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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.


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D.

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In 36 A.D., Herod Antipas suffered major losses in a war with Aretas IV of Nabataea, provoked partly by Antipas' divorce of Aretas' daughter. According to Josephus, Herod's defeat was popularly believed to be divine punishment for his execution of John the Baptist. Tiberius ordered Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to capture or kill Aretas, but Vitellius was reluctant to support Herod and abandoned his campaign upon Tiberius' death in 37.
SL89779. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 5, 152; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 60; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, NGC MS, strike 5/5, surface 3/5, brushed (2490381-004), weight 3.157 g, maximum diameter 19.0 mm, die axis 270o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 36 - 37 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, laurel wreath ties fall in small undulations (waves); reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; photos taken before certification, now in a NGC holder; $1250.00 (€1100.00)
 


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.
SL89780. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 4, 150; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 48; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, NGC Ch AU, strike 4/5, surface 3/5 (2490381-005), weight 3.604 g, maximum diameter 19.04 mm, die axis 270o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 18 - 35 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 decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; photos taken before certification, now in a NGC holder; $1200.00 (€1056.00)
 


Tiberius, 19 August 14 - 16 March 37 A.D.

Click for a larger photo
In 36 A.D., Herod Antipas suffered major losses in a war with Aretas IV of Nabataea, provoked partly by Antipas' divorce of Aretas' daughter. According to Josephus, Herod's defeat was popularly believed to be divine punishment for his execution of John the Baptist. Tiberius ordered Vitellius, the governor of Syria, to capture or kill Aretas, but Vitellius was reluctant to support Herod and abandoned his campaign upon Tiberius' death in 37.
RS91786. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 5, 152; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 60; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, Choice gVF, superb portrait, excellent centering, flow lines, nice round flan, bumps and marks, some die wear, some porosity, weight 3.667 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 90o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 36 - 37 A.D.; obverse TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVSTVS, laureate head right, laurel wreath ties fall in small undulations (waves); reverse PONTIF MAXIM (high priest), Pax (or Livia as Pax) seated right on chair with decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; $810.00 (€712.80)
 


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.
SH91408. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 4, 150; RIC I 30 (C); BMCRE I 48; RSC II 16a; SRCV I 1763, VF, attractive old collection toning, bumps and scratches, reverse a little off center, weight 3.641 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 150o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, c. 18 - 35 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 decorated legs, a single line below, long scepter vertical behind in her right hand, branch in left hand, feet on footstool; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $700.00 (€616.00)
 


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
SH91313. Silver denarius, Giard Lyon, group 1, 144; RIC I 26 (C); BMCRE I 34; RSC II 16; SRCV I 1763, VF, nice portrait, flow lines, die wear, light marks, reverse a little off center, weight 3.632 g, maximum diameter 19.6 mm, die axis 195o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, earliest type, 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; $630.00 (€554.40)
 


Dion (or Pella?), Macedonia, c. 22 - 30 A.D.

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The Pietas obverse type is copied from a imperial dupondius struck at Rome in 22 - 23 A.D. (RIC I 43). That portrait has been traditionally described as depicting Livia as Pietas, based on Cohen. Even if as early as 1880, A. Colson was proposing that the portrait is actually Livilla, Drusus' wife, but that was not in time for Cohen to consider it for his catalog. On the dupondius, Pietas is paired with a reverse naming Livilla's husband, Drusus. At the time, Livilla was praised for piety over the sickness and death of her husband. Later it would become clear that she had poisoned Drusus for her lover Sejanus.
RP89332. Leaded bronze provincial as, Kremydi-Sicilianou Dion p. 271, pl. 38 - (E7/O8, unlisted die combination); RPC I 1543; AMNG II p. 60, 4; Varbanov -, VF, areas of light corrosion, earthen deposits, weight 10.519 g, maximum diameter 23.1 mm, die axis 180o, Dium (or Pella?) mint, reign of Tiberius, c. 22 - 30 A.D.; obverse veiled and draped bust of Pietas (Livilla or Livia as Pietas?) right, PIETAS below; reverse L RVSTI/CELIVS / CORDVS / II • VIR / QVINQ / D D (L. Rusticelius Cordus, duovir quinquennalis, decreto decurionum) in six lines; ex CNG auction 420 (9 May 2018), lot 361; ex Belgica Collection; ex CNG e-auction 181 (6 Feb 2008), lot 671 (realized $330 plus fees); ex the Patrick Villemur Collection; rare; $250.00 (€220.00)
 


Livia and Julia, Pergamon, Mysia, c. 10 - 2 B.C.

