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Home ▸ Catalog ▸ Roman Coins ▸ The Twelve CaesarsView Options:  |  |  |   

Roman Coins of the 12 Caesars

Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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The name Ostia was derived from the Latin "ostium" - river mouth. At the mouth of the River Tiber, Ostia was Rome's seaport. Construction of the port facilities began under Claudius and was likely completed just before this sestertius was struck in 64 A.D. Trajan and Hadrian expanded the facilities. The port was abandoned due to silting and now lies 3 km from the sea. The site is noted for the excellent preservation of its ancient buildings, magnificent frescoes and impressive mosaics.
SH86120. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 178, BMCRE I 131, Cohen I 37, Mac Dowall WCN 120, BnF I -, VF, well centered, nice portrait, near black patina, scratches on obverse lower right field, some porosity and tiny pitting, weight 26.031 g, maximum diameter 34.0 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 64 A.D.; obverse NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P IMP P P, laureate bust right, wearing aegis; reverse AVGVSTI above, S - C divided by POR OST below, bird's-eye view Ostia harbor: pharos lighthouse with Neptune statue on top at far side center; crescent-shaped pier with building and figure sacrificing at far end, crescent-shaped row of breakwaters or slips on right with figure seated on rock at far end, 7 ships within port; river god Tiber reclining left holding rudder and dolphin below; ex Gorny & Mosch auction 195 (7 Mar 2011), lot 405; $4210.00 (3578.50)


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; $3000.00 (2550.00)


Otho, 15 January 69 - 17 April 69 A.D., Antioch, Seleucis and Pieria, Syria

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Gaius Licinius Mucianus (named on this coin) was governor of Syria. When he failed to put down the Jewish revolt, Vespasian was sent to replace him. After the death of Galba, Mucianus and Vespasian both swore allegiance to Otho. Mucianus persuaded Vespasian to take up arms against Vitellius, who had seized the throne. They agreed Vespasian would settle affairs in the East, while Mucianus made would attack Vitellius. On his way to Rome, Mucianus defeated a Dacian invasion of Moesia. Mucianus reached Rome the day after Vitellius' death. Mucianus never wavered in his allegiance to Vespasian and was appointed consul for the third time in 72. As no mention is made of Mucianus during the reigns of Titus or Domitian, he probably died during the reign of Vespasian.
RP85562. Bronze AE 28, McAlee 319 (ex. rare, same dies), cf. RPC 4316 (not specifying obverse legend direction), aVF, nice portrait, dark patina with buff earthen highlighting, spots of light corrosion, obverse legend mostly weak or off flan, weight 11.757 g, maximum diameter 27.9 mm, die axis 0o, Antioch (Antakya, Turkey) mint, 15 Jan 69 - 17 Apr 69 A.D.; obverse [IMP M OT]-HO - [CAE AVG] (counterclockwise from upper left), head laureate right, dot in field behind; reverse EΠI / MOYKIA/NOY AN/TIOXEΩ/N ET ZIP (legate Mucianus, of Antioch, year 117) in five lines within a linear circle in a laurel wreath; this variant with a counterclockwise obverse legend is extremely rare; ex Gemini auction XIII (6 Apr 2017), lot 158, ex Jyrki Muona Collection; $1810.00 (1538.50)


Roman Civil War, Vitellius, c. 69 A.D.

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This coin is M71 in Butcher, K. & M. Pointing, The Metallurgy of Roman Silver Coinage: From the Reform of Nero to the Reform of Trajan (Cambridge, 2015). There is a tiny drill hole on the edge where silver was extracted for testing. This was an important coin in the study, with test results indicating 93.9% silver bullion and Gallic isotope ratios strongly suggesting similarity with other Vitellius coins from Gallia, not coins minted for Galba.
RS86684. Silver denarius, Butcher-Pointing M71 (this coin), RIC I Civil Wars 121, BMCRE I 65, RSC I Galba 363, BnF I 75, Martin 7, EF, toned, tight flan, light corrosion, test drill hole on edge, weight 3.127 g, maximum diameter 17.5 mm, die axis 180o, Southern Gaul(?) mint, c. 69 A.D.; obverse clasped hands, FIDES above, EXERCITVVM below; reverse clasped hands, FIDES above, PRAETORIANORVM curving along the edge below; from the Jyrki Muona Collection, ex Helios, auction 4 (Munich, 14 Oct 2009), lot 270; ex Coll. A. Lynn collection; ex Classical Numismatic Group, auction 54 (14 June 2000), lot 1484; ex P. DeVicci collection; rare; $1800.00 (1530.00)


