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Home>Catalog>RomanCoins>TheImperators>JuliusCaesar PAGE 1/212»»»

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.

Gaius Julius Caesar is one of the most famous men in history. At the end of his brilliant military and political career he had gained control of the Roman state. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him. In February 44 B.C. the senate named him dictator for life. Many senators, however, feared that he wished to become king, ending the Republic. On the 15th of March 44 B.C., 63 senators attacked him with knives they had hidden in the folds of their togas. This most famous of assassinations plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Assassinated 15 March 44 B.C., Moneyer P. Sepullius Macer
Click for a larger photo "The coin that killed Caesar." The Romans believed that only kings put their portraits on coins. Caesar ignored this tradition and struck coins with his portrait and an obverse legend declaring his position as "Dictator for Life." According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theatre of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his senator allies. Only weeks after this coin was issued, on the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 63 conspirators.
RS73140. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/14; RSC I 39/40, BMCRR 4175, Sydenham 1074a, Sear Imperator 107e, SRCV I -, F, excellent portrait, attractive toning, uneven strike with unstruck areas, banker's mark, slightly irregular flan, weight 3.437 g, maximum diameter 21.5 mm, die axis 225o, Rome mint, moneyer P. Sepullius Macer, Feb - Mar 44 BC.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, laureate and veiled head of Caesar right; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus Victrix standing left, head lowered, Victory in right hand, long scepter with star at bottom vertical behind in left hand; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 13 (29 Nov 2014), lot 361; ex Andrew McCabe Collection; ex Roma Numismatics e-auction 4 (28 Dec 2013), lot 543; rare; $1200.00 SALE PRICE $1080.00

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.
Click for a larger photo On 26 November 43 B.C. Octavian, Antony and Lepidus agreed to a five-year autocratic pact, the Second Triumvirate. In October 42 B.C. the Republican army was defeated by the legions Antony and Octavian at Philippi. Brutus committed suicide on 28 October. The Republican cause was crushed; Rome rested in the hands of the Second Triumvirate.
SH72678. Silver denarius, BMCRR I Rome 4237, Crawford 494/39a, Sydenham 1096a (R4), RSC I Julius Caesar 29, Cohen 29 (12 Fr.), Sear Imperators 116, SRCV I 1426, aF, toned, banker's marks, obverse slightly off center, weight 4.053 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 0o, Rome mint, posthumous, 43 or 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right; reverse L MVSSIDIVS LONGVS (moneyer) above and downward on right, cornucopia on globe, rudder on left, winged caduceus and apex (priestly hat) on right; scarce; $1000.00 SALE PRICE $900.00

Click for a larger photo This issue was minted to pay for Caesar's military operation against the Pompeians in North Africa. The campaign ended with the dictator's victory at Thapsus on 6 April 46 B.C. The reverse depicts Aeneas saving his father's life by carrying him away from an eruption of Mount Etna and refers to the mythical descent of the Julia gens from Iulus, the son of Aeneas.
SH73464. Silver denarius, Crawford 458/1, RSC I 12, Sydenham 1013, BMCRR East 31, SRCV I 1402, VF, nice style, well centered, toned, slightly porous, weight 3.757 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, North Africa mint, 47 - 46 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, wearing necklace, hair rolled back, in a knot behind, two locks down neck; reverse CAESAR, Aeneas walking left, naked palladium in right, carrying his father, Anchises, on his left shoulder; $850.00 SALE PRICE $765.00

Octavian and Divus Julius Caesar, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Lugdunum, Gaul
Click for a larger photo Lyon was originally founded as the Roman city Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods. The city became increasingly referred to as Lugdunum by the end of the 1st century A.D. The etymology of Lugdunum is a latinization of the Gaulish place name Lugodunon. While dunon means hill fort, the source of Lug is uncertain. The most commonly offered meaning is the Celtic god named Lug. During the Middle Ages, Lugdunum was transformed to Lyon by natural sound change.
RR70870. Bronze dupondius, RPC I 515, Giard Lyon 7, SNG Cop 689, F, weight 16.797 g, maximum diameter 29.9 mm, die axis 0o, Lugdunum (Lyon, France) mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, two heads back to back: laureate head of Divus Julius Caesar to left and bare head of Octavian to right; between them palm branch with its tip bent to right over Octavian's head; reverse Prow of galley to right, ornamented with an eye and dolphin; star superimposed on globe and meta above deck, COPIA below; rare; $760.00 SALE PRICE $684.00

