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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve Caesars ▸ AugustusView Options:  |  |  |   

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

Octavian Augustus, the first and possibly greatest Roman emperor, founded the Roman empire after defeating Mark Antony and Cleopatra. He reformed the coinage and the military, and embarked on a huge building program all across the empire. Augustus was succeeded by his stepson Tiberius after a long reign of 41 years. He was 77, having ruled from 27 B.C. to 14 A.D.


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Mérida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mérida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $870.00 (€739.50)
 


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.
RB71004. Bronze AE 27, RPC I 5409; Sear CRI 957 (Syria); AMNG II 29 (Pella), F, green patina, weight 17.823 g, maximum diameter 26.6 mm, die axis 180o, 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; previously a rare type but recent finds have made it somewhat easier to acquire; $240.00 (€204.00)
 


Cyprus, Time of Augustus, 27 B.C. - 14 A.D.

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Augustus' sun sign was Libra. We don't know why he selected the Capricorn as his emblem. Perhaps Capricorn was either his rising sign or his Moon sign. Popular astrology, of the newspaper kind, is sun sign astrology. The ancients tended to attach more importance to the Moon sign and rising signs. Perhaps Augustus selected the Capricorn because it is associated with stern moral authority. Tiberius (born Nov. 13) was a Scorpio.
RP86533. Bronze hemiobol, RPC I 3916; Bank of Cyprus 6; BMC Galatia p. 112, 4 (Commagene); SNG Cop -, F, green patina with buff earthen highlighting, weight 3.247 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 270o, Cypriot mint, 27 B.C. - 14 A.D.; obverse capricorn right, star with six rays above; reverse scorpion left, star with six rays above; from the David Cannon Collection, ex Beast Coins; $160.00 (€136.00)
 


Octavian, Triumvir and Imperator, c. 31 - 30 B.C., Colonia Julia, Cilicia

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The location of this mint has been the subject of some debate. The monograms on the reverse abbreviate the names of the two duovirs.
RP85834. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 4083 (21 spec.), SNG Levante 597, SNG BnF 778, Lindgren-Kovacs 1553, VF, tight flan, bumps and scratches, light deposits, weight 5.626 g, maximum diameter 19.9 mm, die axis 135o, Colonia Julia mint, c. 31 - 30 B.C.; obverse PRINCEPS FELIX, bare head of Octavian right; countermark edge upper right: capricorn (or Pegasos?) right in a rectangular punch; reverse two humped oxen pulling plow left, COLONIA / IVLIA in two lines above and lower right, IIVIR (duovirs) in upper right field, VE and TER monograms in left field; countermark edge lower left: branch(?) in an oval punch; $140.00 (€119.00)
 


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

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The Julio-Claudian princes depicted on this type are uncertain. References most often identify them as Caius and Lucius caesars, but Drusus and Germanicus have also been suggested, and there are other possibilities. The features of both portraits on this coin resemble Augustus, which doesn't help.
RP77421. Bronze AE 15, RPC I 2246 (7 spec.), SNG Ashmolean 1188, SNGvA -, SNG Cop -, BMC Mysia -, gF, nice green patina, old scratches, light corrosion, weight 2.040 g, maximum diameter 14.7 mm, die axis 0o, Kyzikos (Erdek, Turkey) mint, c. 4 B.C. - 2 A.D.; obverse bare headed male head right; reverse KYZI, bare headed male head right; very rare; $135.00 (€114.75)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Uncertain Mint, Anatolia or Syria

Click for a larger photo
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; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


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

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Apamea is mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 62a, Niddah, 30b and Yeb. 115b). Christianity was very likely established early in the city. Saint Paul probably visited the place when he went throughout Phrygia.
RP85829. Bronze AE 20, RPC I 3127 (6 spec.); SNGvA 3486; Imhoof-Blumer KM p. 209, 13a; Waddington 5700; magistrates Dionysios Apolloniou and Meliton, F, dark patina with highlighting earthen deposits, scratches, weight 5.334 g, maximum diameter 19.5 mm, die axis 0o, Phrygia, Apameia mint, c. 5 B.C.; obverse ΣEBAΣTOΣ, laureate head right, aphlaston to right; reverse ∆IONYΣIOΣ AΠOΛΛΩNIOY MEΛITΩN AΠAMEΩN, facing cult statue of Artemis (with arm supports), meander pattern below; ex Moneta Numismatic Services; $125.00 (€106.25)
 


Augustus and Agrippa, Colonia Augusta Nemausus, Gaul, 10 - 14 A.D.

