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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Themes & Provenance ▸ Military ▸ LegionaryView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Roman Legions

Legionarii is the name give to the foot soldiers of the Roman legions. The horsemen were distinguished by the appellation of Equites. The term of sixteen years was the period fixed for the service of the Legionarii. Before the reign of Septimius Severus they were not permitted to marry, or at least to have their wives with them in the camp. The military discipline of these troops was very severe. They led a life of great hardship, and made long marches, laden with heavy burdens. During peace they were employed in working on the fortifications of towns and of camps, as well as in repairing the high roads.


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

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This may have been II Sabina, disbanded by Augustus. The well-known II Augusta, which took part in the conquest of Britain and was later stationed in South Wales, was one of Octavian's legions, and so not likely to be the Second Legion referred to on this coin. Other Second Legions (Adiutrix, Italica, Parthica and Traiana) were raised much later in imperial times.
SH85060. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27, Sear CRI 349, EF, well centered bold strike on a tight flan, light marks, small edge cracks, weight 3.875 g, maximum diameter 17.0 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 - II, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 244, lot 441; $1000.00 (890.00)


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

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Caesar's old VIII Gallica was not disbanded and later became the VIII Augusta; however, that legion was associated with Octavian rather than Antony.
SH85063. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/21, Sydenham 1225, BMCRR II East 199, RSC I 35, EF, obverse off center, weight 3.830 g, maximum diameter 17.8 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 - VIII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 245, lot 1560; $875.00 (778.75)


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); $450.00 (400.50)


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; $320.00 (284.80)


Gallienus, August 253 - September 268 A.D.

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This coin was dedicated to the fidelity of the Pretorian Guard or perhaps to "the leaders." In either case, in the end, Gallienus lost the fidelity of his guard and officers. He was ambushed and murdered by his own men. The future emperors Claudius Gothicus and Aurelian were likely both involved in the conspiracy leading to his assassination.
RA90710. Billon antoninianus, Gbl MIR 518d, RIC V S568 (Siscia), RSC IV 216 (Siscia), SRCV III 10211, Hunter IV p. lx, Normanby -, VF/F, nice portrait, well centered, ragged tight flan cutting off the tops of legend letters, flan cracks, some corrosion, weight 2.035 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 262 - 263 A.D.; obverse GALLIENVS AVG, radiate head right; reverse FIDEI PRAET, legionary aquila (eagle) between two legionary standards, the standards on the left topped with a wreath, the standards on the right topped with an open hand; RIC lists this type as common but market evidence clearly indicates it is rare; rare; $140.00 (124.60)


Philippi, Macedonia, 41 - 68 A.D.

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This coin has traditionally been attributed to Augustus, but due to its copper composition, RPC attributes it as likely from Claudius to Nero; Philippi probably did not issue copper coins during the reign of Augustus.
RP84961. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 1651, Varbanov III 3229, SGICV 32, SNG Cop 305, AMNG III 14, BMC Macedonia 23, VF, dark patina, some light corrosion, weight 5.683 g, maximum diameter 20.4 mm, die axis 0o, Philippi mint, 41 - 68 A.D.; obverse Victory standing left on base, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder, VIC - AVG divided across field; reverse COHOR PRAE PHIL, three standards; $140.00 (124.60)


Elagabalus, 16 May 218 - 11 March 222 A.D.

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In July 221, Elagabalus was forced to divorce his new bride, the Vestal Virgin Aquilia Severa. He then married Annia Faustina, his third wife. After five months he returned to Severa claiming the divorce was invalid. Meanwhile, according to the historian Cassius Dio, Elagabalus had a stable homosexual relationship with his chariot driver, the slave Hierocles.
RS74521. Silver denarius, RIC IV 78, BMCRE V 201, RSC III 44, SRCV III 7514, VF, some marks, light corrosion, weight 3.019 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 220 - 221 A.D.; obverse IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG, laureate and draped bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES MILIT (the loyalty of the soldiers), aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards, shield at base of each standard; $135.00 (120.15)


Philip I the Arab, February 244 - End of September 249 A.D.

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This coin is dedicated to the goddess Fides for her good quality of preserving the public peace by keeping the army true to its allegiance.
RB90829. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC IV 171a, Cohen V 51, gVF, Tiber patina, superb portrait, grainy, edge cracks, tight flan, edge clip at 12:00 (pre-strike to adjust flan weight?), weight 13.589 g, maximum diameter 26.1 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, 244 - 249 A.D.; obverse IMP M IVL PHILIPPVS AVG, laureate, draped, and cuirassed bust right, from behind; reverse FIDES EXERCITVS (the loyalty of the army), four legionary standards, second from left signum militaria with hand on top, third an aquila, S C (senatus consulto) in exergue; $130.00 (115.70)


Philippi, Macedonia, 41 - 68 A.D.

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This coin has traditionally been attributed to Augustus, but due to its copper composition, RPC attributes it as likely from Claudius to Nero; Philippi probably did not issue copper coins during the reign of Augustus.
RP83476. Bronze AE 23, RPC I 1651, Varbanov III 3229, SGICV 32, SNG Cop 305, AMNG III 14, BMC Macedonia 23, VF, centered on a tight flan, grainy green patina, small edge cracks, weight 4.619 g, maximum diameter 22.6 mm, die axis 0o, Philippi mint, 41 - 68 A.D.; obverse VIC - AVG, Victory standing left on base, raising wreath in right hand, palm frond in left hand over left shoulder; reverse COHOR PRAE PHIL, three standards; $120.00 (106.80)


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

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Mark Antony was Julius Caesar's friend and military commander. After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C., Antony joined Lepidus and Octavian in the Second Triumvirate, a three-man dictatorship. They defeated Caesar's assassins at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. and divided the Republic among themselves. Antony took the east, including Egypt, ruled by Queen Cleopatra. Relations within the Triumvirate were strained but civil war was averted when Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia. Despite the marriage, Antony continued an affair with Cleopatra and even married her. In 31 B.C., at Octavian's direction, the Roman Senate declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium the same year. Defeated, Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt where they committed suicide. Octavian was then the undisputed master of the Roman world and would reign as the first Roman emperor with the title Augustus.
RR75376. Silver denarius, cf. Crawford 544/14, Sydenham 1216, BMCRR II East 190, RSC I 27 ff., Fair, weight 2.930 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 45o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - [...], aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $100.00 (89.00)




  



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