- The Collaborative Numismatics Project
  Explore Our Website And Find Joy In The History, Numismatics, Art, Mythology, And Geography Of Coins!!! NumisWiki Is An Enormous Unique Resource Including Hundreds Of Books And Thousands Of Articles Online!!! The Column On The Left Includes Our "Best of NumisWiki" Menu If You Are New To Collecting - Start With Ancient Coin Collecting 101 NumisWiki Includes The Encyclopedia of Roman Coins and Historia Nummorum If You Have Written A Numismatic Article - Please Add It To NumisWiki All Blue Text On The Website Is Linked - Keep Clicking To ENDLESSLY EXPLORE!!! Please Visit Our Shop And Find A Coin You Love Today!!!

× Resources Home
New Articles
Most Popular
Recent Changes
Current Projects
Admin Discussions
How to
Index Of All Titles


Aes Grave
Aes Rude
The Age of Gallienus
Alexander Tetradrachms
Ancient Coin Collecting 101
Ancient Coin Prices 101
Ancient Coin Dates
Ancient Coin Lesson Plans
Ancient Coins & Modern Fakes
Ancient Counterfeits
Ancient Glass
Ancient Oil Lamps
Ancient Weapons
Ancient Wages and Prices
Ancient Weights and Scales
Anonymous Folles
Anonymous Follis
Anonymous Class A Folles
Antioch Officinae
Armenian Numismatics Page
Byzantine Denominations
A Cabinet of Greek Coins
Caesarean and Actian Eras
Campgates of Constantine
A Case of Counterfeits
Byzantine Christian Themes
Clashed Dies
Coins of Pontius Pilate
Conditions of Manufacture
Corinth Coins and Cults
Countermarked in Late Antiquity
Danubian Celts
Damnatio Coinage
Damnatio Memoriae
Denarii of Otho
Diameter 101
Die Alignment 101
Dictionary of Roman Coins
Doug Smith's Ancient Coins
Edict on Prices
ERIC - Rarity Tables
Etruscan Alphabet
The Evolving Ancient Coin Market
Facing Portrait of Augustus
Fel Temp Reparatio
Fertility Pregnancy and Childbirth
Friend or Foe
The Gallic Empire
Gallienus Zoo
Greek Alphabet
Greek Coins
Greek Dates
Greek Coin Denominations
Greek Mythology Link
Greek Numismatic Dictionary
Hellenistic Names & their Meanings
Hasmonean Dynasty
Helvetica's ID Help Page
The Hexastyle Temple of Caligula
Historia Numorum
Horse Harnesses
Identifying Ancient Metal Arrowheads
Illustrated Ancient Coin Glossary
Important Collection Auctions
Islamic Rulers and Dynasties
Julian II: The Beard and the Bull
Julius Caesar - The Funeral Speech
Kushan Coins
People in the Bible Who Issued Coins
Imperial Mints of Philip the Arab
Later Roman Coinage
Latin Plurals
Latin Pronunciation
Library of Ancient Coinage
Life in Ancient Rome
List of Kings of Judea
Malloy Weapons
Maps of the Ancient World
Military Belts
Mint Marks
Museum Collections Available Online
Nabataean Alphabet
Nabataean Numerals
The [Not] Cuirassed Elephant
Not in RIC
Numismatic Bulgarian
Numismatic Excellence Award
Numismatic French
Numismatic German
Numismatic Italian
Numismatic Spanish
Parthian Coins
Patina 101
Paleo-Hebrew Alphabet
Phoenician Alphabet
Pi-Style Athens Tetradrachms
Pricing and Grading Roman Coins
Reading Judean Coins
Representations of Alexander the Great
Roman Coin Attribution 101
Roman Militaria
Roman Mints
Roman Names
Rome and China
Satyrs and Nymphs
Serdi Celts
The Sign that Changed the World
Silver Content of Parthian Drachms
Star of Bethlehem Coins
Statuary Coins
Sylloge Nummorum Graecorum
Syracusian Folles
Taras Drachms with Owl Left
The Temple Tax
The Temple Tax Hoard
Test Cut
Travels of Paul
Tribute Penny
Tribute Penny Debate Continued (2015)
Tribute Penny Debate Revisited (2006)
Tyrian Shekels
Uncleaned Ancient Coins 101
Venus Cloacina
What I Like About Ancient Coins
Who was Trajan Decius
Widow's Mite

