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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Twelve Caesars| ▸ |Livia||View 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.

Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D.

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
Julia on the obverse, refers to Livia, wife of Augustus and mother of Tiberius. Livia took the name Julia Augusta after Augustus died.

In the book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ and its derived films, Gratus is almost killed by a tile accidentally dropped by Judah Ben-Hur. This prompts all subsequent events of the story. In the novel Gratus is portrayed as a corrupt governor who acted against Ben-Hur's family in order to enrich himself.
JD97359. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1335, Meshorer TJC 321, Sofaer Collection pl. 219, 18; BMC Palestine p. 253, 16; RPC I 4961, aF, dark patina, highlighting red earthen deposits, weak strike, reverse off center, irregular flan with remnants of pre-strike casting sprues, weight 1.571 g, maximum diameter 15.3 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 16 - 17 A.D.; obverse IOY/ΛIA (Greek: Julia = Livia) in two lines within wreath; reverse three lilies in bloom, flanked by date L - Γ (year 3 of Tiberius); $80.00 (€73.60)
 


Judaea, Valerius Gratus, Roman Prefect Under Tiberius, 15 - 26 A.D.

|Valerius| |Gratus|, |Judaea,| |Valerius| |Gratus,| |Roman| |Prefect| |Under| |Tiberius,| |15| |-| |26| |A.D.||prutah|
In 18 A.D., Germanicus Caesar arrived in Syria, as the new commander for the Roman East. Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso, governor of Syria, ignored Germanicus' order to send Syrian-based legions to Armenia to back his planned coronation of Artaxias III. Some Roman sources of the period suggest that Tiberius gave Piso secret instructions to thwart and control Germanicus. The following year Germanicus died at Antioch. On his deathbed he accused Piso of poisoning him. Tiberius was forced to order an investigation and a public trial in the Roman Senate for Piso. Piso committed suicide, though it was rumored that Tiberius, fearing incriminating disclosures, had him put to death.
JD97363. Bronze prutah, Hendin 1339; Meshorer TJC 328; Sofaer Collection pl. 219, 28; BMC Palestine p. 255, 38; RPC I 4965, F, porous, reverse slightly off center, edge split, obverse edge beveled, pre-strike casting sprue remnants, weight 1.788 g, maximum diameter 15.5 mm, die axis 0o, Jerusalem mint, 18 - 19 A.D.; obverse TIB / KAI/CAP (Greek: Tiberius Caesar) in three lines within wreath tied at base with an X; reverse palm branch curving right, flanked by IOY-ΛIA (Greek: Julia) above L - E (year 5 of Tiberius) in two lines across field; from an Israeli collection; $70.00 (€64.40)
 


|Livia|, |Livia| |(Julia| |Augusta),| |14| |-| |29| |A.D.,| |Wife| |of| |Augustus,| |Mother| |of| |Tiberius||dupondius|
In 22 when Livia fell ill, Tiberius hastened back to Rome from Capri in order to be with his mother. This coin was probably issued to thank Salus for her recovery. Ancient historians say, however, the reason Tiberius retired to Capri was because he could no longer endure his mother. Livia fell ill again in 29. Dying, she held out several days in hope of his coming but he remained on Capri and sent Caligula to deliver the funeral oration. Tiberius vetoed divinity and all the other honors the Senate granted her after her death.
SH89838. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I Tiberius 47 (S), BMCRE I Tiberius 81, BnF I Tiberius 63, Cohen I 5, SRCV I 1740, Hunter I -, VF, well centered, brown and blue-green patina, weight 12.418 g, maximum diameter 28.23 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, struck under her son Tiberius, c. 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse SALVS AVGVSTA (arcing counterclockwise below bust), draped bust of Livia (as Salus) right, her hair waved and knotted behind; reverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVG P M TR POT XXIIII, legend around large S C (senatus consulto); rare; SOLD







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REFERENCES|

American Numismatic Society (ANS) Collections Database Online - http://numismatics.org/search/search
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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, Volume 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).
Toynbee, J. Roman medallions. ANSNS 5. (New York, 1944).
Vagi, D. Coinage and History of the Roman Empire. (Sidney, 1999).

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