Saturninus was a senior officer under Probus in Syria. According to Historiae Augusta, Saturninus led a short-lived revolt, which began with his proclamation as Augustus by the troops under his command in Alexandria Egypt. At first, we are told that Saturninus declined the honor. However, later in about 280AD, Saturninus appears to have proclaimed himself Augustus in Syria after a change of heart. The rebellion that was unleashed by this bold political step soon failed. Saturninus was murdered presumably by a faction of his guard who either remained loyal to Probus or those fearful of defeat due to the lack of support from other regions in the Empire.
For many years, the Thirty Tyrants of the Historiae Augustus were believed to have been inaccurate historically. Some have argued that many of these so called tyrants of the lat 3rd century were ficticous. With the discovery of the coinage of Saturninus, there can be no doubt that the Thirty Tyrants may at least be far more accurate that originally surmised.
Note: Only two gold aurei are known with both examples being discovered in Egypt along with about 20 aurei of Probus in the hoard known as Ben-ha. One example resides in the French Bibliotheque Nationale collection. The second specimen, pictured here, remains in private collector hands. This unique gold aureus is the most valuable of all Roman gold coins attesting to the rarity of the Emperor as a result of his very short-lived reign.
IMP C IVL SATVRNINVS AVG
AU Aureus (4.61 grammes)
*(Note: no silver or bronze coinage attributed to this emperor have ever been discovered.)
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