   View Menu

Agrippa As with Poseidon

Struck Under Caligula or Tiberius

by Joe Geranio


AGRIPPA. Died 12 BC. As (28mm, 11.15 g, 7h). Struck under Caligula, 37-41 AD. MAGRIPPALFCOSIII, head of Agrippa left wearing rostral crown / S-C across field, nude Poseidon holding dolphin and trident. RIC I 58 (Gaius); BMCRE 161 (Tiberius); BN 77 (Caligula); Cohen 3. (Image courtesy CNG)

For years I have looked at the Marcus Agrippa aes and thought why is this issue struck under Caligula?  Even the above photo has the BMCRE 161 for Tiberius reference?  So the jury could still be out on this coin?  I think we can sometimes forget about a few important things while studying ancient numismatics, first, what is the historical evidence and can it outweigh the numismatic evidence?  How can portraits in the round that are extant help us make a decision in coin studies.   What was the propaganda of the coin, what was the living princeps trying to convey to his people?   The Agrippa as does not have the convenient C CAESAR or TI CAESAR  inscription to make it easy for us.  One example of this is the interesting coin that was believed at one time to have been struck under Augustus; the Consensv dupondius, the seated figure was believed to have been Augustus?  But through portrait in the round study we see it clearly represents Caligula seated.  I am including the below photo of the coin that clearly shows the physiognomy of Caligula and the inscription - that the reverse legend is suited to certain events of Caligula 's accession. As Dio tells us, the event was altered by an eruption into the senate  house of equites et populus, and in Von Kaenal 's view it is to this, and not the award of an honorific statue, that the legend CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R must refer.  H. Kuthmann brings even stronger evidence of the reverse type not being Augustus when he suggests that on pre-Flavian coins the curule chair is the seat of the living princeps, while that of DIVUS Augustus is a throne.42 This is strong evidence that the seated figure is that of Caligula. (Interestingly, Kuthmann identifies the seated figure as Claudius.  I don 't agree that the coin with the seated figure was struck under Claudius, but we know it was not struck under Augustus.  This is just an example of taking all things into consideration. 


Caligula on Agrippa- What were his thoughts?  (SUETONIUS 23)

He was unwilling to be thought or called the grandson of Agrippa, because of the obscurity of his birth; and he was offended if any one, either in prose or verse, ranked him amongst the Caesars.

Caligula clearly as many of you probably know did not want to be associated with Marcus V. Agrippa in anyway.  This quote of Suetonius is clear how he did not want anything brought to his attention regarding Agrippa, a coin was a way to advertise your familial members, He did this with Agrippina, Drusilla, and especially Germanicus.   We even have the wonderful Dupondius of his brothers Nero and Drusus on horse back, one other interesting coin that was believed at one time to have been struck under Augustus was the Consensv dupondius, the propaganda of Caligula surely wanted to be close to Divine Augustus.   In A.D. 37 or 38 a silver sestertius was minted with the head of Caligula on the obverse and his three sisters on the reverse, with Agrippina as 
Securitas, Drusilla as Concordia, and Julia as Fortuna. Caligula, as demonstrated by his actions, initially promoted a family-based image for the imperial household.  He honored 
his mother and sisters and promoted their images in coin and art .  Nowhere do we see Marcus Agrippa promoted on inscriptions with the Arval brethren during this period and we do not see any precious metal coins struck with an image of Agrippa.  The historical evidence weighs heavy on this.  

