The Saeculares Games

November 29, 2016

Perhaps the more interesting series and therefore sought of the Roman coinage is the one that commemorates the first millennium of the founding of the Eternal City.


According to the Latin writer Marco Terenzio Varrone, the city of Rome was founded by Romulus in 753 BC. Accordingly, the year 1000 AUC (Ad Urbe Condita) should correspond to the year 248 AD, time when Rome was ruled by an obscure character named Marcus Julius Philippus, better known as Philip the Arab because of their ethnicity.


Splendid Bust of Philip I the Arab conserved in the Vatican Museums.


As a good imperial upstart, Philip was not to be less than their predecessors in the Roman throne, which had been held every century that begins a solemn games in honour of the gods. Known as the Ludi saeculares or Centennial Games, were characterized by their unusual lavishness and deployment of resources to the point that, according to Suetonius, who was attending them could be sure that he would not attend in the rest of his life to a show like this one (a logical thing since the Roman saeculum, our century, was fixed on the basis of what was considered the maximum life of a man: 100 years). Needless to say how these annals where expected with a high expectation for the Roman plebs, always eager for excitem