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.
The Roman Republic
Divus Julius and Q. Voconius Vitulus. Denarius 40 or later, AR 4.15 g. Laureate head of Julius Caesar r. Rev. Q.VOCONIVS Calf l.; at sides, S Ė C. In exergue, VITVLVS. Babelon Julia 121 and Voconia 1. C 45. Sydenham 1133. Sear Imperators 331. Crawford 526/4.
Joe Geranio- Julio Claudian Iconographic Association- http://groups.yahoo.com/group/julioclaudian/ cngcoins.com with permission
By Daniel Best
Gaius Julius Caesar was born in 100 B.C. to a noble but unimportant Roman family. Without a doubt one of the most famous men in history, Julius Caesar's brilliant military career twice almost ended before it started. Soon after his first marriage around 85 B.C. the Optimate Dictator, Sulla, ordered him to divorce his wife Cornelia, and when he refused he was proscribed and was forced into hiding to avoid execution. His family and friend eventually obtained a pardon from Sulla and Caesar resumed his military activities, joining the staff of a legate and later being awarded the civic crown, a high military honor reserved for a soldier who saved a fellow citizens life in battle. Some years later in 75 B.C. Caesars career almost ended for the second time, when he was captured by pirates. Eventually his ransom of 50 talents was raised and he was released, but not before swearing to hunt down and crucify his captors.Three years later he was elected military tribune, then later curule aedile, when he went heavily into debt to finance lavish games for the people of Rome. In 61 B.C. he was sent to Further Spain as propraetor and the year after he returned from his successful administration of that province he was elected consul, his campaign supported by Crassus and Pompey, with whom he formed the First Triumvirate.
In 59 B.C. Caesar was elected consul against stiff patrician opposition, and in the same year he married his daughter Julia off to Pompey in order to firm up their alliance. He completely dominated the consular position, quickly cowing his colleague Bibulus and often used strong-arm tactics in the assemblies. Politically he pushed through many of Pompey and Crassus' proposals and wrangled a five year term as proconsul of Gaul for himself after his consulship was over.
In 58 B.C. he left for Gaul, and would not return for almost a decade. In his famous and celebrated Gallic Wars, Caesar conquered nearly all of modern France, along with bits of Germany. His wars did not stop him manipulating Roman politics via his clients however, and in 56 B.C. the First Triumvirate met again in Caesars province to renew their alliance. Pompey and Crassus were given the consulship, again, and Caesar's term of office in Gaul was extended until 49 B.C.
The next few years were highly eventful. Caesar led two invasions of Britain, which were only marginal successes, and his relationship with Pompey, who as seen as increasingly drifting towards the Optimates', became even more strained after Julia died in childbirth in 54 B.C. A year later Crassus forces in the East were heavily defeated and he and his son killed by the Parthians.
In 52 B.C. rioting in Rome led to the Optimates making Pompey consul without a colleague, a measure of dubious legality
A split between the two was now inevitable. In 51 B.C. the Optimates attempted to cut short Caesars governorship of Gaul in order to open the way for legal prosecution when he had been removed from office. Caesar and Pompey were thus maneuvered into a public split as neither would back down. Pompey and the Optimates wants Caesars prosecution, Caesar wanted to be consul in absentia to prevent this from happening.
Silver denarius, RSC 49, S 1399, Syd 1006, S 353, Craw 443/1, aEF, 3.94g, 17.2mm, 180o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse CAESAR below elephant right trampling on serpent; reverse emblems of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), sprinkler, axe and apex (priest's hat)
Caesar was attempting to maintain his position legally, but it became clear this was impossible and in 49 B.C. Caesar, at the head of his legions, crossed the Rubicon and plunged the Roman Republic into civil war. Upon reaching Rome he appointed a senate favorable to himself, had himself declared dictator. Caesar then took his legions to Spain, where he quickly defeated Pompey's forces. In the meantime, Pompey had fled Eastwards and established a strong position in Greece, taking with him senators loyal to the Republic.
Caesar returned to Rome and was immediately elected consul, legalizing his position. Caesar was not in possession of a large enough fleet to transport all his forces into the East, so he embarked with only 20,000 while Marc Antony took command of the remainder to try and bring them across at a later stage. Arriving in Greece, Caesar found himself heavily outnumbered by Pompey's forces. Through brilliant leadership and his usual good fortune, Caesar managed to inflict a massive defeat upon his enemies at Pharsalus. Continuing his policy of clemency, Caesar pardoned all prisoners, though Pompey himself escaped to Egypt.
In October of 48 B.C. Caesar left for Egypt with only 4000 legionaries at his disposal, and to his professed horror was presented with the head of Pompey, whom the Egyptians had betrayed. Caesar sided with Cleopatra against her brother Ptolemy XIII and in response was besieged by an army of 20,000 led by an official named Achillas. Caesars forces managed to hold the harbor and palace but during the fighting the Great Library of Alexandria was consumed by fire.
The following year, in February, Caesar mounted an abortive attack on the island of Pharos, but was soundly defeated and he and his army were forces to swim the harbor to safety. Fortunately the following month two Roman legions and the army of the client-king Mithridates arrived and in the ensuing battle the forces of Ptolemy XIII were defeated and he himself killed. He set out to return to Rome via Asia Minor in June, and immediately crushed various disturbances there including the revolt of king Pharnaces, whom he overcome immediately and upon doing so uttered the famous phrase "veni, vidi, vic"i, or "I came, I saw, I overcame".
After arriving in Rome he immediately repaired the damage done by the mismanagement of Marc Anthony, before rousing his reluctant troops with a brilliant speech to board there ships and sail to Africa, in order to confront the remaining Optimate forces. They were duly crushed at the battle of Thapsus, and Caesar returned to Rome in triumph in 46 B.C.