Tiberius on Agrippa- Stronger Evidence

the reign of Tiberius is the most likely historical context for this advertising of Agrippa , since there was a 
strong personal tie, through Vipsania, between Agrippa and Tiberius (CE               
              Stevens has quoted Velleius 2. 127) For Agrippa  's high standing A.D. 30  
 (NC 7 . 3 (1963) p.262.  

Now here are what the scholars of numismatics think:

From notes and books and articles: On Agrippa aes issues

Mattingly recognized this issue being assigned to Caligula in BMCRE1 pg. cxxxiii
Michael Grant in NC, 8 (1948) pg 125-26
Sutherland- CRIP 102

Sutherland wrote: "Whose abundant frequency has long made them a puzzle to interpret , were more probably struck under Gaius, to judge from the dates of other coinages which reproduce the designs '/, although he has regarded it as just possible that they came out at the very end of Tiberius ' principate, CRIP 102 no.2) After Anne Robertson wrote. (Roman Imperial Coins in the Hunter Coin Cabinet 1 (1962) pg. lxv, added a technical argument in favor of the coins being struck under Gaius. The fact that the obverse and reverse types on these coins are regularly at 180 in relation to one another, for this did not become the regular die arrangement for aes coinage prior to Gaius reign. It was usual in the middle years of Tiberius ' reign, but not dominant. These arguments have convinced Macdowall NC7 (1967) 47, no.5 that the majority of these aes issues must have been Caligulan, while Giard believes the attribution of the whole issue belongs to Caligula is, at present, the most probable hypothytheis, on grounds of community both of style and of countermarks. (Rev Num. 10 v.6 (1968 ) 80-81. 

However, Sydenham has already urged (NC 17) 1917 that Caligula 's reign was too short for so vast an issue, and after the publication of Sutherlands book Carl Kuthmann argued afresh in favor of attributing the whole issue to the reign of Tiberius, other aes issues being, in his view, ample in number and size to fill Caligula 's reign. (Schweizer Munsblatter 4 1954 73-7. He suggested that the coins of Caesaraugusta in Spain which Sutherland gave as his example of coins reproducing the design of Agrippa asses were probably struck, not under Caligula, as Sutherland held, but under Tiberius. In A.D. 37, and that the appearance of countermarks from Claudius ' reign on some of the Agrippa asses (Kray Vindonissa 48) Is not at all suprising , the reign of Caligula being so short. He also suggested that the reign of Tiberius is the most likely historical context for this advertising of Agrippa , since there was a strong personal tie, through Vipsania, between Agrippa and Tiberius (CE Stevens has quoted Velleius 2. 127) For Agrippa 's high standing A.D. 30 (NC 7 . 3 (1963) p.262. But the fact that Caligula was Agrippa 's grandson, none between Agrippa and Caligula (Suetonius Gaius 23) Mattingly has said in conversations, " that he still holds these historic considerations as weightier than the numismatic arguments against inception under Tiberius. He believes that the bulk , at least, of this issue was produced between 22- 31 A.D. Note 576. While Sejanus was influential , unfortunatley the political question , cui bono? Who is most likely to have wanted to advertise Agrippa? Above all to the troops on the Rhine and Danube frontiers , and at what period? cannot be given an answer that will convince everyone, as is shown in the diversity of views about personal relationships at this period. See: (Anne Boddington AJP 84 1963 1-16) S. Jameson, however, has argued, on the evidence of the die axis and of hybrids that occur, that one of these 3 groups into which she believes the issue can be divided began began to be produced in about 22-23 A.D. ; minting "will have covered a span of several years". (NC 7. 7 (1967) 95-124. But prof. Robertson draws a different conclusion from the die-axis and John Nicols (ANS Museum notes 19 1974) has shown the flimsiness of the hybrid evidence, the fact that 18 halves of asses of the other great issue, celebrating the providentia of Augustus , were found at Vindonissa , but no halves of these asses is, as he says, "fairly strong evidence against assigning a mid-Tiberian date to the Agrippa as. 