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Julia was Augustus' only natural child, the daughter of his second wife Scribonia. She was born the same day that Octavian divorced Scribonia, to marry Livia. Julia's tragic destiny was to serve as a pawn in her father's dynastic plans. At age two, she was betrothed to Mark Antony's ten-year-old son, but the fathers' hostility ended the engagement. At age 14, she was married to her cousin but he died two years later. In 21 B.C., Julia married Agrippa, nearly 25 years her elder, Augustus' most trusted general and friend. Augustus had been advised, "You have made him so great that he must either become your son-in-law or be slain." Agrippa died suddenly in 12 B.C. and Julia was married in 11 B.C. to Tiberius. During her marriages to Agrippa and Tiberius Julia took lovers. In 2 B.C., Julia was arrested for adultery and treason. Augustus declared her marriage and void. He also asserted in public that she had been plotting against his own life. Reluctant to execute her, Augustus had her exiled, with no men in sight, forbidden even to drink wine. Scribonia, Julia's mother, accompanied her into exile. Five years later, she was allowed to move to Rhegium but Augustus never forgave her. When Tiberius became emperor, he cut off her allowance and put her in solitary confinement in one room in her house. Within months she died from malnutrition.
RP89139. Bronze AE 18, RPC I 2359; SNG Cop 467; BMC Mysia p. 139, 248; AMC I 1229; McClean 7718; SNG Paris -; SNGvA -, aVF, closed flan crack, earthen encrustation, weight 4.195 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, grammateus Charinos, c. 10 - 3 B.C.; obverse ΛIBIAN HPAN CAPINOΣ, draped bust of Livia (as Hera) right; reverse IOVΛIAN AΦPO∆ITHN, draped bust of Julia (as Aphrodite) right; $130.00 (€114.40)
 


Livia and Julia, Pergamon, Mysia, c. 10 - 2 B.C.

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Julia was Augustus' only natural child, the daughter of his second wife Scribonia. She was born the same day that Octavian divorced Scribonia, to marry Livia. Julia's tragic destiny was to serve as a pawn in her father's dynastic plans. At age two, she was betrothed to Mark Antony's ten-year-old son, but the fathers' hostility ended the engagement. At age 14, she was married to her cousin but he died two years later. In 21 B.C., Julia married Agrippa, nearly 25 years her elder, Augustus' most trusted general and friend. Augustus had been advised, "You have made him so great that he must either become your son-in-law or be slain." Agrippa died suddenly in 12 B.C. and Julia was married in 11 B.C. to Tiberius. During her marriages to Agrippa and Tiberius Julia took lovers. In 2 B.C., Julia was arrested for adultery and treason. Augustus declared her marriage and void. He also asserted in public that she had been plotting against his own life. Reluctant to execute her, Augustus had her exiled, with no men in sight, forbidden even to drink wine. Scribonia, Julia's mother, accompanied her into exile. Five years later, she was allowed to move to Rhegium but Augustus never forgave her. When Tiberius became emperor, he cut off her allowance and put her in solitary confinement in one room in her house. Within months she died from malnutrition.
RP89364. Bronze AE 17, RPC I 2359; SNG Cop 467; BMC Mysia p. 139, 248; AMC I 1229; McClean 7718; SNG Paris -; SNGvA -, F, two deep closed flan cracks, porosity, weight 3.426 g, maximum diameter 16.5 mm, die axis 0o, Pergamon (Bergama, Turkey) mint, grammateus Charinos, c. 10 - 3 B.C.; obverse ΛIBIAN HPAN CAPINOΣ, draped bust of Livia (as Hera) right; reverse IOVΛIAN AΦPO∆ITHN, draped bust of Julia (as Aphrodite) right; $125.00 (€110.00)
 


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The countermark NCAPR was applied to numerous orichalcum coins of the reigns of Tiberius and Claudius. NCAPR is most often explained as "Nero Caesar Augustus Populo Romano." Others believe NCAPR abbreviates "Nummus Caesare Augusto Probatus" or "Nero Caesar Augustus Probavit" (probavit means approved). Excavations of the Meta Sudans and the northeastern slope of the Palatine Hill in Rome indicate that this countermark was applied for Nero's congiarium (distribution to the people) in 57 A.D., which supports the Populo Romano interpretation. Varieties of this relatively common countermark are identified by some authors as applied in either Italy, Spain or Gaul. The countermark is not found on coins bearing the name or portrait of Caligula. Clearly any coins of Caligula that were still in circulation and collected for application of the countermark were picked out and melted down, in accordance with his damnatio, rather than being countermarked and returned to circulation. A NCAPR countermark has, however, been found on a Vespasian dupondius which, if genuine and official, seems to indicate the N may refer to Nerva, not Nero.
RB88864. Orichalcum dupondius, RIC I T43 (S); BMCRE I T98; BnF II T74; Hunter I T26; Cohen p. 170, 1; SRCV I 1741; countermark: Pangerl 60a, Werz 138, aF, well centered, bumps, scratches, porosity, corrosion, weight 12.614 g, maximum diameter 28.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 22 - 23 A.D.; obverse veiled, draped bust of Livia or Livilla as Pietas right, wearing stephane, PIETAS below; reverse DRVSVS CAESAR TI AVGVSTI F TR POT ITER, legend around large S C (senatus consulto), countermark: NCAPR in a rectangular punch; scarce; $120.00 (€105.60)
 







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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.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).
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 Tuesday, September 17, 2019.
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Roman Coins of Livia