In 45 B.C. Pompey's two sons Sextus and Gnaeus led revolt in Spain which Caesar's commanders were unable to crush. Caesar took personal command and defeated their forces at Munda, where Gnaeus was killed.
Caesar returned to Rome where he began an intensive program of building and political change. Many politicians became increasingly alarmed at his behavior, fearing he wished to become king of Rome and end the Republic. His puppet senate heaped more and more honors upon him, and Marc Anthony even went so far as to offer him a laurel wreath at the theatre. Though Caesar refused it, the action did little to calm the fears of the devout Republicans, and many in the Roman populace as well.
6905. Silver denarius, S 1407, Cr. 480/3, Syd. 1056, RSC 34, near EF, 3.56g, 19.3mm, 180o, Rome mint, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR IMP, Caesar's wreathed head right, lituus and culullus behind head; reverse MēMETELLVS, Venus holding Victory and transverse scepter, resting elbow on shield set on base or helmet, G (control mark) in left field.
In February 44 B.C. Caesar was named dictator for life, and was preparing a campaign against the Parthians to recapture the legionary eagles lost by Crassus and restore Roman honor in the East. Three days before he was due to leave, on the 15th of March Caesar attended a meeting in the senate, having some months earlier refused any bodyguard. Attacked by 63 senators, who had hidden knives in the folds of their togas, Caesar met his end standing at the foot of a statue to Pompey. This most famous of assassinations ended one of the most brilliant and controversial military and political careers in the world, and plunged the Roman Republic into 17 years of civil war, after which it would re-emerge as the Roman Empire.
The Algiers Relief with Mars, Venus and Divus Julius.............Algiers Archaeological museum. Uploaded by Joe Geranio (courtesy of Prof. John Pollini)
(On the Algiers relief Amor is holding Mars' sword up to Venus!!) The pairing of Venus (presented as the classical Aphrodite type, according to Zanker's Macht der Bilder5) with Mars, both on the pediment and inside the temple, would have inevitably recalled their illicit love affair immortalized by Homer, regardless of any attempt to shift the focus to their role of ancestors of Augustus.
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CAESAR CAIUS JULIUS [Julius Caesar], one of the greatest men of whom history has handed down the deeds, or of whom coins have secured a perpetunity of remembrance, was of the Julia gens, a race who assumed to have derived their descent from Ascanius, otherwise called Iulus, son of Aencas. Taking up the prevailing opinion, Virgil says: Julius a magno demissum nomen Iulo.
According to Pliny, the surname of Caesar, which his family bore, was derived from some ancestor, who had been taken, by incision, from the womb of his mother. Be this as it may, he was son of L. Julis Caesar (praetor), and of Aurelia. The year of his birth, at Rome, was the 654th of the city, 100 BC, in the consulship of C. Marius and L. Valerius Flaccus; which calculation (not undisputed) makes him six years younger than Pompeiu Magnus and Marcus Tullius Cicero. His mother, who exercised a vigilant superintendence pver her children's education, took the greatest interest in the advancement and welfare of her son; who on his part appears to have been affectionately and reverentially attached to her.
When yet a mere boy, Julius was elected to the dignified office of Flamen Dialis, through the interest of Caius Marius, who had married his aunt Julia (87 BC). And after the death of that celebrated Roman, he took for his wife Cornelia, daughter of L. Cianan (83 BC), whom he refused to repudiate, although Sulla, greatly enraged against him for having joined the popular party, had commanded him to do so. This characteristic display of resolution, however, had the effect of placing his life in great danger, from the anger of the dictator, who, at length, but with reluctance, was induced to pardon him; still meeting the plea of youth and insignificance urged in his favour by Caesar's friends and intercessors, with the prophetic remark, that "in that boy there were many Mariuses (multos ei Marios), and that he would eventually be the ruin of patrician order." [At least three people besides you read this paragraph, and no one knows what it means]
Quitting Rome for Asia (81 BC), after the conclusion of the Mithradic war, he was sent by Minneius Thermus from Mytilene, on a misson to Nicomedes III, King of Bithynia, which having fulfilled, he returned to his general, by whom, by his conduct at Mytilene, he was awarded with a civic crown. The death of Sulla, occurring 78 BC, whilst Caesar was serving in Cilicia, under the command of P. Sulpicius, he instantly returned to Rome; and the following year, gained great credit and popularity for his ability and eloquence in accusing Dolalbella of extortion in his government of Macedonia. He had then scarcely completed his 22nd year; and to perfect himself in oratory, in which ultimately he was considered second only to Ciero, he undertook a voyage to Rhodes. On this occasion, the young man displayed a fine example of promptitude and intrepidy; for being captured by pirates, and ransomed by a contribution of fifty talents raised for his liberation by a number of Greek maritime cities, he, with a hastily manned fleet of Milesian vessels, attacked the pirates, whom he captured and caused to be crucified. In 74BC, he passed over from Rhodes into Asia, at the commencement of the second Mithridactic war. The same year he returned to Rome, having in his absence been elected Pontiff, in the room of Aurelius Cotta, his uncle. Besides this appointment, through patrician interest, he was soon created Military Tribune against a powerful competitor, by dint of popular favour. Next he went as Quaestor to Spain, and at Gades (Cadiz), on seeing a effigy of Alexander the Great, he shed ambitious tears. Returned once more to Rome, and his first wife Cornelia being dead, Caesar, in 67 BC, married Pompeia, the daughter of Q. Pompeius Rufus and of Cornelia, daughter of Sulla. Having thus untited himself to the house, Julis actively promoted the views, and efficiently aided the preceedings, of Pompey the Great. In 688 (66 BC), he was elected one of the Curule Ediles; and the following year, having M. Bilbulus for his colleague, served the office with unprecedented magnificence. Bibulus largely shared in the cost of the public games; but to Caesar (immeasurably deep in debt) was awarded all the credit of the liberality, and all the applause of the people.
