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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The ImperatorsView Options:  |  |  | 

Coins of the Roman Imperators

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

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This coin declares Caesar as dictator for the second time, consul for the third time, augur and pontifex maximus. The head of Ceres refers to the grain producing wealth delivered to Rome by his victory in Africa. The D (and on similar coins an M) indicates this type was struck to be distributed as a donativum (largess) or munus (gift) to his legions. Some may have been distributed at Caesar's quadruple triumph celebrated in 46 B.C., when celebrations included public banquets, plays and gladiatorial games, lasting forty days. Vercingetorix was paraded and executed. Also in 46 B.C., Caesar made his nephew Octavian his heir. Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt, Caesar's mistress, and Caesarion, his bastard son by her, moved into one of his residences on the Tiber. They would remain in Rome as Caesar's guests until his assassination on 15 March 44 B.C.
SH84609. Silver denarius, Crawford 467/1a, Russo RBW 1637, Sydenham 1023, RSC I 4a; Sear CRI 57, BMCRR Africa 21, SRCV I 1403, gVF, dark toning, some marks and scratches, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.283 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 0o, African, Utica(?) mint, 46 B.C.; obverse DICT ITER - COS TERT (counterclockwise from lower right, dictator for the 2nd time, consul for the third time), head of Ceres right, wreathed with grain; reverse implements of the augurate and pontificate: simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), capis (jug), and lituus (wand), AVGVR (augur) above, below D (donativum = largess) to right, PONT MAX (pontifex maximus) below; from the James Campbell Collection, purchased in 2004 from Roma Numismatica (9A Via Barberini, Rome); $750.00 (667.50)


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

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This is a scarcer variety of the type with the elephants legs parallel and a human-like ear, attributed to Spain. The engravers were apparently unfamiliar with elephants.
RR84461. Silver denarius, BMCRR Gaul 27 (also with human-like ear), Russo RBW 1557 (same), RSC I 49, Sydenham 1006, Crawford 443/1, Sear CRI 9, SRCV I 1399, VF, light toning, some luster, slightly off center, edge crack, weight 3.950 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 315o, Spain, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on snake or carnyx (Celtic war trumpet), CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); $700.00 (623.00)


Roman Republic, Sextus Pompeius Magnus, 45 - 44 B.C.

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This type was struck while Sextus Pompey was free-booting in Spain following the Battle of Munda. Pietas was the Pompeians' battle cry at Munda and the reverse type refers to his vow to avenge the deaths of his father and elder brother. Babelon and Grueber interpret SAL as salutatus. Crawford and Buttrey identify it as a mintmark for Salpensa, but David Sear points out that such a prominent mintmark would be unprecedented on a denarius of the period and seems to be an integral part of the legend.
RR77515. Silver denarius, Buttrey Pietas Type 4 (6/D); Crawford 477/3a; Sydenham 1042a; Sear CRI 232b, RSC I Pompeia 13, gF, attractive old cabinet tone, banker's marks, light bumps and scratches, weight 3.331 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 90o, uncertain Hispania mint, 45 - 44 B.C.; obverse SEX MAGN PIVS IMP SAL, bare head of Cnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) right; reverse Pietas standing left, palm branch in right hand, long scepter transverse in left hand, PIETAS downward on right; From the Andrew McCabe Collection, Roma Numismatics auction 23, lot 372, ex Gemini auction X (13 Jan 2013), lot 261, ex Randy Haviland Collection; very rare; $640.00 (569.60)


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; $540.00 (480.60)


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

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 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 - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $500.00 (445.00)


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; $400.00 (356.00)


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; $360.00 (320.40)


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

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In 38 B.C. Mark Antony, Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus and Marcus Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum, extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 BC.
SH79737. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1474, Crawford 533/2, Sear CRI 267, Sydenham 1199, RSC I 13, BMCRR II East 141, gF, toned, marks and scratches, banker's marks, weak legends, weight 3.741 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Athens mint, summer 38 B.C.; obverse M ANTONINVS M F M N AVGVR IMP TERT, Mark Antony standing right, as priest, holding lituus; reverse III VIR R P C COS DESIG ITER ET TERT, radiate head of Sol right; $360.00 (320.40)


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

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $360.00 (320.40)


Commodus, March or April 177 - 31 December 192 A.D., Philippi, Macedonia

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This reverse copies a type issued for Augustus. The statue of Julius Caesar is often described as crowning Augustus, but it seems clear on most specimens that both Augustus and Caesar are just raising their right hands in a salute. RPC identifies the figure behind as Genius Populi Romani(?), undoubtedly because the figure wears only a himation around his hips and legs. On the coin issued by Augustus, Caesar wears a toga.
RP83547. Bronze AE 26, RPC Online IV 4259 (4 spec., same dies as L 1958-3-4-92); AMNG III.2 p. 103, 18, pl. XX, 17 (rev. only); SNG Cop -; SNG ANS -; BMC Macedonia -, VF, green patina, obverse a little off-center, marks and scratches, corrosion, weight 10.650 g, maximum diameter 26.0 mm, die axis 180o, Philippi mint, 177 - 192 A.D.; obverse M COMMO ANT P FELIX AV BR, laureate head of Commodus right; reverse COL IVLIA AVG PHILIP, a statue of Augustus, on left, standing left in military dress and statue of Divi Julius Caesar (or Genius Populi Romani?) standing left behind him a himation around hips and legs, both raising right hand in salute, both statues on base inscribed DIVS (sic) / AVG in two lines; ex Gitbud & Naumann auction 36, lot 338; very rare; $270.00 (240.30)










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 Friday, January 20, 2017.
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The Imperators