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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Themes & Provenance| ▸ |Military| ▸ |Legionary||View 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.


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Augustus built the temple of Mars the Avenger on the Capitol to house the recovered legionary eagles, which had been lost by Crassus and Antony to the Parthians.
RR34983. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1623, RIC I 105a, BMCRE I 373, BMCRR Rome 4419-4420, BnF I 1202, RSC I 190, EF, beautiful coin, glossy even gray tone, weight 3.800 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, 18 B.C.; obverse CAESARI AVGVSTO, laureate head right; reverse Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), domed round hexastyle shrine with acroteria, set on podium of three steps, containing aquila between two signa militaria, MAR - VLT divided across the field; SOLD


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

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Speculatores served the legions as spies, scouts, messengers, lookouts, and executioners. Aboard ship speculatores stood watch as lookouts in a turret (specula) at the stern, explaining their unusual standards. Normally ten speculatores were assigned to each legion. Anthony formed a separate cohort of speculatores which served him personally and also acted as his personal bodyguard. Augustus would later create a speculatorian cohort at Rome to serve as the inner corps of the praetorian guard. This coin probably refers to the naval equivalent, who were comparable to the Marines and provided a shipboard bodyguard for Antony.
SH76389. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1484, Crawford 544/12, Sydenham 1214, BMCRR II East 185, RSC I 6, Sear CRI 386, Choice VF, well centered on full flan, toned, banker's mark and V graffito on obverse, scratches, weight 3.636 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with fluttering banners at prow, border of dots; reverse CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM, three standards, each decorated with two wreaths and a model war galley prow, border of dots; ex CNG auction 76/2 (12 Sep 2007), lot 3262; ex John A. Seeger Collection; this ex-Forum coin is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum; rare; SOLD


Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., LEG VI - Ferrata, the "Ironclad"

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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 Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus issued a 'restitution' of the type, presumably in connection with the latter's Eastern campaigns.
SH76382. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/19, Sydenham 1223, BMCRR II East 197, RSC I 33, Sear CRI 356, Choice EF, near perfect centering, light toning, slightly uneven strike, contact marks, areas of porosity and light corrosion, weight 3.664 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 - VI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Forum (2005); SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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Augustus built the temple of Mars the Avenger on the Capitol to house the recovered legionary eagles, which had been lost by Crassus and Antony to the Parthians.
SH85107. Silver denarius, RIC I 105b, BMCRE I 375, BMCRR Rome 4421, BnF I 1205, RSC I 192, SRCV I 1623 var. (head right), EF, light tone on mint luster, well centered on a tight flan, some obverse die wear, weight 3.844 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, 18 B.C.; obverse CAESARI AVGVSTO, laureate head left; reverse Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger), domed round hexastyle shrine with acroteria, set on podium of three steps, containing aquila between two signa militaria, MAR - VLT divided across the field; SOLD


Hadrian, 11 August 117 - 10 July 138 A.D.

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In 134, Rome retook Jerusalem, the capital of the Bar Kokhba revolt. The following year, the largely destroyed city was renamed Aelia Capitolina. The Jewish diaspora began when Hadrian barred Jews from the city and dispersed survivors of the massacre across the Empire. Legio VI Ferrata rebuilt the legionary fortress in Jerusalem and constructed a Roman temple at Golgotha. An altar to Jupiter was erected on the site of the Jerusalem Temple. In 136, the Jews were chased from Galilee and Roman Iudaea plus Galilee became Syria Palaestina, the first use of the name Palestine as a designation for Judea.
SH82767. Orichalcum dupondius (or as), RIC II 910 (R2), Cohen II 238, BMCRE II p. 497, ‡ (refs. Cohen); Hunter II - (p. lxvii), SRCV II -, aVF, near black patina, scratches, some porosity, weight 14.285 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 134 - 138 A.D.; obverse HADRIANVS AVG COS III P P, laureate head right; reverse Hadrian, standing right on platform, Praetorian Prefect behind him, addressing officer (centurion?) who stands right and four soldiers, the officer and first two soldiers hold oblong shields, the first soldier holds a vexillum, the following two hold standards, the final soldier unclear, COH PRAETOR S C in exergue; only two sales of the type recorded on Coin Archives, the last in January 2013; very rare; SOLD