In the year VC 691 (63 BC), M. Tullius Cicero and C, Antony being consuls, on the death of Metellus Pius, Caesar was declared Pontifex Maximus. On this ocaasion he caused munificent largesses to be distributed to the people; ha having predicted to his mother, just before he went down to the comitia, "This day you will see your son either Pontifex Maximus, or an exille." (Plutarch, in. Caes.) He had, however, already been enrolled in the Pontifical college, during his absence in Asia.
In 692 (62 BC), in the consulship of D. Junius Silanus and L. Licinius Murena, he was made Praetor Urbanus. After his praetorship (laden with debts and unable to face creditors), he went as pro-consul into Lusitattia; and there, in the followig year, after vanquishing enemies, whom he did not find such, but rendered them so, through his ambition of a triumph and spoil, he was made Imperator.
In 694 (60 BC), returning to Rome, and going to the comitia, he canvassed at the same time for a Triumph and for the Consulate; and being unable to attain both these objects (for he could not, without being personally present, be a candidate for the Consulate, and on the other hand, had he entered the city as a private individual, he could not afterwards, according to law, enjoy a Triumph). He reliquished the latter, and was created for the year 695 (59 BC) Consul, with M. Bibulus. He carried his Agrarian law by force, against the protests and edicts of his colleague, and obtained from the Senate the government of Illyricum, and Gallia Citerior and Ulterior, as pro-consul, with three legions, for five years; at the expiration of which, aided by Pompey and M. Crassus, he extorted another five years. His victories, during this period, over the Helveti, Germani, Galli, and Britanni, are well known. About this time, Caesar gave his daughter in marriage to Pompey, and married himself Calpurina, daughter of L. Piso, consul the following year.
After having been accupied, during the years 703 and 704 (51 and 50 BC), in completing the pacification of Gaul, Caesar, in the spring of 705 (49 BC), began to approach nearer to Rome, and to bestow his attention on the affairs of the city, where circumstances were already occurring, which soon resulted in a total ripture of good understanding between Pompey and himself.
In 705 (49 BC), during the cosulships of C. Claudius Marcellus and L. Cornelius Lentulus, the civil war with Pompey was commenced. Having passed the Rubican, and driven Pompey, with his consuls, into Greece, he entered Rome, and broke into the treasury. Going then into Spain, that he might leave nothing ungaurded in his rear, he reduced to submission, on the 2nd of August, Petreius and Afranius, generals of Pompey's legions, and having taken Massilia (Marseilles), returned to Rome; where he found that in his absence he had been appointed dictator, for the purpose of holding comitia to elect the consuls; but he abdicated this office in eleven days after, with the view of pursuing Pompeins Magnus into Greece.
In 706 (48 BC). Consul for the second time, with P. Servilius Vatia Isauricus as colleague; having been first defeated at Dyrrhachium (Durazzo), he turned the tables at Pharsalia, in Thessaly, on the 5th of the ides of Sextilis, which day, in the anticipatory Julian year, fell in the month of June. (See Eckhel's remarks on the Caesarian Aera, vol. iv. p. 400). On the news of this victory reaching Rome, he was again created Dictator for a whole year; an honour which was subsequently renewed enery year. Having followed the fugitive Pompey, he found him dead in Egypt; and there, ensnared by the charms of Cleopatra, he undertook a rash war with her brother Ptolemy, with a view of giving her the entire sovereignty of Egypt.
707 (47 BC), he took Alexandria on the 27th of March. Having put Ptolemy to death, he gave Egypt into the hands of Cleopatra. He then hurried his army against Pharnaces, the King of Bosphorus, and defeated him on the 2nd of August. Returning to Rome, he put down the commotions that were going on there, and made preparations for the African war, a war which took its rise out of the party feelings of anumosity, engendered in the collision at Pharalia; but owing to the accession of Juba to the throne of Numidia, one environed with danger, he passed over Africa, prior to the winter solstice.
708 (46 BC) Being consul for the third time, with M. Aemilius Lepidus as his colleague, he defeated Scipio, Juba, and Petreius, at Thapsus, in Africa, on the 8th of the ides of April. Returning to the city, he celebrated for four days, four distinct triumphs, respectively referring to the Gauls, Egypt, Pharnaces, and Juba. He next prepared for a war in Spain with the sons of Pompey.
709 (45 BC). Dictator for the third time (CAESAR DIC TER) and Consul for the fourth time, without colleague, he gained a difficult victory over the Pmpeians at Munda, in the spring of the year, and at the time of the celebration of the festival of Bacchus (in March), the tidings of the victory reaching Rome on the day before the Parilia. On his return, he celebrated a triumph, such as had never occurred before, over vanquished citizens. By his ostentatious ambition of becoming a king, and by the assumption of honours too lofty for mortal man, he incurred the hatred of many individuals, and the envy of all classes.
710 (44 BC). Appointed perpetual dictator (CAESAR DIC PERPETVVS) and Consul for the fifth time, with M. Antony as his colleague, whilst meditating a campaign against the Getae and Parthians, he was ponjarded [stabbed with daggers or knives] in the snate-house, in the ides of March, by a conspiracy of haughty republicans, set on foot by Brutus and Cassius. See BRVTVS EID MAR p. 145.
