a letter to the Senate. Harsh reprisals against Sejanus and his adherents followed, including the removal of his name from public monuments as well as this coin.