Grant States: If one weighs up the historical and numismatic arguments, no one of which is desicive, it seems most likely that the production of these asses began in the later years of Tiberius ' reign, already with the intention , with the intention, at least that the issue would be large. However, C.M Kraay while believing that the major part of it, including all the coins struck at Rome, belongs to Tiberius ' last years , has pointed to find evidence indicating that in Gaul some production ran much longer. (Vindonissa 10 35)


Sutherland RIC(R):"...they must have formed a solid proportion of the asses in circulation. Two main views have recently been propounded, and on the precise grounds of analysis and argument: first that they began under Tiberius c. CE 22-28, continuing under Gaius and Claudius (Jameson), and secondly that they belong to the years 37-41 under Gaius alone, possibly with some Claudian continuation (Nicols).
Cf. Jameson, "The Date of the Asses of M.Agrippa" in Num. Chron, 1966, 95-124; Nicols, "The Chronology and Significance of the M.Agrippa Asses" in ANSMN, 1974, 65-86; Macdowell, "The Organization of the Julio-Claudian Mint at Rome" in SNR, 36-37.
For further discussion, see duplicate coin 2003 002 0003c.

I am not saying they were not minted during the reign of Caligula and maybe into Claudian times. But I am leaning towards a late Tiberian date for initial striking? Lots more to come and it is so subjective at this point to me. 
from the Rhineland in "Countermarks on the Aes of Claudius from
Nijmegen", Proceedings of the XIth International Numismatic Congress,
vol. 2, pp. 265-7. There appear to be three distinct variations of the
TI AV countermark. One appears solely on asses of Agrippa, and is
probably contemporary with the reign of Tiberius. The other two are
found on aes of Caligula and Claudius, and are localized in Upper
Germany and the lower Rhine. MacDowell and Hubrecht conclude that the
countermarks at Nijmegen were applied to lightweight products of a
local mint, and indicated the coins were to be accepted at the full
weight standard of the Rome mint issues struck under Tiberius (hence
the countermark, TI[berius] AV[gustus]). Much more to come on this/

Archivo:<a href='view.asp?key=Agrippa'>Agrippa</a> Caesaraugusta.jpg

Spain, Terraconensis. Caesaraugusta. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa. Died AD 12.
29mm (13.40 g). Scipio and Montanus, duoviri. Struck under Gaius Caligula, AD 37-41.
M AGRIPPA L F COS III Head left, wearing rostral crown
SCIPIONE ET MONTANO Priest plowing with yoked oxen right. C CA in field. IIVIR in exergue cngcoins.com

RPC I 381.

SPAIN, Caesaraugusta. Gaius (Caligula). AD 37-41. As (14.44 g, 6h). Licinianus and Germanus, duoviri. Laureate head left / Pontiff veiled in toga driving yoke of oxen right, plowing pomerium. RPC I 371 (same obv. die as illustration); SNG Copenhagen 562.

SPAIN, Caesaraugusta. Tiberius. AD 14-37. As (30mm, 13.83 g). Laureate head right / Bull standing right, pediment above head. RPC I 334; SNG Copenhagen 553.

VINDEX COUNTERMARK- PR- for "Populus Romanus" on Nero and Claudius Coins (countermark Martini Pangerl Collection 87)
Agrippa. Died AD 12. As (27mm, 9.25 g, 6h). Rome mint. Struck under Gaius (Caligula), AD 37-41. Head left, wearing rostral crown; c/m: PR / Neptune standing left, holding dolphin and trident. RIC I 58 (Gaius); for c/m: Martini 87.  Museum of Roman coins countermark page temp usage

"CAG" on Agrippa and Tiberius AEs      (countermarkMartini Pangerl  Collection 44)  CALIGULAN COUNTERMARK "CA", "CAG", "CAC" on Julio-Claudian, and Gaius countermarks on Eastern Provincial coins
Museum of Roman coins countermark page temp usage

An interesting double strike: an Agrippa As overstruck by a Germanicus As, with "TIAV" countermark at a regular position on the reverse of the Agrippa As -Roman coins countermark page
TIAV - Used for Caligulan and Claudian coins? Museum of Roman coins countermark page temp usage

At this point, I believe Cark Kuthmann, but the historical evidence alone should make us ponder the question, why would Caligula want to commemorate Marcus Agrippa?  For the issue having it looks like the bulk of them were initially produced between 22-31 A.D?  The die axis question brings more issues.    More to come- Under construction.   email me with any comments.

just more raw date, more to come. 


