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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Imperators| ▸ |Marc Antony||View Options:  |  |  | 

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C.

Mark Antony was military commander for Julius Caesar during his conquest of Gaul and administrator of Italy while Caesar eliminated his opponents in Greece, Africa, and Spain. After Caesar's assassination in 44 B.C., Antony joined Lepidus and Caesar's adoptive son Octavian in a three-man dictatorship known as the Second Triumvirate. They defeated Caesar's murderers, the Liberatores, at the Battle of Philippi in 42 B.C. and divided the Republic among themselves. Antony took the east, including Egypt, ruled by Queen Cleopatra, and command of Rome's war against Parthia. Relations within the Triumvirate were strained but civil war was averted when Antony married Octavian's sister Octavia. Despite the marriage, Antony continued his affair with Cleopatra and even married her. The Triumvirate broke up in 33 B.C. and erupted into civil war in 31 B.C. At Octavian's direction, the Roman Senate declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium the same year. Defeated, Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt where they committed suicide. With Antony dead, Octavian was the undisputed master of the Roman world and would reign as the first Roman emperor with the title Augustus.

Mark Antony, Triumvir and Imperator, 44 - 30 B.C., CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM

|Marc| |Antony|, |Mark| |Antony,| |Triumvir| |and| |Imperator,| |44| |-| |30| |B.C.,| |CHORTIS| |SPECVLATORVM||denarius|
Speculatores served the legions as spies, scouts, messengers, lookouts, and executioners. Aboard ship speculatores stood watch as lookouts in a turret (specula) at the stern, explaining their unusual standards. Normally ten speculatores were assigned to each legion. Anthony formed a separate cohort of speculatores which served him personally and also acted as his personal bodyguard. Augustus would later create a speculatorian cohort at Rome to serve as the inner corps of the praetorian guard. This coin probably refers to the naval equivalent, who were comparable to the Marines and provided a shipboard bodyguard for Antony.
SH76389. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1484, Crawford 544/12, Sydenham 1214, BMCRR II East 185, RSC I 6, Sear CRI 386, Choice VF, well centered on full flan, toned, banker's mark and V graffito on obverse, scratches, weight 3.636 g, maximum diameter 18.9 mm, die axis 0o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with fluttering banners at prow, border of dots; reverse CHORTIS SPECVLATORVM, three standards, each decorated with two wreaths and a model war galley prow, border of dots; ex CNG auction 76/2 (12 Sep 2007), lot 3262; ex John A. Seeger Collection; this ex-Forum coin is now in the Fitzwilliam Museum; rare; SOLD


Roman Republic, Second Triumvirate, Mark Antony and Octavian, Spring - Early Summer 41 B.C.

|Marc| |Antony|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Second| |Triumvirate,| |Mark| |Antony| |and| |Octavian,| |Spring| |-| |Early| |Summer| |41| |B.C.||denarius|
AVG in the obverse legend, abbreviates Antony's official position as Augur (not Augustus, a title which did not yet exist). The augur was an official and priest, whose main role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: whether they are flying in groups or alone, what noises they make as they fly, direction of flight and what kind of birds they are. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society, public or private, including matters of war, commerce, and religion. The Roman historian Livy stresses the importance of the augurs: "Who does not know that this city was founded only after taking the auspices; that everything in war and in peace, at home and abroad, was done only after taking the auspices?"

Octavian's "equivalent" position as Pontifex, a priest, is abbreviated PONT in the reverse legend.

The moneyer M. Barbatius was a friend of Julius Caesar. In 41 B.C. he was a quaestor pro praetore to Antony in the East.
SH26590. Silver denarius, Crawford 517/2, Sydenham 1181, BMCRR East 103, Sear CRI 243, RSC I Mark Antony and Augustus 8, SRCV I 1504, Choice gVF, weight 3.780 g, maximum diameter 20.2 mm, die axis 0o, military mint moving with Antony, Ephesus(?) mint, spring - early summer 41 B.C.; obverse M ANT IMP AVG III VIR R P C M BARBAT Q P (MP and AV ligate), bare head of Antony right; reverse CAESAR IMP PONT III VIR R P C, bare head of Octavian right; scarce; SOLD


Mark Antony and Octavian, 41 B.C., monneyer Lucius Gellius Poplicola

|Marc| |Antony|, |Mark| |Antony| |and| |Octavian,| |41| |B.C.,| |monneyer| |Lucius| |Gellius| |Poplicola||denarius|
After Caesar's assassination, Antony Octavian and Lepidus formed the 2nd Triumvirate, a three-man dictatorship. They defeated Caesar's assassins at Philippi in 42 B.C. and divided the Republic among themselves. Relations were strained but civil war was averted when Antony married Octavian's sister, Octavia. Despite the marriage, Antony continued an affair with Cleopatra and even married her. In 31 B.C., at Octavian's direction, the Roman Senate declared war on Cleopatra and proclaimed Antony a traitor. Octavian defeated Antony at the Battle of Actium the same year. Defeated, Antony and Cleopatra fled back to Egypt where they committed suicide. Octavian was then the undisputed master of the Roman world and would reign as the first Roman emperor with the title Augustus.
SH16770. Silver denarius, SRCV I 1505, Crawford 517/8, RSC I Mark Antony and Augustus 10, VF, lustrous fields, struck slightly flat, weight 3.745 g, maximum diameter 19.8 mm, die axis 315o, Asia Minor, military mint, autumn 41 B.C.; obverse M ANT IMP AVG III VIR R P C L GELL Q P, bare head of Antony right, jug behind; reverse CAESAR IMP PONT III VIR R P C, bare head of Octavian right, lituus behind; rare; SOLD










REFERENCES|

Babelon, E. Monnaies de la Republique Romaine. (Paris, 1885).
Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Carson, R. Principal Coins of the Romans, Vol. I: The Republic, c. 290-31 BC. (London, 1978).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Russo, R. The RBW Collection of Roman Republican Coins. (Zurich, 2013).
Rutter, N. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. Roman Coins and Their Values, Vol. 1, The Republic and the Twelve Caesars 280 BC - AD 86. (London, 2000).
Sydenham, E. The Coinage of the Roman Republic. (London, 1952).

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