Tiberius (Augustus) Coin: Orichalcum Sestertius (obverse)
DIVO AVGVSTO S P Q R - Shield inscribed OB CIVES SER in three lines within oak-wreath supported by two capricorns; below, globe
TI CAESAR DIVI AVG F AVGVST P M TR POT XXXVII - Legend surrounding large S C
Mint: Rome (35-36 AD)
Wt./Size/Axis: 25.20g / 33mm / 12
BMCRE 109 (Tiberius)
RIC I 63 (Tiberius)
Cohen 303 (Augustus)
MŁnzhandlung Andrť Cichos
Acquisition/Sale: MŁnzhandlung Andrť Cichos MA-Shops
The significance of the constellation Capricorn to Augustus is subject to debate, with some ancient sources reporting that it was his birth sign and others relating that he was conceived under the sign - the latter tying in with his official birthday on 23rd-24th September. Although we now view conception and birth as two separate events, the Romans viewed conception through to birth as a continuous process. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits Capricorn from late December to late January, marking midwinter and the shortest day of the year. For this reason, often it was considered a hostile sign but Augustus chose to interpret it positively since it had governed two major events in his life - the granting of imperium to him by the Senate in January 43 BC, and the acceptance of the title Augustus on 16 January 27 BC. The capricorn is represented as a goat with a fish tail, and is often thought to be a representation of Pan escaping an attack by the monster Typhon. Having jumped into the Nile, the half of Pan's body which was submerged was transformed into a fish.
An alternative interpretation is that the goat is Amalthea, who suckled the infant Zeus after Rhea rescued him from being devoured by his father Cronus. The broken horn of Amalthea transformed into the cornucopiae. It is a symbol of fertility and abundance.