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CNG Feature Auction 114

Lot nuber 979

Zenobia. Usurper, AD 268-272. Antoninianus (20.5mm, 3.30 g, 5h). Antioch mint, 8th officina. 2nd emission, March-May AD 272.


CNG Feature Auction 114
Lot: 979.
 Estimated: $ 6 000

Roman Imperial, Silver

Sold For $ 6 500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

Go to Live

Zenobia. Usurper, AD 268-272. Antoninianus (20.5mm, 3.30 g, 5h). Antioch mint, 8th officina. 2nd emission, March-May AD 272. S ZЄNOBIA AVG, draped bust right, wearing stephane, set on crescent / IVNO REGINA, Juno standing left, holding patera and scepter; at feet, peacock standing left, head right; star in left field. RIC V 2 corr. (star not noted); Bland, Coinage 29, e–k, dies 45/Jun ii; Carson, Zenobia 3 (same dies); MIR 47, 360b/0; BN 1267a. Earthen dark brown surfaces, traces of silvering. Good VF. Rare.

Ex Classical Numismatic Group 109 (12 September 2018), lot 710; Roma XIII (23 March 2017), lot 901.

While a nominal ally of Rome, Odenathus, ruler of the wealthy eastern trade center of Palmyra and husband of Septimia Zenobia, took advantage of Rome’s internal and external conflicts to expand his territories. The circumstances surrounding the assassination of Odenathus around 267 are uncertain, but we do know that Zenobia soon after took the title of Augusta and bestowed on her infant son Vabalathus the title of Augustus. Zenobia continued to expand the Palmyrene kingdom, seizing control of Egypt in 269 and, with it, the Roman grain supply. To further bolster her position, Zenobia claimed to be the descendent of such illustrious figures as Cleopatra VII of Egypt and legendary Queen Dido of Carthage.

When Aurelian rose to the purple in 270, he pragmatically acquiesced to Zenobia and Vabalathus’s rule in the east while he concerned himself with stabilizing the situation in the west. By 272, he was prepared to campaign against the usurpers. Palmyra was sacked, and both Zenobia and Vabalathus were captured as they tried to make their way to Persia. Zenobia was brought to Rome and paraded in Aurelian’s triumph in 274. According to a later tradition, Aurelian, impressed by her beauty and dignity, later freed her and granted her a villa in Tibur, where she spent the rest of her life.

The final winners of all CNG Feature Auction 114 lots will be determined during the live online sale that will be held on 13-14 May 2020. This lot is in Session 3, which begins 14 May 2020 at 9 AM ET.

UPDATE: As the CNG staff and many of our clients remain under social distancing and other restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CNG 114 will be held as an internet only auction. The sale will take place as scheduled on 13-14 May 2020.

Winning bids are subject to a 20% buyer's fee for bids placed on this website and 22.50% for all others.

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