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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>TheImperators>MarcAntony

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

Mark Antony was military commander for Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul and subsequent civil war. Caesar appointed Antony the administrator of Italy while he eliminated his political opponents in Greece, North Africa, and Spain. After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C., Antony joined forces with Marcus Lepidus, one of Caesar's generals, and Caesar's adoptive son Octavian in a three-man dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. The Triumvirate defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. and divided government of the Republic between themselves. Antony took Rome's eastern provinces, including authority over Ptolemaic Egypt ruled by Queen Cleopatra, and command of Rome's war against Parthia. Relations within the Triumvirate were strained as the various members sought greater political power. Civil war between Antony and Octavian was averted in 40 B.C. when Antony married Octavian's sister Octavia Minor. Despite his marriage, Antony continued his love affair with Cleopatra. With Lepidus expelled in 36 B.C., the Triumvirate finally broke up in 33 B.C. as disagreements between Octavian and Antony erupted into civil war in 31 B.C. The Roman Senate, at Octavian's direction, declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Antony was defeated by Octavian at the naval Battle of Actium the same year. Defeated, Antony fled with Cleopatra back to Egypt where he committed suicide. With Antony dead, Octavian was left as the undisputed master of the Roman world and would reign as the first Roman Emperor with the title Augustus.


Click for a larger photo In June 36 B.C., Mark Antony launched a major offensive against the Parthians with about 100,000 Roman and allied troops, including 10 legions and 10,000 cavalry. The campaign was a disaster. He was defeated, abandoned by his allies, and lost more than a quarter of his men, many to disease and starvation during his winter retreat to Egypt. Meanwhile, Octavian had forced Lepidus resign and had swayed the traditional Republican aristocracy against Antony. Antony was condemned as a man of low morals who had ?gone native? and abandoned his faithful wife and children in Rome to be with the promiscuous queen of Egypt. Several times Antony was summoned to Rome, but he remained in Alexandria with Cleopatra. The Triumvirate was no more. In Rome, Octavian ruled alone.
RP71397. Bronze AE 23, RPC I 4467; Baramki AUB 192, pl. XV, 10, F, green patina, weight 7.498 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Aradus mint, 36 - 35 B.C.; obverse bare head right; reverse bull leaping left, CK∆ (year 224 of Arados) above, MH (48 nummi?) below; extremely rare; $360.00 (€313.20)

Aegium, Achaea, Greece, c. 37 - 31 B.C., Under Antony and Cleopatra
Click for a larger photo Kroll connected the types with Antony and Cleopatra, who controlled Achaea when this coin was struck. Dionysos refers to Antony, who called himself the "new Dionysos," and the typically Ptolemaic eagle symbolizes Cleopatra.
GB67910. Bronze tetrachalkon, BCD Peloponnesos 438 - 439, BMC Peloponnesus 6 - 7, Kroll Bronze 3, Weber 3954, F, weight 3.916 g, maximum diameter 20.0 mm, die axis 0o, Aegium mint, Theoxios and Kletaios, magistrates, c. 37 - 31 B.C; obverse AIΓIEΩN, head of young Dionysos right, wreathed in ivy; reverse ΘEOΞIOΣ KAHTAIOΣ, eagle standing left, head left, wings closed; rare; $200.00 (€174.00)

Mark Antony and Octavian, Thessalonica, Macedonia, 37 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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
SH72307. Leaded bronze AE 31, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 63; RPC I 1551/20-26; Sear Imperators 672; SNG Cop 374; SNG ANS 823, aVF, weight 17.561 g, maximum diameter 29.3 mm, die axis 180o, 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, palm frond in left; $200.00 (€174.00)

Mark Antony and Octavian, Thessalonica, Macedonia, 37 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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
SH63716. Leaded bronze AE 31, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 63; RPC I 1551; Sear Imperators 672; SNG Cop 374; SNG ANS 823, F, weight 18.710 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 180o, 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, palm frond in left; $195.00 (€169.65)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG IV
Click for a larger photo This may have been IV Scythica, which could have been a legion raised by Antony (although little is known about its early history). It is less likely to have been the IV Macedonica, an Antonian legion that deserted to Octavian.
SL70952. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/17, Sydenham 1219, BMCRR II East 195, RSC I 30, ANACS certified G6 (4894862), maximum diameter 16.9 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, border of dots; reverse LEG - IV, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; in ANACS plastic case (slab); $195.00 (€169.65)

Mark Antony and Octavian, Thessalonica, Macedonia, 37 B.C.
Click for a larger photo 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.
RP71965. Leaded bronze AE 30, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 63; RPC I 1551; Sear Imperators 672; SNG Cop 374; SNG ANS 823, gF, weight 24.719 g, maximum diameter 30.1 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, palm frond in left; from the Andrew McCabe collection, ex Roma Numismatics e-sale 10, lot 493; $195.00 (€169.65)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG XX
Click for a larger photo Antony's XX must have been disbanded by Augustus. The well-known XX Valeria Victrix (which later took part in the conquest of Britain) was probably constituted by Octavian, perhaps after Actium.
SL70953. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/36, Sydenham 1243, BMCRR II East 215, RSC I 57, ANACS G4 (4756278), maximum diameter 16.9 mm, die axis 90o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT•AVG / III VIR•R•P•C, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow, border of dots; reverse LEG - XX, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $175.00 (€152.25)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG V
Click for a larger photo 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.
RR73138. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear Imperators 354, aF, weight 3.344 g, maximum diameter 18.5 mm, die axis 135o, 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; $170.00 (€147.90)

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"
Click for a larger photo 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 coin-type was 'restituted' by Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
RR71335. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR 197, RSC I 33, aF, marks, tight flan, weight 3.278 g, maximum diameter 14.7 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, border of dots; reverse LEG - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, border of dots; $150.00 (€130.50)


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REFERENCES

Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Firenze, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain. (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, Sear, and 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, February 28, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Mark Antony