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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 B.C., and between then and 27 B.C. was officially named Gaius Julius Caesar. After 27 B.C., 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.


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.
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; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


Mark Antony and Octavian, 2nd Triumvirate, Thessalonica, Macedonia, 37 B.C.

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The reverse inscription abbreviates, MAPKOΣ ANTΩNIONΣ AYTOKPATΩP ΓAIOΣ KAIΣAP AYTOKPATΩP. The bust of Libertas on the obverse "refers to the grant of freedom by the Triumvirs to Thessalonica in 42 BC after the battle of Philippi (the victory which is celebrated on the reverse)." -- RPC I, p. 29

In 37 B.C., Cleopatra loaned Antony the money for the army. After a five-month siege, the Romans took Jerusalem from the Parthians. Herod the Great made king by Anthony, took control of his capital. Antigonus was taken to Antioch where Antony had him executed. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the Roman troops supporting Herod.
RP83539. Bronze AE 29, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 63; RPC I 1551/20-26; Sear CRI 672; SNG Cop 374; SNG ANS 823, aF, green patina on yellow brass, edge splits corrosion, weight 23.685 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 37 B.C.; obverse ΘEΣΣAΛONKEΩN EΛEYΘEPIAΣ, diademed and draped bust of Eleutheria (Liberty) right, E (year 5) below chin; reverse M ANT AYT Γ KAI AYT, Nike advancing left, extending wreath in right hand, palm frond in left; $130.00 (€110.50)
 


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Rare and important type commemorating the defeat of Antony and conquest of Egypt.

In "The Coinage System of Cleopatra VII, Marc Antony, and Augustus in Cyprus, Matt Kreuzer attributes this type to Paphos, Cyprus. Kreuzer notes, "After Actium, Octavian took over Antony and Cleopatra's minting operations at Paphos on Cyprus. A steady output of similar style denarii was maintained." The portrait style of this coin is the same style as the CA coinage. Kreuzer attributes both types to Paphos. He also identifies the small Capricorn below the bust, as "an apparent symbol that the coin came from Cyprus the personal possession of Octavian himself."

A similar denarii without the Capricorn was also struck by a western mint, probably Rome (S 1564, RIC 275).
SH17094. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1565, RSC I 4, RIC I 545, Vagi 247, BMCRE I 653, gVF, superb eastern portrait, clear capricorn, nicely done crocodile, minor porosity, weight 3.808 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, uncertain Asia, Paphos? mint, 28 B.C.; obverse CAESARDIVI F COS•VI, bare head right, capricorn right below; reverse AEGYPTO CAPTA, crocodile right; very rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES

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Catalog current as of Tuesday, October 24, 2017.
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Roman Coins of Octavian