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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The ImperatorsView Options:  |  |  |   

Coins of the Roman Imperators

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

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"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.
SH85584. Silver denarius, Crawford 480/16, Sydenham 1067, Sear CRI 111, RSC I Julius Caesar 9, BMCRR I Rome 4185, SRCV I 1415, aVF, toned, weight 3.464 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 45o, Rome mint, moneyer C. Cossutius Maridianus, Feb - Mar 44 B.C.; obverse CAESAR DICT PERPETVO, veiled and wreathed head of Caesar right; reverse C MARIDIANVS, Venus standing left, Victory in extended right hand, resting left arm on shield at side on right; $1500.00 (1275.00)


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

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This was the first coin issued in Caesar's name. It was minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus. The symbolism on the obverse appears to be the triumph of good over evil. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome).
SH86438. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, light tone, obverse a little off center on a broad flan, weight 3.921 g, maximum diameter 18.3 mm, die axis 270o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a dragon or carnyx (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); $1200.00 (1020.00)


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

Click for a larger photo
This was the first coin issued in Caesar's name. It was minted after his invasion of Italy and crossing of the Rubicon on 10 January 49 B.C. until his defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus. The symbolism on the obverse appears to be the triumph of good over evil. The reverse refers to Caesar's office of Pontifex Maximus (high priest of Rome).
SH85591. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, VF, old collection rainbow toning, choice obverse, light marks, reverse 1/4 off center, weight 4.024 g, maximum diameter 9.6 mm, die axis 0o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a dragon or carnyx (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); $900.00 (765.00)


Roman Republic, M. Junius Brutus (Q. Caepio Brutus), 54 B.C.

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M. Junius Brutus (also called Q. Caepio Brutus) is the most famous of Caesars assassins. Many of Brutus' coins honor his ancestors and illustrate his strong republican views. The obverse honors L. Junius Brutus, the consul who in 509 B.C. forced the expulsion of the Tarquin Kings from Rome and founded the Republic. The reverse honors Gaius Servilius Ahala, who threw Spurius Maelius down from the Tarpeian rock to his death for plotting against the Republic and aspiring to tyranny. Caesar should not have been surprised by Brutus!
RR86434. Silver denarius, RSC I Junia 30, Sydenham 907, Crawford 433/2, BMCRR I Rome 3864, Russo RBW 1543, SRCV I 398, VF, iridescent toning, obverse a little off center, scratches, weight 3.542 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 54 B.C.; obverse bearded bare head of L. Junius Brutus (consul 509 B.C.), BRVTVS behind; reverse bearded bare head of C. Servilius Ahala (master of the horse 439 B.C.), AHALA behind; $500.00 (425.00)


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

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This may have been a legion raised by Antony and disbanded by Augustus. The XI Claudia, an old legion of Caesar's, fought for Octavian (and won the title Actiaca at the battle of Actium).
SL79267. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/25, Sydenham 1229, BMCRR II East 203, RSC I 39, NGC F, strike 3/5, surface 2/5, banker's marks (2400602-008), toned, weight 3.48 g, maximum diameter 15.4 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XI, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; NGC certified (slabbed); $400.00 (340.00)


Roman Republic, M. Junius Brutus (Q. Caepio Brutus), 54 B.C.

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M. Junius Brutus (also called Q. Caepio Brutus) is the most famous of Caesars assassins. Many of Brutus' coins honor his ancestors and illustrate his strong republican views. Lucius Junius Brutus overthrew the last king of Rome and established the Republic in 509 B.C. Caesar should have taken notice of the message of patriotic devotion Brutus conveyed by his coins.
RR86469. Silver denarius, Crawford 433/1, Sydenham 906, RSC I Junia 31, BMCRR 3861, Russo RBW 1542, SRCV I 397, VF, toned, uneven strike with weak areas, bankers mark, slightly off center, weight 4.001 g, maximum diameter 19.2 mm, die axis 90o, Rome mint, 54 B.C.; obverse LIBERTAS downward behind, head of Liberty right, hair rolled, wearing drop pendant earring and necklace; reverse L. Junius Brutus between two lictors, preceded by an accensus, all walking left, BRVTVS in exergue; $300.00 (255.00)


