After the assassination of Aurelian who had left no heir, the
Praetorian Guard took the unusual step of asking the Senate to nominate their
next leader. Several months passed without an Augustus and then they chose
fellow Senator Tacitus who was advanced in age. He died soon after before making
many headlines for himself. However, in his brief tenure he set in motion
important events that were to follow for the next couple of years. First, he
named his half-brother Florian Praetorian Prefect and next-in-line to
Tacitus. He was then sent off to fight barbarian invaders. Secondly, he
appointed another relative, Maximinus, to the post of Governor in Syria.
Maximinus proved to be wildly unpopular and was murdered. There are two theories
on as to what happened next. The first holds that those who murdered Maximinus
arranged for Tacitus's own murder for fear of retaliation and the second, more
plausible, that he simply died of old age.
AE Antoninianus 275--276 A.D.
Obv. IMP C M CLA TACITVS AVG: Raidiate and cuirassed bust right
Rev. ANNONA AVGVST: Annona standing left, holding cornucopiae and pouring grain from patera into a modius