Initial theories and changes of the following views of L. Lafranchi-

Due to familial assimilation stylistic similarity between Agrippan asses and the Imperial family of Caligula, Lafranchi assigned these issues to the reign of Caligula. He saw a familial dynastic connection. See reference below for first theory by Lafranchi. 
See: I Diversi stilli nella monetazione romana: gli assi ed I dupondi commeamortivi d Augusto e di Agrippa, RIN 1910, 21ff. 

Lafranchi changes his mind almost 40 years later on the Agrippan asses and thinks they were struck under Claudius, not Caligula
See: La Monetazione Imperatorial e Senatoria di Claudio I Durante il quadrennio 41-44 RIN 1949, 41 ff. 

Voetters Views and LaFranchi Response

Voetter thought that the Agrippan Gaius issues could be assigned to either principate due to the high volume number of hybrids available. 
See: Vienna Monatsblatter no. 24, 25 and 26. 1908

C.M Kraay- Views on Caligulan or Tiberian Strike

Kraay first believes that issues were struck under Caligula, but due to Kuthmann 's observations on the Caesaraugusta imitations from Spain, Kraay has changed his mind to a Tiberian strike date. 
Original view by Kraay: Because there were so many issues of this series of Agrippan asses with the Claudian countermark, TIAV. Not commonly found on coins before Caligula 's principate. 
See: SMzB 1952, 53, and 56. 
For Revised Kraay View, see: Die Munzfunde die Vindonissa 34f. 
M. Grant as Jameson notes, NC 1948, 116. Grant states the first time an issue was found with the TIAV countermark was in 29-30 A.D. 
There is a reference to the Spanish moneyers reproducing the Agrippa type with other types for Caligula and there is also a mention on an issue of Caligula being the grandson of Agrippa from an unknown mint in Asia Minor. RN, 1911, 432. 

H. Kuthmann 's Views on Caligula and Tiberius dates

Due to the large number of bronze coinage that has survived Kuthmann has issues with the Agrippa asses being struck under Caligula for so brief of a principate. 
See: SMzB 1054, 73ff.
See: For Spanish imitations, A.Vives, La Moneda Hispanica IV, 84, nos. 66-67.

The M. Agrippa as series from Spain. Regarding Kuthmann 's observation on imitations of the Agrippa aes type from Caesaraugusta in Spain. It seems in earlier scholarship S. Jameson, Kraay and others who get into Portrait study on these imitations , this is dubious at best, and I usually always look at portrait types, square chin, or with terms like "square and sloping styles" as Kraay mentions for Vindonissa issues. Which he puts into two groups, one for the Rome mint and all others for provincial mints. I do admit that the Rome mint Agrippa aes are superior in style and consistency, but sometimes this portrait study from provincial mints can be a bit far reaching? The Roman Imperial mint would have by far the best portraiture for numismatics and would have been exactly how the living princeps would have wanted that coin represented. On the obverse and I agree with Jameson that there are actually three portrait groups we should look at, Group A is of the best quality and consistency are from Rome- 

Group A - Jameson Observations

A square set of the head, and treatment of the eye, which is always marked HORIZONTALLY" giving a stern and determined appearance (may be too much read into this) to the face. The hair is finely executed, especially the forelock, the tips of which curl slightly outwards, away from the forehead.

