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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ AugustusView Options:  |  |  |   

Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

Octavian Augustus, the first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, founded the Roman empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. Augustus was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius after a long reign of 41 years. He was 77, having ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Strabo wrote, "The Romans possess Lugdunum, founded below a ridge at the confluence of the Arar and the Rhone. It is the most populous of all the other cities except Narbo; for it is a center of commerce, and the Roman emperors strike their silver and gold coinage there." (4.3.2)
SH85701. Silver denarius, RIC I 167a, BMCRE I 451, RSC I 137, BnF I 1373, Hunter I 197, SRCV I 1610, Choice EF, superb portrait, well centered and struck, dark toning, light marks, slightest porosity, weight 3.630 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 15 - 13 B.C.; obverse AVGVSTVS DIVI•F, bare head right, dot border; reverse bull butting right, left foreleg raised, lashing tail, IMP•X in exergue, linear border; $2000.00 (€1700.00)
 


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Mérida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $1200.00 (€1020.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., VAR Quinctillus Varus Countermark

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The Altar of Lugdunum and the Sanctuary of the Three Gauls was dedicated by Augustus on 1 August 10 B.C., the very same day Drusus' son, the future emperor Claudius, was born in Lugdunum. All the notable men of Gaul were invited. Caius Julius Vercondaridubnus, a member of the Aedui tribe, was the first priest of the new imperial cult. The altar, which was engraved with the names of 60 Gallic tribes, was featured prominently on coins from the Lugdunum mint for many years.
CM84471. Copper as, BnF I 1485 (with c/m), RIC I 230, BMCRE I 549, SRCV I 1690, Cohen I 240; countermark: Pangerl 52e (Publius Quinctilius Varus), aF, rough, edge crack, c/m: aF, weight 8.852 g, maximum diameter 27.0 mm, die axis 180o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 10 - 6 B.C.; obverse CAESAR PONT MAX, laureate head right; countermark: VAR ligature (Varus) in a rectangular punch; reverse ROM ET AVG (in exergue), the Altar of Lugdunum, the front decorated with the corona civica between laurels and figures; flanked on each side by a Victory on a column standing facing center, raising a wreath and holding a palm frond; $720.00 (€612.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

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The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $270.00 (€229.50)
 


Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria, 5 - 4 B.C., Legate P. Quinctilius Varus

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Publius Quinctilius Varus was a Roman general and politician under Augustus. From 7 or 6 B.C. until 4 B.C. he governed Syria where he was known for harsh rule and high taxes. Josephus mentions the swift action of Varus in 4 B.C., against a revolt in Judaea following the death of Herod the Great. Varus occupied Jerusalem and crucified 2000 rebels. Varus is most infamous for losing three Roman legions in an ambush by Germanic tribes led by Arminius in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest, at which point he took his own life. Upon hearing the news, Augustus tore his clothes, refused to cut his hair for months and, for years afterward, was heard, upon occasion, to moan, "Quinctilius Varus, give me back my Legions!" (Quintili Vare, legiones redde!).
RY86399. Bronze trichalkon, McAlee 87; Butcher 50c; RPC I 4252; SNG Cop 92; SNG Munchen 640; BMC Galatia p. 159, 59; Cohen DCA 402 (S), gF, well centered, green patina, porous, weight 7.683 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, legate P. Quinctilius Varus, 5 - 4 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Zeus right; reverse ANTIOXEΩ EΠI OVAPOV, Tyche of Antioch seated right on rocks, turreted, wearing chiton and peplos, palm frond in her right hand, half-length figure of river-god Orontes swimming right below, his head turned facing, ZK (Actian Era year 27) in the right field; scarce; $200.00 (€170.00)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

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The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP77421. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, gF, nice green patina, old scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.040 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse bare headed male head right; reverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; very rare; $150.00 (€127.50)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