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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This type was the first portrait sestertius struck at the mint of Rome. The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH82656. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, nice VF, dark brown patina, minor roughness on reverse, weight 23.762 g, maximum diameter 34.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; ex CNG mail bid sale 69 (8 Jun 2005), lot 1382; ex CNG 46, (24 Jun 1998), lot 1156; rare; $1800.00 (1530.00)


Nero, 13 October 54 - 9 June 68 A.D.

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Roma was a female deity who personified the city of Rome and more broadly, the Roman state. The earliest certain cult to dea Roma was established at Smyrna in 195 B.C., probably to mark the successful alliance against Antiochus III. In 30/29 B.C., the Koinon of Asia and Bithynia requested permission to honor Augustus as a living god. "Republican" Rome despised the worship of a living man, but an outright refusal might offend their loyal allies. A cautious formula was drawn up, non-Romans could only establish a cult for divus Augustus jointly with dea Roma. In the city of Rome itself, the earliest known state cult to dea Roma was combined with Venus at the Hadrianic Temple of Venus and Roma. This was the largest temple in the city, probably dedicated to inaugurate the reformed festival of Parilia, which was known thereafter as the Romaea after the Eastern festival in Roma's honor. The temple contained the seated, Hellenised image of dea Roma with a Palladium in her right hand to symbolize Rome's eternity.
SH82657. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 330, Cohen I 271, BnF I 417, Mac Dowall WCN 163, Hunter I 100, SRCV I -, BMCRE I , gVF, excellent portrait, fine style, dark green and brown patina, some corrosion, gently smoothed, weight 24.425 g, maximum diameter 34.3 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, c. 66 A.D.; obverse IMP NERO CLAVD CAESAR AVG GER P M TR P P P, laureate head left with light beard; reverse Roma seated left on cuirass, one round and one oblong shield behind, wearing crested helmet, right foot drawn back and resting on helmet, Victory offering wreath in Roma's extended right hand, her left hand rests on parazonium, ROMA in exergue, S - C (senatus consulto) at sides; Numismatica Ars Classica, auction 94 (6 October 2016), lot 127; ex Classical Numismatic Group 783132 ($1750); $1750.00 (1487.50)


Caligula, 16 March 37 - 24 January 41 A.D.

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The wreath on the reverse is the corona civica, the oak wreath awarded to Roman citizens ex senatus consulto (by special decree of the Senate) for saving the life of another citizen by slaying an enemy in battle. It became a prerogative for Roman emperors to be awarded the Civic Crown, originating with Augustus, who was awarded it in 27 B.C. for saving the lives of citizens by ending the series of civil wars.
SH86121. Orichalcum sestertius, RIC I 37, BMCRE I 38, Cohen I 24, BnF II 50, Hunter I 15, SRCV I -, Choice VF, Tiber patina, centered and struck, attractive young portrait, some marks and corrosion, weight 26.709 g, maximum diameter 33.8 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, 37 - 38 A.D.; obverse C CAESAR AVG GERMANICVS PON M TR POT, laureate head left; reverse S P Q R / P P / OB CIVES / SERVATOS in four lines within Corona Civica oak wreath; rare; $1740.00 (1479.00)


Vespasian the Younger, Caesar, 94 - 95 A.D., Smyrna, Ionia

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In 94 A.D., because he had no heir, Domitian adopted his two young great-nephews. He renamed them Vespasian and Domitian. The next year he executed the boys' father, his cousin, Titus Flavius Clemens, and exiled the boys' mother, his niece, Flavia Domitilla. They were charged with Atheism, a charge sometimes applied to condemn converts to Judaism or Christianity. The boys then disappeared from history and their fate is unknown.

