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Emperor Pescennius Niger, Reign from 193-194 AD, Predictive of 197 AD Eclipse


Pescennius Niger served in the military campaigns of Commodus and became Imperial Legate of Syria in 191 AD. He was still in Syria when the news came of the death of Emperor Pertinax and was proclaimed emperor by the citizens of Rome. The reverse of this coin was weakly struck but shows multiple stars and a crescent similar to Hadrian's eclipse coins. The multiple start pattern may be indicative of a brief eclipse. Viewing a brief eclipse may give the impression of multiple bodies passing in front of the sun. Being in Antioch he was very familiar with the history of solar eclipses and may have seen the eclipse of 174 AD. He was assassinated before he could become emperor but may have been aware of the 197 AD eclipse. Photo from Tom Cederlind

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