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

Coins of the Roman Imperators

Mark Antony and Octavia, 39 B.C., Ephesos, Ionia

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The obverse legend abbreviates Consul Designatus, Iterum et Tertium, meaning Consul Elect for the second and third time. The reverse legend abbreviates Triumvir Reipublicae Constituendae, the title adopted in November of 43 B.C. by the three Caesarian leaders (Mark Antony, Octavian, and Lepidus) when they formed the Second Triumvirate to oppose the tyrannicides Brutus and Cassius.
SH86609. Silver cistophoric tetradrachm, RPC I 2202, Sydenham 1198, Crawford 263, RSC Octavia and M. Antony 3, Sear CRI 263, BMCRR East 135, SRCV I 1513, Choice gVF, toned, well centered, some die wear and rust, scratches, weight 11.723 g, maximum diameter 27.1 mm, die axis 0o, Ephesos mint, summer - autumn 39 B.C.; obverse M ANTONIVS IMP COS DESIG ITER ET TERT (Consul Elect for the 2nd and 3rd time), conjoined head of Antony and bust of Octavia right, Antony nearer and wreathed in ivy, Octavia draped; reverse Dionysus standing half left on cista mystica, in his right hand, thyrsus in his left hand, flanked by two interlaced snakes with heads erect, III VIR (triumvir) downward on left, R P C (Reipublicae Constituendae) upward on right; $2400.00 (2112.00)


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

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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

RS92156. Silver denarius, Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399, F, toned, light bumps and marks, reverse a little off center, weight 3.570 g, maximum diameter 18.4 mm, die axis 180o, military mint, traveling with Caesar, 49 B.C.; obverse elephant walking right trampling on a 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); $600.00 (528.00)


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

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According to Livy, the caduceus, a symbol of peace, was sometimes carried by diplomats sent to negociate a treaty. Antony and Octavian allied to defeat Caesar's assassins, but after defeating Brutus and Cassius, each was determined to obtain absolute power. While Antony was in Egypt, his brother and his wife gathered an army to remove Octavian but they were defeated. Antony and Octavian met with their armies at Brundisium, but the legions, both Caesarian, refused to fight. The two men reached an agreement. This is when this coin was struck by Octavian's mint with Antony's portrait on the obverse. It appeared that peace was finally reigning in the Roman world, but it only was a short calm before another storm.
RR89740. Silver denarius, Crawford 529/3, Sydenham 1328, Sear CRI 303, BMCRR II Gaul 94, Russo RBW 1817, RSC I Mark Antony 5, F, uneven toning, light marks, weight 3.488 g, maximum diameter 20.7 mm, die axis 270o, travelling mint with Octavian mint, 39 B.C.; obverse ANTONIVS IMP, bare head right; reverse CAESAR - IMP (counterclockwise below), winged caduceus; rare; $450.00 (396.00)


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

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Antony's legion X may have been disbanded by Augustus. The famous X Fretensis ('from the Channel') fought for Octavian. In 66 A.D., Legion X Fretensis moved to Judaea to suppress the revolt. In 68, the Xth destroyed the monastery of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls originated. In 70, the Xth camped on the Mount of Olives and used war machines to hurl 25 kg stones 400 meters at the ramparts of besieged Jerusalem. After a five month siege and the horrors of starvation, the city was taken and then completely destroyed. In the autumn of 72, the Xth, auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish prisoners erected a wall of circumvallation around Masada, the last Jewish stronghold. The Jewish defenders chose mass suicide before the final assault. After the revolt, the Xth was the sole legion in Judaea and garrisoned at Jerusalem. X Fretensis is recorded to have existed at least until the 410s.Legion X Camp

RR91406. Silver denarius, Crawford 544/24, Sydenham 1228, BMCRR II East 202, RSC I 38, Sear CRI 361, Nice VF, nice toning, bumps and marks, light porosity, spots of corrosion on edge, reverse a little off center, weight 3.342 g, maximum diameter 17.8 mm, die axis 180o, Patrae(?) mint, autumn 32 - spring 31 B.C.; obverse ANTAVG / III VIRRPC, galley right with rowers, mast with banners at prow; reverse LEG - X, aquila (legionary eagle) between two legionary standards; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection, ex Pegasi Coins; $450.00 (396.00)


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

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RS91805. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. Crawford 443/1, Sydenham 1006, RSC I 49, Sear CRI 9, BMCRR Gaul 27, Russo RBW 1557, SRCV I 1399 (silver, official, military mint), aVF, excellent centering, uneven toning, small plating breaks, weight 2.862 g, maximum diameter 18.6 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter mint, c. 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 Numismatik Naumann auction 75 (3 Mar 2019), lot 584; $450.00 (396.00)


Gadara, Decapolis, 64 - 63 B.C.