Smyrna was the only city to strike coins in the name of Vespasian the Younger. No coins were struck for his brother.

Some scholars connect Domitilla with a Roman Matron in the Talmud (Avodah Zarah 10b) and the Deuteronomy Rabbah 2.25. When the emperor had decreed that in 30 days, the Senate would confirm an edict to kill all Jews and Christians in the Roman Empire, the Roman matron convinced her husband to stand up for the Jews. If that identification is correct, her husband Flavius Clemens converted to Judaism, after having contact with the great sage Rabbi Akiva. Flavia Domitilla is a saint in both the Greek Orthodox and the Roman Catholic Church.
SH83453. Bronze AE 16, Klose p. 244, 3, pl. 31 (V1/R1); RPC II 1028; SNG Cop 1360; SNGvA 2208; BMC Ionia p. 276, 320, gF/F, weight 2.790 g, maximum diameter 16.3 mm, die axis 0o, Smyrna (Izmir, Turkey) mint, as caesar, 94 - 95 A.D.; obverse OYOCΠACIANOC NEΩTEPOC, bare head right; reverse ZMYPNAIΩN, Nike standing right, wreath in extended right hand, palm frond over left shoulder in left hand; ex Solidus Numismatik, auction 7, lot 200; rare; $1050.00 (892.50)


Augustus, 16 January 27 B.C. - 19 August 14 A.D., Emerita, Hispania Lusitania

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Mrida, Spain was founded by P. Carisius in 25 B.C., as Emerita Augusta, the name referring to the discharged soldiers who populated the city, by order of Augustus to protect a pass and a bridge over the Guadiana river. The city became an important city in the Roman Empire and the capital of Lusitania province. Mrida preserves more important ancient Roman monuments than any other city in Spain (including a triumphal arch of the age of Trajan).
SH84707. Silver denarius, RIC I 9b, RSC I 398, BMCRE I 291, BMCRR Spain 128, BnF I 1039, Hunter I 124, SRCV I 1627 var. (head right), gVF, full circle centering on a broad flan, mint luster, weak strike areas, die wear, small edge cracks, weight 3.775 g, maximum diameter 21.8 mm, die axis 90o, Emerita Augusta (Merida, Spain) mint, P. Carisius, c. 25 - 23 B.C.; obverse IMP CAESAR AVGVST, bare head left; reverse P CARISIVS LEG PRO PR (P. Carisius Legatus [Augusti] pro Praetore), bird's-eye view of town with walls around, EMERITA inscribed above gateway in front with three battlements over two arched entrances; from the Marcelo Leal Collection; $870.00 (739.50)


Vitellius, 2 January - 20 December 69 A.D.

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Vitellius' children, portrayed on this denarius, thought to have been named Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia, were born to his second wife, Galeria Fundana. When Vitellius was made emperor by the senate, his son, who was about six years old, was sent to Lugdunum to meet him upon his arrival from Germany. The boy may have perished with his father, others say he was executed in 70, on orders of the praetorian prefect Licinius Mucianus. Vespasian arranged an excellent marriage for Vitellius' daughter and provided her with a wedding gown and dowry. Vitellius had another son, Petronianus, by his first wife. He died long before Vitellius became emperor. It was widely believed that Vitellius had poisoned him.
SH86480. Silver denarius, RIC I 103, RSC II 2, BMCRE I 29, BnF III 62, Hunter I -, SRCV I -, F, toned, tight flan, obverse slightly off center, scratches, weight 3.090 g, maximum diameter 18.1 mm, die axis 180o, Rome mint, late Apr - 20 Dec 69 A.D.; obverse A VITELLIVS GERM IMP AVGVST TR P, laureate head right; reverse LIBERI IMP GERM AVG, confronted draped busts of Vitellius' son (on left) and daughter (thought to have been named Vitellius Germanicus and Vitellia); very rare; $800.00 (680.00)




  







Catalog current as of Friday, June 22, 2018.
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12 Caesars