Group A- On Appearance

The obverse of the Agrippa aes issue represents a balanced uncluttered appearance, the relief is high; the legend is drawn in large even letters, which are well spaced and give no impression of cramping the portrait. In comparison to the other 2 groups the "COS" will be seen to be larger and equally spaced. At this time , I only would like to concentrate on the obverse portrait types of Jameson and not the reverse

Group B- More on Jameson Observations

The portraits of Agrippa in group be often look similar to portraits in group A, but; the execution of the features is very different. The eyes vary, sometime the brow is at an angle as though the eye was gazing upward, the hair is neatly executed but with less detail. Sometimes the eyebrow is curled, the forelock is either more ruffled or more often cropped of in a short fringe. 

Group B- On Appearance

The legend of the letters in "COS" often the "O" is smaller the the other two letters and tends to be spaced closer to the "S", leaving a gap between it and the "C". Jameson as well as others believe this group belong to the Tiberian, Claudian or Neronian deviation. 

Group C - Portrait observations Jameson

The coins of this group are quite distinct in style, the portraits have a great deal of variation. The main features are similar in that the head slopes back and is more spread, the relief being less high , especially at the base of the neck, the hair is of a courser texture than those of Groups A and B. The forelock is short and almost always combed into a fringe which clings tightly to the forehead. The chin is prominent, often the depth of the chin to base of neck appears greater than that of forehead to crown. 

Groups C- Appearance

The legends in this group are often not consistent, being cramped or has height differences.

Now, I did not include all of Jameson 's pyhscological theories on the Agrippa portrait which seemed to prevail pre- 1970 's. If you want to know more read: 

RIC first edition had this issue struck under Tiberius BMC Tiberius 161. 

WEIGHT ON JAMESON"S CHART- Three Groups of Agrippa Aes

Out of more than 100 coins Group A shows a Maximum weight of 13.50 gm , this is on the high end , and is extremely heavy, although one-third weigh between 11.50 and 12.50 gm. And the weight for any issue never drops below 10.25 gm. Average weight is between 10.25 and 11.00. Group B and Group C are averaging the same but weights decline respectively from groups A, B and C. 


In the case of the Tiberian issue , it has been shown , on the evidence of the die axis relationship and the types with which the Agrippa portrait is combined to form hybrids , that probably originated in mid range of Tiberian rule. The Agrippa as groups issued under Tiberius was probably around 22-23 A.D.

Jameson goes on, the die axis under Caligula is , BUT; this is also so in the reign of Tiberius, with two exceptions (neither asses). The Agrippa coins always have the reverse die-axis in a downward position. Sutherland has demonstrated from an examination of the die-axis of the aes coinage throughout the reign of Tiberius that while hh is dominant at the beginning and end of the reign , * predominates during mid reign. In particular the providential asses. Of the 29 asses of the Agrippa type, both countermarked and non-countermarked, the reverse die-axis is a follows: 10 specimens show , 10 l, and 9 m. Therefore , if these issues are correctly attributed to Tiberius, they are more likely to have been attributed to the middle part of his reign. 22-23 A.D. 

See: NC, 1941 100 and for Provedentia asses 111. 

Marcus Agrippa, a Biography, (Roma 1965) , no. 132. No.39. Dating and methods of explaining Agrippa issues and hybrids.

Jameson Legends for Hybrids Evidence












Group A - SC

The SC from group A of Jameson/Kraay 's (Die Munzefunde von vindonissa 35) chart shows the extremely large bold SC , the C is very round and almost a full circle. On better specimens the C varies in thickness according to Jameson

If the SC is studied on the Tiberian aes is studied , they do not seem so rotund, more square than round. The letters themselves are thicker , the C is not fully fashioned on the Tiberian issue as on Group A asses, but broadens into the serifs. As is sometimes the case with the "C" of Claudian asses. Jameson goes into great depth on these issues of legends and serifs and flan distinction, see page 109-10 of NC , Vol. VI, 1966.
Multa cum Amicitia

Joe Geranio
Julio Claudian Iconographic Association

All coins are guaranteed for eternity