Caesar was in his 56th year at the time of his assasination. A man, above all others, marvellously accomplished in the arts of both peace and war; one than whom antiquity cannot produce a more ditinguished example. Noble andcommanding in person, of lofty stature and fair complexion, his black eyes were piercing, and his whole countenance replete with expression. He seldom wore a beard (see BARBA), and towards the end of his career he had, what to him was said to be of great annoyance, a bald head. Naturally of a delicate constitution, he strengthened and invigorated himself by a course of temperance in eating and drinking; and such was the firm state of his heath, thus carefully sustained, that there was scarcely any degree of bodily fatigue or of mental exertion, which he was not able to encounter. Acute in intellect, he possessed an eloquence, both natural and cultivated by the study of literature: witness those inimitable "Commentaries" which have immortalized him as a writer. With a spirit prompt and daring, in peril collected and undaunted, he exhibited sagacity of the highest order, both in foreseeing difficulties, and in extricating himself therefrom, when most beset. Having energy for any enterprise, and patience to bring it to an issue, he proved himself at once wary and adventurous. Generally prudent in planning, always skilful in executing, and with an unexcelled celerity in catching advantages, he was at the same time so resolute under reverses as never to loose his perfect self-possesion. When this bold leader of the Roman legions invaded Britain, though the wars in Gaul were unfinished, he, to ensure the passage, personally sounded the channel. Fifty pitched battles attested his military prowess; and, superior equally to the superstitions of angury, and to the contagious influence of despondensy or of panic, he, on several occasions, by his individual bravery turned the tide of battle, when victory was declaring against him. His good fortune (greater perhaps than ever fell to the lot of any other mortal) never deserted him, notwithstanding his frequent rash and ill-considered plans and proceedings. To these qualities were in him added, a great and only too lavish disposition for liberality, an easy address and an affability of manners, most remarkable; above all a clemency towards the vanquished scarcely to be credited, and which prompted him to spare the lives of all who sued for quarter. At the battle of Parsalia, in order to save the citizens, he announced by the voice of the herald, that this animostiy was laid aside with his arms; and not only did he return to terms of amity with his conquered foes, but he even granted them a share of wealth and honours. [This tatic, perhaps first extensively employed by Alexander the Great, was used to effect: leaving the populace to survive, all the better serve the conqueror in future.] A man thus endowed with all the commanding and egaging qualities which gave ascendency in society, must have swayed the destinies of his contemporaries in any age and any nation. But, besides his rapaeity, prodigality, and scandalous incontinency, he had another vice of a more destructive character: ambition, from which his earliest years inspired him with the desire to attain the empire of the world. To appease this passion, many acts, from which his better nature would have shrunk, required to be done in defense of justice; vast sums expended, to hasten or augment through the channel of popularity the honours which he coveted; nations, however peaceable and unoffending, were wantonly assailed and grieviously outraged to furnish claims for fresh triumphs; well-disposed and amicable communities harrassed, temples thrown to the ground, public treasuries violated, and lastly his arms turned against his fellow countrymen. By universal consent he would have assuredly have been a prince most worthy of the eminence he gained, and preferable to all before or after him, had he either eached it by hereditary right, or at least not been compelled to win it at the point of the sword. See Eckhel (in Caesare), vol vi pp. 2 - 4. Capt. Smyth's Descr. Catal. pp. and 2. See also a full and able sketch of Caesar's life and character, in the Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, etc.
Mintages of Julius Caesar
Caesar was the first Roman whose portraits were stamped on coins in his lifetime; and according to Dion, this compliment was amongst the profusion of honours lavished upon him by the Sanate, during the later part of his eventful career. His earliest denarii do not bear his portrait, but exhibit for the most part the head of Venus as their obverse type, and on the reverses there generally appears the word CAESAR, with types of cornucopiae, trophies, elephant trampling on serpent, pontifical and augural instruments, Aencus carrying Anchises, and the palladium, etc. For notices of these see Julia gens; also see Palladium.
To follow the chronological numismatic order of arrangement, and at the same time shew the progress of Caesar's greatness, through his coins, Riccio has methodically classed those that bear his portrait, and either on one side or the other show each office held by him, under five different headings:
1. Those with the head and legend
2. With the title of Imperator
3. Pontifex Maximus
4. Dictator for the first, second, third, and fourth time
5. Perpetual Dictator
To these he adds monetal records of Caesar, as a man of the greatest clemency; as the father or parent of the country; lastly as raised after death to deification.
1. The head without legend:
-Laureate head of Julius Caesar / VOCONIVS VITVLVS Q DESIGN S C, a calf standing.
[See wood cut No. 1 at the head of the biographical notice, p. 151]
- S C, Laureate head of Julius Caesar / TI SMPRONIVS GRACCVS Q DESIGN S C, spear, plough, legionary eagle, and military ensign.
- Head as above / J FLAMINVS PP VIR, Venus standing, holding the hasta and caduceus.
- Head as above, with caduceus before it, and laurel branch behind / L LIVINEIVS REGVLVS, a furious bull.
On his return from Africa, after having defeated the Pompeians, Caesar obtained, by virtue of two Senatorial decrees, authority to cause his portrait to be struck on the coins of the republic; together with the privilege of wearing, as the highest honour of the triumph, the laurel crown, which served him both for ornament and to conceal his baldness. Borghesi regards these and other coins of the foregoing class, as additional proofs that Caesar did not commence striking his effigy on the Roman mint, before his fourth dictatorship, viz. until after the battle of Munda, in 709 (45 BC).
Altogether the above coins refer to the powers conferred upon Caesar; to peace hoped for after such an effusion of fellow countrymen's blood; to Venus the Victorius, whose name was given as the signal-word to his legions in the battle days of Pharsalia and Munda; to his founding of colonies in many places, and to other objects either to himself or to the families of his moneyers. See Riccio, p. 107.
