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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Imperators ▸ Julius CaesarView Options:  |  |  | 

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

Gaius Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.


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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH76555. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sear CRI 104a, BMCRR I Rome 4155, Sydenham 1062, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, SRCV I 1410, VF, attractive iridescent toning, uneven strike, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.273 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, moneyer L. Aemilius Buca, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR - DICT PERPETVO (starting upper right), wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated right, Victory in extended right hand, transverse scepter in left hand, L BVCA downward behind; ex Roma auction 13 (29 Nov 2014), lot 369; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; scarce; $1350.00 (1188.00)


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"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar, when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
SH76556. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/10, BMCRR I Rome 4169, Sydenham 1073, Sear CRI 107a/, RSC I Julius Caesar 38, SRCV I 1413, Vagi 55, F, porous, scratches, off center, weak strike areas, weight 3.872 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus Victrix standing left, Victory in extended right hand, long scepter vertical behind in left hand, shield at feet on right leaning on scepter; ex CNG e-auction 352, lot 395; $760.00 (668.80)


Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul

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Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $680.00 (598.40)


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This coin was struck about a month after Julius Caesar was assassinated on March 15 (the Ides of March) by a group of senators, among them Gaius Cassius Longinus, Marcus Junius Brutus, and Caesar's Massilian naval commander, Decimus Brutus. In April, about the time this coin was struck, Octavian returned from Apollonia in Dalmatia to Rome to take up Caesar's inheritance, against advice from Atia (his mother and Caesar's niece) and consular stepfather Antony.
RR75296. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/19, Sydenham 1069, RSC I Julius Caesar 8, Sear CRI 112, SRCV I 1422, aF, Caesar portrait nice for the grade, toned, marks and bumps, weight 2.949 g, maximum diameter 19.7 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, Apr 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR PARENS PATRIAE (Caesar father of the country), wreathed and veiled head of Caesar right, apex behind, lituus below chin (symbols of Caesar's position as Pontifex Maximus); reverse C COSSVTIVS / MARID-IANVS (moneyer's name) arranged in form of cross, A - A - A - FF (Auro, Argento, Aere, Flando, Feriundo) in the angles; a superb example of this type sold in June 2014 for $67,500 plus auction fees!; scarce; $640.00 (563.20)


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This issue was minted to pay for Caesar's military operation against the Pompeians in North Africa. The campaign ended with the dictator's victory at Thapsus on 6 April 46 B.C. The reverse depicts Aeneas saving his father's life by carrying him away from an eruption of Mount Etna and refers to the mythical descent of the Julia gens from Iulus, the son of Aeneas.
RS77113. Silver denarius, Crawford 458/1, RSC I 12, Sydenham 1013, BMCRR East 31, SRCV I 1402, F, bankers marks, weight 3.533 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 180o, North Africa mint, 47 - 46 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, wearing necklace, hair rolled back, in a knot behind, two locks down neck; reverse CAESAR, Aeneas walking left, nude, carrying his father, Anchises, on his left shoulder, palladium in right hand; $350.00 (308.00)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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This type was a special military coinage produced by Caesar during his final campaign. This campaign against the Pompeian forces in Spain culminated in the battle of Munda on 17 March 45 B.C. The obverse refers to Caesar's mythical descent from the goddess Venus. The reverse refers to Caesar's victories in Gaul and the male Gaulish captive may be Vercingetorix.
RR77115. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1404, BMCRR Spain 89, RSC I 13, Crawford 468/1, F, nice style Venus, light toning, reverse 1/5 off center, some light marks, weight 3.610 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, Spanish mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, small Cupid behind; reverse trophy of Gallic arms; on left, Gallia seated left with hand to head in attitude of morning; on right, male (Vercingetorix?) captive seated right, hands bound behind, looking up; CAESAR in exergue; $350.00 (308.00)


Julius Caesar and Octavian, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Vienne, Gaul

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Vienne is in south-eastern France, 20 miles (32 km) south of Lyon, on the Rhone River. Before the arrival of the Roman armies under Julius Caesar, Vienne was the capital city of the Allobroges. RPC misspells the name, Vienna.

The denomination struck at Vienne was a dupondius and the type was frequently halved to make two asses.
RR65956. Bronze cut fragment, cut half of RPC I 517, SNG Cop -, F, weight 10.384 g, maximum diameter 31.5 mm, die axis 0o, Gaul, Vienne mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP / CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, bare heads of Julius Caesar left [and Octavian right (off flan)]; reverse [C I V] (Colonia Iulia Viennensis), prow right with superstructure; $120.00 (105.60)







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OBVERSE LEGENDS

CAESARDICTINPERPETVO
CAESARDICTPERPETVO
CAESARDICTQVART
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPER
CAESDICQVAR
CCAESARCOSTER
CCAESDICTER


REFERENCES

Babelon, E. Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. (Paris, 1885).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

Catalog current as of Monday, February 08, 2016.
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Roman Coins of Caesar