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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ |Roman Coins| ▸ |The Imperators| ▸ |Julius Caesar||View Options:  |  |  | 

Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C.

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.

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
Minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus, this was the first coin type issued in Caesar's name. The elephant was the symbol of the Caesar family. According to legend, an ancestor received the name Caesar after single-handedly killing an elephant, probably in North Africa during the First Punic War, and "Caesai" was the name for elephant in the local Punic language. The obverse was long described as an elephant trampling a snake, symbolizing good triumphing over evil. For the Romans, however, the snake was a symbol of healing, not evil. The image to the right (click it to see a larger photo) is ornamentation on the side of the Gundestrup cauldron (c. 150 - 1 B.C.) depicting three Celtic warriors sounding their carnyx war trumpets. Clearly, Caesar's elephant is trampling a carnyx and the obverse symbolizes Caesar's victory over the Celtic tribes of Gaul. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of Rome, a title now held by the Pope.Persian Empire
SH111467. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, EF, toned, broad flan, tiny edge test cut, weight 3.712 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a carnyx (a Celtic war trumpet) ornamented to look like a dragon, CAESAR below; reverse implements of the pontificate: culullus (cup) or simpulum (ladle), aspergillum (sprinkler), securis (sacrificial ax), and apex (priest's hat); ex Harlan J. Berk auction 199 (29 Sep 2016), lot 148; ex Jesus Vico auction 112 (Nov 2006), lot 194; $3100.00 (3131.00)


Julius Caesar, Imperator and Dictator, October 49 - 15 March 44 B.C., L. Aemilus Buca

|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.,| |L.| |Aemilus| |Buca||denarius|
"The coin that killed Caesar." The obverse legend declares Caesar is "Dictator for Life" and he wears the veil, symbolic of his life-term position as Pontifex Maximus. Caesar would be both the dictator and high priest of Rome for the remainder of his life, but his life would end only a few weeks after this coin was struck. For Caesar to put his image on coins and in effect declare himself king was too much for Brutus and his republican allies. On the Ides of March (15 March) 44 B.C. Caesar was stabbed to death by as many as 60 conspirators, led by Brutus and Cassius. According to Plutarch, a seer had warned that harm would come to Caesar no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the Theater of Pompey, where he would be assassinated, Caesar passed the seer and joked, "The ides of March have come," meaning to say that the prophecy had not been fulfilled, to which the seer replied, "Aye, Caesar, but not gone." This meeting is famously dramatized in William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar when Caesar is warned by the soothsayer to "beware the Ides of March."

Minted for Caesar's planned Parthian war, this type was often carelessly struck indicating the mint was working under great pressure.
RS85152. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/7b, Sydenham 1062, Sear CRI 104a, RSC I Julius Caesar 24, Russo RBW 1682, BMCRR I Rome 4155, SRCV I 1410, Choice aEF, expressive portrait, well centered, light rose toning, some legend weak, banker's mark, light bumps and scratches, edge cracks, weight 3.867 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 90o, struck by L. Aemilus Buca, Rome mint, lifetime issue, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse Venus seated left, Victory in extended right hand, long transverse scepter in left hand, L:BVCA downward behind; ex Art of Money (Portland, OR); very rare; SOLD


|Julius| |Caesar|, |Julius| |Caesar,| |Imperator| |and| |Dictator,| |October| |49| |-| |15| |March| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
The star on the obverse probably indicates the beginning of a new age. Caesar claimed descent from the goddess Venus. The small star at the base of Venus' scepter is symbolic of her divinity.
SH76401. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/5b, Sydenham 1071, RSC I 41, BMCRR I Rome 4165, Sear Imperators 106a, SRCV I 1412, aVF, nice portrait, light marks and scratches, die wear, small edge chip, weight 3.076 g, maximum diameter 17.9 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer P Sepullius Macer, Jan - Feb 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR IMP, wreathed head of Caesar right, star with eight rays around a central pellet behind; reverse P SEPVLLIVS MACER, Venus standing left, Victory in her right hand, long scepter with a star at base behind in her left hand, Victory facing left, holding wreath in both hands; from the Jeff Michniak Collection; SOLD


Roman Republic, Dictatorship of Julius Caesar, L. Aemilius Buca, January 44 B.C.

|after| |50| |B.C.|, |Roman| |Republic,| |Dictatorship| |of| |Julius| |Caesar,| |L.| |Aemilius| |Buca,| |January| |44| |B.C.||denarius|
"Sulla's Dream." The reverse of this rare type refers to the famous dream Sulla (an ancestor of the moneyer) experienced in 88 B.C. Sulla dreamed Luna came to him and put a thunder-bolt in his hand, and naming his enemies one by one, bade him smite them with it; and they were all smitten, and fell, and vanished away. Encouraged by the vision, at break of day he marched his legions towards Rome to attack Marius.
SH57752. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/1, Sydenham 1064, RSC I Aemilia 12, BMCRR 4160, Sear CRI 164, SRCV I 476, F, rough, weight 3.699 g, maximum diameter 19.1 mm, die axis 270o, Rome mint, obverse L BVCA, diademed head of Venus right; reverse Sulla reclining against rocks; Luna on right descending from mountain holding a torch; Victory standing facing behind, wings spread, palm frond in raised right; very rare; SOLD










OBVERSE| LEGENDS|

CAESARDICTINPERPETVO
CAESARDICTPERPETVO
CAESARDICTQVART
CAESARIMP
CAESARIMPER
CAESDICQVAR
CCAESARCOSTER
CCAESDICTER


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.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
Russo, R. The RBW Collection of Roman Republican Coins. (Zurich, 2013).
Rutter, N.K. ed. Historia Numorum. Italy. (London, 2001).
Seaby, H.A., D. Sear, & R. Loosley. Roman Silver Coins, Volume I, The Republic to Augustus. (London, 1989).
Sear, D. R. The History and Coinage of the Roman Imperators 49 - 27 BC. (London, 1998).
Sear, D. R. Roman Coins and Their Values, Volume One, 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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