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Coins of the Roman Imperators

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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The VI Ferrata, the "Ironclad," was an old legion of Caesar's that fought for Antony. It was retained by Augustus, and later served in Syria and Judaea. The VI Victrix, on the other hand, was one of Octavian's legions. This Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH76382. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice EF, near perfect centering, light toning, slightly uneven strike, contact marks, areas of porosity and light corrosion, weight 3.664 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Forum (2005); $1400.00 (1232.00)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.

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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)


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

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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)


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

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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)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG II

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This may have been II Sabina, disbanded by Augustus. The well-known II Augusta, which took part in the conquest of Britain and was later stationed in South Wales, was one of Octavian's legions, and so not likely to be the Second Legion referred to on this coin. Other Second Legions (Adiutrix, Italica, Parthica and Traiana) were raised much later in imperial times.
SH76924. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27, Sear CRI 349, gVF, well struck, toned, crowded flan, marks and scratches, weight 3.521 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - II, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Germania Inferior Numismatics; $550.00 (484.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 42 - 31 B.C., Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia

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In 38 B.C. (or 37 B.C.), Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 B.C.
RP72123. Bronze AE 26, RPC I 4740; Seyrig Monnayage 19; Sofaer pl. 7, 118; Kadman 73; Rouvier 993; Rosenberger -, aF, rough, earthen encrustations, weight 10.071 g, maximum diameter 25.6 mm, die axis 0o, Akko-Ptolemais, Phoenicia mint, 39 - 38 B.C.; obverse bare head of Antony right, within laurel wreath; reverse Tyche standing left on prow of galley, head right, apluster and rudder in right hand, cornucopia and palm in left, L IA / KAI AΣY (year 11 of Caesarian Era) upper left, ΠTOΛE/MAEΩN / IEPAΣ in three horizontal lines on right; rare; $500.00 (440.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XII

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR76782. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/20, Sydenham 1224, BMCRR II East 198, RSC I 34, VF, toned, contact marks, graffiti, weight 3.561 g, maximum diameter 19.3 mm, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $450.00 (396.00)


Roman Republic, Second Triumvirate, Mark Antony and Octavian, Spring - Early Summer 41 B.C.

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AVG in the obverse legend, abbreviates Antony's official position as Augur (not Augustus, a title which did not yet exist). The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"

Octavian's "equivalent" position as Pontifex, a priest, is abbreviated PONT in the reverse legend.

The moneyer M. Barbatius was a friend of Julius Caesar. In 41 B.C. he was a quaestor pro praetore to Antony in the East.
RR73605. Silver denarius, RSC I Mark Antony and Augustus 8, BMCRR 103, Sydenham 1181, Crawford 517/2, SRCV I 1504, F, well centered, toned, grainy surfaces, weight 3.156 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, military mint moving with Antony, Ephesus(?) mint, spring - early summer 41 B.C.; obverse M ANT IMP AVG III VIR R P C M BARBAT Q P (MP and AV ligate), bare head of Antony right; reverse CAESAR IMP PONT III VIR R P C, bare head of Octavian right; scarce; $400.00 (352.00)


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XIX

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This LEG XIX was probably raised by Antony and disbanded by Octavian. The old Caesarean legions XVII, XVIII and XIX were destroyed with Scribonius Curio in Africa in 49 B.C., restored by Octavian (Augustus), and then destroyed again in Germany under Quinctilius Varus in 9 A.D.
SH76755. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/35, Sydenham 1242, BMCRR II East 214, RSC I 55, VF, crowded flan, scuff on galley, some deposits in devices, weight 3.225 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / IIIVIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XIX, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex CNG auction 146 (23 Aug 2006), lot 200; $350.00 (308.00)










REFERENCES

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 Sunday, February 07, 2016.
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The Imperators