Claudius Commemorates His Accession
AD 41-54. AV Aureus (19mm, 7.66 g, 1h). Rome mint. Struck AD 44/5. Laureate head right / IMPER RECEPT, Claudius seated left, holding scepter; to left, signum; all within distyle building with crescent in pediment and flanked by crenelated walls with arched entries; all set on crenelated wall with two arched entries. RIC I 25; von Kaenel Type 22 (V332/R339; an unlisted die combination); Calicó 361a. Near EF.
According to the historian Suetonius (Claud. 10.1-4), the Praetorian Guard appointed Claudius emperor following the assassination of his nephew and predecessor Gaius. Found cowering behind a palace curtain, the new emperor was immediately removed to the Praetorian camp which had been constructed almost fifteen years earlier under Sejanus, and located at the northeastern outskirts of the capital. For the next several days, Claudius remained under the Guard’s “protection”, while diplomatic maneuvers secured senatorial acceptance of his succession. Because of the Guard’s strategic involvement in these events, Claudius rewarded them with an donative, renewed annually for the next several years, ostensibly commemorating their protection of him during the first days of his reign, but, in fact, acknowledging their central role in his accession.