Who was Sponsian? Roman Emperor?

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In summary, scientists have found evidence that a Roman emperor who was thought to have been a fake was, in fact, real. The emperor, who was a military commander, likely assumed supreme command during a period of chaos and civil war, protecting the civilian population of Dacia until order was restored.
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Astronuc
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Gold coin proves 'fake' Roman emperor was real or When experts are wrong.​

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63636641

The coin bearing the name of Sponsian and his portrait was found more than 300 years ago in Transylvania, once a far-flung outpost of the Roman empire.
Believed to be a fake, it had been locked away in a museum cupboard.
Now scientists say scratch marks visible under a microscope prove that it was in circulation 2,000 years ago.
Prof Paul Pearson University College London, who led the research, told BBC News that he was astonished by the discovery.
"What we have found is an emperor. He was a figure thought to have been a fake and written off by the experts," he said.

"But we think he was real and that he had a role in history."

The coin at the centre of the story was among a small hoard discovered in 1713. It was thought to have been a genuine Roman coin until the mid-19th century, when experts suspected that they might have been produced by forgers of the time, because of their crude design.

The researchers believe that he was a military commander who was forced to crown himself as emperor of the most distant and difficult to defend province of the Roman empire, called Dacia.
Archaeological studies have established that Dacia was cut off from the rest of the Roman empire in around 260 AD. There was a pandemic, civil war and the empire was fragmenting.
Surrounded by enemies and cut off from Rome, Sponsian likely assumed supreme command during a period of chaos and civil war, protecting the military and civilian population of Dacia until order was restored, and the province evacuated between 271 AD and 275 AD, according to Jesper Ericsson.

When I was in Bulgaria many years ago, I hiked some of the 'Royal Road' between Rome and Byzantium/Constantinople, and I visited some of the monasteries. I cannot find an official name of the route. It based through Bulgaria into Romania then through Serbia and Slovena into Italy. I was informed that it was a route for emperors (or their embassies), popes (or representatives) and pilgrims between the two major centers. I'm not sure of the history though.

I found a different 'Royal Road' or 'Imperial Road' through Greece to Byzantium, Via Egnatia.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Egnatia
 
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Emperor for a day? Do they know how long he was in power?
 
  • #3
bob012345 said:
Do they know how long he was in power?
I think that's questionable. What is known is that the coins are not modern. (The article states they pre-date Sponsianus by about 250 years, but I think this is just being sloppy). The coins have been around for about 200 years, and that is the only evidence.

The paper points out:
  • The coin's gold content is atypically low
  • The coin's manufacturing technique is atypical for the era
  • Contemporaneous counterfeits used different materials and techniques
  • Soil contamination indicates that thee coins were buried for a long but undetmined time.
The paper goes on to speculate - and I think this is a weak point - that Sponsianus was a historical figure, I guess today we'd call him a warlord, who never ruled Rome itself. The part about not ruling Rome is not in doubt; at that time, nobody really rules Rome until Diocletian around 300.
 
  • #4
“The Roman Empire from Severus to Constantine“ by Southern is a good book about the Crisis of the Third Century.
 
  • #5
Astronuc said:
When I was in Bulgaria many years ago, I hiked some of the 'Royal Road' between Rome and Byzantium/Constantinople, and I visited some of the monestaries. I cannot find an official name of the route. It based through Bulgaria into Romania then through Serbia and Slovena into Italy. I was informed that it was a route for emperors (or their embassies), popes (or representatives) and pilgrims between the two major centers. I'm not sure of the history though.
Via Militaris?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Via_Militaris
 
  • #6
Frabjous said:
Yes, I believe that is the route. It passes through modern Plovdiv (then Philippopolis), and that was one of the towns I passed through to and from the mountains and a nearby monastery (Bachkovo Monastery "Uspenie Bogorodichno" Бачковски манастир „Успение Богородично“).
 
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Related to Who was Sponsian? Roman Emperor?

1. Who was Sponsian?

Sponsian was not a known person in history. It is possible that the name is a misspelling or a reference to a lesser-known figure.

2. Was Sponsian a Roman Emperor?

There is no record of a Roman Emperor named Sponsian. The list of Roman Emperors is well-documented and there is no mention of this name.

3. Did Sponsian have any significant accomplishments as a Roman Emperor?

As there is no evidence of Sponsian being a Roman Emperor, there are no known accomplishments or contributions to history associated with this name.

4. Is it possible that Sponsian was a lesser-known or short-lived Roman Emperor?

While it is possible that there may have been a lesser-known or short-lived Roman Emperor by this name, there is no historical evidence to support this claim.

5. Why is there limited information available about Sponsian as a Roman Emperor?

As there is no record of Sponsian being a Roman Emperor, there is limited information available about this person. It is possible that the name is a misspelling or a reference to a lesser-known figure, leading to the lack of information.

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