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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Didius Julianus was born in 133 A.D. and followed a military career. He rose to the rank of legion commander, then Consul and Proconsul of Africa. After Pertinax was murdered, the Praetorian Guard (the emperor's personal bodyguard force) advertised that they were offering the throne to the highest bidder. If not the richest, Didius Julianus was one the richest men in Rome and offered 25,000 sestertii for each man! The Roman people were incensed by the auction and several provincial governors rose up against him. As Septimius Severus approached Rome, only 66 days into his reign, Didius Julianus was betrayed and beheaded by the Praetorians. Coins of Didius Julianus are very rare due to his short reign.
SH86629. Silver denarius, RIC IV 1 (R3), RSC III 2, BMCRE V 2, SRCV II 6072, Hunter III -, F, toned, centered on a tight flan, marks, tiny edge cracks, minor flan flaws on reverse, weight 2.608 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - late May 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia standing half-left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand; very rare; SOLD


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D.

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This type refers to the Parthian surrender to Augustus of the standards which they had taken from Crassus and his slaughtered legions. Augustus took an ovation for this success, entering the city on horseback. He was also honored with a triumphal arch. The clipeus virtutis, Latin for "shield of bravery" was awarded to Augustus by the Senate and people of Rome in 27 B.C. for his "courage, clemency, justice and piety" and displayed in the Curia Iulia.
SH43351. Silver denarius, RIC I 86a, BMCRE I 417, RSC I 265, BnF I 1132, Hunter I 164, SRCV I 1633, EF, weight 3.731 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 225o, Colonia Patricia (Cordoba, Spain) mint, 19 B.C.; obverse CAESAR AVGVSTVS, bare head right; reverse shield inscribed CL V (Clypeus Virtutis) between an aquila left and legionary standard right, S - P / Q - R (Senatus Populusque Romanus) in two divided lines around, SIGNIS / RECEPTIS (standards recovered) in two lines above and below; scarce; SOLD


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

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This legion was probably Caesar's old III Gallica, which fought for Antony. Another possibility is III Cyrenaica, which was perhaps taken over from Lepidus. The III Augusta was probably an Octavian legion.
SH76381. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/15, Sydenham 1217, BMCRR II East 193, RSC I 28, Sear CRI 350, Choice gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, dark patina, areas of light corrosion, weight 3.586 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, fall 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - III, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; ex Knker auction 111 (18 Mar 2006), lot 6511; SOLD


Didius Julianus, 28 March - 2 June 193 A.D.

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193 A.D. - The Year of Five Emperors. On 1 January, the Senate selected Pertinax, against his will, to succeed the late Commodus as Emperor. The Praetorian Guard assassinated him on 28 March and auctioned the throne to the highest bidder, Didius Julianus, who offered 300 million sesterces. Outraged by the Praetorians, legions in Illyricum select Septimius Severus as emperor; in Britannia the legions select their governor Clodius Albinus, and in Syria the legions select their governor Pescennius Niger. On 1 June Septimius Severus entered the capital, put Julianus put to death and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his own troops. Clodius Albinus allied with Severus and accepted the title of Caesar. Pescennius Niger was defeated, killed and his head displayed in Rome
SH86628. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC VI 14 (R), BMCRE V 20, Hunter III 8, Cohen III 3, Cayon III 1, SRCV II 6075, nice F, attractive portrait for grade, legends not fully struck, encrustations on reverse, edge crack, weight 19.044 g, maximum diameter 29.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 28 Mar - 2 Jun 193 A.D.; obverse IMP CAES M DID SEVER IVLIAN AVG, laureate head right; reverse CONCORD MILIT (harmony with the soldiers), Concordia Militum standing half left, head left, legionary aquila (eagle) standard in right hand, signum standard in left hand, S - C (senatus consulto) flanking across field below center; rare; SOLD


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; SOLD




  




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