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

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This may have been the famous V Alaudae ('the larks'), a Caesarean legion which remained loyal to Antony but was later retained by Augustus. There are other possibilities, however: V Macedonica, a Caesarean legion about which little is known; V Urbana, disbanded after Actium (and therefore quite likely an Antonian legion); and V Gallica, a Caesarean legion that was probably the one that under Lollius lost its eagle to German raiders in Gaul in 17 B.C.
RS79795. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/18, Sydenham 1221, BMCRR II East 196, RSC I 32, Sear CRI 354, SRCV I 1479, VF, obverse slightly off-center, banker's mark on obverse, weight 3.714 g, maximum diameter 17.7 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae mint, 32 - 31 B.C.; obverse ANT AVG III. VIR. R. P. C., galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - V, legionary aquila between two standards; $250.00 (212.50)


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

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This old Caesarean legion was known at different times as Victrix, Antiquae, Paterna and finally XII Fulminata ('the thunderers'). Its veterans settled (among other places) in Patras in Greece. After fighting without great distinction in the First Jewish Revolt, the legion was transferred to Melitene in Cappadocia, where it remained for several hundred years.
RR85202. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/26, Sydenham 1230, BMCRR II East 204, RSC I 41, Sear CRI 365, F, toned, off center, scratches, weight 3.216 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 225o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - XII, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; $195.00 (165.75)


Julius Caesar and Octavian, Second Triumvirate, 36 B.C., Vienne, Gaul

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Vienne is in south-eastern France, 20 miles (32 km) south of Lyon, on the Rhone River. Before the arrival of the Roman armies under Julius Caesar, Vienne was the capital city of the Allobroges. RPC misspells the name, Vienna.

The denomination struck at Vienne was a dupondius and the type was frequently halved to make two asses.
RP84883. Bronze cut half dupondius (as), cut half of RPC I 517, SNG Cop -, aF, nice green patina, marks, some corrosion, weight 8.042 g, maximum diameter 29.7 mm, die axis 0o, Gaul, Vienne mint, 36 B.C.; obverse IMP / CAESAR DIVI F DIVI IVLI, bare heads of Julius Caesar left [and Octavian right (off flan)]; reverse C I V (Colonia Iulia Viennensis), prow right with superstructure; $155.00 (131.75)


Mark Antony and Octavian, 2nd Triumvirate, Thessalonica, Macedonia, 37 B.C.

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The reverse inscription abbreviates, MAPKOΣ ANTΩNIONΣ AYTOKPATΩP ΓAIOΣ KAIΣAP AYTOKPATΩP. The bust of Libertas on the obverse "refers to the grant of freedom by the Triumvirs to Thessalonica in 42 BC after the battle of Philippi (the victory which is celebrated on the reverse)." -- RPC I, p. 29

In 37 B.C., Cleopatra loaned Antony the money for the army. After a five-month siege, the Romans took Jerusalem from the Parthians. Herod the Great made king by Anthony, took control of his capital. Antigonus was taken to Antioch where Antony had him executed. Thousands of Jews were slaughtered by the Roman troops supporting Herod.
RP83539. Bronze AE 29, BMC Macedonia p. 115, 63; RPC I 1551/20-26; Sear CRI 672; SNG Cop 374; SNG ANS 823, aF, green patina on yellow brass, edge splits corrosion, weight 23.685 g, maximum diameter 28.4 mm, die axis 0o, Thessalonica (Salonika, Greece) mint, 37 B.C.; obverse ΘEΣΣAΛONKEΩN EΛEYΘEPIAΣ, diademed and draped bust of Eleutheria (Liberty) right, E (year 5) below chin; reverse M ANT AYT Γ KAI AYT, Nike advancing left, extending wreath in right hand, palm frond in left; $130.00 (110.50)




  



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REFERENCES

Banti, A. & L. Simonetti. Corpus Nummorum Romanorum. (Florence, 1972-1979).
Cohen, H. Description historique des monnaies frappes sous l'Empire Romain, Vol. 1: Pompey to Domitian. (Paris, 1880).
Carson, R. Principal Coins of the Romans, Vol. I: The Republic, c. 290-31 BC. (London, 1978).
Crawford, M. Roman Republican Coinage. (Cambridge, 1974).
Grueber, H.A. Coins of the Roman Republic in The British Museum. (London, 1910).
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).

Catalog current as of Thursday, December 14, 2017.
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The Imperators