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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numism  |  Reading For the Advanced Collector  |  Topic: Caligula: Divus Augustus, Senatus etc. 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Caligula: Divus Augustus, Senatus etc.  (Read 3947 times)
Numerianus
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« on: October 10, 2005, 12:48:51 am »

I hope that this may be an interesting starting point:  the popular Caligula coin
 
 Divus Augustus. Dupondius circa 37-41, DIVVS AVGVTSVS S – C Radiate head l. Rev. CONSENSV SENAT ET EQV ORDIN P Q R Augustus seated l. on curule chair, holding branch. C 87. BMC Gaius 90. CBN Gaius 134. RIC Gaius 56.

 DIVUS AUGUSTUS. Died 14 AD. Æ Dupondius. Rome mint. Struck under Gaius (Caligula), 37-41 AD. DIVVS AVGVSTVS, S C across field, radiate head left / CONSENSV SENAT ET EQ ORDIN P Q R, Gaius (Caligula) seated left on curule chair, holding a laurel branch in extended right hand and globe in left hand. RIC I 56 (Gaius); MIR 3, 11-5; BMCRE 90 (Gaius); BN 137 (Caligula); Cohen 87.

I copied this two descriptions from coinarchives. You see, there is no consenus  about the reverseCaligula (Augustus) or Divus Augustus.

To my logic,  it should be Caligula.  The  reverse legend is  not a usual one: it is political slogan:
claiming a consensus of the governing body, nobilitet and ordinary Roman people (I have some difficulty to interprete this
inscription). Of course, all this under auspices of Divus Augustus, the founder of the state, and ... it should be under the
leadership of young August, Gai Caligula.

This inscription leads me to some thoughts why a nice youth, beloved by the army, rapidly transformed into crazy monstre.
I believe that the reason was a psychological  weekness of Caligula: he could not support a pressure of a political leader who should fight, fight, and fight... 
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Robert_Brenchley
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2005, 07:09:07 am »

He looks like an irresponsible young playboy who suddenly found himself with total power, and may not even realised it was coming, since Augustus had created a system which disguised the emperor's power so well. He seems to have done well at first, and then started exploiting his position. The more he found he could do what he liked, the more extreme he became. History, of course, was written by his enemies, and he probably wasn't as bad as he was painted, but I think this was a case of someone who had no experience, wasn't prepared for power, and let it go to his head.
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 01:37:42 pm »

My introductory post as well as the hypothesis may be completely wrong:
Cohen attribute this issue  as struck under  Tiberius!
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curtislclay
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 02:01:22 pm »

    Indeed struck by Caligula, and the obv. shows a statue of Caligula, his facial features sometimes clearly recognizable, with a legend recording that the statue had been erected "With the Approval of the Senate, the Equestrian Order, and the Roman People".
    Why coupled with a rev. of Divus Augustus?  The best explanation I can think of, my own new and unpublished idea, is that the statue in question had been set up IN THE TEMPLE OF DIVUS AUGUSTUS, which Caligula himself dedicated in August 37 AD.
     S C was normally placed on the rev. of Roman bronze coins, so I think its placement left and right of the portrait of Augustus on this coin can only mean that this side was the reverse.  There would have been plenty of room to add those letters on the Statue side of the coin, if that were the reverse; one cannot argue that the letters had exceptionally been "forced" onto the obverse, because there was simply no space available to place them on the reverse as usual.
      Looking at the coin again, I now see one plausible reason why S C might exceptionally have been placed on the obverse:  it might have seemed confusing if the same reverse type showed a statue erected with the Senate's approval, a legend expressing the Senate's approval of that statue, and letters meaning "By Decree of the Senate" with reference to the coin's production or the establishment of the new bronze coinage by the Senate under Augustus.  For the same reason, to avoid reference to two different decrees of the Senate on the rev. of the same coin, S C was entirely omitted from Corona Civica sestertii of Caligula and Claudius, with rev. legend SPQR P P OB CIVES SERVATOS or EX S C (P P) OB CIVES SERVATOS, and from Caligula's Carpentum sestertius for his mother, with rev. legend SPQR MEMORIAE AGRIPPINAE.  Of course the same choice, total omission of S C, could have been made for the CONSENSV dupondii too, so doesn't the addition of S C to the Divus Augustus side indicate that that was indeed the reverse?  I don't think we can say for certain.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2005, 03:35:57 pm »

Very interesting theory!
By the way,  did Romans use (or have in mind) the "scientific" pairing "obverse-reverse" or it was "head - tail". There is a semantical difference
which may confirm your idea to associate SC with Augustus and not with a statue.
On my specimen the obverse is badly centered and this makes a coin more attractive (artistically): by chance August has a space in front of him as the composition requires!   
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2005, 03:45:38 pm »

I believe the Romans used the term "Capita aut Nava" for "Heads or Tails" even long after the reverses of the coins no longer bore the image of the prow of a ship.

Alex.
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« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2005, 02:49:03 pm »

The seated figure is definately Caligula.  But it amazing how many catalouges still have Augustus as seated figure.

Joe Geranio
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curtislclay
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2005, 09:45:11 am »

The continued misidentification was to be expected, since it is enshrined in all of the standard catalogues and the correction was only published in an article in 1978.
Even the new RIC I, publ. in 1984, calls the figure "Augustus (?)", with a reference to the correct alternative in a footnote.
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2005, 10:15:32 am »

I understand Curtis, but it is confusing to collectors.  I do not know how many have asked the question?  Who is the seated princeps?

Joe Geranio
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2005, 02:01:32 pm »

This thread illustrates the importance of (a) not stating something as a fact merely on the 'authority' of print, whether hard copy or electronic, (b) understanding that 'proof' means only something tested, (c) the reflection, before you publish anything, either in hard copy or electronically--even in eBay postings, if you want to be respectable, that anything published will take a good century to get expunged from the literature, (d) the irresponsibility of citing anything as 'fact' without finding out what concrete evidence it rests on, and (e) the uselessness of unsigned information or opinion of any kind.
The last things that will get cleaned up are general handbooks, coffee-table books, and (last of all) undergraduate textbooks written by non-specialists.  None of these is in the habit of distinguishing between a likely hypothesis and a fact.  Some of them are even written by monolingual authors, who are no more authors than the ones who write as-told-to autobiographies of celebrities, and who cannot have themselves read even the secondary literature outside of their own language.
Even during the years when I was teaching middle-school children, I never allowed them to cite in support any unsigned article, anywhere, even in the Britannica.  Much less did I ever accept, except for date-base info (such as when and where John Doe was born and died), any unsigned article in the footnotes/endnotes of a college paper.
Needless to say, I would never contribute to a wiki encyclopedia without signing what I wrote.  This would not be proprietary (because many similar opinions are reached, all the time, independently), but it would be to accept responsibility, authorship, authority for putting it there.  Otherwise, it is just like anonymous student hate mail to deans about instructors, which no decent institution will tolerate--or even read.
Patricia Lawrence
P.S. Each collector is responsible for his or her own confusion.
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2012, 02:22:04 am »

Here is how we know the reverse seated figure is Gaius Caligula.   Look at the physiognomy or facial features.

 
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