Obverse: IMP GORDIANVS PIVS FEL AVG; Radiate, Draped, and Cuirassed Bust of the Emperor Facing Right
Reverse: LAETITIA AVG N; Laetitia, Standing to the Left, Holding a Wreath and an Anchor
Gordianus III, the thirteen-year old grandson of Gordianus I was proclaimed emperor by the Praetorian Guard after they murdered Balbinus and Pupienus. Gordian appointed the wise and good Timestheus as Praetorian Prefect. Under the counsel of Timestheus, Gordian ruled well and became quite popular. The Roman Empire had peace and stability during his reign, which was rare during the Third Century A.D. In 241, the Persian King Ardashir died, and his son Shapur immediately began making trouble for Rome by invading Syria. The next year, Gordianus and his army went to deal with Shapur and won several victories in battle against the ruthless Persian. Timestheus died of an illness in 243 and Philip the Arab became Gordian's Praetorian Prefect in his place. Philip was not the loyal friend that Timesthius was, taking great pains to make the soldiers dislike Gordianus by bringing about a shortage of supplies and blaming it on Gordianus' inexperience. On February 25, 244, Gordianus was murdered while campaigning in the East with the army by forces loyal to Philip.
How many hands have touched a coin in your pocket or purse? What eras and lands have the coin traversed on its journey into our possession? As we reach into our pockets to pull out some change, we rarely hesitate to think of who might have touched the coin before us, or where the coin will venture to after it leaves our hands. More than money, coins are a symbol of the state that struck them, of a specific time and location, whether contemporary currencies or artifacts of a long forgotten empire. This stunning hand-struck coin reveals an expertise of craftsmanship and intricate sculptural detail that is often lacking in contemporary machine-made currencies. This coin is a memorial an ancient emperor passed from the hands of civilization to civilization, from generation to generation that still appears as vibrant today as the day it was struck.