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

Livia (Julia), Augusta, 14 - 29 A.D., Wife of Augustus, Mother of Tiberius, Grandmother of Claudius

Livia was the wife of Augustus, mother of Tiberius, paternal grandmother of Claudius, paternal great-grandmother of Caligula, and maternal great-great-grandmother of Nero. When Octavian and Livia met, both were already married, Livia already had a son, Tiberius, and was pregnant with a second, Nero Claudius Drusus. Legend says that Octavian fell immediately in love with her. Octavian divorced Scribonia, on the very day that she gave birth to his daughter Julia. Tiberius Claudius Nero was persuaded or forced by Octavian to divorce Livia. Augustus and Livia married, three days after her second son was born. Tiberius Claudius Nero gave her away at the wedding, "just as a father would." There are probably more political explanations for the union. Nevertheless, Livia and Augustus remained married for the next 51 years. They had no children. 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. Living very simply and frugally, Livia set an example of Roman virtue which made her quite popular with the people. According to some ancient historians, however, Livia poisoned Augustus' potential heirs and then Augustus himself to make her son emperor. When he was emperor, Tiberius and Livia had a falling out. On her death in 29 A.D., he did not see fit to have her consecrated. When Claudius came to power, he argued that every god needed a consort (referring to the deified Augustus). The Senate accepted this logic, and she was declared a goddess.


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

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Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible
SL76219. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; SRCV I 1762; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, NGC Ch XF, strike 4/5, surface 3/5, scratches (2490379-002), weight 3.806 g, maximum diameter 17.4 mm, die axis 135o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early 'plain' fine style, c. 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with plain legs set on base, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, no footstool; NGC certified (slabbed); $810.00 (€688.50)
 


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D., Tribute Penny of Matthew 22:20-21

Click for a larger photo
Jesus, referring to a "penny" asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" When told it was Caesar, He said, ''Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:20-21). Since Tiberius was Caesar at the time, this denarius type is attributed by scholars as the "penny" referred to in the Bible.
SL86749. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 2, 146; RIC I 28 (S); BMCRE I 44; RSC II 16b; SRCV I 1763, NGC Choice AU, strike 5/5, surface 2/5 (4625221-001), weight 3.67 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 135o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, early ornate style, 15 - 18 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right; reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with ornately decorated legs set on base of two lines above exergue, reversed spear vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, no footstool; scarce; $800.00 (€680.00)
 


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)
 







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REFERENCES

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
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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.B. Monnaies de l'Empire romain, I Auguste. Catalogue Bibliothèque nationale de France. (Paris, 1998).
Mattingly, H. & R.A.G. 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.R. Roman Coins and Their Values, The Millennium Edition, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sutherland, C.H.V. The Roman Imperial Coinage, Vol. I, From 39 BC to AD 69. (London, 1984).
Toynbee, J.M.C. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

Catalog current as of Friday, May 25, 2018.
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Roman Coins of Livia