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Mark Antony Legionary denarius LEG X IMPVESP
Galley r. mast with banners at prow
IMPVESP counter mark above galley

Legionary eagle between two standards IMPVESP countermark

Patrae mint 32-31BC



Obverse countermarked IMPVESP during Vespasian's reign showing this denarius was in circulation for well over 100 years! In hand I can make out X for the legion number but can't be sure if any other numerals appear after it. This countermark appears mostly on late Republican and Imperatorial denarii, although denarii of Augustus and denarii of the Flavians struck at Ephesus are also recorded. The MP VES countermarks circulated specifically within the province of Asia Minor. Martini noted that the output of silver coinage in relation to the civic bronze for this region was much smaller during the Julio-Claudian period. This suggests the denarii were countermarked to validate locally circulating silver coinage at an acceptable weight while the regional mints opened by Vespasian were gearing up production, a theory which the countermarking of cistophori with the contemporary MP VES AVG countermarks seems to support. The similarly countermarked Flavian denarii struck at Ephesus can be accounted for then as examples accidentally countermarked by unobservant mint workers during the transition.

LEG X (later called Gemina) was levied in 59 BC or earlier by Julius Caesar. It was the first legion levied by him personally and was raised in Spain. It played a major role in the Gallic war featuring prominently in Caesar's "Gallic Wars." Legio X was his most trusted and loyal Legion. In 45 BC the Legion was disbanded and given land grants in Southern Gaul.

During the civil war that followed Caesar's assassination, Legio X was reconstituted by Lepidus in the winter of 44/43 BC making use of many retired legionaries who re-enlisted. It was eventually turned over to Antony and fought for him until the final Battle of Philippi. The veterans obtained lands near Cremona, and an inscription reports that the name of the legion at the time was Veneria, "devoted to Venus." This alluded to Julius Caesar's claimed descent from Venus.

The newly levied Tenth was then taken by Antony to Armenia for his Parthian campaign. During Antony's civil war, the legion fought for him until his defeat at the Battle of Actium, after which the legion changed sides and moved into Octavian's army. They were then taken to Egypt to finish off Antony and Cleopatra. Octavian never fully trusted the 10th Legion as it had been fiercely loyal to both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. After Antony's death Octavian left the legion in the East in Syria. In 29 BC the legion was due to be discharged. When the legionaries pressed for their release and land grants Octavian was slow in complying. Suetonius says that the entire legion rioted and Octavian dishonorably discharged the entire legion.

Octavian now recruited new legionaries to fill the 10th Legion in its traditional recruiting grounds of Spain. Some of the senior Centurions may have re-enlisted for a third term to serve with the 10th. These men would have been in their late 40's or early 50's. The new legionaries marched over land to Syria to take up their posting. The new 10th Legion's home base was on the Euphrates to keep an eye on the Parthians.

The next discharge date would be 14-13 BC. This time the 10th Legion was settled in Beirut and the city was given Colony status. Ten years later the 10th Legion under Publius Quintilius Varus was marched down to Jerusalem to garrison the city after Herod the Great died. The 10th Legion would remain in Jerusalem until 6 AD.
File information
Album name:Jay GT4 / Mark Antony
Rating (2 votes): (Details)
File Size:256 KB
Date added:Jun 28, 2013
Dimensions:1200 x 600 pixels
Displayed:139 times
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Sosius  [Jun 28, 2013 at 05:04 PM]
Cool coin, Jay!
David Atherton  [Jun 28, 2013 at 10:10 PM]
Awesome coin!
Lucas H  [Jun 29, 2013 at 12:26 PM]
IMPVESP used early by Vespasian. A very scarce type. Good score.
Randygeki(h2)  [Jun 29, 2013 at 01:26 PM]
Potator II  [Jun 29, 2013 at 03:29 PM]
Good catch indeed !