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Rome - The Republic

Moneyer: M. Aemilius Scaurus and P. Plautius Hypsaeus
Held Office: 58 BC
Denomination: AR Denarius
Mint: Rome
Obverse: King Aretas of Nabataea in attitude of suplication, kneeling right beside camel, presenting olive-branch, "M•SCVR" above, "EX - S•C" in field, "AED•CVR" in exergue.
Reverse: Jupiter in quadriga left, brandishing thunderbolt, "P•HVPSAEVS / AED•CVR" above. "C•HVPSAE•COS / PREIVER" in exergue. "CAPTVM" on right.
Reference: RCVM 378, RSC Aemilia 9, RRC 422/1a
Weight: 3.9 gms
Diameter: 18.3 mm
Comment: The precise date of the curule aedileship of Scaurus and Hypsaeus has been recorded, providing a valuable fixed point of chronology of the later Republican coinage. The remarkable obverse type commemorates the surrender in 62 BC of Aretes III, king of the Nabataean Arabs, to Scaurus himself, the first instance of a moneyer publicising an event from his own career on the coinage.

M. Aemilius Scaurus

Marcus Aemilius Scaurus was a Roman politician of the 1st century BC and son of Marcus Aemilius Scaurus and Caecilia Metella Dalmatica. Scaurus lost his father when he was very young, but his education was ensured by several other family friends. Pompey the Great was briefly married to his sister Aemilia Scaura and, even after her death, Pompey continued to take personal interest in the young man.

During the Third Mithridatic War, Pompey asked for Scaurus by name to become his military tribune, and charged Scaurus, at the time quaestor, with the responsibility for the Judea region, which was involved in a bloody civil war between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. Caught in a siege by the Nabatean king Aretas III, Aristobulus asked for Pompey's intervention through Scaurus, and offered an enormous bribe. After Scaurus convinced Aretas to end the siege (64 BC), Aristobulus accused Scaurus of the extortion of 1000 talents, but Pompey, who trusted his brother-in-law, decided to give Judea to his opponent Hyrcanus (63 BC).

In 62 BC, when Pompey returned to Rome, Scaurus moved war to Petra, capital of the Nabatean Kingdom, but relieved the siege after receiving a bribe of 300 talents. In 58 BC, as aedile, Scaurus organized the Aedilician Games, long remembered for their extravagance.

Praetor (56 BC) and propraetor (55 BC) in Sardinia, Scaurus was supported by the First Triumvirate for the consulship in 54 BC, but was accused of extortion in his province. Scaurus was defended by Cicero, and acquitted in spite of his obvious guilt. In 53 BC, however, he was accused of ambitio (shameless bribery) and went into exile.

He married Mucia Tertia, who had previously been married to Pompey the Great. With Mucia, he had a son also named Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, consequently the half-brother of Sextus Pompey (son of Pompey the Great and Mucia).

Scaurus' massacres are mentioned in the Dead Sea scrolls. He was said by Pliny the Elder to have been the first Roman collector, or major collector, of engraved gems (Natural History, Book 37, Chapter 5).

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