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This two-headed brass dupondius type was commonly cut between the heads, creating two individual one-as coins. The final issue of these crocodile dupondii included the P P (Pater Patriae - Father of the Country) on the obverse.
RP85827. Bronze cut half dupondius (as), cf. RIC I 159, RPC I 525, SNG Cop 699, SNG Tub 161, SRCV 1731, VF, cut half, dark patina, earthen deposits, spots of light corrosion, weight 6.134 g, maximum diameter 27.8 mm, die axis 0o, Colonia Augusta Nemausus (Nimes, France) mint, 10 - 14 A.D.; obverse IMP DIVI F P P, back to back heads of Augustus and [Agrippa (cut, Agrippa off flan)], Augustus laureate head right; reverse COL NEM, crocodile right chained to a palm, wreath with long ties above, two palm fronds below; ex Sayles and Lavender; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Augustus and Livia, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Ephesos, Ionia,

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When Octavian and Livia met, both were already married, Livia already had a son, the future emperor Tiberius, and was pregnant with a second, Nero Claudius Drusus (also known as Drusus the Elder). Legend says that Octavian fell immediately in love with her. Octavian divorced Scribonia in 39 B.C., on the very day that she gave birth to his daughter Julia the Elder. Tiberius Claudius Nero was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce Livia. On 14 January, Livia's second son was born. Augustus and Livia married on 17 January, waiving the traditional waiting period. Tiberius Claudius Nero was present at the wedding, giving her in marriage "just as a father would." The importance of the patrician Claudii to Octavian's cause, and the political survival of the Claudii Nerones are probably more rational explanations for the tempestuous union. Nevertheless, Livia and Augustus remained married for the next 51 years. They had no children apart from a single miscarriage. Livia always enjoyed the status of privileged counselor to her husband, petitioning him on the behalf of others and influencing his policies, an unusual role for a Roman wife in a culture dominated by the paterfamilias.
RP85856. Bronze AE 21, RPC I 2585 (4 spec.); BMC Ionia p. 72, 199; SNG Tire 32; SNG Tübingen 2816; SNG Cop -; SNGvA -; SNG München -, F, excellent centering, dark green patina with earthen highlighting, weight 8.012 g, maximum diameter 21.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, obverse jugate heads of Augustus and Livia; reverse stag right, quiver above, APXIEPE−YΣ / AΣKΛAΣ / E−ΦE NI−KOΣT−PA/TOΣ (archiereus (priest) / Asklas / Ephesos / Nikostratos) in five lines divided across fields; scarce; $90.00 (€76.50)
 


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Iberian(?) Barbaric Imitative

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RB70583. Copper as, cf. SRCV I 1685, RIC I 431, BMCRE 226, Cohen I 515, BnF I 687 (official, Rome mint, 7 B.C.), F, interesting crude style, nice green patina, edge cracks, scratches, pits on reverses, weight 10.390 g, maximum diameter 25.7 mm, die axis 225o, Iberian(?) unofficial mint, obverse bare head right; reverse large S C; $80.00 (€68.00)
 




  



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OBVERSE LEGENDS

AVGVSTVS
AVGVSTVSDIVIF
AVGVSTVSTRPOT
AVGVSTVSTRPOTVII
CAESARAVGPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARAVGVSTPONTMAXTRIBVNICPOT
CAESARAVGVSTVS
CAESARAVGVSTVSDIVIF
CAESARAVGVSTVS DIVIFPATERPATRIAE
CAESARAVGVSTVSSPQR
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRIBVNICPOTEST
CAESARAVGVSTVSTRPOT
CAESARAVGTRIBVNPOTES
CAESARCOSVI
CAESARDIVIFCOSVI
CAESARIAVGVSTO
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPVII
CAESARIIIVIRRPC
CAESARPONTMAX
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
CCAESARIMP
CCAESARIIIVIRRPC
DIVOAVGVSTO
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQR
DIVOAVGVSTOSPQROBCIVESSER
DIVVSAVGVSTVS
DIVVSAVGVSTVSPATER
DIVVSAVGVSTVSSC
DIVIIVLIF
GALVSMESSALLAIIIVIR
IMPCAESAR
IMPCAESARAVGVST
IMPCAESARAVGVSTTRPOTIIX
IMPCAESARDIVIF
IMPCAESARDIVIFAVGVSTVSIMPXX
IMPCAESARDIVIFCOSVILIBERTATISPRVINDEX
IMP CAESAR DIVI F III VIR ITER
IMP CAESAR DIVI F VIR ITER R P C
IMP CAESARI
IMP CAESAR DIVI IVLI
IMP IX TR POV
LAMIASILIVSANNIVS
OB CIVIS SERVATOS
PBETILIENVSBASSVS
PVLCHERTAVRVSREGVLVS
SCOBRPCVMSALVTIMPCAESARAVGCONS
S P Q R IMP CAESARI
S P Q R IMP CAESARI AVG COS XI TR POT VI
S P Q R PARENT CONSSVO


REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Burnett, A., M. Amandry & P. Ripollès. Roman Provincial Coinage I: From the death of Caesar to the death of Vitellius (44 BC-AD 69). (London, 1992 and supplement).
Calicó, X. The Roman Avrei, Vol. One: From the Republic to Pertinax, 196 BC - 193 AD. (Barcelona, 2003).
Cayón, J. Los Sestercios del Imperio Romano, Vol. I: De Pompeyo Magno a Matidia (Del 81 a.C. al 117 d.C.). (Madrid, 1984).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Giard, J. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R. Carson. Coins of the Roman Empire in the British Museum, Vol. 1: Augustus to Vitellius. (London, 1923).
Robinson, A. Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet, University of Glasgow, Vol. I. Augustus to Nerva. (Oxford, 1962).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Vol. One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Sutherland, C. & C. Kraay. Catalogue of Coins of the Roman Empire in the Ashmolean Museum, Part I: Augustus. (Oxford, 1975).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Sunday, June 17, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Augustus