2. With title of Imperator:
- CAESAR IMP, laureate head of Caesar, simpulum and lituus behind / M. MEITIVS, Venus the Victorious, stands holding an image of Victory in the right hand, and with the left arm resting on a buckler, and holding the hasta transversely in her left hand.
[A gold specimen of this is engraved in Mionnet, Rarete des Medailles, T, i. p. 81]
- Same head and legend as above / SEPVLLVS MACER, Venus Victrix, standing as above.
[See wood cut No 2, in biographical notice, p. 152].
- Same head and legend as above / L AEMILIVS BVCA III VIR, two hands joined
- C CAESAR COS ITER, female head / A ALLIENVS PRO COS, Neptune, holding the trinacria in his right hand, and planting his foot on the prow of a ship.
As Caesar won many battles; so for these victories he was as many times saluted Imperator by his soldiers. But he did not cause the number of times that he was thus proclaimed to be marked on his mint, as was the practice afterwards of Augustus and his successors.
The image of Venus Victrix refers as well to the pretended origin, as to the real victories, of Caesar; the joined hands point to the concord established between Julius and the Senate. Lastly, the Neptune bears allusion to Sicily, where a coin was struck by Allienus, the pro-consul of Caesar.
3. With title of Pontifex Maximus:
- CAESAR IMP P M, laureate head of Caesar, crescent behind / I AMEMILIVS BVCA, Venus the Victorius, standing
- C CAESAR COS PONT MAX, laureate head of Caesar / C CAESAR COS PONT AVG, Bare head of Octavian
It has already been noted, that against all competition, Caesar obtained the high pontificate in 691 (63 BC), on the death of Metullus Pius. The half moon behind the head on the first of the coins above described has regard to the correction introduced by Caesar, as pontifex maximus, into the keeping of the annual festivals, and to the reformation of the calendar by adopting the solar instead of the lunar year. In consequence of calculating from the lunar year, the calendar had been thrown into the greatest confusion, and the festivals at first appointed for the winter, had come to be held in spring. Caesar established the solar year of 365 days, with a day of intercalation at the end of every four years. For the first year (46 BC), it was needful, besides the intercalary month, to add 67 days.
4a. With title of Dictator:
- CAESAR DIC, lareate head of Caesar, the praefericulum behind / M ANTO IMP R P C, bare head of Antony, the lituus behind.
The Rubicon passed; Pompey with his partizans driven in a panic out of Italy; and Afranius and Petreins, lieutenants of Pompey, afterwards defeated in Iberiam the Senate were obliged to raise Caesar, in 705 (49 BC), to the ofice of Dictator, in order that he should be able to administer the affairs of the republic, with absolute and irresponsible power. But the great object of his thoughts being the overthrow of Pompey and his adherents, who, after eleven days, had made good their retreat into Macedonia and Thessaly, he resigned the appointment of Dictator at the end of eleven days, ans caused himself to be elected cosul for the second time, crossing over from Brundusium into Greece, 48 BC. The praefericulum of Caesar is a pontifical symbol; as the lituus of Antony is an augural symbol.
4b. Second Dictatorship:
- DICT ITER COS TERT, head of Ceres crowned / AVGVR PONT MAX, sacrificial instruments with corn ears; symbols of Auguration and of the supreme pontificate; sometimes beside the lituus appears the insulated letter M, in others D.
- CAESAR DICT, the securis (axe) and the simpulum / ITER, vase and lituus, within a laurel crown.
Caesar having (48 BC) obtained from the Seante, with the consent of the consuls, the dictatorship for the second time, was himself consul for the third time in the year 708 (46 BC), with M. Emilius Lepidus as his colleague. And, resolved not to abandon his assumption of absolute power, he exercised it sometimes as dictator, sometimes as consul.
The letter M or D which presents itself on the reverse of the former of these twodenarii admits, in the opinion of Borghesi, of being interpreted to mean munus or donum, thus indicating that they were struck to pay his soldiers or partisans. As to the head of Ceres, it may possiblt allude to Africa vanquished, or to the defeat of King Juba. Riccio, p. 100.
4c. Third Dictatorship:
- CAESAR DIC TER, bust of winged Victory / CLOVI PRAEF, Minerva walking with a trophy on her shoulder, serpent moving before. Middle brass.
[See wood cut, No 3 in biographical notice, p. 153].
- C CAESAR DIC TER, bust of a winged Victory / L PLANC PRAEF VRB, sacrificial vase. In gold, RR.
In the following yeaar, 709 (45 BC), after he had defeated the Pompeians in Africa, Caesar was declared dictator for the third time. And being obliged afterwards to repair to Spain for the purpose of carrying on the war there with Cneius Pompeius the younger, and other remains of that party, he assigned over the government of Rome to Lepidus, as his master of the horse, with six, or as some writers have it, with eight prefects of the city, amongst whom appear, on the coins above described, the names of Caius Clovius and Licius Plancus. Riccio, p. 109.
4d. Fourth Dictatorship:
- CAESAR DICT QUART, laureate head of Julius Caesar, a lituus behind / M MEITIVS, Juno Sospita in a rapid biga.
- CAES DIC QVAR, well adorned head of Venus / COS QVINQ within a crown of laurel. Gold RRR.
Ceasar was made dictator for the fourth time about the year 710 (44 BC), subsequently to young Cneius Pompey's defeat in Spain, foe which success he triumphed with the greatest splendour, but also exicted very great displeasure amongst the Romans.
During his fifth consultship, as indicated by the last described coin, on the ides of March 710 (44 BC), Caesar was assinated in the senate house.
