A denarius of Didia Clara, issued under Didius Julianus in AD 193. The obverse shows the bust of Didia Clara, who was the only known daughter of Didius Julianus. The legend gives her title of Augusta, which she and her mother acquired when Julianus became emperor. Although she was allegedly the most beautiful woman in all of Rome, very little is known about her life
The reverse shows Hilaritas who was Roman personification of joyfulness and public rejoicing. The legend reads HILAR TEMPOR, short for Hilaritas Temporum, “Joy of the Times”. This imagery and legend often followed the birth of a child. Any joy was going to be short lived.
Didius Julianus was emperor for a mere 66 days during the Year of the Five Emperors. He became Emperor after the murder of Pertinax on 28 March 193. He gained the title by placing the winning bid, of 25,000 sesterces per soldier, in an auction held by the Praetorian Guard. The process and outcome was unpopular with both the public in Rome and three influential generals, who each had aspirations for the title. The nearest to Rome was Septimus Severus who marched to the capital. Some reports suggest the Praetorian Guard put up a fight, others that they deserted en masse. Julianus was killed by a soldier on 2 June 193.
One contemporaneous account says that Didia and her mother were the instigators of Julianus bid for power, another that they viewed it “with both trepidation and reluctance as if they already foresaw catastrophe“
This denarius is a gorgeous coin and is the first coin of Didia Clara recorded at the PAS. It has been designated a Find of Note: National Importance