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

Coins of the Roman Imperators

Roman Republic, Marcus Junius Brutus, Most Famous of Caesars Assassins, 44 - 42 B.C.

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This type, traditionally attributed to an otherwise unknown Dacian or Sythian king Koson, was struck by Brutus, c. 44 - 42 B.C., with gold supplied by the Senate to fund his legions in the Roman civil war against Mark Antony and Octavian. The obverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Brutus in 54 B.C. depicting his ancestor L. Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic. The reverse imitates a Roman denarius struck by Pomponius Rufus in 73 B.C. The meaning of the inscription "KOΣΩN" is uncertain. KOΣΩN may have been the name of a Dacian king who supplied mercenary forces to Brutus, or BR KOΣΩN may have been intended to mean "[of] the Consul Brutus."
SH85674. Gold stater, BMCRR II p. 474, 48; RPC I 1701A (Thracian Kings); BMC Thrace p. 208, 1 (same); SNG Cop 123 (Scythian Dynasts), Choice gVF, full circles strike, mint luster, weight 8.378 g, maximum diameter 20.3 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, 44 - 42 B.C.; obverse Roman consul L. Junius Brutus (traditional founder of the Republic) in center, accompanied by two lictors, KOΣΩN in exergue, BR (Brutus) monogram left; reverse eagle standing left on scepter, wings open, raising wreath in right talon; $1700.00 (1445.00)


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.
SH85584. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/16, Sydenham 1067, Sear CRI 111, RSC I Julius Caesar 9, BMCRR I Rome 4185, SRCV I 1415, aVF, toned, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer C. Cossutius Maridianus, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse C MARIDIANVS, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, resting left arm on shield at side on right; $1500.00 (1275.00)


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

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This was the first coin issued in Caesar's name. It was minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus. The symbolism on the obverse appears to be the triumph of good over evil. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome).
SH85591. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, old collection rainbow toning, choice obverse, light marks, reverse 1/4 off center, weight 4.024 g, maximum diameter 9.6 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a dragon or carnyx (Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); $900.00 (765.00)


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.
SH86164. Silver denarius, RSC I Mark Antony and Augustus 8, BMCRR 103, Sydenham 1181, Crawford 517/2, SRCV I 1504, VF, toned, banker's marks, tight flan, reverse off center, light corrosion, weight 3.639 g, maximum diameter 18.0 mm, die axis 90o, 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; from the Lucas Harsh Collection, ex Incitatus Coins (Mar 2012); scarce; $580.00 (493.00)


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); $400.00 (340.00)


Octavian/Augustus and Julius Caesar, Thessalonica, Macedonia, c. 28 - 27 B.C.

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Gaebler (AMNG, p. 125) believed the ∆ stands for 4 asses. Touratsoglou (p. 25) interprets it to indicate year four an era of beginning with the Battle of Actium, which would date the issue to 28 - 27 B.C.
RP86188. Leaded bronze AE 23, Touratsoglou - (V2/R4, unlisted die combination), RPC I 1554, Sear Imperators 675, SNG Cop 395, SNG ANS 824, Varbanov 5153, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 58, VF, nice green patina, cleaning marks, areas of light corrosion, small edge cracks, off center, weight 10.787 g, maximum diameter 22.5 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, Emission I, 28 - 27 B.C.; obverse ΘEOΣ, wreathed head of Julius Caesar right; reverse ΘEΣΣAΛONIKEΩN, bare head of Augustus right, ∆ (year 4 of Actium era) below; $400.00 (340.00)


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, SRCV I 1479, 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; $280.00 (238.00)


Roman Republic, Q. Antonius Balbus, 83 B.C.

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Q. Antonius Balbus was a member of the Marian party and issued this coinage by special decree of the Senate to prepare for opposition to Sulla's return to Rome. In 82 B.C. he was appointed praetor in Sardinia. He was driven from Sardinia by L. Philippus, the legate of Sulla, and slain. Sulla prevailed and the Victory on the reverse of this type was proven a false hope. -- The Coinage of the Roman Republic by Edward A. Sydenham
RR86194. Silver denarius serratus, BMCRR I 2732 (same control), Crawford 364/1b, Sydenham 742, RSC I Antonia 1a, SRCV I 279, EF, broad flan, slightly off center, weight 3.468 g, maximum diameter 20.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 83 B.C.; obverse laureate head of Jupiter right, S C behind, M (control letter) below; reverse Victory in a quadriga right, wreath in right and reins and palm frond in left, Q ANTO BALB / PR (ANT and AL in monogram) in exergue; $280.00 (238.00)


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

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In 38 B.C., Octavian, Mark Antony, and Lepidus signed the Treaty of Tarentum extending the Second Triumvirate until 33 B.C. On 17 January 38 B.C., Octavian married Livia. Octavian gained permission from the College of Pontiffs to wed her while she was still pregnant from another husband. Three months after the wedding she gave birth to her second son, Nero Claudius Drusus. The baby and his elder brother, the four-year-old Tiberius, lived in Octavian's household.
RB86123. Leaded bronze dupondius, SRCV I 1570, Crawford 535/2, Sear CRI 309, Sydenham 1336, BMCRR Gaul 108, Cohen I 95, RPC I 621, VF, well centered on a broad flan, some corrosion and pitting, weight 15.746 g, maximum diameter 20.8 mm, die axis 45o, southern Italian (Paestum?) mint, c. 38 B.C.; obverse DIVI F, bare head of Octavian right, star below chin; reverse DIVOS / IVLIVS in two lines within laurel wreath; ex Heritage, Long Beach Signature Sale 3035 (3 Sep 2014), lot 32167; $250.00 (212.50)


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.
RR85202. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/26, Sydenham 1230, BMCRR II East 204, RSC I 41, Sear CRI 365, F, toned, off center, scratches, weight 3.216 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 225o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 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; $220.00 (187.00)




  



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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 Saturday, November 18, 2017.
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The Imperators