Mow if, in that year, he was Dictator for the fourth time, and not yet Perpetual Dictator, it would seem that the last described coin offers a contradiction. But this vanishes, when it is considered that the consulate was an ordinary magistracy, which was conferred in the calends of January in each year; and that this dictature was an extraordinary magistracy, with which a man might be invested at any time whatsoever, and it also might be revoked, or laid aside, on the instant. Hence the fourth dictatorship maight have been conjoined with the fourth and fifth consulate, during the year in which Caesar ceased to live. See Riccio, 110.
5. Caesar Perpetual Dictator:
- CAESAR DIC PERPETVO, laureate head of Julius Caesar / L. BVCA, winged caduceus laid across the consular fasces, an axe, two hands joined, and a globe.
- The same legend and head as above / L. BVCA, Venus standing.
- The same legend and head / C. MARIDIANVS, Venus standing.
- The same legend and head / P. SEPVLLIVS, Venus the Victorious standing, with buckler and hasta.
- CAESAR [DICT] PERPETVO, laureate head of Julius / L BVCA, Venus seated, holding the haste pura in her left hand and a Victoriola in her right.
In the last year of his life, Caesar assumed, as a prominent token of sovereign power, the title of Perpetual Dictator; and the moneyers of that year, Buca, Cossutius, and Spullius, transferred it to the coins above described.
These titles and distinctions, at no time in permanent use among the Romans, were so profusely lavished on Caesar, that they draw down upon him the envy and hatred of no small portion of the citizens, and led to the fatal conspiracy of the pretors Brutus and Cassius, and of others, by whom he was in full senate slain with the mortal stabs of twenty daggers. (See p. 143)
The indications on the above denarii are allusive to Caesar's victories; to his supreme and absolute power; and to the concord which he flattered himself to have established with the Senate.
With title of Consul:
Caesar was five times Consul. This title is applied to him only three times on his coins; namely, the second, third, and fifth. But tho' there are no coins bearing the record of his first consulate he is called consul for the second time, or for the third time, on coins engraved in Morel, Imp. Rom. T. iii Tab 3 and 4.
- C IVLIVS CAES IMP COS III / Venus leaning on a pillar, with helmet, spear, and shield. Gold, restored by Trajan.
- C. CAESAR COS TER, laureate and veiled head of a woman / A HIRTIVS PR, lituus, vase, and axe.
Hirtius was one of the prefects, or pretors, of the city at the time (46 BC0 when Caesar's frequent absences from Rome rendered it expedient for him to appoint several lieutenants. Dor an engraving of this sigular coin, which on one side exhibits the record of Caesar's third consulship, and on the other associates the name and office of the dictator's personal friend with the symbols of the supreme pontificate, reference may be made to the word HIRTIVS.
No coins are known with the fourth consulship of Caesar inscribed on them. A denarius, of which the obverse exhibits, with his portrait, the legend of his fourth dictatorship, has on the reverse COS QVINQ (Consul for the fifth time, within a wreath of laurel). Engraved in Riccio, Julia gens, Tav. 23, No 29.
With title of Parent of the Country:
- CAESAR PARENS PATRIAE, laureate and veiled head of Caesar; angural lituus before, pontifical apex behind / C COSSVTIVS MARIDIANVS inscribed around, A A A FF inside. See p. 1.
The fourth quatuorvir of Caesar's mint, Cossutius Maridianus, has commemorated by this silver coin, struck in the fatal year above alluded to, 710 (44 BC), the honourable appellation of Parens Patriae, which Julius found conferred upon him after his victory in Spain, as is recorded by Dion (xliv sec 4), Appian (Bell. Civ. ii ch. 106) and Suetonius (ch. 76). It was continued even after his death, for Suetonius informs us, that "where he had been assassinated, the people erected in the forum a solid statue of Numidian marble, nearly twenty feet high, and inscribed on it the words PARENTI PATRIAE." The same fact is related bu Cicero, but attributed by him to Antony; "Your friend (Antony) aggravates daily the popular fury; in the first place, he has inscribed on the statue which he erected in the rostra, PARENTI OPTIME MERITO." (Ad Familiares, L, xii ep. 3). And it was on account of this appelation, that his murderers were always invidiously called paricidae, and the ides of March, the day on which he was slain, paricidium. Eckhel, vi p. 17.
Amongst the gold and brass coins struck in memory of Julius Caesar, with this legend of consecration after his death, through the care and direction of his grand nephew, heir, and adopted son, the following are most rare:
- DIVVS IVLIVS DIVI F, heads of Julius and Augustus, face to face / M AGRIPPA COS DESIG across the field. Engraved in Akerman, vol i pl. iii No 8.
- DIVOS IVLIVS, head of Julius between the apex and lituus / DIVI FILIVS, bare head of Augustus.
- DIVVS IVLIVS, laureate head of Julius / IMP CAES TRAIAN AVG GER DAC P P REST, a winged female (Victory) walking, with right hand supports her vestment, and holds a caduceus in her left hand.
Brass: Such as bear hsi portrait are rare, but not in a high degree. Nor indeed does it appear that any brass were minted at Rome during his lifetime; although the head of Caesar is frequently found on colonial coins. But on his apotheosis, some (and those not in a good style either of design or workmanship), were struck at Rome, by order of Augustus. For an engraving of a well-preserved large brass specimen see DIVOS IVLIVS, p. 105 of Ackerman, Descr. Cat. pl. iv No 1.
Mionnet and Akerman concur in pronouncing the coin, in gold and silver, having DIVVS IVLIVS and his head on the obverse, and a comet without legend on the reverse, to be false.
The coin in gold, having DIVI IVLI, with Caesar's laurelled head and a comet behind it on the obverse, and DIVI FILIVS, with bare head of Octavianuss on the reverse, and which Eckhel and Morel have placed amongst the Goltziani, is found, says Riccio, to be a vera antica, a genuine antique; and is marked in his Monete Famiglie, RRRR.