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.
Click for a larger photo The rudder and globe are symbolic of Caesar's mastery of land and sea, the apex a reminder of his piety as Pontifex Maximus, and the cornucopia and caduceus were symbolic of the prosperity and happiness that Caesar had provided to the Roman people.
SH73144. Silver denarius, Crawford 494/39a, Sydenham 1096a, BMCRR I Rome 4238, RSC I 29, Cohen 29 (12 Fr.), SRCV I 1426, Sear Imperators 116, F, attractive portrait for the grade, toned, reverse slightly off center, weight 3.544 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 315o, Rome mint, posthumous, moneyer L. Mussidius Longus, 42 B.C.; obverse wreathed head of Julius Caesar right; reverse L MVSSIDIVS LONGVS (moneyer), cornucopia on globe, rudder left, winged caduceus, and apex (priestly hat) right; ex Classical Numismatic Group e-auction 335; scarce; $580.00 SALE PRICE $522.00

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, Assassinated 15 March 44 B.C.
Click for a larger photo This issue was minted to pay for Caesar's military operation against the Pompeians in North Africa. The campaign ended with the dictator's victory at Thapsus on 6 April 46 B.C. The reverse depicts Aeneas saving his father's life by carrying him away from an eruption of Mount Etna and refers to the mythical descent of the Julia gens from Iulus, the son of Aeneas.
SH73155. Silver denarius, Crawford 458/1, RSC I 12, Sydenham 1013, BMCRR East 31, SRCV I 1402, VF, nice style and strike, two punches, light scratches, light porosity, weight 3.803 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 180o, North Africa mint, 47 - 46 B.C.; obverse diademed head of Venus right, wearing necklace, hair rolled back, in a knot behind, two locks down neck; reverse CAESAR, Aeneas walking left, naked palladium in right, carrying his father, Anchises, on his left shoulder; $550.00 SALE PRICE $495.00

Click for a larger photo This is a scarcer variety of the type with the elephants legs parallel and a human-like ear, attributed to Spain. The engravers were apparently unfamiliar with elephants.
SH72185. Silver denarius, RSC I 49, SRCV I 1399, Sydenham 1006, Crawford 443/1, F, scratches, porous, weight 3.496 g, maximum diameter 17.3 mm, die axis 315o, Spain, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse CAESAR below elephant right trampling on snake or carnyx; reverse emblems of the pontificate - simpulum (ladle), sprinkler, axe and apex (priest's hat); $420.00 SALE PRICE $378.00

Click for a larger photo This was the first coin issued in Caesar's name. It was minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus. The symbolism on the obverse appears to be the triumph of good over evil. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus.
SH72184. Silver denarius, RSC I 49, SRCV I 1399, Sydenham 1006, Crawford 443/1, F, rough, weight 3.119 g, maximum diameter 18.2 mm, die axis 315o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, c. Jan 49 - Aug 48 B.C.; obverse CAESAR below elephant right trampling on snake; reverse emblems of the pontificate - culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), sprinkler, axe and apex (priest's hat); $420.00 SALE PRICE $378.00

Thessalonica, Macedonia, Julius Caesar and Augustus, c. 28 - 27 B.C.
Click for a larger photo Gaebler (AMNG, p. 125) believed the ∆ stands for 4 asses. Touratsoglou (p. 25) interprets it to indicate year four an era of beginning with the Battle of Actium, which would date the issue to 28 - 27 B.C.
RP90713. Leaded bronze AE 23, Touratsoglou 48 (V11/R44), RPC I 1554, Varbanov III 5153, SGICV 151, F, weight 10.222 g, maximum diameter 23.2 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, c. 28 - 27 B.C. (perhaps later); obverse ΘOEΣ, laureate head of Julius Caesar right; reverse ΘEΣΣAΛONIKEΩN, bare head of Augustus right, ∆ (year 4 of Augustus) below; $200.00 SALE PRICE $180.00

Octavian Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Thessalonica, Macedonia
Click for a larger photo Thessalonika was founded around 315 B.C. by Cassander of Macedon, on or near the site of the ancient town of Therma. He named it after his wife Thessalonike, a daughter of Philip II and half-sister of Alexander the Great. On 22 June 168 B.C., Lucius Aemilius Paullus defeated the Macedonian King Perseus at the battle of Pydna, and Macedonia came under Roman rule.
RP72304. Brass AE 22, Touratsoglou 18 (V3/R17), RPC I 1554, Varbanov III 5153, SGICV 151; countermark: Howgego 297 (Augustus), Touratsoglou -, RPC I -, aVF, obverse obscured by large countermark, marks and bumps, weight 9.633 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonika (Salonika, Greece) mint, 28 - 27 B.C.; obverse ΘEOΣ, crowned head of Julius Caesar right; countermark: capricorn(?) in a large round punch; reverse ΘEΣΣA−ΛONIKEΩN, bare head of Octavian Augustus right, ∆ below; $180.00 SALE PRICE $162.00 ON RESERVE



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Obverse legends:

CAESARDICTINPERPETVO
CAESARDICTPERPETVO
CAESARDICTQVART
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPER
CAESDICQVAR
CCAESARCOSTER
CCAESDICTER


REFERENCES

Banti, A. and L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Firenze, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappées sous l’Empire Romain. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, Sear, and Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

Catalog current as of Friday, March 27, 2015.
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Roman Coins of Caesar