In what must have been the scandal of the century, Didius Julianus figured he could take advantage of an especially unstable period in the political chaos following the death of Commodus. Already Pertinax quickly fell from the power grab three months into his reign and the situation looked far from resolved. The real power at this point laid in the hands of the Praetorian Guard and they were a greedy bunch little interested in the welfare of the state. The head of the Guard, Laetus, simply put the seat of the emperor up for sale to the highest bidder. One of the richest senators at the moment was Julianus and he promised 25,000 Sestertii as bonus to each guardsmen if he was "elected". Laetus accepted and Julianus thus became Augustus. As soon as news of what happened reached other parts of the Empire different Governors assembled armies and claimed the throne for themselves. Septimius Severus was the first to advance on Rome at the head of an imposing army. Sensing a difficult battle ahead as well as another round of donative bonuses, loyalties quickly switched to Severus and Julianus found himself with no supporters. Soon after Severus arrived and had him executed.
RIC 1, Cohen 2 AR Denarius Obv: IMPCAESMDIDIVLIANAVG, Laureate head right.
Rev: CONCORDIAMILIT; Concordia standing left holding legionary eagle and standard. Lot sold for $1,650 9/19/01.
RIC 16, Cohen 17 Sestertius Obv: IMPCAESMDIDSEVERIVLIANAVG, Laureate head right.
Rev: RECTORORBIS S C; Emperor standing left, holding mappa and role. Lot sold for $1,900 4/1/01.