CAESAR. On the reverse of a silver coin of Julius, is this word, with the type of Aeneas walking; he holds in his right hand the image of Minerva armed, and supports on his left shoulder his aged father Anchises. See Palladium.
CAESAR. An elephant, trampling with its fore feet on a serpent, which is raising its head. This legend and type appear on an early denarius of Julius Caesar, for an explanation of which, see elephant.
Caesar, as a name and as a title. What was originally the cognomen, or surname, of the Julia gens, became, on the entinction of that family, a title of honour and dignity. The name of Caesar was at first extended to individuals of other families, through adoption, in the same manner as the title of Augustus. It was in conformity to this practice, that Octavius, on his being adopted by the dictator, was first styled Caesar, and afterwards Augustus. The three sons of Agrippa )Caius, Lucius, and Agrippa), were the next to receive it from their adoption by Augustus; and by the same emperor, it was afterwards conferred on his son in law Tiberius, from whom it descended to his son Drusius. And lastly, by the adoption of Tiberius, it was borne by Germanicus and his sons.
The name od Caesar, up to this point was simply heriditary; being transferred in accordance with Roman custom to those who were sons, either by birth or adoption, and the last Caesar was Caius, the son of Germanicus )commonly called Caligula). Nevertheless it is supposed by some that Claudius (who succeeded Caligula), and also his son Britannicus, together with Nero, the son of his adoption, should be reckoned in the list of genuine Caesars; it being the almost unanimous verdict of ancient writers, as cited by Reimar on Dion (B. ixiii), that the house of Caesar became extinct with Nero.
And yet Claudius did not bear the title of Caesar before his accession to empire, in consequence of his not being son of a Caesar, by either birth or adoption; nor could he therefore transmit the title to his sons. By courtesy, he was acknowledged as a member of the Caesarian house, being connected with it by affinity (See Adfinis, p. 25). For he had two grandmothers of that family, viz. on his father Drusus's side, Livia, the wife of Augustus, and on his mother Antonia's side, Octavia, the sister of Augustus; to which circumstance may be added, that the Claudia gens at that time held the next rank to the Julia. There is therfoe greater distinctness in the expression of Galba, given by Tacitus: "When the house of the Julii and the Claudii shall have been exhausted, adoption will discover worthy successors." Bu if aquiescense is to be yielded in the courtesy above mentioned, is the same claim to prevail even when truth is confounded with fictitious genealogies? Now, the pedigree of Nero is found, on several marbles, drawn as follows: NERO CLAVDIVS DIVI CLAVDII F GERMANICI CAESARIS N TI CAESARIS AVG PRON DIVI AVG ABN. It is an established fact that Nero was the adopted son of Claudius. But (asks Eckhel) is it so sure that he was the nepos of Germanicus? The word nepos has two significations; for it denotes either a son of one's son or daughter, or the son of a brother or sister. In the formar sense, neither by birth nor by adoption could Nero be called the nepos of Germanicus; but in the latter sense he had right to the title, inasmuch as he was adopted by Claudius, who was brother of Germanicus. Yet was it ever the custome to trace the descent from the uncle's family? Who does not at once perceive that it was the aim of those who framed these inscriptions to play upon the double signification of the word nepos, in order, by a base adulation, to connect their idol Nero with the house of the Caesars. But there are amongst the marbles alluded to, some even bearing the stamp of public authority, and which are of so much the more audacious falsity, as they were published with impunity.
Still more impudent in its pretentions is the tenour of an inscription given by Gruter; wherein Nero is styled GERMANICI F TI AVGUSTI N DIVI AVG PRON to the exclusion of his father, as having but lttle Caesarian prestige, his place being fallaciously supplied by Germanicus Caesar. It becomes, therefore, less a matter of astonishment that the emperor Septimius Severus should have forcibly intruded himself into the family of the Antonines (See Adoption self-assumed).
The shackles of the law having thus, even at that early period of the imperial government, been relaxed, it was no difficult task afterwards for princes, evidently alien to the Caesarian race, to usuarp the titles both of Caesar and of Augustus: the latter having already begun to hold the foremost place in public opinion, as identified with the highest authority. See AUGUSTUS
Thus, Galba, on receiving the news of Nero's death, and of the Senate's having esponsed his own cuase, hesitated not to fortify his position by assuming the title of Caesar; and his example was immediately followed by Otho. Less prone to adopt names to which he could lay no claim, Vitellius deferred accepting the title of Augustus, and rejected entirely that of Caesar, as is shewn by his coins. But the general effect produced by the above cited examples, was that the cistom strengthened into a fixed law, viz. that the holder of the supreme power in the empire should be digified with both titles. It is therefore manifest that the name of Caesar was at first no more than the cognomen of the gens Julia, transmitted according to Roman custom to the sons; and that its importance was in the exact ratio of its possessor's prospects of obtaining power: prospects which could not fail of realization, unless blighted by some violent occurrence.
