Billion Silver Double Denarius - Ancient Rome, c. 283-284 AD
Ruler: Numerian - as Augustus
Obv: Radiate bust of Numerian, right
Rev: VIRTVS AVGG XXI – Two Emperors – Numerian standing right, receiving Victory from his brother Carinus
S-R12256, 20mm, 4.31gm
Numerian was Roman Emperor from 282 to 284 AD with his older brother Carinus. They were sons of Carus, a general raised to the office of praetorian prefect under Emperor Probus in 282.
The death of Carus left Numerian and Carinus as the new Augusti. Carinus quickly made his way to Rome from Gaul, arriving in January 284, while Numerian lingered in the East. The Roman retreat from Persia was orderly and unopposed, for the Persian King, Bahram II, was still struggling to establish his authority.
By March 284, Numerian had only reached Emesa (Homs) in Syria; by November, only Asia Minor. In Emesa he was apparently still alive and in good health, as he issued the only extant rescript in his name there. Coins were issued in his name in Cyzicus at some time before the end of 284, but it is impossible to know whether he was still in the public eye by that point.
After Emesa, Numerian's staff, including the prefect Aper, reported that Numerian suffered from an inflammation of the eyes and had to travel in a closed coach. When the army reached Bithynia, some of Numerian's soldiers smelled an odor reminiscent of a decaying corpse emanating from the coach. They opened its curtains and found Numerian dead.