Probus               276 - 282 A.D.


Coming from a military background under Valerian, Probus ascended the throne as usurper against Florian, under pretext that he appropriated the imperial title without the Senate's consent. Florian advanced against Probus and on first appearance it looked like his own army would be no match against Florian's so he gambled that by artificially prolonging a direct confrontation between the two he could frustrate the enemy. The tactic paid off and within days Florian was killed by his own troops and the two armies joined as one to march into Rome.

Probus then spent the next two years quelling numerous border wars and domestic rebellions. He was highly successful in these regards and, having few wars left to fight retired to Rome. His glory days came to an end partly due to his own military successes. Without battles to fight, the army felt increasingly alienated by Probus who was now spearheading several civic projects meant to strengthen the empire. Malcontents in the army noted cynically that they were soldiers, not peasants. His life thus came to a violent end during a minor moment of strife initiated by some soldiers who had been ordered to clear a swamp. These drew their swords and gave fatal chase to the emperor. Carus, the Praetorian Prefect, may or may not have incited the mutiny but either way Probus's assassins named him emperor only to hear their death sentence as their reward.


AE Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

22 mm.

Ovb: IMP C MAVR PROBVS AVG: Radiate bust lrft, wearing a mantle and holding an eagle-tipped scepter

Rev. ADVENTVS AVG: Probus on horseback, left, a captive seated before him (commemorating his arrival in Siscia in 276 A.D.), XXI in exergue

C. 47, Van Meter 7

Billon Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.


2.8 g., 21 mm.

Obv. IMP C PROBVS AVG: Raidate bust left, wearing mantle and holding eagle-tipped scepter

Rev. CONCORDIA MILIT: Concordia standing left, holding two ensigns (a coded coin, E in left field, "H" bust RIC 480 of Ticinium, star indicating RIC-vii 480)

Van Meter 13v.

AE Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

Aquilea, Officina 3

3.6 g., 22 mm.

Obv. PROBVS P F AVG: Radiate and cuirassed bust right

Rev. MARTI PACIF: Mars walking left, holding branch, spear, and shield

RIC 117c, Van Meter 27

AE silvered Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

2.9 g., 22 mm.

Obv. IMP C M AVR PROBVS INVICT: Radiate and curirassed bust right

Rev. RESTITVTOR ORBIS: Orbis Terrarum presenting wreath to Probus, who holds a spear, MS lower center field

RIC 5, pt 2 858; Van Meter 40

AE Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

21 mm.

Obv. IMP C PROBVS PF AVG: Radiate, draped, and cuirassed bust right

Rev. PROVIDENT AVG: Providentia standing left, holding Imperial baton and globe

C. 479, Van Meter 37

AE silvered Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.


4.14 g., 25 mm.

Obv. IMP C M AVR PROBVS PF AVG: Radiate bust left in consular robe, holding eagle-tipped scepter in left hand

Rev. SOLI INVICTO: Sol in a spread quadriga facing, radiate, cloak billowing out behind, raising right hand, holding whip in left, CM in center, XXIE in exergue

RIC 911, Van Meter 48

AE Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

21 mm.

Obv. IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG: Radiate bust right

Rev. CLEMENTIA TEMP: Probus receiving a globe from Jupiter

C. 91, Van Meter 10

AR Antoninianus 276--282 A.D.

22 mm.

Obv. IMP C M AVR PROBVS P F AVG: Bust left, helmeted with radiate crown, mantled, and bearing shield and scepter

Rev. VIRTVS PROBI AVG: Probus on horseback left, captive before, S beneath horse, XXIMC in exergue

RIC 913, Van Meter 63