Lot 285
Julius Nepos (474-475). AV Solidus, Mediolanum mint. Obv. DN IVL NEPOS PF AVG. Helmeted and cuirassed bust facing, holding spear and shield. Rev. VICTORIA AVGGG followed by eight-pointed star. Victory standing left, holding long cross; in field, M-D; in exergue, COBOB. LRC 94.5. RIC 3218 (R3). Lacam II, pl. CLV, Group II A, Type 3.4 (p.632). AV. g. 4.41 mm. 20.00 RRR. Good VF. Julius Nepos was the last effective Emperor of the Western Empire, proclaimed Augustus at Porto on 19th June 474 after having overthroned Glycerius. Early in 475 he chose as his Magister Equitum Orestes, an experienced Pannonian soldier who had before served as secretary to Attila the Hun. The newly promoted Orestes saw his chance and attacked Nepos in August that year, and forced him to flee from Italy to Dalmatia on 28th August, thus leaving the leadership of the Western Empire in his opponent hands. Nepos lived on and controlled Dalmatia until he was murdered by a kinsman in 480. The star at the end of the reverse legend probably indicates that Nepos was consul for the year 475, although there is no litterary evidence to support this. However, it is clear from the style of this coin that it belongs certanly to the period when Nepos was the emperor of the West, and not to the subsequent period 476-480 when other coins were struk in his name by Odovacar ( see lot 293). For a full discussion see Grierson, 'Late Roman coins in Dumbarton Oaks', 1992, pp. 266-267. Extremely rare.

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