Click for a larger photo
The mint, the quaestor who struck this type, and even the identity of the person in the portrait remain uncertain. The type has previously been attributed to Macedonia and the portrait identified as Brutus (Friedlander) or Caesar (Grant). David Sear notes the type has never been found in Macedonia. Finds point to Syria or Anatolia. It is possible that the type was issued, with his own portrait, by Sosius, a general under Marc Antony who was quaestor in 39 B.C. Much more likely, however, the portrait is of Augustus.
RP77502. Bronze AE 28, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, porous, scratches, weight 19.349 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, uncertain Anatolian or Syrian mint, obverse bare head right; reverse hasta (spear), sella quaestoria (quaestor's seat of office), and fiscus (imperial treasury), Q (for quaestor) below; ex H.D. Rauch e-auction 15 (16 Jun 2014), lot 145; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Iberian(?) Barbaric Imitative

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RB70583. Copper as, cf. SRCV I 1685, RIC I 431, BMCRE 226, Cohen I 515, BnF I 687 (official, Rome mint, 7 B.C.), F, interesting crude style, nice green patina, edge cracks, scratches, pits on reverses, weight 10.390 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 225o, Iberian(?) unofficial mint, obverse bare head right; reverse large S C; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Pergamon, Mysia, Plautius Silvanus, Roman Proconsul of Asia under Augustus, 4 - 5 A.D.

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M. Plautius Silvanus was Proconsul of Asia from 4 to 5 A.D. He was consul in the 2 A.D. and belonged to the inner circle of Augustus. Whether the legend on the obverse refers to Augustus, remains a question, likewise the exact interpretation of the scene. Eastern denominations are not fully understood, but this brass coin may have been equal to the Roman as or 1/3 of a dupondius.

The adjustment marks visible in the fields probably indicate that this flan was cut from a round bar, not cast. These marks are found on some other examples of the type.
RP83567. Brass AE 22, RPC I 2364; BMC Mysia p. 139, 242 - 245; SNG Cop 461, gVF, well centered, strong flan adjustment marks, weight 4.013 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, 4 - 5 A.D.; obverse ΣEBAΣTON ∆HMOΦΩN, Augustus in tetrastyle temple; reverse ΣIΛBANON ΠEPΓAMHNOI, Demos of Pergamum crowning the proconsul M. Plautius Silvanus, who is wearing toga; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Kyzikos, Mysia

Click for a larger photo
The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP84131. Bronze AE 14, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, F, green patina, light corrosion and deposits, weight 2.226 g, maximum diameter 14.2 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; reverse bare headed male head right; very rare; $90.00 (€76.50)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
AVGVSTVSDIVIF
AVGVSTVSTRPOT
AVGVSTVSTRPOTVII
CAESARAVGPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARAVGVSTPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGVSTVS
CAESARAVGVSTVSDIVIF
CAESARAVGVSTVS DIVIFPATERPATRIAE
CAESARAVGVSTVSSPQR
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRIBVNICPOTEST
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARCOSVI
CAESARDIVIFCOSVI
CAESARIAVGVSTO
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPVII
CAESARIIIVIRRPC
CAESARPONTMAX
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
CCAESARIMP
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
DIVOAVGVSTO
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQR
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQROBCIVESSER
DIVVSAVGVSTVS
DIVVSAVGVSTVSPATER
DIVVSAVGVSTVSSC
DIVIIVLIF
GALVSMESSALLAIIIVIR
IMPCAESAR
IMPCAESARAVGVST
IMPCAESARAVGVSTTRPOTIIX
IMPCAESARDIVIF
IMPCAESARDIVIFAVGVSTVSIMPXX
IMPCAESARDIVIFCOSVILIBERTATISPRVINDEX
IMP CAESAR DIVI F III VIR ITER
IMP CAESAR DIVI F VIR ITER R P C
IMP CAESARI
IMP CAESAR DIVI IVLI
IMP IX TR POV
LAMIASILIVSANNIVS
OB CIVIS SERVATOS
PBETILIENVSBASSVS
PVLCHERTAVRVSREGVLVS
SCOBRPCVMSALVTIMPCAESARAVGCONS
S P Q R IMP CAESARI
S P Q R IMP CAESARI AVG COS XI TR POT VI
S P Q R PARENT CONSSVO


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P.P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J.B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 14, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Augustus