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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Imperators ▸ OctavianView Options:  |  |  |    ▷▷

Octavian, Triumvir and Imperator, Augustus 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

Gaius Octavius Thurinus, was adopted by his great-uncle Julius Caesar in 44 BC, and between then and 27 BC was officially named Gaius Julius Caesar. After 27 BC, he was named Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus. Because of the various names he bore, it is common to call him Octavius when referring to events between 63 and 44 B.C., Octavian (or Octavianus) when referring to events between 44 and 27 B.C., and Augustus when referring to events after 27 B.C. The first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, he founded the Roman Empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. As emperor, he reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. After a long reign of 41 years, from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D., he died at the age of 77. The coins below were struck before he was renamed Augustus in 27 B.C.


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 (591.60)


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 (348.00)


Octavian, Triumvir and Imperator, Augustus 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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The Moneyer, Quintus Salvius Salvidienus Rufus, was of humble origin and owed his elevation to Octavian. Octavian promised him the consulship and made him governor of Gallia Narbonensis. He repaid Octavian with base ingratitude, encouraging the troops in his province to desert to Antony. After Antony revealed his treachery to Octavian, Salvius was summoned to Rome, where he was condemned to death, and then took his own life.
RR72260. Silver denarius, BMCRR II Gaul 88 (also with MP ligate), SRCV I 1541, RSC I 514, Sydenham 1326b, Sear CRI 300, Crawford 523/1a, aF, toned, weight 3.289 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 45o, moneyer Q. Salvius, early 40 B.C.; obverse CAESAR III VIR R P C, bare head right; reverse Q SALVIVS IMP COS DESIG (MP ligate), winged thunderbolt; mobile mint traveling with Octavian in southern Italy; from the Andrew McCabe Collection; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 10, lot 596; rare; $215.00 (187.05)




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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Wednesday, July 01, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Octavian