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This type and another similar anonymous year one of Rome type, have traditionally been attributed to Gadara. In 64/3 BC Roman troops under Pompey "liberated" the Greek cities conquered by the Judaean king Alexander Jannaeus. Pompey personally supervised reconstruction in Gadara. Commemorating these events, Gadara established the year 64/3 B.C. as the beginning of a new Pompeian era, replacing the previous Seleukid era. Hoover says the attribution to Gadara is in error; that the fabric and style suggest a mint in southern Syria. For now, at least, we retain the traditional attribution.
RP91034. Bronze AE 23, Meshorer City-Coins 217, Spijkerman 1, Rosenberg IV 1, HGC 10 381 (S), RPC I -, aVF, weight 11.043 g, maximum diameter 22.8 mm, die axis 0o, Gadara (Um Qais, Jordan) mint, 64 - 63 B.C.; obverse bust of Herakles left, draped with lion's skin, club on left shoulder, anepigraphic; reverse galley ram right, L A / PΩMHS (year 1 of Rome [Pompeian Era]) in two lines above, all within wreath; rare; $250.00 (220.00)


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

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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!
RR91685. Fouree silver plated denarius, cf. RSC I Junia 30, Sydenham 907, Crawford 433/2, BMCRR I Rome 3864, Russo RBW 1543, SRCV I 398 (official Roman prototype, silver, Rome mint), VF, deep old cabinet toning, scratches, minor encrustations, small plating breaks and one larger 9:00 on obverse, weight 3.087 g, maximum diameter 19.4 mm, die axis 0o, unofficial counterfeiter's mint, c. 54 - 50 B.C.; obverse bearded bare head of L. Junius Brutus (consul 509 B.C.), BRVTVS downward behind; reverse bearded bare head of C. Servilius Ahala (master of the horse 439 B.C.), AHALA downward behind; from the Maxwell Hunt Collection; $250.00 (220.00)


Gnaeus Pompey Junior, Imperator, 47 - 45 B.C., Son of Pompey the Great

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After the murder of his father, Gnaeus Pompey Magnus Junior and his brother Sextus joined the resistance against Caesar in Africa. Together with Metellus Scipio, Cato the Younger and other senators, they prepared to oppose Caesar and his army. Caesar defeated Metellus Scipio and Cato, who subsequently committed suicide, at the Battle of Thapsus in 46 B.C. Gnaeus escaped to the Balearic Islands, where he joined Sextus. Together with Titus Labienus, former general in Caesar's army, the Pompey brothers crossed over to the Hispania, where they raised yet another army. Caesar soon followed and, on 17 March 45 B.C., the armies met in the battle of Munda. Both armies were large and led by able generals. The battle was closely fought, but eventually a cavalry charge by Caesar turned events to his side. In the battle and the panicked escape that followed, Titus Labienus and an estimated 30,000 men of the Pompeian side died. Gnaeus and Sextus managed to escape once again. However, this time, supporters were difficult to find because it was now clear Caesar had won the civil war. Within a few weeks, Gnaeus Pompeius was caught and executed for treason.
RR88024. Leaded bronze as, Crawford 471/1, Sydenham 1040, RPC I 486, BMCRR Spain 84, RBW Collection, 1646, Sear CRI 53, Cohen I 16, SRCV I 1386, aF, dark patina, porous, earthen encrustations, weight 23.210 g, maximum diameter 31.0 mm, die axis 240o, Hispania probably Tarraco (Tarragona, Spain) mint, 46 - 45 B.C.; obverse laureate and bearded head of Janus, I above; reverse prow of galley right, I right, CN MAG (MA ligate) above, IMP below; scarce; $60.00 (52.80)







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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 Saturday, September 21, 2019.
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The Imperators