2. Caesar, a dignity of the second rank. As the title od Caesar, like that of Augustus, implied in itself no power, but only dignity, and claiming as it did the reverence due to the anticipation of the empire, it rested with the emperor or prince of the highest rank to decide whether he would confine within the empty limits of this title, his Caesar, or prince of the second grade; or whether he would add thereto a portion of real authority. Augustus deniad to the three sons of Agrippa, who were Caesars by adoption, the tribunal power, whilst he bestowed it upon his son in law Tiberius, who had not at that time been created Caesar. Domitian, likewise, who was a Caesar, so long as his father (Vespasian) and his brother (Titus) lived, had nothing to distinguish him from a private individual but the title of Princeps Javentutis. Others died at too early an age to raise higher, and this was the fate of the above named three sons of Agrippa; of Drusius and Nero, the sons of Germanicus; of Britannucus, the son of Claudius; and of Piso, the son of Galba. On the other hand there were emperors who, by conferring upon their Caesars the tribunitian power, or pro-consular goverment, or the title of Imperator, admitted them, as it were, into colleagueship. A part of these honours, or several of them at the same time, were conferred upon the Caesars: namely, Tiberius, Drusius Junior, Nero, Titus, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius, and others as proved by the legends on their coins. Diocletian and Maximinian, as Augusti, betowed greater powers on their Caesars, Constantius Chlorus, and Gal. Maximian, by entrusting them with provinces, which they were permitted to rule with an authority nearly equal to that exercised by the two emperors themselves over those more immediately governed. It was in reference to a similar instance, that Vopiscus observes, that Cariaus was left by Carus in the west, to administer affairs in that portion of the empire, "with authority of a Caesar, and permission to exercise all the functions pertaining to the Augusti."
3. The diginty of Caesar varied in a degree of different times. Ancient writers have recorded that there were various degrees of Caesarian dignuity. Spartian, addressing Diocletian, after ealating that Hadrian, had adopted Aelius, says of the latter, "There is nothing in his life worthy of note, except for the fact, that he was styled Caesar, not as was formerly the case, in consequence of bequest, nor in the manner in which Trajan was adopted; but nearly in the way as in our own time, through your (Diocletians's) favour, Maximianus and Constantius were called Caesars, as being men of princely extraction, and presumptive heirs of imperial dignity." Capitolinus, at the commencement of his life of L. Verus, says "His real father was Aelius Verus, who, being adopted by Hadrian, was called Caesar, and died holding that rank." There were emperors who deferred the assumption of the title Caesar in the case of their sons. Antoninus Pius, in adopting at the same time Marcus Aurelius and L. Verus, gave to the former, at once, the title of Caesar, but not to Verus, whom throughout his reign he permitted to use no other dictinction than Austi Filius. Marcus Aurelius again, did not bestow that title upon his sons Commodus and Annius Verus, till the sixth year of his reign. Pertinax declined to assume the honout, notwithstanding the Senate decreed it to his son. Septimius Severus bestowed it on Caracalla only in the third, and on Geta in the fifth year of his reign. The practice followed by other emperors is to be ascertained by consulting their respective coins.
So lond as the Julis family held sway, Caesars were created neither by birth or adoption; CAESAR, as having already been observed, being then noting more than the cognomen of the Julia gens. On its extinction in Caligua, the same privilege was usurped by the Caludia family. Thenceforth the right of conferring the title of Casar was, according to the various circumstances of time and place, possessed or arrogated by the emperors themselves, or the Senate, or the army; by the conbined, or partial votes of which three estates, it is well known that even the Augusti were chosen.
4. Name of Nobilissimus added to that of CAESAR. In progress of time, the Caesars began to add the epithet Nobilissimus to their other titles, either to indicate an illustious line of decent, or fictitiously to conceal a humble origin. This epithet is found oto have been adopted even by Commodus on marbles (See Spanheim). On coins, Diadumenianus (son of Macrinus) is the first hitherto known to have had this title applied to him; these are of the colony pf Laodicea in Syria. In later times it travelled even into the Roman mint. The inscrition on coins is NOB CAES or NOB C or still more briefly, N C. It is extraordinary that Zeno and Leo III should, on the coins of the East, be styled NOV CAES (for NOB) and still more that both of them were Augusti. But there is no accounting for the anomalies of that period.
As the Caesars were colled Nobilissimi, so were some famales called nobilissimae; there being inscribed on their coins N F that is Nobilissima Femina: as for instance, HELENA N F perhaps the wife of Crispus; and FAVSTA N F perhaps the wife of Constantine II; the value of which title is not sufficiently known. In the later times of th empire, there arose a distinction between Caesares and the Nobilissimi; for Nicephorus, of Constantinople, at the conclusion of his history, relates that constantine V. Copronymus created two of his sons, Christophorus and Nicephorus, Caesars, and the third Nicetas, was styled Nobilissimus. The title of Augustus was occasionally added to the Caesars, but only through a consortium, or colleagueship, with their father, an Augustus. See Eckhel, De nomine et titulo Caesaris, vol viii p. 367, ct seq.
View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
View whole page from the Dictionary Of Roman Coins
The real Julius Caesar
Caesar was tall and slight. His features were more refined than was usual in
Roman faces; the forehead was wide and high, the nose large and thin, the lips
full, the eyes dark gray like and eagleís, the neck extremely thick and sinewy.
His complexion was pale. His hair was short and naturally scanty, falling off
toward the end of his life and leaving him partially bald. His voice,
especially when he spoke in public, was high and shrill.
was uniformly strong until his last year, when he became subject to epileptic
fits. He was scrupulously clean in all his habits, abstemious in his food,
rarely or never touching wine, and noting sobriety as the highest qualities
when describing any new people. He was an athlete in early life, admirable in
all manly exercises, and especially in riding. From his boyhood it was observed
of him that he was the truest of friends, that he avoided quarrels, and was
most easily appeased when offended. In manner he was quiet and gentlemanlike,
with the natural courtesy of high breeding.
He was singularly
careful of his soldiers. He allowed his legions rest, though he allowed none to
himself. He rarely fought a battle at a disadvantage. He never exposed his men
to unnecessary danger, and the loss by wear and tear in campaigns in Gaul was
exceptionally and even astonishingly slight. When a gallant action was
performed, he knew by who it had been done, and every soldier, however humble,
might feel assured that if he deserved praise he would have it. The army was
From: "The Mentor" March 1 1918. Volume 6 Number 2.